Links 3/13/19

Life’s a ball in Vienna as city tops world rankings for 10th year France24.com

WWWorries? Inventor of Web laments coming-of-age woes AP

Kansas City Will Make Its Government 100 Percent Carbon-Free by Next Year Next City (martha r)

Montana just endured one of the nation’s most exceptional cold spells on record Laredo Morning Times

This GoPro for Your Dick Is Ridiculous Motherboard. Whatever could go wrong?

Giant wolf ‘Yuki’ dropped off at kill shelter rescued by wolf sanctuary WFLA

PICKY BRITS WON’T EAT US CHICKEN — SHOULD YOU? Who What Why

New Jersey leaders in deal to legalize recreational marijuana Reuters

‘Almost certain extinction’: 1,200 species under severe threat across world Guardian

Sarajevo Siege: How Perpetrators of Deadly Attacks Remain Unprosecuted Balkan Insight

In praise of dumb transportation TreeHugger

Boeing

Trump: ‘Airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly’ The Hill. He has a point.

A second 737 Max crash raises questions about airplane automation MIT Technology Review. Longer form version of Trump’s tweet — with evidence and analysis.

FAA doubles down on decision not to ground the Boeing 737 Max, as counterparts around the world have done WaPo

Pilots complained to authorities about issues with the Boeing 737 Max for months before the deadly Ethiopian Airlines crash Business Insider

Two Boeing 737 MAX 8 pilots reported nosedives after engaging autopilot in 2018, data reveals ABC News (Australia)

U.S., Ethiopia Maneuver Over Crashed Plane’s Black Boxes WSJ

HN thread with excerpts of pilot complaints about 737 MAX Hacker News (PR)

Class Warfare

‘Airbnb Tax’ in N.J. Opens New Front in Battle Over Internet Economy NYT

WATCH: Ocasio-Cortez Grills Wells Fargo CEO Over Profiting From ‘Caging of Children’ and Pipeline Disasters Common Dreams

Gentrification Is a Feature, Not a Bug, of Capitalist Urban Planning Jacobin

Berlin’s grassroots plan to renationalise up to 200,000 ex-council homes from corporate landlords The Conversation

Market Concentration Is Threatening the US Economy Project Syndicate. Joe Stiglitz.

In Honor of the College Admissions Scandal. McMansion Hell. Kate Wagner’s unique take; I’ll be posting on this topic later today.

2020

Inside Biden and Warren’s Yearslong Feud Politico

With Blocked Ads Proving Her Point, Warren Says Facebook Shouldn’t Have Power to Decide What Is and Isn’t Allowed for ‘Robust Debate’ Common Dreams

The Democrats’ premature fantasies about packing the Supreme Court and nixing the filibuster WaPo

Sanders Connects Farmers’ Struggles to Labor Movement in Iowa Rallies TruthOut

Health Care

CDC reports 228 measles cases in 12 states The Hill

If Purdue Pharma declares bankruptcy, what would it mean for lawsuits against the opioid manufacturer? Stat. From last week; still  germane.

Battling the Devastation of America’s Opioid Crisis Der Spiegel

Could an eye doctor diagnose Alzheimer’s before you have symptoms? Science Daily

Green New Deal

The Green New Deal Debate Is Coming To A Town Hall Near You HuffPo (martha r)

War Drums

The Establishment Eyes Central Africa for More Mission Creep American Conservative

Algeria

Demonstrators demand Bouteflika’s immediate departure Al Jazeera

Algeria’s army takes page from Egyptian playbook Asia Times

Venezuela

Venezuela: Electricity Recovery Continues as US Withdraws Diplomatic Staff Venezuelanalysis.com

India

How the world’s largest democracy holds elections Asia Times

India’s Young Graduate Engineers Struggle to Find Work as Jobs Crisis Worsens The Wire

China?

Technology: From Copycats to Innovators Democracy

Casualties of trade war: Chinese in US denied licences to work with sensitive technologies SCMP

China, Australia and Coal Mania Counterpunch

Trump Transition

Key U.S. senator says federal privacy bill should be as strong as California’s CNBC

Senate Democrats Enabled the Biggest Bank Merger Since the 2008 Crash TruthOut

STATES BEGIN TO CRACK DOWN ON BROKER ABUSE AS THE SEC DITHERS Intercept

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterdays Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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235 comments

  1. bwilli123

    the link to Hacker news is incomplete. Needs the h in https. The HN comments are on an article originally in the Dallas News
    https://www.dallasnews.com/business/airlines/2019/03/12/boeing-737-max-8-pilots-complained-feds-months-suspected-safety-flaw
    An excerpt.
    …”The disclosures found by The News reference problems with an autopilot system, and they all occurred during the ascent after takeoff. Many mentioned the plane suddenly nosing down. While records show these flights occurred in October and November, the airlines the pilots were flying for is redacted from the database.
    Records show that a captain who flies the Max 8 complained in November that it was “unconscionable” that the company and federal authorities allowed pilots to fly the planes without adequate training or fully disclosing information about how its systems were different from those on previous 737 models.”…

    Reply
    1. Gary

      This is sort of off the subject but my neighbor was a Delta pilot. He told me a few days after 9/11 that it was impossible to willfully fly a Boeing 767 into anything the size of another plane, let alone a whole building. The software, even on full manual control would not allow it.

      Reply
      1. Sylvia

        Since this is supposed to have happened 3 times on 9/11–could you provide more information on this? Is there no way to override?

        Reply
        1. cripes

          Sylvia:

          “Since this (planes crashing into buildings) is supposed to have happened 3 times on 9/11–could you provide more information on this? Is there no way to override?

          Reeeaally?

          Can you tell me what hit what the third time?

          Reply
          1. Nax

            American Airlines Flight 11 – North tower of World Trade Center.
            United Airlines Flight 175 – South tower of World Trade Center.
            American Airlines Flight 77 – The Pentagon.

            Reply
            1. The Rev Kev

              Don’t forget the missing entry-

              United Airlines Flight 93 – Crew & Passengers stop a fourth massacre.

              Reply
      2. JerryDenim

        Bullshit. You misunderstood your neighbor or perhaps he was pulling your leg, or maybe you are just repeating crazy conspiracy lies you read on the internet and attributing it to your airline pilot next-door neighbor because you think that sounds more legit. Explain Japanese kamikaze pilots who sunk ships with their airplanes in WW2? Explain those Red Bull air race guys who fly between extremely narrow pylons? There’s really nothing technically challenging about hitting a massive building with a plane. The larger runways at international airports are 200 feet wide, same as the Trade Towers. They were 200 x 200 wide. If you’re competent enough to hit a runway with a plane then you could hit a giant skyscraper just as easily.

        As far as “software” not allowing a 767 to hit solid objects, I believe the events of 9/11 disprove that theory, but since you seem to think the whole thing was fabricated, perhaps you care to explain CFIT (controlled flight into terrain) incidents like the American Airlines 757 that smashed into a mountain top in Columbia in 1995? There’s no software to prevent that. If there was there would be no CFIT incidents and airplanes wouldn’t need Ground Proxity Warning Systems. (“Whoop-Whoop, Pull Up! Pull Up!) Any software that would prevent airplanes from smashing into mountains or buildings would also prevent them from landing, so that might be why such “software” doesn’t exist.

        Reply
      3. ewmayer

        Riiight – because

        [a] “full manual control” means “software still in charge”;
        [b] Already in 2001, these planes had highly sophisticated obstacle-detection systems which could spot a building miles away and veer the plane away, just like today’s high-tech cars have to avoid parking-lot collisions, because obstacle avoidance is a really big in-flight issue for airliners, just as it is for cars. It tends to get really crowded up there, they should really come up with something like predetermined flight paths which stagger planes in various well-defined altitude and lat/long corridors to address this problem of planes just flying willy-nilly wherever they like. And we need rear-view mirrors on planes, too, to help prevent collisions when they’re backing away from airport gates. Gary, my man, you are a genius!

        Better CT-spewing clowns, please.

        Reply
      1. Fec

        I found that link in the comments here, yesterday.

        Some of the stuff I found:

        The aircraft can be routinely flown closer to a stall in order to save money. It all works fine, until something goes wrong and it doesn’t…

        In the case of MCAS it looks to me to be a victim of the success of the 737’s longevity. It’s probably the most versatile airframe ever built having survived 50+ years of power-plant evolution, geometrical stretching, role revision and load growth (GTWO has not-far-off doubled I think since the 100).

        Then along comes the straw that breaks the camel’s back – a couple of engines that really required a new airframe design to get properly certified with comfortable aerodynamic margins. But such is the versatility of software these days that any shortfall in aerodynamic completeness can be handily compensated for…

        To counteract the MCAS trim forwards you need to pull with some 60 kg of force, using both control columns, to stop the aircraft nosing into the ground…

        Reply
        1. Lambert Strether

          > To counteract the MCAS trim forwards you need to pull with some 60 kg of force, using both control columns, to stop the aircraft nosing into the ground…

          That’s some UI/UX.

          I blame Boeing MBAs.

          Reply
    2. justsayknow

      “unconscionable“ I think it’s criminal. The motive was money- to make it easier to sell because they pretended training would not be required.

      I noticed on an abc news report this morning they completely glossed over (did not mention) this aspect of the story. What a surprise.
      Caught part of an msnbc report and they did not mention it either. More surprise /sarc

      I’m wondering if someone who died in the crashes is from a country with extradition. And if so could the ceo be extradited and put on trial? Not a chance, right?

      Reply
      1. JerryDenim

        The motive was money- to make it easier to sell because they pretended training would not be required.

        You’re on to something. These aggressive, highly-automated stall prevention systems that keep nose-diving perfectly good airplanes into the ground are thematically related. Airlines want to hire low-time inexperienced pilots that will work for cheap and suffer heaps of abuse. The problem is you can’t trust those guys to not crash your airplanes. See Marvin Renslow and the Colgan/Continetal Connection crash in Buffalo for details. I have a good friend that is a check airman on the 737 Max for a foreign carrier, a European one. I asked him recently how much Pilot-In-Command time the new-hire first officers at his airline typically had these days and he told me twenty-five hours. I nearly spit my coffee out and that is not a typo. I had over 2500 hours of PIC time, a mix of flight instruction and smaller plane freight flying before I was allowed to get near the right seat (second in command- First Officer not Captain) of a fifty seat regional jet. I had over 10,000 hours of flight time before I would get my first job flying a 737-sized real airliner. He said the typical route to the right seat of a 737 Max at his airline is a young European would get all of the licenses and ratings they needed to get hired onto the flight deck of a wide-body, long haul Gulf carrier as a non-flying second or third officer. This basically means they are autopilot babysitters who never fly and make radio calls while the real pilots take turns sleeping in bunks in the back at cruise. After a year or two of baby-sitting the autopilot and making radio calls they apply for a job with a low-cost European carrier as a flying First Officer. These pilots do fly the planes and one day they will be expected to upgrade to Captain. I have very grave doubts about their ability to recover from stalls, because true proficiency in stall recovery typically comes with flight instructing others in stall recovery, the repetition and practice are immensely helpful, but so is the fact that if you screw it up, you die. Motivational factors aside, the instructor to airline pilot pathway has a valuable side effect, pilots who don’t know how to recover from a stall are weeded out. Literally. I lost several instructor friends over the years to crashes related to stall-training. Hiring guys like Marvin Renslow that bought their way onto the flight deck through a pay-to-play scheme and hiring pilots with 25 hours of flight experience that are only proficient in making radio calls means you are hiring pilots that don’t know how to recover from stalls. Training it in a full-motion simulator for hours on end would probably eventually teach the same reflexes, but simulator time is extremely expensive and we know how management feels about spending money on things that aren’t stock buybacks or executive bonuses. This is why Airbus and Boeing are attempting to manufacture extremely complicated, highly automated, stall-proof airplanes. There is a market demand. Qualified pilots don’t need to be saved from stalls, they won’t get into to them in the first place and if they do they know how to get out. Unqualified, unexperienced pilots, well now that’s a different story, but that’s who the airlines want to hire.

        Reply
          1. JerryDenim

            Wow, I have another US based pilot buddy that was supposed to fly a 737 Max into the maw of a nasty spring blizzard today. I joked with him yesterday he was probably going to get some time off. Guess he will.

            Reply
          2. Procopius

            I found it interesting, and nobody seems to have mentioned it, that President Trump had to order the grounding himself because he hasn’t appointed an administrator of the FAA. By the way, all these explanations about the anti-stall system were widely publicized and discussed after the first crash. Boeing has announced that the software fix won’t be available until April because of the government shutdown (boo hoo). Wait, what? How does the shutdown affect a private company running a software development team working on a bug fix that is a danger to hundreds of lives at a time?

            Reply
        1. Carey

          Thanks for this fine comment. I’m not a pilot, but kind of a commercial aviation junkie. That such a complex system can be so safe, by and large,
          is a source of amazement to me.

          Reply
          1. AbateMagicThinking But Not Money

            re Source of Amazement:

            Just Culture is what keeps the ‘planes from crashing (generally). Just Culture is required by the aviation industry as no amount of public relations propaganda can hide a plane crash.

            When I first learned about Just Culture I had to ask myself why it isn’t all like that. I’m still working on an in-depth answer to my own question. However what I do know is that someone who is not competent to run a public entity in a truthful manner would never make it to anywhere near the levers of power if Just Culture prevailed.

            Pip-pip!

            Reply
        2. The Rev Kev

          That’s a great comment that with lots of fine detail. Would you believe that American astronauts had similar problems back in the early days? They were all professional pilots but those NASA scientists envisioned that the astronauts would just sit there in the capsules and it would be all controlled from the ground. ‘Spam in a Can’ is how some thought of those early astronauts if that was going to be the way to go. Those pilots rebelled and got windows, flight controls and the like installed. Just as well as before the Mercury program was finished one astronaut’s capsule failed and he had to bring it back to earth using his piloting skills. And that was not the only occasion that piloting skills came in use to prevent disaster.

          Reply
  2. Livius Drusus

    Re: Sanders Connects Farmers’ Struggles to Labor Movement in Iowa Rallies.

    This is why I think Sanders is the best candidate in 2020 over Warren. I think he will play better in the Midwest which will be the main battleground region in 2020. Most of the major swing states are in the Midwest region and that is where Trump is most vulnerable. I suspect that there might be a number of disillusioned Obama-Trump voters who would flip to Sanders in 2020.

    I like Warren too but I think she has some weakness with regard to the Native American debacle (Trump’s Pocahontas nickname hurt Warren I think) and she will be easy to paint as an elite, schoolmarm type. Sexist I know but a lot of people vote based on image. I am also worried that the left-wing vote will be split among Bernie/Warren/Gabbard but the same could be said for the centrist candidates too.

    Reply
    1. Another Scott

      I completely agree. It also seems that he can talk about these issues in ways that directly affect voters in rural areas without pandering to them. He’s tying specific policies to the overarching themes of his campaign. It works because he’s being genuine. This last trait is something that will really help him over Trump, who somehow managed to come across as more genuine than Clinton despite being a compulsive liar.

      Reply
    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      The “left-wing” vote may well be increased by having Sanders, Gabbard and Warren all running. It may be that one or even more of the Decent Three might get votes which would not have gone to the other two in any case.

      Reply
  3. Robert McGregor

    “This GoPro for your Dick is Ridiculous”

    Technology for “Dick Surveillance” is quite the thing! A couple years back, Naked Capitalism had an article on a condom which reported meaningful metrics on your’s Dick’s performance–you know, length, circumference, erection duration, probably “time from flaccid to full erection”–all the important stuff.

    Anthony Weiner just finished a two-year jail stint for basically tweeting his Dick pics to minors. And Jeff Bezos’s Dick pics have been in the news, though I don’t believe the pictures themselves have been released. And now “Dick cams.”

    This cam shit has gone too far. The “Google Glass” concept has faded for now, but you know it’s coming back in some fashion soon. I think we need a Marshall McCluhan-quality “media analyst” to sort out all the ramifications of this “Cam Era.”

    In the article above, don’t forget to check out the video of the dog running gleefully towards the beach–Amazing and fun to watch! But my mind is having trouble getting around an equivalent video through a “Dick cam.”

    Reply
  4. Wukchumni

    In Honor of the College Admissions Scandal. McMansion Hell
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Lifestyles of the 10%…

    I’ve been thinking about this ‘pay to play student’ gig, and all you hear about is the couple of celebrities involved pretty much, as who cares about 48 nobodys that you can’t relate to in a frame of reference, they might as well not exist.

    The bottom line was, their progeny wasn’t all that, not worthy.

    Compare it to the behavior of the .01% and how they were coddled and no Unabanker had the FBI wire-tap them, or show up in the wee hours to arrest them, just the opposite, their losing wagers on longshot bets were made good.

    Notice that there’s an absence of anybody high up in the financial food chain involved in the college admissions scandal, as a parent ‘doing the best for their children’.

    Reply
    1. kurtismayfield

      My theory is that since the college’s themselves we’re not in on the grift, this was ended quickly. The quote from the attorney from the Justice department says it all:

      In the Tuesday press conference, the U.S. attorney perhaps unintentionally emphasized this irony when he said: “We’re not talking about donating a building … We’re talking about fraud.”

      The fraud was that the college wasn’t getting their cut.

      Reply
    2. JCC

      Notice that there’s an absence of anybody high up in the financial food chain involved in the college admissions scandal

      ZeroHedge covered this yesterday, too, with the following headline:

      Feds Arrest Dozens, Including Actresses and Ex-Pimco CEO, In “Largest College Admissions Scam Ever Prosecuted”

      Pimco, Hercules Capital, and an attorney and the co-chairman of an international law firm, Willkie Farr & Gallagher, based in New York were also named.

      So, it’s not just Celebs (ZeroHedge puts out a few nuggets now and then that Corporate MSM won’t cover)

      Reply
    3. Craig H.

      > In Honor of the College Admissions Scandal. McMansion Hell.

      That is pretty funny. “Tony Soprano dressed up as Napoleon with a horse”. Somebody else posted a clip of Mrs. Soprano muscling a judge to write her daughter a college recommendation letter. The kids ain’t going to be living this down any time soon. I’m not competing to get into USC so I get to laugh my ass off. :) :) :)

      There is a battle re-enactment club where they dress up like 1805 guys and do Austerlitz and Borodino. It looks like a bunch of fun except there must be a huge amount of work and money that goes into it.

      Reply
      1. Procopius

        Those battle re-enactment guys aren’t Richie richies, either. From what I’ve read about them they’re mostly working-class guys maybe a step above median income. Then you have the Society for Creative Anachronism. Forging real armor that fits can’t be cheap.

        Reply
    1. Carla

      This is my favorite part: an FBI spokesman told the media words to this effect “This isn’t like somebody giving a building to a university so their kid gets in — this is fraud and deceit.”

      Oh, OK. If I bribe the university directly with tens of millions to get my name on a building and my kid into school, that’s perfectly fine, because there are only a few of us in the top 1/10th of 1 percent who can do that (and everyone knows we are the leaders of the universe). But these bourgeois 1-percenters who can only invest tens or hundreds of thousands to cheat their kids’ way into college–THAT’s fraud.

      Very glad the FBI elucidated that for all of us.

      Reply
      1. nycTerrierist

        Bribing the coach is a sure-thing. Those who donate a building still have to be ‘evaluated’.

        Noah Feldman:

        “To be clear, the structure explains why a parent with half a million dollars to spare would make an illicit and secret deal with the coach, rather than just donating the money directly to the university and expecting that the donation would put his or her child on a list of preferred students for admission.

        A donation to the university would no doubt have helped a child to be admitted. But — and this is the crucial point — a donation alone wouldn’t have guaranteed admission. No university will directly tell a parent that any donation of any size is a guarantee of admission. The student’s application would still have to go through the admissions office and be evaluated by admissions officers, even if it appeared on a favored list of donors’ kids.

        In contrast, the secret bribe to the coach did effectively guarantee admission, because the coach’s authority to admit recruits was essentially absolute. Bribing the coach was the most efficient way for the parents to spend the money they were prepared to dedicate to their kids’ admission.”

        https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-03-12/college-admissions-scandal-sports-teams-have-too-much-influence

        Reply
        1. ChrisS

          Depends on the size of the bribe, uh I mean donation. If Mr. X donates a 30 million dollar facility and his loser kid doesn’t get in, there might not be any more donations of that nature from the other Ms. and Mr. Xs out there. For instance, after funding Gates Hall to house the CS department, I’m sure Bill Gates’s children (and probably grandchildren) have automatic admission to Cornell whatever their test scores. There will be no written contract to this effect, but it will be understood.

          That’s the problem with corruption in the US – only the wealthiest can afford corruption here. (Add snark tag here, but only sort of kind of).

          Reply
        2. John Wright

          In some cases, having the bribe be honored could be a problem.

          For example, say the bribe went to an athletic coach.

          As I remember a story about a young JFK and his father.

          A newly elected young JFK was offered a bribe to do something and asked his father for advice.

          Joe Kennedy told him he could take the money and then do what he wanted.

          How does one guarantee that a bribe is honored?

          It would be difficult to sue for non-performance in the bribed coach case.

          Reply
        3. rps

          I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop beyond parental fraud. That is to say the labelling of the other party involved in the fraud reportedly referred to as ‘child’ ‘student’ or ‘kid’. If the students college admissions application was submitted prior to 17 years of age- they’re usually considered a minor in most states, and are under the care and legal responsibility of their parent(s).. However, if the fraud, including college applications and/or loans, SAT/ACT exam applicants were signed by the ‘student’ at age 18- which is considered the ‘legal’ age of majority/adulthood in most states, then I’m assuming the adult college applicant agreed to the fraud, and therefore co-conspirators in the college fraud scheme. Heck, if you’re an 18yr old male, you are required to register with Selective Service within 30 days of your 18th birthday; in otherwords, a legal adult whether or not you are a dependent on you parents IRS form

          Reply
          1. JBird4049

            All true, but some of the tactics used would not have been seen by the students such as substituting better scoring test or giving an essay an easier time or higher score which would happen after they were submitted. If the parents and the admissions people do not tell them, they might think that their own efforts were the reasons.

            Reply
      2. KidPsych

        That was exactly the thought I had. I attended a fancy school in Los Angeles. As the son of country bumpkin Canadian parents (desperate to prove they’d made it), I was dropped in a world that really didn’t make sense to me. I really was quite naive about the machinations of the elite. While most of my classmates were quite bright and driven (a third of my class achieved national merit), there were a handful of good-natured dopes who made it into solid universities. Again, being naive, I couldn’t figure out how a classmate had made it into Georgetown. A friend laughed and told me his father (who had run a movie studio) had bought them a gym. All legal I guess.

        Reply
      3. Loneprotester

        Yes, the .00001 percent wants us to understand that have no truck with the shenanigans of the 1%. Classless boobs.

        Reply
      4. integer

        Good. If the 0.1% conspicuously exercise their class privilege over the 1%, and stir up resentment and jealousy by doing so, it will only hasten the demise of the ruling class. If the elites can turn the working class against itself, then the working class should start thinking about ways to turn the ruling class and their courtiers against each other.

        Reply
    2. Cal2

      Decades of race-based affirmative-action admission preferences are OK supposedly?
      Then there’s the ball players that get in based on athletic talent, who can barely read.

      Universities should exist for cultivating and enriching the mind, not scoring rebounds.

      The highest paid employee of the state of California is the Cal Berkeley football coach.
      The entire athletic system stinks.

      Reply
      1. Anon

        From the shadows of bigotry into the light of mis-statements, the above comment is uninformed.

        The Cal football coach is NOT the highest paid state employee. He’s likely not even a state employee:

        “[Cal] Athletics Department spokesman Herb Benenson says boosters and other donors are picking up the bulk of the costs for both the new and old coach – with the remainder coming from the department’s “self-generated” revenue from ticket sales, merchandising, TV and the like. ” (SFGate.com)

        Sonny Dykes (the Cal football coach) has a base pay of $250,000. While I agree the NCAA system of profiting off of “student-athletes” stinks, big-time football is a favorite of both sthe student body and alumni, alike.

        Reply
        1. Lambert Strether

          > boosters and other donors are picking up the bulk of the costs for both the new and old coach

          Oh great. The football team is privatized. Why don’t we just spin them the football teams off as private entities, and get them out of the university environment entirely? (If the students like the team, they can just pay to get into the game, like they would for any other entertainment event.)

          Reply
          1. Sanxi

            They do have to pay, the usual grift, seat license fee and then cost of a ticket per game, for all sporting events.

            Reply
    3. Joe Well

      In the entrance to the Science Center of Harvard they put in an enormous plaque after the renovation circa 2017. It says that stretch of previously unnamed hallway is dedicated to an alumni couple who graduated in the 1980s and their daughter who graduated in, I believe, 2017! The shamelessness!

      Reply
      1. Arizona Slim

        Yours truly used to work for a university’s fundraising office. And, yes, I met plenty of people who couldn’t wait to get their name on a campus landmark. Their eagerness was something to behold.

        OTOH, our office hero was a lady who told one of my coworkers this:

        “Only fools and asses want to have their name on a building.”

        Reply
        1. Joe Well

          I had a part time job while a student in the Development (ahem, ahem! not mere fundraising, development) Department. I was just gathering information to send to development officers to help them hit up rich people. That really was what the office did, hound rich alumni. It actually made me feel a little sorry for rich people and made me think twice before ever donating so much as $5 to my alma mater. It’s like handing out money to a beggar on the street…you will have to pay that beggar every time you walk by.

          Reply
          1. Arizona Slim

            In my office the info gathering department was called Prospect Research. And those ladies were very, very, VERY good at their jobs.

            As for hounding the rich alumni, that was done by the Development Officers. They relied on info that was furnished to them by Prospect Research.

            Reply
  5. The Rev Kev

    “Boeing 737 MAX 8”

    Not looking good for this bird. If you go to the article at https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/12/business/boeing-flights-grounded.html it shows you on a map that the only place this plane is flying is the US and Canada. Even Mexico won’t have a bar of it. Not to worry as I can guess what will happen next. If you want to know what Trump is thinking, just ask his staff who the last person was that he spoke to. Undoubtedly, with the advice of his SecDef (originally from Boeing), Trump will be given a briefing from Boeing about how it was really pilot error that was the cause of the crash and the whole ruckus is just a plot by Airbus anyway. Then, taking advice from Bolton and Pompeo, Trump will bring in a law called the Making Boeing’s Profit Safe Again Act of 2019 where sanctions will be levied against any county that refuses landing rights for the Boeing 737 MAX 8. In addition, there will be no reciprocal landing rights for planes from those countries. Those countries will of course say to hell with it leading to the “Washington Post & “New York Times” to come out with stories of how there are no longer any flights going in or out of the US and that in fact the World is now isolated.

    Reply
    1. Shonde

      “Making Boeing’s Profit Safe Again Act of 2019”

      More likely this act will have taxpayers picking up the tab for all the resulting lawsuits and resulting lost profits of Boeing for all the cancelled contracts for purchase.

      Reply
        1. Lambert Strether

          That North Korean embassy story is extremely odd, and I get it’s getting a lot more play inside foreign policy establishments around the world than it’s getting in the press.

          Reply
        2. Lambert Strether

          I’d be interested to know what our pilots think of this. From a comment on the 737 debacle at MoA:

          Rather than going to the expense of designing an entirely new fuselage and normal length landing gear for its larger and much more powerful 737 MAX engines Boeing stuck with the now ancient 737 fuselage design that sits only 17 inches from the ground – necessitating changes to the positioning of the engines on the wing, which together with the vast increase in power, created aerodynamic instability in the design that Boeing tried to correct with software, while not alerting pilots to the changes.

          Through the 1980s and early 1990s Boeing executives had largely resisted pressure from Wall Street to cut staff numbers, move plant to non-union states and outsource. The 777 was the last real Boeing, though significant outsourcing did take place – but under the strict control and guidance of Boeing engineers. After the “reverse” takeover of MacDonnell Douglas in 1997 the MDD neoliberal culture swamped Boeing and its HQ was moved from the firm’s home near Seattle to Chicago so executives could hobnob with speculators. Wall Street had taken down another giant.

          These are my priors as well (especially the “reverse” takeover of MacDonnell Douglas, but also the 777 being a great plan and the last “real Boeing”).

          Reply
          1. ChristopherJ

            Boeing was the quality standard.

            Watched the aljazeera investigation into boeing, which highlighted the McDonnell Douglas merger where the wheels fell off the company.

            Simply put, you cannot assemble aircraft using average people from the street and without quality checks on the work.

            Outside of 747s, I will not step inside another American aircraft. Another example of an American company putting profits before people.

            Just shocked at how low some people can go for money

            Reply
    2. Olga

      You know, it occurs to me that this is precisely the kinda stuff that can end an empire. Now, it probably won’t happen with this case – but eventually, if all the crapification is allowed to proliferate, something will come along that will lead to people saying ‘enough already.’ And by then, it will be too late to save the empire with clay feet.

      Reply
      1. notabanker

        As someone who has done huge amount of international travel, US airlines and airports are the worst experiences of developed nations. To me, it’s huge red flag that the US is an outlier on this. Not at all surprising, but a real indicator of just how far we are along the decline.

        I doubt the people will save this empire. Much more likely they will be self chosen victims of it. There is hardly any outrage over this. Instead its a full on blitz of why it’s no big deal because are pilots are really good and interviews in airports about how nice the cushy seats and fancy LCD monitors are.

        Reply
        1. Joe Well

          Here’s my theory about US airports:

          The 1% have a very different experience of our airports. They can get a helicopter from Manhattan to JFK airpot for $300, then get whisked into a special lounge with massages and easy chairs, then someone escorts them to their first class seat where they are greeted with a glass of wine.

          I think that not all the 1% in Singapore, for instance, can afford that (though the 0.1% certainly could), and also it’s a more egalitarian society constantly trying to avoid a Yugoslavia-style ethnic war. So, their airport is a case study in public luxury (you have to see Changgi Airport before you die if you haven’t already).

          Reply
          1. False Solace

            My theory is that the elites in these countries believe they have something to “prove”, they must demonstrate to their people and the rest of the world that their countries have achieved real wealth. So the state of air travel is a reflection on their own performance and status. That is not the case in the US. The only reason homeless people don’t live in airports in the US is the TSA.

            Reply
            1. Joe Well

              William Gibson called Singapore “Disneyland with the death penalty” and then critics pointed out that Disneyland did have the death penalty (until yesterday), being in California, and human rights in general in the US were so awful it’s hard to criticize Singapore. Certainly, they do a lot more for minorities than the US does.

              Reply
        2. Upstater

          In case the airports don’t provide enough information on how things world the US has become, ride a passenger train or public transit. Both make US airports look stellar.

          Reply
          1. JBird4049

            “Public” transit? You mean that thing that comes by once an hour on weekdays with a bonus one, maybe two, during rush hour, less or not at all half the day, and with even fewer times on weekends, holidays, and whenever they feel like? At least the rush hour coaches are clean with seats and cushions. It’s been a while since last I took BART. Interesting experience. And people wonder why I drive.

            Reply
      2. Mel

        I believe you that this is empire-ending stuff. The Stiglitz article points straight that way

        The policies for combating economically damaging power imbalances are straightforward. Over the past half-century, Chicago School economists, acting on the assumption that markets are generally competitive, narrowed the focus of competition policy solely to economic efficiency, rather than broader concerns about power and inequality.

        when you take that next step to conclude that misapplied power causes economic (n.b. not financial) inefficiency.

        Reply
        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          All empires end, more or less, except perhaps one…Rome, which transformed itself into a religion, with many churches, Roman Catholic, Russian Orthodox, etc.

          Reply
          1. Lambert Strether

            The Brits kept their empire going for 400 or so years, no? Amazing to think, given what’s going on in Parliament right now, that they are more competent than we, but such seems to be the case.

            Reply
      3. Janie

        I spent most of November in central Europe; it had been nearly 20 years since my last trip there and eight years for my son. We were shocked at how much better dressed the citizenry were, the lack of empty storefronts, the amount of traffic in stores and cafes and the rarity of homeless and beggars. There was an air of prosperity and confidence that is missing here. Our airports have always been second-rate.

        Reply
      4. Hopelb

        This is a Must See Investigation, The Boeing 787: Broken Dreams by Al Jazeera Investigations,
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvkEpstd9os

        It highlights the fact that Boeing, in it’s pursuit of profit/cost cutting, sent the highly skilled, experienced Washington state, Union workers’ jobs to a right to work state (SC),and outsourced the various parts manufacturing to countless contractors, then had to disregard Boeing’s own quality and assurance standards. I suppose they would have outsourced the entire assembly if it had been politically feasible.
        In the film, Obama says Boeing is his boss. Trump says the same thing in regard to having to sell weapons because it’s our number one export. Taking this willful crapification of US manufacturing, even in planes carrying hundreds of actual people (!), along with both the willful turning over of tech for sales and the stealing of our tech, I agree with Olga, this is the Empire’s last gasp; undone by the shoddiness required by profits. The updated version of that old proverb might be “For the want of the cheapest composite screw the plane was lost” and so on. Read the hacker comments by military personnel saying these problems aren’t just in civilian products.
        Bernie should highlight the distinction between products made by a dedicated, Union workforce with a corporate ethos of quailty and the crap produced by companies driven solely by greed.

        Reply
          1. ChristopherJ

            Yes, that’s the one I saw.

            Put simply, boeing wanted to save money on training…. Second, new pilot hires are not the same quality they were. They have a license, but insufficient experience. Saves money….

            New hires can’t recover from a stall like experienced pilots can…

            I am sure this event will bring down the company. Dead man walking

            Reply
    3. Maggie's DD

      Obviously, Boeing recognizes that they are in deep weeds here-why else would they tap Nikki Haley as their next board member? She may not be an engineer, or even have a technical background, but she didn’t have any experience as a diplomat either and look how fast she put the UN right.

      Reply
      1. Cal2

        “scheduled”
        And you need to check at the gate before you board, because planes can get switched for technical and last minute scheduling delay reasons.

        Is it a federal crime to start shouting
        “737 Max? I’M NOT GETTING ON THAT DEATHTRAP!”
        at an airport gate?

        To show their faith in the safety of Boeing’s products, all congress critters and FAA officials should be required to only fly on 737 Maxs.

        The Moon of Alabama article is very telling, as are the comments.

        p.s. Canada just banned them from its airspace:
        https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-03-13/faa-alone-world-canada-orders-grounding-boeing-737-max-8s

        Reply
      2. Lambert Strether

        Waiting for a Constellation-type event on the 787, crafted from plastic* by non-union labor in South Carolina. Not flying anything but a 777 over water.

        NOTE * Don’t @ me, I know it’s carbon fibre.

        Reply
    4. Eclair

      ” … the World is now isolated.”

      Rev, I have been enjoying and learning from your comments here on NC for many months. In the past few days, I have noticed a trend into rather desperate-sounding snark, irony, sarcasm, black black humor. Like the world has become too weird to even be serious about.

      I see this as a bad sign. I have relied on your even-handed view of the US (and the UK) and your implied certainty that it would all iron itself out. Maybe you are simply having a few bad days? A touch of the flu? If so, keep hydrated, nap and watch humorous films. Or is it time for me to panic?

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Naw, things are cool. Humor developed differently in Oz and I have to admit that mine was corrupted by things like Monty Python’s Flying Circus in my youth. It probably got really corrupted by the BOFH files which are admittedly black. That line about ‘the World is now isolated’ is one of my obscure references. A long time ago there was a severe fog in England and all ferries had to be cut to places like France and Belgium. Reputedly the newspapers in England came out with headlines saying things like “Severe fog. Europe now isolated!”. To reverse it, many Americans that were fighting in Vietnam back in the day talked going ‘back to the World’ meaning getting to go back to the States. It’s all a matter of viewpoint. But thanks for your concern.

        Reply
    5. Eclair

      My spouse is a Boeing aerodynamics engineer (retired), working not on aircraft but on rockets, but he is a Boeing plane buff and knows specs and modifications. And, aerodynamics.

      We flew on a 737 Max (Norwegian Air) last fall. As we were boarding, he blanched, looked at me and demanded to know why I hadn’t informed him that the plane was a 737 Max. Normally, he is the most imperturbable of flyers (while I cover my head with a blanket, whimper and leave bruises on my seatmates’s thigh from holding on during takeoff.

      Well, at that point he was concerned about range, worried that we would run out of fuel before Bergen.

      After the first crash, he started to mutter about ‘no additional pilot training,’ for the plane in spite of the ‘change in CoG’ (center of gravity) caused by the bigger engines.

      He is now speaking darkly of the ‘software fix’ being developed by Boeing and says that in the good old days, the plane would have been grounded until the ‘fix’ was installed and tested.

      Reply
        1. Procopius

          Yeah, well the reason he had to give the order is because he’s left the position of Administrator vacant for months. Although, now that I think of it, the Acting Administrator should have grounded the planes after the first crash. The cause was known and they sit back and smugly say the fix won’t be available until April, because, you know, government shutdown and we couldn’t just leave those expensive planes sitting idle. Please don’t misunderstand, I don’t think failure to appoint an Administrator is an impeachable offense, but it’s another example of the Administration*’s incompetence.

          Reply
  6. Wukchumni

    Life’s a ball in Vienna as city tops world rankings for 10th year France24.com
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    At the other end of the table, the lowest ranked city was Baghdad at 231. Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic, and Sanaa in Yemen were 230th and 229th respectively.

    We have the Midas Touch, albeit in reverse. Everything we touch militarily, goes to hell in a handbasket.

    Reply
      1. o

        Not just that, but Austria appears the most “socialist” of EU countries (various policies for internal consumption). (They are very protective of their own – consider that in the 19th cent., A-Hungarian empire officials deemed Bohemia to be fit for industrialisation, so that the nice Austrian vistas wld not be spoiled by the sight of smokestacks). To be fair, though, the ball season is big in several Central E. countries (likely the A-H empire heritage). This year, one CE official was attacked in the press and mocked for skipping some balls.

        Reply
        1. Procopius

          Friedrich Hayek chose to return to Austria because the government retirement benefits he could get there were better than he could have hoped for in the U.S. Funny, David Koch proposed a scheme to cheat and get him on Social Security (Austria’s pension was still better, and they had medical care when the U.S. still didn’t), but it never occurred to him that he could set up an annuity from his petty cash. That’s not the way Libertarians do things.

          Reply
          1. The Rev Kev

            Ayn Rand finished her days too enrolled on Social Security and Medicare. Tried to use her husband’s name so that people would not recognize it. Not very Objective that.

            Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That’s nice. The city is like the 1% of the cities of the world, and its burghers are the 1% of the burghers of the world.

      I would like to move there.

      Unfortunately, for me, and I imagine, for many, it’s a nearly impossible dream.

      Perhaps the alternative is to try to make my own city more like Vienna. But mine could be, like 159th on the list.

      Then, the immediate goal is not Vienna, but maybe try to move from 159th place to say, 115th…in say, 10 years, and then, inside the top 100 in another, say 5 years.

      Then, Vienna would not be the city to look up to, but those lower on the list, as improvers in my city try to pull ourselves up the ladder.

      Reply
    2. ewmayer

      “We have the Midas Touch, albeit in reverse.” — That’s the so-called “Merdas Touch”, whereby everything ones touches, goes to shit.

      Reply
    1. notabanker

      I find it fascinating that CNN asks why Boeing isn’t grounding the plane. Of course it notes that other countries have banned it from their airspace, but the impetus is on Boeing to make this decision.

      Crystal clear neoliberal ideology at play here.

      Reply
      1. Carla

        I know NC-ers will enjoy this little gem from the NYT web site yesterday:

        “The F.A.A.’s top safety official, Ali Bahrami, has worked closely with Boeing during his career, directing the agency’s certification of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the 747-8 passenger and freighter models.

        ‘It’s a very cozy relationship,’ said Jim Hall, the former head of the National Transportation Safety Board. ‘The manufacturer essentially becomes both the manufacturer and the regulator, because of the lack of the ability of government to do the job.’

        At a congressional hearing in 2015, a Boeing executive described the arrangement as effectively having an “arm of the F.A.A. within the Boeing Company,” and said 1,000 employees were part of the program.”

        https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/12/business/boeing-flights-grounded.html

        Reply
    1. Susan the Other

      It is a summary with a refinement. A few years back Stiglitz lamented the misuse of the concept of “productivity” and then backed away from it. Now he is saying that monopolistic efficiencies produce inequalities that our political system is unable to address. It’s not a new story, bec. FDR had the same quandary. Now our democratic remedies are proving useless because deficit spending is not producing growth. Big problem. And financial markets have swooped in to pick the bones clean by extracting profits themselves instead of providing services. It looks terminal. Monopoly pricing power is out of control. Abuse of labor is too. The corporations are now turning to their customers as the next commodity to be exploited. No pension fund has been properly funded; the money that is extracted is going to CEO pay and perks. Competition is dead in the water because there is no demand. There is no revenue; no capital. There is no demand because decades ago “The Chicago School assumed markets are competitive and narrowed the focus of competition policy to economic efficiency.”.. ignoring inequality and etc. Stieglitz actually thinks we are dead in the water because he ended his sad analysis with “Europe will have to lead us out of this.” So this is a giant step for Stiglitz in terms of openness.

      Reply
  7. Otis B Driftwood

    Regarding the Biden / Warren feud, I look forward to Warren taking Biden apart in debates. His support of banks and credit card companies is indefensible and will not withstand the intense scrutiny of a primary campaign.

    Reply
  8. none

    Nobody commenting on the story seems to talk about G. Dubya Bush getting into Yale or the Texas Air National Guard that way. Funny that.

    Reply
    1. allan

      Wow. This non-MCAS complaint filed by one captain (cited by a commenter in the HN thread) stuck out.
      The Internet of Things takes flight:

      1565207 At cruise flight, our Wi-Fi stopped working. I then saw that I was unable to access the Pilot Mobile app. Since I do not routinely copy the flight plan to iBook or acrobat (we are not required to do this), I was unable to access the flight plan. I’ve lost Wi-Fi before but not had this problem. Maybe it’s a 737max thing. My First Officer had a copy on iBook and airdropped it to me. Later we were able to restore the Wi-Fi and I could login to pilot mobile but the [flight plan] was not there anymore.

      Giving new meaning to cloud computing.

      Reply
      1. notabanker

        I like the one where the pilot writes a report that he was notified of flying a MAX for the first time hours before his flight in a car on the way to the airport, has all kinds of issues finding manuals, prepping for the flight, has issues with the flight, recommends they give 24 hour notification, training with an SME adequate review of the manuals beforehand, yada, yada yada.

        Then some random internet guy responds, jeez, I work in a coffee house and I’m not allowed to serve a new menu drink until I am trained and then make it front of my manager and he approves me to serve customers.

        Reply
  9. Sam Adams

    Re Admission scandals
    The scandal struck prestigious universities and at the agranddized self image of their elite graduates. That was the real crime. A science building, an art gallery or a library always allowed rich parents to buy access to elite institutions.

    Reply
    1. Arizona Slim

      Just spitballing here, but what would be so horrible about these kids doing their first two years at community college, and then transferring to a university? Or joining the military and doing college after their service? Or starting to take college courses while they’re on active duty? I’ve known plenty of people who have done that.

      Reply
      1. Massinissa

        Those people aren’t elites though. God forbid elite children go to a community college and rub shoulders with common people. They might even learn something from the experience!

        Reply
      2. lyman alpha blob

        A community college?!?! Come on AZ, the parties are waaaaay better at USC! Please think of the children.

        Reply
        1. wilroncanada

          The two guys from Vancouver whose father “bought” them university entrance went to the most prestigious private school in Vancouver. I suspect that virtually all the other students did the same. No public or even charter schools for them.

          Reply
          1. The Rev Kev

            Just supposing that this process has been going on longer in the UK. It might a go a long way in explaining the general incompetence of their leadership cast at the moment.

            Reply
      3. jrs

        other than those community colleges are already overcrowded and can hardly support the population they are already serving? nothing.

        Reply
      4. NotTimothyGeithner

        This is about status.

        Did Malia Obama apply to a college? I seriously doubt it. She’s the President’s daughter. She seems charming. Her parents aren’t doofuses, so she’s probably not a Shrub. His mother was Barbara after all. So why not accept Malia Obama? Whats bigger than the President? Nothing. Maybe she applied legitimately. I’m sure her grades and test scores were okay, but with her profile, it would be weird to have an application just read by people who work in the admissions office. The dean of admissions would need to make the decision or handle it. How many powerful people simply can’t stand they can’t get their kids in these schools?

        How do the Muffmen feel when they can only get their kids into a directional state (apologies)? Meryl Streep before she was famous went to Vassar for undergraduate.

        Can you imagine the shame the Muffmen (I’m assuming the plural of their celebrity couple name is -men not -mans.) must feel because they can’t spin their celebrity into admission at Vassar? Meryl Streep’s mother doesn’t even have a picture on Wikipedia, and her father doesn’t even have his own page.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WTyCqys89w

        Reply
    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      ‘Prestigious universities*’…..

      When we look for future inequality, that’s where it starts…places where students and their parents, not concerned with free tuition (which does not address this issue head on), try very hard to get in, as we are seeing in the breaking news today.

      It’s like, non ‘prestigious universities’ provide training so serfs can move from working in the field to working in the master’s family mansion. To go away that immoral system, personally, you would need to attend a ‘presitigious’ university, at the minimum.

      Beyond that personal choice, one collective alternative is to reject that sytstem alltogether. Another is to reform it somehow.

      *Presitigous universities…

      What makes them ‘prestigious?’

      Collections of books, and for some departements, artifacts?

      Buildings? Likely not.

      State of the art experimental facilities (for those departments that require)?

      The size of its endowment?

      The quality of its faculty?

      Its students?

      Can a ‘presitigious’ university have all of the above, except top high school graduates, and still claim to be ‘prestigious?’

      That is, can a ‘prestigious’ university take, not a few, but 100%, all of them, C- high school graduates and still remain ‘prestigious?’

      If the answer is no, then students contirbute to the ‘prestigiousness’ of a university. Should they not have an equity claim on that university?

      Shouldn’t that university pay its students?

      Reply
  10. Wukchumni

    Bitcoin:

    Saw my very first business that accepts bitcoin for payment yesterday, as there was a sign in the window of the Mammoth Self-Serve Dog Wash, stating as much.

    Reply
  11. Alex

    Re the Sarajevo siege story, I don’t doubt that all those atrocities happened but I’m yet to see a similar story sympathetic to Serbs targeted and ethnically cleansed from Croatia, most of Kosovo and Bosniak part of Bosnia

    Reply
    1. David

      As the article itself acknowledges, Galic, the Corps commander was indicted and convicted nearly twenty years ago, on evidence which, frankly, was pretty thin. Prosecutors accepted that there was no deliberate policy of targeting civilians (there were more military casualties in the city than civilian ones) but argued that Galic did not do enough to control his bored, rebellious troops, who had the habit of shooting at things to relieve tension.The idea of prosecuting individual soldiers is fantasy.

      Reply
      1. JBird4049

        Evidence of the Sarajevo atrocities being thin? How so? The place was shelled and sniped at for over three years. It is true that by the end of the war everyone had committed war crimes, but as I recall it was the Serbian separatists controlling the Yugoslavian Army and Serbia itself that started the war. I believe most Yugoslavs didn’t want an actual war.

        The leadership for a Greater Serbia lined up their people on the Serbian borders and had them just go across Bosnia-Herzegovina doing their ethnic cleansing. It was only the ruthlessness, which most didn’t expect, as well as the almost complete control of all the heavy weapons that allowed the Serbian military to be as successful as it was. They did succeed in ending Yugoslavia in a truly horrific way.

        However, none of this excuses the evil actions done to the Serbian civilians of there were a lot. The war has been over for some time and it would be nice if all the perpetrators could face a judge before dying of old age.

        Reply
  12. The Rev Kev

    “Venezuela: Electricity Recovery Continues as US Withdraws Diplomatic Staff”

    I have been seeing a lot of articles the past few days saying that the black-outs were the Venezuelan’s fault and they did not do the maintenance, etc. I haven’t heard the phrase ‘Mexican fire brigade’ used but it is verging on it. But a little while ago I found a remarkable article called “US Regime Change Blueprint Proposed Venezuelan Electricity Blackouts as ‘Watershed Event’ for Galvanizing Public Unrest’ ” (https://thegrayzone.com/2019/03/11/us-regime-change-blueprint-proposed-venezuelan-electricity-blackouts-as-watershed-event-for-galvanizing-public-unrest/). This was in a memo going back to 2010 and was by the same organization that trained Greedo and his allies. The article is by Max Blumenthal and contains a lot of interesting detail but you wonder how many people in the MSM will pay it any attention.

    Reply
    1. Chris Cosmos

      I’m sure most of them will pay attention. Those guys know, at some level, that their job is PR for the CIA not reporting. But that’s ok, most of them are on anti-depressants (inside info from someone I know).

      Reply
    2. icancho

      This Grayzone piece chimes with this Wikileaks doc, which details a memo from CANVAS to STRATFOR from 2010-09-23. A pretty plan.
      An extract:
      “A key to Chavez’s current weakness is the decline in the electricity sector. There is the grave possibility that some 70 percent of the country’s electricity grid could go dark as soon as April 2010. Water levels at the Guris dam are dropping, and Chavez has been unable to reduce consumption sufficiently to compensate for the deteriorating industry. This could be the watershed event, as there is little that Chavez can do to protect the poor from the failure of that system. This would likely have the impact of galvanizing public unrest in a way that no opposition group could ever hope to generate. At that point in time, an opposition group would be best served to take advantage of the situation and spin it against Chavez and towards their needs. Alliances with the military could be critical because in such a situation of massive public unrest and rejection of the presidency, malcontent sectors of the military will likely decide to intervene, but only if they believe they have sufficient support. This has been the pattern in the past three coup attempts. Where the military thought it had enough support, there was a failure in the public to respond positively (or the public responded in the negative), so the coup failed. “

      Reply
      1. icancho

        Having since looked at Blumenthal’s Grayzone piece, I now realize that it is in fact based on the Wikileaked memo that I linked to …

        Reply
      2. Procopius

        Seems to me one of the memos published was a report from the Ambassador to Syria in 2006 on the progress of his efforts to destabilize the Assad government. Let’s see, who was Secretary of State that year. Right on the tip of my tongue.

        Reply
  13. SerenityNow

    Gentrification is a feature, not a bug:

    Anyone who “owns” a home and supports single-family zoning is a part of this also.

    Reply
    1. coboarts

      Since this is generally happening in the urban area, as opposed to the suburban area, please explain further.

      Reply
      1. Joe Well

        To give a concrete example, Cambridge, Massachusetts, at the center of an urban agglomeration of over 8 million people, still has many single family homes due to this trick. In some cases they’ve turned single family homes into condos and each floor is sold as an apartment. I saw an attic advertised as a penthouse for $400k. In the last 5 years, single family home prices have doubled to an average of $1.7 million, most of them quite small and ordinary.

        Reply
        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          That’s…er, incredible.

          The attached garage (perhaps a converted barn/stable), an relic from the pre-ride-share/pre-ride-hailing era, can also be sold off as well.

          Reply
          1. Joe Well

            In Cambridge, the carriage houses/garages got knocked down decades ago and houses or apartment houses built in their place, except for some really tony neighborhoods near Longfellow’s house.

            Also, if you think this Boston stuff is too parochial, so many things happen here first (gay rights/sexual rights, education reform, healthcare reform, that horrible athleisure trend) for whatever reason…it can absolutely get this extreme in other places where this hasn’t happened yet. Boston is roughly in the 22nd year of the housing crisis now.

            Reply
        2. coboarts

          So, the single family home is being turned into a multi family dwelling without tearing down the original house and incurring huge fees. The additional flats being rented/owned are going for the area market rate. I don’t see the gentrification other than the impact of the urban gentrification pushing people further out, and the single family homeowners, those willing to reconfigure their homes for the additional income, adapting to the changes – helping to alleviate the problem.

          Reply
          1. SerenityNow

            The commodification of housing is a central aspect of gentrification and is the primary driver of the American suburbs.

            Reply
          2. Joe Well

            coboarts, the issue is that in a truly free housing market, they would let people sell their houses to be knocked down to make apartment blocks with many more units, like they did up through the mid-1970s before the ghost of Jane Jacobs came and cursed us all.

            Greater Boston only has maybe 10% more units of housing than it had in the 1970s while it has maybe 50% more people now, and many, many more people who were forced out or never able to come in who want to be here. You can thank NIMBYism for that. In fact, there are vast differences between individual municipalities in Greater Boston and rents have risen and fallen alongside housing construction, not to mention other metro areas like in the Sun Belt.

            Reply
      2. SerenityNow

        Gentrification works when people are incentivized to make properties as valuable as possible–that is, when housing is treated as a commodity, rather than a tool. In the US system, most people are warmly encouraged to see their home as an asset that will always be appreciating, and they do whatever they can to ensure that. One of the means of doing this is by using zoning to control the actions of others and limit property use to ways that make selected properties more valuable–this mindset is what generally go in the way of any new development, especially housing that would be suitable for people at a range of incomes.

        Reply
  14. toshiro_mifune

    Regarding Purdue Pharma….
    Is it too much to hope for some form of criminal charge to be filed in this? I’m sure an ambitious AG could charge the C level under RICO statutes. That’s going to be too much to ask for, isn’t it?
    Maybe we could get a deeper look into the FDA approval of Oxy as well?

    Reply
  15. a different chris

    >You need latest-generation mobile infrastructure everywhere, as well as high-definition digital maps that are constantly updated. And you still need near-perfect road markings,

    I think we should take a moment to marvel at, well biology. Some of the stupidest people you ever met can drive cars everywhere for years without even a fender bender. Think about that. This is why I laugh so hard tears come when I read the Kurzweil’s of the world talk about machine sentience in any time frame under 1000 years, let alone the 2045 I just heard. It’s not even close. It’s not even in the same ballpark. It’s not even heading down the right, well, road.

    Reply
    1. Lemmy Caution

      >I think we should take a moment to marvel at, well biology. Some of the stupidest people you ever met can drive cars everywhere for years without even a fender bender.

      It is in fact remarkable how incredibly proficient humans are at driving. According to this Rand Corporation report on Autonomous Vehicle Reliability:

      In the U.S., 32,719 fatalities in 2013 correspond to a failure rate of 1.09 fatalities per 100 million miles.

      Of course that was before smartphones took over the minds of so many drivers, but still.

      Reply
  16. David

    Thanks for the links on Algeria. I don’t want to overburden readers on this subject, so I’ll just say that AJE is not a bad source, although, as here, it tends to the vox pop end of the spectrum. I don’t think the comparison with Egypt in the Escobar piece is useful, and it’s all based on a single anonymous source who may or may know what he’s talking about.
    reliable sources in English on Algeria are very hard to find. One I have found useful is the Carnegie Middle East centre in Beirut. Here is an article by energy analyst Riccardo Fabiani on how Bouteflika is losing the business class, and here is an article by Dalia Ghanem, herself an Algerian, explaining how the crisis started. She also has an article in today’s NYT, but it’s behind a paywall.
    Meanwhile, the latest joke from Algeria (a country with a famously sardonic sense of humour): “We demonstrated for elections without Bouteflika. What we got was Bouteflika without elections.”

    Reply
  17. Henry Moon Pie

    Re: Sanders on farm issues–

    I’m not hearing Bernie or AOC speak about some issues in transitioning from the carbon-belching ecological nightmare that is industrial farming to an approach that regenerates the environment while producing genuinely healthy food close to where it is consumed.

    First, while people still talk about “family farms,” those have been disappearing for 60 years to the point that few are left. And the “family farms” that do still exist are nothing like farms of a hundred years ago that utilized more sustainable practices because the environment-destroying methods hadn’t been invented yet. Growing food and fiber (get rid of that plastic!) sustainably will require more labor and more expertise, and we are short of both when it comes to farming. We have a Wendell Berry problem: our population has been de-skilled as industrial agriculture displaced family farming.

    Second, a very large proportion of our best farmland is now owned by Big Ag and billionaires. This acreage is in huge parcels that can never be farmed in a sustainable way, and its current owners have already demonstrated a complete disregard for the environment and their neighbors.

    The Green New Deal includes this section on agriculture:

    (G) working collaboratively with farmers and ranchers in the United States to eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector as much as is technologically feasible, including–

    (i) by supporting family farming;
    (ii) by investing in sustainable farming and land use practices that increase soil health; and
    (iii) by building a more sustainable food system that ensures universal access to healthy food;

    Now “working collaboratively” with billionaires and ADM is weak tea, but “supporting family farming” can have some impact if it’s boldly implemented. For example, the feds, states or locals could use eminent domain to take some of these large parcels along with vacant land in urban settings, divide them into small parcels with the goal of distributing this land to new farmers that have been trained in sustainable farming techniques, including permaculture.

    Now these new farmers would need plenty of support:

    1) paid training that could be part of a JG and could take place at new sustainable farming “schools” that housed students while giving them hands-on training;

    2) no interest loans with no payments required for 5-10 years to provide housing on the plot, necessary tools, seeds, plants, compost, etc.;

    3) coops set up to assist the new farmers in marketing their cash crops and acquiring necessary inputs.

    Training and acquisition could be structured to encourage these new farmers to “grow their own” so that the first goal would be for these farmers to feed themselves and their own families (can’t resist a little nudging). Each farm would also need to produce some cash crops so that there would be money to live and eventually pay off the loan.

    Add a preference for economically or racially disadvantaged applicants, and you almost have forty acres and a mule.

    Hey there, Mr. Jefferson, we remember your vision of democracy in America.

    Reply
    1. Chris Cosmos

      We are seeing a growth in organic farms and young people wanting to go into sustainable organic farming–I’ve known several of these kids. We have friends who are making a go at farming in a variety of ways other than industrial. Yes, big business has most of the trade but they too are beginning to change focus using less toxic methods to supply food for the increasingly competitive retail food industry as customers, with reasonable intelligence, tend to prefer organic produce and meats. In part, I’m sure, some of these claims are bogus–but it’s a start. If we can get some help to these farmers particularly for young people apprenticing at these farms we’ll see a revival of coops and family farms. The market is there for their products.

      Reply
      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Those individuals already involved in sustainable farming would be perfect as instructors in a sustainable farming “school.” While some state extension services and federal soil conservation folks might be helpful in this regard, most of the ag schools are completely geared toward industrial farming with chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides.

        Reply
    2. Carla

      “the feds, states or locals could use eminent domain to take some of these large parcels along with vacant land in urban settings”

      Good idea — but govts can’t just “take” by eminent domain. They have to PAY for what they take. Only the feds, with a monopoly on money creation, can afford to do that.

      Reply
    3. Procopius

      It must be forty years ago I read an article about what were then factory farms. City dwellers have forgotten what the Dust Bowl was, Kids in high school don’t really understand what Grapes of Wrath is about. The Department of Agriculture reached out to farmers and taught them about contour plowing and planting trees as windbreaks to end erosion. I don’t remember about contour plowing, but the article stated the big ag farms were cutting down all the windbreaks so they could drive their tractors for miles without having to stop. I understand there are already dust storms in Arizona and New Mexico. A couple years of drought in Oklahoma and the Dakotas and a new generation of schoolkids will understand what Steinbeck was writing about.

      Reply
  18. jfleni

    RE: Georgia Poised to Pick Vulnerable Barcode Voting Technology.

    As always in places like Georgia, the “hillbilly heaven” choice wins!

    Reply
  19. jfleni

    RE: In praise of dumb transportation.

    How about calling out “Public Transit”; if anything is dumber than yuppie nightmares about “self driving” gas-buggies, it is NOT Public Transit; proved
    by everyday experience in many thousands of places!

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Dumb transportation can be both public and private.

      Included in the latter are mules, donkeys, horses, and more ancient, palanquins, litters, rickshaws, etc

      Reply
  20. The Rev Kev

    “$80 billion has been spent on self-driving cars with nothing to show for it.”

    $80 billion would have paid for a lot of trams and light rail which would have revitalized whole sections of cities and providing decent employment opportunities. But Silicon Valley would never have gotten their cut so of course it had to be what I call ‘fantasy tech’ solution instead. Since more and more people have realized that they cannot afford to buy a car and have given up on the idea, who is supposed to be buying all these cars exactly in terms of volume? Better yet, who is supposed to pay for the massive amount of infrastructure needed to keep these self-driving cars on the road? But I think that we know the answer to that last question. I call it the Concord aircraft effect. Back in the day, the poorer taxpayers of both France and the UK paid the price of this futuristic aircraft to be developed and built so that millionaires, government employees and Hollywood stars could fly the Atlantic faster and boast of it.

    Reply
    1. notabanker

      For me, this is less about SV getting their cut and more about R&D on automating humans. I’ll spare my views on why this is happening, just that it is definitely happening at significant pace.

      Andrew Yang’s run for Presidency is something to watch carefully. He has rocketed up in polls since his appearance on Joe Rogan’s show. Regardless of what you think of his policies, his message on automation must be heard, imnsho. I really relate to his baseball game analogy (much to the dismay of those who hate sports analogies) of being in the third inning. We can debate when the 6th inning will start, but there is no doubt we will get there.

      Technologies are currently in development to automate 50% of the jobs Americans currently occupy. Does that mean 50% of Americans will lose their jobs in 5 years? Probably not. But some massive portion of them definitely will.

      Goods distribution is critical infrastructure if you are a neoliberal. We are most of the way there on long haul, but are still a long way off on urban areas. If you look at typical multinational corporate spend on pure R&D it’s somewhere between 1-3% of revenues. $80 billion in the context of 17 trillion of QE is pocket change. There is no shortage of capital. In the context of US GDP of $21 trillion, it’s even less significant.

      Reply
      1. False Solace

        Companies don’t invest in productivity improvements when labor is dirt cheap. Workers haven’t seen wage increases in a generation and their percent of the take is at historical lows. Remind me where the motivation for all this expensive investment in automation will come from.

        Anyway, if the private sector doesn’t need human labor there’s no shortage of other work that urgently needs to be done in social care and environmental remediation. And if that doesn’t happen, as a last resort economies will put all those leftover people to work by going to war. Desperate people fall prey to opportunistic warmongers — it happened in the 30s and can easily happen again.

        Reply
        1. notabanker

          Walmart systematically collapsed retail malls and local businesses and become the dominant force in retail. They are now the US largest employer with 2.3M workers, most of which are minimum wage jobs with no benefits. Last month they announced they are eliminating third shift workers and replacing them with automated robots to stock store shelves.

          4 million manufacturing jobs have been permanently automated away.

          Amazon is 98% complete in automating long haul trucking services. They are working on drone like tele-view technology to solve the last pieces of it. Humans can only drive 14 hours per day, robots don’t sleep. There is $168 billion to be gained automating this.

          Banks and Insurance companies have been automating backoffice functions with machine learning on OCR technology for over a decade. The consensus among banks is that 15-30% of their workforce will be automated in years, not decades.

          In 2008, venture capital funding for AI was $200 million. In 2016 it was $5 billion. In 2017 it was $12 Billion.

          In 2014 Boston Consulting Group estimated robotics markets to be worth $67 billion in 2025. In 2017 they revised the estimate to $87 billion.

          PC based automation market is currently valued at $30 billion and projected to be $38 billion by 2023.

          These are chunks of automation and by no means inclusive, but we are already well over $100 billion and this does not include the $80 billion noted above on cars.

          Corporations are most definitely investing in productivity, regardless of labor costs.

          Reply
    2. Pookah Harvey

      I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of Personal rapid transit systems. From Wikipedia:

      Most mass transit systems move people in groups over scheduled routes. This has inherent inefficiencies.[5] For passengers, time is wasted by waiting for the next vehicle to arrive, indirect routes to their destination, stopping for passengers with other destinations, and often confusing or inconsistent schedules. Slowing and accelerating large weights can undermine public transport’s benefit to the environment while slowing other traffic.[5]

      Personal rapid transit systems attempt to eliminate these wastes by moving small groups nonstop in automated vehicles on fixed tracks. Passengers can ideally board a pod immediately upon arriving at a station, and can — with a sufficiently extensive network of tracks — take relatively direct routes to their destination without stops.[5]

      The low weight of PRT’s small vehicles allows smaller guideways and support structures than mass transit systems like light rail.[5] The smaller structures translate into lower construction costs, smaller easements, and less visually obtrusive infrastructure.[5]

      Reply
    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      Spending that $80 billion on self-driving cars was able to prevent spending that $80 billion on a lot of trams and light rail. Or indeed any trams or light rail at all.

      Many trams and light rail have been successfully prevented so far by depriving them of that $80 billion. That was the whole point and that is what the Car-Industrial Complex has to show for it . . . . trams and light rail successfully prevented.

      Reply
    4. Lambert Strether

      > “$80 billion has been spent on self-driving cars with nothing to show for it.”

      It’s almost as if capitalists are doing a terrible job performing what should be their social function: Allocating capital. Even in their own terms!

      Reply
  21. nippersmom

    The California Privacy bill being touted for its toughness ” imposes fines of up to $7,500 on large companies for intentional failure to disclose data collection or delete user data on request, or for selling others data without permission.”

    Wow, that’ll stop ’em./s

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      I got my last moving violation about a decade ago, and with traffic school and paying the fine it was $450, and as luck had it, the amount I paid was about the same in percentage of average annual salary, as the various Wall*Street firms paid in civil fines for their various misdeeds, as a percentage of profit garnered.

      Reply
    2. Eureka Springs

      As long as all that crap is buried in an endless scroll of terms which everyone just clicks on accept/yes anyway…. Oh and I’ll bet it comes with intentional feckless arbitration as well.

      If DiFi sounds tough about it….. run away!

      Reply
  22. JCC

    I like TruthOut and I think that the article posted here, “Senate Democrats Enabled the Biggest Bank Merger Since the 2008 Crash”, is important and was worth reading, particularly in regards to the 22,000 page Dodd-Frank Bill that doesn’t seem to do nearly as much as the 37(?) page Glass-Steagel Law did. I admit I have not waded through those 22,000 pages so I am no expert here.

    But there was something on the page that kind of bothered me a little… their appeal for contributions.

    Since Donald Trump took office, progressive journalism has been under constant attack and Facebook and Google are now intentionally limiting your access to sites like Truthout. As our traffic declined so have our donations. This is exactly what Trump wants.

    Considering that the Washington Post published its PropOrNot article on Nov 24, 2016, specifically naming TruthOut (among others as NC Readers are well aware) as a Russian Stooge and kicking off the Google/Facebook censorship, doesn’t this appeal seem like pure unadulterated pandering? The PropOrNot article was published two months before he took Office. What does Trump, now or then, have to do with blatant Corporate MSM Censorship?

    It seems to me that they are appealing to the “lowest common denominator” here, and, for me, it takes a little shine off TruthOut. Am I wrong? What am I missing?

    Reply
    1. Eureka Springs

      This is exactly what Trump wants.

      Is exactly the kind of language which both made Trump (and so many before him) President, while it obfuscates the imperative that we admit our problems are systemic. (Systemic Derangement Syndrome)

      Reply
    2. Summer

      “the 22,000 page Dodd-Frank Bill that doesn’t seem to do nearly as much as the 37(?) page Glass-Steagel Law did.”

      X number of pages generates X number of BS jobs?
      But mainly it indicates it conceals more than it reveals and provides that wiggle room to make crimes barely legal.

      Reply
  23. Foomarks

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ms3AzS6Zbk0

    Did anyone else catch this interview with Marianne Williamson on the Breakfast Club? I don’t know that much about her, and I was ready to dismiss the interview. But I was surprised by her articulation on the following:

    Reparations: money payout over 20-30 specific to ADOS. When pressed again to specify money or programs, she says: “That’s for Black America to decide… it’s not for White America to decide.”

    Prison reform: “Our prisons should not be privatized.”

    Healthcare: “When a bunch of people with healthcare tell you we just can’t afford to give universal healthcare: there’s your veiled aristocratic healthcare system right there.”

    Military: “Since WW2, militarism has become a character defect. We have a national security agenda that is based on the preparedness for war than on the war of waging peace… We have an economic system where advocacy for short term profit maximisation of huge multinational corporations is placed before advocacy for people and our planet.”

    She likely won’t stand a chance in the primaries. But if there are more candidates getting into the race talking like this, I’m optimistic that it will help shift the already shifting conversation in the Dem party back to genuine populous ideals.

    Reply
    1. a different chris

      >That’s for Black America to decide

      Which I agree with. Unfortunately the term “Black Misleadership Class” comes immediately to mind…

      Reply
      1. JBird4049

        If only the Misleadership Class had followed up on MLK’s Poor People’s Campaign and cashed in that check he was talking about before his assassination. Just think of the summit where we all might be instead of pit we are all in. No, they just had to get a seat at the table for themselves and to Hell with everyone else.

        Reply
      1. Foomarks

        I had no idea she was running in 2014 for CA congressional seat, and I had no idea she was Oprah’s guru! I wonder if we’ll start to hear more celebrities discussing policy (rather than identity politics) this time around…?

        Reply
    2. Lambert Strether

      > When pressed again to specify money or programs, she says: “That’s for Black America to decide… it’s not for White America to decide.”

      Again, there are two political routes to reparations: (a) mass movement and (b) elite brokerage. Since non-Hispanic blacks are 14% of the population, a mass movement takes allies; and there more Americas than “Black America” and “White America” (even granting the framing, there’s also “Hispanic America”). And asking “White America” to write a blank check for an unknown program is an even heavier lift than asking for a $400,000 check for labor stolen by the Slave Power. So movement is out, and that leaves (b) elite brokerage (which, to be fair, Oprah would be an ideal candidate to provide).

      Another way of looking at that quote is that Sanders was absolutely right to ask what reparations means, since a Presidential candidate, asked the same question, says “We’ll figure it out and tell you later.”

      I like the rest of what she has to say, but on reparations, come on.

      Reply
  24. The Rev Kev

    “China, Australia and Coal Mania”

    For whatever reason, the right-wing Coalition government in power at the moment has a mania for coal and the more right-wing the members, the more it starts to verge on fanatical. Not only are they extreme climate change deniers but they want to build out coal plants everywhere and use government money to keep open ones that their owners want to close because the numbers are not there. It is a fact that you can see the present Prime Minister once bringing in a lump of coal into Parliament on YouTube. Bright side is that there are elections not long down the road and the numbers say that they are toast. This article seems seems to be about the China boogy man and they aren’t even our biggest partner for coal exports-

    https://www.australianmining.com.au/features/where-does-australias-coal-go-infographic/

    Reply
  25. Trick Shroade

    “Boeing 737 MAX 8” – On a related note, Trump’s budget calls for a 19% cut to the FAA’s parent, the Department of Transportation.

    Reply
    1. allan

      On another related note, it seems that the pointless government shutdown delayed by 5 weeks
      whatever software fix was in the works after the Indonesia crash:
      Boeing to update 737 MAXs after delaying changes for months [NY Post]

      Boeing plans to make major changes to the flight control systems on the 737 MAX aircraft — just months after delaying a similar software fix due to failed negotiations with the FAA, a report says.

      Sources briefed on the talks told The Wall Street Journal that federal regulators determined that the delay was acceptable because its experts believed there was no imminent safety threat, as did Boeing’s.

      The updates — which involve multiple sensors, or data feeds, being rolled out into the MAX’s stall-prevention system in place of its current single-sensor setup — were ordered up in the wake of the deadly Lion Air crash in Indonesia last October and were originally planned for early January. …

      According to the WSJ, US officials have also blamed part of the delay on this year’s government shutdown — saying it halted work for at least five weeks. …

      And on yet another related note, has anyone seen Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao?
      She seems to be absent from almost all the reporting on this story.

      Reply
    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Indirectly, or subconsciously, this should encourage people to not fly, but to travel by rail or ship.

      Will there emerge cheaper, say, trans-Atlantic crossing options than on the QEII, other than freighters?

      Reply
  26. tegnost

    after getting stuck on lanner falcon and gyrfalcon I’m going with common kestral because it’s size relative to the frog legs makes it seem small, while the other two options are larger. I looked on samthebirder but this picture wasn’t in the ones I looked at.

    Reply
  27. Grant

    At some point, Guaido has to be tried for treason. If he did that here we wouldn’t bother debating it. He will likely slither out of the country, if this ultimately doesn’t go the way he wants it to, and may become a celebrity in south Florida. He will speak at a bunch of right wing gatherings, probably get a gig at a think tank. But, maybe not. After all, Leopoldo Lopez stayed in the country all this time, doing fascist things, started a party of far right lunatics.

    Reply
  28. Jason Boxman

    On bankruptcy, I got whiplash on HRC’s position, which is merely a footnote to the story as it concerns Biden. So Warren convinces HRC to oppose it when Clinton is president, and he pocket vetos it. Once she’s in the senate, she votes _for_ bankruptcy reform under GWB. Then she doesn’t vote either way in 2005. (Anticipating a 2008 run?)

    Principles, anyone?

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Bill’s heart surgery was scheduled around the vote in 2005. She skipped DC for three or four days. My memory is hazy, but short of HRC leadership on the issue, I don’t remember her coming off as particularly bad around the 2005 vote.

      Reply
  29. AC

    Court packing. The Federalists (John Adams) changed the number of S.Ct. justices from 7 to 5 so Jefferson could not have any appointments until 3 justces left the Court. Jefferson and the then Republicans simply reinstated the number to 7.

    Reply
    1. JBird4049

      FDR threaten to pack the Supreme Court because of its intrangitence on the New Deal. They quickly backed down.

      Reply
  30. rich

    “Mafiocracy,” Against this surreal backdrop, Best Evidence is pleased to present the very first episode of “Mafiacracy Now,” a modest dollop of ice-cold legal reality for the dozen or so U.S. residents capable of responding to the U.S.S. Horror Show with even a scrap of sanity, by at least pausing now and then to ask themselves things like “is this shit ACTUALLY going on right now?” Sadly, yes, it is going on right now. And it won’t end well, either. This is what happens, Larry, when you hand the keys of the kingdom over to criminal bankers. This series will seek to explain over the course of many, many depressing episodes how we got into this mess and thus how we can get out. Hint: REVOLUTION, the legal levers for reform having been stolen long ago by criminals; see the problem? This series likewise will dismantle, with no more than a glass of tap water, the absurd paper mâché Disneyworld edifice hiding the rot that is the U.S. economy. Ahh, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves. For now, in this debut episode of “Mafiacracy Now,” Best Evidence—following an unfortunately long lacuna that is explained herein—brings us back up to speed with a quick summary of how the banks, which, having been rewarded with wholesale criminal immunity for causing the last crisis, are now positioned with more legal power than is possessed by the president, congress, and the Supreme Court COMBINED as they steer us relentlessly into the next crisis. Oh, joy.

    https://youtu.be/1dE-CdqJel4

    Reply
  31. voteforno6

    Re: College Admissions Scandal

    I think this “non-profit” was filling a very important void. Wealthy people already had means to get their children into their desired universities – how do merely rich people do the same? What, are they expected to earn their way in?

    Another option would be to attend a community college, get good grades there, and transfer over to a four-year school for the final two years. That would involve actually having to try, and they would be forced to mingle with their lessers for two years, so that probably wasn’t even considered.

    Reply
    1. polecat

      That would cause wayyyy too much hardship for the little somewhat upper-crust Muffys & Jareds of the bourgeoisie ..

      “ARE YOU SERIOUS ??” “A community college ??” .. But but then means MY precious darlings would have to mix with all THOSE other miscreants !!

      Reply
      1. Arizona Slim

        One of my friends went the community college to university route. He was such an enthusiastic part of the CC that the college should have hired him to be an ambassador. That college literally changed his life — for the better.

        Reply
        1. polecat

          Our daughter attended the local CC while still in her last 2 yrs of high school .. she seemed to have a good experiance … met a couple of other students who she became good friends with. She did not go on to a uni, deciding instead to work, and is a part of the staff at the local independent book store in town. Since the mrs. and I were not in the posiition to fund the furthering of her education, she would have to self-fund. Due to the clusterf#ck that higher ed has become, she’s continued to work the 9-5. It helps that she, for the most part, likes her job duties … for which she holds many responsibilites, as well as the store owners. School of hard knock and all that. I’m really proud of her !

          Reply
  32. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    WATCH: Ocasio-Cortez Grills Wells Fargo CEO Over Profiting From ‘Caging of Children’ and Pipeline Disasters Common Dreams

    When over a million of us opt to fly, in any given moment, we (airlines and passengers alike) profit from killing the planet.

    Examing our lives in as many facets (not only banking) as we can, we can improve ourselves in many surprising ways.

    We can close that account immediately or stop flying now.

    Reply
      1. polecat

        ‘carbon neutral’

        Ok, so each ticket holder is assigned a bicycle seat, which has a set of pedals below and slightly foward. Next, they are chained into position … without even the benefit of handlebars … while Bubba snaps the lash, as the drum starts to sound time. Once the squirrel cage .. er .. engine turbine achieves the appropriate thrust, Nikki the pilot can let-er- rip ! …… while the fine folks in 1st Class dine on toast points, champagne, and .. dare I say, Russian caviar.

        Reply
  33. Carey

    Colbert Smears Tulsi Gabbard:

    “..This interview was easily Colbert’s most blatant establishment rim job I’ve ever seen, surpassing even the time he corrected his own audience when they cheered at James Comey’s firing to explain to them that Comey is a good guy now and they’re meant to like him. Colbert’s show is blatant propaganda for human livestock, and the fact that this is what American “comedy” shows look like now is nauseating.

    When Tulsi Gabbard first announced her candidacy I predicted that she’d have the narrative control engineers scrambling all over themselves to kill her message, and it’s been even more spectacular than I imagined. I don’t agree with everything she says and does, but by damn this woman is shaking up the establishment narrative matrix more than anybody else right now. She’s certainly keeping it interesting..”

    https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/03/13/colbert-smears-tulsi-gabbard-to-her-face-while-telling-zero-jokes/

    It’s all so blatant now; the very few telling self-serving lies to keep their places at the top.

    Reply
      1. Carolinian

        Or he was already down that hill. Some of us have always detected a whiff of the phony about the audience pandering Colbert. To be sure he did take on Dubya to his face but there was little career risk in that to him. One would dearly like to see him follow his sponsor Moonves out the door but there seems little chance as long as his current schtick is boosting his ratings. At least it does sound like Tulsi got in her talking points even if the Colbert studio audiences is stacked with sychophants who likely weren’t listening

        Reply
      2. Shonde

        Yikes. Gotta dig deeper this time and up my financial support for Tulsi. Since my stomach will revolt if I listen to the show, can anyone tell me the audience reaction? Was there any support for Tulsi’s statements?

        Reply
        1. Schmoe

          Her responses seemed well-received and I thought she killed it given the rather aggressive questioning. To be fair, he let her talk for a minute or two at the beginning to introduce herself.

          Reply
  34. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Airbnb Tax in NJ

    So did Airbnb pay to have that article written?!?!? Here’s a snippet from the article on one person who will not be able to go to the Jersey Shore this year –

    Susan Hiller said she was heartbroken to be heading to Palm Beach, Fla., with her four daughters and extended family for their annual summer vacation.

    Oh the poor tortured woman is forced to go to Palm Beach instead, spending however many thousands to bring the entire extended family along? The horror… Are we really supposed to feel sorry for these people?!?

    And this –

    State and local governments that have moved to rein in Airbnb and other home-sharing sites have set off alarm bells among those whose economic survival is tied to the short-term rental market and who are angry that they are being ensnared by new taxes and regulations.

    Oh really?!? Their economic survival is tied to Airbnb? Well how pray tell did they come up with the money to buy a 2nd home to rent out to vacationers in the first place? By collecting nickels on the street corner? And can they not simply sell the expensive waterfront property to someone else?

    Sounds like these people need to hear the NC common sense – if your business is tied to a platfrom, then you don’t have a business.

    I might have put that article under ‘guillotine watch’ however the guillotine is to quick for wealthy whiners like these.

    Reply
    1. SoldierSvejk

      On the other hand (and not totally related), the TX gov. Abbott is proposing for the state of TX not to do business with AirBnB because the co. pulled out West Bank (and, of course, we cannot have anyone boycotting the great state of I.)

      Reply
  35. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    A second 737 Max crash raises questions about airplane automation MIT Technology Review. Longer form version of Trump’s tweet — with evidence and analysis.

    —-

    This should be considered along with raising questions about automible automation.

    It was only a year or two ago when a self-driving made news in Arizona.

    Reply
  36. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    How the world’s largest democracy holds elections Asia Times

    Is the UN a nation of nations? In the case, it is the world’s largest democratic nation.

    If the UN is just an institution, it is still the world’s largest democratic institution.

    Reply
  37. Carey

    From the MIT Technology Review piece:

    “..This demonstrates a fracturing of technocratic consensus. The last time something similar happened, in 2013, the international aviation community grounded all Boeing 787s until problems with the airplane’s batteries could be resolved. Times are different now. Taking things at face value, maybe China is showing an abundance of caution, and the FAA is not jumping to conclusions. But it sure looks as if China is taking the chance to undermine confidence in its global rival, while the US government is doing what it can to protect America’s largest exporter, which is an important source of manufacturing [heh!] jobs..”

    Isn’t there a name for this behavior?

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Considering how Boeing is into outsourcing so much these days, should not that MIT Technology Review piece saying ‘America’s largest exporter, which is an important source of manufacturing jobs..’ have not read instead ‘America’s largest exporter…of manufacturing jobs..’?

      Reply

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