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Neoliberalism war on labor

“Robots are coming for your job” may be more scare talk than reality,
but instilling that belief helps weaken labor bargaining power.

Outsourcing is the way to decimate union power

News Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism Recommended Links Over 50 and unemployed Identity politics as diversion of attention from social inequality Atomization and oppression of workforce Neoliberal rationality of false Gods of neoliberalism
The neoliberal myth of human capital Chronic Unemployment Redistribution of wealth up as the essence of neoliberalism Scapegoating and victimization of poor and unemployed Anti-globalization movement Immigration, wage depression and free movement of workers  
Elite [Dominance] Theory And the Revolt of the Elite Populism as a social protest against neoliberalism Tucker Carlson's rejection of neoliberalism and neoconservatism   Glass-Steagall repeal Destruction of the New Deal Think Tanks as Enabler of Neoliberal Coup d'état
Attack of Think Tanks Ayn Rand and her Objectivism Cult Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite The Deep State Predator state Lewis Powell Memo The Essential Rules for Dominating Population
New American Militarism Neoconservatism Neo-fashism National Security State Propaganda  Inverted Totalitarism  Totalitarian Decisionism
Neoliberalism and Christianity Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism The Iron Law of Oligarchy Anglican Church on danger of neoliberalism Animal Farm Quite coup Neoconservatism as an attack dog of neoliberalism
Audacioues Oligarchy and Loss of Trust Crowd manipulation Agenda-setting theory Manufacturing Consent Jingoism of the US neoliberal elite Media-Military-Industrial Complex War is Racket
Small government smoke screen "Starving the beast" bait and switcht Bill Clinton, the man who sold Democratic Party to Wall Street and helped FIRE sector to convert the country into casino Over-consumption of Luxury Goods as Market Failure Two Party System American Imperialism, Transnational Capitalist Class and Globalization of Capitalism The Grand Chessboard
Ethno-linguistic and "Cultural" Nationalism as a reaction to Neoliberalism induced decline of standards of living American Exceptionalism Anatol Leiven on American Messianism Machiavellism Skeptic Quotations Humor Etc

Atomization of workforce and establishment of national security state after 9/11 so far prevented large organized collective actions (recent riots were not organized, and with the current technical capabilities of the three letter agencies any organization is difficult or impossible). I think that conversion of the state into national security state was the key factor that saved a couple of the most notorious neoliberals from being hanged on the electrical posts in 2008 although I remember slogan "Jump suckers" on the corner of Wall Street.

But neoliberal attacks on organized labor started much earlier with Ronald Reagan and then continued under all subsequent presidents with bill Clinton doing the bulk of this dirty job. his calculation in creating "New labor" (read neoliberal stooges of Wall Street masked as Democratic Party) was right and for a couple of elections voters allow Democrats to betray them after the elections. But eventually that changes. Vichy left, represented by "Clintonized" Democratic Party got a crushing defeat in 2016 Presidential elections. Does not mean that Trump is better or less neoliberal, but it does suggest that working class does not trust Democratic Party any longer. 

2008 was the time of the crush of neoliberal ideology, much like Prague string signified the crush of Communist ideology. but while there was some level of harassment, individual beatings of banksters in 2008 were non-existent. And in zombie stage (with discredited ideology) neoliberalism managed to continue and even counterattack in some countries. Brazil and Argentina fall into neoliberal hands just recently.   Neoliberals actually managed to learn Trotskyites methods of subversion of government and playing on population disconnect in case of economic difficulties as well if not better as Trotskyites themselves.

Neoliberalism is based on unconditional domination of labor by capital ("socialism for the rich, feudalism for labor"). American scholar and cultural critic Henry Giroux alleges that neoliberalism holds that market forces should organize every facet of society, including economic and social life. In labor relations neoliberalism promotes a social darwinist ethic which elevates self-interest over social needs. A new class of workers lost "good" jobs in the  USA since arly 90th. They all, especially, "over 50" caterory, facing acute socio-economic insecurity, There is no a special tern for such people. They are called  'precariat'. 

The imposition of neoliberalism in the United States arose from a the political counterrevolution led by financial oligarchy in the 1970s. It was their reaction on the falling rate of profitability in manufacturing industry as well as the emergence of strong competitors both in Europe and Asia, competitors which no longer were hampered by WWII decimation of industrial potential and in some way even manage to benefit from reconstruction getting newer better factories then in the USA.

Neoliberalism doesn't shrink government, but instead convert it into a national security state, which provides little governmental oversight over large business and multinationals, but toughly control the lower classes, the smacks -- including mass incarceration those at the bottom. With the inmates along with illegal immigrants slowly becoming an important  source of low-wage labor for some US corporations. Essentially a new incarnation of slave labor. 

Neoliberal policies led to the situation in the US economy in which 30% of workers earn low wages (less than two-thirds of the median wage for full-time workers), and 35% of the labor force is underemployed; only 40% of the working-age population in the U.S. is adequately employed. The Center for Economic Policy Research's (CEPR) Dean Baker (2006) argued that the driving force behind rising inequality in the US has been a series of government step to impose on the society deliberate, neoliberal policy choices including anti-inflationary bias, anti-unionism, and profiteering in the health industry

It can not be hidden. Redistribution of wealth up is all the neoliberalism is about. Simplifying, neoliberalism can be defined as socialism for the rich and feudalism for poor.

So forms of brutal exploitation when people work 12 hours a day (as many "contractors" do now, as for them labor laws do not apply) or when even bathroom breaks are regulated now are more common.  Amazon, Uber and several other companies have shown that neoliberal model can be as brutal as plantation slavery.

In a way, we returned to the brutality of the beginning of XX century on a new level characterized by much higher level of instability of employment. This is not disputed  even for neoliberal stooges in economic departments of major universities. As interesting question arise: "What form the backlash might take, if any ?"

I think it is an observable fact that the US neoliberal elite is now is discredited and entered political crisis in which it can't govern "as usual": defeat of Hillary Clinton and ability to Trump to win nomination from Republican Party and then managed to win them despite opposition from intelligence agencies and attempt to discredit him by trying him to Russia national elections. Tump victory signifies the start of discreditation of the neoliberal political elite. The sma is true for the success of Sunders in Democratic Party primaries and the fact that DNC needed to resort to dirty tricks to derail his candidacy signifies the same. Even taking into account his betrayal of his voters.

If this does not suggest the crisis of neoliberal governance, I do not know what is. Neoliberal Democrats ("Clintonized" Democratic Party) by and large lost workers and lower middle class votes. It became "Republicans light", the second War Party in Washington and now rely of "CIA-democrats" (candidates with background in intelligences serves or military) to win the seats in Congress much like Republicans in the past.  There was even (quickly suppressed) revolt against Pelosi in the House of Representatives, as it is clear that Pelosi represents the "Party of Davos" in the Congress, not American people.  

The crisis of neoliberalism created conditions for increased social protest which at stage mostly result in passive "f*ck you" to neoliberal elite.  In 2016 that led to election of Trump, but it was Sanders who captures social protest voters only to be derailed by machinations of DNC and Clinton clan.  At the same time, the efficiency with which Occupy Wall Street movement was neutered means that the national security state is still pretty effective in suppressing of dissent, so open violence probably will be suppressed brutally and efficiently.  "Color revolution" methods of social protest are not effective in  the USA sitution, as the key factor that allow "color revolutionaries" to challenge existing government. It is easy and not so risky to do when you understand that  the USA and its three letter agencies, embassies and NGOs stand behind and might allow you to emigrate, if you cause fail.  No so other significant power such as China or Russia can stand behind the protesters against neoliberalism in the USA. Neoliberals controls all braches of power. And internationally they are way too strong to allow Russia or China to interfere in the US election the way the USA interfered into Russian presidential election.   


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Old News ;-)

[Mar 22, 2019] America's Apartheid of Dollars

Notable quotes:
"... The divisions can always be jacked up. "My opponent is a white nationalist!" and so he doesn't just think you're lazy, he wants to kill you. Convince average Americans to vote against their own interests by manipulating them into opposing any program that might benefit black and brown equally or more than themselves. ..."
"... Listen for what's missing in the speeches about inequality and injustice. Whichever candidate admits that we've created an apartheid of dollars for all deserves your support. ..."
Mar 22, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The birth lottery determines which of those three bands we'll sink or swim together in, because there is precious little mobility. In that bottom band, 81 percent face flat or falling net worths ( 40 percent of Americans make below $15 an hour) and so aren't going anywhere. Education, once a vehicle, is now mostly a tool for the preservation of current statuses across generations, to the point that it's worth paying bribes for. Class is sticky.

Money, not so much. Since the 9.9 percent have the most (except for the super wealthy at least), they have the most to lose. At their peak in the mid-1980s, the managers and technicians in this group held 35 percent of the nation's wealth. Three decades later, that fell 12 percent, exactly as much as the wealth of the 1 percent rose. A significant redistribution of wealth -- upwards -- took place following the 2008 market collapse, as bailouts, shorts, repossessions, and new laws helped the top end of the economy at cost to the bottom. What some label hardships are to others business opportunities.

The people at the top are throwing nails off the back of the truck to make sure no one else can catch up with them. There is a strong zero sum element to all this. The goal is to eliminate the competition . They'll have it all when society is down to two classes, the 1 percent and the 99 percent, and at that point we'll all be effectively the same color. The CEO of JP Morgan called it a bifurcated economy. Historians will recognize it as feudalism.

You'd think someone would sound a global climate change-level alarm about all this. Instead we divide people into tribes and make them afraid of each other by forcing competition for limited resources like health care. Identity politics sharpens the lines, recognizing increasingly smaller separations, like adding letters to LGBTQQIAAP.

Failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, herself with presidential ambitions, is an example of the loud voices demanding more division . Contrast that with early model Barack Obama at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, who pleaded, "There's not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there's the United States of America."

The divisions can always be jacked up. "My opponent is a white nationalist!" and so he doesn't just think you're lazy, he wants to kill you. Convince average Americans to vote against their own interests by manipulating them into opposing any program that might benefit black and brown equally or more than themselves. Keep the groups fighting left and right and they'll never notice the real discrimination is up and down, even as massive economic forces consume all equally. Consumption becomes literal as Americans die from alcohol, drugs, and suicide in record numbers .

Meanwhile, no one has caught on to the fact that identity politics is a marketing tool for votes, fruit flavored vape to bring in the kiddies. Keep that in mind as you listen to the opening cries of the 2020 election. Listen for what's missing in the speeches about inequality and injustice. Whichever candidate admits that we've created an apartheid of dollars for all deserves your support.

** The author doesn't really drive for Uber but his conversation with the Spaniard was real.


JeffK March 22, 2019 at 7:39 am

Mr Van Buren. This piece nails it. The Democrats made a huge mistake focusing on race and LGBTQ instead of class. Their stated goal should be to replace race based affirmative action with class-based programs.

If there is serious violence coming to America it will come during the next major recession/financial crisis. The ARs will come out of the closet when, during the next financial crisis, the elites are bailed out (again), yet the riff raff lose their homes and pickups to foreclosure.

I am very pessimistic in this area. I believe the elites, in general, are agnostic to SJW issues, abortion, job loss, BLM, religious liberty, and on and on. The look at the riff raff with amusement, sparring over such trivial things. Meanwhile, the river of cash keeps flowing to their bank accounts.

Imagine if the digital transfer of money was abolished. Imagine if everybody had to have their money in a local bank instead of in an investment account of a major bank. Imagine if Americans saw, day after day, armored vehicles showing up at local banks to offload sacks of currency that went to only a few individual accounts held by the very rich.

Instead, the elites receive their financial statements showing an ever increasing hoard of cash at their disposal. They see it, but nobody else does. However, if everybody saw the river of wealth flowing to the elites, I believe things would change. Fast. Right now this transfer of wealth is all digital, hidden from the view of 99.99% of Americans and the IRS. And the elites, the banking industry, and the wealth management cabal prefer it that way.

It's easy to propose the ultimate goal of the elites is to have a utopian society to themselves, where the only interaction they have with the riff raff is with subservient technicians keeping it all running. Like the movie Elysium.

https://youtu.be/QILNSgou5BY

Oleg Gark , says: March 22, 2019 at 8:22 am
When feudalism comes to America, it will be justified by Libertarianism. With government defined as the bad guy, there's nothing to stop the 1% from organizing everything to their own benefit.

On the other side of the political spectrum, identity politics emphasizes people's differences and tribal affiliations over their shared citizenship. This prevents them from making common cause.

Fundamentally, these trends make the body politic so weak that it becomes susceptible to takeover by authoritarians that represent narrow interests.

Johann , says: March 22, 2019 at 8:31 am
"His skin was clearly a few shades darker than mine, though he pointed out that was only because my relatives came from the cold part of Europe and he came from the sunny part."

The Spanish in Europe got their color from the Moorish invasion, not the sun.

More of my annoying trivia that has little to do with the subject of an article.

John D. Thullen , says: March 22, 2019 at 9:15 am
Welp, the Democratic Party, by and large, believes all Americans regardless of class, race, religion, and gender should have guaranteed equal access to affordable healthcare, a substantial minimum wage, education and the rest.

Stacy Abrams wants these items too, along with equal access to the voting franchise.

"Until slavery was ended in the United States, human beings were legally considered capital, just like owning stocks and bonds today. But the Spaniard knew enough about history to wonder what reparations would be offered to the thousands of Chinese treated as animals to build the railroads or the 8,000 Irish who died digging the New Basin Canal or the whole families of Jews living on the Lower East Side of New York who were forced to employ their children to make clothing for uptown "white" stores. Later in the same century, wages were "voluntarily" cut to the bone at factories in Ohio to save jobs that disappeared anyway after the owners had wrung out the last profits."

That would be an excellent point if your inner Spaniard concluded reparations should be offered to the others as well, but ends up being merely tendentious if he contends that no one gets reparations.

But will you like it if the Democratic Party makes that part of their platform too?

I was born in Middletown, Ohio alongside the elegiacal hillbillies, who, by the way, didn't care for the blacks on the other side of the tracks anymore than my Armco-employed grandfather did, and certainly the business owners who disappeared the jobs and cut wages while voting for the so-called free traders were of the same ilk.

I didn't know any Democrats among any of my family's circle and, by the way, Middletown might as well have been south of the Mason Dixon anyway for all the white Democrats in town who gave not a crap about their fellow black citizens, certainly not the business owners who disappeared the jobs while voting for the so-called free traders.

It was the Republican Party (Larry Kudlow, I'm gunning for you) who championed creative destruction and the red tooth and claw of unfettered worldwide competition without asking, in fact jumping for joy, what the unintended consequences would be because the consequences were intended smash the unions for all, cut wages and benefits and hand the booty to shareholders, move operations to lower-tax, lower wage, environmentally unregulated parts of the globe to manufacture them thar high margin MAGA hats for the aggrieved.

What a beautiful grift!

Hello, Marianas.

That Democrats jumped on the bandwagon is no credit to them, especially while assuming the prone position as the republican party frayed the safety net.

True, the republicans laid off everyone, regardless of race, gender, and class and then cut everyone's benefits.

How equable of them.

TomG , says: March 22, 2019 at 9:44 am
As the Spaniard rightly understood, one can look way back into our history and see that the moneyed class has always used identity politics in economic control games to divide and conquer. That the Republicans rail on this as some evil creation of the modern Democrat is laughable at best. That the sheep who follow the party mouth pieces of the moneyed class in this media age can still be so easily manipulated is rather pitiful. Making common cause for the general welfare has never really sunk in as an American value.

Divide and conquer remains our true ethos. As the dole gets evermore paltry the only seeming options remaining are common cause for a common good or greater violence. One requires us to find a contentment beyond the delusional American dream of becoming that 1 to 10%. The other just requires continued anger, division and despair.

JoS. S. Laughon , says: March 22, 2019 at 10:12 am
Ironically the view that race/culture isn't at all important and should be disregarded in view of the class division (a "distraction"), is pretty much endorsing the classic Marxist critique.
ProletroleumCole , says: March 22, 2019 at 10:27 am
It's easy to notice divide and conquer when it's hate against those of the same class but are of a different culture/race.

But what's *difficult* to notice is identifying with the elites of your race in a positive way.
A lot of people, especially with the onset of realityTV, tend to think rich people are just like them (albeit a little smarter). The methods and systems to keep power aren't considered. They're made non-threatening. So many billionaires and politicians act effete today to stoke this image.

Lynn Robb , says: March 22, 2019 at 10:31 am
"Whichever candidate admits that we've created an apartheid of dollars for all deserves your support."

So we're supposed to vote for Bernie Sanders?

Connecticut Farmer , says: March 22, 2019 at 11:30 am
" Whether your housing is subsidized via a mortgage tax deduction "

This jumped off the screen. I wonder how many people even realize that. Probably the same number who still believe that social security is a "forced savings".

Connecticut Farmer , says: March 22, 2019 at 11:47 am
Not to put too fine a point on it but clearly we are wasting our time arguing. As long as the current system of government remains in effect it will be same old same old.

Many changes are in order–starting with this archaic remnant of a bygone era called "The Two Party System".

Lert345 , says: March 22, 2019 at 12:05 pm
Spaniards are indeed Hispanic. The definition of Hispanic relates to a linguistic grouping – that is, relating to Spain or Spanish speaking countries. Your friend would indeed qualify for all sorts of preferences according to the definition.

As to being a POC, I could not locate any definition as to what threshold of skin tone qualifies someone as a POC. I wager none yet exists but will be forthcoming.

Johann

As for the skin tone of Spaniards, many in the south have the Moorish influence,however, in the rest of the country skin tones range from light beige to very fair. Rather similar to Italians, actually.

Dave , says: March 22, 2019 at 12:18 pm
First, kudos to Van Buren for getting a Seamless delivery while driving. That's not easy to coordinate. Second, I look forward to more conservative policies addressing poverty, drug addiction and access to health care. This article adds to the 10-year rant against what Democrats have done or want to do.

Like nearly every Republican of the last 10 years, Van Buren offers none here. But I'm sure once the complaining is out of his system, they will arrive.

david , says: March 22, 2019 at 12:31 pm
" Whether your housing is subsidized via a mortgage tax deduction "

Sorry, not taking your money is NOT subsidizing!

I thought this is a "conservative" idea to begin with? Apparently, it is not true even here.

Jealousy that others can keep their money is driving the worse instinct of many republicans.

Sigh.

Vincent , says: March 22, 2019 at 12:32 pm
Your Spaniard friend also has it all wrong. The real division line is between those willing to initiate coercion for their own self-righteousness and those who refuse to. Anyone that supports government is one-in-the-same, regardless of color or class.
LouB , says: March 22, 2019 at 12:35 pm
Thirty years ago I'd be asking who printed the canned response pamphlet to give prepared talking points to enable anyone to provide quick sharp tongued witty criticisms of anything they may encounter that didn't tow the party line.

Now I gotta ask where do I download the Trollware to accomplish the same thing.

Sharp article, thanks.

JonF , says: March 22, 2019 at 12:42 pm
The Moors were a tiny class of invaders who left rather little imprint on the Spanish genome. That was true of the Romans and the Goths as well. Spanish genes are mostly the genes of the pre-Roman population: the Iberians in the south (who maybe migrated from North Africa), Celts in the north, and the indigenous Basques along the Pyrenees.
WorkingClass , says: March 22, 2019 at 2:27 pm
Yes. And thank you. It's a class war and the working class, divided, is a one legged man in an ass kicking contest.
Carolyn , says: March 22, 2019 at 3:36 pm
Outstanding piece!
Dave , says: March 22, 2019 at 3:39 pm
What happened to "a rising tide lifts all boats"? We've been promised for decades that the wealth generated by those at the very top would "trickle down." This was a cornerstone of Reaganism that has been parroted ever since.

There have been naysayers who say that that theory was fantasy and that all we would have is increased wealth disparity and greater national deficits.

How peculiar.

Peter Van Buren , says: March 22, 2019 at 4:06 pm
A rising tide lifts all yachts.
-- author Morris Berman

[Mar 20, 2019] Trump Sticks To Sanctions - U.S., North Korea Summit Fails - Updated

Incompetent, cowboy style foreign policy is the hallmark of Trump administration. they can only bully, they can't hold a constructive negotiations. As one commenter observed "American diplomacy still consists of behaving like a bull in a china shop: do what we say or die."
His appointment of Bolton and Pompeo means that Trump is a neocon in foreign policy and/or does not control foreign policy of his administration. .
Notable quotes:
"... This is just a hunch but I have a feeling it was undermined by Bolton and Pompeo from the start. ..."
"... Every time I hear a Neocon say this on FOX / CNN I want to strangle the host for not asking any follow up question as in, 'like what?' What has the U.S. given up. ..."
"... Why does the USA keep economic sanctions on DPRK? This article helps to explain it: Despite himself Trump admits the superiority of China's socialist economy to capitalism ..."
"... Jong-un Kim has an advantage his predecessor didn't: he has China. He doesn't need to invent nothing: he already has the long-term solution next door. ..."
"... My guess is the USA and South Korea know if the sanctions are lifted, North Korea will become a mini-powerhouse under China's sphere of influence. They have to create a situation equal to Libya's, where they can invade the North militarily and quickly occupy its territory, thus using its population as cheap labor force for the American multinationals and South Korean chaebols. ..."
"... The US military/foreign policy establishment wants North Korea to disarm so that it can give them a Carthaginian peace. Until then, they are content to do their cushy jobs and rake in the money from South Korean businessmen. ..."
"... An excellent article from Tom Engelhardt on Consortium News, in which he attempts to explain how the USA had the world at its feet, and squandered the chance to do good and instead went on a series of further Imperial military adventures: https://consortiumnews.com/2019/02/21/the-neocons-have-their-caesar/ ..."
"... American diplomacy still consists of behaving like a bull in a china shop: do what we say or die. ..."
"... summit was derailed by last minute attendance of Bolton, who added demands for NK to also report chemical/biological weapons, in response to which NKs increased their demand for sanctions relief in Korean ..."
"... No surprise that the US is always 'all or nothing'. It thinks it is 'uber alles'. ..."
"... IMO, the key was laid bare by Trump: "Basically they wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety, and we couldn't do that." [My Emphasis] ..."
"... as you and many others have noted, the US argument seems to be "give up your nukes so we can Libya you into oblivion". if venezuela had nukes would they be putting up with the incessant stupidity of the "blob"? they'd still have sanctions but i doubt the dumb twats running the surrounding countries would be as eager to aid and abet US hijinks. ..."
"... And it seems Trump lied about the impasse that led to Kim walking out, proving that Kim's initial assessment of Trump as dotard was 100% correct. ..."
"... When did Bolton's coups and intimidations ever work? He is, in essence, a megalomanic mustache. ..."
"... I think that Trump represents a pivot from containment of China/Russia to one of "Quick, pull what pieces of empire we can defend/control together." ..."
"... I think that the West is delusional to think they can defeat any alternative that doesn't have profit as its God. That said, that monotheistic myth of "better than others" runs deep as evidenced by some of the opinions expressed in this venue ..."
"... Any nation which still trust any promise coming from the USA and its European, Australian and Canadian poddles deserves to be colonized and destroyed. ..."
Mar 01, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

twhstmmwmafilwwwww , Feb 28, 2019 8:13:44 AM | link

This is just a hunch but I have a feeling it was undermined by Bolton and Pompeo from the start. They know the DPRK wasn't gonna give up its nuclear deterrent unilaterally, so the next best thing behind a the dream of a Libya situation is to once again have an aggressive relationship with the North to be able to continue to justify all sorts of "defense" maneuvering around China now that foreign policy has now officially pivoted away from terrorism and towards China(+Russia).

Similar to AEGIS Ashore in Eastern Europe in order to "defend" Europe from "Iran".

Christian Chuba , Feb 28, 2019 8:22:32 AM | link

We've given up everything, they have given up nothing

Every time I hear a Neocon say this on FOX / CNN I want to strangle the host for not asking any follow up question as in, 'like what?' What has the U.S. given up.

We talked to them giving them legitimacy, OMG, as if we have some kind of glorious halo that is worth a billions of $ or even more. This makes me want to puke when I heare this.

The N. Koreans have stopped ALL nuclear and ballistic missile testing. We the U.S. have put in place even more draconian sanctions under Trump than were in place before. We raised the ante. We have more room to give then the N. Koreans do.

steven t johnson , Feb 28, 2019 8:28:11 AM | link
Believing Trump is or ever was open to breaking with US imperialism is Trumpery. He wants to sweat the subordinates, wants them to spend more on the military, buy more US weapons, do more fighting. But to make things look good he will say anything, and renege.

Some people think Trump etc. are trying to detach the north from a Chinese alliance. There are two problems here. First, there's no sane reason to think the Chinese aren't engaged in economic warfare against the north. Not wanting to squeeze hard enough to cause a total collapse is not supporting the north. Second, if that's what Trump wanted, he'd actually try offering the north concessions.

The issue in the background is whether Trump will let the south out of the US orbit. It's an easy question to answer: He won't. Empires don't give up their territory until they're made to. The Soviet withdrawal from central Europe is not an exception, as the USSR was not an empire. (Yes, everyone who says "Soviet empire" and means it is a shithead.)

Ts'yew Taw-Loh , Feb 28, 2019 8:30:46 AM | link
Formally, the Korean War was between Chosôn on the one side and The United nations and Hangok (Daehan)on the other. The UN security council is the ones to have instituted tthe sanction regime and thus in practice committed a crime against Humanity by inflictin starvation the people of the North. In practice it was a US & their allie's war against the entire population of Korea. Formally, peace must be signed by Chosôn and the UN and sanctions lifted by the latter. In Practice, the US must be made to abide with agreements.
vk , Feb 28, 2019 8:48:36 AM | link
Why does the USA keep economic sanctions on DPRK? This article helps to explain it: Despite himself Trump admits the superiority of China's socialist economy to capitalism

Jong-un Kim has an advantage his predecessor didn't: he has China. He doesn't need to invent nothing: he already has the long-term solution next door.

My guess is the USA and South Korea know if the sanctions are lifted, North Korea will become a mini-powerhouse under China's sphere of influence. They have to create a situation equal to Libya's, where they can invade the North militarily and quickly occupy its territory, thus using its population as cheap labor force for the American multinationals and South Korean chaebols.

David Wooten , Feb 28, 2019 8:58:41 AM | link
The US military/foreign policy establishment wants North Korea to disarm so that it can give them a Carthaginian peace. Until then, they are content to do their cushy jobs and rake in the money from South Korean businessmen.

Moon would probably like to unite the two Koreas and kick US out. But then, the US mil/fp would sanction him and all Korea.

donkeytale , Feb 28, 2019 9:07:21 AM | link
This was yet another photo op on the road to nowhere with our reality show presidency. As Conway Twitty sang, "it's only make believe." The path to "normalisation" with NK winds through SK.
Ant , Feb 28, 2019 9:09:01 AM | link

An excellent article from Tom Engelhardt on Consortium News, in which he attempts to explain how the USA had the world at its feet, and squandered the chance to do good and instead went on a series of further Imperial military adventures: https://consortiumnews.com/2019/02/21/the-neocons-have-their-caesar/

American diplomacy still consists of behaving like a bull in a china shop: do what we say or die.

Time to grow up, it's not the 1990's. You're just another country, and we're not so frightened any more.

b , Feb 28, 2019 9:34:31 AM | link
This is quite possible ...
Kevin Gray @DrKevinGray Former SK unification minister Chong Se-hyun suggests that summit was derailed by last minute attendance of Bolton, who added demands for NK to also report chemical/biological weapons, in response to which NKs increased their demand for sanctions relief in Korean
snake , Feb 28, 2019 10:06:12 AM | link
@8

We've given up everything, they have given up nothing. Every time I hear a Neocon say this on FOX / CNN I want .. follow up question {answered} as in, 'like what?' What has the U.S.[ A given up. [please note that unless you are a member of the 527 persons that make up the USA, you the " WE does not include you. Americans get to elect by a vary strained highly polarized (Republican vs Democrat) process, 525 persons under Article I, but not the two persons who are the CEOs that govern the USA ?

Americans cannot elected the CEOs that make all of the decisions. The CEOs of the USA are elected by persons who many or may not be Americans, have a look PLEASE!

... ... ...

The N. Koreans have stopped ALL nuclear and ballistic missile testing. We the U.S. have put in place even more draconian sanctions under Trump than were in place before. We raised the ante. We have more room to give then the N. Koreans do.<= once again I remind you that the " WE d/n include you..

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Feb 28, 2019 8:22:32 AM | 5

Jason , Feb 28, 2019 10:54:18 AM | link
So we give up nothing, not even a temporary ease in sanctions and they give up their nuclear weapons program in whole, what a deal.

Its obvious that even if Trump went there with the intention of making a realistic two sided deal the permanent war state would just scuttle it anyway by refusing to follow the plan or staging some new provocation like some war games or bomber fly over.

DPRK has to see that after Iran complied with the inspections regime and abandoned its civilian nuclear program the goal post was moved to not even being allowed to have ballistic missiles.

What I don't understand is how long before South Korea demands we respect its sovereignty in it's own military affairs and asks us to remove a sizable chunk of our war machine so a lasting peace can be made. Can South Korea not forge its own tit-for-tat peace plan with the North that makes sense to both sides and tell the US not to interfere, sabotage or ask it to leave? It seems the opportunity is ripe to exclude the empty suit Trump and his group of Neo-con madmen and forge ahead with opening up trade and mutual thawing of feeling in Koreas, but is there political will to do so in South Korea?

AriusArmenian , Feb 28, 2019 11:02:39 AM | link
No surprise that the US is always 'all or nothing'. It thinks it is 'uber alles'.
Jackrabbit , Feb 28, 2019 11:06:39 AM | link
fairleft @16

The link @12 is another form of apology for Trump. Essentially, an insanity defense:

All of this not only gave Americans a visibly unhinged president -- think of him, in axis-of-evil terms, as a rogue state of one -- but an increasingly unhinged country. You can feel so much of this in Trump's confused and confusing attempts to both end American wars and ratchet them up . . .

[So] ... think of this piece as an obituary of sorts ... not as an obituary for a single loopy president, a man who ... was elevated to a strange version of power by a troubled republic showing signs of wear and tear [but of a nation] . . . whatever Donald Trump does, the Caesarian die was cast early in this century as the neocons crossed their own Rubicon.

It's not Trump's fault - it's the neocons! They constructed a system that allowed for the election of this "loopy" President and are using him for their own ends.

Sure, the neocons deserve much blame but the Deep State and their US President compatriots (Bush Sr., Clinton, Bush Jr., Obama, and Trump) are also guilty just as the driver of the getaway car is just as guilty as the bank robbers.

karlof1 , Feb 28, 2019 12:17:31 PM | link

IMO, the key was laid bare by Trump: "Basically they wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety, and we couldn't do that." [My Emphasis]

Wouldn't or couldn't? Using "couldn't" tells me that possibility was zero to begin with and Bolton's appearance had nothing to do with anything other than the fact that the impasse was pre-determined. Kim knew it would happen; I was 99% sure it would happen; and of course Trump knew. And that's where it will likely remain until 2021, although there's a slight possibility that the UNSC sanctions will be modified and lessened.

Escobar's recap of recent events seems rather bland, although between the lines I think he's saying that solving Kashmir is more important than solving Afghanistan, an important point overlooked too long.

So, Koreans are left to their own devices and will continue their unification drive, while the quadrangular relations between China, Russia, and the two Koreas will grow tighter; all of which serve to increase pressure on Abe and Japan to drop the Empire's line.

BM , Feb 28, 2019 12:24:57 PM | link
It would be easy to be put off by the failure of the summit under the Americans' blatent treachery, but it is probably better that way.

Consider what would happen if the US and NK were to have a "fantastically successful" summit with agreements signed - what are the chances that the US would subsequently honour their commitments? NILL. What would be the effect on NK if NK does not honour it's commitments? Devastating at best.

Because of the US' well-established behaviour patterns, it is hard to imagine how NK could benefit from signing an agreement with the US - any concrete agreement - the US will ignore it's commitments, while forcing NK to abide by its commitments.

Therefore a situation in which the US clearly shows itself to be the treacherous partner while the NK side is beyond reproach is the perfect outcome for NK, allowing her to establish a good reputation in world public opinion and - hopefully - together with SK find their own way to achieve peaceful reunification without the US.

Peaceful reunification with US blessing was never on the cards and never will be.

Fortunately Kim Jong-Un has thus far been truly masterful in playing his cards, getting the geostrategic benefits at each throw, while the US only succeed in clearly establishing their treachery and progressively undermining their geostrategic hand.

With support from China and Russia, may the two Koreas eventually successfully achieve their own peaceful reunification without the US!

james , Feb 28, 2019 12:31:38 PM | link
thanks b... aside from liking what @26 psychohistorian said, i wonder who really benefits from these sanctions the usa is so quick to use as a tool against others impose or maintain? the usa appears to be built on this system of financial sanctions and can't function without it.. is it that the thought of north and south korea working together means the usa gets cut out of the action? is that a big part of it?? at some point it is going to happen anyway... same deal russia and the rest of europe and same deal iran and the rest of the world... it seems to me the usa is squandering all the promise they might have had at one time by catering to whoever profits from these financial sanction routines..

so yeah.. it is back to rome didn't fall in a day, and the usa's time is coming soon enough..

Red Ryder , Feb 28, 2019 12:35:04 PM | link
A large impediment to North Korea achieving a lifting of sanctions is the long list of UNSC resolutions establishing global unanimity for a sanctions regime.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_Nations_Security_Council_resolutions_concerning_North_Korea

The US has managed to corral China and Russia to join these sanctions.

However, a case can be made that since no nuke testing has transpired, no missile tests have continued, and the threat to neighbors and the region is now flat-lined, North Korea should be acting, not with the US alone, but with all the UNSC and other nations, in a way that demonstrates it is walking from nuclear development and ICBM achievement.

We shall see if Russia and China can press this argument in order to pursue economic development as a reward for international inspection and IAEA control of the NK nuclear program.

What the US wants is to get Moon out of the picture and retain fanatical South Korean leadership that would be against North Korea development. Trump may see the potential in North Korea, but the MIC and Deep State absolutely do not want to have to leave South Korea as a base.

arby , Feb 28, 2019 12:52:37 PM | link
To the posters who think Russia should intervene everywhere... Just reading on Orlov's blog and he pointed to an article he wrote about Russia and Putin in 2014 from a Valdai meeting---Putin--

"5. Russia has no intention of going fishing in the murky waters created by America's ever-expanding "empire of chaos," and has no interest in building a new empire of her own (this is unnecessary; Russia's challenges lie in developing her already vast territory).

Neither is Russia willing to act as a savior of the world, as she had in the past."

the pair , Feb 28, 2019 1:21:18 PM | link
as you and many others have noted, the US argument seems to be "give up your nukes so we can Libya you into oblivion". if venezuela had nukes would they be putting up with the incessant stupidity of the "blob"? they'd still have sanctions but i doubt the dumb twats running the surrounding countries would be as eager to aid and abet US hijinks.

i know it's based in "realism" or "realpolitik" or whatever euphemism for "do what we say or be murdered" people prefer, but south korea not telling the west to kiss the tastiest part of its ass and siding with the dprk and china to settle things is just absurd. other than financial punishment, what are they afraid of? no more disgusting tainted beef? no more deliveries of WWIII-level military gear without permission? a drop in sex tourism among pasty white anglos?

at least this does away with all pretense of trump being a "peace president" in the slightest. that was always a fantasy of the MAGA/"we liek him cuz hes xtian lol" crowd to begin with but now even the suggestion of such is laughable.

b , Feb 28, 2019 1:23:41 PM | link
The North Korean Foreign Minister gave a press conference in Hanoi. I updated the piece above at its end with the reports of what he said.
worldblee , Feb 28, 2019 1:28:41 PM | link
The bi-partisan War Party wins again, the world loses.
the pair , Feb 28, 2019 1:29:15 PM | link
@#36

i despise trudeau and all, but this oddly timed "scandal" is based on nothing but one woman's testimony (as believable as she is) and the screeching of the scumbag conservatives along with their bootlickers in the media. global and CTV have always been conservative party infomercials but lately it's just ridiculous.

saying "a canadian politician did a corrupt thing" is like saying "we caught water being wet". odd how canada has a reputation as being "smarter" than the US yet its citizens have already forgotten the ten years of dripping, oily sleaze under harper and his coterie of fat doughy apes (the fattest and oiliest of which - jason kenney - has been oozing from the telly screen on a constant basis on said channels).

with his repulsive bootlicking on the huawei affair and venezuela, it's easy to want justin out yesterday . but any conservative taking his place will be harper 2.0 and therefore trump's maple mini-me.

apologies for off topicness.

james , Feb 28, 2019 1:52:15 PM | link
ot - @36 karlof1... next election is oct 2019... it probably doesn't matter as i doubt very much he gets elected in october.. it is kinda true what the pair is saying @40 too... we will get getting our version of trump, as we are one cycle behind the usa... some conservative jackass will be running canada towards the end of the year to make matters even worse.. canucks are not all that bright, lol..
S , Feb 28, 2019 2:04:06 PM | link
South Koreans, where are you? You should be camping 24/7 in front of the U.S. embassy, demanding the immediate removal of sanctions. The unification will never happen if you don't take a more active stance.

The international community wants it, North Koreans want it, it all comes down to you. Kick the American troops out, break up your chaebols, and start the unification process. Any sanctions the U.S might impose on you will be more than offset by cheap Russian pipeline gas, a rail link to Europe, and an economic boom due to integration with the North. What are you waiting for? You may never have another chance like this.

one off poster , Feb 28, 2019 4:04:14 PM | link
@38 b:
Thank you very much for the update, b. I am pleased that the DPRK called the press conference. It is a pity the video has been viewed only 1179 times.

Here is video footage of the DPRK news conference.

The 1st part is the prepared statement read out by foreign minister Ri Yong Ho with english translation following. The 2nd part of the interview consists of Q&A (sound quality v bad). It mainly reiterates the 1st part, but from 10:25 on, she says that (an) American Inspector(s) visited a factory called "Yun Soo" within the Yong Byon. She wanted to emphasise that that factory was put on the table for closure as well by DPRK.

Given that the sanctions the DPRK was seeking to be lifted were not US imposed sanctions, but UN sanctions, can the UN Sec Gen intervene (kind of like what happened in Yemen)?

It does make one wonder why POTUS said that DPRK was seeking the removal of ALL sanctions. Was he expecting something like this? It is so easy to refute that the fact it was said at all is intriguing.

PavewayIV , Feb 28, 2019 4:06:44 PM | link
Otto B@33 - I suppose I can't argue with your logic - especially if this was part of an 'Art of the Deal' seminar. I will simply point out that your premise completely ignores what US citizens think is in THEIR best interests.

Pulling out all of our forces from South Korea permanently and ending sanctions on North Korea would be more than enough for them to denuclearize (and probably unify with the South). THAT is in US citizens' best interests, period. Chickenhawks within the US government are the only ones demanding an eternal occupation of South Korea and an eternal standoff with North Korea. They sell this as a necessary price to pay for 'security', except we're damn tired of hearing about our psychopathic leaders' manufactured enemy and we don't need protection from it.

Same goes for Iran, despite their nuclear capabilities, or lack thereof. 'Protecting US interests' is not 'protecting the US'. No amount of marketing or propaganda is going to make Iran a credible threat to the US or its citizens EVER. We don't need protection from a manufactured enemy. Three million people (give or take a million) were slaughtered in Southeast Asia to protect us against the last manufactured enemy: those homicidal CHICOMs. I don't recall seeing any fresh, bloody human heads mounted on pikes in downtown Hanoi during the talks this weekend. How is that possible?

I don't need a better Iranian 'deal'. I need my psychopathic leaders to stop antagonizing the hell out of Iran and stop punishing the Iranian people. Israel's psychopathic obsession with destroying Iran or somehow containing its regional influence has NOTHING to do with the security of US citizens - despite the incessant narrative. Are you honestly expecting the little people in the US to believe the DC chickenhawks or the MSM again?

karlof1 , Feb 28, 2019 4:12:47 PM | link
RT editorial savages BigLie Media for the usual reasons--but--in choosing to highlight Susan Rice's NY Times op/ed in an attempt to discredit her, she actually suggests the very sort of incremental moves agreed to in the initial summit's Declaration:

"To move the needle, the United States and North Korea will need to agree on a series of incremental, reciprocal steps that would build mutual confidence as part of a road map to full denuclearization."

Oops!! All in all, the editorialist misrepresents Rice, which is what he accuses BigLie Media of doing--OUCH!

Rice's conclusion will surprise a few here:

"In Hanoi, Mr. Trump has an opportunity to achieve incremental progress toward denuclearization. Unfortunately, history suggests that Mr. Trump will be content with another colorful photo opportunity and more diplomatic shadow boxing that perpetuates the illusion of success, while running down the clock on a nearly intractable challenge."

And it seems Trump lied about the impasse that led to Kim walking out, proving that Kim's initial assessment of Trump as dotard was 100% correct.

Yeah, Right , Feb 28, 2019 4:35:58 PM | link
@27 Jose Garcia: "My question. What will South Korea do now?"

Well, they only have two choices:

Option 1: Continue to be the USA's loyal lapdog, in which case several million of them are doomed to die in the (increasingly inevitable) replay of the 1950-2 war.

Option 2: Hold secret talks with North Korea that lead to the surprise signing of a peace treaty that contains a clause that says "Both Koreas agree that no foreign forces shall be stationed on the Korean Peninsular". Then brace themselves to be sanctioned within an inch of their lives.

They'll go hungry under Option 2, and it will be inevitable that they flip into the "Chinese orbit". But they'll still be alive, which is not nothin'.

They'll make a stab at Option 2, because under Option 1 they'll all end up dead.

Rob , Feb 28, 2019 5:03:57 PM | link
@fairleft (16)

When did Bolton's coups and intimidations ever work? He is, in essence, a megalomanic mustache.

TDeL , Feb 28, 2019 5:17:43 PM | link
@6

Actually there is one sane reason to think the Chinese aren't engaged in economic warfare against the north: a Shengyang rail link to Seoul via Pyongyang. This could be constructed in less than 3 years and will take some pressure off congestion in the Bohai Sea-Yellow Sea shipping lanes. And provide efficient transport of materials, goods & people in new & expanded markets. I'm sure there are others.

Thank you b for the timely update on the latest theatrical entertainment, Nobel Peace Prize episode

uncle tungsten , Feb 28, 2019 5:36:43 PM | link
fastfreddy # 44

Agreed ff but regarding the Trump timeline from afar he has deliberately and methodically filled the white house staff with more and more extreme people. Slowly boiling the frog comes to mind. We are supposed to be acclimatized to this huckster being surrounded by hawks whereas he and his entire family are predators more deadly than hawks.

S #42

Thank you, you nailed it. Perhaps the assembled mass of South Koreans in front of the US embassy could wear a vest symbolising healing or unity. Perhaps they could assemble around a UN flag demanding that it back off from being a USA puppet. I don't recall having seen a UN flag burned yet but it would be an appropriate symbol from South Korea, or Haiti, or Libya, or......

Thank you again b and all the comrade writers, it has been a great read.

Chas , Feb 28, 2019 5:50:42 PM | link
What I can't understand is why NK would give up its nuclear capability without requiring the empire to do the same. It isn't equitable for NK to give up its nukes for the mere promise of the empire to not place nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula. The empire could still strike Nk from outside the peninsula. What's good for one country is good for the other.
karlof1 , Feb 28, 2019 5:59:53 PM | link
Yeah, Right @50--

For your Option #2 to fly, the existing treaty with Outlaw US Empire must be negated along with the entire arrangement with UN that's existed since 1950. Given Imperial intransigence combined with ever escalating political will within RoK, such a happening may occur before 2020 begins.

The most recent article on reunification I was able to find in English is 3 months old and provides grounds for optimism given the concept's positive direction. IMO, Moon and Kim need to continue down the path they've made for each other,, while the diplomatic action moves into the UNSC which is where most of the sanctions were born and the only venue where they can be rescinded.

Red Ryder , Feb 28, 2019 7:49:53 PM | link
@35, S,

I always check my comments in preview, often many times. The URL seemed to be fine. It works. However, I'll be more cognizant in the future with any long URLs.

Thanks.

Jen , Feb 28, 2019 8:29:00 PM | link
S @ 42:

For South Korea to do as you suggest, Japan must do exactly the same. The South Koreans are more afraid of what Japan would do if they (SK, that is) were to throw out the Americans, downsize their own military and start a reunification or a "one-state-two-systems" process, and Japan does not follow suit with demilitarisation.

Incidentally the current Japanese PM Shinzo Abe's grandfather Nobusuke Kishi served as Munitions Minister under PM Hideki Tojo in the early 1940s. Under his watch, thousands of Chinese and Koreans were employed as slave labour in factories and mines. Kishi also ran the puppet state Manchukuo during the 1930s as his personal technocratic industrial slave state.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nobusuke_Kishi
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/east-asia-cant-escape-the-sins-of-the-father/article15987729/

Much later Kishi also got a turn as Japanese PM but his legacy as PM may have been to design a political system in which the Liberal Democratic Party (a conservative party in Japan) was always the main political party in government from 1955 to 1993.
https://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2011/09/27/general/no-nos-for-noda-japans-top-10-most-useless-pms/#.XHiKklwzaUk

Needless to say, Abe hero-worships Kishi.

psychohistorian , Feb 28, 2019 9:29:16 PM | link
I want to add some more thought to those I shared with Jen. What about the Philippines? I think that at this time in history all of the outposts of empire are at risk.

I think that Trump represents a pivot from containment of China/Russia to one of "Quick, pull what pieces of empire we can defend/control together."

I think that the West is delusional to think they can defeat any alternative that doesn't have profit as its God. That said, that monotheistic myth of "better than others" runs deep as evidenced by some of the opinions expressed in this venue

Are we going to see the dominoes of empire fall? I damn well hope so!

Kiza , Feb 28, 2019 9:31:48 PM | link
Is it not funny how the boss Bolton shows up at negotiations and El Presidente falls into (his unrealistic) line? El Presidente de la republica bananera is just a low level employee of his own staff BullbyTon and Pompous Maximus.

Nobody asked this here yet, but how did we get to US negotiating against NK on behalf of UN Security Council ?

Who did China and Russia on the Security Council serve, did they get anything for their service to the republica bananera?

One can recognise how ruthless US is, but one also has to recognise how worthless China and Russia are. US ignores UN Resolutions it does not like and uses UN Resolutions it initiated as a head-club for achieving its goals whilst China and Russia go along. This is exactly why the things are as they are - the Selfish Human Condition.

Oh, we are all so happy when someone does not do like the majority of the worthless humanity does (Russia out of own interest in Syria). Otherwise, back to being the usual shitbags.

Yeah, Right , Feb 28, 2019 9:36:01 PM | link
@60 Karlof1 As ever, it is instructive to read the text of a treaty.

In this particular case the treaty between South Korea and the USA contains within it the answers to your concerns.

1) either party can end the treaty with 12 month notice.
2) the stationing of US troops is by mutual agreement I.e. if South Korea "No longer agrees" to US troops stationed on its soil then those troops have to leave.

Uncle Sam would have no grounds to refuse, as the treaty itself says that both signatories have to agree. And, no, the treaty doesn't have to be "renegotiated" to produce that outcome: the South Koreans need only say "we don't agree any more".

That's what the treaty says, so that's what the treaty means.

Sad Canuck , Feb 28, 2019 9:45:27 PM | link
@31 Red Ryder

Nothing will change until S Korea decides to be an independent country instead of a low vassal. Watching a foreign country negotiate peace in your own civil war without being at the table must be deeply humiliating to at least some S Koreans surely?

As for the sanctions, if the Koreas re-united as ROK and the DPRK disappeared as an entity, I assume the UN sanctions on extinct entity would be void.

Jen , Feb 28, 2019 10:54:54 PM | link
Psychohistorian @ 67:

It's significant that the current PM of Japan is a grandson of a politician with a very dark past, and moreover idolises his grandfather and believes the policies he followed were right.

"Formed in childhood, roots of Abe's conservatism go deep"
https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2012/12/26/national/formed-in-childhood-roots-of-abes-conservatism-go-deep/#.XHirsVwzaUk

You and I live in the year 2019 but the issue is whether Shinzo Abe does.

For that reason South Korea is unlikely to demilitarise and get rid of its US bases unless Japan commits to doing the same.

The two countries also continue to dispute the ownership of a set of islands called the Liancourt islands in the Sea of Japan, midway between the two nations.

Uncle $cam , Feb 28, 2019 11:12:52 PM | link
https://twitter.com/DrKevinGray/status/1101089899430793221?link_id=3&can_id=6b614a325626aa55ec3e7563bb5103b1&source=email-why-did-hanoi-summit-really-fail-interviews-available&email_referrer=email_502522&email_subject=why-did-hanoi-summit-really-fail-interviews-available

Former SK unification minister Chong Se-hyun suggests that summit was derailed by last minute attendance of Bolton, who added demands for NK to also report chemical/biological weapons, in response to which NKs increased their demand for sanctions relief

Pft , Feb 28, 2019 11:14:31 PM | link
South Korea is a puppet government of the US. Its constitution was written by the US and its early leaders were those who worked with the Japanese during the occupation. Anyone against the government and continued occupation by foreign forces was labelled Commmunist and shot. Up until the late 80's South Korea was under martial law

While much of the population is aware of this being humiliated by foreign powers has been a way of life for over a century. Reunification is a pipe dream unless the North is under the Empires control and the US will not pull out even then because its conveniently located at Russia and Chinas borders

I can imagine Trump talking to Kim and asking him how he would like to live like him and the global elite. It worked with Gorbachev and Deng. Just need to adopt the neoliberal religion and loot the resources of your own people (bottom 95%) for eventual handover to the Empire (privatization or sending cash back to buy Treasuries and other investments).

My guess is Kim and NK elite live pretty well already, but who knows. In any event he knows he cant trust them.

karlof1 , Mar 1, 2019 12:12:52 AM | link
Yeah, Right @70--

Guess I need to find a way to create more time to do stuff as I know I'm skimming way too much.

PavewayIV , Mar 1, 2019 1:53:34 AM | link
Schmoe@55 -

[sigh...] Yes, you're right. I suppose I got kind of got carried away there. But I can't believe the polls '50% approval rating' for the Syrian retaliatory strike, at least in my little world.

Most people I encounter through the day, especially college kids and millennial debt slaves, don't care about Syria or Israel and never will. Zero expectations of their government and can't understand why some old people are concerned about distant wars.

They feel absolutely no responsibility for the actions of the US government any more than they feel responsible for the actions of their next door neighbors. Society is slowly devolving itself in toad freak show!

V , Mar 1, 2019 3:55:42 AM | link
Deschutes | Mar 1, 2019 2:55:06 AM | 81

I posted this over at TAE. It might resonate with some few. Any one who has held on to their sanity, surely sees the fantastical reality created by twisted people and their twisted ideals. If that accurate vision is the context from which the U.S. is framed; then its true health is obvious.

A sick society ruled by equally sick fascisti

Record numbers of U.S. citizens are leaving for distant places they view as an improvement. If in fact they find respite; it will likely not last, until and unless the U.S. is brought to ground.

uncle tungsten , Mar 1, 2019 4:16:58 AM | link
Chas # 58

May I suggest there is a small matter of war reparations owed by the USA that needs immediate resolution well prior to any yak yak about denuclear strategies. Ms Susan Rice's piece also blithely ignores that question. And so do all the yankees as they are fully liable for an unwarranted assault on Korea - both north and south - and reparations are immediately owed to the north.

Pay up yankees.

Will someone tell that to John Bolt-on. I would love see his mustache quiver.

Kiza , Mar 1, 2019 5:19:42 AM | link
One of these days I am going to write a piece on what the World would look like one month after the Second US Civil War starts.
Steve , Mar 1, 2019 6:03:28 AM | link
Any nation which still trust any promise coming from the USA and its European, Australian and Canadian poddles deserves to be colonized and destroyed.
Yeah, Right , Mar 1, 2019 6:49:19 AM | link
@77 Karlof1 "Guess I need to find a way to create more time to do stuff as I know I'm skimming way too much."

It's not difficult to dig out the source text, and most international treaties relating to Int'l Humanitarian Law are not exactly dense reads.

The Kellogg-Briand Pact is a mere three articles long, with the first two being single sentences. The Mutual Defense Treaty between the USA and South Korea consists of only six articles.

The NATO Charter is but fourteen articles long. The Hague Regulations are a comparatively hefty fifty-six articles, but even the UN Charter - an outlier if ever there was one - contains only 111 Articles.

The Geneva Conventions are much longer but, boy, do the Swiss like to talk.

But none are like slogging through some Hemingway or Melville. Simple prose, as unambiguous as possible while still satisfying all the negotiators.

In fact you can find all the treaties in one place: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/default.asp

A one-stop-shop for all things relating to treaties, highly recommended.

BM , Mar 1, 2019 7:13:57 AM | link
I've just read two articles that in one fell swoop can explain a large part of Trump's behaviour, together with policies to eliminate nuclear arms control, first strike policies, apocalyptic policies towards Iran and North Korea, policies towards Israel, policies aimed at blowing up the Middle East, willingness and eagerness to precipitate destruction and chaos on a global scale, precipitate policies towards Russia and China, support for Islamic jihadism, anti-environmentalism, and climate denial:

The key are the so-called "Rapture Christians" nuts - of whom there are 12 in Trump's cabinet [out of how many?]. I've never looked into this obscure sect of insane nutcases before, but people urgently need to understand this phenomenon - they are an obscure sect, but they hold the keys to political power in the US, and have determined the key political events of the last several decades!

These nutters are a million times more dangerous than Islamic jihadists - they have no fear of all-out nuclear war, global destruction, climate change, environmental devastation or all the things that wise people with foresight advise against - on the contrary they are eager to bring all these things on as soon as possible, because they associate these things with the return of Jesus, and ascent to heaven for all the sect's believers.

A key fact in understanding this phenomenon is that they deny evolution, and a scientific basis for reality in its entirety, and therefore are completely closed to rational argument.

Quote from the second article: 'In an April 2 Bible study, Drollinger focused on the "huge and dire error" of "radical environmentalism". He argues that humans are incapable of destroying the earth on their own, because it is up to God to "continually renew the face of the earth until He forms a new heaven and a new earth in the end times."'

They support Trump because they believe he is the "tool of God".

BM , Mar 1, 2019 7:28:23 AM | link
For that reason South Korea is unlikely to demilitarise and get rid of its US bases unless Japan commits to doing the same.
Posted by: Jen | Feb 28, 2019 10:54:54 PM | 74

That seems like a strange argument to me. The US is not in Korea to protect Korea from Japan, nor are they in Japan either to protect Japan from Korea nor to protect Korea from Japan. In both cases the true target is China.

If the two Korea's unite it will necessarily be under the military protection of Russia and China - there is no other possibility, because they need protection from the US. Both Koreas are obviously much safer under Russian and Chinese protection than under US "protection" - the latter being no more than mafia style "protection".

In this case Japan would clearly oppose such an arrangement - in allignment with the US - therefore the last thing [imperialist] Japan would want would be the pull-out of the US (what ordinary Japanese people might want is another matter - unfortunately they have no say).

Mig-21-Block 70-2022 , Mar 1, 2019 7:34:39 AM | link
N.K. should just ask Russia to buy 1000 warehoused MIGs 21 refurbished for year 2023 and thats it!
Kim should go for a No deal with the US.
Mig 21s just shot down brand new f-16s over in India.
Whole world world including Chinese airmen are laughing.
Well maybe except the starving Greeks threw 1 bill. eu out of the window for a new deal with Trumps Lokheed for f-16 modernizations.
b real , Mar 1, 2019 7:47:45 AM | link
manufactured controversy to get the top of the news cycle and take focus off the cohen testimony so it dies quickly
rattlemullet , Mar 1, 2019 8:05:02 AM | link
The trio of Trump, Pompeo and Bolton, quite frankly spells failure. The leader has zero capacity to learn and understand the motivation behind North Korea and their very exacting understanding of the English language. Every single word written has a clear and precise meaning tied into complete sentences. The fact that is written on paper and executed by both parties memorizes the document. Trump literally has not read the first agreement as executed. To place any faith in this trio of clowns to negotiate with the North Koreas is laughable. The basic fact is that North Koreans will never trust the US as we literally tried to bomb all their cities out of existence during the Korean intervention. Trump's trio does not understand the lasting impact that those actions burned into North Korean souls. Trump is completely out his league on the world stage he has made a fool of the US.
arby , Mar 1, 2019 8:22:57 AM | link
b real @ 90--

That was my thoughts as well. The real reason Trump handlers sent him to Viet Nam was to not be around for a damning testimony.

Scotch Bingeington , Mar 1, 2019 9:42:07 AM | link
Tom Luongo claims that Bolton's spoke in Trump's wheel was to add chemical & biological weapons to US demands ( Link ). There, just like that. Pretty clever actually. Bolton may be the king of scumbags, but he sure is resourceful. The picture they have in the article of Bolton watching over Trump is scary and probably very telling.
BM , Mar 1, 2019 10:20:07 AM | link
"Trudeau was detonated today by his former Attorney General, Jody Wilson-Raybould, Canada's first Aboriginal A-G. She just testified in Parliament, in meticulous detail, how Trudeau and his staff tried to get her to drop criminal charges against a corrupt company that he liked."
Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 28, 2019 1:15:41 PM | 36

I've just finished reading the article on the testimony in the National Post, linked in Karlof1's link:

Read the full text of Jody Wilson-Raybould's statement to the House of Commons justice committee
(That's the title of the article; actually it is not the full text it is important extracts, but generous extracts).

Wow! Everybody should read this! This lady is someone who deserves a lot of respect! This text is fascinating in how it details the arm-twisting that goes on in power - nothing that would surprise us that it happens, but here it is described in black and white by a former government witness - including even such titbits as:

"if Jody is nervous, we would of course line up all kinds of people to write OpEds saying that what she is doing is proper."

Hey, James, you have some good Ministers over there in Canada, despite the more famous ones. Erm, well, one. Erm, well, had.

I am interested in some of the things she is declining to speak about (due to confidentiality of counsel issues), and am wondering if that might include the Huawei CFO issues, for which she was in a pertinent position. Any connections to the dates 11th February, and 19th February? (Actually I was travelling at that time so was out of the loop). Then there is the meeting with the PM on 17th September, requested 2 weeks earlier, which seems to have been intended primarily about something other than the SNC affair. The Huawei CFO was arrested in early December, I think, so that should be something else.

frances , Mar 1, 2019 12:19:47 PM | link
reply to Mig-21-Block 70-2022 89

"...Mig 21s just shot down brand new f-16s over in India.Whole world world including Chinese airmen are laughing.Well maybe except the starving Greeks threw 1 bill. eu out of the window for a new deal with Trumps Lokheed for f-16 modernizations."

Maybe laughing but maybe not, this fellow seems to feel they are evenly matched depending on their respective upgrades and concludes by saying it comes down to pilot expertise. BTW he considers Pak as having superior pilots.


frances , Mar 1, 2019 12:25:54 PM | link
reply to Scotch Bingeington 93
"....The picture they have in the article of Bolton watching over Trump is scary and probably very telling."

Yes, I am inclined to think Bolton was foisted upon him. I do think he chose Pompeo though.

Another very telling photo is that of Trump at Bush Sr.'s funeral, in the row behind him was Chaney, the look on Chaney's face as he stared at Trump's back was very interesting to me, he looked almost afraid.

karlof1 , Mar 1, 2019 2:14:11 PM | link
President Moon's confidence remains strong despite summit outcome. He tweeted this [machine translation] earlier today:

"Independence of spirit and national integration based on the 'faith based system'considerably.
Please gather all the power of the people.
Peace on the Korean peninsula will drive new economic growth across the North and South, encompassing Northeast Asia, ASEAN and Eurasia."

Today marks then 100th anniversary of the Declaration of Korean Independence, and Moon makes clear in his speech that there was and is only one Korea and one Korean people:

"One hundred years ago today, there was no South and North Korea.

"From Seoul and Pyeongyang to Jinnampo, Anju, Seoncheon, Uiju and Wonsan, loud chants of [the masses] erupted on the same day, and these calls for independence spread like a wildfire to every corner of the country.

"For two months from March 1, [mass] protests took place in 211 out of the total 220 cities and counties across the country regardless of the region – whether they belonged to what is now a part of South or North Korea."

Gotta love Moon's optimism in his closing remarks:

"The history of the past 100 years proves that we can achieve changes and innovation if we do not lose hope no matter how difficult our present reality is.

"Over the next 100 years, the growth of the people will directly lead to the growth of the nation. When unity is achieved from within by moving beyond ideological confrontations, and when peace and prosperity are accomplished from outside, genuine independence will be completed."

I'd be very interested in discovering what Kim did today. Hopefully, he, too, gave an address similar to Moon's.

james , Mar 1, 2019 3:49:21 PM | link
@94 BM - maybe Jody Wilson-Raybould can run for the prime ministers job if she can get on the top of the heap of the liberal party.. chances of this are slim!

[Mar 20, 2019] I am now of the opinion that 2018 will be the peak in crude oil production, not 2019 as I earlier predicted. Russia is slowing down and may have peaked

If so, economics will suffer and chances for Trump for re-election are much lower, of exist at all due to all his betrayals
In the fable of "The Boy Who Cried Wolf," the wolf actually arrives at the end. Never forget that. Peak oil will arrive. We don't know when, and we are not prepared for it.
Shale play without more borrowed money might be the next Venezuela. .
Mar 16, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

I am now of the opinion that 2018 will be the peak in crude oil production, not 2019 as I earlier predicted. Russia is slowing down and may have peaked. Canada is slowing down and Brazil is slowing down. OPEC likely peaked in 2016. It is all up to the USA. Can shale oil save us from peak oil?

OPEC + Russia + Canada, about 57% of world oil production.

Jeff says: 03/14/2019 at 1: 50 pm

"I am now of the opinion that 2018 will be the peak in crude oil production, not 2019 as I earlier predicted. Russia is slowing down and may have peaked. Canada is slowing down and Brazil is slowing down. OPEC likely peaked in 2016. It is all up to the USA. Can shale oil save us from peak oil?"

IEA´s Oil 2019 5y forecast has global conventional oil on a plateau, i.e. declines and growth match each other perfectly and net growth will come from LTO, NGL, biofuels and a small amount of other unconventional and "process gains".

Iran is ofc a jocker, since it can quickly add supply. Will be interesting to see how Trump will proceed.

Carlos Diaz x Ignored says: 03/14/2019 at 3:23 pm

I am quite original in my opinion about Peak Oil. I think it took place in late 2015. I will explain. If we define Peak Oil as the maximum in production over a certain period of time we will not know it has taken place for a long time, until we lose the hope of going above. That is not practical, as it might take years.

I prefer to define Peak Oil as the point in time when vigorous growth in oil production ended and we entered an undulating plateau when periods of slow growth and slow decline will alternate, affected by oil price and variable demand by economy until we reach terminal decline in production permanently abandoning the plateau towards lower oil production.

The 12-year rate of growth in C+C production took a big hit in late 2015 and has not recovered. The increase in 2 Mb since is just an anemic 2.5% over 3 years or 0.8% per year, and it keeps going down. This is plateau behavior since there was no economic crisis to blame. It will become negative when the economy sours.

Peak Oil has already arrived. We are not recognizing it because production still increases a little bit, but we are in Peak Oil mode. Oil production will decrease a lot more easily that it will increase over the next decade. The economy is going to be a real bitch.

Dennis Coyne x Ignored says: 03/14/2019 at 4:57 pm
Carlos Diaz,

Interesting thesis, keep in mind that the price of oil was relatively low from 2015 to 2018 because for much of the period there was an excess of oil stocks built up over the 2013 to 2015 period when output growth outpaced demand growth due to very high oil prices. Supply has been adequate to keep oil prices relatively low through March 2019 and US sanctions on Iran, political instability in Libya and Venezuela, and action by OPEC and several non-OPEC nations to restrict supply have resulted in slower growth in oil output.

Eventually World Petroleum stocks will fall to a level that will drive oil prices higher, there is very poor visibility for World Petroleum Stocks, so there may be a 6 to 12 month lag between petroleum stocks falling to critically low levels and market realization of that fact, by Sept to Dec 2019 this may be apparent and oil prices may spike (perhaps to $90/b by May 2020).

At that point we may start to see some higher investment levels with higher output coming 12 to 60 months later (some projects such as deep water and Arctic projects take a lot of time to become operational, there may be some OPEC projects that might be developed as well, there are also Canadian Oil sands projects that might be developed in a high oil price environment.

I define the peak as the highest 12 month centered average World C+C output, but it can be define many different ways.

Carlos Diaz x Ignored says: 03/14/2019 at 7:18 pm
So Dennis,

Our capability to store oil is very limited considering the volume being moved at any time from production to consumption. I understand that it is the marginal price of the last barrel of oil that sets the price for oil, but given the relatively inexpensive oil between 2015 and now, and the fact that we have not been in an economical crisis, what is according to you the cause that world oil production has grown so anemically these past three years?

Do you think that if oil had been at 20$/b as it used to be for decades the growth in consumption/production would have been significantly higher?

I'll give you a hint, with real negative interest rates and comparatively inexpensive oil most OECD economies are unable to grow robustly.

To me Peak Oil is an economical question, not a geological one. The geology just sets the cost of production (not the price) too high, making the operation uneconomical. It is the economy that becomes unable to pump more oil. That's why the beginning of Peak Oil can be placed at late 2015.

The economic system has three legs, cheap energy, demographic growth, and debt growth. All three are failing simultaneously so we are facing the perfect storm. Social unrest is the most likely consequence almost everywhere.

Dennis Coyne x Ignored says: 03/14/2019 at 9:20 pm
Carlos,

If prices are low that means there is plenty of oil supply relative to demand. It also means that some oil cannot be produced profitably, so oil companies invest less and oil output grows more slowly.

So you seem to have the story backwards. Low oil prices means low growth in supply.

So if oil prices were $20/b, oil supply would grow more slowly, we have had an oversupply of oil that ls what led to low oil prices. When oil prices increase, supply growth will ne higher. Evause profits will be higher and there will be more investment.

Carlos Diaz x Ignored says: 03/15/2019 at 5:03 am
No Dennis,

It is you who has it backwards, as you only see the issue from an oil price point of view, and oil price responds to supply and demand, and higher prices are an estimulus to higher production.

But there is a more important point of view, because oil is one of the main inputs of the economy. If the price of oil is sufficiently low it stimulates the economy. New businesses are created, more people go farther on vacation, and so on, increasing oil demand and oil production. If the price is sufficiently high it depresses the economy. A higher percentage of wealth is transferred from consumer countries to producing countries and consumer countries require more debt. During the 2010-2014 period high oil prices were sustained by the phenomenal push of the Chinese economy, while European and Japanese economies suffered enormously and their oil consumption depressed and hasn't fully recovered since.

In the long term it is the economy that pumps the oil, and that is what you cannot understand.

Oil limits → Oil cost → Oil Price ↔ Economy → Oil demand → Oil production

The economy decides when and how Peak Oil takes place. If you knew that you wouldn't bother with all those models.

And in my opinion the economy already decided in late 2015 when the drive to increase oil production to compensate for low oil prices couldn't be sustained.

Schinzy x Ignored says: 03/15/2019 at 11:18 am
Carlos,

Your reasoning is close to mine. See https://www.tse-fr.eu/publications/oil-cycle-dynamics-and-future-oil-price-scenarios .

Dennis Coyne x Ignored says: 03/15/2019 at 3:01 pm
Carlos,

Both supply and demand matter. I understand economics quite well thank you. You are correct that the economy is very important, it will determine oil prices to some degree especially on the demand side of the market. If one looks at the price of oil and economic growth or GDP, there is very little correlation.

The fact is the World economy grew quite nicely from 2011 to 2014 when oil prices averaged over $100/b.

There may be some point that high oil prices are a problem, apparently $100/b in 2014 US$ is below that price. Perhaps at $150/b your argument would be correct. Why would the economy need more oil when oil prices are low? The low price is a signal that there is too much oil being produced relative to the demand for oil.

I agree the economy will be a major factor in when peak oil occurs, but as most economists understand quite well, it is both supply and demand that will determine market prices for oil.

My models are based on the predictions of the geophysicists at the USGS (estimating TRR for tight oil) and the economists at the EIA (who attempt to predict future oil prices). Both predictions are used as inputs to the model along with past completion rates and well productivity and assumptions about potential future completion rates and future well productivity, bounded by the predictions of both the USGS and the EIA along with economic assumptions about well cost, royalties and taxes, transport costs, discount rate, and lease operating expenses.

Note that my results for economically recoverable resources are in line with the USGS TRR mean estimates and are somewhat lower when the economic assumptions are applied (ERR/TRR is roughly 0.85), the EIA AEO has economically recoverable tight oil resources at about 115% of the USGS mean TRR estimate. The main EIA estimate I use is their AEO reference oil price case (which may be too low with oil prices gradually rising to $110/b (2017$) by 2050.

Assumptions for Permian Basin are royalties and taxes 33% of wellhead revenue, transport cost $5/b, LOE=$2.3/b plus $15000/month, annual discount rate is 10%/year and well cost is $10 million, annual interest rate is 7.4%/year, annual inflation rate assumed to be 2.5%/year, income tax and revenue from natural gas and NGL are ignored all dollar costs in constant 2017 US$.

Mario C Vachon x Ignored says: 03/15/2019 at 6:39 pm
You do incredible work Dennis and I believe you are correct. Demand for oil is relatively inelastic which accounts for huge price swings when inventories get uncomfortably high or low. If supply doesn't keep up with our needs, price will rise to levels that will eventually create more supply and create switching into other energy sources which will reduce demand.
Carlos Diaz x Ignored says: 03/15/2019 at 6:57 pm

Why would the economy need more oil when oil prices are low? The low price is a signal that there is too much oil being produced relative to the demand for oil.

You don't seem to be aware of historical oil prices. For inflation adjusted oil prices since 1946 oil (WTI) spent:
27 years below $30
13 years at ~ $70
18 years at ~ $40
10 years at ~ $90
5 years at ~ $50
https://www.macrotrends.net/1369/crude-oil-price-history-chart
And the fastest growth in oil production took place precisely at the periods when oil was cheapest.

You simply cannot be more wrong about that.

And your models are based on a very big assumption, that the geology of the reserves is determinant for Peak Oil. It is not. There is plenty of oil in the world, but the extraction of most of it is unaffordable. The economy will decide (has decided) when Oil Peak takes place and what happens afterwards. Predictions/projections aren't worth a cent as usual. You could save yourself the trouble.

Dennis Coyne x Ignored says: 03/16/2019 at 7:33 am
Carlos,

I use both geophysics and economics, it is not one or the other it is both of these that will determine peak oil.

Of course oil prices have increased, the cheapest oil gets produced first and oil gradually gets more expensive as the marginal barrel produced to meet demand at the margin is more costly to produce.

Real Oil Prices do not correlate well with real economic growth and on a microeconomic level the price of oil will affect profits and willingness of oil companies to invest which in turn will affect future output. Demand will be a function of both economic output and efficiency improvements in the use of oil.

Dennis Coyne x Ignored says: 03/16/2019 at 7:34 am
Thanks Mario.
Dennis Coyne x Ignored says: 03/16/2019 at 10:49 am
Carlos,

Also keep in mind that during the 1945-1975 period economic growth rates were very high as population growth rates were very high and the World economy was expanding rapidly as population grew and the World rebuilt in the aftermath of World War 2. Oil was indeed plentiful and cheap over this period and output grew rapidly to meet expanding World demand for oil. The cheapness of the oil led to relatively inefficient use of the resource, as constraints in output became evident and more expensive offshore, Arctic oil were extracted oil prices increased and there was high volatility due to Wars in the Middle east and other political developments. Oil output (C+C) since 1982 has grown fairly steadily at about an 800 kb/d annual average each year, oil prices move up and down in response to anticipated oil stock movements and are volatile because these estimates are often incorrect (the World petroleum stock numbers are far from transparent.)

On average since the Iran/Iraq crash in output (1982-2017) World output has grown by about 1.2% per year and 800 kb/d per year on average, prices have risen or fallen when there was inadequate or excess stocks of petroleum, this pattern (prices adjusting to stock levels) is likely to continue.

There has been little change when we compare 1982 to 1999 to 1999-2017 (divide overall period of interest in half) for either percentage increase of absolute increase in output.

I would agree that severe shortages of oil supply relative to demand (likely apparent by 2030) is likely to lead to an economic crisis as oil prices rise to levels that the World economy cannot adjust to (my guess is that this level will be $165/b in 2018$). Potentially high oil prices might lead to faster adoption of alternative modes of transport that might avert a crisis, but that is too optimistic a scenario even for me. 🙂

HHH x Ignored says: 03/15/2019 at 9:44 pm
China will be in outright deflation soon enough. Economic stimulus is starting to fail in China. They can't fill the so called bathtub up fast enough to keep pace with the water draining out the bottom. So to speak.

Interest rates in China will soon be exactly where they are in Europe and Japan. Maybe lower.

In order to get oil to $90-$100 the value of the dollar is going to have to sink a little bit. In order to get oil to $140-$160 the dollar has to make a new all time low. Anybody predicting prices shooting up to $200 needs the dollar index to sink to 60 or below.

The reality is oil is going to $20. Because the rest of the world outside the US is failing. Dennis makes some nice graphs and charts and under his assumptions his charts and graphs are correct. But his assumptions aren't correct.

We got $20 oil and an economic depression coming.

Peak Oil is going to be deflationary as hell. Higher prices aren't in the cards even when a shortage actually shows up. We will get less supply at a lower price. Demand destruction is actually going to happen when economies and debt bubbles implode so we actually can't be totally sure we are ever going to see an actual shortage.

We could very well be producing 20-30% less oil than we do now and still not have a shortage.

Oh and EV's are going to have to compete with $20 oil not $150 oil.

Lightsout x Ignored says: 03/16/2019 at 6:25 am
You are assuming that the oil is priced in dollars there are moves underway that raise two fingers to that.

https://www.scmp.com/economy/china-economy/article/2174453/china-and-russia-look-ditch-dollar-new-payments-system-move

Dennis Coyne x Ignored says: 03/16/2019 at 7:41 am
HHH,

When do you expect the oil price to reach $20/b? We will have to see when this occurs.

It may come true when EVs and AVs have decimated demand for oil in 2050, but not before. EIA's oil price reference scenario from AEO 2019 below. That is a far more realistic prediction (though likely too low especially when peak oil arrives in 2025), oil prices from $100 to $160/b in 2018 US$ are more likely from 2023 to 2035 (for three year centered average Brent oil price).

Dennis Coyne x Ignored says: 03/16/2019 at 9:56 am
HHH,

My assumptions are based on USGS mean resource estimates and EIA oil price estimates, as well as BIS estimates for the World monetary and financial system.

Your assumption that oil prices are determined by exchange rates only is not borne out by historical evidence. Exchange rates are a minor, not a major determinant of oil prices.

HHH x Ignored says: 03/16/2019 at 6:50 pm
Dennis,

Technically speaking. The most relevant trendline on price chart currently comes off the lows of 2016/02/08. It intersects with 2017/06/19. You draw the trendline on out to where price is currently. Currently price is trying to backtest that trendline.

On a weekly price chart i'd say it touches the underside of that trendline sometime in April in the low 60's somewhere between $62-$66 kinda depends on when it arrives there time wise. The later it takes to arrive there the higher price will be. I've been trading well over 20 years can't tell you how many times i've seen price backtest a trendline after it's been broken. It's a very common occurrence. And i wouldn't short oil until after it does.

But back to your question. $20 oil what kind of timetable. My best guess is 2021-2022. Might happen 2020 or 2023. And FED can always step in and weaken the dollar. Fundamentally the only way oil doesn't sink to $20 is the FED finds a way to weaken the dollar.

But understand the FED is the only major CB that currently doesn't have the need to open up monetary policy. It's really the rest of the worlds CB ultra loose monetary policy which is going to drive oil to $20.

[Mar 20, 2019] What will happen if no energy source can cover the decline rate

Notable quotes:
"... "If that was to happen and no energy source can cover the decline rate, wouldn't the world be pretty fucked economically thereafter? Hence one can assume or take a wild ass guess that the decline after peak would resemble something like Venezuela. So not a smooth short % decline rate." ..."
"... Realistically the global economy is already in a tight spot. It started back in 2000 when Oil prices started climbing from about $10/bbl in 1998 to about $30/bbl in 2000. Then the World Major Central banks dropped interest which ended triggering the Housing Boom\Bust and carried Oil prices to $147/bbl. Since then Interest rates have remained extremely low while World Debt has soared (expected to top $250T in 2019). ..."
"... Probably the biggest concern for me is the risking risks for another World war: The US has been targeting all of the major Oil exporters. The two remaining independent targets are Venezuela & Iran. I suspect Venzuela will be the next US take over since it will be a push over compared to Iran. ..."
Mar 16, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

Ignored says: 03/16/2019 at 12:42 am

Iron Mike Asked:

"If that was to happen and no energy source can cover the decline rate, wouldn't the world be pretty fucked economically thereafter? Hence one can assume or take a wild ass guess that the decline after peak would resemble something like Venezuela. So not a smooth short % decline rate."

Energy is the economy, The economy cannot function without energy. Thus its logical that a decline in energy supply will reduce the economy. The only way for this not to apply is if there are efficiency gains that offset the decline. But at this point the majority of cost effective efficiency gains are already in place. At this point gains become increasing expensive with much smaller gains (law of diminishing returns). Major infrastructure changes like modernizing rail lines take many decades to implement and also require lots of capital. Real capital needed will be difficult to obtain do to population demographics (ie boomers dependent on massive unfunded entitlement & pensions).

Realistically the global economy is already in a tight spot. It started back in 2000 when Oil prices started climbing from about $10/bbl in 1998 to about $30/bbl in 2000. Then the World Major Central banks dropped interest which ended triggering the Housing Boom\Bust and carried Oil prices to $147/bbl. Since then Interest rates have remained extremely low while World Debt has soared (expected to top $250T in 2019).

My guess is that global economy will wipe saw in the future as demographics, resource depletion (including Oil) and Debt all merge into another crisis. Gov't will act with more cheap and easy credit (since there is no alterative TINA) as well as QE\Asset buying to avoid a global depression. This creating a wipesaw effect that has already been happening since 2000 with Boom Bust cycles. This current cycle has lasted longer because the Major central banks kept interest rates low, When The Fed started QT and raising rate it ended up triggering a major stock market correction In Dec 2018. I believe at this point the Fed will no longer seek any further credit tightening that will trip the economy back into recession. However its likely they the global economy will fall into another recession as consumers & business even without further credit tighting by CB (Central Banks) Because they've been loading up on cheap debt, which will eventually run into issues servicing their debt. For instance there are about 7M auto loans in delinquency in March of 2019. Stock valuations are largely driven by stock buybacks, which is funded by debt. I presume companies are close to debt limit which is likely going to prevent them from purchase more stock back.

Probably the biggest concern for me is the risking risks for another World war: The US has been targeting all of the major Oil exporters. The two remaining independent targets are Venezuela & Iran. I suspect Venzuela will be the next US take over since it will be a push over compared to Iran. I think once all of remaining independent Oil Exports are seized that is when the major powers start fighting each other. However is possible that some of the proxy nations (Pakastan\India),(Israel\Iran), etc trigger direct war between the US, China, and Russia at any time.

Notice that the US is now withdrawing from all its major arms treaties, and the US\China\Russia are now locked into a Arms race. Nuclear powers are now rebuilding their nuclear capacity (more Nukes) and modernizing their deployment systems (Hypersonic, Very large MIRV ICBMS, Undersea drones, Subs, Bombers, etc.

My guess is that nations like the US & China will duke it out before collapsing into the next Venezuela. If my assessment is correct, The current state of Venezuela will look like the garden of Eden compared to the aftermath of a full scale nuclear war.

Currently the Doomsday clock (2019) is tied with 1953 at 2 minutes:

https://thebulletin.org/doomsday-clock/past-announcements/

1953 was the height of the cold war. I presume soon the Doomsday clock will be reduced to less than 2 Minutes later this year, due to recent events in the past few weeks.

https://thebulletin.org/doomsday-clock/current-time/

"the world's nuclear nations proceeded with programs of "nuclear modernization" that are all but indistinguishable from a worldwide arms race, and the military doctrines of Russia and the United States have increasingly eroded the long-held taboo against the use of nuclear weapons."

" The current international security situation -- what we call the "new abnormal" -- has extended over two years now. It's a state as worrisome as the most dangerous times of the Cold War, a state that features an unpredictable and shifting landscape of simmering disputes that multiply the chances for major military conflict to erupt."

[Mar 18, 2019] Middle Class Once Meant Stability and Now Means Fragility

Notable quotes:
"... Was the American Middle Class a Cold War thing? ..."
"... The British middle class seems to have been mostly people living on investments -- not in the manorial style, but with enough to have a flat, and a servant -- in a style that you might associate with Sherlock Holmes. A middle class that included people with jobs definitely seems post-WWII, and, of course, since the wage stagnation starting in the mid 1970's, it's mostly ended by now. ..."
Mar 18, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

By Alissa Quart, Executive Editor, Economic Hardship Reporting Project. Cross posted from the Institute for New Economic Thinking website

feel that being middle class is not what it once was and that we are all running in place as fast as we can to stay the same, to quote Alice in Wonderland's Red Queen," Brenda Madison, an art director and graphic designer in Laguna Beach (Orange County), told me. "Never did I think I would worry that Social Security and Medicare may not be available in my future or that a medical injury or unexpected repair would bankrupt us."

She and her husband, now in their middle years, "are not sure we will be able to retire in our home."

Patricia Moore is a single mother of three who lives in a two-bedroom apartment in Los Angeles and a licensed vocational nurse working in hospice about to take the licensing exam to be a registered nurse. Due to a shortage of space, she sleeps on the couch and is "still struggling to make ends meet." Her rent is $1,598 a month, her pay is about $3,200, and her student loan payback is $375 a month. Moore recently has had to resort to a GoFundMe campaign so she could stay home with her daughter during a monthlong health crisis, and has at times had to donate plasma. She said she is unable to provide "the extras for her kids."

Moore began to enter her youngest son in focus groups in office buildings or hotels in neighborhoods like Beverly Hills. Sometimes he would make $75 an hour and the whole family would eat from buffets, the kind with cantaloupe, and maybe they'd also get a gift card. At first, he tested toys and then video games but also an MRI to map his brain. It was only because of these gigs that Moore could finally say, "Go buy yourself something," to her children.

The extreme cost of living has forced some California families to take unusual steps like this. As the Department of Housing and Urban Development recently reported, a family of four in the San Francisco metropolitan area making $117,400 a year qualifies as "low income."

These were Americans for whom the meaning of middle-class life had altered from something stable to implied economic fragility.

Their burdens were the price of health and child care, educational debt or a housing market gone berserk. They wanted job security, pensions and Social Security and unions, but these things seemed like a fantasy out of a mid-century American novel like "The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit." The middle class' long historical association with the status quo -- strongly identifying with institutions or corporations, rejecting restive discontent -- has made their new wobbliness all the more startling to them.

But when did that vulnerability start? Toward the end of the past century into this one, there was a rise in what author Barbara Ehrenreich has called a "fear of falling," an anxiety among the professional-managerial class about downward mobility. I think of fear of falling as the opposite side of the coin of American individualism and its historic promise of social and economic progress.

Since the 1980s, some members of the middle class have gone "from a kind of security to being reduced to the kind of economic unstable state that working-class Americans have had to experience forever," explained Caitlin Zaloom, an anthropologist at New York University who studies the middle-class financial experience. The office or academic job started to resemble the precarious work life that working poor Americans have long understood to be their lot, she said. And then there are the robots waiting in the wings to take their ostensible share of middle-class jobs, and soon.

This new fragility is one theory to explain the 2016 election of Donald Trump. Trump voters were sometimes mistaken for all hillbilly elegiac or Rust Belt proletariat. In truth, an estimated 38 percent of white people with bachelor degrees voted for the man -- closer to "office worker elegy." Indeed, as much as Trump's messaging has been jingoistic or racist, he has also been addressing middle-class anxiety when he continually repeated that the system is "rigged."

While some have protested that Trump's success has more to do with loss of status or rank bigotry, Johns Hopkins University sociologist Stephen L. Morgan has conducted studies that reveal one substantial motivator of the Trump vote was economic. He noted that a successful national Democratic candidate would be one who appealed "to people who have not fared well in the postindustrial economy," such as those in some once-prosperous areas of the Midwest.

Ordinary middle-class people's struggles can be, of course, ameliorated by broad shifts, such as adopting a form of universal basic income or a flat monthly cash stipend for familial caregivers of their young or elderly kin. And we should at least explore adopting Medicare for all, to address rising health care costs. We also need to more effectively push for longer paid parental leave -- or, in many cases, any paid parental leave.

But if we can't get relief from federal programs or our employers, we will need to craft local or state solutions. Retaining rent stabilization laws is key in our cities, as is building more affordable housing for, say, teachers and municipal workers, so they can continue to live in the places they serve.

Finally, I saw when reporting my book that, when squeezed, people revealed their financial woes to others, they tended to then recognize that their obstacles were partially systemic. That, in turn, meant they didn't simply internalize their real-world burdens into self-punishment. They seemed more able to patch together personal solutions -- small-scale child care fixes like sharing pickup with their neighbors, for instance.

Simply voicing hopes and difficulties, and making them audible for their leaders to name and address, is a small part of what must happen for things to change. Although for some, these needed transformations may seem to be coming too late.

As Madison put it, "We are trying not to think too much about the future."

This article was supported by the Economic Hardship Reporting Project and was first published by the San Francisco Chronicle .

ambrit , March 18, 2019 at 3:23 am

My ground level observations indicate that there is a lot of "denial" going on in the minds of the putative 'middle class.'

One major barrier to the public 'conversations' about the economic malaise affecting America today is the still prevalent custom of shaming the victims of bad luck. I see this tying all the way back to the Calvinist theological concept of "Election," which is an aspect of "Predestination." In effect, one suffers in life because the Deity chooses to make it so. Thus, those who do well in life can "legitimately" look down on those who suffer. It is a perfect excuse for callousness of heart.

We read Weber's "The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism" in class in my High School. Written around 1900, it still has merit as a descriptive and predictive tome.

Die wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Protestant_Ethic_and_the_Spirit_of_Capitalism

Old ideas die hard.

marieann , March 18, 2019 at 9:44 am

"The rich man in his castle,
The poor man at his gate,
God made them, high or lowly,
And ordered their estate."

Just so we know our place and stay there

Sanxi , March 18, 2019 at 12:24 pm

"Capitalism is a that system which has become that which the living are converted to the the living dead."

jrs , March 18, 2019 at 12:53 pm

Some of what is perceived as shaming, may just be understood as trying to understand how those with good professions etc. end up that way (and no I don't judge those without "good professions" – I don't think we choose our fate to any real degree see. It's just takes more to understand why is all). Now from the inside some good professions are not really, or have become so niche that that is the story but

Acacia , March 18, 2019 at 5:11 am

Mod: looks like some issue in the first paragraph

Amfortas the hippie , March 18, 2019 at 6:31 am

This:"Finally, I saw when reporting my book that, when squeezed, people revealed their financial woes to others, they tended to then recognize that their obstacles were partially systemic. That, in turn, meant they didn't simply internalize their real-world burdens into self-punishment. They seemed more able to patch together personal solutions -- small-scale child care fixes like sharing pickup with their neighbors, for instance."

commiseration is new, in my experience. not too long ago, one didn't speak about economic difficulties in polite company at least in the middle class(poor people, oth, sometimes do) that they're finding such behaviour is worrying, as it means the precariousness is spreading which causes cognitive dissonance, since it's counterintuitive according the the Narrative we're all supposed to cling to.
to wit, in my recent exposure to network tv in hotels and dr's offices, i note that -- like in the Matrix–a grand illusion of the late 90's is laid across the world.

I hear locally upper middle class soccer moms having lunch, and it's oneupmanship all around everything's fine, and we went to the most wonderful resort, in our new suv, and our son married a doctor and they honeymooned as missionaries (!) but it's all nonsense, and everyone knows it.(the quick flash of panic in their eyes, "will the card work?")

That was the norm not so long ago all the way down to the dregs of the former middle class. i see the rending of that pretension the misty veil of utopian just-worldism as what's at the root of so many of these dislocations an eruptions of late.

"Believe Real Hard" just doesn't cut it any more, and those soccer moms don't know how to think about it. Per Ambrit's reference to Calvinism, at some point reality intrudes and one must climb down from the pillar.

jefemt , March 18, 2019 at 9:03 am

Becoming They and The Other. It can't happen to me -- I am a Exceptional! ™ (and white). Could Compassion be on the horizon– on the wax as more and more realize they are in the global Lemming-fall rat-race to the bottom ?

kareninca , March 18, 2019 at 8:48 pm

They're not attending/joining churches because that costs money and they don't have the money. Once there are more "churches" that only cost what people can afford, more people will attend. Just a prediction.

sanxi , March 18, 2019 at 12:30 pm

Sadly first the great suffering must turn into the great awareness that it's not your fault than love oneself and compassion for all else

jrs , March 18, 2019 at 12:58 pm

it's not all illusions, a part of the population is doing pretty well, they take vacations and crap (who even has ANY paid time off anymore anyway? not me. even STAYCATIONS are off the table! Heck getting a cold is pretty much off the table ..). But others

But yea the Big Lie Narrative of these times is that the economy is doing well, Trump's economic performance will get him reelected (this economy is total garbage, so F trump and the horse he rode in on), unemployment is low and other BS.

The Rev Kev , March 18, 2019 at 6:32 am

Lots of sad reading here. But seriously – $117,400 a year qualifies as "low income."? I know that it is true but at the same time that is so stupid on the face of it. I do have to admit here to a weakness for nostalgia – especially for places that I have never experienced but have read about. Sometimes out of idle curiosity I might flick through a few videos like that on America in earlier times and you can see one such clip at

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ECFH3Pe21oQ or at this one at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOr1fIIHQFk

Having said this, I sometimes wonder what would have happened if neoliberalism had spluttered out during the 1970s as a nonstarter of an idea and instead a different timeline had formed. In this one, instead of wages flate-lining back in the 70s, they had kept apace with GDP like they had the previous thirty years. People, more secure in their wages, would never have embarked on the credit boom like they did when wages dropped. In this timeline too the rich are still taxed at 70% which mopped up all the surplus that would otherwise have instead gone on to founding think tanks and money in politics. With an affluent population, there was never was a need to import so much from China and the unions were still strong enough to stop industries being shipped off to there. It would have been a completely different America.

But that is another timeline and we are instead in one where people will soon be in a position where they have nothing else to lose. And that is a very dangerous proposition that. And they still have potentially a very powerful weapon – their numbers. And their votes.

russell1200 , March 18, 2019 at 9:00 am

The 70s were going to be a very tough decade: The loss of our huge post-WW2 advantages in manufacturing, oil shocks, a very expensive war to pay for, and Watergate probably fits in their somewhere.

I am not sure what we did in the 70s and after was exactly neoliberalism, but any restraint shown in the face of the new realities (Carter and his sweaters, Bush breaking his tax pledge) were massively unpopular, and I think that was going to be the case in general – regardless of what path we went down.

The very idea that neo-liberalism was the cause (as opposed to an interaction with) of the root problems I think is indicative of over optimism about our situation. Contrary, I do think it is very reasonable to say that neo-liberalism made the problems worse.

The distinction is important, you can reject our current situation and policies, and still not be particularly convinced that the opposing voices are being more realistic.

Carla , March 18, 2019 at 9:44 am

After reading "Democracy in Chains" by Nancy MacLean, I'm leaning toward neoliberalism as a cause. It kicked into high gear with Reagan's election in 1980, and Bill Clinton made sure there was no stopping it.

In reference to this from the original post: "In truth, an estimated 38 percent of white people with bachelor degrees voted for [Trump]," I have to say, I think you call those people Republicans, and don't kid yourself. They will do it again.

Sanxi , March 18, 2019 at 12:43 pm

Carla, thank you, exactly so. The technique of it all was quite insidious, as it was an appeal disguised and self righteous to greed to a two groups: baby boomers and their parents sociology primed for such pitches. Once that genie got out of the bottle there was no getting it back in.

polecat , March 18, 2019 at 1:12 pm

So, will the millenials kill-off the Genie for good .. or will they, in their turn, rub that lamp all the more, to parlay their 3 wishes towards other equally speciously sparklely endeavors ??

super extra , March 18, 2019 at 3:31 pm

we can't 'rub the lantern'; when those in power in 1981 set off down the neoliberal road, the conditions of their wish were fulfilled by debt-enslavement of everyone who came after them to support enriching those who clawed their way to the top.

the only millennial oligarch is Zuckerberg and I don't think anyone believes he is going to maintain his power even half as long as, say, Bill Gates. the only millenials who believe in neoliberalism are paid shills for the elite like Ben Shapiro or Charlie Kirk and by the same Zuckerberg:Gates ratio, they have less than half as much power as a Rush Limbaugh.

Neoliberalism is dead, we're in the gramscian interregnum, at this point I just hope and plead with the infinite that we get Bernie in 2020 instead of Cotton/Creshaw primarying Trump or something awful like that because the familyblogging Democrats refuse to pass the torch in favor of one more term of grift.

russell1200 , March 18, 2019 at 1:32 pm

Rev Kev, who I was responding to, correctly noted that the 1970s were when wages began to drop. Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton of course come later. This doesn't mean that their policies were not problematic, but it does make it difficult to blame them as the causal agents of something that started in the 1970s.

If you want to blame Johnson/Nixon and their Vietnam War policies, that would make some sense, but they don't seem to me to be poster children for Neoliberalism with one being associated with the Great Society and the other the author of price controls to suppress inflation.

witters , March 18, 2019 at 6:48 pm

When things get a bit tough (and note that in the 70's for all the hype they were not in fact that tough – until govt policy of a NL kind stepped in) – then you have policy choices. If you go NL, then that is a choice, and causally so. (It was usual to hide this causality in TINA.)

scott 2 , March 18, 2019 at 9:15 am

Financialization of the housing market creates obscene rents, leading to less household formation, then the need to "do something" about population decline. Japan is 20 years ahead of us in that regard,

Dan , March 18, 2019 at 10:06 am

$117,400 a year qualifies as "low income"?

Indeed it does here in the SF Bay Area. The surprise of it all is part of the denial – the wife and I look at our family income (usually 10-20% less than that) and are straight up perplexed that it doesn't go as far as it "should". We certainly have a pleasant enough middle-class life, but it feels precarious in a way that we never expected. And we only have that because we have subsidized housing (we live in a house the family has owned for years, so are paying well below the insane market rates). If we had to pay market rates we would be poor, or close to it.

We certainly rant to one another about the systemic issues behind this situation, but there are a lot of California liberals who bitterly cling to questionable ideas like a balanced budget or Kamala Harris.

I've been wondering when I'll hear a candidate advocating lower home and rent prices – where I live we absolutely need that if we're to keep a semblance of civilization and democracy.

ambrit , March 18, 2019 at 11:53 am

You have hit on a major 'disrupter' of the body social. "Civilization and democracy" are being willfully sacrificed to the Gods of Profit. That betrayal is a core part of neo-liberalism.

Carla , March 18, 2019 at 5:27 pm

Re; lower home and rent prices. For the last 40 years, as the prosperous Great Lakes region became the rust belt, we who live here have been constantly told: if you want a job, just MOVE to where the jobs are.

Now are we allowed to say to the mortgage-or-rent-impoverished middle class folks who live on the coasts, "If you want lower house and rent prices, just move to where the lower priced houses and apartments are" ? We got plenty of room for y'all here, honest. And we're mostly midwest-nice, too.

Altandmain , March 18, 2019 at 5:34 pm

Unfortunately a candidate advocating for lower prices of housing will likely be defeated by thr NIMBY types.

JBird4049 , March 18, 2019 at 12:04 pm

But seriously – $117,400 a year qualifies as "low income."?

If you are very lucky, and I mean lucky , you might find an old junior one bedroom apartment for the low, low price of $1,500 a month. No patio, no dishwasher, no nothing except a parking spot. This is not exaggeration, sarcasm or humor, but reality. In some places in California it's closer to three thousand dollars.

Most of us Californians do not make even fifty thousand and, if we do, we have to live closer to the cities where the well paying jobs are. I keep waiting for the housing bust to arrive for last time the rents dropped as much as thirty percent. Hopefully, I will still be in my apartment, or at least in an apartment when that happens.

rd , March 18, 2019 at 1:49 pm

Another factor is cities not allowing for higher density housing. If somebody has a brownstone or something similar, they will fight tooth and nail against that 6 story apartment building that would allow a lot more people to live in the neighborhood. Under-investment in rapid mass transit also hurts workers commuting to jobs and forces far more cars on the roads and parking spaces.

Ed , March 18, 2019 at 7:36 am

Was the American Middle Class a Cold War thing?

pretzelattack , March 18, 2019 at 8:10 am

it was certainly precarious in the great depression, seems to thrive in boom periods. the white middle class, and some of the black middle class did well in the 50's and early 60's. that was when the us was economically at the pinnacle of the world, and i think that was because most of the other first world economies were rebuilding from the rubble of ww2.

Wukchumni , March 18, 2019 at 8:30 am

The only item I can think of that was an import from the Soviet Union and on retail shelves for sale here during the Cold War, was Stolichnaya vodka, and as far as the Peoples Republic of China goes, fireworks.

If I didn't finish the food on my plate, my parents would admonish me with tales of people starving to death in China, and indeed they were.

ambrit , March 18, 2019 at 11:16 am

For me as a child, the starvation place was Africa. I wonder about the psychological motivations that made our parents ignore the suffering right nearby in our own neighborhoods and focus instead on some far away place.

Today, that starvation is all around us. I personally feel guilty now that we cannot give very much to beggars and homeless etc. due to our own straitened circumstances. The myth of "The Exceptional Ones" (TM) is still a strong part of the social narrative today.

polecat , March 18, 2019 at 1:34 pm

I try to do my infinitesmal part, ambrit .. by taking any surplus from the garden, when there IS a surplus that is .. and donate it to the local foodbank. Last year it was 5 full lugs of grapes fresh off the vine, a few yrs before that it was an over abundance of beets. This season it might be potatoes THATs My lifestyle !

All on less than a $35,000 yr combined income. But that means no trips to Cancun, no new Car every couple of years, no DeathCare expenditures, and no mortgage.

I feel humbled every time I make a delivery, especially when I see families in obvious distress w/ young children .. looking for sustenance that they cannot otherwise afford to buy .. it breaks my heart.

ambrit , March 18, 2019 at 4:23 pm

Yes to that. We got a bumper crop of 'volunteer' Muscadines last year. They made good jelly. I should build a trellis or wire support network for the vines this year. With this weather, we should get another good crop.
Living the 'prepper' life has it's compensations.

polecat , March 18, 2019 at 6:31 pm

Our's were primarily muscat as well, what we donated. I ended up canning the rest, turning them into muscat conserves half of which we've already given away to friends and aquaintances. The other grapes, the Mars variety, became raisins, for home consumption.

Everyone should learn how to can .. cuz you never know when just-in-time .. just STOPS !

John Wright , March 18, 2019 at 11:06 am

re: American Middle Class Cold War thing?

Possibly this was a major influence. When the USA had identified large foreign enemies that must be countered (Russia and China) there was an impetus to build in America and keep the USA population engaged with the Russian and "Red" Chinese threat.

The USA was also an oil exporter until 1971, which allowed some control of oil prices.

Globalization was not prominent and I remember the poor quality Japanese tools of the 1960's (and Chinese manufactured stuff rarely seen by me (firecrackers?))

Furthermore we had two large countries that economically were not as advanced as the USA and were not viewed as particularly successful with their flawed Communist systems.

Effectively, China and Russia were playing the game with one hand tied behind their back.

This may also have allowed USA unions to be strong, increasing wages for union and non-union workers.

Perhaps the USA is currently making some other countries focus inwardly on their countries as the USA did in the 1950's and 1960's.

By forcing sanctions on various countries (Iran, Russia, Venezuela) the USA may make them less dependent on global resources and more like the more self sufficient USA of the 50's and 60's.

Mel , March 18, 2019 at 11:23 am

Very, very possibly. Thanks to Project Gutenberg, I'm reading a lot of fin de siècle novels and literature, e.g. Booth Tarkington.

The British middle class seems to have been mostly people living on investments -- not in the manorial style, but with enough to have a flat, and a servant -- in a style that you might associate with Sherlock Holmes. A middle class that included people with jobs definitely seems post-WWII, and, of course, since the wage stagnation starting in the mid 1970's, it's mostly ended by now.

Harold , March 18, 2019 at 1:53 pm

Middle class always had servants because cost of labor was low. Middle class households sometimes had boarders & often elderly or unmarried relatives.

MisterMr , March 18, 2019 at 9:00 am

"While some have protested that Trump's success has more to do with loss of status or rank bigotry, Johns Hopkins University sociologist Stephen L. Morgan has conducted studies that reveal one substantial motivator of the Trump vote was economic. He noted that a successful national Democratic candidate would be one who appealed "to people who have not fared well in the postindustrial economy," such as those in some once-prosperous areas of the Midwest."

But this is circular reasoning, why would people in the "middle class" think that Trump's policies are better for them than Clinton's policies?

It's not like Trump is a sort of middle class guy himself, in facts H. Clinton is probably more "middle classey" than Trump.

Plus, what does the term "middle class" mean specifically? How are these people different from "working class" or small bourgoise?

Wukchumni , March 18, 2019 at 9:08 am

Middle class to me growing up, meant that the school custodian across the street and 3 doors down from us, could afford to buy a home, or you played little league with the son of a gas station owner, who made enough from his 2 service bays always full (cars weren't nearly as reliable in the 60's) to also own a home.

MisterMr , March 18, 2019 at 1:10 pm

Thanks for the answer.

My doubt about the middle class is this: it is a term that various schools/sociologists/economists used to mean very different things, so when someone speaks of the middle class it's difficult for me to understand what he/she is speaking about.

For example:

1) In marxism it generally means the small bourgoise, meaning the small shopkeeper, the farmer who owns his land etc;

2) at times, it just means people of the working class who have good jobs, that is different from the definition (1). The disappearence of the middle class just means the disappearence of good jobs;

3) sometimes (wrongly IMHO) "workers" are supposed to be only blue collar and only without high education, so "middle class" means people who have a degree and are white collars;

etc.

At times these categories can somehow mix but the class interest of someone who is a small business owner is different from the class interest of someone who has a good employee job which might be different from the interest of someone who could have a degree and a sucky white collar job.

So this very general idea of middle class is very confusing IMHO.

Carla , March 18, 2019 at 5:40 pm

@MisterMr -- I think that because EVERYTHING in the good ole US of A is about money, the understanding of a term like "middle class" becomes just about money, too.

When I was young (yes, a long time ago), I was given to understand that "middle class" meant basically people with white collar jobs or jobs that required some professional accreditation: teachers, nurses, lawyers, accountants, etc. "Working class" meant people with blue-collar jobs, even if some of them regularly made more money than a teacher or, say, a nurse. "Upper class" included high-earning professionals, CEO's, and of course those with inherited wealth. Poor, then as now, was the one thing you definitely didn't want to be.

But, as I said, money has obliterated all those fine distinctions of snobbery. Now there is only one: $.

JBird4049 , March 18, 2019 at 7:34 pm

The label of "Middle Class" in America can be used as either for the social class or for the economic class with the white collar workers generally being both and the blue collar workers being, before the 1950s, working class with working class wages. For about two decades the high and low ends of the income range collapsed with most people being squeezed into the economic middle class regardless of social class.

Now, income disparity has destroyed the economic middle class and the classic pyramid shaped map of the social and economic system reappearing. The tiny wealthy elites; the slightly larger service and professional class providing what the elites want; the small number of bureaucrats, lawyers, doctors, mechanics, religious workers and so that any large societies need just to function at all; the greatest numbers are the laboring class, and I don't mean the working class.

The mental map of most Americans is stuck on the almost flat pyramid of 1970 in which all classes were getting wealthier collapsing together economically, with the exception of the wealthy not gaining wealth at the same rate as the bottom 99%. Even the poorest blacks finally started to improve economically.

That picture is buried somewhere deeeep in our collective heads where the only real differences was what type of job you were going to have and where mistakes, failure, and disaster did not mean poverty. At worst, it meant a change of work or a temporary set back or a change of social class but not economic class.

Find that image in your head, yank it out, put a stake in its heart, burn it, and scatter the ashes. That picture died around 1973. Whatever the truth of that image it is long dead.

But too many people are trying to pretend that we are not living in a zero sum game of winner take all.

John Wright , March 18, 2019 at 11:17 am

Trump had the advantage that he was not tagged, directly or indirectly, with Bill Clinton's NAFTA, welfare reform or supporting "Free trade" that seemed to only work well in economists' minds (TPP).

Clinton also supported the Iraq War, Libya and other military adventures, and Trump couldn't vote for/against these operations that directly affected their communities.

Campaigning Trump called these wars "mistakes" while Hillary C would not.

Someone summed the election as "With Hillary you know you are screwed, with Trump you might not be."

MisterMr , March 18, 2019 at 1:12 pm

Thanks, however it is a fact that a situation of bad economy and increasing inequality, that ideally is supposed to be the main reason to vote left, is causing an upsurge in right-leaning populism instead.

And not only in the USA.

john Wright , March 18, 2019 at 3:02 pm

One could argue that the USA reluctantly moved left in the Great Depression while Nazi Germany and Italy moved right.

In the USA, recently the left has been cast as weak and ineffectual.

The left doesn't "bring home the bacon" in the minds of many.

Bernie is popular, but the knives are out from the establishment pols (of both parties) to do him in.

In the USA, moving to the populist right, to me, seems quite understandable.

jrs , March 18, 2019 at 3:46 pm

there is no populist right that brings home the bacon in the U.S. either as far as I can see. Theoretically there could be, but theoretically a lot of things, including much more plausibly and likely the rise of a left that brings home the bacon. IOW the trains don't even run on time now.

jrs , March 18, 2019 at 1:05 pm

Trump's economy is scarcely better than Obama's (depends on which year though, in the worst of the Great Recession only then was it worse). So if it's really about the economy: then Trump will lose the next election.

MisterMr , March 18, 2019 at 1:14 pm

IMHO it IS about the economy, but not in the direct sense we mean: if the economy goes on as it is, Trump will be able to spin it as good, whereas a democrat would be toast.

But I expect a recession to hit earlier, in which case I think Trump will not be re-elected.

Norb , March 18, 2019 at 9:28 am

Whenever I read articles illustrating the dawning awareness of the middling classes to their extreme precarious social status, I can't help but marvel at the audacity of elites jumping to the front of the protest line proclaiming their desire to "lead" the distraught masses. Even more so, those same distraught workers giving their oppressors the opportunity to do so. That is the definition of a dysfunctional society- rewarding failure. The elites might think themselves clever, and exceptional, for dreaming up such scams, but that dynamic alone goes a long way to explaining the rapid decline of America's prominence in the world.

America is consumed by a cynical rot that has firmly entered into the body politic. There is no easy way to excise this cancer, but the answer must lie in some form of national mission. The current American leadership have chosen a militaristic vision of conquest for the nation masked with a marketing program of bringing democracy to the world. This contradictory scam will not work, and there is ample evidence showing just how destructive and impotent this strategy truly is. The rest of the world is moving on, and if Americans don't wise up to the the destructive nature of their system, they will be left behind.

Corporations must be in the service of the nation, not the other way around. Corporations must be allowed to die and change, the nation, and its people must prevail over time. It is an obscene contradiction that the American system is reversing this dynamic. The people are allowed to die, while the corporations, and those that control them are allowed to persist.

As a working class American, my only desire at this point is for an American elite leadership that has a vision larger and broader than worshiping a bank account. If American workers don't demand a better leadership, history will show them to be worse than peasants, they will be proven to be willful consumerist dupes.

America is in an identity crisis- a cultural crisis. That does not bode well for the nation and makes it ill equipped to deal with other nations and the world's problems- let alone our own.

Summer , March 18, 2019 at 10:16 am

"The current American leadership have chosen a militaristic vision of conquest for the nation masked with a marketing program of bringing democracy to the world."

That train officially left the station around 1898.

Oso , March 18, 2019 at 1:27 pm

agree although the date closer to 1620 when the militaristic conquest of nations began.

Summer , March 18, 2019 at 2:25 pm

"masked with a marketing program of bringing democracy to the world."

For the USA, those thoughts didn't get put into action until post Civil War

Rod , March 18, 2019 at 11:41 am

"There is no easy way to excise this cancer, but the answer must lie in some form of national mission."

here lies the way to better angels and there is no shortage of things that must be done

diptherio , March 18, 2019 at 1:36 pm

As someone on social.coop said the other day, "they're not 'elites,' they are 'the predatory class'."

Joe Well , March 18, 2019 at 10:31 am

Thank you for posting this.

1. The author doesn't really explore how rent extraction through housing is the single biggest destroyer of American household wealth, with housing costs outpacing wages almost everywhere.

2. "Explore" Medicare for all? Build "affordable" housing, but only for certain deserving individuals like teachers?

It's disappointing that the author chooses to end this with such centrist Dem proposals.

There needs to be a right to housing, which means a right to build housing: abolish any zoning that excludes dense residential development. Seize land by eminent domain if necessary.

Jerry B , March 18, 2019 at 1:55 pm

===There needs to be a right to housing, which means a right to build housing: abolish any zoning that excludes dense residential development. Seize land by eminent domain if necessary===

Thanks Joe. While I am not an expert in housing, the lack of affordable housing seems to be tied to:

1. As you say zoning laws that exclude dense residential development.
2. Land Use regulations which are probably tied to #1 above.
3. The high costs incurred by residential developers in navigating the byzantine and bureaucratic maze of permits and regulations at the federal, state, and local levels.
4. The speculative nature of the housing market i.e. IMO the housing bubble is driven by monetary policies and the actions of "behind the scenes" lever pullers. If housing is treated as a commodity by the finance sector then the machinations of Wall Street can impact housing prices as they did in the 2008 crash.
5. To my point above, in the far northwest suburbs of Chicago there is a lot of empty office space and light industrial space. So excess supply would tell you that the prices for these properties should go down. Not the case. They are still expensive. If a homeowner is trying to sell their house they will lower the price until it is sold or not sell it. But the same rules do not apply to businesses.

To #5 above, again if we "believe" what we are told in Econ 101 about free markets and supply and demand then an excess supply should result in a downward price drop until the excess supply is cleared. God help me! I just typed the previous sentence from memory as if verbatim from my Econ 101 class 30 years ago!! #head on desk! So if office and industrial prices are not dropping then someone has to be holding the "bank notes" as is not concerned about if or when they sell.

Basically in short it seems zoning issues and cost issues are the big obstacles in dense residential development. I am not an advocate of relaxing regulations which could result in shoddy and unsafe construction but maybe there is a middle ground. Something needs to be done.

polecat , March 18, 2019 at 3:16 pm

It's not just dense housing, it ALL housing .. in terms of livability (environs with nature as an active component), and Affordable design/construction with energy efficiency in mind .. on a large enough scale to benefit the public ! There is, for all practical purposes none of that to be had. As it currently stands, you have to be richer than God to do ANYTHING other than the unimaginative and wasteful development that has been built up to this point.
So instead of "Where's My flying car??" .. the question might now more accurately be "Where's My passive solar, earthen-berm, strawbale, rammed-earth, or cob house/apartment???"

super extra , March 18, 2019 at 3:45 pm

4. The speculative nature of the housing market

to expand and maybe add onto this, AirBnb/vacation rentals + rental 'business as income' (at institutional eg Berkshire Hathaway and the associated securitized offerings as well as individuals and small biz creating the 'income stream' via LLC pass through) is a major driver affecting the speculation. What happened to all the foreclosures from a decade ago? They were turned into rentals, they still exist.

I am all for an affordable housing mandate, but not in an Obamacare fashion by building tons more housing at crappy inflated prices with some means-tested voucher all so the rentiers can keep their profits. Destroy the rentiers and make housing right, make it a policy that is enforced with regulations and limits on numbers of rental units.

Jerry B , March 18, 2019 at 6:49 pm

Thanks Super.

==AirBnb/vacation rentals + rental 'business as income' (at institutional eg Berkshire Hathaway and the associated securitized offerings as well as individuals and small biz creating the 'income stream' via LLC pass through) is a major driver affecting the speculation===

To your point there was a recent article on NC that discussed your comment above.

https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2018/08/wolf-richter-comes-second-wave-big-money-buy-rent-scheme.html

Across the street from the townhouse subdivision where my wife and I live is a subdivision of $275K – $350K houses. One of the more expensive houses was sold a year ago to a company that uses it for a rental.

I talked to the previous owner frequently while walking our dog, and he sold the house after it had been on the market for only about a month. As far as the previous owner was concerned the house sold for close to his asking price so he was happy. He had no concern about selling the house to a company that was going to use it for a rental. The previous owner had been living in that house in that neighborhood for 25 years and seemed to know most everybody in his subdivision. He and his wife raised their two sons in that house and also put a lot of time and effort into the landscaping around the house.

The rental company that bought the house does the absolute minimal landscaping of the house and barely mows the lawn on a semi regular basis. The company clearly does not have any regard for the "appearance" of the house or the neighborhood. Which is a shame because the other houses near it are well maintained which, due to the lack of landscape maintenance, makes the "rental company" house an eyesore as far as grass, weeds, etc. are concerned.

I do not begrudge the previous owner for selling to the rental company. His asking price was met so he was happy. And in the last few years, other houses in that subdivision have taken 1-2 years to sell. What I have an issue with is these vulture rental companies acting as mercenaries and treating houses and the neighborhood as so much fodder on a balance sheet.

One could also make the argument that without the rental company sticking it's nose where it does not belong, the (ahem, cough, cough) free market would have been allowed to work somewhat. By that I mean if this particular house had also taken a long time to sell like the others in that neighborhood, and had subsequent price reductions in order to sell it, then maybe the average housing price in that neighborhood/town/suburb would have gone down helping affordability.

justsayknow , March 18, 2019 at 11:03 am

From the Business Insider published today:

"In fact, the typical CEO made a whopping 312 times their median employees' salary in 2017, according to the Economic Policy Institute."

Note that is vs median salary not lowest paid.

The self serving disconnect between the management class and labor class is truly amazing.

Work is not valued. And the contribution to productivity is extracted and given to ownership. It's not income inequality we should emphasize but simple fairness. Let's call it Income Fairness.

anon y'mouse , March 18, 2019 at 11:35 am

"fairness" is too vague and insubstantial a concept around which to base any kind of rights, much less what some should get or we should do as a society.

we once thought it was "fair" as a society to enslave people. after we stopped that (and not because it wasn't "fair", but as a political move), we thought it was "fair" to continue to deny them many of their rights because they weren't "white".

huge numbers of us still think it is fair that people die from various issues caused by their "unwillingness to work" or "unwillingness to work smarter". how many times do people say "if you don't get more education, you can just shut up about earning enough to live on. working at McDonald's, you are slacking and therefore can not demand anything. go to school, fool!" people argue all of the time that a "living wage" is not fair, because a person who does low-value jobs isn't making enough money for their employer to justify the wage (basically, profit produced by that employee would either be nil or zero). and that is perfectly "fair" to these arguers.

fair is the idea that some deserve more and some less, due to something being "earned" by someone. it is a nice idea to teach children. real world morality is much more complicated than that, and a society of justice and laws and policies and bureaucracies can not be based around that. waaay too nebulous, and open to interpretation. everyone -knows what "fair" is- when they see it, because everyone's definition of "fairness" is different. as some kind of lofty ideal, it is fine. in practice, it is meaningless.

Robin Kash , March 18, 2019 at 11:57 am

Is this simply a Rip van Winkle account of the middle-class situation that has been well-reported and vigorously commented upon for some time? What am I missing?

ambrit , March 18, 2019 at 12:32 pm

The shift came when ol' Rip realized that the rumbling sound he heard was not the sound of the ghostly sailors bowling but the sound of distant cannon fire.

Another Amateur Economist , March 18, 2019 at 2:04 pm

The middle class stands upon the floor provided by the working class. And that floor is failing, as the human capital of society is gradually, but with increasing rapidity, plundered, from the bottom up.

The poor used to have more than they do now, and be less dependent on government redistributions of income.

Even the middle class owns less productive capital, as the small business owners who used to populate the main streets of American towns have been driven out of business by the Walmarts. Those businessmen were the social elites of their communities, giving those communities leadership, shape, structure and dimension.

Owning less productive capital, their communities pretty much hollowed out, the middle class have lost much of their self sufficiency, and have become increasingly dependent on the whims of distant oligarchs. First the Walmarts. Now the Amazons. And there will be even fewer resources available to support the necessary services local communities provide.

The middle class are right to be afraid. The distant oligarchs and their bankers will only allow so much debt before they pull out the rug.

Too bad no one paid attention what was happening to the working poor. Long ago, the 1% used to command 7% of the nation's income. Now they command 21%. That 14% had to come from someone.

rd , March 18, 2019 at 2:22 pm

With almost 40 years of work under my belt, I have been passing along some advice to my kids to help them navigate the current "middle class conundrums":

1. Owning a home is unlikely to make you wealthy. With just a few major city core exceptions, don't expect it to go up by more than inflation over the decades. So buy or rent just what you need and do real analysis of what you need and why.

2. Only live in a big expensive city if you need to for your chosen career. The smaller cities have a lot of opportunity for people with good work habits, even in the "Rust Belt" and the living costs are far lower.

3. College degrees are useful. Getting them with large debt loads is a bad idea though. Don't take on more student debt than about 2/3 of your expected starting salary for a four year degree and take on little or not debt for a 2-year degree.

4. Going to a name-brand school is worthwhile if you don't have to rack up significant extra debt. Otherwise, pick college and university by major and cost. Your internal traits make a far bigger difference than the school you went to.

5. Only go to graduate school if your desired career path requires it. Otherwise, you are losing years of earning power while incurring costs and debt. If you want a grad degree just for the joy of it, do it as night school as a hobby.

6. Start a Roth IRA with monthly contributions early, even if it is only $50/month. It builds habits and over the years will likely ensure you are in the top 25% in assets.

7. We are in a golden age of investing right now compared to 30 years ago. You can have worldwide, multi-asset class diversified investments at an annual expense ratio of 0.25% which was unheard of at the beginning of my career. So inexpensive Target Date funds or similar vehicles from companies like Vanguard mean you can do fire-and-forget investing while you focus on the rest of your life.

8. Don't assume the full value of a company or state pension will be there when you retire. These are rife with deliberate and accidental mismanagement and partial defaults are likely with many of them. Instead save so that you are not reliant on them for a basic acceptable standard of living.

8. You don't need financial advisors for investing, just to help you with personal finance instead. But that is not what they are usually selling, so 99% of the purported financial advisors are to be avoided as they are hazardous to your finances.

10. Try to get a positive cash flow in your life as early as possible to dramatically reduce stress. That is difficult if you have kids, large student loans, or large mortgage/rent costs, so those are the big decisions you need to make on life-finance balance.

Regarding Social Security, it is currently structured to provide 75% to 80% of its current benefits starting in 2034. That is still a significant safety net, but would require Congress to act to get it back to around 100%.

Medicare is just part and parcel of the US healthcare cost issues. If the US can get down to less than 14% of GDP in healthcare expenditures while providing universal coverage, then the Medicare/Medicaid funding issue effectively goes away. This is not impossible as the US is the only developed country that is above 14%.

rc , March 18, 2019 at 4:01 pm

Elizabeth Warren had a good speech at UC-Berkeley. She focused on the middle class family balance sheet and risk shifting. Regulatory policies and a credit based monetary system have resulted in massive real price increases in inelastic areas of demand such as healthcare, education and housing eroding purchasing power. Further, trade policies have put U.S. manufacturing at a massive disadvantage to the likes of China, which has subsidized state-owned enterprises, has essentially slave labor costs and low to no environmental regulations. Unrestrained immigration policies have resulted in a massive supply wave of semi- and unskilled labor suppressing wages.

Recommended initial steps to reform:
1. Change the monetary system-deleverage economy with the Chicago Plan (100% reserve banking) and fund massive infrastructure lowering total factor costs and increasing productivity. This would eliminate
2. Adopt a healthcare system that drives HC to 10% to 12% of GDP. France's maybe? Medicare model needs serious reform but is great at low admin costs.
3. Raise tariffs across the board or enact labor and environmental tariffs on the likes of China and other Asian export model countries.
4. Take savings from healthcare costs and interest and invest in human capital–educational attainment and apprenticeships programs.
5. Enforce border security restricting future immigration dramatically and let economy absorb labor supply over time.

Video of UC-B lecture:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akVL7QY0S8A&feature=youtu.be

Jerry B , March 18, 2019 at 5:26 pm

As I have said in other comments, I like Liz Warren a lot within the limits of what she is good at doing (i.e. not President) such as Secretary of the Treasury etc. And I think she likes the media spotlight and to hear herself talk a little to much, but all quibbling aside, can we clone her??? The above comment and video just reinforce "Stick to what you are really good at Liz!".

I am not a Liz Warren fan boi to the extent Lambert is of AOC, but it seems that most of the time when I hear Warren, Sanders, or AOC say something my first reaction is "Yes, what she/he said!".

[Mar 16, 2019] If we assume average EROEI equal 2 for shale oil then rising shale oil production with almost constant world oil production is clearly a Pyrrhic victory. Again, putting a single curve for all types of oil is the number racket, or voodoo dances around the fire.

Mar 16, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

likbez says: 03/16/2019 at 9:34 pm

likbez says:

03/16/2019 at 9:34 pm

Some arguments in defense of Ron estimates

1. When something is increasing 0.8% a year based on data with, say, 2% or higher margin of error this is not a growth. This is a number racket.

2. We need to use proper coefficients to correctly estimate energy output of different types of oil We do not know real EROEI of shale oil, but some sources claim that it is in the 1.5-4.5 range. Let's assume that it is 3. In comparison, Saudi oil has 80-100 range. In this sense shale oil is not a part of the solution; it is a part of the problem (stream of just bonds produced in parallel is the testament of that). In other words, all shale oil is "subprime oil," and an increase of shale oil production is correctly called the oil retirement party. The same is true for the tar sands oil.

So the proper formula for total world production in "normalized by ERORI units" might be approximated by the equation:

0.99* OPEC_oil + 0.97*other_conventional_oil + 0.95*shallow-water_oil + 0.9*deep_water_oil +0.75*(shale_oil+condensate) + 0.6*tar_sand_oil + 0.2*ethanol

where coefficients (I do not claim that they are accurate; they are provided just for demonstration) reflect EROEI of particular types of oil.

If we assume that 58% of the US oil production is shale oil and condensate then the amount of "normalized" oil extracted in the USA can be approximated by the formula

total * 0.83

In other words 17% of the volume is a fiction. Simplifying it was spent on extraction of shale oil and condensate (for concentrate lower energy content might justify lower coefficient; but for simplicity we assume that it is equal to shale oil).

Among other things that means that 1970 peak of production probably was never exceeded.

3. EROEI of most types of oil continues to decline (from 35 in 1999 to 18 in 2006 according to http://www.euanmearns.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/eroeihalletal.png). Which means that in reality physical volume became a very deceptive metric as you need to sink more and more money/energy into producing every single barrel and that fact is not reflected in the volume. In other words, the barrel of shale oil is already 50% empty when it was lifted to the ground (aka "subprime oil"). In this sense, shale wells with their three years of the high producing period are simply money dumping grounds for money in comparison with Saudi oil wells.

4. The higher price does not solve the problem of the decline of EROEI. It just allows the allocation of a larger portion of national wealth to the oil extraction putting the rest of the economy into permanent stagnation.

5. If we assume average EROEI equal 3 (or even 5) for shale oil then rising shale oil production along with almost constant world oil production is clearly a Pyrrhic victory. Again, putting a single curve for all types of oil is the number racket, or voodoo dances around the fire.

NOTES:

1. IMHO Ron made a correct observation about Saudi behavior: the declines of production can well be masked under pretention of meeting the quota to save face. That might be true about OPEC and Russia as a whole too. Exceptions like Iraq only confirm the rule.

2. EROEI of lithium battery is around 32

[Mar 15, 2019] Patriots Turning To #YangGang In Response To Trump, Conservatism Inc. Failure by James Kirkpatrick

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Yang promises a universal entitlement, not dependent on income, that he calls a "freedom dividend." To be funded through a value added tax , Yang claims that it would reduce the strain on "health care, incarceration, homeless services, and the like" and actually save billions of dollars. Yang also notes that "current welfare and social program beneficiaries would be given a choice between their current benefits or $1,000 cash unconditionally." ..."
"... Yang is justifying the need for such a program because of automation . Again, VDARE.com has been exploring how automation may necessitate such a program for many years . Yang also discussed this problem on Tucker Carlson's show , which alone shows he is more open to real discussion than many progressive activists. ..."
"... Indeed, journalists, hall monitors that they are, have recognized that President Trump's online supporters are flocking to Yang, bringing him a powerful weapon in the meme wars. ..."
"... it is ominous for Trump that many of the more creative and dedicated people who formed his vanguard are giving up on him. ..."
Mar 15, 2019 | www.unz.com

The dark horse candidate of the 2020 Democratic primary is entrepreneur Andrew Yang , who just qualified for the first round of debates by attracting over 65,000 unique donors. [ Andrew Yang qualifies for first DNC debate with 65,000 unique donors , by Orion Rummler, Axios, March 12, 2019]

Yang is a businessman who has worked in several fields, but was best known for founding Venture for America , which helps college graduates become entrepreneurs. However, he is now gaining recognition for his signature campaign promise -- $1,000 a month for every American.

Yang promises a universal entitlement, not dependent on income, that he calls a "freedom dividend." To be funded through a value added tax , Yang claims that it would reduce the strain on "health care, incarceration, homeless services, and the like" and actually save billions of dollars. Yang also notes that "current welfare and social program beneficiaries would be given a choice between their current benefits or $1,000 cash unconditionally."

As Yang himself notes, this is not a new idea, nor one particularly tied to the Left. Indeed, it's been proposed by several prominent libertarians because it would replace the far more inefficient welfare system. Charles Murray called for this policy in 2016. [ A guaranteed income for every American , AEI, June 3, 2016] Milton Friedman suggested a similar policy in a 1968 interview with William F. Buckley, though Friedman called it a "negative income tax."

He rejected arguments that it would cause indolence. F.A. Hayek also supported such a policy; he essentially took it for granted . [ Friedrich Hayek supported a guaranteed minimum income , by James Kwak, Medium, July 20, 2015]

It's also been proposed by many nationalists, including, well, me. At the January 2013 VDARE.com Webinar, I called for a "straight-up minimum income for citizens only" among other policies that would build a new nationalist majority and deconstruct Leftist power. I've retained that belief ever since and argued for it here for years.

However, I've also made the argument that it only works if it is for citizens only and is combined with a restrictive immigration policy. As I previously argued in a piece attacking Jacobin's disingenuous complaints about the "reserve army of the unemployed," you simply can't support high wages, workers' rights, and a universal basic income while still demanding mass immigration.

Yang is justifying the need for such a program because of automation . Again, VDARE.com has been exploring how automation may necessitate such a program for many years . Yang also discussed this problem on Tucker Carlson's show , which alone shows he is more open to real discussion than many progressive activists.

Yang is also directly addressing the crises that the Trump Administration has seemly forgotten. Unlike Donald Trump himself, with his endless boasting about "low black and Hispanic unemployment," Yang has directly spoken about the demographic collapse of white people because of "low birth rates and white men dying from substance abuse and suicide ."

Though even the viciously anti-white Dylan Matthews called the tweet "innocuous," there is little doubt if President Trump said it would be called racist. [ Andrew Yang, the 2020 long-shot candidate running on a universal basic income, explained , Vox, March 11, 2019]

Significantly, President Trump himself has never once specifically recognized the plight of white Americans.

...He wants to make Puerto Rico a state . He supports a path to citizenship for illegal aliens, albeit with an 18-year waiting period and combined with pledges to secure the border and deport illegals who don't enroll in the citizenship program. He wants to create a massive bureaucratic system to track gun owners, restrict gun ownership , and require various "training" programs for licenses. He wants to subsidize local journalists with taxpayer dollars...

... ... ...

Indeed, journalists, hall monitors that they are, have recognized that President Trump's online supporters are flocking to Yang, bringing him a powerful weapon in the meme wars. (Sample meme at right.) And because many of these online activists are "far right" by Main Stream Media standards, or at least Politically Incorrect, there is much hand-waving and wrist-flapping about the need for Yang to decry "white nationalists." So of course, the candidate has dutifully done so, claiming "racism and white nationalism [are] a threat to the core ideals of what it means to be an American". [ Presidential candidate Andrew Yang has a meme problem , by Russell Brandom, The Verge, March 9, 2019]

But what does it mean to be an American? As more and more of American history is described as racist, and even national symbols and the national anthem are targets for protest, "America" certainly doesn't seem like a real country with a real identity. Increasingly, "America" resembles a continent-sized shopping mall, with nothing holding together the warring tribes that occupy it except money.

President Trump, of course, was elected because many people thought he could reverse this process, especially by limiting mass immigration and taking strong action in the culture wars, for example by promoting official English. Yet in recent weeks, he has repeatedly endorsed more legal immigration. Rather than fighting, the president is content to brag about the economy and whine about unfair press coverage and investigations. He already seems like a lame duck.

The worst part of all of this is that President Trump was elected as a response not just to the Left, but to the failed Conservative Establishment. During the 2016 campaign, President Trump specifically pledged to protect entitlements , decried foreign wars, and argued for a massive infrastructure plan. However, once in office, his main legislative accomplishment is a tax cut any other Republican president would have pushed. Similarly, his latest budget contains the kinds of entitlement cuts that are guaranteed to provoke Democrat attack ads. [ Trump said he wouldn't cut Medicaid, Social Security, and Medicare . His 2020 budget cuts all 3 , by Tara Golshan, Vox, March 12, 2019] And the president has already backed down on withdrawing all troops from Syria, never mind Afghanistan.

Conservatism Inc., having learned nothing from candidate Donald Trump's scorched-earth path to the Republican nomination, now embraces Trump as a man but ignores his campaign message. Instead, the conservative movement is still promoting the same tired slogans about "free markets" even as they have appear to have lost an entire generation to socialism. The most iconic moment was Charlie Kirk, head of the free market activist group Turning Point USA, desperately trying to tell his followers not to cheer for Tucker Carlson because Carlson had suggested a nation should be treated like a family, not simply a marketplace .

President Trump himself is now trying to talk like a fiscal conservative [ Exclusive -- Donald Trump: 'Seductive' Socialism Would Send Country 'Down The Tubes' In a Decade Or Less , by Alexander Marlow, Matt Boyle, Amanda House, and Charlie Spierling, Breitbart, March 11, 2019]. Such a pose is self-discrediting given how the deficit swelled under united Republican control and untold amounts of money are seemingly still available for foreign aid to Israel, regime change in Iran and Venezuela, and feminist programs abroad to make favorite daughter Ivanka Trump feel important. [ Trump budget plans to give $100 million to program for women that Ivanka launched , by Nathalie Baptiste, Mother Jones, March 9, 2019]

Thus, especially because of his cowardice on immigration, many of President Trump's most fervent online supporters have turned on him in recent weeks. And the embrace of Yang seems to come out of a great place of despair, a sense that the country really is beyond saving.

Yang has Leftist policies on many issues, but many disillusioned Trump supporters feel like those policies are coming anyway. If America is just an economy, and if everyone in the world is a simply an American-in-waiting, white Americans might as well get something out of this System before the bones are picked clean.

National Review ' s Theodore Kupfer just claimed the main importance of Yang's candidacy is that it will prove meme-makers ability to affect the vote count "has been overstated" [ Rise of the pink hats , March 12, 2019].

Time will tell, but it is ominous for Trump that many of the more creative and dedicated people who formed his vanguard are giving up on him.

[Mar 13, 2019] Pilots Complained About Boeing 737 Max 8 For Months Before Second Deadly Crash

Mar 13, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Several Pilots repeatedly warned federal authorities of safety concerns over the now-grounded Boeing 737 Max 8 for months leading up to the second deadly disaster involving the plane, according to an investigation by the Dallas Morning News . One captain even called the Max 8's flight manual " inadequate and almost criminally insufficient ," according to the report.

" The fact that this airplane requires such jury-rigging to fly is a red flag. Now we know the systems employed are error-prone -- even if the pilots aren't sure what those systems are, what redundancies are in place and failure modes. I am left to wonder: what else don't I know?" wrote the captain.

At least five complaints about the Boeing jet were found in a federal database which pilots routinely use to report aviation incidents without fear of repercussions.

The complaints are about the safety mechanism cited in preliminary reports for an October plane crash in Indonesia that killed 189.

The disclosures found by The News reference problems during flights of Boeing 737 Max 8s with an autopilot system during takeoff and nose-down situations while trying to gain altitude. While records show these flights occurred during October and November, information regarding which airlines the pilots were flying for at the time is redacted from the database. - Dallas Morning News

One captain who flies the Max 8 said in November that it was "unconscionable" that Boeing and federal authorities have allowed pilots to fly the plane without adequate training - including a failure to fully disclose how its systems were distinctly different from other planes.

An FAA spokesman said the reporting system is directly filed to NASA, which serves as an neutral third party in the reporting of grievances.

"The FAA analyzes these reports along with other safety data gathered through programs the FAA administers directly, including the Aviation Safety Action Program, which includes all of the major airlines including Southwest and American," said FAA southwest regional spokesman Lynn Lunsford.

Meanwhile, despite several airlines and foreign countries grounding the Max 8, US regulators have so far declined to follow suit. They have, however, mandated that Boeing upgrade the plane's software by April.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who chairs a Senate subcommittee overseeing aviation, called for the grounding of the Max 8 in a Thursday statement.

"Further investigation may reveal that mechanical issues were not the cause, but until that time, our first priority must be the safety of the flying public," said Cruz.

At least 18 carriers -- including American Airlines and Southwest Airlines, the two largest U.S. carriers flying the 737 Max 8 -- have also declined to ground planes , saying they are confident in the safety and "airworthiness" of their fleets. American and Southwest have 24 and 34 of the aircraft in their fleets, respectively. - Dallas Morning News

The United States should be leading the world in aviation safety," said Transport Workers Union president John Samuelsen. " And yet, because of the lust for profit in the American aviation, we're still flying planes that dozens of other countries and airlines have now said need to grounded ." Tags Disaster Accident

[Mar 13, 2019] Boeing's automatic trim for the 737 MAX was not disclosed to the Pilots by Bjorn Fehrm

The background to Boeing's 737 MAX automatic trim
Mar 13, 2019 | leehamnews.com

The automatic trim we described last week has a name, MCAS, or Maneuvering Characteristics Automation System.

It's unique to the MAX because the 737 MAX no longer has the docile pitch characteristics of the 737NG at high Angles Of Attack (AOA). This is caused by the larger engine nacelles covering the higher bypass LEAP-1B engines.

The nacelles for the MAX are larger and placed higher and further forward of the wing, Figure 1.

Figure 1. Boeing 737NG (left) and MAX (right) nacelles compared. Source: Boeing 737 MAX brochure.

By placing the nacelle further forward of the wing, it could be placed higher. Combined with a higher nose landing gear, which raises the nacelle further, the same ground clearance could be achieved for the nacelle as for the 737NG.

The drawback of a larger nacelle, placed further forward, is it destabilizes the aircraft in pitch. All objects on an aircraft placed ahead of the Center of Gravity (the line in Figure 2, around which the aircraft moves in pitch) will contribute to destabilize the aircraft in pitch.

... ... ...

The 737 is a classical flight control aircraft. It relies on a naturally stable base aircraft for its flight control design, augmented in selected areas. Once such area is the artificial yaw damping, present on virtually all larger aircraft (to stop passengers getting sick from the aircraft's natural tendency to Dutch Roll = Wagging its tail).

Until the MAX, there was no need for artificial aids in pitch. Once the aircraft entered a stall, there were several actions described last week which assisted the pilot to exit the stall. But not in normal flight.

The larger nacelles, called for by the higher bypass LEAP-1B engines, changed this. When flying at normal angles of attack (3° at cruise and say 5° in a turn) the destabilizing effect of the larger engines are not felt.

The nacelles are designed to not generate lift in normal flight. It would generate unnecessary drag as the aspect ratio of an engine nacelle is lousy. The aircraft designer focuses the lift to the high aspect ratio wings.

But if the pilot for whatever reason manoeuvres the aircraft hard, generating an angle of attack close to the stall angle of around 14°, the previously neutral engine nacelle generates lift. A lift which is felt by the aircraft as a pitch up moment (as its ahead of the CG line), now stronger than on the 737NG. This destabilizes the MAX in pitch at higher Angles Of Attack (AOA). The most difficult situation is when the maneuver has a high pitch ratio. The aircraft's inertia can then provoke an over-swing into stall AOA.

To counter the MAX's lower stability margins at high AOA, Boeing introduced MCAS. Dependent on AOA value and rate, altitude (air density) and Mach (changed flow conditions) the MCAS, which is a software loop in the Flight Control computer, initiates a nose down trim above a threshold AOA.

It can be stopped by the Pilot counter-trimming on the Yoke or by him hitting the CUTOUT switches on the center pedestal. It's not stopped by the Pilot pulling the Yoke, which for normal trim from the autopilot or runaway manual trim triggers trim hold sensors. This would negate why MCAS was implemented, the Pilot pulling so hard on the Yoke that the aircraft is flying close to stall.

It's probably this counterintuitive characteristic, which goes against what has been trained many times in the simulator for unwanted autopilot trim or manual trim runaway, which has confused the pilots of JT610. They learned that holding against the trim stopped the nose down, and then they could take action, like counter-trimming or outright CUTOUT the trim servo. But it didn't. After a 10 second trim to a 2.5° nose down stabilizer position, the trimming started again despite the Pilots pulling against it. The faulty high AOA signal was still present.

How should they know that pulling on the Yoke didn't stop the trim? It was described nowhere; neither in the aircraft's manual, the AFM, nor in the Pilot's manual, the FCOM. This has created strong reactions from airlines with the 737 MAX on the flight line and their Pilots. They have learned the NG and the MAX flies the same. They fly them interchangeably during the week.

They do fly the same as long as no fault appears. Then there are differences, and the Pilots should have been informed about the differences.

  1. Bruce Levitt
    November 14, 2018
    In figure 2 it shows the same center of gravity for the NG as the Max. I find this a bit surprising as I would have expected that mounting heavy engines further forward would have cause a shift forward in the center of gravity that would not have been offset by the longer tailcone, which I'm assuming is relatively light even with APU installed.

    Based on what is coming out about the automatic trim, Boeing must be counting its lucky stars that this incident happened to Lion Air and not to an American aircraft. If this had happened in the US, I'm pretty sure the fleet would have been grounded by the FAA and the class action lawyers would be lined up outside the door to get their many pounds of flesh.

    This is quite the wake-up call for Boeing.

    • OV-099
      November 14, 2018
      If the FAA is not going to comprehensively review the certification for the 737 MAX, I would not be surprised if EASA would start taking a closer look at the aircraft and why the FAA seemingly missed the seemingly inadequate testing of the automatic trim when they decided to certified the 737 MAX 8. Reply
      • Doubting Thomas
        November 16, 2018
        One wonders if there are any OTHER goodies in the new/improved/yet identical handling latest iteration of this old bird that Boeing did not disclose so that pilots need not be retrained.
        EASA & FAA likely already are asking some pointed questions and will want to verify any statements made by the manufacturer.
        Depending on the answers pilot training requirements are likely to change materially.
    • jbeeko
      November 14, 2018
      CG will vary based on loading. I'd guess the line is the rear-most allowed CG.
    • ahmed
      November 18, 2018
      hi dears
      I think that even the pilot didnt knew about the MCAS ; this case can be corrected by only applying the boeing check list (QRH) stabilizer runaway.
      the pilot when they noticed that stabilizer are trimming without a knewn input ( from pilot or from Auto pilot ) ; shout put the cut out sw in the off position according to QRH. Reply
      • TransWorld
        November 19, 2018
        Please note that the first actions pulling back on the yoke to stop it.

        Also keep in mind the aircraft is screaming stall and the stick shaker is activated.

        Pulling back on the yoke in that case is the WRONG thing to do if you are stalled.

        The Pilot has to then determine which system is lading.

        At the same time its chaning its behavior from previous training, every 5 seconds, it does it again.

        There also was another issue taking place at the same time.

        So now you have two systems lying to you, one that is actively trying to kill you.

        If the Pitot static system is broken, you also have several key instruments feeding you bad data (VSI, altitude and speed)

    • TransWorld
      November 14, 2018
      Grubbie: I can partly answer that.

      Pilots are trained to immediately deal with emergency issues (engine loss etc)

      Then there is a follow up detailed instructions for follow on actions (if any).

      Simulators are wonderful things because you can train lethal scenes without lethal results.

      In this case, with NO pilot training let alone in the manuals, pilots have to either be really quick in the situation or you get the result you do. Some are better at it than others (Sullenbergers along with other aspects elected to turn on his APU even though it was not part of the engine out checklist)

      The other one was to ditch, too many pilots try to turn back even though we are trained not to.

      What I can tell you from personal expereince is having got myself into a spin without any training, I was locked up logic wise (panic) as suddenly nothing was working the way it should.

      I was lucky I was high enough and my brain kicked back into cold logic mode and I knew the counter to a spin from reading)

      Another 500 feet and I would not be here to post.

      While I did parts of the spin recovery wrong, fortunately in that aircraft it did not care, right rudder was enough to stop it.

      Reply
  1. OV-099
    November 14, 2018
    It's starting to look as if Boeing will not be able to just pay victims' relatives in the form of "condolence money", without admitting liability. Reply
    • Dukeofurl
      November 14, 2018
      Im pretty sure, even though its an Indonesian Airline, any whiff of fault with the plane itself will have lawyers taking Boeing on in US courts.
  1. Tech-guru
    November 14, 2018
    Astonishing to say the least. It is quite unlike Boeing. They are normally very good in the documentation and training. It makes everyone wonder how such vital change on the MAX aircraft was omitted from books as weel as in crew training.
    Your explanation is very good as to why you need this damn MCAS. But can you also tell us how just one faulty sensor can trigger this MCAS. In all other Boeing models like B777, the two AOA sensor signals are compared with a calculated AOA and choose the mid value within the ADIRU. It eliminates a drastic mistake of following a wrong sensor input.
    • Bjorn Fehrm
      November 14, 2018
      Hi Tech-Gury,

      it's not sure it's a one sensor fault. One sensor was changed amid information there was a 20 degree diff between the two sides. But then it happened again. I think we might be informed something else is at the root of this, which could also trip such a plausibility check you mention. We just don't know. What we know is the MCAS function was triggered without the aircraft being close to stall.

      Reply
      • Matthew
        November 14, 2018
        If it's certain that the MCAS was doing unhelpful things, that coupled with the fact that no one was telling pilots anything about it suggests to me that this is already effectively an open-and-shut case so far as liability, regulatory remedies are concerned.

        The tecnical root cause is also important, but probably irrelevant so far as estbalishing the ultimate reason behind the crash.

        Reply

[Mar 13, 2019] Boeing Crapification Second 737 Max Plane Within Five Months Crashes Just After Takeoff

Notable quotes:
"... The key point I want to pick up on from that earlier post is this: the Boeing 737 Max includes a new "safety" feature about which the company failed to inform the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). ..."
"... Boeing Co. withheld information about potential hazards associated with a new flight-control feature suspected of playing a role in last month's fatal Lion Air jet crash, according to safety experts involved in the investigation, as well as midlevel FAA officials and airline pilots. ..."
"... Notice that phrase: "under unusual conditions". Seems now that the pilots of two of these jets may have encountered such unusual conditions since October. ..."
"... Why did Boeing neglect to tell the FAA – or, for that matter, other airlines or regulatory authorities – about the changes to the 737 Max? Well, the airline marketed the new jet as not needing pilots to undergo any additional training in order to fly it. ..."
"... In addition to considerable potential huge legal liability, from both the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes, Boeing also faces the commercial consequences of grounding some if not all 737 Max 8 'planes currently in service – temporarily? indefinitely? -and loss or at minimum delay of all future sales of this aircraft model. ..."
"... If this tragedy had happened on an aircraft of another manufacturer other than big Boeing, the fleet would already have been grounded by the FAA. The arrogance of engineers both at Airbus and Boeing, who refuse to give the pilots easy means to regain immediate and full authority over the plane (pitch and power) is just appalling. ..."
"... Boeing has made significant inroads in China with its 737 MAX family. A dozen Chinese airlines have ordered 180 of the planes, and 76 of them have been delivered, according Boeing. About 85% of Boeing's unfilled Chinese airline orders are for 737 MAX planes. ..."
"... "It's pretty asinine for them to put a system on an airplane and not tell the pilots who are operating the airplane, especially when it deals with flight controls," Captain Mike Michaelis, chairman of the safety committee for the Allied Pilots Association, told the Wall Street Journal. ..."
"... The aircraft company concealed the new system and minimized the differences between the MAX and other versions of the 737 to boost sales. On the Boeing website, the company claims that airlines can save "millions of dollars" by purchasing the new plane "because of its commonality" with previous versions of the plane. ..."
"... "Years of experience representing hundreds of victims has revealed a common thread through most air disaster cases," said Charles Herrmann the principle of Herrmann Law. "Generating profit in a fiercely competitive market too often involves cutting safety measures. In this case, Boeing cut training and completely eliminated instructions and warnings on a new system. Pilots didn't even know it existed. I can't blame so many pilots for being mad as hell." ..."
"... The Air France Airbus disaster was jumped on – Boeing's traditional hydraulic links between the sticks for the two pilots ensuring they move in tandem; the supposed comments by Captain Sully that the Airbus software didn't allow him to hit the water at the optimal angle he wanted, causing the rear rupture in the fuselage both showed the inferiority of fly-by-wire until Boeing started using it too. (Sully has taken issue with the book making the above point and concludes fly-by-wire is a "mixed blessing".) ..."
"... Money over people. ..."
Mar 13, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Posted on March 11, 2019 by Jerri-Lynn Scofield By Jerri-Lynn Scofield, who has worked as a securities lawyer and a derivatives trader. She is currently writing a book about textile artisans.

Yesterday, an Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed minutes after takeoff, killing all 157 passengers on board.

The crash occurred less than five months after a Lion Air jet crashed near Jakarta, Indonesia, also shortly after takeoff, and killed all 189 passengers.

Both jets were Boeing's latest 737 Max 8 model.

The Wall Street Journal reports in Ethiopian Crash Carries High Stakes for Boeing, Growing African Airline :

The state-owned airline is among the early operators of Boeing's new 737 MAX single-aisle workhorse aircraft, which has been delivered to carriers around the world since 2017. The 737 MAX represents about two-thirds of Boeing's future deliveries and an estimated 40% of its profits, according to analysts.

Having delivered 350 of the 737 MAX planes as of January, Boeing has booked orders for about 5,000 more, many to airlines in fast-growing emerging markets around the world.

The voice and data recorders for the doomed flight have already been recovered, the New York Times reported in Ethiopian Airline Crash Updates: Data and Voice Recorders Recovered . Investigators will soon be able to determine whether the same factors that caused the Lion Air crash also caused the latest Ethiopian Airlines tragedy.

Boeing, Crapification, Two 737 Max Crashes Within Five Months

Yves wrote a post in November, Boeing, Crapification, and the Lion Air Crash , analyzing a devastating Wall Street Journal report on that earlier crash. I will not repeat the details of her post here, but instead encourage interested readers to read it iin full.

The key point I want to pick up on from that earlier post is this: the Boeing 737 Max includes a new "safety" feature about which the company failed to inform the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). As Yves wrote:

The short version of the story is that Boeing had implemented a new "safety" feature that operated even when its plane was being flown manually, that if it went into a stall, it would lower the nose suddenly to pick airspeed and fly normally again. However, Boeing didn't tell its buyers or even the FAA about this new goodie. It wasn't in pilot training or even the manuals. But even worse, this new control could force the nose down so far that it would be impossible not to crash the plane. And no, I am not making this up. From the Wall Street Journal:

Boeing Co. withheld information about potential hazards associated with a new flight-control feature suspected of playing a role in last month's fatal Lion Air jet crash, according to safety experts involved in the investigation, as well as midlevel FAA officials and airline pilots.

The automated stall-prevention system on Boeing 737 MAX 8 and MAX 9 models -- intended to help cockpit crews avoid mistakenly raising a plane's nose dangerously high -- under unusual conditions can push it down unexpectedly and so strongly that flight crews can't pull it back up. Such a scenario, Boeing told airlines in a world-wide safety bulletin roughly a week after the accident, can result in a steep dive or crash -- even if pilots are manually flying the jetliner and don't expect flight-control computers to kick in.

Notice that phrase: "under unusual conditions". Seems now that the pilots of two of these jets may have encountered such unusual conditions since October.

Why did Boeing neglect to tell the FAA – or, for that matter, other airlines or regulatory authorities – about the changes to the 737 Max? Well, the airline marketed the new jet as not needing pilots to undergo any additional training in order to fly it.

I see. Why Were 737 Max Jets Still in Service? Today, Boeing executives no doubt rue not pulling all 737 Max 8 jets out of service after the October Lion Air crash, to allow their engineers and engineering safety regulators to make necessary changes in the 'plane's design or to develop new training protocols.

In addition to considerable potential huge legal liability, from both the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes, Boeing also faces the commercial consequences of grounding some if not all 737 Max 8 'planes currently in service – temporarily? indefinitely? -and loss or at minimum delay of all future sales of this aircraft model.

Over to Yves again, who in her November post cut to the crux:

And why haven't the planes been taken out of service? As one Wall Street Journal reader put it:

If this tragedy had happened on an aircraft of another manufacturer other than big Boeing, the fleet would already have been grounded by the FAA. The arrogance of engineers both at Airbus and Boeing, who refuse to give the pilots easy means to regain immediate and full authority over the plane (pitch and power) is just appalling.

Accident and incident records abound where the automation has been a major contributing factor or precursor. Knowing our friends at Boeing, it is highly probable that they will steer the investigation towards maintenance deficiencies as primary cause of the accident

In the wake of the Ethiopian Airlines crash, other countries have not waited for the FAA to act. China and Indonesia, as well as Ethiopian Airlines and Cayman Airways, have grounded flights of all Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft, the Guardian reported in Ethiopian Airlines crash: Boeing faces safety questions over 737 Max 8 jets . The FT has called the Chinese and Indonesian actions an "unparalleled flight ban" (see China and Indonesia ground Boeing 737 Max 8 jets after latest crash ). India's air regulator has also issued new rules covering flights of the 737 Max aircraft, requiring pilots to have a minimum of 1,000 hours experience to fly these 'planes, according to a report in the Economic Times, DGCA issues additional safety instructions for flying B737 MAX planes.

Future of Boeing?

The commercial consequences of grounding the 737 Max in China alone are significant, according to this CNN account, Why grounding 737 MAX jets is a big deal for Boeing . The 737 Max is Boeing's most important plane; China is also the company's major market:

"A suspension in China is very significant, as this is a major market for Boeing," said Greg Waldron, Asia managing editor at aviation research firm FlightGlobal.

Boeing has predicted that China will soon become the world's first trillion-dollar market for jets. By 2037, Boeing estimates China will need 7,690 commercial jets to meet its travel demands.

Airbus (EADSF) and Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, or Comac, are vying with Boeing for the vast and rapidly growing Chinese market.

Comac's first plane, designed to compete with the single-aisle Boeing 737 MAX and Airbus A320, made its first test flight in 2017. It is not yet ready for commercial service, but Boeing can't afford any missteps.

Boeing has made significant inroads in China with its 737 MAX family. A dozen Chinese airlines have ordered 180 of the planes, and 76 of them have been delivered, according Boeing. About 85% of Boeing's unfilled Chinese airline orders are for 737 MAX planes.

The 737 has been Boeing's bestselling product for decades. The company's future depends on the success the 737 MAX, the newest version of the jet. Boeing has 4,700 unfilled orders for 737s, representing 80% of Boeing's orders backlog. Virtually all 737 orders are for MAX versions.

As of the time of posting, US airlines have yet to ground their 737 Max 8 fleets. American Airlines, Alaska Air, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines have ordered a combined 548 of the new 737 jets, of which 65 have been delivered, according to CNN.

Legal Liability?

Prior to Sunday's Ethiopian Airlines crash, Boeing already faced considerable potential legal liability for the October Lion Air crash. Just last Thursday, the Hermann Law Group of personal injury lawyers filed suit against Boeing on behalf of the families of 17 Indonesian passengers who died in that crash.

The Families of Lion Air Crash File Lawsuit Against Boeing – News Release did not mince words;

"It's pretty asinine for them to put a system on an airplane and not tell the pilots who are operating the airplane, especially when it deals with flight controls," Captain Mike Michaelis, chairman of the safety committee for the Allied Pilots Association, told the Wall Street Journal.

The president of the pilots union at Southwest Airlines, Jon Weaks, said, "We're pissed that Boeing didn't tell the companies, and the pilots didn't get notice."

The aircraft company concealed the new system and minimized the differences between the MAX and other versions of the 737 to boost sales. On the Boeing website, the company claims that airlines can save "millions of dollars" by purchasing the new plane "because of its commonality" with previous versions of the plane.

"Years of experience representing hundreds of victims has revealed a common thread through most air disaster cases," said Charles Herrmann the principle of Herrmann Law. "Generating profit in a fiercely competitive market too often involves cutting safety measures. In this case, Boeing cut training and completely eliminated instructions and warnings on a new system. Pilots didn't even know it existed. I can't blame so many pilots for being mad as hell."

Additionally, the complaint alleges the United States Federal Aviation Administration is partially culpable for negligently certifying Boeing's Air Flight Manual without requiring adequate instruction and training on the new system. Canadian and Brazilian authorities did require additional training.

What's Next?

The consequences for Boeing could be serious and will depend on what the flight and voice data recorders reveal. I also am curious as to what additional flight training or instructions, if any, the Ethiopian Airlines pilots received, either before or after the Lion Air crash, whether from Boeing, an air safety regulator, or any other source.


el_tel , March 11, 2019 at 5:04 pm

Of course we shouldn't engage in speculation, but we will anyway 'cause we're human. If fly-by-wire and the ability of software to over-ride pilots are indeed implicated in the 737 Max 8 then you can bet the Airbus cheer-leaders on YouTube videos will engage in huge Schaudenfreude.

I really shouldn't even look at comments to YouTube videos – it's bad for my blood pressure. But I occasionally dip into the swamp on ones in areas like airlines. Of course – as you'd expect – you get a large amount of "flag waving" between Europeans and Americans. But the level of hatred and suspiciously similar comments by the "if it ain't Boeing I ain't going" brigade struck me as in a whole new league long before the "SJW" troll wars regarding things like Captain Marvel etc of today.

The Air France Airbus disaster was jumped on – Boeing's traditional hydraulic links between the sticks for the two pilots ensuring they move in tandem; the supposed comments by Captain Sully that the Airbus software didn't allow him to hit the water at the optimal angle he wanted, causing the rear rupture in the fuselage both showed the inferiority of fly-by-wire until Boeing started using it too. (Sully has taken issue with the book making the above point and concludes fly-by-wire is a "mixed blessing".)

I'm going to try to steer clear of my YouTube channels on airlines. Hopefully NC will continue to provide the real evidence as it emerges as to what's been going on here.

Monty , March 11, 2019 at 7:14 pm

Re SJW troll wars.

It is really disheartening how an idea as reasonable as "a just society" has been so thoroughly discredited among a large swath of the population.

No wonder there is such a wide interest in primitive construction and technology on YouTube. This society is very sick and it is nice to pretend there is a way to opt out.

none , March 11, 2019 at 8:17 pm

The version I heard (today, on Reddit) was "if it's Boeing, I'm not going". Hadn't seen the opposite version to just now.

Octopii , March 12, 2019 at 5:19 pm

Nobody is going to provide real evidence but the NTSB.

albert , March 12, 2019 at 6:44 pm

Indeed. The NTSB usually works with local investigation teams (as well as a manufacturers rep) if the manufacturer is located in the US, or if specifically requested by the local authorities. I'd like to see their report. I don't care what the FAA or Boeing says about it.
. .. . .. -- .

d , March 12, 2019 at 5:58 pm

fly by wire has been around the 90s, its not new

notabanker , March 11, 2019 at 6:37 pm

Contains a link to a Seattle Times report as a "comprehensive wrap":
Speaking before China's announcement, Cox, who previously served as the top safety official for the Air Line Pilots Association, said it's premature to think of grounding the 737 MAX fleet.

"We don't know anything yet. We don't have close to sufficient information to consider grounding the planes," he said. "That would create economic pressure on a number of the airlines that's unjustified at this point.

China has grounded them . US? Must not create undue economic pressure on the airlines. Right there in black and white. Money over people.

Joey , March 11, 2019 at 11:13 pm

I just emailed southwest about an upcoming flight asking about my choices for refusal to board MAX 8/9 planes based on this "feature". I expect pro forma policy recitation, but customer pressure could trump too big to fail sweeping the dirt under the carpet. I hope.

Thuto , March 12, 2019 at 3:35 am

We got the "safety of our customers is our top priority and we are remaining vigilant and are in touch with Boeing and the Civial Aviation Authority on this matter but will not be grounding the aircraft model until further information on the crash becomes available" speech from a local airline here in South Africa. It didn't take half a day for customer pressure to effect a swift reversal of that blatant disregard for their "top priority", the model is grounded so yeah, customer muscle flexing will do it

Jessica , March 12, 2019 at 5:26 am

On PPRUNE.ORG (where a lot of pilots hang out), they reported that after the Lion Air crash, Southwest added an extra display (to indicate when the two angle of attack sensors were disagreeing with each other) that the folks on PPRUNE thought was an extremely good idea and effective.
Of course, if the Ethiopian crash was due to something different from the Lion Air crash, that extra display on the Southwest planes may not make any difference.

JerryDenim , March 12, 2019 at 2:09 pm

"On PPRUNE.ORG (where a lot of pilots hang out)"

Take those comments with a large dose of salt. Not to say everyone commenting on PPRUNE and sites like PPRUNE are posers, but PPRUNE.org is where a lot of wanna-be pilots and guys that spend a lot of time in basements playing flight simulator games hang out. The "real pilots" on PPRUNE are more frequently of the aspiring airline pilot type that fly smaller, piston-powered planes.

Altandmain , March 11, 2019 at 5:31 pm

We will have to wait and see what the final investigation reveals. However this does not look good for Boeing at all.

The Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) system was implicated in the Lion Air crash. There have been a lot of complaints about the system on many of the pilot forums, suggesting at least anecdotally that there are issues. It is highly suspected that the MCAS system is responsible for this crash too.

Keep in mind that Ethiopian Airlines is a pretty well-known and regarded airline. This is not a cut rate airline we are talking about.

At this point, all we can do is to wait for the investigation results.

d , March 12, 2019 at 6:01 pm

one other minor thing. you remember that shut down? seems that would have delayed any updates from Boeing. seems thats one of the things the pilots pointed out when it shutdown was in progress

WestcoastDeplorable , March 11, 2019 at 5:33 pm

What really is the icing on this cake is the fact the new, larger engines on the "Max" changed the center of gravity of the plane and made it unstable. From what I've read on aviation blogs, this is highly unusual for a commercial passenger jet. Boeing then created the new "safety" feature which makes the plane fly nose down to avoid a stall. But of course garbage in, garbage out on sensors (remember AF447 which stalled right into the S. Atlantic?).
It's all politics anyway .if Boeing had been forthcoming about the "Max" it would have required additional pilot training to certify pilots to fly the airliner. They didn't and now another 189 passengers are D.O.A.
I wouldn't fly on one and wouldn't let family do so either.

Carey , March 11, 2019 at 5:40 pm

If I have read correctly, the MCAS system (not known of by pilots until after the Lion Air crash) is reliant on a single Angle of Attack sensor, without redundancy (!). It's too early
to say if MCAS was an issue in the crashes, I guess, but this does not look good.

Jessica , March 12, 2019 at 5:42 am

If it was some other issue with the plane, that will be almost worse for Boeing. Two crash-causing flaws would require grounding all of the planes, suspending production, then doing some kind of severe testing or other to make sure that there isn't a third flaw waiting to show up.

vomkammer , March 12, 2019 at 3:19 pm

If MCAS relies only on one Angle of Attack (AoA) sensor, then it might have been an error in the system design an the safety assessment, from which Boeing may be liable.

It appears that a failure of the AoA can produce an unannuntiated erroneous pitch trim:
a) If the pilots had proper traning and awareness, this event would "only" increase their workload,
b) But for an unaware or untrained pilot, the event would impair its ability to fly and introduce excessive workload.

The difference is important, because according to standard civil aviation safety assessment (see for instance EASA AMC 25.1309 Ch. 7), the case a) should be classified as "Major" failure, whereas b) should be classified as "Hazardous". "Hazardous" failures are required to have much lower probability, which means MCAS needs two AoA sensors.

In summary: a safe MCAS would need either a second AoA or pilot training. It seems that it had neither.

drumlin woodchuckles , March 12, 2019 at 1:01 am

What are the ways an ignorant lay air traveler can find out about whether a particular airline has these new-type Boeing 737 MAXes in its fleet? What are the ways an ignorant air traveler can find out which airlines do not have ANY of these airplanes in their fleet?

What are the ways an ignorant air traveler can find out ahead of time, when still planning herm's trip, which flights use a 737 MAX as against some other kind of plane?

The only way the flying public could possibly torture the airlines into grounding these planes until it is safe to de-ground them is a total all-encompassing "fearcott" against this airplane all around the world. Only if the airlines in the "go ahead and fly it" countries sell zero seats, without exception, on every single 737 MAX plane that flies, will the airlines themselves take them out of service till the issues are resolved.

Hence my asking how people who wish to save their own lives from future accidents can tell when and where they might be exposed to the risk of boarding a Boeing 737 MAX plane.

Carey , March 12, 2019 at 2:13 am

Should be in your flight info, if not, contact the airline. I'm not getting on a 737 MAX.

pau llauter , March 12, 2019 at 10:57 am

Look up the flight on Seatguru. Generally tells type of aircraft. Of course, airlines do change them, too.

Old Jake , March 12, 2019 at 2:57 pm

Stop flying. Your employer requires it? Tell'em where to get off. There are alternatives. The alternatives are less polluting and have lower climate impact also. Yes, this is a hard pill to swallow. No, I don't travel for employment any more, I telecommute. I used to enjoy flying, but I avoid it like plague any more. Crapification.

Darius , March 12, 2019 at 5:09 pm

Additional training won't do. If they wanted larger engines, they needed a different plane. Changing to an unstable center of gravity and compensating for it with new software sounds like a joke except for the hundreds of victims. I'm not getting on that plane.

Joe Well , March 11, 2019 at 5:35 pm

Has there been any study of crapification as a broad social phenomenon? When I Google the word I only get links to NC and sites that reference NC. And yet, this seems like one of the guiding concepts to understand our present world (the crapification of UK media and civil service go a long way towards understanding Brexit, for instance).

I mean, my first thought is, why would Boeing commit corporate self-harm for the sake of a single bullet in sales materials (requires no pilot retraining!). And the answer, of course, is crapification: the people calling the shots don't know what they're doing.

none , March 11, 2019 at 11:56 pm

"Market for lemons" maybe? Anyway the phenomenon is well known.

Alfred , March 12, 2019 at 1:01 am

Google Books finds the word "crapification" quoted (from a 2004) in a work of literary criticism published in 2008 (Literature, Science and a New Humanities, by J. Gottschall). From 2013 it finds the following in a book by Edward Keenan, Some Great Idea: "Policy-wise, it represented a shift in momentum, a slowing down of the childish, intentional crapification of the city ." So there the word appears clearly in the sense understood by regular readers here (along with an admission that crapfication can be intentional and not just inadvertent). To illustrate that sense, Google Books finds the word used in Misfit Toymakers, by Keith T. Jenkins (2014): "We had been to the restaurant and we had water to drink, because after the takeover's, all of the soda makers were brought to ruination by the total crapification of their product, by government management." But almost twenty years earlier the word "crapification" had occurred in a comic strip published in New York Magazine (29 January 1996, p. 100): "Instant crapification! It's the perfect metaphor for the mirror on the soul of America!" The word has been used on television. On 5 January 2010 a sketch subtitled "Night of Terror – The Crapification of the American Pant-scape" ran on The Colbert Report per: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_The_Colbert_Report_episodes_(2010) . Searching the internet, Google results do indeed show many instances of the word "crapification" on NC, or quoted elsewhere from NC posts. But the same results show it used on many blogs since ca. 2010. Here, at http://nyceducator.com/2018/09/the-crapification-factor.html , is a recent example that comments on the word's popularization: "I stole that word, "crapification," from my friend Michael Fiorillo, but I'm fairly certain he stole it from someone else. In any case, I think it applies to our new online attendance system." A comment here, https://angrybearblog.com/2017/09/open-thread-sept-26-2017.html , recognizes NC to have been a vector of the word's increasing usage. Googling shows that there have been numerous instances of the verb "crapify" used in computer-programming contexts, from at least as early as 2006. Google Books finds the word "crapified" used in a novel, Sonic Butler, by James Greve (2004). The derivation, "de-crapify," is also attested. "Crapify" was suggested to Merriam-Webster in 2007 per: http://nws.merriam-webster.com/opendictionary/newword_display_alpha.php?letter=Cr&last=40 . At that time the suggested definition was, "To make situations/things bad." The verb was posted to Urban Dictionary in 2003: https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=crapify . The earliest serious discussion I could quickly find on crapificatjon as a phenomenon was from 2009 at https://www.cryptogon.com/?p=10611 . I have found only two attempts to elucidate the causes of crapification: http://malepatternboldness.blogspot.com/2017/03/my-jockey-journey-or-crapification-of.html (an essay on undershirts) and https://twilightstarsong.blogspot.com/2017/04/complaints.html (a comment on refrigerators). This essay deals with the mechanics of job crapification: http://asserttrue.blogspot.com/2015/10/how-job-crapification-works.html (relating it to de-skilling). An apparent Americanism, "crapification" has recently been 'translated' into French: "Mon bled est en pleine urbanisation, comprends : en pleine emmerdisation" [somewhat literally -- My hole in the road is in the midst of development, meaning: in the midst of crapification]: https://twitter.com/entre2passions/status/1085567796703096832 Interestingly, perhaps, a comprehensive search of amazon.com yields "No results for crapification."

Joe Well , March 12, 2019 at 12:27 pm

You deserve a medal! That's amazing research!

drumlin woodchuckles , March 12, 2019 at 1:08 am

This seems more like a specific bussiness conspiracy than like general crapification. This isn't " they just don't make them like they used to". This is like Ford deliberately selling the Crash and Burn Pinto with its special explode-on-impact gas-tank feature

Maybe some Trump-style insults should be crafted for this plane so they can get memed-up and travel faster than Boeing's ability to manage the story. Epithets like " the new Boeing crash-a-matic dive-liner
with nose-to-the-ground pilot-override autocrash built into every plane." It seems unfair, but life and safety should come before fairness, and that will only happen if a world wide wave of fear MAKES it happen.

pretzelattack , March 12, 2019 at 2:17 am

yeah first thing i thought of was the ford pinto.

The Rev Kev , March 12, 2019 at 4:19 am

Now there is a car tailor made to modern suicidal Jihadists. You wouldn't even have to load it up with explosives but just a full fuel tank-

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

drumlin woodchuckles , March 12, 2019 at 3:27 pm

" Instant car bomb. Just add gas."

EoH , March 12, 2019 at 8:47 am

Good time to reread Yves' recent, Is a Harvard MBA Bad For You? :

The underlying problem is increasingly mercenary values in society.

JerryDenim , March 12, 2019 at 2:49 pm

I think crapification is the end result of a self-serving belief in the unfailing goodness and superiority of Ivy faux-meritocracy and the promotion/exaltation of the do-nothing, know-nothing, corporate, revolving-door MBA's and Psych-major HR types over people with many years of both company and industry experience who also have excellent professional track records. The latter group was the group in charge of major corporations and big decisions in the 'good old days', now it's the former. These morally bankrupt people and their vapid, self-righteous culture of PR first, management science second, and what-the-hell-else-matters anyway, are the prime drivers of crapification. Read the bio of an old-school celebrated CEO like Gordon Bethune (Continental CEO with corporate experience at Boeing) who skipped college altogether and joined the Navy at 17, and ask yourself how many people like that are in corporate board rooms today? I'm not saying going back to a 'Good Ole Boy's Club' is the best model of corporate governnace either but at least people like Bethune didn't think they were too good to mix with their fellow employees, understood leadership, the consequences of bullshit, and what 'The buck stops here' thing was really about. Corporate types today sadly believe their own propaganda, and when their fraudulent schemes, can-kicking, and head-in-the sand strategies inevitably blow up in their faces, they accept no blame and fail upwards to another posh corporate job or a nice golden parachute. The wrong people are in charge almost everywhere these days, hence crapification. Bad incentives, zero white collar crime enforcement, self-replicating board rooms, group-think, begets toxic corporate culture, which equals crapification.

Jeff Zink , March 12, 2019 at 5:46 pm

Also try "built in obsolescence"

VietnamVet , March 11, 2019 at 5:40 pm

As a son of a deceased former Boeing aeronautic engineer, this is tragic. It highlights the problem of financialization, neoliberalism, and lack of corporate responsibility pointed out daily here on NC. The crapification was signaled by the move of the headquarters from Seattle to Chicago and spending billions to build a second 787 line in South Carolina to bust their Unions. Boeing is now an unregulated multinational corporation superior to sovereign nations. However, if the 737 Max crashes have the same cause, this will be hard to whitewash. The design failure of windows on the de Havilland Comet killed the British passenger aircraft business. The EU will keep a discrete silence since manufacturing major airline passenger planes is a duopoly with Airbus. However, China hasn't (due to the trade war with the USA) even though Boeing is building a new assembly line there. Boeing escaped any blame for the loss of two Malaysian Airline's 777s. This may be an existential crisis for American aviation. Like a President who denies calling Tim Cook, Tim Apple, or the soft coup ongoing in DC against him, what is really happening globally is not factually reported by corporate media.

Jerry B , March 11, 2019 at 6:28 pm

===Boeing is now an unregulated multinational corporation superior to sovereign nations===

Susan Strange 101.

Or more recently Quinn Slobodian's Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism.

And the beat goes on.

Synoia , March 11, 2019 at 6:49 pm

The design failure of windows on the de Havilland Comet killed the British passenger aircraft business.

Yes, a misunderstanding the the effect of square windows and 3 dimensional stress cracking.

Gary Gray , March 11, 2019 at 7:54 pm

Sorry, but 'sovereign' nations were always a scam. Nothing than a excuse to build capital markets, which are the underpinning of capitalism. Capital Markets are what control countries and have since the 1700's. Maybe you should blame the monarchies for selling out to the bankers in the late middle ages. Sovereign nations are just economic units for the bankers, their businesses they finance and nothing more. I guess they figured out after the Great Depression, they would throw a bunch of goodies at "Indo Europeans" face in western europe ,make them decadent and jaded via debt expansion. This goes back to my point about the yellow vests ..me me me me me. You reek of it. This stuff with Boeing is all profit based. It could have happened in 2000, 1960 or 1920. It could happen even under state control. Did you love Hitler's Voltswagon?

As for the soft coup .lol you mean Trumps soft coup for his allies in Russia and the Middle East viva la Saudi King!!!!!? Posts like these represent the problem with this board. The materialist over the spiritualist. Its like people who still don't get some of the biggest supporters of a "GND" are racialists and being somebody who has long run the environmentalist rally game, they are hugely in the game. Yet Progressives completely seem blind to it. The media ignores them for con men like David Duke(who's ancestry is not clean, no its not) and "Unite the Right"(or as one friend on the environmental circuit told me, Unite the Yahweh apologists) as whats "white". There is a reason they do this.

You need to wake up and stop the self-gratification crap. The planet is dying due to mishandlement. Over urbanization, over population, constant need for me over ecosystem. It can only last so long. That is why I like Zombie movies, its Gaia Theory in a nutshell. Good for you Earth .or Midgard. Which ever you prefer.

Carey , March 11, 2019 at 8:05 pm

Your job seems to be to muddy the waters, and I'm sure we'll be seeing much more of the same; much more.

Thanks!

pebird , March 11, 2019 at 10:24 pm

Hitler had an electric car?

JerryDenim , March 12, 2019 at 3:05 pm

Hee-hee. I noticed that one too.

TimR , March 12, 2019 at 9:41 am

Interesting but I'm unclear on some of it.. GND supporters are racialist?

JerryDenim , March 12, 2019 at 3:02 pm

Spot on comment VietnamVet, a lot of chickens can be seen coming home to roost in this latest Boeing disaster. Remarkable how not many years ago the government could regulate the aviation industry without fear of killing it, since there was more than one aerospace company, not anymore! The scourge of monsopany/monopoly power rears its head and bites in unexpected places.

Ptb , March 11, 2019 at 5:56 pm

More detail on the "MCAS" system responsible for the previous Lion Air crash here (theaircurrent.com)

It says the bigger and repositioned engine, which give the new model its fuel efficiency, and wing angle tweaks needed to fit the engine vs landing gear and clearance,
change the amount of pitch trim it needs in turns to remain level.

The auto system was added top neutralize the pitch trim during turns, too make it handle like the old model.

There is another pitch trim control besides the main "stick". To deactivate the auto system, this other trim control has to be used, the main controls do not deactivate it (perhaps to prevent it from being unintentionally deactivated, which would be equally bad). If the sensor driving the correction system gives a false reading and the pilot were unaware, there would be seesawing and panic

Actually, if this all happened again I would be very surprised. Nobody flying a 737 would not know after the previous crash. Curious what they find.

Ptb , March 11, 2019 at 6:38 pm

Ok typo fixes didn't register gobbledygook.

EoH , March 12, 2019 at 8:38 am

While logical, If your last comment were correct, it should have prevented this most recent crash. It appears that the "seesawing and panic" continue.

I assume it has now gone beyond the cockpit, and beyond the design, and sales teams and reached the Boeing board room. From there, it is likely to travel to the board rooms of every airline flying this aircraft or thinking of buying one, to their banks and creditors, and to those who buy or recommend their stock. But it may not reach the FAA for some time.

marku52 , March 12, 2019 at 2:47 pm

Full technical discussion of why this was needed at:

https://leehamnews.com/2018/11/14/boeings-automatic-trim-for-the-737-max-was-not-disclosed-to-the-pilots/

Ptb , March 12, 2019 at 5:32 pm

Excellent link, thanks!

Kimac , March 11, 2019 at 6:20 pm

As to what's next?

Think, Too Big To Fail.

Any number of ways will be found to put lipstick on this pig once we recognize the context.

allan , March 11, 2019 at 6:38 pm

"Canadian and Brazilian authorities did require additional training" from the quote at the bottom is not
something I've seen before. What did they know and when did they know it?

rd , March 11, 2019 at 8:31 pm

They probably just assumed that the changes in the plane from previous 737s were big enough to warrant treating it like a major change requiring training.

Both countries fly into remote areas with highly variable weather conditions and some rugged terrain.

dcrane , March 11, 2019 at 7:25 pm

Re: withholding information from the FAA

For what it's worth, the quoted section says that Boeing withheld info about the MCAS from "midlevel FAA officials", while Jerri-Lynn refers to the FAA as a whole.

This makes me wonder if top-level FAA people certified the system.

Carey , March 11, 2019 at 7:37 pm

See under "regulatory capture"

Corps run the show, regulators are window-dressing.

IMO, of course. Of course

allan , March 11, 2019 at 8:04 pm

It wasn't always this way. From 1979:

DC-10 Type Certificate Lifted [Aviation Week]

FAA action follows finding of new cracks in pylon aft bulkhead forward flange; crash investigation continues

Suspension of the McDonnell Douglas DC-10's type certificate last week followed a separate grounding order from a federal court as government investigators were narrowing the scope of their investigation of the American Airlines DC-10 crash May 25 in Chicago.

The American DC-10-10, registration No. N110AA, crashed shortly after takeoff from Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, killing 259 passengers, 13 crewmembers and three persons on the ground. The 275 fatalities make the crash the worst in U.S. history.

The controversies surrounding the grounding of the entire U.S. DC-10 fleet and, by extension, many of the DC-10s operated by foreign carriers, by Federal Aviation Administrator Langhorne Bond on the morning of June 6 to revolve around several issues.

Carey , March 11, 2019 at 8:39 pm

Yes, I remember back when the FAA would revoke a type certificate if a plane was a danger to public safety. It wasn't even that long ago. Now their concern is any threat to Boeing™. There's a name for that

Joey , March 11, 2019 at 11:22 pm

'Worst' disaster in Chicago would still ground planes. Lucky for Boeing its brown and browner.

Max Peck , March 11, 2019 at 7:30 pm

It's not correct to claim the MCAS was concealed. It's right in the January 2017 rev of the NG/MAX differences manual.

Carey , March 11, 2019 at 7:48 pm

Mmm. Why do the dudes and dudettes *who fly the things* say they knew nothing
about MCAS? Their training is quite rigorous.

Max Peck , March 11, 2019 at 10:00 pm

See a post below for link. I'd have provided it in my original post but was on a phone in an inconvenient place for editing.

Carey , March 12, 2019 at 1:51 am

'Boeing's automatic trim for the 737 MAX was not disclosed to the Pilots':

https://leehamnews.com/2018/11/14/boeings-automatic-trim-for-the-737-max-was-not-disclosed-to-the-pilots/

marku52 , March 12, 2019 at 2:39 pm

Leeham news is the best site for info on this. For those of you interested in the tech details got to Bjorns Corner, where he writes about aeronautic design issues.

I was somewhat horrified to find that modern aircraft flying at near mach speeds have a lot of somewhat pasted on pilot assistances. All of them. None of them fly with nothing but good old stick-and-rudder. Not Airbus (which is actually fully Fly By wire-all pilot inputs got through a computer) and not Boeing, which is somewhat less so.

This latest "solution came about becuse the larger engines (and nacelles) fitted on the Max increased lift ahead of the center of gravity in a pitchup situation, which was destabilizing. The MCAS uses inputs from air speed and angle of attack sensors to put a pitch down input to the horizonatal stablisizer.

A faluty AofA sensor lead to Lion Air's Max pushing the nose down against the pilots efforts all the way into the sea.

This is the best backgrounder

https://leehamnews.com/2018/11/14/boeings-automatic-trim-for-the-737-max-was-not-disclosed-to-the-pilots/

The Rev Kev , March 11, 2019 at 7:48 pm

One guy said last night on TV that Boeing had eight years of back orders for this aircraft so you had better believe that this crash will be studied furiously. Saw a picture of the crash site and it looks like it augured in almost straight down. There seems to be a large hole and the wreckage is not strew over that much area. I understand that they were digging out the cockpit as it was underground. Strange that.

Carey , March 11, 2019 at 7:55 pm

It's said that the Flight Data Recorders have been found, FWIW.

EoH , March 12, 2019 at 9:28 am

Suggestive of a high-speed, nose-first impact. Not the angle of attack a pilot would ordinarily choose.

Max Peck , March 11, 2019 at 9:57 pm

It's not true that Boeing hid the existence of the MCAS. They documented it in the January 2017 rev of the NG/MAX differences manual and probably earlier than that. One can argue whether the description was adequate, but the system was in no way hidden.

Carey , March 11, 2019 at 10:50 pm

Looks like, for now, we're stuck between your "in no way hidden", and numerous 737 pilots' claims on various online aviation boards that they knew nothing about MCAS. Lots of money involved, so very cloudy weather expected. For now I'll stick with the pilots.

Alex V , March 12, 2019 at 2:27 am

To the best of my understanding and reading on the subject, the system was well documented in the Boeing technical manuals, but not in the pilots' manuals, where it was only briefly mentioned, at best, and not by all airlines. I'm not an airline pilot, but from what I've read, airlines often write their own additional operators manuals for aircraft models they fly, so it was up to them to decide the depth of documentation. These are in theory sufficient to safely operate the plane, but do not detail every aircraft system exhaustively, as a modern aircraft is too complex to fully understand. Other technical manuals detail how the systems work, and how to maintain them, but a pilot is unlikely to read them as they are used by maintenance personnel or instructors. The problem with these cases (if investigations come to the same conclusions) is that insufficient information was included in the pilots manual explaining the MCAS, even though the information was communicated via other technical manuals.

vlade , March 12, 2019 at 11:50 am

This is correct.

A friend of mine is a commercial pilot who's just doing a 'training' exercise having moved airlines.

He's been flying the planes in question most of his life, but the airline is asking him to re-do it all according to their manuals and their rules. If the airline manual does not bring it up, then the pilots will not read it – few of them have time to go after the actual technical manuals and read those in addition to what the airline wants. [oh, and it does not matter that he has tens of thousands of hours on the airplane in question, if he does not do something in accordance with his new airline manual, he'd get kicked out, even if he was right and the airline manual wrong]

I believe (but would have to check with him) that some countries regulators do their own testing over and above the airlines, but again, it depends on what they put in.

Alex V , March 12, 2019 at 11:58 am

Good to head my understanding was correct. My take on the whole situation was that Boeing was negligent in communicating the significance of the change, given human psychology and current pilot training. The reason was to enable easier aircraft sales. The purpose of the MCAS system is however quite legitimate – it enables a more fuel efficient plane while compensating for a corner case of the flight envelope.

Max Peck , March 12, 2019 at 8:01 am

The link is to the actual manual. If that doesn't make you reconsider, nothing will. Maybe some pilots aren't expected to read the manuals, I don't know.

Furthermore, the post stated that Boeing failed to inform the FAA about the MCAS. Surely the FAA has time to read all of the manuals.

Darius , March 12, 2019 at 6:18 pm

Nobody reads instruction manuals. They're for reference. Boeing needed to yell at the pilots to be careful to read new pages 1,576 through 1,629 closely. They're a lulu.

Also, what's with screwing with the geometry of a stable plane so that it will fall out of the sky without constant adjustments by computer software? It's like having a car designed to explode but don't worry. We've loaded software to prevent that. Except when there's an error. But don't worry. We've included reboot instructions. It takes 15 minutes but it'll be OK. And you can do it with one hand and drive with the other. No thanks. I want the car not designed to explode.

The Rev Kev , March 11, 2019 at 10:06 pm

The FAA is already leaping to the defense of the Boeing 737 Max 8 even before they have a chance to open up the black boxes. Hope that nothing "happens" to those recordings.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-47533052

Milton , March 11, 2019 at 11:04 pm

I don't know, crapification, at least for me, refers to products, services, or infrastructure that has declined to the point that it has become a nuisance rather than a benefit it once was. This case with Boeing borders on criminal negligence.

pretzelattack , March 12, 2019 at 8:20 am

i came across a word that was new to me "crapitalism", goes well with crapification.

TG , March 12, 2019 at 12:50 am

1. It's really kind of amazing that we can fly to the other side of the world in a few hours – a journey that in my grandfather's time would have taken months and been pretty unpleasant and risky – and we expect perfect safety.

2. Of course the best-selling jet will see these issues. It's the law of large numbers.

3. I am not a fan of Boeing's corporate management, but still, compared to Wall Street and Defense Contractors and big education etc. they still produce an actual technical useful artifact that mostly works, and at levels of performance that in other fields would be considered superhuman.

4. Even for Boeing, one wonders when the rot will set in. Building commercial airliners is hard! So many technical details, nowhere to hide if you make even one mistake so easy to just abandon the business entirely. Do what the (ex) US auto industry did, contract out to foreign manufacturers and just slap a "USA" label on it and double down on marketing. Milk the cost-plus cash cow of the defense market. Or just financialize the entire thing and become too big to fail and walk away with all the profits before the whole edifice crumbles. Greed is good, right?

marku52 , March 12, 2019 at 2:45 pm

"Of course the best-selling jet will see these issues. It's the law of large numbers."

2 crashes of a new model in vary similar circumstances is very unusual. And FAA admits they are requiring a FW upgrade sometime in April. Pilots need to be hyperaware of what this MCAS system is doing. And they currently aren't.

Prairie Bear , March 12, 2019 at 2:42 am

if it went into a stall, it would lower the nose suddenly to pick airspeed and fly normally again.

A while before I read this post, I listened to a news clip that reported that the plane was observed "porpoising" after takeoff. I know only enough about planes and aviation to be a more or less competent passenger, but it does seem like that is something that might happen if the plane had such a feature and the pilot was not familiar with it and was trying to fight it? The below link is not to the story I saw I don't think, but another one I just found.

if it went into a stall, it would lower the nose suddenly to pick airspeed and fly normally again.

https://www.yahoo.com/gma/know-boeing-737-max-8-crashed-ethiopia-221411537.html

none , March 12, 2019 at 5:33 am

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ethiopia-airplane-witnesses/ethiopian-plane-smoked-and-shuddered-before-deadly-plunge-idUSKBN1QS1LJ

Reuters reports people saw smoke and debris coming out of the plane before the crash.

Jessica , March 12, 2019 at 6:06 am

At PPRUNE.ORG, many of the commentators are skeptical of what witnesses of airplane crashes say they see, but more trusting of what they say they hear.
The folks at PPRUNE.ORG who looked at the record of the flight from FlightRadar24, which only covers part of the flight because FlightRadar24's coverage in that area is not so good and the terrain is hilly, see a plane flying fast in a straight line very unusually low.

EoH , March 12, 2019 at 8:16 am

The dodge about making important changes that affect aircraft handling but not disclosing them – so as to avoid mandatory pilot training, which would discourage airlines from buying the modified aircraft – is an obvious business-over-safety choice by an ethics and safety challenged corporation.

But why does even a company of that description, many of whose top managers, designers, and engineers live and breathe flight, allow its s/w engineers to prevent the pilots from overriding a supposed "safety" feature while actually flying the aircraft? Was it because it would have taken a little longer to write and test the additional s/w or because completing the circle through creating a pilot override would have mandated disclosure and additional pilot training?

Capt. "Sully" Sullenberger and his passengers and crew would have ended up in pieces at the bottom of the Hudson if the s/w on his aircraft had prohibited out of the ordinary flight maneuvers that contradicted its programming.

Alan Carr , March 12, 2019 at 9:13 am

If you carefully review the over all airframe of the 737 it has not hardly changed over the past 20 years or so, for the most part Boeing 737 specifications . What I believe the real issue here is the Avionics upgrades over the years has changed dramatically. More and more precision avionics are installed with less and less pilot input and ultimately no control of the aircraft. Though Boeing will get the brunt of the lawsuits, the avionics company will be the real culprit. I believe the avionics on the Boeing 737 is made by Rockwell Collins, which you guessed it, is owned by Boeing.

Max Peck , March 12, 2019 at 9:38 am

Rockwell Collins has never been owned by Boeing.

Also, to correct some upthread assertions, MCAS has an off switch.

WobblyTelomeres , March 12, 2019 at 10:02 am

United Technologies, UTX, I believe. If I knew how to short, I'd probably short this 'cause if they aren't partly liable, they'll still be hurt if Boeing has to slow (or, horror, halt) production.

Alan Carr , March 12, 2019 at 11:47 am

You are right Max I mis spoke. Rockwell Collins is owned by United Technologies Corporation

Darius , March 12, 2019 at 6:24 pm

Which astronaut are you? Heh.

EoH , March 12, 2019 at 9:40 am

Using routine risk management protocols, the American FAA should need continuing "data" on an aircraft for it to maintain its airworthiness certificate. Its current press materials on the Boeing 737 Max 8 suggest it needs data to yank it or to ground the aircraft pending review. Has it had any other commercial aircraft suffer two apparently similar catastrophic losses this close together within two years of the aircraft's launch?

Synoia , March 12, 2019 at 11:37 am

I am raising an issue with "crapification" as a meme. Crapification is a symptom of a specific behaviour.

GREED.

Please could you reconsider your writing to invlude this very old, tremendously venal, and "worst" sin?

US incentiveness of inventing a new word, "crapification" implies that some error cuould be corrected. If a deliberate sin, it requires atonement and forgiveness, and a sacrifice of wolrdy assets, for any chance of forgiveness and redemption.

Alan Carr , March 12, 2019 at 11:51 am

Something else that will be interesting to this thread is that Boeing doesn't seem to mind letting the Boeing 737 Max aircraft remain for sale on the open market

vlade , March 12, 2019 at 11:55 am

the EU suspends MAX 8s too

Craig H. , March 12, 2019 at 2:29 pm

The moderators in reddit.com/r/aviation are fantastic.

They have corralled everything into one mega-thread which is worth review:

https://www.reddit.com/r/aviation/comments/azzp0r/ethiopian_airlines_et302_and_boeing_737_max_8/

allan , March 12, 2019 at 3:00 pm

Thanks. That's a great link with what seem to be some very knowledgeable comments.

John Beech , March 12, 2019 at 2:30 pm

Experienced private pilot here. Lots of commercial pilot friends. First, the EU suspending the MAX 8 is politics. Second, the FAA mandated changes were already in the pipeline. Three, this won't stop the ignorant from staking out a position on this, and speculating about it on the internet, of course. Fourth, I'd hop a flight in a MAX 8 without concern – especially with a US pilot on board. Why? In part because the Lion Air event a few months back led to pointed discussion about the thrust line of the MAX 8 vs. the rest of the 737 fleet and the way the plane has software to help during strong pitch up events (MAX 8 and 9 have really powerful engines).

Basically, pilots have been made keenly aware of the issue and trained in what to do. Another reason I'd hop a flight in one right now is because there have been more than 31,000 trouble free flights in the USA in this new aircraft to date. My point is, if there were a systemic issue we'd already know about it. Note, the PIC in the recent crash had +8000 hours but the FO had about 200 hours and there is speculation he was flying. Speculation.

Anyway, US commercial fleet pilots are very well trained to deal with runaway trim or uncommanded flight excursions. How? Simple, by switching the breaker off. It's right near your fingers. Note, my airplane has an autopilot also. In the event the autopilot does something unexpected, just like the commercial pilot flying the MAX 8, I'm trained in what to do (the very same thing, switch the thing off).

Moreover, I speak form experience because I've had it happen twice in 15 years – once an issue with a servo causing the plane to slowly drift right wing low, and once a connection came loose leaving the plane trimmed right wing low (coincidence). My reaction is/was about the same as that of a experienced typist automatically hitting backspace on the keyboard upon realizing they mistyped a word, e.g. not reflex but nearly so. In my case, it was to throw the breaker to power off the autopilot as I leveled the plane. No big deal.

Finally, as of yet there been no analysis from the black boxes. I advise holding off on the speculation until they do. They've been found and we'll learn something soon. The yammering and near hysteria by non-pilots – especially with this thread – reminds me of the old saw about now knowing how smart or ignorant someone is until they open their mouth.

notabanker , March 12, 2019 at 5:29 pm

So let me get this straight.

While Boeing is designing a new 787, Airbus redesigns the A320. Boeing cannot compete with it, so instead of redesigning the 737 properly, they put larger engines on it further forward, which is never intended in the original design. So to compensate they use software with two sensors, not three, making it mathematically impossible to know if you have a faulty sensor which one it would be, to automatically adjust the pitch to prevent a stall, and this is the only true way to prevent a stall. But since you can kill the breaker and disable it if you have a bad sensor and can't possibly know which one, everything is ok. And now that the pilots can disable a feature required for certification, we should all feel good about these brand new planes, that for the first time in history, crashed within 5 months.

And the FAA, which hasn't had a Director in 14 months, knows better than the UK, Europe, China, Australia, Singapore, India, Indonesia, Africa and basically every other country in the world except Canada. And the reason every country in the world except Canada has grounded the fleet is political? Singapore put Silk Air out of business because of politics?

How many people need to be rammed into the ground at 500 mph from 8000 feet before yammering and hysteria are justified here? 400 obviously isn't enough.

VietnamVet , March 12, 2019 at 5:26 pm

Overnight since my first post above, the 737 Max 8 crash has become political. The black boxes haven't been officially read yet. Still airlines and aviation authorities have grounded the airplane in Europe, India, China, Mexico, Brazil, Australia and S.E. Asia in opposition to FAA's "Continued Airworthiness Notification to the International Community" issued yesterday.

I was wrong. There will be no whitewash. I thought they would remain silent. My guess this is a result of an abundance of caution plus greed (Europeans couldn't help gutting Airbus's competitor Boeing). This will not be discussed but it is also a manifestation of Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS). Since the President has started dissing Atlantic Alliance partners, extorting defense money, fighting trade wars, and calling 3rd world countries s***-holes; there is no sympathy for the collapsing hegemon. Boeing stock is paying the price. If the cause is the faulty design of the flight position sensors and fly by wire software control system, it will take a long while to design and get approval of a new safe redundant control system and refit the airplanes to fly again overseas. A real disaster for America's last manufacturing industry.

[Mar 13, 2019] Boing might not survive the third crash

Too much automation and too complex flight control computer engager life of pilots and passengers...
Notable quotes:
"... When systems (like those used to fly giant aircraft) become too automatic while remaining essentially stupid or limited by the feedback systems, they endanger the airplane and passengers. These two "accidents" are painful warnings for air passengers and voters. ..."
"... This sort of problem is not new. Search the web for pitot/static port blockage, erroneous stall / overspeed indications. Pilots used to be trained to handle such emergencies before the desk-jockey suits decided computers always know best. ..."
"... @Sky Pilot, under normal circumstances, yes. but there are numerous reports that Boeing did not sufficiently test the MCAS with unreliable or incomplete signals from the sensors to even comply to its own quality regulations. ..."
"... Boeing did cut corners when designing the B737 MAX by just replacing the engines but not by designing a new wing which would have been required for the new engine. ..."
"... I accept that it should be easier for pilots to assume manual control of the aircraft in such situations but I wouldn't rush to condemn the programmers before we get all the facts. ..."
Mar 13, 2019 | www.nytimes.com

Shirley OK March 11

I want to know if Boeing 767s, as well as the new 737s, now has the Max 8 flight control computer installed with pilots maybe not being trained to use it or it being uncontrollable.

A 3rd Boeing - not a passenger plane but a big 767 cargo plane flying a bunch of stuff for Amazon crashed near Houston (where it was to land) on 2-23-19. The 2 pilots were killed. Apparently there was no call for help (at least not mentioned in the AP article about it I read).

'If' the new Max 8 system had been installed, had either Boeing or the owner of the cargo plane business been informed of problems with Max 8 equipment that had caused a crash and many deaths in a passenger plane (this would have been after the Indonesian crash)? Was that info given to the 2 pilots who died if Max 8 is also being used in some 767s? Did Boeing get the black box from that plane and, if so, what did they find out?

Those 2 pilots' lives matter also - particularly since the Indonesian 737 crash with Max 8 equipment had already happened. Boeing hasn't said anything (yet, that I've seen) about whether or not the Max 8 new configuration computer and the extra steps to get manual control is on other of their planes.

I want to know about the cause of that 3rd Boeing plane crashing and if there have been crashes/deaths in other of Boeing's big cargo planes. What's the total of all Boeing crashes/fatalies in the last few months and how many of those planes had Max 8?

Rufus SF March 11

Gentle readers: In the aftermath of the Lion Air crash, do you think it possible that all 737Max pilots have not received mandatory training review in how to quickly disconnect the MCAS system and fly the plane manually?

Do you think it possible that every 737Max pilot does not have a "disconnect review" as part of his personal checklist? Do you think it possible that at the first hint of pitch instability, the pilot does not first think of the MCAS system and whether to disable it?

Harold Orlando March 11

Compare the altitude fluctuations with those from Lion Air in NYTimes excellent coverage( https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/11/16/world/asia/lion-air-crash-cockpit.html ), and they don't really suggest to me a pilot struggling to maintain proper pitch. Maybe the graph isn't detailed enough, but it looks more like a major, single event rather than a number of smaller corrections. I could be wrong.

Reports of smoke and fire are interesting; there is nothing in the modification that (we assume) caused Lion Air's crash that would explain smoke and fire. So I would hesitate to zero in on the modification at this point. Smoke and fire coming from the luggage bay suggest a runaway Li battery someone put in their suitcase. This is a larger issue because that can happen on any aircraft, Boeing, Airbus, or other.

mrpisces Loui March 11

Is is a shame that Boeing will not ground this aircraft knowing they introduced the MCAS component to automate the stall recovery of the 737 MAX and is behind these accidents in my opinion. Stall recovery has always been a step all pilots handled when the stick shaker and other audible warnings were activated to alert the pilots.

Now, Boeing invented MCAS as a "selling and marketing point" to a problem that didn't exist. MCAS kicks in when the aircraft is about to enter the stall phase and places the aircraft in a nose dive to regain speed. This only works when the air speed sensors are working properly. Now imagine when the air speed sensors have a malfunction and the plane is wrongly put into a nose dive.

The pilots are going to pull back on the stick to level the plane. The MCAS which is still getting incorrect air speed data is going to place the airplane back into a nose dive. The pilots are going to pull back on the stick to level the aircraft. This repeats itself till the airplane impacts the ground which is exactly what happened.

Add the fact that Boeing did not disclose the existence of the MCAS and its role to pilots. At this point only money is keeping the 737 MAX in the air. When Boeing talks about safety, they are not referring to passenger safety but profit safety.

Tony San Diego March 11

1. The procedure to allow a pilot to take complete control of the aircraft from auto-pilot mode should have been a standard eg pull back on the control column. It is not reasonable to expect a pilot to follow some checklist to determine and then turn off a misbehaving module especially in emergency situations. Even if that procedure is written in fine print in a manual. (The number of modules to disable may keep increasing if this is allowed).

2. How are US airlines confident of the safety of the 737 MAX right now when nothing much is known about the cause of the 2nd crash? What is known if that both the crashed aircraft were brand new, and we should be seeing news articles on how the plane's brand-new advanced technology saved the day from the pilot and not the other way round

3. In the first crash, the plane's advanced technology could not even recognize that either the flight path was abnormal and/or the airspeed readings were too erroneous and mandate the pilot to therefore take complete control immediately!

John✔️✔️Brews Tucson, AZ March 11

It's straightforward to design for standard operation under normal circumstances. But when bizarre operation occurs resulting in extreme circumstances a lot more comes into play. Not just more variables interacting more rapidly, testing system response times, but much happening quickly, testing pilot response times and experience. It is doubtful that the FAA can assess exactly what happened in these crashes. It is a result of a complex and rapid succession of man-machine-software-instrumentation interactions, and the number of permutations is huge. Boeing didn't imagine all of them, and didn't test all those it did think of.

The FAA is even less likely to do so. Boeing eventually will fix some of the identified problems, and make pilot intervention more effective. Maybe all that effort to make the new cockpit look as familiar as the old one will be scrapped? Pilot retraining will be done? Redundant sensors will be added? Additional instrumentation? Software re-written?

That'll increase costs, of course. Future deliveries will cost more. Looks likely there will be some downtime. Whether the fixes will cover sufficient eventualities, time will tell. Whether Boeing will be more scrupulous in future designs, less willing to cut corners without evaluating them? Will heads roll? Well, we'll see...

Ron SC March 11

Boeing has been in trouble technologically since its merger with McDonnell Douglas, which some industry analysts called a takeover, though it isn't clear who took over whom since MD got Boeing's name while Boeing took the MD logo and moved their headquarters from Seattle to Chicago.

In addition to problems with the 737 Max, Boeing is charging NASA considerably more than the small startup, SpaceX, for a capsule designed to ferry astronauts to the space station. Boeing's Starliner looks like an Apollo-era craft and is launched via a 1960's-like ATLAS booster.

Despite using what appears to be old technology, the Starliner is well behind schedule and over budget while the SpaceX capsule has already docked with the space station using state-of-art reusable rocket boosters at a much lower cost. It seems Boeing is in trouble, technologically.

BSmith San Francisco March 11

When you read that this model of the Boeing 737 Max was more fuel efficient, and view the horrifying graphs (the passengers spent their last minutes in sheer terror) of the vertical jerking up and down of both air crafts, and learn both crashes occurred minutes after take off, you are 90% sure that the problem is with design, or design not compatible with pilot training. Pilots in both planes had received permission to return to the airports. The likely culprit. to a trained designer, is the control system for injecting the huge amounts of fuel necessary to lift the plane to cruising altitude. Pilots knew it was happening and did not know how to override the fuel injection system.

These two crashes foretell what will happen if airlines, purely in the name of saving money, elmininate human control of aircraft. There will be many more crashes.

These ultra-complicated machines which defy gravity and lift thousands of pounds of dead weight into the stratesphere to reduce friction with air, are immensely complex and common. Thousands of flight paths cover the globe each day. Human pilots must ultimately be in charge - for our own peace of mind, and for their ability to deal with unimaginable, unforeseen hazards.

When systems (like those used to fly giant aircraft) become too automatic while remaining essentially stupid or limited by the feedback systems, they endanger the airplane and passengers. These two "accidents" are painful warnings for air passengers and voters.

Brez Spring Hill, TN March 11

1. Ground the Max 737.

2. Deactivate the ability of the automated system to override pilot inputs, which it apparently can do even with the autopilot disengaged.

3. Make sure that the autopilot disengage button on the yoke (pickle switch) disconnects ALL non-manual control inputs.

4. I do not know if this version of the 737 has direct input ("rope start") gyroscope, airspeed and vertical speed inticators for emergencies such as failure of the electronic wonder-stuff. If not, install them. Train pilots to use them.

5. This will cost money, a lot of money, so we can expect more self-serving excuses until the FAA forces Boeing to do the right thing.

6. This sort of problem is not new. Search the web for pitot/static port blockage, erroneous stall / overspeed indications. Pilots used to be trained to handle such emergencies before the desk-jockey suits decided computers always know best.

Harper Arkansas March 11

I flew big jets for 34 years, mostly Boeing's. Boeing added new logic to the trim system and was allowed to not make it known to pilots. However it was in maintenance manuals. Not great, but these airplanes are now so complex there are many systems that pilots don't know all of the intimate details.

NOT IDEAL, BUT NOT OVERLY SIGNIFICANT. Boeing changed one of the ways to stop a runaway trim system by eliminating the control column trim brake, ie airplane nose goes up, push down (which is instinct) and it stops the trim from running out of control.

BIG DEAL BOIENG AND FAA, NOT TELLING PILOTS. Boeing produces checklists for almost any conceivable malfunction. We pilots are trained to accomplish the obvious then go immediately to the checklist. Some items on the checklist are so important they are called "Memory Items" or "Red Box Items".

These would include things like in an explosive depressurization to put on your o2 mask, check to see that the passenger masks have dropped automatically and start a descent.

Another has always been STAB TRIM SWITCHES ...... CUTOUT which is surrounded by a RED BOX.

For very good reasons these two guarded switches are very conveniently located on the pedestal right between the pilots.

So if the nose is pitching incorrectly, STAB TRIM SWITCHES ..... CUTOUT!!! Ask questions later, go to the checklist. THAT IS THE PILOTS AND TRAINING DEPARTMENTS RESPONSIBILITY. At this point it is not important as to the cause.

David Rubien New York March 11

If these crashes turn out to result from a Boeing flaw, how can that company continue to stay in business? It should be put into receivership and its executives prosecuted. How many deaths are persmissable?

Osama Portland OR March 11

The emphasis on software is misplaced. The software intervention is triggered by readings from something called an Angle of Attack sensor. This sensor is relatively new on airplanes. A delicate blade protrudes from the fuselage and is deflected by airflow. The direction of the airflow determines the reading. A false reading from this instrument is the "garbage in" input to the software that takes over the trim function and directs the nose of the airplane down. The software seems to be working fine. The AOA sensor? Not so much.

experience Michiigan March 11

The basic problem seems to be that the 737 Max 8 was not designed for the larger engines and so there are flight characteristics that could be dangerous. To compensate for the flaw, computer software was used to control the aircraft when the situation was encountered. The software failed to prevent the situation from becoming a fatal crash.

A work around that may be the big mistake of not redesigning the aircraft properly for the larger engines in the first place. The aircraft may need to be modified at a cost that would be not realistic and therefore abandoned and a entirely new aircraft design be implemented. That sounds very drastic but the only other solution would be to go back to the original engines. The Boeing Company is at a crossroad that could be their demise if the wrong decision is made.

Sky Pilot NY March 11

It may be a training issue in that the 737 Max has several systems changes from previous 737 models that may not be covered adequately in differences training, checklists, etc. In the Lyon Air crash, a sticky angle-of-attack vane caused the auto-trim to force the nose down in order to prevent a stall. This is a worthwhile safety feature of the Max, but the crew was slow (or unable) to troubleshoot and isolate the problem. It need not have caused a crash. I suspect the same thing happened with Ethiopian Airlines. The circumstances are temptingly similar.

Thomas Singapore March 11

@Sky Pilot, under normal circumstances, yes. but there are numerous reports that Boeing did not sufficiently test the MCAS with unreliable or incomplete signals from the sensors to even comply to its own quality regulations. And that is just one of the many quality issues with the B737 MAX that have been in the news for a long time and have been of concern to some of the operators while at the same time being covered up by the FAA.

Just look at the difference in training requirements between the FAA and the Brazilian aviation authority.

Brazilian pilots need to fully understand the MCAS and how to handle it in emergency situations while FAA does not even require pilots to know about it.

Thomas Singapore March 11

This is yet another beautiful example of the difference in approach between Europeans and US Americans. While Europeans usually test their before they deliver the product thoroughly in order to avoid any potential failures of the product in their customers hands, the US approach is different: It is "make it work somehow and fix the problems when the client has them".

Which is what happened here as well. Boeing did cut corners when designing the B737 MAX by just replacing the engines but not by designing a new wing which would have been required for the new engine.

So the aircraft became unstable to fly at low speedy and tight turns which required a fix by implementing the MCAS which then was kept from recertification procedures for clients for reasons competitive sales arguments. And of course, the FAA played along and provided a cover for this cutting of corners as this was a product of a US company.

Then the proverbial brown stuff hit the fan, not once but twice. So Boeing sent its "thoughts and prayers" and started to hope for the storm to blow over and for finding a fix that would not be very expensive and not eat the share holder value away.

Sorry, but that is not the way to design and maintain aircraft. If you do it, do it right the first time and not fix it after more than 300 people died in accidents. There is a reason why China has copied the Airbus A-320 and not the Boeing B737 when building its COMAC C919. The Airbus is not a cheap fix, still tested by customers.

Rafael USA March 11

@Thomas And how do you know that Boeing do not test the aircrafts before delivery? It is a requirement by FAA for all complete product, systems, parts and sub-parts to be tested before delivery. However it seems Boeing has not approached the problem (or maybe they do not know the real issue).

As for the design, are you an engineer that can say whatever the design and use of new engines without a complete re-design is wrong? Have you seen the design drawings of the airplane? I do work in an industry in which our products are use for testing different parts of aircratfs and Boeing is one of our customers.

Our products are use during manufacturing and maintenance of airplanes. My guess is that Boeing has no idea what is going on. Your biased opinion against any US product is evident. There are regulations in the USA (and not in other Asia countries) that companies have to follow. This is not a case of untested product, it is a case of unknown problem and Boeing is really in the dark of what is going on...

Sam Europe March 11

Boeing and Regulators continue to exhibit criminal behaviour in this case. Ethical responsibility expects that when the first brand new MAX 8 fell for potentially issues with its design, the fleet should have been grounded. Instead, money was a priority; and unfortunately still is. They are even now flying. Disgraceful and criminal behaviour.

Imperato NYC March 11

@Sam no...too soon to come anywhere near that conclusion.

YW New York, NY March 11

A terrible tragedy for Ethiopia and all of the families affected by this disaster. The fact that two 737 Max jets have crashed in one year is indeed suspicious, especially as it has long been safer to travel in a Boeing plane than a car or school bus. That said, it is way too early to speculate on the causes of the two crashes being identical. Eyewitness accounts of debris coming off the plane in mid-air, as has been widely reported, would not seem to square with the idea that software is again at fault. Let's hope this puzzle can be solved quickly.

Wayne Brooklyn, New York March 11

@Singh the difference is consumer electronic products usually have a smaller number of components and wiring compared to commercial aircraft with miles of wiring and multitude of sensors and thousands of components. From what I know they usually have a preliminary report that comes out in a short time. But the detailed reported that takes into account analysis will take over one year to be written.

John A San Diego March 11

The engineers and management at Boeing need a crash course in ethics. After the crash in Indonesia, Boeing was trying to pass the blame rather than admit responsibility. The planes should all have been grounded then. Now the chickens have come to roost. Boeing is in serious trouble and it will take a long time to recover the reputation. Large multinationals never learn.

Imperato NYC March 11

@John A the previous pilot flying the Lion jet faced the same problem but dealt with it successfully. The pilot on the ill fated flight was less experienced and unfortunately failed.

BSmith San Francisco March 11

@Imperato Solving a repeat problem on an airplane type must not solely depend upon a pilot undertaking an emergency response! That is nonsense even to a non-pilot! This implies that Boeing allows a plane to keep flying which it knows has a fatal flaw! Shouldn't it be grounding all these planes until it identifies and solves the same problem?

Jimi DC March 11

NYT recently did an excellent job explaining how pilots were kept in the dark, by Boeing, during software update for 737 Max: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/03/world/asia/lion-air-plane-crash-pilots.html#click=https://t.co/MRgpKKhsly

Steve Charlotte, NC March 11

Something is wrong with those two graphs of altitude and vertical speed. For example, both are flat at the end, even though the vertical speed graph indicates that the plane was climbing rapidly. So what is the source of those numbers? Is it ground-based radar, or telemetry from onboard instruments? If the latter, it might be a clue to the problem.

Imperato NYC March 11

@Steve Addis Ababa is almost at 8000ft.

George North Carolina March 11

I wonder if, somewhere, there is a a report from some engineers saying that the system pushed by administrative-types to get the plane on the market quickly, will results in serious problems down the line.

Rebecca Michigan March 11

If we don't know why the first two 737 Max Jets crashed, then we don't know how long it will be before another one has a catastrophic failure. All the planes need to be grounded until the problem can be duplicated and eliminated.

Shirley OK March 11

@Rebecca And if it is something about the plane itself - and maybe an interaction with the new software - then someone has to be ready to volunteer to die to replicate what's happened.....

Rebecca Michigan March 12

@Shirley Heavens no. When investigating failures, duplicating the problem helps develop the solution. If you can't recreate the problem, then there is nothing to solve. Duplicating the problem generally is done through analysis and simulations, not with actual planes and passengers.

Sisifo Carrboro, NC March 11

Computer geeks can be deadly. This is clearly a software problem. The more software goes into a plane, the more likely it is for a software failure to bring down a plane. And computer geeks are always happy to try "new things" not caring what the effects are in the real world. My PC has a feature that controls what gets typed depending on the speed and repetitiveness of what I type. The darn thing is a constant source of annoyance as I sit at my desk, and there is absolutely no way to neutralize it because a computer geek so decided. Up in an airliner cockpit, this same software idiocy is killing people like flies.

Pooja MA March 11

@Sisifo Software that goes into critical systems like aircraft have a lot more constraints. Comparing it to the user interface on your PC doesn't make any sense. It's insulting to assume programmers are happy to "try new things" at the expense of lives. If you'd read about the Lion Air crash carefully you'd remember that there were faulty sensors involved. The software was doing what it was designed to do but the input it was getting was incorrect. I accept that it should be easier for pilots to assume manual control of the aircraft in such situations but I wouldn't rush to condemn the programmers before we get all the facts.

BSmith San Francisco March 11

@Pooja Mistakes happen. If humans on board can't respond to terrible situations then there is something wrong with the aircraft and its computer systems. By definition.

Patriot NJ March 11

Airbus had its own experiences with pilot "mode confusion" in the 1990's with at least 3 fatal crashes in the A320, but was able to control the media narrative until they resolved the automation issues. Look up Air Inter 148 in Wikipedia to learn the similarities.

Opinioned! NYC -- currently wintering in the Pacific March 11

"Commands issued by the plane's flight control computer that bypasses the pilots." What could possibly go wrong? Now let's see whether Boeing's spin doctors can sell this as a feature, not a bug.

Chris Hartnett Minneapolis March 11

It is telling that the Chinese government grounded their fleet of 737 Max 8 aircraft before the US government. The world truly has turned upside down when it potentially is safer to fly in China than the US. Oh, the times we live in. Chris Hartnett Datchet, UK (formerly Minneapolis)

Hollis Barcelona March 11

As a passenger who likes his captains with a head full of white hair, even if the plane is nosediving to instrument failure, does not every pilot who buckles a seat belt worldwide know how to switch off automatic flight controls and fly the airplane manually?

Even if this were 1000% Boeing's fault pilots should be able to override electronics and fly the plane safely back to the airport. I'm sure it's not that black and white in the air and I know it's speculation at this point but can any pilots add perspective regarding human responsibility?

Karl Rollings Sydney, Australia March 11

@Hollis I'm not a pilot nor an expert, but my understanding is that planes these days are "fly by wire", meaning the control surfaces are operated electronically, with no mechanical connection between the pilot's stick and the wings. So if the computer goes down, the ability to control the plane goes with it.

William Philadelphia March 11

@Hollis The NYT's excellent reporting on the Lion Air crash indicated that in nearly all other commercial aircraft, manual control of the pilot's yoke would be sufficient to override the malfunctioning system (which was controlling the tail wings in response to erroneous sensor data). Your white haired captain's years of training would have ingrained that impulse.

Unfortunately, on the Max 8 that would not sufficiently override the tail wings until the pilots flicked a switch near the bottom of the yoke. It's unclear whether individual airlines made pilots aware of this. That procedure existed in older planes but may not have been standard practice because the yoke WOULD sufficiently override the tail wings. Boeing's position has been that had pilots followed the procedure, a crash would not have occurred.

Nat Netherlands March 11

@Hollis No, that is the entire crux of this problem; switching from auto-pilot to manual does NOT solve it. Hence the danger of this whole system. T

his new Boeing 737-Max series are having the engines placed a bit further away than before and I don't know why they did this, but the result is that there can be some imbalance in air, which they then tried to correct with this strange auto-pilot technical adjustment.

Problem is that it stalls the plane (by pushing its nose down and even flipping out small wings sometimes) even when it shouldn't, and even when they switch to manual this system OVERRULES the pilot and switches back to auto-pilot, continuing to try to 'stabilize' (nose dive) the plane. That's what makes it so dangerous.

It was designed to keep the plane stable but basically turned out to function more or less like a glitch once you are taking off and need the ascend. I don't know why it only happens now and then, as this plane had made many other take-offs prior, but when it hits, it can be deadly. So far Boeings 'solution' is sparsely sending out a HUGE manual for pilots about how to fight with this computer problem.

Which are complicated to follow in a situation of stress with a plane computer constantly pushing the nose of your plane down. Max' mechanism is wrong and instead of correcting it properly, pilots need special training. Or a new technical update may help... which has been delayed and still hasn't been provided.

Mark Lebow Milwaukee, WI March 11

Is it the inability of the two airlines to maintain one of the plane's fly-by-wire systems that is at fault, not the plane itself? Or are both crashes due to pilot error, not knowing how to operate the system and then overreacting when it engages? Is the aircraft merely too advanced for its own good? None of these questions seems to have been answered yet.

Shane Marin County, CA March 11 Times Pick

This is such a devastating thing for Ethiopian Airlines, which has been doing critical work in connecting Africa internally and to the world at large. This is devastating for the nation of Ethiopia and for all the family members of those killed. May the memory of every passenger be a blessing. We should all hope a thorough investigation provides answers to why this make and model of airplane keep crashing so no other people have to go through this horror again.

Mal T KS March 11

A possible small piece of a big puzzle: Bishoftu is a city of 170,000 that is home to the main Ethiopian air force base, which has a long runway. Perhaps the pilot of Flight 302 was seeking to land there rather than returning to Bole Airport in Addis Ababa, a much larger and more densely populated city than Bishoftu. The pilot apparently requested return to Bole, but may have sought the Bishoftu runway when he experienced further control problems. Detailed analysis of radar data, conversations between pilot and control tower, flight path, and other flight-related information will be needed to establish the cause(s) of this tragedy.

Nan Socolow West Palm Beach, FL March 11

The business of building and selling airplanes is brutally competitive. Malfunctions in the systems of any kind on jet airplanes ("workhorses" for moving vast quantities of people around the earth) lead to disaster and loss of life. Boeing's much ballyhooed and vaunted MAX 8 737 jet planes must be grounded until whatever computer glitches brought down Ethiopian Air and LION Air planes -- with hundreds of passenger deaths -- are explained and fixed.

In 1946, Arthur Miller's play, "All My Sons", brought to life guilt by the airplane industry leading to deaths of WWII pilots in planes with defective parts. Arthur Miller was brought before the House UnAmerican Activities Committee because of his criticism of the American Dream. His other seminal American play, "Death of a Salesman", was about an everyman to whom attention must be paid. Attention must be paid to our aircraft industry. The American dream must be repaired.

Rachel Brooklyn, NY March 11

This story makes me very afraid of driverless cars.

Chuck W. Seattle, WA March 11

Meanwhile, human drivers killed 40,000 and injured 4.5 million people in 2018... For comparison, 58,200 American troops died in the entire Vietnam war. Computers do not fall asleep, get drunk, drive angry, or get distracted. As far as I am concerned, we cannot get unreliable humans out from behind the wheel fast enough.

jcgrim Knoxville, TN March 11

@Chuck W. Humans write the algorithms of driverless cars. Algorithms are not 100% fail-safe. Particularly when humans can't seem to write snap judgements or quick inferences into an algorithm. An algorithm can make driverless cars safe in predictable situations but that doesn't mean driveless cars will work in unpredictable events. Also, I don't trust the hype from Uber or the tech industry. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/24/technology/anthony-levandowski-waymo-uber-google-lawsuit.html?mtrref=t.co&gwh=D6880521C2C06930788921147F4506C8&gwt=pay

John NYC March 11

The irony here seems to be that in attempting to make the aircraft as safe as possible (with systems updates and such) Boeing may very well have made their product less safe. Since the crashes, to date, have been limited to the one product that product should be grounded until a viable determination has been made. John~ American Net'Zen

cosmos Washington March 11

Knowing quite a few Boeing employees and retirees, people who have shared numerous stories of concerns about Boeing operations -- I personally avoid flying. As for the assertion: "The business of building and selling jets is brutally competitive" -- it is monopolistic competition, as there are only two players. That means consumers (in this case airlines) do not end up with the best and widest array of airplanes. The more monopolistic a market, the more it needs to be regulated in the public interest -- yet I seriously doubt the FAA or any governmental agency has peeked into all the cost cutting measures Boeing has implemented in recent years

drdeanster tinseltown March 11

@cosmos Patently ridiculous. Your odds are greater of dying from a lightning strike, or in a car accident. Or even from food poisoning. Do you avoid driving? Eating? Something about these major disasters makes people itching to abandon all sense of probability and statistics.

Bob Milan March 11

When the past year was the dealiest one in decades, and when there are two disasters involved the same plane within that year, how can anyone not draw an inference that there are something wrong with the plane? In statistical studies of a pattern, this is a very very strong basis for a logical reasoning that something is wrong with the plane. When the number involves human lives, we must take very seriously the possibility of design flaws. The MAX planes should be all grounded for now. Period.

65 Recommend
mak pakistan March 11

@Bob couldn't agree more - however the basic design and engineering of the 737 is proven to be dependable over the past ~ 6 decades......not saying that there haven't been accidents - but these probably lie well within the industry / type averages. the problems seems to have arisen with the introduction of systems which have purportedly been introduced to take a part of the work-load off the pilots & pass it onto a central compuertised system.

Maybe the 'automated anti-stalling ' programme installed into the 737 Max, due to some erroneous inputs from the sensors, provide inaccurate data to the flight management controls leading to stalling of the aircraft. It seems that the manufacturer did not provide sufficent technical data about the upgraded software, & incase of malfunction, the corrective procedures to be followed to mitigate such diasters happening - before delivery of the planes to customers.

The procedure for the pilot to take full control of the aircraft by disengaging the central computer should be simple and fast to execute. Please we don't want Tesla driverless vehicles high up in the sky !

James Conner Northwestern Montana March 11

All we know at the moment is that a 737 Max crashed in Africa a few minutes after taking off from a high elevation airport. Some see similarities with the crash of Lion Air's 737 Max last fall -- but drawing a line between the only two dots that exist does not begin to present a useful picture of the situation.

Human nature seeks an explanation for an event, and may lead some to make assumptions that are without merit in order to provide closure. That tendency is why following a dramatic event, when facts are few, and the few that exist may be misleading, there is so much cocksure speculation masquerading as solid, reasoned, analysis. At this point, it's best to keep an open mind and resist connecting dots.

Peter Sweden March 11

@James Conner 2 deadly crashes after the introduction of a new airplane has no precedence in recent aviation history. And the time it has happened (with Comet), it was due to a faulty aircraft design. There is, of course, some chance that there is no connection between the two accidents, but if there is, the consequences are huge. Especially because the two events happened with very similar fashion (right after takeoff, with wild altitude changes), so there is more similarities than just the type of the plane. So there is literally no reason to keep this model in the air until the investigation is concluded. Oh well, there is: money. Over human lives.

svenbi NY March 11

It might be a wrong analogy, but if Toyota/Lexus recall over 1.5 million vehicles due to at least over 20 fatalities in relations to potentially fawlty airbags, Boeing should -- after over 300 deaths in just about 6 months -- pull their product of the market voluntarily until it is sorted out once and for all.

This tragic situation recalls the early days of the de Havilland Comet, operated by BOAC, which kept plunging from the skies within its first years of operation until the fault was found to be in the rectangular windows, which did not withstand the pressure due its jet speed and the subsequent cracks in body ripped the planes apart in midflight.

Thore Eilertsen Oslo March 11

A third crash may have the potential to take the aircraft manufacturer out of business, it is therefore unbelievable that the reasons for the Lion Air crash haven't been properly established yet. With more than a 100 Boeing 737 Max already grounded, I would expect crash investigations now to be severely fast tracked.

And the entire fleet should be grounded on the principle of "better safe than sorry". But then again, that would cost Boeing money, suggesting that the company's assessment of the risks involved favours continued operations above the absolute safety of passengers.

Londoner London March 11

@Thore Eilertsen This is also not a case for a secretive and extended crash investigation process. As soon as the cockpit voice recording is extracted - which might be later today - it should be made public. We also need to hear the communications between the controllers and the aircraft and to know about the position regarding the special training the pilots received after the Lion Air crash.

Trevor Canada March 11

@Thore Eilertsen I would imagine that Boeing will be the first to propose grounding these planes if they believe with a high degree of probability that it's their issue. They have the most to lose. Let logic and patience prevail.

Marvin McConoughey oregon March 11

It is very clear, even in these early moments, that aircraft makers need far more comprehensive information on everything pertinent that is going on in cockpits when pilots encounter problems. That information should be continually transmitted to ground facilities in real time to permit possible ground technical support.

[Mar 12, 2019] Not Looking Good -- Trump Attacks Coulter, Congressional GOP Cucking On Immigration by Washington Watcher

Mar 12, 2019 | www.unz.com

See, earlier by Ann Coulter: Trump's Failing On Immigration. Don't Ask Me To Lie About It

Three weeks ago, after Donald J. Trump abandoned the government shutdown and declared a national emergency to get some funding for his border wall, I asked: Did Trump Save His Presidency? Maybe -- IF He Doesn't INCREASE Legal Immigration . Unfortunately, and incredibly given his campaign promises , Trump has repeatedly said since then that he has indeed pivoted to increasing legal immigration -- reportedly under the influence of his daughter and son-in-law, Ivanka and Jared Kushner . Trump may still be saved by the Party of Hysterical Screeching 's inability to accept even victory (because increasing legal immigration would be demographic victory for them) at his hands. But in the interim, without Presidential leadership, it appears likely that the Congressional Stupid Party will not take up the various measures that could stem America's immigration disaster -- above all, the Merkel-type catastrophe now unfolding on the southern border.

Weirdly, Trump abruptly attacked Ann Coulter , one of his earliest and most eloquent backers , on Twitter Saturday night, perhaps signaling he is repudiating the immigration patriotism he won on -- or perhaps that he knows Ann is right:

In reality of course, "major sections of the wall" have not been built. And the administration suffered yet another defeat in the courts last week over its attempts to enforce immigration law. [ In another blow to Trump, judge rules in favor of ACLU in family separations case , by Maria Sacchetti, The Washington Post , March 8, 2019] Trump is fighting, to his credit, but he simply is not winning on the border.

Coulter has consistently demanded the president implement the immigration platform he campaigne d on and her recent (admittedly savage) criticism isn't much different from what she has said since the beginning of Trump's tenure. See, recently Ann Coulter To Donald Trump: Hey, Commander! Start Commanding!

The difference lies in Trump himself. [ Anti-Immigration Groups See Trump's Calls for More Legal Immigrants as a Betrayal , by Michael D. Shear, The New York Times , March 8, 2019]

Jared Kushner is currently leading negotiations with the Cheap Labor Lobby to craft a bill that will likely increase guest worker visas. It's unclear what exactly will end up in this legislation, but it is guaranteed to enrage immigration patriots. [ Globalist Business Groups with Koch, Bush Ties Dominate Immigration Talks at White House , by John Binder, Breitbart , February 26, 2019]

Congressional Republicans also seem uninterested in immigration patriotism.

Many Republicans want to block President Trump's national emergency declaration on the border -- the one good thing Trump has recently done on immigration–because it goes against their " principles ." Thirteen House Republicans voted to block the executive order last month. "The president doesn't get to just declare an emergency for something that Congress has deliberated many times over the past several years," Michigan Rep. Justin Amash, a libertarian, said of why he sponsored legislation to stifle the national emergency. [ Rep. Justin Amash: 'The President Doesn't Get To Just Declare an Emergency' , by Joe Seyton, Reason, February 26, 2019]. Amash was joined by a group primarily made up of squishy Republicans. [ Meet the 13 Republicans who rebuked Trump over his national emergency , by Bridget Bowman, Roll Call , February 26, 2019]

Trump's executive order is receiving even more pushback from Senate Republicans. Senators such as Shelly Moore-Capito (R-West Virginia) and Susan Collins think the national emergency is "concerning" and believe Trump already has enough wall money without the declaration. [ GOP wants Trump to back off on emergency , by Alexander Bolton, The Hill , March 6, 2019]

Four Republican Senators have announced their intention to vote for legislation to block the national emergency: Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Thom Tillis, and usual Trump ally Rand Paul. More are likely to announce their support for this measure as the vote approaches this week. Pat Toomey and Todd Young, both who are close with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, want to propose resolutions to give cucky Republicans a way to voice their disapproval without voting with the Democrats.

The resolutions would convey the message that Republicans want border security, but don't want to take the necessary actions to fund said border security. Sen. Mike Lee of Utah wants to pass a resolution that would restrict the president's emergency powers and place a 30-day or 60-day time limit on how long they can be in effect without congressional approval.

McConnell announced Monday that he could not prevent passage of legislation blocking Trump's national emergency declaration. The New York Times declared this announcement as proof that Trump has lost influence within his own party. [ Trump's Grip Shows Signs of Slipping as Senate Prepares to Block Wall Emergency , By Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Emily Cochrane, The New York Times , March 4, 2019]

The good news is that Trump will most likely veto this legislation and Congress doesn't have enough votes to override the veto. The President is also threatening senators who vote for the block with stiff consequences. [ Senate Republicans divided ahead of vote on disapproval of national emergency , by Ted Barrett, CNN , March 7, 2019] There is little chance the President will sign a bill that overrides his own action, even if his close advisers tell him to do so. Trump's instincts would never allow such behavior.

The bad news: it's a sign congressional Republicans have no will to support immigration patriotism at the moment. This is very bad considering the immigration bills that may come before them in the near future, including the possible White House measure on guest worker visas. House Democrats are set to introduce a new DREAM Act that will legalize at least 1.8 million illegals and extend Temporary Protected Status for hundreds of thousands of foreign nationals.

Congressional Republicans need to get their act together to kill these pieces of legislation. But they may be at the forefront in support of them. Last fall, multiple Republican senators, including the appalling Thom Tillis, proposed a bill that would double the number of H-2b visas and screw over low-skilled American workers. And last month, several Republicans -- alas, including supposed immigration patriot Tom Cotton -- championed the easement of some regulations on H-1b visas.

The better hope for killing a guest worker expansion lies with the Democrats. Anyone with a brain realizes this would be bad for American workers and benefits greedy corporations. Democrats have never been too fond of this plan, as evidenced by their skepticism about its expansion in the Gang of Eight Amnesty. [ Gang of 8 defends guest worker plan , by Seung Min Kim, Politico , May 13, 2013]. What better way to portray Trump as a phony populist in 2020 than to skewer him for this gift to the cheap labor lobby?

The House Democrats' proposed DREAM Act will probably go nowhere–unless Trump includes that idea in his immigration package. There are some positive signs that the White House won't do this; and that Republicans would block its passage. Kushner floated the idea of giving green cards for Dreamers in exchange for wall funding during shutdown negotiations earlier this year. That plan was firmly opposed by conservative senators who thought it was insanity [ A "go big" idea to end the shutdown , by Jonathan Swan, Axios , January 23, 2019]

Though Congress and the White House seem set on terrible immigration ideas, it's worth remembering there are alternative patriotic immigration proposals they could push. All of these ideas would not likely pass the current Congress, but they would shape the immigration debate in a positive direction ahead of the 2020 election.

El Chapo Act:

This bill proposed by Sen. Ted Cruz would confiscate the money of drug lords like Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman and allocate it to building the wall. Cruz reintroduced the proposal in February and believes the government could obtain $14 billion out of El Chapo's drug profits through this law [ Sen. Ted Cruz's solution to border wall impasse: Make El Chapo pay for it , by Deanna Paul, The Washington Post , February 13, 2019]. This would be more money than Trump currently has for wall construction and would send a strong message to the cartels. The president himself has said Sen. Cruz's idea is "interesting." There is no reason Republicans shouldn't hold a vote on this bill and make Democrats stand up for drug cartels.

Kate's Law:

This bill, named after Kate Steinle who was murdered by an illegal alien, would institute harsher penalties for illegals caught re-entering the country. This measure passed the House in 2017, but it died in the (n.b. GOP-controlled)Senate [ Senate Has Not Voted On Kate's Law Five Months After It Passed The House With Bipartisan Support , by Will Racke, The Daily Caller , December 1, 2017].

Trump should resurrect the bill. Yes, it's passage is less likely with a Democrat-controlled House. That doesn't matter. The president needs to convey he still wants to crack down on illegal immigration and that his opponents favor criminal aliens over American citizens.

Along with the El Chapo Act, probably has the best chance at passage among the ideas the Trump admin could push as multiple Democrats voted for it back in 2017. There is still a chance enough Democrats would vote for it again to achieve passage.

No Sanctuary for Criminals Act:

This act would cut Sanctuary Cities off from federal law enforcement funds and it was also passed by the House in 2017, albeit by a smaller margin than Kate's Law. It also went nowhere in the (GOP-controlled) Senate. If Republicans want to highlight the chaos created by Democrat policies, they should revive this bill and remind Americans that Trump stands up for law and order. This act, however, does have less chance of passage as it was more strongly opposed by Democrats [ Dems block Senate vote on sanctuary cities , by Alexander Bolton, The Hill , February 13, 2018]

Mandatory e-Verify:

Requiring all American companies to use e-verify seems almost too good of an idea for Republicans. The bill explicitly protects American workers and puts the onus on employers to make sure they only hire those who are here legally. This should receive bipartisan support as both parties want to portray themselves as the true protectors of American workers.

House Republicans included the measure in their DACA deal last year, so they are aware of this proposal [ Goodlatte offers E-Verify mandate, farm worker fix for immigration bill , by John Bresnahan, Politico , June 26, 2018]. We just need one patriot Republican to stand up and offer mandatory e-Verify. This proposal also has a decent chance of passage.

Override the Flores Settlement:

This 1997 court decision has handcuffed the Trump administration's ability to enforce immigration law and is directly responsible for the current border collapse. It has allowed liberal judges to deem it unlawful for the government to detain illegal alien minors for more than 20 days. It also has allowed for these minors to have better access to asylum as they remain in America undetained. Some Republican lawmakers, including Ted Cruz, suggested legislative action in the last congressional session to correct this loophole [ The History of the Flores Settlement , by Matt Sussis, Center for Immigration Studies , February 11, 2019].

A bill to end this policy would not likely pass as many Republicans shrank from the Trump's family detention policies last summer [ Here Are the Republicans Opposing Migrant Family Separation , by Jeff Cirillo, Roll Call , June 19, 2018]. That doesn't change the fact that the Trump administration needs this legislation to avoid further court losses and to shift public discussion on family detention to focus on Democratic preference for illegal immigrants.

Eliminating birthright citizenship:

There is no way that this idea would pass Congress, but it does have the backing of the President and one prominent Republican senator. Trump said he may eliminate birthright citizenship by executive order and Sen. Lindsey Graham proposed a bill to do so right before the 2018 election. [ Lindsey Graham Seconds Trump Proposal to End Birthright Citizenship , by Niels Lesniewski, Roll Call , October 30, 2018]

Those plans, however, seem to have disappeared since then. But Trump still seems interested in the issue -- he mentioned it in his speech to CPAC -- and events may prompt the president to revisit the topic. A bill would cause an uproar within Congress and among the Republican caucus, let alone an executive order. And that's good. If Trump wants to have a serious discussion on citizenship and reduce the negative effects of mass immigration, then he must force this issue into the public square.

Javanka would likely oppose any such effort, so perhaps their White House influence would have to be minimalized from what it is today for this to happen.

The RAISE Act:

The RAISE Act would halve America's yearly immigration intake and structure our system to be more "merit-based." It would also cap annual refugee numbers at 50,000 and eliminate the diversity visa lottery. The bill was introduced by Sens. Tom Cotton and David Perdue with Trump's backing in August 2017. But (again, despite GOP control of Congress) nothing happened.

If Trump wants to show he still puts America first ahead of 2020, he could resurrect the RAISE Act. There is no chance it would pass, but it would force Republicans to run on the plan and win the seats necessary to pass it in Trump's second term.

These are some positive things Trump and Republicans can do. Whether they choose to do them is up to them.

It's not looking good.

Washington Watcher [ email him ] is an anonymous source Inside The Beltway.

[Mar 11, 2019] The university professors, who teach but do not learn: neoliberal shill DeJong tries to prolong the life of neoliberalism in the USA

Highly recommended!
DeJong is more dangerous them Malkin... It poisons students with neoliberalism more effectively.
Mar 11, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Kurtismayfield , , March 10, 2019 at 10:52 am

Re:Wall Street Democrats

They know, however, that they've been conned, played, and they're absolute fools in the game.

Thank you Mr. Black for the laugh this morning. They know exactly what they have been doing. Whether it was deregulating so that Hedge funds and vulture capitalism can thrive, or making sure us peons cannot discharge debts, or making everything about financalization. This was all done on purpose, without care for "winning the political game". Politics is economics, and the Wall Street Democrats have been winning.

notabanker , , March 10, 2019 at 12:26 pm

For sure. I'm quite concerned at the behavior of the DNC leadership and pundits. They are doubling down on blatant corporatist agendas. They are acting like they have this in the bag when objective evidence says they do not and are in trouble. Assuming they are out of touch is naive to me. I would assume the opposite, they know a whole lot more than what they are letting on.

urblintz , , March 10, 2019 at 12:49 pm

I think the notion that the DNC and the Democrat's ruling class would rather lose to a like-minded Republican corporatist than win with someone who stands for genuine progressive values offering "concrete material benefits." I held my nose and read comments at the kos straw polls (where Sanders consistently wins by a large margin) and it's clear to me that the Clintonista's will do everything in their power to derail Bernie.

polecat , , March 10, 2019 at 1:00 pm

"It's the Externalities, stupid economists !" *should be the new rallying cry ..

rd , , March 10, 2019 at 3:26 pm

Keynes' "animal spirits" and the "tragedy of the commons" (Lloyd, 1833 and Hardin, 1968) both implied that economics was messier than Samuelson and Friedman would have us believe because there are actual people with different short- and long-term interests.

The behavioral folks (Kahnemann, Tversky, Thaler etc.) have all shown that people are even messier than we would have thought. So most macro-economic stuff over the past half-century has been largely BS in justifying trickle-down economics, deregulation etc.

There needs to be some inequality as that provides incentives via capitalism but unfettered it turns into France 1989 or the Great Depression. It is not coincidence that the major experiment in this in the late 90s and early 2000s required massive government intervention to keep the ship from sinking less than a decade after the great unregulated creative forces were unleashed.

MMT is likely to be similar where productive uses of deficits can be beneficial, but if the money is wasted on stupid stuff like unnecessary wars, then the loss of credibility means that the fiat currency won't be quite as fiat anymore. Britain was unbelievably economically powerfully in the late 1800s but in half a century went to being an economic afterthought hamstrung by deficits after two major wars and a depression.

So it is good that people like Brad DeLong are coming to understand that the pretty economic theories have some truths but are utter BS (and dangerous) when extrapolated without accounting for how people and societies actually behave.

Chris Cosmos , , March 10, 2019 at 6:43 pm

I never understood the incentive to make more money -- that only works if money = true value and that is the implication of living in a capitalist society (not economy)–everything then becomes a commodity and alienation results and all the depression, fear, anxiety that I see around me. Whereas human happiness actually comes from helping others and finding meaning in life not money or dominating others. That's what social science seems to be telling us.

Oregoncharles , , March 10, 2019 at 2:46 pm

Quoting DeLong:

" He says we are discredited. Our policies have failed. And they've failed because we've been conned by the Republicans."

That's welcome, but it's still making excuses. Neoliberal policies have failed because the economics were wrong, not because "we've been conned by the Republicans." Furthermore, this may be important – if it isn't acknowledged, those policies are quite likely to come sneaking back, especially if Democrats are more in the ascendant., as they will be, given the seesaw built into the 2-Party.

The Rev Kev , , March 10, 2019 at 7:33 pm

Might be right there. Groups like the neocons were originally attached the the left side of politics but when the winds changed, detached themselves and went over to the Republican right. The winds are changing again so those who want power may be going over to what is called the left now to keep their grip on power. But what you say is quite true. It is not really the policies that failed but the economics themselves that were wrong and which, in an honest debate, does not make sense either.

marku52 , , March 10, 2019 at 3:39 pm

"And they've failed because we've been conned by the Republicans.""

Not at all. What about the "free trade" hokum that DeJong and his pal Krugman have been peddling since forever? History and every empirical test in the modern era shows that it fails in developing countries and only exacerbates inequality in richer ones.

That's just a failed policy.

I'm still waiting for an apology for all those years that those two insulted anyone who questioned their dogma as just "too ignorant to understand."

Glen , , March 10, 2019 at 4:47 pm

Thank you!

He created FAILED policies. He pushed policies which have harmed America, harmed Americans, and destroyed the American dream.

Kevin Carhart , , March 10, 2019 at 4:29 pm

It's intriguing, but two other voices come to mind. One is Never Let a Serious Crisis Go To Waste by Mirowski and the other is Generation Like by Doug Rushkoff.

Neoliberalism is partially entrepreneurial self-conceptions which took a long time to promote. Rushkoff's Frontline shows the Youtube culture. There is a girl with a "leaderboard" on the wall of her suburban room, keeping track of her metrics.

There's a devastating VPRO Backlight film on the same topic. Internet-platform neoliberalism does not have much to do with the GOP.

It's going to be an odd hybrid at best – you could have deep-red communism but enacted for and by people whose self-conception is influenced by decades of Becker and Hayek? One place this question leads is to ask what's the relationship between the set of ideas and material conditions-centric philosophies? If new policies pass that create a different possibility materially, will the vise grip of the entrepreneurial self loosen?

Partially yeah, maybe, a Job Guarantee if it passes and actually works, would be an anti-neoliberal approach to jobs, which might partially loosen the regime of neoliberal advice for job candidates delivered with a smug attitude that There Is No Alternative. (Described by Gershon). We take it seriously because of a sense of dread that it might actually be powerful enough to lock us out if we don't, and an uncertainty of whether it is or not.

There has been deep damage which is now a very broad and resilient base. It is one of the prongs of why 2008 did not have the kind of discrediting effect that 1929 did. At least that's what I took away from _Never Let_.

Brad DeLong handing the baton might mean something but it is not going to ameliorate the sense-of-life that young people get from managing their channels and metrics.

Take the new 1099 platforms as another focal point. Suppose there were political measures that splice in on the platforms and take the edge off materially, such as underwritten healthcare not tied to your job. The platforms still use star ratings, make star ratings seem normal, and continually push a self-conception as a small business. If you have overt DSA plus covert Becker it is, again, a strange hybrid,

Jeremy Grimm , , March 10, 2019 at 5:13 pm

Your comment is very insightful. Neoliberalism embeds its mindset into the very fabric of our culture and self-concepts. It strangely twists many of our core myths and beliefs.

Raulb , , March 10, 2019 at 6:36 pm

This is nothing but a Trojan horse to 'co-opt' and 'subvert'. Neoliberals sense a risk to their neo feudal project and are simply attempting to infiltrate and hollow out any threats from within.

There are the same folks who have let entire economics departments becomes mouthpieces for corporate propaganda and worked with thousands of think tanks and international organizations to mislead, misinform and cause pain to millions of people.

They have seeded decontextualized words like 'wealth creators' and 'job creators' to create a halo narrative for corporate interests and undermine society, citizenship, the social good, the environment that make 'wealth creation' even possible. So all those take a backseat to 'wealth creator' interests. Since you can't create wealth without society this is some achievement.

Its because of them that we live in a world where the most important economic idea is protecting people like Kochs business and personal interests and making sure government is not 'impinging on their freedom'. And the corollary a fundamental anti-human narrative where ordinary people and workers are held in contempt for even expecting living wages and conditions and their access to basics like education, health care and living conditions is hollowed out out to promote privatization and become 'entitlements'.

Neoliberalism has left us with a decontextualized highly unstable world that exists in a collective but is forcefully detached into a context less individual existence. These are not mistakes of otherwise 'well meaning' individuals, there are the results of hard core ideologues and high priests of power.

Dan , , March 10, 2019 at 7:31 pm

Two thumbs up. This has been an ongoing agenda for decades and it has succeeded in permeating every aspect of society, which is why the United States is such a vacuous, superficial place. And it's exporting that superficiality to the rest of the world.

VietnamVet , , March 10, 2019 at 7:17 pm

I read Brad DeLong's and Paul Krugman's blogs until their contradictions became too great. If anything, we need more people seeing the truth. The Global War on Terror is into its 18th year. In October the USA will spend approximately $6 trillion and will have accomplish nothing except to create blow back. The Middle Class is disappearing. Those who remain in their homes are head over heels in debt.

The average American household carries $137,063 in debt. The wealthy are getting richer.

The Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates families together have as much wealth as the lowest half of Americans. Donald Trump's Presidency and Brexit document that neoliberal politicians have lost contact with reality. They are nightmares that there is no escaping. At best, perhaps, Roosevelt Progressives will be reborn to resurrect regulated capitalism and debt forgiveness.

But more likely is a middle-class revolt when Americans no longer can pay for water, electricity, food, medicine and are jailed for not paying a $1,500 fine for littering the Beltway.

A civil war inside a nuclear armed nation state is dangerous beyond belief. France is approaching this.

[Mar 09, 2019] The USA new class in full glory: rich are shopping differently from the low income families and the routine is like doing drags, but more pleasurable and less harmful. While workers are stuglling with the wages that barely allow to support the family, the pressure to cut hours and introduce two tire system

Notable quotes:
"... Buying beautiful clothes at full retail price was not a part of my childhood and it is not a part of my life now. It felt more illicit and more pleasurable than buying drugs. It was like buying drugs and doing the drugs, simultaneously."" ..."
"... "Erie Locomotive Plant Workers Strike against Two-Tier" [ Labor Notes ]. "UE proposed keeping the terms of the existing collective bargaining agreement in place while negotiating a new contract, but Wabtec rejected that proposal. Instead it said it would impose a two-tier pay system that would pay new hires and recalled employees up to 38 percent less in wages, institute mandatory overtime, reorganize job classifications, and hire temporary workers for up to 20 percent of the plant's jobs. ..."
"... Workers voted on Saturday to authorize the strike." • Good. Two-tier is awful, wherever found (including Social Security). ..."
Mar 09, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Guillotine Watch

"My Year of Living Like My Rich Friend" [ New York Magazine ].

"[S]hopping with T was different. When she walked into a store, the employees greeted her by name and began to pull items from the racks for her to try on. Riding her coattails, I was treated with the same consideration, which is how I wound up owning a beautiful cashmere 3.1 Philip Lim sweater that I had no use for and rarely wore, and which was eventually eaten by moths in my closet.

Buying beautiful clothes at full retail price was not a part of my childhood and it is not a part of my life now. It felt more illicit and more pleasurable than buying drugs. It was like buying drugs and doing the drugs, simultaneously.""

Indeed:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/dfO0TgcDUnI

Class Warfare

"Erie Locomotive Plant Workers Strike against Two-Tier" [ Labor Notes ]. "UE proposed keeping the terms of the existing collective bargaining agreement in place while negotiating a new contract, but Wabtec rejected that proposal. Instead it said it would impose a two-tier pay system that would pay new hires and recalled employees up to 38 percent less in wages, institute mandatory overtime, reorganize job classifications, and hire temporary workers for up to 20 percent of the plant's jobs.

Workers voted on Saturday to authorize the strike." • Good. Two-tier is awful, wherever found (including Social Security).

[Mar 09, 2019] Debbie Wasserman Schultz has threatened to have Sanders kicked out of the party unless he calls out Madura as a dictator

Jimmy Dore show is pretty educational... Why hasn't Schultz been charged for election fraud yet (she rigged the 2016 primary and then rigged her own race in Florida against Tim Canova.)? Just when you thought crooked Hillary and corrupt Debbie Wasserman-Schultz were finally silent and out of the picture, they keep coming back again and again and again...like a case of herpes.
Mar 09, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

The Rev Kev, March 6, 2019 at 6:36 pm

Nothing that Bernie will do can satisfy the Democrats. Said the other day he was wishy-washy over Venezuela but it was still not enough. Seems that Debbie Wasserman Schultz has threatened to have him kicked out of the party unless he calls out Madura as a dictator.

Film clip at-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EnlEVf7oaVQ

Some language used.

polecat , March 6, 2019 at 7:23 pm

Well then, Sanders better be carrying a polished shield at all times never know when Debbie the medusa will lurch forward throwing that gazy DNC stink-eye in his direction !

[Mar 08, 2019] William Davies reviews 'Family Values' by Melinda Cooper LRB 8 November 2018

Mar 08, 2019 | lrb.co.uk

The phrase 'hard-working families', a staple of New Labour and Conservative rhetoric for about twenty years, fell by the wayside with the political upheavals of Jeremy Corbyn's election as Labour leader in 2015 and the resignation of David Cameron the following summer. (Theresa May initially hoped to refocus on 'JAMs' – Just About Managing families – but lost all ideological confidence along with her parliamentary majority in June last year.) The phrase was used as a way of signalling economic and moral commitment at the same time. Gordon Brown – who liked to cloak redistributive policies in communitarian, traditionalist rhetoric – is said to have been the first to use it, in 1995. The Blair, Brown and Cameron governments all repeatedly claimed to be on the side of hard-working families, tinkering with tax, benefits and public services as way of helping this opaque group to 'get on'.

The full text of this book review is only available to subscribers of the London Review of Books.

[Mar 07, 2019] How Trump Happened by Joseph E. Stiglitz

Right now the title should "Can Trump happen again?" ;-)
But this is from 2016 and Professor Stiglitz missed the foreign policy and neoliberal globalization aspects of "Hillary vs Trump" battle. A vote for Hillary was a vote for continuation of wars of expansion of neoliberal empire.
It is unclear where is political force that can reverse neoliberal deregulation and neoliberal tax cuts. for example full set of taxes on all kind of income might help (so that dividends owners should pay Social security tax too) but currently is politically unfeasible, as control of Washington is in the hands of financial oligarchy which will not relinquish its power without a fight.
Notable quotes:
"... reforms that political leaders promised would ensure prosperity for all – such as trade and financial liberalization – have not delivered. Far from it. And those whose standard of living has stagnated or declined have reached a simple conclusion: America's political leaders either didn't know what they were talking about or were lying (or both). ..."
"... Thus, many Americans feel buffeted by forces outside their control, leading to outcomes that are distinctly unfair. Long-standing assumptions – that America is a land of opportunity and that each generation will be better off than the last – have been called into question. The global financial crisis may have represented a turning point for many voters: their government saved the rich bankers who had brought the US to the brink of ruin, while seemingly doing almost nothing for the millions of ordinary Americans who lost their jobs and homes. The system not only produced unfair results, but seemed rigged to do so. ..."
"... Support for Trump is based, at least partly, on the widespread anger stemming from that loss of trust in government. ..."
"... The simplistic neo-liberal market-fundamentalist theories that have shaped so much economic policy during the last four decades are badly misleading, with GDP growth coming at the price of soaring inequality. Trickle-down economics hasn't and won't work. Markets don't exist in a vacuum. The Thatcher-Reagan "revolution," which rewrote the rules and restructured markets for the benefit of those at the top, succeeded all too well in increasing inequality, but utterly failed in its mission to increase growth. ..."
"... The interests that have secured control of the US government -- again, the legislative and executive at the federal and state levels, in particular -- will not easily or readily let go of the power they have amassed, vis-à-vis their control over the writing and execution of laws and regulations lesser mortals must live under but from which the elites are exempt (cf, banking crisis). ..."
"... Either we find a TR and FDR -- and the modern-day equivalent of their allies in Congress -- or our society will continue to erode. ..."
"... the balance of global power likely will continue to shift to the more pragmatic and less constrained Hobbesian forms of societal organization -- most likely some variant of strongman rule, with China at the vanguard, if Xi Jinping (or a competitor) is able to successfully consolidate power. ..."
"... we still lack the details and a roadmap towards a new economy. ..."
"... The vehicle for shifting the fruits of that growth has more to do with our free trade agreements than tax cuts. Corporations were just as greedy before we had free trade agreements but tariffs prevented the enrichment free trade opens up. That GDP increase would have happened without free trade as workers enjoyed higher wages. Which makes Trump correct after all. ..."
"... From shortly after the end of the War of 1812 until the Kennedy Round of tariff reductions in 1967 the United States was the most tariff protected nation on earth. ..."
"... How is it possible that two powerful families (Bush and Clinton) are nearly have a monopoly on becoming US presidents. ..."
"... Just twenty five years ago Mr. Robert McNamara came to Matsue, a Japanese city near where I live, to attend a US-Japanese conference. I was appalled to hear, as he said and I was in the audience, that the income of the American middle-class had not risen at all for the past twenty or so years. His words were less an explanation of what had been going on in the American economy and more a warning of what was going to happen in the Japanese economy. The rules need to be rewritten. ..."
"... The Americans shall be voting Trump for the same reasons they voted Bush Jr. The democratic [neoliberal] establishment failed miserably ..."
Project Syndicate

But several underlying factors also appear to have contributed to the closeness of the race. For starters, many Americans are economically worse off than they were a quarter-century ago. The median income of full-time male employees is lower than it was 42 years ago, and it is increasingly difficult for those with limited education to get a full-time job that pays decent wages.

Indeed, real (inflation-adjusted) wages at the bottom of the income distribution are roughly where they were 60 years ago. So it is no surprise that Trump finds a large, receptive audience when he says the state of the economy is rotten. But Trump is wrong both about the diagnosis and the prescription. The US economy as a whole has done well for the last six decades: GDP has increased nearly six-fold. But the fruits of that growth have gone to a relatively few at the top – people like Trump, owing partly to massive tax cuts that he would extend and deepen.

At the same time, reforms that political leaders promised would ensure prosperity for all – such as trade and financial liberalization – have not delivered. Far from it. And those whose standard of living has stagnated or declined have reached a simple conclusion: America's political leaders either didn't know what they were talking about or were lying (or both).

Trump wants to blame all of America's problems on trade and immigration. He's wrong. The US would have faced deindustrialization even without freer trade: global employment in manufacturing has been declining, with productivity gains exceeding demand growth.

Where the trade agreements failed, it was not because the US was outsmarted by its trading partners; it was because the US trade agenda was shaped by corporate interests. America's companies have done well, and it is the Republicans who have blocked efforts to ensure that Americans made worse off by trade agreements would share the benefits.

Thus, many Americans feel buffeted by forces outside their control, leading to outcomes that are distinctly unfair. Long-standing assumptions – that America is a land of opportunity and that each generation will be better off than the last – have been called into question. The global financial crisis may have represented a turning point for many voters: their government saved the rich bankers who had brought the US to the brink of ruin, while seemingly doing almost nothing for the millions of ordinary Americans who lost their jobs and homes. The system not only produced unfair results, but seemed rigged to do so.

Support for Trump is based, at least partly, on the widespread anger stemming from that loss of trust in government. But Trump's proposed policies would make a bad situation much worse. Surely, another dose of trickle-down economics of the kind he promises, with tax cuts aimed almost entirely at rich Americans and corporations, would produce results no better than the last time they were tried.

In fact, launching a trade war with China, Mexico, and other US trading partners, as Trump promises, would make all Americans poorer and create new impediments to the global cooperation needed to address critical global problems like the Islamic State, global terrorism, and climate change. Using money that could be invested in technology, education, or infrastructure to build a wall between the US and Mexico is a twofer in terms of wasting resources.

There are two messages US political elites should be hearing. The simplistic neo-liberal market-fundamentalist theories that have shaped so much economic policy during the last four decades are badly misleading, with GDP growth coming at the price of soaring inequality. Trickle-down economics hasn't and won't work. Markets don't exist in a vacuum. The Thatcher-Reagan "revolution," which rewrote the rules and restructured markets for the benefit of those at the top, succeeded all too well in increasing inequality, but utterly failed in its mission to increase growth.

This leads to the second message: we need to rewrite the rules of the economy once again, this time to ensure that ordinary citizens benefit. Politicians in the US and elsewhere who ignore this lesson will be held accountable. Change entails risk. But the Trump phenomenon – and more than a few similar political developments in Europe – has revealed the far greater risks entailed by failing to heed this message: societies divided, democracies undermined, and economies weakened.

markets aurelius OCT 15, 2016

I've yet to see such a succinct or well-presented analysis on the rise of Trump and the far-left and -right in Europe. Thank you.

Where I disagree with Prof. Stiglitz, however, is in the second point of his conclusion; to wit, "... we need to rewrite the rules of the economy once again, this time to ensure that ordinary citizens benefit. Politicians in the US and elsewhere who ignore this lesson will be held accountable. Change entails risk. But the Trump phenomenon – and more than a few similar political developments in Europe – has revealed the far greater risks entailed by failing to heed this message: societies divided, democracies undermined, and economies weakened." A political solution is impossible at this point in the USA since the legislative and executive branches of the have been completely captured by cartels, just as Hayek warned back in the '40s.

It took centuries of war -- civil and foreign -- to evolve the English common law and representative government from which America derived is greatest strengths. Included in that are the quaint cultural memes of civility and "fair play," which permeated all levels of society, not just sports; these norms were violated at great personal expense, in that it was difficult to gain the trust of one's fellow citizens if one violated them. However, it is not an immutable fact of nature such a system will persist throughout history. Truth be told, it is an outlier in the history of the world. Typically, and to this day outside the Anglosphere, most societies are spoils systems, in which the strong impose their will on the weak, and take the larger share of everything their societies produce. Some operate artfully (e.g., Mediterranean Europe), while others are just ham-handed (e.g., Russia, the Middle East). The ordering described by Hobbes more appropriately captures the state of affairs to a greater or lesser degree in these states.

It took a revolution, a civil war, and a century-long struggle post-civil war to evolve the US society to its modern, yet-to-be-fully-formed state. The interests that have secured control of the US government -- again, the legislative and executive at the federal and state levels, in particular -- will not easily or readily let go of the power they have amassed, vis-à-vis their control over the writing and execution of laws and regulations lesser mortals must live under but from which the elites are exempt (cf, banking crisis).

Either we find a TR and FDR -- and the modern-day equivalent of their allies in Congress -- or our society will continue to erode. Either we fade into history as much of Europe did during the Dark Ages or we have another revolution.

While that's going on, the balance of global power likely will continue to shift to the more pragmatic and less constrained Hobbesian forms of societal organization -- most likely some variant of strongman rule, with China at the vanguard, if Xi Jinping (or a competitor) is able to successfully consolidate power.

Daniel Esmond OCT 15, 2016

I agree with nearly everything in Prof Stiglitz' analysis. However, I would like some details about the new 'rules of the economy'. There is a realisation in many circles that something has to change and the solutions advanced by the new populists are unworkable. But we still lack the details and a roadmap towards a new economy. While analysis like this one about how we got here are useful and enlightening, we need (desperately!) to move on and do something. I really would like to see a follow up of this article with Prof Stigliz outlining his plans for a new economic order.

James Murphy OCT 15, 2016

"But Trump is wrong both about the diagnosis and the prescription. The US economy as a whole has done well for the last six decades: GDP has increased nearly six-fold. But the fruits of that growth have gone to a relatively few at the top.."

The vehicle for shifting the fruits of that growth has more to do with our free trade agreements than tax cuts. Corporations were just as greedy before we had free trade agreements but tariffs prevented the enrichment free trade opens up. That GDP increase would have happened without free trade as workers enjoyed higher wages. Which makes Trump correct after all.

We are a trade deficient nation. As such the only way we lose a trade war is not to fight one. Aside from the short transition harm the American people would be better off with tariff protection as they were in the past.

From shortly after the end of the War of 1812 until the Kennedy Round of tariff reductions in 1967 the United States was the most tariff protected nation on earth. During that time absolutely none of the bad things you postulate actually happened. Free trade is an Ivory Tower theory that has never worked in the real world experience of the United States. We have more free trade today than we have ever had. Where are the blessings of those free trade deals? We abandoned free trade in 1967 and the real wages of blue collar workers peaked 5 years later never to come back.

Simon Barnard OCT 14, 2016
Rules of the economy do need to be rewritten and also do the rules of economic measurement.

Growth of GDP is not a valid measurement of whether or not an economy is healthy (or indeed growing). Should vast inequalities be created, that in turn cause social unrest, that in turn lead to a disintegration of society, this society may find it necessary to build a lot of prisons. The capital expenditure on these prisons will contribute to the GDP. Is it really healthier? Is this what is happening in the US? - it could be going that way.

So is it any wonder that people are looking for an alternative to the status quo, of which Hilary Clinton is certainly part of? NO.

Is Trump an alternative? DEFINITELY NO.

As Joseph Stiglitz put very well, he would make things still worse.

So I feel sorry for the USA having such a poor choice and I hope that soon we can change from the neo-liberal hegemony and develop a new one that will allow a progressive new choice to make itself available.

Vicky Lavendel OCT 14, 2016

The true questions is: How is it possible that two powerful families (Bush and Clinton) are nearly have a monopoly on becoming US presidents. And furthermore all presidential candidates who want to have a chance must be ultra rich (like Trump) or must have very wealthy donors (like Obama). Is this still a democracy or already an oligarchy? That Stieglitz doesnt ask this question might be a hint that he is part of this wealthy establishment as well.
Yoshimichi Moriyama OCT 14, 2016
The word liberalization is so dazzling that we are captured and made by it to be unable to see the reality; we are often duped by it. When we hear or see the word, we need to be very careful of what the speaker or writer actually means by it. Corporate and financial interests have made an extensive use of it to camouflage and promote their selfishness.

Just twenty five years ago Mr. Robert McNamara came to Matsue, a Japanese city near where I live, to attend a US-Japanese conference. I was appalled to hear, as he said and I was in the audience, that the income of the American middle-class had not risen at all for the past twenty or so years. His words were less an explanation of what had been going on in the American economy and more a warning of what was going to happen in the Japanese economy.
The rules need to be rewritten.

M M OCT 14, 2016
The Americans shall be voting Trump for the same reasons they voted Bush Jr. The democratic [neoliberal] establishment failed miserably. They had eight years to put things right and what did they do, not only maintaining the status quo which made inequality worse but created mayhem everywhere and the Clintons were part of it throughout the Obama tenure. So Mr. "Yes We Can" not only managed to increase inequality, re-introduce slavery (albeit in many new forms), help spread terrorism all over the place and this to state just a few examples.

... ... ...

[Mar 05, 2019] The ban on entry to the USA should be on all religious extremists including apartheid Zionists and Christian extremists. Religious extremists from all of the major religions have committed heinous atrocities

Feb 01, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

libezkova -> pgl... February 01, 2017 at 08:40 PM

First of all, what is called "School of management" typically is a voodoo cult that should have nothing to do with university education ;-)

"He [Bush] signaled the shift [in strategy] in a speech here [in Pittsburgh] last week when he charged that Reagan had made 'a list of phony promises' on defense, energy and economic policy. And he labeled Reagan's tax cut proposal 'voodoo economic policy' and 'economic madness.'"

Compare with comments to "Ok To Bomb Them. But Don't Ban Them" ( http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/46349.htm )

It's not the temporary ban on immigration that upsets people so much as singling out people from specific countries, whether Obama's Republican Congress in did it or Trump did it.

The ban should be on all religious extremists including apartheid Zionists and Christian extremists. Religious extremists from all of the major religions have committed heinous atrocities.

...And the Demo establishment lines up to attack Drumpf's ban; hoping to get some easy votes for corporatist neo-con hypocrites?

...The main purpose of all the noise against president Trump is to weaken him and then force him to take the positions the deep state wants him to take. Among the many problems he has he is only an apprentice.

[Mar 04, 2019] Trump calls for 21st century Glass-Steagall banking law

Notable quotes:
"... As Sen. Elizabeth Warren has famously said with respect to cabinet and other political appointments, "Personnel Is Policy." You can see the outline of the Trump administration's real policies being shaped before our eyes via his proposed cabinet appointees, covered by Politico and other sites. ..."
"... Sanders, Warren and others should hold Trump's feet to the fire on the truly populist things he said and offer to work with him on that stuff. Like preserving Social Security and Medicare and getting out of wars. ..."
Nov 11, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
allan November 10, 2016 at 2:35 pm

Trump calls for '21st century' Glass-Steagall banking law [Reuters, Oct. 26]

Financial Services [Trump Transition Site, Nov. 10]

Oddly, no mention of Glass-Steagall, only dismantling Dodd-Frank. Who could have predicted?

File under Even Victims Can Be Fools.

Chauncey Gardiner November 10, 2016 at 3:57 pm

Not surprised at all. The election is over, the voters are now moot. As Sen. Elizabeth Warren has famously said with respect to cabinet and other political appointments, "Personnel Is Policy." You can see the outline of the Trump administration's real policies being shaped before our eyes via his proposed cabinet appointees, covered by Politico and other sites.

Dr. Roberts November 10, 2016 at 4:03 pm

Also no mention of NAFTA or renegotiating trade deals in the new transition agenda. Instead there's just a bunch of vague Chamber of Commercesque language about making America attractive to investors. I think our hopes for a disruptive Trump presidency are quickly being dashed.

Steve C November 10, 2016 at 4:18 pm

Sanders, Warren and others should hold Trump's feet to the fire on the truly populist things he said and offer to work with him on that stuff. Like preserving Social Security and Medicare and getting out of wars.

As to the last point, appointing Bolton or Corker Secretary of State would be a clear indication he was just talking. A clear violation of campaign promises that would make Obama look like a choirboy. Trump may be W on steroids.

pretzelattack November 10, 2016 at 5:17 pm

sure he may be almost as bad as Clinton on foreign policy. so far he hasn't been rattling a saber at Russia.

Steve C November 10, 2016 at 6:25 pm

Newland also is pernicious, but as with many things Trump, not as gaudy as Bolton.

anti-social socialist November 10, 2016 at 4:23 pm

Yathink?
https://www.ft.com/content/aed37de0-a767-11e6-8898-79a99e2a4de6

Katniss Everdeen November 10, 2016 at 5:38 pm

I can't imagine how he's neglected to update his transition plan regarding nafta. After all, he's already been president-elect for, what, 36 hours now? And he only talked about it umpteen times during the campaign. I'm sure he'll renege.

Hell, it took Clinton 8 hours to give her concession speech.

On the bright side, he managed to kill TPP just by getting elected. Was that quick enough for you?

[Mar 02, 2019] The Trump presidency From the Manhattan underworld to the White House by Patrick Martin

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Trump's "opposition" in the Democratic Party is no less hostile to democratic rights. They have focused their anti-Trump campaign on bogus allegations that he is a Russian agent, while portraying the emergence of social divisions within the United States as the consequence of Russian "meddling," not the crisis of capitalism, and pushing for across-the-board internet censorship. ..."
Mar 01, 2019 | www.wsws.org

"The finance aristocracy, in its mode of acquisition as well as in its pleasures, is nothing but the rebirth of the lumpenproletariat on the heights of bourgeois society ." -- Karl Marx, The Class Struggles in France

What Marx described, in his analysis of the corruption of the bourgeoisie in France leading up to the 1848 revolution, applies with even greater force to the United States of 2019, where the bourgeoisie faces its own rendezvous with social upheaval and explosive class battles.

That is how a Marxist understands the spectacle of Wednesday's hearing before the House Oversight Committee, in which Michael Cohen, the former attorney and "fixer" for Donald Trump for more than a decade, testified for six hours about how he and his boss worked to defraud business partners and tax collectors, intimidate critics and suppress opposition to Trump's acitvities in real estate, casino gambling, reality television and, eventually, electoral politics.

What Cohen described was a seedier version of an operation that most Americans would recognize from viewing films like The Godfather: Trump as the capo di tutti capi, the unquestioned authority who must be consulted on every decision ; the children, Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric, each now playing significant roles in the ongoing family criminal enterprise; Allen Weisselberg, CFO of the Trump Organization, the consigliere in charge of finance, mentioned by Cohen more than 20 times in the course of six hours of testimony as the man who facilitated Trump's schemes to evade taxes, deceive banks or stiff business partners.

Cohen himself was an enforcer. By his own account, he threatened people on Trump's behalf at least 500 times in a ten-year period, including business associates, politicians, journalists and anyone seeking to file complaints or gain reimbursement after being defrauded by one or another Trump venture. The now-disbarred lawyer admitted to tape recording clients -- including Trump among many others -- more than 100 times during this period.

The incidents recounted by Cohen range from the farcical (Trump browbeating colleges and even his military prep school not to release his grades or test scores), to the shabby (Trump having his own "charitable" foundation buy a portrait of himself for $60,000), to the brazenly criminal (deliberately inflating the value of properties when applying for bank loans while deflating the value of the same properties as much as twenty-fold in order to evade taxation).

One of the most remarkable revelations was Cohen's flat assertion that Trump himself did not enter the presidential race with the expectation that he could win either the Republican nomination or the presidency. Instead, the billionaire reality television "star" regularly told his closest aides, the campaign would be the "greatest infomercial in political history," good for promoting his brand and opening up business opportunities in previously closed markets.

These unflattering details filled the pages of the daily newspapers Thursday and occupied many hours on the cable television news. But in all that vast volume of reporting and commentary, one would look in vain for any serious assessment of what it means, in terms of the historical development and future trajectory of American society, that a family like the Trumps now occupies the highest rung in the US political system.

The World Socialist Web Site rejects efforts by the Democrats and the corporate media to dismiss Trump as an aberration, an accidental figure whose unexpected elevation to the presidency in 2016 will be "corrected" through impeachment, forced resignation or electoral defeat in 2020. We insist that the Trump administration is a manifestation of a protracted crisis and breakdown of American democracy, whose course can be traced back at least two decades to the failed impeachment of Bill Clinton in 1998-99, followed by the stolen presidential election of 2000.

The US political system, always dominated by the interests of the capitalist ruling class that controls both of the major parties, the Democrats as much as the Republicans, is breaking down under the burden of mounting social tensions, driven above all by skyrocketing economic inequality. It is impossible to sustain the pretense that elections at two-year and four-year intervals provide genuine popular influence over the functioning of a government so completely subordinated to the financial aristocracy.

The figures are familiar but require restating: over the past three decades, virtually all the increase in wealth in American society has gone to a tiny layer at the top. Three mega-billionaires -- Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates -- now control more wealth than half the American population. This process of social polarization is global: according to the most recent Oxfam report, 26 billionaires control more wealth than the poorer half of the human race.

These billionaires did not accumulate their riches by devising new technologies or making new scientific discoveries that increased the wealth and happiness of humanity as a whole. On the contrary, their enrichment has come at the expense of society. Bezos has become the world's richest man through the emergence of Amazon as the greatest sweatshop enterprise in history, where every possible second of labor power is extracted from a brutally exploited workforce.

The class of billionaires as a whole, having precipitated the global financial collapse of 2008 through reckless speculation and swindling in the sale of derivatives and other obscure financial "products," was bailed out, first by the Republican Bush, then by the Democrat Obama, to the tune of trillions of dollars. Meanwhile, the jobs, living standards and social conditions for the great mass of working people sharply declined.

As for Donald Trump, the real estate swindler, casino con man and reality television mogul is a living demonstration of the truth of Balzac's aphorism: "Behind every great fortune is a great crime."

Trump toyed with running for president on the ultra-right Reform Party ticket in 2000 after a long stint as a registered Democrat and donor to both capitalist parties. When he decided to run for president as a Republican in 2016, however, he had shifted drastically to the right. His candidacy marked the emergence of a distinctly fascistic movement, as he spewed anti-immigrant prejudice and racism more generally, while making a right-wing populist appeal to working people, particularly in de-industrialized areas in the Midwest and Appalachia, on the basis of economic nationalism.

As World Socialist Web Site editorial board Chairman David North explained even before the 2016 elections:

The Republican nominee for the presidency of the United States did not emerge from an American version of a Munich beer hall. Donald Trump is a billionaire, who made his money in Manhattan real estate swindles, the semi-criminal operations of casino gambling, and the bizarre world of "reality television," which entertains and stupefies its audience by manufacturing absurd, disgusting and essentially fictional "real life" situations. The candidacy of Donald Trump could be described as the transfer of the techniques of reality television to politics.

The main development in the two years since Trump entered the White House is the emergence of the American working class into major struggles, beginning with the wave of teachers' strikes in 2018, initiated by the rank and file in defiance of the bureaucratic unions. The reaction in the American ruling elite is a panic-stricken turn to authoritarian methods of rule.

The billionaire in the White House is now engaged in a systematic assault on the foundations of American democracy. He has declared a national emergency in order to bypass Congress, which holds the constitutional "power of the purse," and divert funds from the military and other federal departments to build a wall along the US-Mexico border.

Whether or not he is immediately successful in this effort, it is clear that Trump is moving towards the establishment of an authoritarian regime, with or without the sanction of the ballot box. As Cohen observed in his closing statement -- in remarks generally downplayed by the media and ignored by the Democrats -- he is worried that if Trump loses the 2020 election, "there will never be a peaceful transition of power."

Trump's "opposition" in the Democratic Party is no less hostile to democratic rights. They have focused their anti-Trump campaign on bogus allegations that he is a Russian agent, while portraying the emergence of social divisions within the United States as the consequence of Russian "meddling," not the crisis of capitalism, and pushing for across-the-board internet censorship.

The defense of democratic rights and genuine resistance to Trump's drive toward authoritarian rule must come through the development of an independent political movement of the working class, directed against both big business parties, the Democrats as much as the Republicans, and against the profit system which they both defend.

[Mar 02, 2019] The "Exceptional Nation" has now become the "Detestable Nation"!

Notable quotes:
"... The Puppet show display by Pence & Pompeo to rap Europeans over the knuckles for everything from not exiting the Iran Nuclear deal to not stopping the Nordstream pupeline & trying to contain Hiawei is blowing up in the Trump Administration's faces as these so called Allies or Vassals of the American Empire are refusing to tow the line? ..."
"... A failure for US oligarchy foreign policy is a win for the US and the rest of the world. ..."
Mar 02, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

KiwiAntz , February 20, 2019 at 6:31 am

The "Exceptional Nation" has now become the "Detestable Nation"!

The Puppet show display by Pence & Pompeo to rap Europeans over the knuckles for everything from not exiting the Iran Nuclear deal to not stopping the Nordstream pupeline & trying to contain Hiawei is blowing up in the Trump Administration's faces as these so called Allies or Vassals of the American Empire are refusing to tow the line?

Trump has alienated & disgusted it's Allies, so much that they can now see how deranged, unworkable & destructive is the Americans Foreign Policy & its bankrupt disfunctional , delusional Policies?

It's ridiculous, irrational & pathological hatred for Iran has shown that the US is the main Terrorist Nation on Earth not Iran who has never invaded anyone unlike the hypocritical US Empire!

Meanwhile in Sochi, the real Diplomacy for peace is taking place with Russia, Iran, Turkey & Syria having won the War against the US Empire & its cowardly, crony white helmeted, ragtag bunch of proxy Army misfits made up of Israel, ISIS, SDF & the Kurds now scurrying out of the Country like rats leaving a sinking ship!

And what was really laughable about VP Pences speech in Warsaw was the defeating silence to the pauses in that speech expecting people to clap on demand which never happened?

How embarrassing & really showed the lack of respect & utter contempt that everyone has for America these days!

Sam F, February 20, 2019 at 12:32 pm

A failure for US oligarchy foreign policy is a win for the US and the rest of the world.

Let's hope we see the end of NATO as an excuse for US bully tyrants to "defend" us with greedy aggression.

Perhaps that will lead to strengthening the UN and isolating it from the economic power of US tyrants.
The UN would be far stronger if it taxed its members instead of begging for support, on pain of embargo by all members, and monitored for corrupt influence.

[Feb 27, 2019] Mueller investigation was clearly was part of the leverage used to get control of Trump

Feb 27, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Zachary Smith , Feb 26, 2019 1:37:24 AM | link

@Circe @100

Tump can go back and keep his job pleasing the Zionist elite that installed him.

So far as I'm concerned Hillary was the dream candidate for the apartheid Jewish state. That the Zionists have made a terrific rebound in capturing Trump seems to me to be another story entirely. At a guess, I'd say the job was done with a combination of flattery, bribery, and naked force.

I've tuned out the Mueller thing, but suspect it was part of the leverage used to get control of Trump. Again a guess, but I'd say Trump was totally in bed with the Russians - and everybody else with whom he thought he might run a scam. But this was "business", as in making promises and squeezing money out of them. Things like Trump University. With proper handling the cost of the failures would fall mostly on the "investors". And in the worst case, there was always the fifth or sixth bankruptcy.

Trump didn't expect to be president - that was a humongous publicity campaign financed by the Corporate Media. I don't think Pence was expecting anything besides getting some national exposure which might lead him becoming Senator from Indiana in 2018.

I'm very glad Hillary isn't perched in the White House, but the price of avoiding that has been higher than I expected. Speaking of the devil, I read some ugly stuff at the 2:00 news part of Naked Capitalism.

Clinton (2): "EX-CLINTON POLLSTER: Hillary will run if Biden doesn't -- or field is 'too far left'" [The American Mirror]. "After defending Clinton's credentials as 'one of the most experienced politicians around,' [Mark] Penn went on to say of the reported recent confabs between Hillary and declared candidates, "Those meetings are going to be somewhat awkward because she hasn't declared that she's not definitely running, and she, in fact, at the same time is looking over the field and I think will make a decision later in the year whether or not to run herself. Penn said the chances of Hillary running depends on how the field shapes up. 'If the party looks too far to the left and there's no front runner, she'll get in,' he said. 'I think if Joe Biden gets in, that probably means she won't run if he gets in. If he doesn't get in, I think the field will be open for her,' Penn said." • She's tanned, rested, and ready!

That fits right in with my belief that the corporate Dems would prefer Trump's second term or Pence's first term to any decent Democrat being elected. I'll be saying this over and over - while Sander's foreign policy credentials stink to high heaven, the prospect of him being "decent" in domestic matters isn't too awfully bad.

Jackrabbit , Feb 26, 2019 2:26:48 AM | link

Zachary Smith | Feb 26, 2019 1:37:24 AM | 102

Mueller [investigation]... suspect it was part of the leverage used to get control of Trump.
Well, the "Russia meddled" scare-mongering has worked well as a means of reviving anti-Russian McCarthyism. It even ensnared Wikileaks and Michael Flynn (both of whom were CIA/Deep State targets).

And, why would the Deep State allow an unvetted person to assume control of the Presidency? They are too careful for that. In fact, all recent President's have some connection to CIA: Bush Sr., Clinton, Bush Jr., Obama. Felix Slater, an FBI informant worked for Trump for over a decade while informing on the Russian mob, and most of Trump dubious Russian oligarch connections are actually more loyal to Israel than Russia.

Trump didn't expect to be president
That's funny, given the fact that he bragged that he would win and that he was the ONLY populist running for the Republican nomination (out of 19 contenders!). And none of the other candidates (many of whom are seasoned campaigners) sought to alter their strategy when the saw Trump pulling ahead?!?!

Oh, and Hillary helped her friend Trump win when she alienated key constituencies (Sanders progressives, Blacks) and energized Trump's base by calling them "deploreables".

<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>

Oh, sorry, these things are supposed to be memory-holed. Hope you and MoA readers don't suffer from too much cognitive dissonance from such facts.

[Feb 26, 2019] It would seem that many of the Trotskyites of the past have now become neocons favouring capitalism and imperialist military intervention under guise of human rights promotion, as have some other communists

Notable quotes:
"... It would seem that many of the Trotskyites of the past have now become neocons favouring capitalism and imperialist military intervention under guise of "human rights" promotion, as have some other communists. ..."
Feb 26, 2019 | www.unz.com

Digital Samizdat , says: February 26, 2019 at 1:03 pm GMT

@Commentator Mike Today's system is a hybrid of a late finance-stage global capitalism and cultural–not economic–Marxism. Instead of class struggle, we have identity politics. Instead of the ownership of the means of production, we have tranny bathrooms.

So the right-wingers (like Peter Hitchens) who say that 'Marxism won' are half right culturally, not economically. What causes all the confusion (among the libertarian types especially) is that capitalism in reality does not in any way resemble how it ought to work according to libertarian theories and never did. But when you point out to them that capitalism never worked in practice to begin with, they answer: 'But true capitalism has never even been tried!' And of course, they're right. 'True' capitalism (i.e., what libertarian theory calls capitalism) really never has been tried, and for exactly the same reason that perpetual motion machines have never been tried either: they're impossible.

None of which means I'm a 'pure' socialist. I'm open to mixed-economies and new experiments. I usually characterize myself more as a national socialist, mostly to differentiate myself from the 'world revolution' Trotskyite socialists who now predominate on the far-left.

That means I also take some inspiration from some fascists and national-syndicalists, although I don't regard any of them as holy writ, either.

In my opinion, the number one success factor for a civilization is not what theory it professes, but rather who controls it. Theories will always have to be modified to suit the circumstances; but the character of a people is much harder to change.

China's prospering because it's controlled by Chinese engineers; our civilization is suffocating because it's controlled by Jew-bankers and Masonic lawyers. Get rid of them first, and we can debate monetary theory till we're blue in the face.

Commentator Mike , says: February 26, 2019 at 4:01 pm GMT

@Digital Samizdat

I think that applying the old concepts of Marxism is no longer possible in the west since there is hardly a genuine proletariat as a proper class any more with the deindustrialisation and the transfer of major industries to China and other Asian and Latin American countries.

On the other hand the lumpenproletariat has grown and will grow further with greater automation in industry.

Many more people are now unemployed, underemployed, in service industries, part-time and temporary jobs, or ageing old age pensioners and retirees.

With the greater atomisation of the individual, break up of families, greater mobility, the concept of classes rooted long-term in their communities seems less applicable. You could say most of the global proletariat is now in China.

It would seem that many of the Trotskyites of the past have now become neocons favouring capitalism and imperialist military intervention under guise of "human rights" promotion, as have some other communists.

Paul Edward Gottfried's "The Strange Death of Marxism" seems to offer some explanations but is not of much use in developing a new activism capable of taking on the system or providing a more viable alternative.

RobinG , says: February 26, 2019 at 4:29 pm GMT
@Commentator Mike

classical concepts of socialism and capitalism, and left and right politics

The left/right concept is no longer valid. For one thing, of what use is a $15. minimum wage (apparently a standard "left" plank) if there aren't any jobs? Take a look at Andrew Yang. At least he is posing the right questions.

Andrew Yang's Pitch to America – We Must Evolve to a New Form of Capitalism

[Feb 26, 2019] THE CRISIS OF NEOLIBERALISM by Julie A. Wilson

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... While the Tea Party was critical of status-quo neoliberalism -- especially its cosmopolitanism and embrace of globalization and diversity, which was perfectly embodied by Obama's election and presidency -- it was not exactly anti-neoliberal. Rather, it was anti-left neoliberalism-, it represented a more authoritarian, right [wing] version of neoliberalism. ..."
"... Within the context of the 2016 election, Clinton embodied the neoliberal center that could no longer hold. Inequality. Suffering. Collapsing infrastructures. Perpetual war. Anger. Disaffected consent. ..."
"... Both Sanders and Trump were embedded in the emerging left and right responses to neoliberalism's crisis. Specifically, Sanders' energetic campaign -- which was undoubtedly enabled by the rise of the Occupy movement -- proposed a decidedly more "commongood" path. Higher wages for working people. Taxes on the rich, specifically the captains of the creditocracy. ..."
"... In other words, Trump supporters may not have explicitly voted for neoliberalism, but that's what they got. In fact, as Rottenberg argues, they got a version of right neoliberalism "on steroids" -- a mix of blatant plutocracy and authoritarianism that has many concerned about the rise of U.S. fascism. ..."
"... We can't know what would have happened had Sanders run against Trump, but we can think seriously about Trump, right and left neoliberalism, and the crisis of neoliberal hegemony. In other words, we can think about where and how we go from here. As I suggested in the previous chapter, if we want to construct a new world, we are going to have to abandon the entangled politics of both right and left neoliberalism; we have to reject the hegemonic frontiers of both disposability and marketized equality. After all, as political philosopher Nancy Fraser argues, what was rejected in the election of 2016 was progressive, left neoliberalism. ..."
"... While the rise of hyper-right neoliberalism is certainly nothing to celebrate, it does present an opportunity for breaking with neoliberal hegemony. We have to proceed, as Gary Younge reminds us, with the realization that people "have not rejected the chance of a better world. They have not yet been offered one."' ..."
Oct 08, 2017 | www.amazon.com

Quote from the book is courtesy of Amazon preview of the book Neoliberalism (Key Ideas in Media & Cultural Studies)

In Chapter 1, we traced the rise of our neoliberal conjuncture back to the crisis of liberalism during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, culminating in the Great Depression. During this period, huge transformations in capitalism proved impossible to manage with classical laissez-faire approaches. Out of this crisis, two movements emerged, both of which would eventually shape the course of the twentieth century and beyond. The first, and the one that became dominant in the aftermath of the crisis, was the conjuncture of embedded liberalism. The crisis indicated that capitalism wrecked too much damage on the lives of ordinary citizens. People (white workers and families, especially) warranted social protection from the volatilities and brutalities of capitalism. The state's public function was expanded to include the provision of a more substantive social safety net, a web of protections for people and a web of constraints on markets. The second response was the invention of neoliberalism. Deeply skeptical of the common-good principles that undergirded the emerging social welfare state, neoliberals began organizing on the ground to develop a "new" liberal govemmentality, one rooted less in laissez-faire principles and more in the generalization of competition and enterprise. They worked to envision a new society premised on a new social ontology, that is, on new truths about the state, the market, and human beings. Crucially, neoliberals also began building infrastructures and institutions for disseminating their new' knowledges and theories (i.e., the Neoliberal Thought Collective), as well as organizing politically to build mass support for new policies (i.e., working to unite anti-communists, Christian conservatives, and free marketers in common cause against the welfare state). When cracks in embedded liberalism began to surface -- which is bound to happen with any moving political equilibrium -- neoliberals were there with new stories and solutions, ready to make the world anew.

We are currently living through the crisis of neoliberalism. As I write this book, Donald Trump has recently secured the U.S. presidency, prevailing in the national election over his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton. Throughout the election, I couldn't help but think back to the crisis of liberalism and the two responses that emerged. Similarly, after the Great Recession of 2008, we've saw two responses emerge to challenge our unworkable status quo, which dispossesses so many people of vital resources for individual and collective life. On the one hand, we witnessed the rise of Occupy Wall Street. While many continue to critique the movement for its lack of leadership and a coherent political vision, Occupy was connected to burgeoning movements across the globe, and our current political horizons have been undoubtedly shaped by the movement's success at repositioning class and economic inequality within our political horizon. On the other hand, we saw' the rise of the Tea Party, a right-wing response to the crisis. While the Tea Party was critical of status-quo neoliberalism -- especially its cosmopolitanism and embrace of globalization and diversity, which was perfectly embodied by Obama's election and presidency -- it was not exactly anti-neoliberal. Rather, it was anti-left neoliberalism-, it represented a more authoritarian, right [wing] version of neoliberalism.

Within the context of the 2016 election, Clinton embodied the neoliberal center that could no longer hold. Inequality. Suffering. Collapsing infrastructures. Perpetual war. Anger. Disaffected consent. There were just too many fissures and fault lines in the glossy, cosmopolitan world of left neoliberalism and marketized equality. Indeed, while Clinton ran on status-quo stories of good governance and neoliberal feminism, confident that demographics and diversity would be enough to win the election, Trump effectively tapped into the unfolding conjunctural crisis by exacerbating the cracks in the system of marketized equality, channeling political anger into his celebrity brand that had been built on saying "f*** you" to the culture of left neoliberalism (corporate diversity, political correctness, etc.) In fact, much like Clinton's challenger in the Democratic primary, Benie Sanders, Trump was a crisis candidate.

Both Sanders and Trump were embedded in the emerging left and right responses to neoliberalism's crisis. Specifically, Sanders' energetic campaign -- which was undoubtedly enabled by the rise of the Occupy movement -- proposed a decidedly more "commongood" path. Higher wages for working people. Taxes on the rich, specifically the captains of the creditocracy.

Universal health care. Free higher education. Fair trade. The repeal of Citizens United. Trump offered a different response to the crisis. Like Sanders, he railed against global trade deals like NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). However, Trump's victory was fueled by right neoliberalism's culture of cruelty. While Sanders tapped into and mobilized desires for a more egalitarian and democratic future, Trump's promise was nostalgic, making America "great again" -- putting the nation back on "top of the world," and implying a time when women were "in their place" as male property, and minorities and immigrants were controlled by the state.

Thus, what distinguished Trump's campaign from more traditional Republican campaigns was that it actively and explicitly pitted one group's equality (white men) against everyone else's (immigrants, women, Muslims, minorities, etc.). As Catherine Rottenberg suggests, Trump offered voters a choice between a multiracial society (where folks are increasingly disadvantaged and dispossessed) and white supremacy (where white people would be back on top). However, "[w]hat he neglected to state," Rottenberg writes,

is that neoliberalism flourishes in societies where the playing field is already stacked against various segments of society, and that it needs only a relatively small select group of capital-enhancing subjects, while everyone else is ultimately dispensable. 1

In other words, Trump supporters may not have explicitly voted for neoliberalism, but that's what they got. In fact, as Rottenberg argues, they got a version of right neoliberalism "on steroids" -- a mix of blatant plutocracy and authoritarianism that has many concerned about the rise of U.S. fascism.

We can't know what would have happened had Sanders run against Trump, but we can think seriously about Trump, right and left neoliberalism, and the crisis of neoliberal hegemony. In other words, we can think about where and how we go from here. As I suggested in the previous chapter, if we want to construct a new world, we are going to have to abandon the entangled politics of both right and left neoliberalism; we have to reject the hegemonic frontiers of both disposability and marketized equality. After all, as political philosopher Nancy Fraser argues, what was rejected in the election of 2016 was progressive, left neoliberalism.

While the rise of hyper-right neoliberalism is certainly nothing to celebrate, it does present an opportunity for breaking with neoliberal hegemony. We have to proceed, as Gary Younge reminds us, with the realization that people "have not rejected the chance of a better world. They have not yet been offered one."'

Mark Fisher, the author of Capitalist Realism, put it this way:

The long, dark night of the end of history has to be grasped as an enormous opportunity. The very oppressive pervasiveness of capitalist realism means that even glimmers of alternative political and economic possibilities can have a disproportionately great effect. The tiniest event can tear a hole in the grey curtain of reaction which has marked the horizons of possibility under capitalist realism. From a situation in which nothing can happen, suddenly anything is possible again.4

I think that, for the first time in the history of U.S. capitalism, the vast majority of people might sense the lie of liberal, capitalist democracy. They feel anxious, unfree, disaffected. Fantasies of the good life have been shattered beyond repair for most people. Trump and this hopefully brief triumph of right neoliberalism will soon lay this bare for everyone to see. Now, with Trump, it is absolutely clear: the rich rule the world; we are all disposable; this is no democracy. The question becomes: How will we show up for history? Will there be new stories, ideas, visions, and fantasies to attach to? How can we productively and meaningful intervene in the crisis of neoliberalism? How can we "tear a hole in the grey curtain" and open up better worlds? How can we put what we've learned to use and begin to imagine and build a world beyond living in competition? I hope our critical journey through the neoliberal conjuncture has enabled you to begin to answer these questions.

More specifically, in recent decades, especially since the end of the Cold War, our common-good sensibilities have been channeled into neoliberal platforms for social change and privatized action, funneling our political energies into brand culture and marketized struggles for equality (e.g., charter schools, NGOs and non-profits, neoliberal antiracism and feminism). As a result, despite our collective anger and disaffected consent, we find ourselves stuck in capitalist realism with no real alternative. Like the neoliberal care of the self, we are trapped in a privatized mode of politics that relies on cruel optimism; we are attached, it seems, to politics that inspire and motivate us to action, while keeping us living in competition.

To disrupt the game, we need to construct common political horizons against neoliberal hegemony. We need to use our common stories and common reason to build common movements against precarity -- for within neoliberalism, precarity is what ultimately has the potential to thread all of our lives together. Put differently, the ultimate fault line in the neoliberal conjiuicture is the way it subjects us all to precarity and the biopolitics of disposability, thereby creating conditions of possibility for new coalitions across race, gender, citizenship, sexuality, and class. Recognizing this potential for coalition in the face of precarization is the most pressing task facing those who are yearning for a new world. The question is: How do we get there? How do we realize these coalitional potentialities and materialize common horizons?

HOW WE GET THERE

Ultimately, mapping the neoliberal conjuncture through everyday life in enterprise culture has not only provided some direction in terms of what we need; it has also cultivated concrete and practical intellectual resources for political interv ention and social interconnection -- a critical toolbox for living in common. More specifically, this book has sought to provide resources for thinking and acting against the four Ds: resources for engaging in counter-conduct, modes of living that refuse, on one hand, to conduct one's life according to the norm of enterprise, and on the other, to relate to others through the norm of competition. Indeed, we need new ways of relating, interacting, and living as friends, lovers, workers, vulnerable bodies, and democratic people if we are to write new stories, invent new govemmentalities, and build coalitions for new worlds.

Against Disimagination: Educated Hope and Affirmative Speculation

We need to stop turning inward, retreating into ourselves, and taking personal responsibility for our lives (a task which is ultimately impossible). Enough with the disimagination machine! Let's start looking outward, not inward -- to the broader structures that undergird our lives. Of course, we need to take care of ourselves; we must survive. But I firmly believe that we can do this in ways both big and small, that transform neoliberal culture and its status-quo stories.

Here's the thing I tell my students all the time. You cannot escape neoliberalism. It is the air we breathe, the water in which we swim. No job, practice of social activism, program of self-care, or relationship will be totally free from neoliberal impingements and logics. There is no pure "outside" to get to or work from -- that's just the nature of the neoliberalism's totalizing cultural power. But let's not forget that neoliberalism's totalizing cultural power is also a source of weakness. Potential for resistance is everywhere, scattered throughout our everyday lives in enterprise culture. Our critical toolbox can help us identify these potentialities and navigate and engage our conjuncture in ways that tear open up those new worlds we desire.

In other words, our critical perspective can help us move through the world with what Henry Giroux calls educated hope. Educated hope means holding in tension the material realities of power and the contingency of history. This orientation of educated hope knows very well what we're up against. However, in the face of seemingly totalizing power, it also knows that neoliberalism can never become total because the future is open. Educated hope is what allows us to see the fault lines, fissures, and potentialities of the present and emboldens us to think and work from that sliver of social space where we do have political agency and freedom to construct a new world. Educated hope is what undoes the power of capitalist realism. It enables affirmative speculation (such as discussed in Chapter 5), which does not try to hold the future to neoliberal horizons (that's cruel optimism!), but instead to affirm our commonalities and the potentialities for the new worlds they signal. Affirmative speculation demands a different sort of risk calculation and management. It senses how little we have to lose and how much we have to gain from knocking the hustle of our lives.

Against De-democratization: Organizing and Collective Coverning

We can think of educated hope and affirmative speculation as practices of what Wendy Brown calls "bare democracy" -- the basic idea that ordinary' people like you and me should govern our lives in common, that we should critique and try to change our world, especially the exploitative and oppressive structures of power that maintain social hierarchies and diminish lives. Neoliberal culture works to stomp out capacities for bare democracy by transforming democratic desires and feelings into meritocratic desires and feelings. In neoliberal culture, utopian sensibilities are directed away from the promise of collective utopian sensibilities are directed away from the promise of collective governing to competing for equality.

We have to get back that democractic feeling! As Jeremy Gilbert taught us, disaffected consent is a post-democratic orientation. We don't like our world, but we don't think we can do anything about it. So, how do we get back that democratic feeling? How do we transform our disaffected consent into something new? As I suggested in the last chapter, we organize. Organizing is simply about people coming together around a common horizon and working collectively to materialize it. In this way, organizing is based on the idea of radical democracy, not liberal democracy. While the latter is based on formal and abstract rights guaranteed by the state, radical democracy insists that people should directly make the decisions that impact their lives, security, and well-being. Radical democracy is a practice of collective governing: it is about us hashing out, together in communities, what matters, and working in common to build a world based on these new sensibilities.

The work of organizing is messy, often unsatisfying, and sometimes even scary. Organizing based on affirmative speculation and coalition-building, furthermore, will have to be experimental and uncertain. As Lauren Berlant suggests, it means "embracing the discomfort of affective experience in a truly open social life that no

one has ever experienced." Organizing through and for the common "requires more adaptable infrastructures. Keep forcing the existing infrastructures to do what they don't know how to do. Make new ways to be local together, where local doesn't require a physical neighborhood." 5 What Berlant is saying is that the work of bare democracy requires unlearning, and detaching from, our current stories and infrastructures in order to see and make things work differently. Organizing for a new world is not easy -- and there are no guarantees -- but it is the only way out of capitalist realism.

Against Disposability: Radical Equality

Getting back democratic feeling will at once require and help us lo move beyond the biopolitics of disposability and entrenched systems of inequality. On one hand, organizing will never be enough if it is not animated by bare democracy, a sensibility that each of us is equally important when it comes to the project of determining our lives in common. Our bodies, our hurts, our dreams, and our desires matter regardless of our race, gender, sexuality, or citizenship, and regardless of how r much capital (economic, social, or cultural) we have. Simply put, in a radical democracy, no one is disposable. This bare-democratic sense of equality must be foundational to organizing and coalition-building. Otherwise, we will always and inevitably fall back into a world of inequality.

On the other hand, organizing and collective governing will deepen and enhance our sensibilities and capacities for radical equality. In this context, the kind of self-enclosed individualism that empowers and underwrites the biopolitics of disposability melts away, as we realize the interconnectedness of our lives and just how amazing it feels to

fail, we affirm our capacities for freedom, political intervention, social interconnection, and collective social doing.

Against Dispossession: Shared Security and Common Wealth

Thinking and acting against the biopolitics of disposability goes hand-in-hand with thinking and acting against dispossession. Ultimately, when we really understand and feel ourselves in relationships of interconnection with others, we want for them as we want for ourselves. Our lives and sensibilities of what is good and just are rooted in radical equality, not possessive or self-appreciating individualism. Because we desire social security and protection, we also know others desire and deserve the same.

However, to really think and act against dispossession means not only advocating for shared security and social protection, but also for a new society that is built on the egalitarian production and distribution of social wealth that we all produce. In this sense, we can take Marx's critique of capitalism -- that wealth is produced collectively but appropriated individually -- to heart. Capitalism was built on the idea that one class -- the owners of the means of production -- could exploit and profit from the collective labors of everyone else (those who do not own and thus have to work), albeit in very different ways depending on race, gender, or citizenship. This meant that, for workers of all stripes, their lives existed not for themselves, but for others (the appropriating class), and that regardless of what we own as consumers, we are not really free or equal in that bare-democratic sense of the word.

If we want to be really free, we need to construct new material and affective social infrastructures for our common wealth. In these new infrastructures, wealth must not be reduced to economic value; it must be rooted in social value. Here, the production of wealth does not exist as a separate sphere from the reproduction of our lives. In other words, new infrastructures, based on the idea of common wealth, will not be set up to exploit our labor, dispossess our communities, or to divide our lives. Rather, they will work to provide collective social resources and care so that we may all be free to pursue happiness, create beautiful and/or useful things, and to realize our potential within a social world of living in common. Crucially, to create the conditions for these new, democratic forms of freedom rooted in radical equality, we need to find ways to refuse and exit the financial networks of Empire and the dispossessions of creditocracy, building new systems that invite everyone to participate in the ongoing production of new worlds and the sharing of the wealth that we produce in common.

It's not up to me to tell you exactly where to look, but I assure you that potentialities for these new worlds are everywhere around you.

[Feb 23, 2019] Clinton shared more than a dozen flights with a woman who federal prosecutors believe procured underage girls to sexually service Epstein and his friends and acted as a "potential co-conspirator" in his crimes

Notable quotes:
"... "I wanted to tell you that I have compiled a list of 34 confirmed minors," Villafana wrote to Lefkowitz. "There are six others, whose name [sic] we already have, who need to be interviewed by the FBI to confirm whether they were 17 or 18 at the time of their activity with Mr. Epstein." ..."
"... Epstein agreed to a 30-month sentence, including 18 months of jail time and 12 months of house arrest and the agreement to pay dozens of young girls under a federal statute providing for compensation to victims of child sexual abuse. .the U.S. Attorney's Office promised not to pursue any federal charges against Epstein or his Named and Un-Named co-conspirators. ..."
"... His legal team? Gerald Lefcourt, Roy Black, Ken Starr, and Alan Dershowitz. ..."
"... The federal non-prosecution agreement Epstein's legal team negotiated immunized all named and unnamed potential co-conspirators in Epstein's child trafficking network, which includes those who allegedly procured minors for Epstein and any powerbrokers who may have molested them." ..."
Feb 23, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

William Dorritt , 3 hours ago link

LOLITA EXPRESS...ORGY ISLAND...ELITE PEDOPHILE RING ?-2006
* George W Bush President: January 20, 2001 – Jan. 20, 2009
* Alberto R. Gonzales, Attorney General USA: Feb. 3, 2005–Sept. 17, 2007
* Michael Bernard Mukasey, AG. USA: Nov. 9, 2007 – Jan. 20, 2009
* Eric Holder, A G. USA: Feb. 3, 2009 – April 27, 2015
* Loretta Lynch, Attorney General USA: April 27, 2015 – Present
* Assistant U.S. Attorney Marie Villafana
* Epstein's Attorneys: Gerald Lefcourt, Roy Black, Ken Starr, Alan Dershowitz.

+ "He (Epstein) is an enthusiastic member of the Trilateral Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations."

+ Bill Clinton...26 trips aboard the "Lolita Express"

Jeffrey Epstein's Boeing 727 is equipped with the necessary hardware for him to wake up, roll out of bed, and start trading.

+ Clinton shared more than a dozen flights with a woman who federal prosecutors believe procured underage girls to sexually service Epstein and his friends and acted as a "potential co-conspirator" in his crimes.

+ Socialite Ghislaine Maxwell and Epstein's former assistant Sarah Kellen -- have been repeatedly accused in court filings of acting as pimps. Oxford-educated Maxwell, recently seen dining with Clinton at Nello's on Madison Avenue. Manhattan-London G. Maxwell, daughter of the mysteriously deceased media titan Robert Maxwell.

+ A new lawsuit has revealed how Clinton took multiple trips to Epstein's private island where he 'kept young women as sex slaves'

+ Clinton was also apparently friends with a woman who collected naked pictures of underage girls for Epstein to choose from

+ Clinton invited her (pimp) to Chelsea's wedding

+ According to former child sex slave Virginia Roberts and a class action lawsuit against convicted billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, former President Bill Clinton was present during sex parties involving up to twenty underage girls at Epstein's secluded island in the Caribbean.

+ 20 girls between the ages of 14 and 17 said were sexually abused by Epstein, Palm Beach Police and FBI

+ 35 female minors sexually abused, Epstein settled lawsuits from more than 30 "Jane Doe" victims since 2008; the youngest alleged victim was 12 years old at the time of her abuse.

..............................Source: FBI & Federal Prosecutors

+ flights on Epstein's planes 1997 to 2005, include Dershowitz (FOX NEWS, Harvard Law), former Treasury Secretary and Harvard president Larry Summers, Naomi Campbell, and scientist Stephen Pinker.

+ In the most recent court documents, filed on December 30, Roberts further claims she was sex-trafficked to "many other powerful men, including numerous prominent American politicians, powerful business executives, foreign presidents, a well-known Prime Minister, and other world leaders." Roberts said Epstein trafficked children to politicians, Wall Streeters and A- listers to curry favor, advance his business, and for political influence.

The FIX

2015 Doc Release by Judge:

Assistant U.S. Attorney Marie Villafana wrote to Epstein lawyer Jay Lefkowitz in a Sept. 19, 2007, email. "I will include our standard language regarding resolving all criminal liability and I will mention 'co-conspirators,' but I would prefer not to highlight for the judge all of the other crimes and all of the other persons that we could charge ... maybe we can set a time to meet, if you want to meet 'off campus' somewhere, that is fine. I will make sure that I have all the necessary decision makers present or 'on call' as well."

"I wanted to tell you that I have compiled a list of 34 confirmed minors," Villafana wrote to Lefkowitz. "There are six others, whose name [sic] we already have, who need to be interviewed by the FBI to confirm whether they were 17 or 18 at the time of their activity with Mr. Epstein."

In a December 2007 letter, the prosecutor acknowledges some notifications of alleged victims but says they were sent after the U.S. Attorney's Office signed the plea deal and halted for most of the women at the request of Epstein's lawyers.

"Three victims were notified shortly after the signing of the Non-Prosecution Agreement of the general terms of that Agreement," Villafana wrote, again to Lefkowitz. "You raised objections to any victim notification, and no further notifications were done."

http://www.politico.com/blogs/under-the-radar/2015/07/judge-unseals-more-details-in-jeffrey-epstein-underage-sex-lawsuit-210065

Original Deal Hidden

On Sept. 24, 2007, in a deal shrouded in secrecy that left alleged victims shocked at its leniency,

Epstein agreed to a 30-month sentence, including 18 months of jail time and 12 months of house arrest and the agreement to pay dozens of young girls under a federal statute providing for compensation to victims of child sexual abuse. .the U.S. Attorney's Office promised not to pursue any federal charges against Epstein or his Named and Un-Named co-conspirators.

Sources:

Fox By Malia Zimmerman, May 13, 2016

Daily Mail Reporter 19 March 2014

Gawker Nick Bryant 01/22/15

Western Journalism Kris Zane March 27, 2014

Politico By Josh Gerstein 07/07/15

New York Magazine, By Landon Thomas Jr.

THE FIX IS IN

"In 2006 the FBI counted at least 40 underage girls who had been molested by Epstein. Authorities searched his Florida mansion and found two computers containing child *********** and homemade video and photographs from cameras hidden in bedroom walls which had been used to film sex acts. The case was airtight for many counts of sexual crimes but Palm Beach State Attorney Barry Krischer and the Justice Department stepped in and offered Epstein a plea deal. In 2008 Epstein pleaded guilty in a Florida court to one count of soliciting underage girls for sex. His punishment was 13 months of "8 hour nights only" at a halfway house. No other charges about raping underage girls nor running an underage sex trafficking ring were mentioned in the plea. His legal team? Gerald Lefcourt, Roy Black, Ken Starr, and Alan Dershowitz.

The federal non-prosecution agreement Epstein's legal team negotiated immunized all named and unnamed potential co-conspirators in Epstein's child trafficking network, which includes those who allegedly procured minors for Epstein and any powerbrokers who may have molested them."

http://dcxposed.com/2015/01/26/bilderberg-pervs-island-sin-scandal-threatens-ultra-elite-politicians-lawyers-royalty/

William Dorritt , 3 hours ago link

The Talented Mr. Epstein

Lately, Jeffrey Epstein's high-flying style has been drawing oohs and aahs: the bachelor financier lives in New York's largest private residence, claims to take only billionaires as clients, and flies celebrities including Bill Clinton and Kevin Spacey on his Boeing 727. But pierce his air of mystery and the picture changes. Vicky Ward explores Epstein's investment career, his ties to retail magnate Leslie Wexner, and his complicated past.

June 27, 2011 12:00 am

http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2003/03/jeffrey-epstein-200303

Jeffrey Epstein: International Moneyman of Mystery

So how do termite grouping patterns fare as an investment strategy? Again, facts are hard to come by. A working day for Epstein starts at 5 a.m., when he gets up and scours the world markets on his Bloomberg screen -- each of his houses, in New York, St. Thomas, Palm Beach, and New Mexico, as well as the 727, is equipped with the necessary hardware for him to wake up, roll

http://nymag.com/nymetro/news/people/n_7912/index3.html

[Feb 22, 2019] Trump vs. the FBI Who are the good guys by Joe Jarvis

With Trump incoherence, impulsivity and appointment of Pompeo and Bolton it is really unclear who are the good guys and and who are bad guys.
Color revolution against Trump failed and that's a good sign, the sign of healthy political system. But it might well be that "The moor has done his duty, the moor can go"
Trump already undermined the credibility of neoliberal MSM and we should be glad to him for that. He also withdrawing troops from Syria (which were in the country illegally) but only after bombing Assad air forces half-dozen times on false premises.
Looks like he reached some progress in talks with China and Chine will buy more agricultural production from the USA. But the question to him is: if China already has the capacity to produce all those goods, how he think manufacturing will return to the USA.
He still is warmongering about Iran. And he initiated the regime change in Venezuela.
On domestic front he positioned himself as a clear neoliberal and bully -- king of "national neoliberalism" instead of national socialism of the past (what is funny is that many point of NSDAP program of 1920 are now far left to the Democratic Party platform, to say nothing about Trump.
Notable quotes:
"... "All governments suffer a recurring problem: Power attracts pathological personalities. It is not that power corrupts but that it is magnetic to the corruptible." -Frank Herbert, Author of Dune ..."
Feb 22, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

by TDB Thu, 02/21/2019 - 12:24 5 SHARES By Joe Jarvis via The Daily Bell

The bad guys wear black hats. We're programmed to see things in black or white, right or wrong, good or evil. From what we are shown in movies and books from an early age, there is a protagonist and an antagonist.

Clever writers make it a little more complex, with the Boo Radleys and Snapes who are thought to be villains but turn out to be heroes. But generally, the characters fit largely into extremes: good guys or bad guys with little overlap: Harry Potter versus Voldemort.

But it's those characters on the edge who people can't get enough of. Like Walter White, the cancer patient who starts producing meth to leave some money behind for his family in the TV show Breaking Bad .

And that's probably because its an often unspoken truth that life is mostly gray, and not so black and white.

But the binary two choice meme has a function. It makes things a hell of a lot easier. And it prevents us from being crippled by indecision and inaction.

Of course, this is also easily exploited by bad guys

When I hear that the FBI considered attempting to oust Trump from the oval office, I am tempted to think, hey, Trump must not be such a bad guy.

According to a new book by former deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe, top FBI brass discussed using the 25th amendment to remove Trump, even though as the Wall Street Journal explains:

A President exercises his constitutional prerogative to fire the FBI director, and Mr. Comey's associates immediately talked about deposing him in what would amount to a coup?

The 25th Amendment was passed after JFK's assassination to allow for a transfer of power when a President is "unable" to discharge his duties. It is intended to be used only after demonstrated evidence of impairment that is witnessed by those closest to the Commander in Chief. It doesn't exist to settle political differences, or to let scheming bureaucrats imagine they are saving the country from someone they fear is a Manchurian candidate. The constitutional process for that is impeachment.

So if the horribly corrupt FBI doesn't like Trump, he must have something to offer. But this is only true in the binary world or pure good and evil. In the real world, evil often opposes evil, because they are different factions fighting for the same territory.

"All governments suffer a recurring problem: Power attracts pathological personalities. It is not that power corrupts but that it is magnetic to the corruptible." -Frank Herbert, Author of Dune

We usually end up supporting who we see as the lesser of two evils.

That's sort of like Walter White. He starts off as a timid science geek and devoted father and husband. He is attracted to the drug industry for apparently noble purposes. And he ends up poisoning a child, causing another child to be murdered, ordering an innocent assistant killed, and causing the death of his brother-in-law. Ultimately, Walter White admits he didn't become a massive meth producer for his family. He did it for the thrill, the glory, the power that came with it . We live in a world of Walter Whites, not Voldemorts.

J.K. Rowling made Voldemort pure evil. But to her credit, she demonstrated how easy it was for him to seize the reigns of power at the Ministry of Magic, and how all the bureaucrats and ministers simply started serving a new master. Some even rejoiced in their new authority, relishing the newfound power.

When it comes to Trump versus the FBI, the Wall Street Journal editorial laments, "This is all corrosive to public trust in American democracy."

So what do we do about it?

Rejoice!

The less trust we put in the political system, the better. All we can do is separate ourselves to the best of our abilities from far off bureaucrats and politicians.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb says in his book Skin in the Game , paraphrasing brothers Geoff and Vince Graham:

I am, at the Fed level, libertarian; at the state level, Republican; at the local level, Democrat; and at the family and friends level, a socialist.

... ... ...

[Feb 18, 2019] Politicians jump ship as Jussie Smollett hate hoax sinks amid revelations

Feb 18, 2019 | www.rt.com

As the narrative of a 'racist, homophobic attack' on actor Jussie Smollett in Chicago continues to collapse, politicians and celebrities who fueled the outrage over the incident are quietly backing away and hoping no one notices.

[Feb 18, 2019] Tulsi Gabbard Smears Debunked by Jimmy Dore

The problem here is the progressive votes is split between Bernie, Warren, and Tulsi. That means that all three of them now can be eliminated be invertionaist Dems.
Notable quotes:
"... Tulsi Gabbard is scary to Republicans because a lot of us center-right folks would be tempted to support her ..."
"... Would love to see a Tulsi - Trump debate. She'd be a formidable opponent. ..."
Feb 18, 2019 | www.youtube.com

Kimberley Murphy , 1 week ago

I actually trust her more than Bernie. Bernie endorsed HRC, Tulsi did not. She stuck to morals. I respect that.

chadinem , 1 month ago

Tulsi Gabbard is scary to Republicans because a lot of us center-right folks would be tempted to support her.

CAY7607 , 1 week ago

Would love to see a Tulsi - Trump debate. She'd be a formidable opponent.

[Feb 17, 2019] What a crew we have today: Bolton is evil, Pompeo is a liar, Pence is a moralizing buffoon

And Trump?
Notable quotes:
"... At least Bolton embraces the fact that he is simply exerting power over others without the insufferable moralizing of a Mike Pence. ..."
Feb 17, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Chris Chuba , 4 hours ago

1. Bolton is evil, 2. Pompeo is a liar, 3. Pence is a moralizing buffoon.

I detest them all but who do I hate the least? I'm going to go with Bolton.

Since I believe that Pence is an honest man, it twists my mind how someone can stand on a stage and seriously believe that other countries have a moral obligation to obey the U.S. in who they do and don't do business with. How dare you undermine U.S. sanctions he thunders, and the look on his face, priceless.

At least Bolton embraces the fact that he is simply exerting power over others without the insufferable moralizing of a Mike Pence.

What a crew we have today.

[Feb 17, 2019] Beware of well dressed ladies who smell of Chanel #5

Well meaning idiot is the most dangerous type of idiots, if he is the king, who is still in power...
This use of "beautiful ladies" is the trick that centuries old... Children can also be used this way, especially girls...
Feb 17, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Persuading the king ...

I watched Trump's Rose Garden session in which he announced that he would sign the appropriation bill and also declare a national emergency under the National Emergencies Act. IMO he will win whatever court challenges are made because his authority to do this is clear in "black letter" law and the opposition will have to base their plaints on a judgment as to whether or not there is an emergency. IMO there is nothing in the constitution or law that makes the judgment or the courts competent to overrule his judgment in this case. If they don't like the National Emergencies Law, let the Congress repeal it.

On the other hand, Trump also told the world that because of a personal appeal by a woman from Idlib Province in Syria who came to see him in the Oval Office, he called Putin and argued him into calling off the preparations for a massive Russo/Syrian/Iranian offensive that would IMO have recovered Idlib for the SAG.

I am recalling here roughly what he said.

The lady's argument was that she believed that the millions who lived in the province would be killed or maimed in the process and all the towns destroyed. Her parents lived in the province. And, after all, she said, there are only 45,000 jihadis in the province. I was not in the room, but would be willing to bet that she was; well spoken, well dressed, and reasonably attractive. Trump was persuaded and Idlib remains a cancer in the side of the Syrian state, the Russians, having listened to Trump, attempted to create a de-militarized zone around Idlib Province within which the jihadis have consolidated power.

Some years ago I was asked to speak at a two or three day discussion of the Middle East at Mississippi State University. This is a big school. Attendance was in the thousands. On the program with me (or I with him) was, then TV personality, (later governor of Ohio) John Kasich. At a pre-conference dinner, Kasich sought to dominate the table talk and me (his principal competition) at this conference. There were numerous senior faculty present at table. Kasich sought to belittle whatever knowledge I might have of the MENA region and of the peoples and cultures there. In particular he said that I did not understand Islam at all because I said that the jihadis were among the various forms of Islam, a religion which I foolishly claimed had no central authority structure and in which the "true Islam" was not to be known except in the consensus (ijma') of various groups of Muslims.

Having heard him out, I explained to him my background and experience. He grew more and more sober, clearly unused to opposition. I asked him what the basis was for his opinion that the various jihadis were not real Muslims at all.

He told us that a number of beauteous Muslim ladies had been brought to see him. He said they were well spoken, well dressed (some in French couture clothing) and that they smelled good. This last was said after I asked him about it having run into this phenomenon before.

These ladies were all at pains to explain to him that the jihadis were outside Islam because they did not accept the ijma' of the scholars of whatever "school" (mathab) of Sunni Sharia these ladies adhered to.

The lesson - Beware of well dressed ladies who smell of Chanel #5. pl


PeterVE , 5 hours ago

Are you suggesting that President Trump could be influenced by an attractive, well spoken woman with an exotic accent? Maybe the Iranian Mullahs need to change their UN representative to get off Trump's s#*! list.
Barbara Ann , 3 hours ago
Great anecdote Colonel, interesting that Kasich's first instinct was to see you as "competition" in such a setting. I don't suppose you told him that, despite your evident ignorance, you were known by the name of a famous warrior poet in several ME countries - or inquired as to his own sobriquet as in these places? My guess is the women folk of Idlib province are not in the habit of frequenting the Oval Office, it would be interesting to know who arranged her visit.

Machiavelli does not seem to have commented on the specific matter of wariness of beauteous messengers. However, I'd expect his advice on such matters would echo your own, in the importance of evaluating a message independently of its perfume.

Pat Lang Mod -> Barbara Ann , 2 hours ago
That is very good. Antar thanks you. An Iraqi general once asked me how I came to be called that. He said, "you are not Black." I said that was true but that I lived with a woman whose sobriquet was Abla and after so much war my heart was black enough. He said that was true of them as well.
Pat Lang Mod -> Pat Lang , 19 minutes ago
Actually Abla and I were named by a Palestinian Arabic teacher who wanted his class to have working names that began with 'ain. He was from Bethlehem and owned a night club in San Francisco where he was occupied while not teaching Arabic at DLI in Monterey. The name stuck. He was killed in Kuwait by the Kuwaiti resistance who said he was a collaborator with the Iraqis. He was a marvelous 'oud player.
Keith Harbaugh , an hour ago
On the other side of the coin, I recall reading how HRC, when she was SecState, was convinced by well-spoken, well-dressed Westernized and Western-educated men from Libya and Syria that if only the U.S. would overthrow the "brutal tyrants" then ruling those nations, that then democracy and freedom would reign in those lands.
In particular, she was lobbied by one such Westernized Libyan just before she persuaded BHO to intervene in Libya, leading to the subsequent chaos.
BTW, for a reminder of who else pushed BHO to intervene in Libya,
see "Fight of the Valkyries" by Maureen Dowd, 2011-03-23.
Is calling such women stupid about things that matter sexist?
Thinking about how popular the values of Westernized people from the Islamic world are back in their native lands, there is the illustrative example of Benazir Bhutto .

Also BTW, the URL for this post currently is: https://turcopolier.typepad...
"my-entry"? Is this right?

The Beaver , 2 hours ago
Colonel

Here is that lady:

https://www.cnn.com/videos/...

She is with SAMS thus in cahoots with White Helmets

https://www.buckscountycour...

and their reactions about Douma

https://www.sams-usa.net/pr...

Pat Lang Mod -> The Beaver , 2 hours ago
She qualifies.
DontBelieveEitherPropaganda , 3 hours ago
While not having the time nor energy at the moment to read much (even more post much), this statement from DJT just stunned me. And i am not easily stunned.
Some ppl including me thought of this possibility, to be precise that Ivanka and Jared fed him: You got to save those inocent people there! And he took the bait.

But then again i didnt truely want to believe that this is how the goverment of the biggest world power works. With all those gazillions of analysts, SIGINT HUMINT etc. at hand, briefings and what not..

Even more comically and tragic is, that he might just told the truth, and this is truly what happend.

IMHO this is how the neocons influence him: By presenting selective "information", and just like the MSM he falls for it. Be it his family or patriachic instincts or what ever the psychologic motivation:

He admitted that he was influenced by the same MSM methods he claims to fight, and in turn protecting the biggest gathering of international Jihahist in this century against their sure defeat.

MAGA = Make AlQaida Great Again! ;)

AFAIK this is how DJT stopped the funding of the FSA, when he was shown the video of the child the Zenki Jihadists beheaded. So it is not a single decision, but the M.O. of his style of decision making.

Under all that narcissistic, egomanic and sociopathic behaviour seems to be a human being, a quite emotional too. Too bad it seems to care more for single female Jihadists propagandists than for his campaign promise of fighting Jihadists..

Maybe Assads wife should make a undercover visit to DJT? ;)

EDIT: Typos

Pat Lang Mod -> DontBelieveEitherPropaganda , an hour ago
The problem with him is his abysmal ignorance of anything outside the world of business. This makes him vulnerable to nonsense like this.
Pat Lang Mod -> DontBelieveEitherPropaganda , 2 hours ago
What is with the "EDIT:Typos" thingy? We are all plain folk here. Basma Asad? A beautiful, well spoken creature. There is a certain strain of blond Syrian upper class woman who will just knock your socks off. This what Italians call "the thunderbolt." I went to visit one in the Maryland suburbs of DC. A relative asked me to go. She was that type. After she decided I wasn't going to do whatever it was she thought I would want to do she took me out to the garage where there were several big cats; tiger, leopard, puma, etc. in cages. I asked her why. She just shrugged and went back in the house.
mourjou , 3 hours ago
The woman concerned.
Dr Rim Al-Bezem is the president of the eastern chapter of the Syrian-American Medical Society (SAMS), an organization that provides training, medical equipment and medicine for a country decimated by the war.


From memory, SAMS only ever worked in the rebel-held areas .
And again from memory, she has been economical with the truth, by ignoring the doctors in west Aleppo and inflating the number of people in Aleppo. Yet again from memory, I think it never reached much above 2 million, 1.5 million in the west and 0.5 million in the east.

"Many of the doctors have left the country because they, too, have families. In Aleppo alone, there are 35 doctors left to treat the population of 5 million people," she said.

.

David Solomon , 3 hours ago
Colonel, I really enjoyed this piece. It may not have been intentional on your part, but it brought some joy to my day.

Regards,

David

[Feb 15, 2019] Losing a job in your 50s is especially tough. Here are 3 steps to take when layoffs happen by Peter Dunn

Unemployment usually is just six month or so; this is the time when you can plan you "downsizing". You do not need to rush.
Often losing job logically requires selling your home and moving to a modest apartment, especially if no children are living with you. At 50 it is abut time... You need to do it later anyway, so why not now.
But that's a very tough decision to make... Still, if the current housing market is close to the top, this is one of the best moves you can make. Getting from your house several hundred thousand dollars allows you to create kind of private pension to compensate for losses in income till you hit your Social Security check, which currently means 66.
$300K investment in A quality bonds that returns 3% per year are enough to provides you with $24K per year "pension" from 50 to age of 66. That allows you to pay for the apartment and amenities. The food is extra...
This way you can take lower paid job and survive.
And in this case you 401k remains intact and can supplement your SS income later on. Simple Excel spreadsheet can provide you with a complete picture of what you can afford and what not. Actually ability to walk of fresh air for 3 or more hours each day worth a lot of money ;-)
Notable quotes:
"... Losing a job in your 50s is a devastating moment, especially if the job is connected to a long career ripe with upward mobility. As a frequent observer of this phenomenon, it's as scary and troublesome as unchecked credit card debt or an expensive chronic health condition. This is one of the many reasons why I believe our 50s can be the most challenging decade of our lives. ..."
"... The first thing you should do is identify the exact day your job income stops arriving ..."
"... Next, and by next I mean five minutes later, explore your eligibility for unemployment benefits, and then file for them if you're able. ..."
"... Grab your bank statement, a marker, and a calculator. As much as you want to pretend its business as usual, you shouldn't. Identify expenses that don't make sense if you don't have a job. Circle them. Add them up. Resolve to eliminate them for the time being, and possibly permanently. While this won't necessarily lengthen your fuse, it could lessen the severity of a potential boom. ..."
Feb 15, 2019 | finance.yahoo.com

... ... ...

Losing a job in your 50s is a devastating moment, especially if the job is connected to a long career ripe with upward mobility. As a frequent observer of this phenomenon, it's as scary and troublesome as unchecked credit card debt or an expensive chronic health condition. This is one of the many reasons why I believe our 50s can be the most challenging decade of our lives.

Assuming you can clear the mental challenges, the financial and administrative obstacles can leave you feeling like a Rube Goldberg machine.

Income, health insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, bills, expenses, short-term savings and retirement savings are all immediately important in the face of a job loss. Never mind your Parent PLUS loans, financially-dependent aging parents, and boomerang children (adult kids who live at home), which might all be lurking as well.

When does your income stop?

From the shocking moment a person learns their job is no longer their job, the word "triage" must flash in bright lights like an obnoxiously large sign in Times Square. This is more challenging than you might think. Like a pickpocket bumping into you right before he grabs your wallet, the distraction is the problem that takes your focus away from the real problem.

This is hard to do because of the emotion that arrives with the dirty deed. The mind immediately begins to race to sources of money and relief. And unfortunately that relief is often found in the wrong place.

The first thing you should do is identify the exact day your job income stops arriving . That's how much time you have to defuse the bomb. Your fuse may come in the form of a severance package, or work you've performed but have't been paid for yet.

When do benefits kick in?

Next, and by next I mean five minutes later, explore your eligibility for unemployment benefits, and then file for them if you're able. However, in some states severance pay affects your immediate eligibility for unemployment benefits. In other words, you can't file for unemployment until your severance payments go away.

Assuming you can't just retire at this moment, which you likely can't, you must secure fresh employment income quickly. But quickly is relative to the length of your fuse. I've witnessed way too many people miscalculate the length and importance of their fuse. If you're able to get back to work quickly, the initial job loss plus severance ends up enhancing your financial life. If you take too much time, by your choice or that of the cosmos, boom.

The next move is much more hands-on, and must also be performed the day you find yourself without a job.

What nonessentials do I cut?

Grab your bank statement, a marker, and a calculator. As much as you want to pretend its business as usual, you shouldn't. Identify expenses that don't make sense if you don't have a job. Circle them. Add them up. Resolve to eliminate them for the time being, and possibly permanently. While this won't necessarily lengthen your fuse, it could lessen the severity of a potential boom.

The idea of diving into your spending habits on the day you lose your job is no fun. But when else will you have such a powerful reason to do so? You won't. It's better than dipping into your assets to fund your current lifestyle. And that's where we'll pick it up the next time.

We've covered day one. In my next column we will tackle day two and beyond.

Peter Dunn is an author, speaker and radio host, and he has a free podcast: "Million Dollar Plan." Have a question for Pete the Planner? Email him at AskPete@petetheplanner.com. The views and opinions expressed in this column are the author's and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY.

[Feb 13, 2019] Microsoft patches 0-day vulnerabilities in IE and Exchange

It is unclear how long this vulnerability exists, but this is pretty serious staff that shows how Hillary server could be hacked via Abedin account. As Abedin technical level was lower then zero, to hack into her home laptop just just trivial.
Feb 13, 2019 | arstechnica.com

Microsoft also patched Exchange against a vulnerability that allowed remote attackers with little more than an unprivileged mailbox account to gain administrative control over the server. Dubbed PrivExchange, CVE-2019-0686 was publicly disclosed last month , along with proof-of-concept code that exploited it. In Tuesday's advisory , Microsoft officials said they haven't seen active exploits yet but that they were "likely."

[Feb 12, 2019] Older Workers Need a Different Kind of Layoff A 60-year-old whose position is eliminated might be unable to find another job, but could retire if allowed early access to Medicare

Highly recommended!
This is a constructive suggestion that is implementable even under neoliberalism. As everything is perverted under neoliberalism that might prompt layoffs before the age of 55.
Notable quotes:
"... Older workers often struggle to get rehired as easily as younger workers. Age discrimination is a well-known problem in corporate America. What's a 60-year-old back office worker supposed to do if downsized in a merger? The BB&T-SunTrust prospect highlights the need for a new type of unemployment insurance for some of the workforce. ..."
"... One policy might be treating unemployed older workers differently than younger workers. Giving them unemployment benefits for a longer period of time than younger workers would be one idea, as well as accelerating the age of Medicare eligibility for downsized employees over the age of 55. The latter idea would help younger workers as well, by encouraging older workers to accept buyout packages -- freeing up career opportunities for younger workers. ..."
Feb 12, 2019 | www.bloomberg.com

The proposed merger between SunTrust and BB&T makes sense for both firms -- which is why Wall Street sent both stocks higher on Thursday after the announcement. But employees of the two banks, especially older workers who are not yet retirement age, are understandably less enthused at the prospect of downsizing. In a nation with almost 37 million workers over the age of 55, the quandary of SunTrust-BB&T workforce will become increasingly familiar across the U.S. economy.

But what's good for the firms isn't good for all of the workers. Older workers often struggle to get rehired as easily as younger workers. Age discrimination is a well-known problem in corporate America. What's a 60-year-old back office worker supposed to do if downsized in a merger? The BB&T-SunTrust prospect highlights the need for a new type of unemployment insurance for some of the workforce.

One policy might be treating unemployed older workers differently than younger workers. Giving them unemployment benefits for a longer period of time than younger workers would be one idea, as well as accelerating the age of Medicare eligibility for downsized employees over the age of 55. The latter idea would help younger workers as well, by encouraging older workers to accept buyout packages -- freeing up career opportunities for younger workers.

The economy can be callous toward older workers, but policy makers don't have to be. We should think about ways of dealing with this shift in the labor market before it happens.

[Feb 11, 2019] Neoliberalism has caused 'misery and division', Bernie Fraser says Business The Guardian

Feb 10, 2019 | www.theguardian.com

Political ideologies appear to have contributed to inequality and disadvantage in Australia in that time, he argues.

Fraser in large part blames "neoliberalism" and its influence on policymaking for the "disconnect between Australia's impressive economic growth story and its failure on so many markers to show progress towards a better, fairer society".

"Favouring the market system ahead of the state system, and individual interests ahead of community interests, can lead to profoundly unfair social outcomes.

ss="rich-link"> More than three million Australians living in poverty, Acoss report reveals Read more

"Those unable to afford access to decent standards of housing, healthcare, and other essential services have to settle for inferior arrangements, or go without."

Fraser says charitable organisations see the effects of "real poverty" that result in "misery, anxiety and loss of self-esteem of mothers unable to put food on the table for their kids, of old and young homeless people, and the victims of domestic violence and drug overdoses".

Fraser summarises the key thrusts of neoliberalism as "the pursuit of the lowest possible rates of income and most other taxes and the maximum restraint on government interventions and spending programs".

Evidence in Australia and overseas shows the influence of neoliberalism on fiscal policy "and the misery and social polarisation that has come with it", he says.

The global financial crisis "should have" marked a tipping point, when the "idealised view of financial markets being self-regulating" was shattered. While Australia "avoided the worst traumas of the GFC" with prompt fiscal and monetary policy responses, in Europe "taxes were increased and spending programs slashed", resulting in a further five or six years of severe recession.

Fraser says that all political ideologies -- taken to extremes -- can be divisive and cause damage, including an ideology "based on a state system".

But the former Reserve Bank governor focuses on neoliberalism because it "remains in vogue". The Morrison government "continues to reaffirm its over-riding commitment to lower taxation, and to assert that this is the best way to increase investment, jobs and economic growth" - despite the lack of evidence to support the theory .

Although Fraser recognises that politics never can or should be taken out of policymaking, he suggests the best course is to "hammer away" at flaws of particular approaches.

For example, Fraser praises "the avoidance of costly tax cuts accruing to large corporations" as a positive development -- referring to the Turnbull government abandoning the big business component of its $50bn 10-year company tax cut plan.

He suggests the "quick done-deal" of Labor signing up to the Coalition's proposed acceleration of the cut to taxes on small and medium business was an example that "political interests are always lurking nearby".

In a separate presentation Keating -- who headed PM&C from 1991 to 1996 -- warns the government's promise to cap expenditure while simultaneously cutting taxes and returning the budget to surplus is based on overly optimistic assumptions of growth in GDP, wages and productivity.

ss="rich-link"> Why are stock markets falling and how far will they go? Read more

According to Keating, the government must stop assuming there have been no structural changes in the relationship between unemployment and the rate of wage increases.

He notes that predictions of a tightening labour market leading to higher wages are predicated on assumptions of growth averaging 3% or as much as 3.5%.

He will also say a sustained return to past rates of economic growth will be impossible unless we can ensure a reasonably equitable distribution of income, involving a faster rate of wage increases, especially for the low-paid.


Matt Quinn , 19 Oct 2018 12:33

Excellent that neoliberalism is being put under the spotlight. To fully understand it, and the root causes of its "thrusts", one need only refer to its history, helpfully chronicled by economist Mason Gaffney in his little known but devastating 1994 work The Corruption of Economics . It begins:

Neoclassical economics is the idiom of most economic discourse today. It is the paradigm that bends the twigs of young minds. Then it confines the florescence of older ones, like chicken-wire shaping a topiary.

It took form about a hundred years ago, when Henry George and his reform proposals were a clear and present political danger and challenge to the landed and intellectual establishments of the world.

Few people realize to what degree the founders of Neo-classical economics changed the discipline for the express purpose of deflecting George and frustrating future students seeking to follow his arguments.

It can be argued that the 20th century was a disastrous wrong-turn leading to the subversion of a rising economic democracy for the benefit of rent-takers. Unnecessary privation, war and destruction of the living world were it's necessary consequence, but it's not to late to revisit the keen insights of a (deliberately) forgotten genius like Henry George.

How Land Barons, Industrialists and Bankers Corrupted Economics , Dierdre Kent 2016.

In a nutshell, Land (aka nature) causes Wealth causes Money for some definition of wealth and money:
What Money is : Seven Deadly Innocent Frauds of Economic Policy , Mosler 2010 P1.
What Wealth is : Progress and Poverty , Henry George 1879, esp intro, ch3, 17.
How we got to Now : The Corruption of Economics , Mason Gaffney 1994 p 29-44. Excellent Prologue by Fred Harrison: Who's Afraid of Henry George? .

For sincere and willing truth-seekers, this short list cannot fail to deeply reward even a cursory treatment.

petesweetbix -> FelixKruell , 19 Oct 2018 04:00
And you appear not to understand the difference between an "average" and a "median". The median measure the mid-point, above and below which 50% of the sample population falls. The average is just an average over all, and become increasingly different from the median, the more the inequalities (i.e., skewness of the distribution) increase. This is precisely what has happened in most western societies since the 1980s. The report mentions AVERAGE wealth, but this hides a large spread, with large increases at the top, while the bottom 10 to 20% in most western societies have almost nothing, and have not seen their new wealth increase for decades. How can it, if you don't own a house and don't have shares/super, etc.?? I think you are generalising too much from your own (probably limited) social circle and experiences.
MobileAtheist -> PieSwine , 17 Oct 2018 23:54
Your welcome, yes its an informative site, I might add, Neo-liberalism is only half the problem Globalisation goes hand in hand with it and both are supported if not controlled by the IMF, with the aim of crushing the working people of third world nations, and the ALP explicitly support Globalisation whilst emphatically deny involvement with Neoliberalism.
justdreamingguss , 17 Oct 2018 06:21
Wages have stagnated and corporate profits have soared! Privatisation of public assets and corporatization in this capitalist system, is the biggest fail of all times for the majority of our society! Back in my day, If there were two working, (Which there wasn't) my wage was enough to own my own house in 2.8 years.
The system is defunct and fucked!
justdreamingguss , 17 Oct 2018 05:52
Neoliberalism seems to be a nice name, conjured up by a nasty think tank. given to a system that enhances massive profits for the few. A system that allows public owned assets (Infrastructure) to be sold at devalued prices and a system where people are to be considered as a commodity, with those of no use to their system being skinned and left out to dry.
RUSiriUs , 17 Oct 2018 05:29
I have been hammering the same line for years now, it so good to have someone as articulate and respected as Bernie Fraser damning neoliberalism for what it is as an economic cover story for implementing right-wing ideology. Trickle down theory has been routinely assessed as a failure to deliver equity and as a result the LNP are polarising society.
HofBrisbane , 17 Oct 2018 04:34
When neoliberalism is broken down, it's just the same old chestnut of socialism for the privileged (via lobbying to create an environment best for rent seekers) and capitalism for the rest of us where if we fail, too bad so sad.
Friarbird , 17 Oct 2018 04:18
Neoliberalism is fraud.
It is the speedo wound back, that 'glorious beachside situation' under water, a pea-and-thimble trick to baffle and fleece the suckers.
Being the creation of Libertarians, it has their trademark ideological motivation, a visceral loathing of government, in whatever form.
That determination to demonise and even dismantle govt is made plain by Neoliberalism's numerous facilitating porkies, pushed as the unvarnished truth.
One example.
Neoliberal ideologues dogmatically insist the Commonwealth needs to somehow 'borrow' to fund the deficit.
This assertion has no basis in reality.
It is a whopper designed to serve the needs of ideology, nothing more.
For Neoliberal ideologues, this piece of deceit kicks two significant goals.
First, it enables them to depict govt as so inherently inefficient, so inept, it cannot even raise dollar one of the very currency which it is allegedly controls.
Down, down goes disgraced govt.
From where can it obtain the desperately-needed funds?
Here comes the second goal.
To fund the deficit, the C' wealth goes crawling, cap-in-hand, to the private sector.
Fearless, freedom-loving, shit-hot-and-shiny private sector !
But it's total myth.
The Commonwealth is a sovereign currency issuer.
Ergo sum, it always has its own money, AUD.
Saying it needs to borrow something it creates and controls-- and of which it has an infinite supply-- only makes sense as a propaganda-driven porkie.

It's like claiming you need to borrow somebody else's piss.

20reeds , 17 Oct 2018 03:28
Neoliberalism (ie rule market forces) is a binary system - it produces winners and losers.

The winners are those paid to lobby, write the legislation, secure the profits, get the shares, run the corporations, the banks, the accountancies, the insurers etc.

The losers are the majority us who remain outside in the cold. The winners are not going to change their ways and why should they - they hold the power and we the masses pose no threat to them.

Its way past time that those who are not winning in this binary game started to threaten the winners. This is what McManus is doing with her ACTU 'change the rules' campaign - it is seriously threatening the neoliberal agenda.

The Wentworth by-election is threatening the Morrison neoliberal coalition with annihilation and just might be the turning point for Australians to take back their democracy and their economy from the thieves who hold power.

Banter76 -> Lovedogg , 17 Oct 2018 03:12
No. With a couple of exceptions the communities that delivered the highest Brexit vote tended to have the least migrants.

I am advocating Social Democracy, a mixed economy where there is a private sector and a state sector and more state intervention to stop communities being 'left behind'. Investment in education & training and renationalisation of natural monopolies such as water and rail is what's needed in the UK.

For far too long all the mainstream MSM including the BBC and this paper have acted as a propaganda machine for the Neoliberal outsourcing of workers to undermine salaries while putting money into the off shore accounts of fat cats.

Meanwhile the Mail, Sky & Sun (Murdoch) and Express, LBC radio have jumped on the opportunity of a divided Britain to encourage hatred of the other.

Colinn -> FelixKruell , 17 Oct 2018 02:01
I used to buy crap chinese marine ply, my new supplier has Australian made, high quality marine ply for 2/3 the price. I always prefer to keep my money local.
2/3 of Australia isn't surviving, they're drowning, not waving.
It is about the 1% who think robbing the poor is good business. The strongest economy in Australia was when wage growth was good. Businesses only look at their small picture and the larger economy is none of their concern. Business has been able to buy politicians for their own profit, not the good of the country.
RobLeighton , 17 Oct 2018 01:58
Obviously, everything is horrible in Australia these days and is getting worse.
Even though Australia is ranked #3 on the Human Development Index out of some
192 countries and has an awesomely high per capita GDP. Australia is also among the
most respected, most reputable countries on the planet and has 3 cities in the top 10
of best cities in the world to live in. Other than that, it is horrible there.
Banter76 , 17 Oct 2018 01:31
"Favouring the market system ahead of the state system, and individual interests ahead of community interests, can lead to profoundly unfair social outcomes"

Australians take note. Neoliberalism has led to the rise of the far right in the UK and across EU countries. Doesn't help that people like Murdoch encourage finger pointing at foreigners while supporting the right-wing economic policies creating the massive division and job insecurity.

PieSwine -> CosmoCrawley , 16 Oct 2018 23:14
Neo-liberalism: low taxes to encourage employment; deregulation of labour market and business "red-tape" and privatisation of public assets and utilities. You may also throw in an unhealthy obsession with micro economics and interest rates.

All of which have been shown to have negligible impact on their stated goals (see lower taxes) and have been terrible for consumers, workers and society.

daveinbalmain -> Foxlike , 16 Oct 2018 23:09
Seventy years (give or take) have passed since the end of WW2.

In Europe, the first half of that period could broadly be described as social democracy, the second as neo-liberal.

To your point Fox, let's see the data on a simple line chart:

Real individual wages per capita
GDP per capita
National indebtedness
Private indebtedness

I'm willing to be corrected but I'd bet you London to a brick that the social democratic shits all over the neo-liberal from a great height when it comes to improvements in these core data.

HellBrokeLuce -> leon depope , 16 Oct 2018 22:26
That's it.. the world moved to the right back in the mid to late 80's ..as the Soviet Union collapsed ..and the wall came down.

Now both Russia and China are on the free market merry go round.. except that they keep controls on certain aspects .. of the economy, an iron fist control, taking advantage and abusing the free market to meet their own ends. Conservatism is about individualism .. as put forward by Howard.. aspirational to achieve for yourself.. Nothing to do with your community. That's why they hate the UN.. generally and particularly in regards to climate change.. the world acting as one community for the benefit of all communities.. So they want to build walls.. trade barriers... it's all characterized as impinging on the countries sovereignty.. The interesting thing is ..that back in the 80's ..the left was all about protectionism.. and isolationist policy. So to speak.. now Trump wants to turn back the clock.. 40 years or so. It's a bit late for that.

So...never give conservatism a chance. Actually..the inevitable consequence of climate change making the world re calibrate economics ..through sustainability, not greed first, will put and end to conservatism. It's a high price to pay.. but I have no doubt it will happen.

Pararto , 16 Oct 2018 22:25
Income is important, but it has been the progressive concentration of wealth that is causing the real damage and polarization. If we no longer belong in the same society, if we no longer care for others as being our own, if we no longer look at other living things as our relations, then we are looking into a catastrophic void.

[Feb 09, 2019] Hungary Shows the West the Path to Survival The American Conservative

Notable quotes:
"... It is clear that on immigration, Eastern Europe differs from the rest of the continent -- attitudes represented politically only through the populist right in the west are thoroughly mainstream in the east. ..."
Feb 09, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

For starters, he talks about demography. Like many countries in Europe, Hungary's birthrates have plummeted. Orbán has commenced a campaign to raise them, with measures including generous maternity and paternity leave stipends, subsidies of up to 50 euros a month per child, tax write-offs, and housing assistance for couples that have three or more children. The government has also sent out questionnaires asking Hungarians whether they think the solution to Hungary's demographic crisis is stronger support for families or higher immigration. Katalin Novak, Orbán's minister of family and youth, explained unabashedly that the purpose of this was "to send a clear message to Brussels: the renovation of Europe is impossible without support for families and Hungary wants neither immigration nor a modification of its population." This sort of frankness from leaders in the wealthier West is inconceivable. At a press gathering I recently attended, a Macron minister holding a comparable post focused most of the conversation on the expansion of gay rights.

Of course, the other half of the demography subject is immigration. In an address during the fall of 2016 that still resonates, Orbán proclaimed that Europe is "in mortal danger":

The danger is "not attacking us the way wars and natural disasters do mass migration is a slow stream of water persistently eroding the shores. It is masquerading as a humanitarian cause, but its true nature is the occupation of territory. And what is gaining territory for them is losing territory for us. Flocks of obsessed human rights defenders feel the overwhelming urge to reprimand us . [A]llegedly we are hostile xenophobes but the truth is that the history of our nation is also one of inclusion, of the intertwining of cultures. Those who have sought to come here as new family members, as allies, or as displaced persons fearing for their lives have been let in to make a new home for themselves. But those who have come here with the intention of changing our country, of shaping our nation in their own image, have been met with resistance."

Faced with the Merkel Million Man Migration, Orbán ordered Hungary's army to build a fence.

Bernard-Henri Lévy: Poster Boy For the False Europe How Brexit Burst the West's Immigration Taboos

Slovakia similarly refused to take in a quota of migrants dictated by Brussels and Berlin. The former president of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus, wrote a short but excellent book, Europe All Inclusive , about the migration crisis in which he charged that Europe's western elites were supporting mass immigration explicitly to smash the remaining power of nation states so full European unification could be achieved. Poland has likewise refused EU demands to resettle refugees from the Mideast and North Africa.

It is clear that on immigration, Eastern Europe differs from the rest of the continent -- attitudes represented politically only through the populist right in the west are thoroughly mainstream in the east. This difference in political culture is so vast, it can be traced to many sources. A similar divergence surfaced before, during the Cold War, when Eastern Europeans stubbornly refused to allow Western European intellectuals to forget or ignore that communism was a malign and murderous system. Today, Eastern Europeans note that they have been already been the subjects of utopian projects to remake society according to a progressive vision -- and they have no desire for a repeat.

Encountering Eastern European resistance to progressive dogma for the first time is a bracing experience. I first had it during the mid-'70s, in a grad school lecture class at Columbia. A charming and generally well-liked democratic socialist professor would take admiring students through various sophisticated Marxist readings, leading inexorably to the conclusion that the collapse of "late capitalism" was inevitable and to be welcomed. This semester, there happened to be two Poles taking the class, one of whom was a woman who had been an imprisoned dissident. They seemed to know their Marx as well as the prof did: they were smart, they were vocal, and they were having absolutely none of it. It made for an exciting several months, and for me a memorable demonstration that Eastern Europeans were more or less immune to the guilt and self-hatred permeating much of the West.

Perhaps we are in for a reprise, when the people of the west learn once again from the east what is true and essential about their own societies. Of course, there are parallels between the communists' aspirations and the open borders diversity project. Both are genuinely revolutionary in their desire to destroy and remake Western societies according to models that have little viable precedent in human experience. Under this logic, the '60s and '70s can be seen as a kind of transitional phase, during which Western socialists looked longingly towards various Third World models -- China, Cuba, Vietnam, Nicaragua -- after they gave up on the Soviet Union and their own proletariats as viable revolutionary agents. Now progressives hope that social justice will bloom from the political chaos generated by demographic shifts.

Without the voices of Eastern Europe, the West might not have successfully resisted the first progressive onslaught. Once again, it needs the voices of the east to illuminate its path to survival.

Scott McConnell is a founding editor of and the author of Ex-Neocon: Dispatches From the Post-9/11 Ideological Wars.

[Feb 07, 2019] The Global Con Hidden in Trump's Tax Reform Law, Revealed

Notable quotes:
"... Last night, President Trump reserved a few minutes of his State of the Union address to praise his tax reform law, which turned a year old last month. To promote its passage, Mr. Trump and his congressional allies promised Americans that drastically lowered corporate tax rates would bring home large sums of capital that had been stashed overseas and finance a surge of domestic investment. ..."
"... Why would any multinational corporation pay America's 21 percent tax rate when it could pay the new "global minimum" rate of 10.5 percent on profits shifted to tax havens, particularly when there are few restrictions on how money can be moved around a company and its foreign subsidiaries? ..."
"... For starters, the law's repatriation deal did prompt a brief surge in offshore profits returning to the United States. But the total sum returned so far is well below the trillions many proponents predicted, and a large chunk of the returned funds have been used for record-breaking stock buybacks, which don't help workers and generate little real economic activity. ..."
"... Bottom line: the Trump tax cut is a giveaway to corporations that doesn't promote investment here ..."
Feb 07, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne , February 06, 2019 at 04:05 PM

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/06/opinion/business-economics/trump-tax-reform-state-of-the-union-2019.html

February 6, 2019

The Global Con Hidden in Trump's Tax Reform Law, Revealed
Why would any multinational corporation pay the new 21 percent rate when it could use the new "global minimum" loophole to pay half of that?
By Brad Setser

Last night, President Trump reserved a few minutes of his State of the Union address to praise his tax reform law, which turned a year old last month. To promote its passage, Mr. Trump and his congressional allies promised Americans that drastically lowered corporate tax rates would bring home large sums of capital that had been stashed overseas and finance a surge of domestic investment.

"For too long, our tax code has incentivized companies to leave our country in search of lower tax rates," he said, pitching voters in the fall of 2017. "My administration rejects the offshoring model, and we have embraced a brand-new model. It's called the American model."

The White House argued they wanted a system that "encourages companies to stay in America, grow in America, spend in America, and hire in America." Yet the bill he signed into law includes a sweetheart deal that allows companies that shift their profits abroad to pay tax at a rate well below the already-reduced corporate income tax -- an incentive shift that completely contradicts his stated goal.

Why would any multinational corporation pay America's 21 percent tax rate when it could pay the new "global minimum" rate of 10.5 percent on profits shifted to tax havens, particularly when there are few restrictions on how money can be moved around a company and its foreign subsidiaries?

These wonky concerns were largely brushed aside amid the political brawl. But now that a full year has passed since the tax bill became law, we have hard numbers we can evaluate.

For starters, the law's repatriation deal did prompt a brief surge in offshore profits returning to the United States. But the total sum returned so far is well below the trillions many proponents predicted, and a large chunk of the returned funds have been used for record-breaking stock buybacks, which don't help workers and generate little real economic activity.

And despite Mr. Trump's proud rhetoric regarding tax reform during his State of the Union address, there is no wide pattern of companies bringing back jobs or profits from abroad. The global distribution of corporations' offshore profits -- our best measure of their tax avoidance gymnastics -- hasn't budged from the prevailing trend.

Well over half the profits that American companies report earning abroad are still booked in only a few low-tax nations -- places that, of course, are not actually home to the customers, workers and taxpayers facilitating most of their business. A multinational corporation can route its global sales through Ireland, pay royalties to its Dutch subsidiary and then funnel income to its Bermudian subsidiary -- taking advantage of Bermuda's corporate tax rate of zero.

Where American Profits Hide

[Graph]

No major technology company has jettisoned the finely tuned tax structures that allow a large share of its global profits to be booked offshore. Nor have major pharmaceutical companies stopped producing many of their most profitable drugs in Ireland. And Pepsi, to name just one major manufacturer, still makes the concentrate for its soda in Singapore, also a haven.

Eliminating the complex series of loopholes that encourage offshoring was a major talking point in the run-up to the 2017 tax bill, but most of them are still in place. The craftiest and largest corporations can still legally whittle down their effective tax rate into the single digits. (In fact, the new law encourages firms to move "tangible assets" -- like factories -- offshore).

Overall, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act amounted to a technocratic sleight of hand -- a scheme set to shift an even greater share of the federal tax burden onto the shoulders of American families. According to the Treasury Department's tally for fiscal year 2018, corporate income tax receipts fell by 31 percent, an unprecedented year-over-year drop in a time of economic growth (presumably a time when profits and government revenue should rise in tandem).

These damning results, to be sure, don't make for a good defense of what came before the new law. In theory under the old system, American-based firms still owed the government a cut of their global profits. In practice, large firms could indefinitely defer paying this tax until the funds could be repatriated -- usually when granted a tax holiday by a friendly administration.

Over a generation, this political dance was paired with rules that made it relatively easy for firms to transfer their most prized intellectual property -- say, the rights to popular software or the particular mix of ingredients for a hot new drug -- to their offshore subsidiaries. Taken together, they created a tax nirvana of sorts for multinational corporations, particularly in intellectual-property-intensive industries like tech and pharmaceuticals. But it wasn't enough.

For their next trick, the companies worked with their political allies to favorably frame the 2017 tax debate. When he was the House speaker, Paul Ryan was fond of talking about $3 trillion in "trapped" profits abroad. But those profits weren't actually, physically, sitting in a few tax havens.

Dwarf Economies, Giant American Profits

[Graph]

They were largely invested in United States bank accounts, securities and bonds issued by the Treasury or other companies headquartered in the States. As Adam Looney -- a Brookings Institution fellow and former Treasury Department official -- has explained, companies that needed to finance a new domestic investment could simply issue a bond effectively backed by its offshore cash. (For instance, Apple could bring its "trapped" funds onshore by selling a bond to Pfizer's offshore account, or vice versa.)

Put plainly, they got the best of both worlds: Uncle Sam could tax only a small slice of their books while they traded with one another based on the size of the entire pie.

The scale of the tax shifting has become so immense that some economists believe curbing it could raise reported G.D.P. by well over a percentage point -- something Mr. Trump, who's been absorbed by opportunities to brag about the economy, should notionally welcome.

President Trump's economic advisers and the key architects of the bill on Capitol Hill must have known their reform wasn't going to end business incentives that hurt American workers. Honest reform would have meant closing corporate loopholes -- a move they originally promised to make.

Should the opportunity present itself, perhaps to the next president, there are a couple of viable options for a fundamental tax overhaul that wouldn't require reinstating the 35 percent corporate tax rate.

One of several possibilities is to return to a system of global taxation without the deferrals that enabled empty repatriations. That would mean profits sneakily booked tax-free in Bermuda would be taxed every year at 21 percent. Profits booked in Ireland -- or other low-tax nations -- would be taxed at the difference between Ireland's rate and America's rate.

It's an approach that would protect small and midsize American companies while cracking down on bad corporate actors with enough fancy accountants and lawyers to rig the game to their advantage. And it would be far better than the fake tax reform passed a year ago.

anne -> anne... , February 07, 2019 at 06:16 AM
https://twitter.com/paulkrugman/status/1093271623212457985

Paul Krugman‏ @paulkrugman

This is very good from the essential Brad Setser, our leading expert on international trade and money flows. Bottom line: the Trump tax cut is a giveaway to corporations that doesn't promote investment here 1/

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/06/opinion/business-economics/trump-tax-reform-state-of-the-union-2019.html

The Global Con Hidden in Trump's Tax Reform Law, Revealed

Why would any multinational corporation pay the new 21 percent rate when it could use the new "global minimum" loophole to pay half of that?

2:14 PM - 6 Feb 2019

@Brad_Setser also gets at something I've been trying to explain: corporate cash "overseas" isn't really a stash of money that can be brought home, it's an accounting fiction that lets them avoid taxes, with no real consequences for investment 2/

And this chart, showing the predominance of tax avoidance in overseas "investment", is a classic 3/

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DywVXVvWsAAUvrh.jpg

[Feb 07, 2019] Government shutdown, Venezuela Donald Trump evolves into the best propagator of neoliberal fascism that tends to become a norm

Notable quotes:
"... The imperialists want to grab the rich oil fields for the US big oil cartel ..."
"... Venezuela must not become an example for other countries in the region on social-programs policy ..."
"... Venezuela must not turn to cooperation with rival powers like China and Russia. Such a prospect may give the country the ability to minimize the effects of the economic war ..."
"... So, when Trump declared the unelected Juan Guaido as the 'legitimate president' of Venezuela, all the main neoliberal powers of the West rushed to follow the decision. ..."
"... Donald Trump is the personification of an authoritarian system that increasingly unveils its true nature. The US empire makes the Venezuelan economy 'scream hard', as it did in Chile in 1973. The country then turned into the first laboratory of neoliberalism with the help of the Chicago Boys and a brutal dictatorship. So, as the big fraud is clear now, neoliberalism is losing ground and ideological influence over countries and societies, after decades of complete dominance. ..."
Feb 07, 2019 | failedevolution.blogspot.com

Even before the 2016 US presidential election, this blog supported that Donald Trump is a pure sample of neoliberal barbarism . Many almost laughed at this perception because Trump was being already promoted, more or less, as the 'terminator' of the neoliberal establishment. And many people, especially in the US, tired from the economic disasters, the growing inequality and the endless wars, were anxious to believe that this was indeed his special mission.

Right after the elections, we supported that the US establishment gave a brilliant performance by putting its reserve, Donald Trump, in power, against the only candidate that the same establishment identified as a real threat: Bernie Sanders.

Then, Trump sent the first shock wave to his supporters by literally hiring the Goldman Sachs banksters to run the economy. And right after that, he signed for more deregulation in favor of the Wall Street mafia that ruined the economy in 2008.

In 2017 , Trump bombed Syria for the first time, resembling the lies that led us to the Iraq war disaster. Despite the fact that the US Tomahawk missile attack had zero value in operational level (the United States allegedly warned Russia and Syria, while the targeted airport was operating normally just hours after the attack), Trump sent a clear message to the US deep state that he is prepared to meet all its demands - and especially the escalation of the confrontation with Russia.

Indeed, a year later, Trump built a pro-war team that includes the most bloodthirsty, hawkish neocons. And then, he ordered a second airstrike against Syria, together with his neocolonial friends.

In the middle of all this 'orgy' of pro-establishment moves, Trump offered a controversial withdrawal of US forces from Syria and Afghanistan to save whatever was possible from his 'anti-interventionist' profile. And it was indeed a highly controversial action with very little value, considering all these US military bases that are still fully operational in the broader Middle East and beyond. Not to mention the various ways through which the US intervenes in the area (training proxies, equip them with heavy weapons, supporting the Saudis and contribute to war crimes in Yemen, etc.)

And then , after this very short break, Trump returned to 'business as usual' to satisfy the neoliberal establishment with a 'glorious' record. He achieved a 35-day government shutdown, which is the "longest shutdown in US history" .

Trump conducted the longest experiment on neoliberals' ultimate goal: abolishing the annoying presence of the state. And this was just a taste of what Trump is willing to do in order to satisfy all neoliberals' wet dreams.

And now, we have the Venezuela issue. Since Hugo Chavez nationalized PDVSA, the central oil and natural gas company, the US empire launched a fierce economic war against the country. Yet, while all previous US administrations were trying to replace legitimate governments with their puppets as much silently as possible through slow-motion coup operations, Trump has no problem to do it in plain sight.

And perhaps the best proof for that is a statement by one of the most warmongering figures of the neocon/neoliberal cabal, hired by Trump . As John Bolton cynically and openly admitted recently, " It will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies really invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela. "

Therefore, one should be very naive of course to believe that the Western imperialist gang seriously cares about the Venezuelan people and especially the poor. Here are three basic reasons behind the open US intervention in Venezuela:

  1. The imperialists want to grab the rich oil fields for the US big oil cartel, as well as the great untapped natural resources , particularly gold (mostly for the Canadian companies).
  2. Venezuela must not become an example for other countries in the region on social-programs policy, which is mainly funded by the oil production. The imperialists know that they must interrupt the path of Venezuela to real Socialism by force if necessary. Neoliberalism must prevail by all means for the benefit of the big banks and corporations.
  3. Venezuela must not turn to cooperation with rival powers like China and Russia. Such a prospect may give the country the ability to minimize the effects of the economic war. The country may find an alternative to escape the Western sanctions in order to fund its social programs for the benefit of the people. And, of course, the West will never accept the exploitation of the Venezuelan resources by the Sino-Russian bloc.

So, when Trump declared the unelected Juan Guaido as the 'legitimate president' of Venezuela, all the main neoliberal powers of the West rushed to follow the decision.

This is something we have never seen before. The 'liberal democracies' of the West - only by name - immediately, uncritically and without hesitation jumped on the same boat with Trump towards this outrageously undemocratic action. They recognized Washington's puppet as the legitimate president of a third country. A man that was never elected by the Venezuelan people and has very low popularity in the country. Even worse, the EU parliament approved this action , killing any last remnants of democracy in the Union.

Yet, it seems that the US is finding increasingly difficult to force many countries to align with its agenda. Even some European countries took some distance from the attempted constitutional coup, with Italy even trying to veto EU's decision to recognize Guaido.

Donald Trump is the personification of an authoritarian system that increasingly unveils its true nature. The US empire makes the Venezuelan economy 'scream hard', as it did in Chile in 1973. The country then turned into the first laboratory of neoliberalism with the help of the Chicago Boys and a brutal dictatorship. So, as the big fraud is clear now, neoliberalism is losing ground and ideological influence over countries and societies, after decades of complete dominance.

This unprecedented action by the Western neoliberal powers to recognize Guaido is a serious sign that neoliberalism returns to its roots and slips towards fascism. It appears now that this is the only way to maintain some level of power.

[Feb 07, 2019] Bernie arrived on the scene like a time traveler from an era before the unbreakable stranglehold of neoliberalism

If Trump runs of the defense of neoliberalism platform he will lose. But Trump proved to be a bad, superficial politician, Republican Obama so to speak, so he may take this advice from his entourage. Trump proved to be a puppet of MIC and Israel, his tax cuts had shown that he is a regular "trickle down" neoliberal. So he attraction to voters is down substantially. Now
Polling is unambiguous here. If you define the "center" as a position somewhere between those of the two parties, when it comes to economic issues the public is overwhelmingly left of center; if anything, it's to the left of the Democrats. Tax cuts for the rich are the G.O.P.'s defining policy, but two-thirds of voters believe that taxes on the rich are actually too low, while only 7 percent believe that they're too high. Voters support Elizabeth Warren's proposed tax on large fortunes by a three-to-one majority. Only a small minority want to see cuts in Medicaid, even though such cuts have been central to every G.O.P. health care proposal in recent years.
Notable quotes:
"... Insiders have suggested that Trump plans to explicitly run against socialism in 2020. In fact, in playing up the dangers of socialism, he may be positioning himself to run against Bernie Sanders in 2020. ..."
"... Sanders's rebuttal to Trump's address gave us a preview of how he plans to respond to the mounting attacks on socialism from the Right. President Trump said tonight, quote, "We are born free, and we will stay free," end of quote. Well I say to President Trump, people are not truly free when they can't afford to go to the doctor when they are sick. People are not truly free when they cannot afford to buy the prescription drugs they desperately need. People are not truly free when they are unable to retire with dignity. People are not truly free when they are exhausted because they are working longer and longer hours for lower wages. People are not truly free when they cannot afford a decent place in which to live. People certainly are not free when they cannot afford to feed their families. ..."
"... As Dr Martin Luther King Jr said in 1968, and I quote, "This country has socialism for the rich, and rugged individualism for the poor." What Dr. King said then was true, and it is true today, and it remains absolutely unacceptable. ..."
"... In essence what we're seeing here is Bernie Sanders challenging the popular equation of capitalism with democracy and freedom. This is the same point Bernie has been making for decades. "People have been brainwashed into thinking socialism automatically means slave-labor camps, dictatorship and lack of freedom of speech," he said in 1976. This Cold War dogma swept the pervasive reality of capitalist unfreedom - from the bondage of poverty to the perversions of formal democracy under the pressure of a dominant economic class - under the rug. In a 1986 interview, Bernie elaborated: ..."
"... All that socialism means to me, to be very frank with you, is democracy with a small "d." I believe in democracy, and by democracy I mean that, to as great an extent as possible, human beings have the right to control their own lives. And that means that you cannot separate the political structure from the economic structure. One has to be an idiot to believe that the average working person who's making $10,000 or $12,000 a year is equal in political power to somebody who is the head of a large bank or corporation. So, if you believe in political democracy, if you believe in equality, you have to believe in economic democracy as well. ..."
"... The rise of neoliberalism and the fall of the Soviet Union relieved the capitalist state's elite of the need to keep shoring up the equation between capitalism and freedom. Capitalists and their ideology had triumphed, hegemony was theirs, and socialism was no real threat, a foggy memory of a distant era. But forty years of stagnating wages, rising living costs, and intermittent chaos caused by capitalist economic crisis remade the world - slowly, and then all at once. When Bernie Sanders finally took socialist class politics to the national stage three years ago, people were willing to listen. ..."
Feb 06, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Christopher H. , February 06, 2019 at 01:36 PM

https://jacobinmag.com/2019/02/trump-state-of-union-socialism

02.06.2019

Trump Is Right to Be Afraid of Socialism
BY MEAGAN DAY

... I think he's scared," said Ocasio-Cortez of Trump's socialism remarks. "He sees that everything is closing in on him. And he knows he's losing the battle of public opinion when it comes to the actual substantive proposals that we're advancing to the public." Given the remarkable popularity of proposals like Bernie's Medicare for All and tuition-free college and Ocasio-Cortez's 70 percent top marginal tax rate, she's probably onto something.

Insiders have suggested that Trump plans to explicitly run against socialism in 2020. In fact, in playing up the dangers of socialism, he may be positioning himself to run against Bernie Sanders in 2020. That would be a smart move, since Bernie is the most popular politician in America and could very well be Trump's direct contender in the general election, if he can successfully dodge attacks from the establishment wing of the Democratic Party in the primary.

Sanders's rebuttal to Trump's address gave us a preview of how he plans to respond to the mounting attacks on socialism from the Right. President Trump said tonight, quote, "We are born free, and we will stay free," end of quote. Well I say to President Trump, people are not truly free when they can't afford to go to the doctor when they are sick. People are not truly free when they cannot afford to buy the prescription drugs they desperately need. People are not truly free when they are unable to retire with dignity. People are not truly free when they are exhausted because they are working longer and longer hours for lower wages. People are not truly free when they cannot afford a decent place in which to live. People certainly are not free when they cannot afford to feed their families.

As Dr Martin Luther King Jr said in 1968, and I quote, "This country has socialism for the rich, and rugged individualism for the poor." What Dr. King said then was true, and it is true today, and it remains absolutely unacceptable.

In essence what we're seeing here is Bernie Sanders challenging the popular equation of capitalism with democracy and freedom. This is the same point Bernie has been making for decades. "People have been brainwashed into thinking socialism automatically means slave-labor camps, dictatorship and lack of freedom of speech," he said in 1976. This Cold War dogma swept the pervasive reality of capitalist unfreedom - from the bondage of poverty to the perversions of formal democracy under the pressure of a dominant economic class - under the rug. In a 1986 interview, Bernie elaborated:

All that socialism means to me, to be very frank with you, is democracy with a small "d." I believe in democracy, and by democracy I mean that, to as great an extent as possible, human beings have the right to control their own lives. And that means that you cannot separate the political structure from the economic structure. One has to be an idiot to believe that the average working person who's making $10,000 or $12,000 a year is equal in political power to somebody who is the head of a large bank or corporation. So, if you believe in political democracy, if you believe in equality, you have to believe in economic democracy as well.

For more than four decades, Bernie made these points to relatively small audiences. In 2016, everything changed, and he now makes them to an audience of millions.

The rise of neoliberalism and the fall of the Soviet Union relieved the capitalist state's elite of the need to keep shoring up the equation between capitalism and freedom. Capitalists and their ideology had triumphed, hegemony was theirs, and socialism was no real threat, a foggy memory of a distant era. But forty years of stagnating wages, rising living costs, and intermittent chaos caused by capitalist economic crisis remade the world - slowly, and then all at once. When Bernie Sanders finally took socialist class politics to the national stage three years ago, people were willing to listen.

Bernie has been so successful at changing the conversation that the President now feels obligated to regurgitate Cold War nostrums about socialism and unfreedom to a new generation.

Good, let him. Each apocalyptic admonition is an opportunity for Bernie, and the rest of us socialists, to articulate a different perspective, one in which freedom and democracy are elusive at present but achievable through a society-wide commitment to economic and social equality. We will only escape "coercion, domination, and control" when we structure society to prioritize the well-being of the many over the desires of the greedy few.

Mr. Bill said in reply to anne... February 06, 2019 at 03:29 PM

A lot of the opinion part of what Paul Krugman says, in this article, maybe, doesn't ring quite true, although I don't dispute the facts.

Poll after poll show that 75% of us agree on 80% of the issues, regardless of which political tribe we identify with.

I tend to think that the real problem is that neither the GOP, which represents the top 1% of the economically comfortable, nor the Democrats who represent the top 10%, are representative of the majority of Americans.

Frantically trying to slice and dice the electorate into questionably accurate tranches, ignores the elephant in the room, Paul.

[Feb 06, 2019] https://www.businessinsider.com/state-of-the-union-transcript-trump-full-speech-2019-2

Feb 06, 2019 | www.businessinsider.com

Wages are rising at the fastest pace in decades, and growing for blue collar workers, who I promised to fight for, faster than anyone else. Nearly 5 million Americans have been lifted off food stamps. The United States economy is growing almost twice as fast today as when I took office, and we are considered far and away the hottest economy anywhere in the world. Unemployment has reached the lowest rate in half a century. African-American, Hispanic-American and Asian-American unemployment have all reached their lowest levels ever recorded. Unemployment for Americans with disabilities has also reached an all-time low. More people are working now than at any time in our history -- 157 million.

We passed a massive tax cut for working families and doubled the child tax credit.

We virtually ended the estate, or death, tax on small businesses, ranches, and family farms.

We eliminated the very unpopular Obamacare individual mandate penalty -- and to give critically ill patients access to life-saving cures, we passed right to try.

My Administration has cut more regulations in a short time than any other administration during its entire tenure. Companies are coming back to our country in large numbers thanks to historic reductions in taxes and regulations.

We have unleashed a revolution in American energy -- the United States is now the number one producer of oil and natural gas in the world. And now, for the first time in 65 years, we are a net exporter of energy.

After 24 months of rapid progress, our economy is the envy of the world, our military is the most powerful on earth, and America is winning each and every day. Members of Congress: the State of our Union is strong. Our country is vibrant and our economy is thriving like never before.

On Friday, it was announced that we added another 304,000 jobs last month alone -- almost double what was expected. An economic miracle is taking place in the United States -- and the only thing that can stop it are foolish wars, politics, or ridiculous partisan investigations.

If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation. It just doesn't work that way!

... ... ...

Both parties should be able to unite for a great rebuilding of America's crumbling infrastructure.

I know that the Congress is eager to pass an infrastructure bill -- and I am eager to work with you on legislation to deliver new and important infrastructure investment, including investments in the cutting edge industries of the future. This is not an option. This is a necessity.

The next major priority for me, and for all of us, should be to lower the cost of healthcare and prescription drugs -- and to protect patients with pre-existing conditions.

Already, as a result of my Administration's efforts, in 2018 drug prices experienced their single largest decline in 46 years.

But we must do more. It is unacceptable that Americans pay vastly more than people in other countries for the exact same drugs, often made in the exact same place. This is wrong, unfair, and together we can stop it.

... ... ...

he final part of my agenda is to protect America's National Security.

Over the last 2 years, we have begun to fully rebuild the United States Military -- with $700 billion last year and $716 billion this year. We are also getting other nations to pay their fair share. For years, the United States was being treated very unfairly by NATO -- but now we have secured a $100 billion increase in defense spending from NATO allies.

As part of our military build-up, the United States is developing a state-of-the-art Missile Defense System.

Under my Administration, we will never apologize for advancing America's interests.

For example, decades ago the United States entered into a treaty with Russia in which we agreed to limit and reduce our missile capabilities. While we followed the agreement to the letter, Russia repeatedly violated its terms. That is why I announced that the United States is officially withdrawing from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or INF Treaty.

Perhaps we can negotiate a different agreement, adding China and others, or perhaps we can't -- in which case, we will outspend and out-innovate all others by far.

As part of a bold new diplomacy, we continue our historic push for peace on the Korean Peninsula. Our hostages have come home, nuclear testing has stopped, and there has not been a missile launch in 15 months. If I had not been elected President of the United States, we would right now, in my opinion, be in a major war with North Korea with potentially millions of people killed. Much work remains to be done, but my relationship with Kim Jong Un is a good one. And Chairman Kim and I will meet again on February 27 and 28 in Vietnam.

Two weeks ago, the United States officially recognized the legitimate government of Venezuela, and its new interim President, Juan Guaido.

... ... ...

Our approach is based on principled realism -- not discredited theories that have failed for decades to yield progress. For this reason, my Administration recognized the true capital of Israel -- and proudly opened the American Embassy in Jerusalem.

Our brave troops have now been fighting in the Middle East for almost 19 years. In Afghanistan and Iraq, nearly 7,000 American heroes have given their lives. More than 52,000 Americans have been badly wounded. We have spent more than $7 trillion in the Middle East.

As a candidate for President, I pledged a new approach. Great nations do not fight endless wars.

When I took office, ISIS controlled more than 20,000 square miles in Iraq and Syria. Today, we have liberated virtually all of that territory from the grip of these bloodthirsty killers.

Now, as we work with our allies to destroy the remnants of ISIS, it is time to give our brave warriors in Syria a warm welcome home.

I have also accelerated our negotiations to reach a political settlement in Afghanistan. Our troops have fought with unmatched valor -- and thanks to their bravery, we are now able to pursue a political solution to this long and bloody conflict.

In Afghanistan, my Administration is holding constructive talks with a number of Afghan groups, including the Taliban. As we make progress in these negotiations, we will be able to reduce our troop presence and focus on counter-terrorism. We do not know whether we will achieve an agreement -- but we do know that after two decades of war, the hour has come to at least try for peace.

... ... ...

My Administration has acted decisively to confront the world's leading state sponsor of terror: the radical regime in Iran.

To ensure this corrupt dictatorship never acquires nuclear weapons, I withdrew the United States from the disastrous Iran nuclear deal. And last fall, we put in place the toughest sanctions ever imposed on a country.

[Feb 02, 2019] N.J. governor signs LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum bill into law

Feb 02, 2019 | www.nbcnews.com

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation on Thursday mandating that every school in the state teach students about "the political, economic, and social contributions" of LGBTQ people and people with disabilities.

The legislation, which will apply starting in the 2020-21 school year, requires that the boards of education for middle and high schools ensure that instructional materials, such as text books, include accurate portrayals of the contributions made by LGBTQ people and those with disabilities.

[Feb 02, 2019] Google Employees Are Fighting With Executives Over Pay

Notable quotes:
"... In July, Bloomberg reported that, for the first time, more than 50 percent of Google's workforce were temps, contractors, and vendors. ..."
Feb 02, 2019 | www.wired.com

... ... ...

Asked whether they have confidence in CEO Sundar Pichai and his management team to "effectively lead in the future," 74 percent of employees responded "positive," as opposed to "neutral" or "negative," in late 2018, down from 92 percent "positive" the year before. The 18-point drop left employee confidence at its lowest point in at least six years. The results of the survey, known internally as Googlegeist, also showed a decline in employees' satisfaction with their compensation, with 54 percent saying they were satisfied, compared with 64 percent the prior year.

The drop in employee sentiment helps explain why internal debate around compensation, pay equity, and trust in executives has heated up in recent weeks -- and why an HR presentation from 2016 went viral inside the company three years later.

The presentation, first reported by Bloomberg and reviewed by WIRED, dates from July 2016, about a year after Google started an internal effort to curb spending . In the slide deck, Google's human-resources department presents potential ways to cut the company's $20 billion compensation budget. Ideas include: promoting fewer people, hiring proportionately more low-level employees, and conducting an audit to make sure Google is paying benefits "(only) for the right people." In some cases, HR suggested ways to implement changes while drawing little attention, or tips on how to sell the changes to Google employees. Some of the suggestions were implemented, like eliminating the annual employee holiday gift; most were not.

Another, more radical proposal floated inside the company around the same time didn't appear in the deck. That suggested converting some full-time employees to contractors to save money. A person familiar with the situation said this proposal was not implemented. In July, Bloomberg reported that, for the first time, more than 50 percent of Google's workforce were temps, contractors, and vendors.

[Jan 31, 2019] Linus Torvalds and others on Linux's systemd by By Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols

Notable quotes:
"... I think some of the design details are insane (I dislike the binary logs, for example) ..."
"... Systemd problems might not have mattered that much, except that GNOME has a similar attitude; they only care for a small subset of the Linux desktop users, and they have historically abandoned some ways of interacting the Desktop in the interest of supporting touchscreen devices and to try to attract less technically sophisticated users. ..."
"... If you don't fall in the demographic of what GNOME supports, you're sadly out of luck. (Or you become a second class citizen, being told that you have to rely on GNOME extensions that may break on every single new version of GNOME.) ..."
"... As a result, many traditional GNOME users have moved over to Cinnamon, XFCE, KDE, etc. But as systemd starts subsuming new functions, components like network-manager will only work on systemd or other components that are forced to be used due to a network of interlocking dependencies; and it may simply not be possible for these alternate desktops to continue to function, because there is [no] viable alternative to systemd supported by more and more distributions. ..."
| www.zdnet.com

So what do Linux's leaders think of all this? I asked them and this is what they told me.

Linus Torvalds said:

"I don't actually have any particularly strong opinions on systemd itself. I've had issues with some of the core developers that I think are much too cavalier about bugs and compatibility, and I think some of the design details are insane (I dislike the binary logs, for example) , but those are details, not big issues."

Theodore "Ted" Ts'o, a leading Linux kernel developer and a Google engineer, sees systemd as potentially being more of a problem. "The bottom line is that they are trying to solve some real problems that matter in some use cases. And, [that] sometimes that will break assumptions made in other parts of the system."

Another concern that Ts'o made -- which I've heard from many other developers -- is that the systemd move was made too quickly: "The problem is sometimes what they break are in other parts of the software stack, and so long as it works for GNOME, they don't necessarily consider it their responsibility to fix the rest of the Linux ecosystem."

This, as Ts'o sees it, feeds into another problem:

" Systemd problems might not have mattered that much, except that GNOME has a similar attitude; they only care for a small subset of the Linux desktop users, and they have historically abandoned some ways of interacting the Desktop in the interest of supporting touchscreen devices and to try to attract less technically sophisticated users.

If you don't fall in the demographic of what GNOME supports, you're sadly out of luck. (Or you become a second class citizen, being told that you have to rely on GNOME extensions that may break on every single new version of GNOME.) "

Ts'o has an excellent point. GNOME 3.x has alienated both users and developers . He continued,

" As a result, many traditional GNOME users have moved over to Cinnamon, XFCE, KDE, etc. But as systemd starts subsuming new functions, components like network-manager will only work on systemd or other components that are forced to be used due to a network of interlocking dependencies; and it may simply not be possible for these alternate desktops to continue to function, because there is [no] viable alternative to systemd supported by more and more distributions. "

Of course, Ts'o continued, "None of these nightmare scenarios have happened yet. The people who are most stridently objecting to systemd are people who are convinced that the nightmare scenario is inevitable so long as we continue on the same course and altitude."

Ts'o is "not entirely certain it's going to happen, but he's afraid it will.

What I find puzzling about all this is that even though everyone admits that sysvinit needed replacing and many people dislike systemd, the distributions keep adopting it. Only a few distributions, including Slackware , Gentoo , PCLinuxOS , and Chrome OS , haven't adopted it.

It's not like there aren't alternatives. These include Upstart , runit , and OpenRC .

If systemd really does turn out to be as bad as some developers fear, there are plenty of replacements waiting in the wings. Indeed, rather than hear so much about how awful systemd is, I'd rather see developers spending their time working on an alternative.

[Jan 29, 2019] 7th Circuit Rules Age Discrimination Law Does Not Include Job Applicants

Notable quotes:
"... By Jerri-Lynn Scofield, who has worked as a securities lawyer and a derivatives trader. She is currently writing a book about textile artisans. ..."
"... Kleber filed suit, pursuing claims for both disparate treatment and disparate impact under the ADEA. The Chicago Tribune notes in Hinsdale man loses appeal in age discrimination case that challenged experience caps in job ads that "Kleber had out of work and job hunting for three years" when he applied for the CareFusion job. ..."
"... Unfortunately, the seventh circuit has now held that the disparate impact section of the ADEA does not extend to job applicants. .Judge Michael Scudder, a Trump appointee, wrote the majority 8-4 opinion, which reverses an earlier 2-1 panel ruling last April in Kleber's favor that had initially overruled the district court's dismissal of Kleber's disparate impact claim. ..."
"... hiring discrimination is difficult to prove and often goes unreported. Only 3 percent have made a formal complaint. ..."
"... The decision narrowly applies to disparate impact claims of age discrimination under the ADEA. It is important to remember that job applicants are protected under the disparate treatment portion of the statute. ..."
"... I forbade my kids to study programming. ..."
"... I'm re reading the classic of Sociology Ain't No Makin It by Jay MacLeod, in which he studies the employment prospects of youths in the 1980s and determined that even then there was no stable private sector employment and your best option is a government job or to have an excellent "network" which is understandably hard for most people to achieve. ..."
"... I think the trick is to study something and programming, so the programming becomes a tool rather than an end. ..."
"... the problem is it is almost impossible to exit the programming business and join another domain. Anyone can enter it. (evidence – all the people with "engineering" degrees from India) Also my wages are now 50% of what i made 10 years ago (nominal). Also I notice that almost no one is doing sincere work. Most are just coasting, pretending to work with the latest toy (ie, preparing for the next interview). ..."
"... I am an "aging" former STEM worker (histology researcher) as well. Much like the IT landscape, you are considered "over-the-hill" at 35, which I turn on the 31st. ..."
"... Most of the positions in science and engineering fields now are basically "gig" positions, lasting a few months to a year. ..."
Jan 29, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

By Jerri-Lynn Scofield, who has worked as a securities lawyer and a derivatives trader. She is currently writing a book about textile artisans.

The US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit decided in Kleber v. CareFusion Corporation last Wednesday that disparate impact liability under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) applies only to current employees and does not include job applicants.

The case was brought by Dale Kleber, an attorney, who applied for a senior position in CareFusion's legal department. The job description required applicants to have "3 to 7 years (no more than 7 years) of relevant legal experience."

Kleber was 58 at the time he applied and had more than seven years of pertinent experience. CareFusion hired a 29-year-old applicant who met but did not exceed the experience requirement.

Kleber filed suit, pursuing claims for both disparate treatment and disparate impact under the ADEA. The Chicago Tribune notes in Hinsdale man loses appeal in age discrimination case that challenged experience caps in job ads that "Kleber had out of work and job hunting for three years" when he applied for the CareFusion job.

Some Basics

Let's start with some basics, as the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) set out in a brief primer on basic US age discrimination law entitled Questions and Answers on EEOC Final Rule on Disparate Impact and "Reasonable Factors Other Than Age" Under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 . The EEOC began with a brief description of the purpose of the ADEA:

The purpose of the ADEA is to prohibit employment discrimination against people who are 40 years of age or older. Congress enacted the ADEA in 1967 because of its concern that older workers were disadvantaged in retaining and regaining employment. The ADEA also addressed concerns that older workers were barred from employment by some common employment practices that were not intended to exclude older workers, but that had the effect of doing so and were unrelated to job performance.

It was with these concerns in mind that Congress created a system that included liability for both disparate treatment and disparate impact. What's the difference between these two concepts?

According to the EEOC:

[The ADEA] prohibits discrimination against workers because of their older age with respect to any aspect of employment. In addition to prohibiting intentional discrimination against older workers (known as "disparate treatment"), the ADEA prohibits practices that, although facially neutral with regard to age, have the effect of harming older workers more than younger workers (known as "disparate impact"), unless the employer can show that the practice is based on an [Reasonable Factor Other Than Age (RFAO)]

The crux: it's much easier for a plaintiff to prove disparate impact, because s/he needn't show that the employer intended to discriminate. Of course, many if not most employers are savvy enough not to be explicit about their intentions to discriminate against older people as they don't wish to get sued.

District, Panel, and Full Seventh Circuit Decisions

The district court dismissed Kleber's disparate impact claim, on the grounds that the text of the statute- (§ 4(a)(2))- did not extend to outside job applicants. Kleber then voluntarily dismissed his separate claim for disparate treatment liability to appeal the dismissal of his disparate impact claim. No doubt he was aware – either because he was an attorney, or because of the legal advice received – that it is much more difficult to prevail on a disparate treatment claim, which would require that he establish CareFusion's intent to discriminate.

Or at least that was true before this decision was rendered.

Unfortunately, the seventh circuit has now held that the disparate impact section of the ADEA does not extend to job applicants. .Judge Michael Scudder, a Trump appointee, wrote the majority 8-4 opinion, which reverses an earlier 2-1 panel ruling last April in Kleber's favor that had initially overruled the district court's dismissal of Kleber's disparate impact claim.

The majority ruled:

By its terms, § 4(a)(2) proscribes certain conduct by employers and limits its protection to employees. The prohibited conduct entails an employer acting in any way to limit, segregate, or classify its employees based on age. The language of § 4(a)(2) then goes on to make clear that its proscriptions apply only if an employer's actions have a particular impact -- "depriv[ing] or tend[ing] to deprive any individual of em- ployment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect[ing] his status as an employee." This language plainly demonstrates that the requisite impact must befall an individual with "status as an employee." Put most simply, the reach of § 4(a)(2) does not extend to applicants for employment, as common dictionary definitions confirm that an applicant has no "status as an employee." (citation omitted)[opinion, pp. 3-4]

By contrast, in the disparate treatment part of the statute (§ 4(a)(1)):

Congress made it unlawful for an employer "to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual or otherwise discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privi- leges of employment, because of such individual's age."[opinion, p.6]

The court compared the disparate treatment section – § 4(a)(1) – directly with the disparate impact section – § 4(a)(2):

Yet a side-by-side comparison of § 4(a)(1) with § 4(a)(2) shows that the language in the former plainly covering appli-cants is conspicuously absent from the latter. Section 4(a)(2) says nothing about an employer's decision "to fail or refuse to hire any individual" and instead speaks only in terms of an employer's actions that "adversely affect his status as an employee." We cannot conclude this difference means nothing: "when 'Congress includes particular language in one section of a statute but omits it in another' -- let alone in the very next provision -- the Court presumes that Congress intended a difference in meaning." (citations omitted)[opinion, pp. 6-7]

The majority's conclusion:

In the end, the plain language of § 4(a)(2) leaves room for only one interpretation: Congress authorized only employees to bring disparate impact claims.[opinion, p.8]

Greying of the Workforce

Older people account for a growing percentage of the workforce, as Reuters reports in Age bias law does not cover job applicants: U.S. appeals court :

People 55 or older comprised 22.4 percent of U.S. workers in 2016, up from 11.9 percent in 1996, and may account for close to one-fourth of the labor force by 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The greying of the workforce is "thanks to better health in older age and insufficient savings that require people to keeping working longer," according to the Chicago Tribune. Yet:

numerous hiring practices are under fire for negatively impacting older applicants. In addition to experience caps, lawsuits have challenged the exclusive use of on-campus recruiting to fill positions and algorithms that target job ads to show only in certain people's social media feeds.

Unless Congress amends the ADEA to include job applicants, older people will continue to face barriers to getting jobs.

The Chicago Tribune reports:

The [EEOC], which receives about 20,000 age discrimination charges every year, issued a report in June citing surveys that found 3 in 4 older workers believe their age is an obstacle in getting a job. Yet hiring discrimination is difficult to prove and often goes unreported. Only 3 percent have made a formal complaint. Allowing older applicants to challenge policies that have an unintentionally discriminatory impact would offer another tool for fighting age discrimination, Ray Peeler, associate legal counsel at the EEOC, has said.

How will these disparate impact claims now fare?

The Bottom Line

FordHarrison, a firm specialising in human relations law, noted in Seventh Circuit Limits Job Applicants' Age Discrimination Claims :

The decision narrowly applies to disparate impact claims of age discrimination under the ADEA. It is important to remember that job applicants are protected under the disparate treatment portion of the statute. There is no split among the federal appeals courts on this issue, making it an unlikely candidate for Supreme Court review, but the four judges in dissent read the statute as being vague and susceptible to an interpretation that includes job applicants.

Their conclusion: "a decision finding disparate impact liability for job applicants under the ADEA is unlikely in the near future."

Alas, for reasons of space, I will not consider the extensive dissent. My purpose in writing this post is to discuss the majority decision, not to opine on which side made the better arguments.

antidlc , January 27, 2019 at 3:28 pm

8-4 opinion. Which judges ruled for the majority? Which judges ruled for the minority opinion?

Sorry,,,don't have time to research right now. It says a Trump appointee wrote the majority opinion. Who were the other 7?

grayslady , January 27, 2019 at 6:09 pm

There were 3 judges who dissented in whole and one who dissented in part. Of the three full dissensions, two were Clinton appointees (including the Chief Justice, who was one of the dissenters) and one was a Reagan appointee. The partial dissenter was also a Reagan appointee.

run75441 , January 27, 2019 at 11:25 pm

ant: Not your law clerk, read the opinion. Easterbook and Wood dissented. Find the other two and and you can figure out who agreed.

YankeeFrank , January 27, 2019 at 3:58 pm

"depriv[ing] or tend[ing] to deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect[ing] his status as an employee."

–This language plainly demonstrates that the requisite impact must befall an individual with "status as an employee."

So they totally ignore the first part of the sentence -- "depriv[ing] or tend[ing] to deprive any individual of employment opportunities " -- "employment opportunities" clearly applies to applicants.

Its as if these judges cannot make sense of the English language. Hopefully the judges on appeal will display better command of the language.

Alfred , January 27, 2019 at 5:56 pm

I agree. "Employment opportunities," in the "plain language" so meticulously respected by the 7th Circuit, must surely refer at minimum to 'the chance to apply for a job and to have one's application fairly considered'. It seems on the other hand a stretch to interpret the phrase to mean only 'the chance to keep a job one already has'. Both are important, however; to split them would challenge even Solomonic wisdom, as I suppose the curious decision discussed here demonstrates. I am less convinced that the facts as presented here establish a clear case of age discrimination. True, they point in that direction. But a hypothetical 58-year old who only earned a law degree in his or her early 50s, perhaps after an earlier career in paralegal work, could have legitimately applied for a position requiring 3 to 7 years of "relevant legal experience." That last phrase, is of course, quite weasel-y: what counts as "relevant" and what counts as "legal" experience would under any circumstances be subject to (discriminatory) interpretation. The limitation of years of experience in the job announcement strikes me as a means to keep the salary within a certain budgetary range as prescribed either by law or collective bargaining.

KLG , January 27, 2019 at 6:42 pm

Almost like the willful misunderstanding of "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State "? Of course, that militia also meant slave patrols and the occasional posse to put down the native "savages," but still.

Lambert Strether , January 28, 2019 at 2:08 am

> "depriv[ing] or tend[ing] to deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect[ing] his status as an employee."

Says "or." Not "and."

Magic Sam , January 27, 2019 at 5:53 pm

They are failing to find what they don't want to find.

Magic Sam , January 27, 2019 at 5:58 pm

Being pro-Labor will not get you Federalist Society approval to be nominated to the bench by Trump. This decision came down via the ideological makeup of the court, not the letter of the law. Their stated pretext is obviously b.s.. It contradicts itself.

Mattie , January 27, 2019 at 6:05 pm

Yep. That is when their Utah et al property mgt teams began breaking into homes, tossing contents – including pets – outside & changing locks

Even when borrowers were in approved HAMP, etc. pipelines

PLUG: If you haven't yet – See "The Florida Project"

nothing but the truth , January 27, 2019 at 7:18 pm

as an aging "stem" (cough coder) worker who typically has to look for a new "gig" every few years, i am trembling at this.

Luckily, i bought a small business when I had a few saved up, so I won't starve.

Health insurance is another matter.

I forbade my kids to study programming.

Lambert Strether , January 28, 2019 at 2:09 am

Plumbing. Electrical work. Permaculture. Get those kids Jackpot-ready!

Joe Well , January 28, 2019 at 11:40 am

I'm re reading the classic of Sociology Ain't No Makin It by Jay MacLeod, in which he studies the employment prospects of youths in the 1980s and determined that even then there was no stable private sector employment and your best option is a government job or to have an excellent "network" which is understandably hard for most people to achieve. So I'm genuinely interested in what possible options there are for anyone entering the job market today or God help you, re-entering. I am guessing the barriers to entry to those trades are quite high but would love to be corrected.

jrs , January 28, 2019 at 1:39 pm

what is the point of being jackpot ready if you can't even support yourself today? To fantasize about collapse while sleeping in a rented closet and driving for Uber? In that case one's personal collapse has already happened, which will matter a lot more to an individual than any potential jackpot.

Plumbers and electricians can make money now of course (although yea barriers to entry do seem high, don't you kind of have to know people to get in those industries?). But permaculture?

Ford Prefect , January 28, 2019 at 1:00 pm

I think the trick is to study something and programming, so the programming becomes a tool rather than an end. A couple of my kids used to ride horses. One of the instructors and stable owners said that a lot of people went to school for equine studies and ended up shoveling horse poop for a living. She said the thing to do was to study business and do the equestrian stuff as a hobby/minor. That way you came out prepared to run a business and hire the equine studies people to clean the stalls.

jrs , January 28, 2019 at 1:36 pm

Do you actually see that many jobs requiring something and programming though? I haven't really. There seems no easy transition out of software work which that would make possible either. Might as well just study the "something".

rd , January 28, 2019 at 2:21 pm

Programming is a means to an end, not the end itself. If all you do is program, then you are essentially a machine lathe operator, not somebody creating the products the lathe operators turn out.

Understanding what needs to be done helps with structured programs and better input/output design. In turn, structured programming is a good tool to understand the basics of how to manage tasks. At the higher level, Fred Brooks book "The Mythical Man-Month" has a lot of useful project management information that can be re-applied for non computer program development.

We are doing a lot of work with mobile computing and data collection to assist in our regular work. The people doing this are mainly non-computer scientists that have learned enough programming to get by.

The engineering programs that we use are typically written more by engineers than by programmers as the entire point behind the program is to apply the theory into a numerical computation and presentation system. Programmers with a graphic design background can assist in creating much better user interfaces.

If you have some sort of information theory background (GIS, statistics, etc.) then big data actually means something.

nothing but the truth , January 28, 2019 at 7:02 pm

the problem is it is almost impossible to exit the programming business and join another domain. Anyone can enter it. (evidence – all the people with "engineering" degrees from India) Also my wages are now 50% of what i made 10 years ago (nominal). Also I notice that almost no one is doing sincere work. Most are just coasting, pretending to work with the latest toy (ie, preparing for the next interview).

Now almost every "interview" requires writing a coding exam. Which other profession will make you write an exam for 25-30 year veterans? Can you write your high school exam again today? What if your profession requires you to write it a couple of times almost every year?

Hepativore , January 28, 2019 at 2:56 pm

I am an "aging" former STEM worker (histology researcher) as well. Much like the IT landscape, you are considered "over-the-hill" at 35, which I turn on the 31st. While I do not have children and never intend to get married, many biotech companies consider this the age at which a worker is getting long in the tooth. This is because there is the underlying assumption that is when people start having familial obligations.

Most of the positions in science and engineering fields now are basically "gig" positions, lasting a few months to a year. A lot of people my age are finding how much harder it is to find any position at all in these areas as there is a massive pool of people to choose from, even for permatemp work simply because serfs in their mid-30s might get uppity about benefits like family health plans or 401k

Steve , January 27, 2019 at 7:32 pm

I am 59 and do not mind having employers discriminate against me due to age. ( I also need a job) I had my own business and over the years got quite damaged. I was a contractor specializing in older (historical) work.

I was always the lead worker with many friends and other s working with me. At 52 I was given a choice of very involved neck surgery or quit. ( no small businesses have disability insurance!)

I shut down everything and helped my friends who worked for me take some of the work or find something else. I was also a nationally published computer consultant a long time ago and graphic artist.

Reality is I can still do many things but I do nothing as well as I did when I was younger and the cost to employers for me is far higher than a younger person. I had my chance and I chose poorly. Younger people, if that makes them abetter fit, deserve a chance now more than I do.

Joe Well , January 27, 2019 at 7:49 pm

I'm sorry for your predicament. Do you mean you chose poorly when you chose not to get neck surgery? What was the choice you regret?

Steve , January 27, 2019 at 10:12 pm

My career choices. Choosing to close my business to possibly avoid the surgery was actually a good choice.

Joe Well , January 28, 2019 at 11:47 am

I'm sorry for your challenges but I don't think there were many good careers you could have chosen and it would have required a crystal ball to know which were the good ones. Americans your age entered the job market just after the very end of the Golden Age of labor conditions and have been weathering the decline your entire working lives. At least I entered the job market when everyone knew for years things were falling apart. It's not your fault. You were cheated plain and simple.

Lambert Strether , January 28, 2019 at 2:14 am

> I had my chance and I chose poorly.

I don't see how it's possible to predict the labor market years in advance. Why blame yourself for poor choices when so much chance is involved?

With a Jobs Guarantee, such questions would not arise. I also don't think it's only a question of doing, but a question of sharing ("experience, strength, and hope," as AA -- a very successful organization! -- puts it, in a way of thinking that has wide application).

Dianne Shatin , January 27, 2019 at 7:46 pm

Unelected plutocrat and his international syndicate funded by former IBM artificial intelligence developer and social darwinian. data manipulation electronic platforms and social media are at the levels of power in the USA. Anti justice, anti enlightenment, etc.

Since the installation of GW Bush by the Supreme Court, almost 20 yrs. ago, they have tunneled deeply, speaking through propaganda machines such as Rush Limbaugh gaining traction .making it over the finish line with KGB and Russian oligarch backing. The net effect on us? The loss of all built on the foundation of the enlightenment and an exceptional nation no king, a nation of, for and by the people, and the rule of law. There is nothing Judeo-Christian about social darwinism but is eerily similar to National Socialism (Nazis). The ruling againt the plaintiff by the 7th circuit in the U.S. and their success in creating chaos in Great Britain vis a vis "Brexit" by fascist Lafarge Inc. are indicators how easy their ascent.
ows how powerful they have become.

anon y'mouse , January 27, 2019 at 9:19 pm

They had better get ready to lower the SSI retirement age to 55, then. Or I predict blood in the streets.

jrs , January 28, 2019 at 1:49 pm

I wish it was so. They just expect the older crowd to die quietly.

How is it legal , January 27, 2019 at 10:04 pm

Where are the Bipartisan Presidential Candidates and Legislators on oral and verbal condemnation of Age Discrimination , along with putting teeth into Age Discrimination Laws, and Tax Policy. – nowhere to be seen , or heard, that I've noticed; particularly in Blue ™ California, which is famed for Age Discrimination of those as young as 36 years of age, since Mark Zuckerberg proclaimed anyone over 35, over the hill in the early 2000's , and never got crushed for it by the media, or the Politicians, as he should have (particularly in Silicon Valley).

I know those Republicans are venal, but I dare anyone to show me a meaningful Age Discrimination Policy Proposal, pushed by Blue Obama, Hillary, even Sanders and Jill Stein. Certainly none of California's Nationally known (many well over retirement age) Gubernatorial and Legislative Democratic Politicians: Jerry Brown, Gavin Newsom, Dianne Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, Nancy Pelosi, Kamala Harris, and Ro Khanna (or the lesser known California Federal State and Local Democratic Politicians) have ever addressed it; despite the fact that homelessness deaths of those near 'retirement age' have been frighteningly increasing in California's obscenely wealthy homelessness 'hotspots,' such as Silicon Valley.

Such a tragic issue, which has occurred while the last over a decade of Mainstream News and Online Pundits, have Proclaimed 50 to be the new 30. Sadistic. I have no doubt this is linked to the ever increasing Deaths of Despair and attempted and successful suicides of those under, and just over retirement age– while the US has an average Senate age of 65, and a President and 2020 Presidential contenders, over 70 (I am not at all saying older persons shouldn't be elected, nor that younger persons shouldn't be elected, I'm pointing out the imbalance, insanity, and cruelty of it).

Further, age discrimination has been particularly brutal to single, divorced, and widowed females , whom have most assuredly made far, far less on the dollar than males (if they could even get hired for the position, or leave the kids alone, and housekeeping undone, to get a job):

Patrick Button, an assistant economics professor at Tulane University, was part of a research project last year that looked at callback rates from resumes in various entry-level jobs. He said women seeking the positions appeared to be most affected.

"Based on over 40,000 job applications, we find robust evidence of age discrimination in hiring against older women, especially those near retirement age, but considerably less evidence of age discrimination against men," according to an abstract of the study.

Jacquelyn James, co-director of the Center on Aging and Work at Boston College, said age discrimination in employment is a crucial issue in part because of societal changes that are forcing people to delay retirement. Moves away from defined-¬benefit pension plans to less assured forms of retirement savings are part of the reason.

Lambert Strether , January 28, 2019 at 2:15 am

> "Based on over 40,000 job applications, we find robust evidence of age discrimination in hiring against older women, especially those near retirement age, but considerably less evidence of age discrimination against men," according to an abstract of the study.

Well, these aren't real women, obviously. If they were, the Democrats would already be taking care of them.

jrs , January 28, 2019 at 1:58 pm

From the article: The greying of the workforce is "thanks to better health in older age and insufficient savings that require people to keeping working longer," according to the Chicago Tribune.

Get on the clue train Chicago Tribune, because your like W and Trump not knowing how a supermarket works, that's how dense you are. Even if one saved, and even if one won the luck lottery in terms of job stability and adequate income to save from, healthcare alone is a reason to work, either to get employer provided if lucky, or to work without it and put most of one's money toward an ACA plan or the like if not lucky. Yes the cost of almost all other necessities has also increased greatly, but even parts of the country without a high cost of living have unaffordable healthcare.

Enquiring Mind , January 27, 2019 at 11:07 pm

Benefits may be 23-30% or so of payroll and represent another expense management opportunity for the diligent executive. One piece of low-hanging fruit is the age-related healthcare cost. If you hire young people, who under-consume healthcare relative to older cohorts, you save money, ceteris paribus. They have lower premiums, lower loss experience and they rebound more quickly, so you hit a triple at your first at-bat swinging at that fruit. Yes, metaphors are fungible along with every line on the income statement.

If your company still has the vestiges of a pension or similar blandishment, you may even back-load contributions more aggressively, of course to the extent allowable. That added expense diligence will pay off when those annuated employees leave before hitting the more expensive funding years.

NB, the above reflects what I saw and heard at a Fortune 500 company.

rd , January 28, 2019 at 12:56 pm

Another good reason for a Canadian style single payer system. That turns a deciding factor into a non-factor.

Jack Hayes , January 28, 2019 at 8:15 am

A reason why the court system is overburdened is lack of clarity in laws and regulations. Fix the disparity between the two sections of the law so that courts don't have to decide which section rules.

rd , January 28, 2019 at 2:24 pm

Polarization has made tweaks and repairs of laws impossible.

Jeff N , January 28, 2019 at 10:17 am

Yep. Many police departments *legally* refuse to hire anyone over 35 years old (exceptions for prior police experience or certain military service)

Joe Well , January 28, 2019 at 12:36 pm

It amazes me how often the government will give itself exemptions to its own laws and principles, and also how often "progressive" nonprofits and political groups will also give themselves such exemptions, for instance, regarding health insurance, paid overtime, paid training, etc. that they are legally required to provide.

Ford Prefect , January 28, 2019 at 2:27 pm

There are specific physical demands in things like policing. So it doesn't make much sense to hire 55 year old rookie policemen when many policemen are retiring at that age.

Arthur Dent , January 28, 2019 at 2:59 pm

Its an interesting quandary. We have older staff that went back to school and changed careers. They do a good job and get paid at a rate similar to the younger staff with similar job-related experience. However, they will be retiring at about the same time as the much more experienced staff, so they will not be future succession replacements for the senior staff.

So we also have to hire people in their 20s and 30s because that will be the future when people like me retire in a few years. That could very well be the reason for the specific wording of the job opening (I haven't read the opinion). I know of current hiring for a position where the firm is primarily looking for somebody in their 20s or early 30s for precisely that reason. The staff currently doing the work are in their 40s and 50s and need to start bringing up the next generation. If somebody went back to school late and was in their 40s or 50s (so would be at a lower billing rate due to lack of job related experience), they would be seriously considered. But the firm would still be left with the challenge of having to hire another person at the younger age within a couple of years to build the succession. Once people make it past 5 years at the firm, they tend to stay for a long time with senior staff generally having been at the firm for 20 years or more, so hiring somebody really is a long-term investment.

[Jan 23, 2019] The wall, barrier system or whatever you want to call it presently exists on a number of sections of the border

A lot of grandstanding over a minor issue.
Jan 23, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com
Concerning the partial shutdown and and the border barriers 1 - The banks, credit unions and any other financial institutions that can lend money are missing a chance to build a lot of good will in this situation. Good will is an item that any good business plan must take into account even of it is impossible to quantify on paper. Good will leads to more customers. Businesses want to acquire more customers. The 800k federal employees now on furlough have legislated assurance that their back pay will be quickly forthcoming when the pause ends. Sooo! Make them no interest loans in the amount of their postponed pay. You will not be sorry if you do that. I don't know if that could be extended to contract employees since the contract that includes their services may not insure back pay.

2 - The wall, barrier system or whatever you want to call it presently exists on a number of sections of the border. Pelosi, Schumer and the other Democrats who prattle about the "immorality" and uselessness of physical border defenses should be asked each and every day if they want the present border barriers demolished so that anyone can cross the border whenever they want and anywhere they want. California is the destination of choice of these economic migrants. If the border barriers are taken down, there will be IMO a mass migration into what is now the United States and especially into California from Latin American and then inevitably from all over the world. Ask the Democrats, every day if they want the existing border barriers taken down, Ask them! pl


TTG , 4 hours ago

The current fight over "the wall" and funding for that wall is pure politics on both sides. We are under a partial government shutdown for the sake of a symbol. Some kind of border barrier has been in existence since the 90s and the "Secure Border Act" of 2006 called for close to 700 miles of double fence barriers. Both Republican and Democratic legislatures and presidencies have maintained and added to this fencing as well as doubling the size of the CBP. According to a December 2016 GAO report on securing the SW border, the CBP spent $2.4 billion between 2007 and 2015 to deploy tactical infrastructure (TI) - fencing, gates, roads, bridges, lighting and drainage infrastructure distributed along the entire SW border area. That includes 654 miles of fencing and 5,000 miles of roads.

A total of $1.7 billion was appropriated in FY17 and FY18 for new and replacement barriers and fences. Most of those funds have been obligated to the Corp of Engineers and much of that has been awarded to contractors. Only a small percentage (6%) has been paid out for completed contracts. The following projects account for close to half of those funds:

- In New Mexico to replace 20 miles of fencing with bollard wall for $73 million. Contract was awarded in February 2018. Construction started in April 2018 and was completed in September 2018.

- In the Rio Grande Valley to build 8 miles of 18 foot bollard wall and replace existing levee wall for $167 million to begin in February 2019.

- In Arizona to build/replace 32 miles of "primary pedestrian wall" for $324 million to begin in April 2019.

- Near San Diego to replace 14 miles of 8-10 foot metal wall/fence with 18-30 foot tall bollard wall system for $287 million to begin in July 2019.

Trump's current demand for $5.7 billion covers an additional 243 miles of fencing mostly in the Rio Grande Valley. It'll probably be 2020 before a single bollard is set from that $5.7 billion and several years after that to issue the contracts and complete the construction. Given the shortcoming in the present border fences, that $5.7 billion would be better spent on replacing the present barriers in the most needed areas rather constructing new fence in less vulnerable areas. Just to maintain and replace what we have should require close to a billion dollars a year. I say again, this current battle over $5.7 billion for "the wall" is political posturing by both sides.

The more important demand made by Trump was the $800 million to address the humanitarian crisis on the border. These funds would provide for improved care/processing of refugees/asylum seekers, 2,750 more border agents and 75 more immigration judges. In my opinion, that would be a wise expense. I think there ought to be ten times that number of new border agents/officers to better address the refugee problem (humanitarian crisis) which will probably remain for many years. Climate change is making drought, hurricanes, floods and mudslides the new normal in Central America. The farming economy in this region, which includes southern Mexico is collapsing. Local governments are dysfunctional and impotent. These people are going to migrate or die in place.

If you want to declare a national emergency, we could use eminent domain to condemn and buy a lot of farmland at cost from corporate agribusinesses and start a "40 acres and a mule" program for refugee farm families and any native American family who desire a new start.

Mark Logan -> TTG , 2 hours ago
Have to agree. Trump only asked for $1.6 billion for his wall in his 2019 budget...and got it. He then decided to have a fight, one that he was loath to have when the Republicans held the majority in the House.

IMO Pelosi and co have also decided this is a good place to have a Waterloo. This isn't a struggle for a wall it's a struggle for dominance. They await a tide of public opinion to decide it.

Eugene Owens -> TTG , 3 hours ago
A pox on both their houses!
John P. Teschke , 9 hours ago
They should shut down the whole regime. The first things to be shut down should be the myriad of bases occupying foreign soil, particularly the bases that support the destabilization of middle eastern countries. ReplyShare › Twitter Facebook
James Thomas , 9 hours ago
I am on the left and I don't have a problem with the wall. That said, if you really want to reduce illegal immigration exit controls would be more effective (and much more cost effective). I went through a whole lot of trouble to get a work visa to work legally in Poland in the late 90s - and I wouldn't have bothered if Poland didn't have exit controls. Almost every country in the world has exit controls ... except for Canada and the US.
Pat Lang Mod -> James Thomas , 7 hours ago
You need a wide variety of techniques. This will of necessity include border barriers.
EdwardAmame -> Pat Lang , 6 hours ago
Oh cut it out. The wall is bullshit. If Trump was actually serious about illegal immigration he'd be pushing E-Verify for all US businesses to determine the eligibility of employees. But the GOP business lobby would never allow that so we get dog and pony shows like this so that Trump can act like he really means business.
Pat Lang Mod -> EdwardAmame , 14 minutes ago
Well, at last you have made a logical point. E-verify should be made mandatory. You would probably loose a lot of friends if it were. BTW, your many insulting comments today have caused me after many years to ban you.
ex-PFC Chuck , a day ago
With regard to #1 I'm not holding my breath. Fundamental to the financial sector's business model is opportunistic predation. As Michael Hudson relentlessly documents in his recently published and forgive them their debts: Lending, Foreclosure and Redemption from Bronze Age Finance to the Jubilee Year , it has been this way since money was invented in the ancient Near East over five thousand years ago. In today's world few banksters can be expected to forego invoking the fine print terms regarding the late fees and interest rate hikes, especially considering the fact the careers of the CEOs and CFOs of publicly traded companies live or die by the next quarterly earnings report.
https://amzn.to/2TfN2ht
Sadly Hudson's important book is getting little traction. He could only get this published on a print-to-order basis in spite of the fact he has about a dozen prior books to his credit. As a PtO book it will not be stocked by chain book stores.
MP98 , a day ago
They would never admit it, but of courser the Democrats want all the barriers gone and an open border.
There are approx. 22 mil. illegal aliens in this country and the Democrats want more and more.
Then they can push for amnesty (which the swamp Republicans, in their gross stupidity, will go along with) and PRESTO: 22 mil. plus entitled Democrat voters.
Who needs those redneck goober
MP98 , a day ago
They would never admit it, but of courser the Democrats want all the barriers gone and an open border.
There are approx. 22 mil. illegal aliens in this country and the Democrats want more and more.
Then they can push for amnesty (which the swamp Republicans, in their gross stupidity, will go along with) and PRESTO: 22 mil. plus entitled Democrat voters.
Who needs those redneck goober (white male)Trump voters, anyway?
Eugene Owens , 4 hours ago
http://www.hurriyetdailynew...
ex-PFC Chuck , 6 hours ago
As Philip Giraldi points out in a post a The Unz Review today, the Democratic establishment isn't opposed to walls per se. It depends on who's building it and for what purpose.

http://www.unz.com/pgiraldi...

RaisingMac , 7 hours ago
Pelosi, Schumer and the other Democrats who prattle about the immorality and uselessness of physical border defenses should be asked each and every day if they want the present border barriers demolished so that anyone can cross the border whenever they want and anywhere they want The wall, barrier system or whatever you want to call it presently exists on a number of sections of the border.

In honor of Sen. Chuck 'Shomer', I vote that we call our border barrier a fence , just as Israel does:

Play Hide
Pat Lang Mod -> RaisingMac , 5 hours ago
You are repeating what I wrote? Tell the Dems, not me.
Lewis.Ballard , 10 hours ago
Sir: While not directly on point, I knuckled under and signed up with Disqus simply to say how much I have appreciated this committee of correspondence over the years. Seeing your post recently about conversing with Glubb Pasha was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back.
Eric Newhill , 13 hours ago
IMO, we should sell coastal California to Mexico for $100 billion. Then use that money to build a wall from Oregon to Brownsville, TX. Solves two problems in one fell swoop.
It sure does seem like the lenders are missing an excellent opportunity for a nearly risk free public relations campaign as well as sales opportunities. Get these furloughed workers in the door and give them a furlough loan and then get them interested in home loans, auto loans...whatever they're qualified for. Should be a no-brainer.
Pat Lang Mod -> Eric Newhill , 11 hours ago
I would rather buy Baja California from Mexico.
peter hodges -> Pat Lang , 3 hours ago
We would still be stuck with LA and the Bay Area.
Pat Lang Mod -> peter hodges , 11 minutes ago
Why?
Stuart Wood , 16 hours ago
Trump, his wall, and the shutdown

Trump is our chief executive charged with the day to day running of the government and the proverbial "making the trains run on time" for government functions. All these functions work for him, not the legislative branch. His partial shutdown of the government reminds me of the classic film Blazing Saddles where the black sheriff, played by Cleavon Little, takes himself hostage by holding a gun to his own head to hold off a mob angry at having a black appointed sheriff for their town. It worked in the film. Let's hope it does not work in Washington.

Fred -> Stuart Wood , 14 hours ago
"This, I believe, is what the majority of the populace want." ... " his wall"
I believe that is why he won the election.
Harlan Easley -> Fred , 12 hours ago
Fred, just finished the book you recommended "A Disease in the Public Mind - Why We Fought the Civil War" by Thomas Flemming. The most balanced and fair nonfiction historical book I have read on this subject.

Also depressing because History is repeating itself. Not rhyming but repeating itself. The modern day abolitionist is convinced of their morale superiority over the deplorables. Just look at the Fake News regarding the Catholic School boys. One abolitionist said on Twitter that he wish they were dead along with their parents.

I hate the agenda of the Paul Ryan wing of the Republican Party but I hate these modern day abolitionist more since they desire to kill people just because they don't agree with their transgender, open borders anarchy, and taxes on the little guy for a Climate Change problem that doesn't exist. The Yellow Vest movement is a push back against this madness.

Instead of talking Medicare for All, jobs for everyone, prosperity, taking care of your countryman the political narrative is on bizarre subjects due to the Elite knowing Globalization is destroying huge sections of Western Civilization. The Yellow Vest have destroyed 60% of the Speed Cameras deployed to catch the little guy going 5 m.p.h. over the speed limit or running a red light that is timed to get you. It has nothing to do with safety and everything to do with raising money off the individuals who are already struggling to survive.

For the top 26 billionaires in the world to have as much wealth as the bottom 3.8 billion people in the world is barbaric. Globalization has led to drastic income inequality and the fuse is burning.

Fred -> Harlan Easley , 9 hours ago
Harlan,

Glad you read the book. I agree when you say " The modern day abolitionist is convinced of their morale superiority over the deplorables." I wrote an early piece about that existential angst of this newest generation. (Hard to believe it has already been two years.) https://turcopolier.typepad...

I think this generation is waking up to having 'been played' by the politicians. What is being missed in this latest effort to control the narrative is 1) Anti-Semitism in the Women's march which led many groups, inluding the DNC, to withdraw support. 2) A turnout that's roughly 90% lower than two years ago and a far, far cry from what was promoted. Others in random order: Unempolyment is way down. The stock market is up almost 10% since the shutdown began. Turmp is directing that the armed forces leave Syria (Afghanistan is probably next) and North Korea is making further move gestures towards actual denuclearization.

Eric Newhill -> Fred , 8 hours ago
What will be interesting to see, in the long run, is if the Democrats can keep the Hispanic vote. Being godless sodomites, the new age abolitionists are making war on Catholics and, it just so happens, that Hispanics, by and large, are serious about their Catholicism.
Pat Lang Mod -> Eric Newhill , 8 hours ago
Yes. It seems likely that the Hispanics will gradually gravitate to the GOP.
EdwardAmame -> Pat Lang , 6 hours ago
Maybe, but not the GOP that currently exists.
Harlan Easley -> Pat Lang , 6 hours ago
I don't see it. California proves otherwise. Texas and Georgia have become competitive because of illegal immigrants having American born kids. The abolitionist say demography is destiny and I tend to agree. Shows how racist they are. And how much they hate white people.

I see the Republican Party becoming noncompetitive to extinct over the next 20 years. And the Democrat Party separating into 2 parties. The Progressive Wing versus the Moderate Wing. Of course it could just all burned down before then and I wouldn't be surprised. I plan to read your book next and have no doubt I will enjoy it. I've read the free excerpts you provided and enjoyed them.

In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if future white generations in America do not emigrate to Russia. I hate to be pessimistic but the monkey brain of man is incurable and hate runs rampant. The modern day white abolitionist will be sideline to the trailer park but they are too stupid to see it.

We need a new party in America that is for all colors of citizens and an economic populist platform along with a social justice system that is vibrant.

The Democrat Party is the most vile/racist/bigoted party in the world right now. This modern abolitionist attitude that killed many innocent Iraqi's due to no fault of their own and believes they can dictate to countries such as Afghanistan, Syria, and Russia on how to live because they are gender neutral is going to come back and destroy them. Either through a home grown movement such as the Yellow Vest or worse to all of our detriment.

Eric Newhill -> Pat Lang , 5 hours ago
Sir, It may already be happening. An NPR/PBS/Marist January poll (that's not Fox/Breitbart) shows approval of the performance of Trump among Hispanics rising from 31% to 50% since the same poll was performed just prior to the shutdown. I can't figure out if Trump is a 10th level Jedi master or if it's a case of the one eyed man being king in the land of the blind.
Pat Lang Mod -> Stuart Wood , 15 hours ago
Ah, the hostage taking meme.
EdwardAmame -> Pat Lang , 6 hours ago
Trump says give me X number of $$s for my border wall (thought balloon over his head says "so I can get re-elected") or I shut down the gov't. What's to keep him from doing it again if the Dems cave this time?

On a side note: it's pretty appalling that you and your mostly Cuckoo bird commenters think this is the way the republic should be run. So sad what happened to this blog.

Greco , a day ago
We have Democrats like Sandy Ocasio-Cortez demanding the abolition of ICE. Is that one of so-called improvements to border security the Democrats are seeking with popular backing?

If left to their devices, the Democrats would happily do away with the border altogether. Don't take my word for it. Take the words of the two-time failed Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. She gave a paid, private speech in Brazil where she claimed, "My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders, some time in the future with energy that is as green and sustainable as we can get it, powering growth and opportunity for every person in the hemisphere." That's all fine and dandy, I'm sure, but oddly she didn't make that proclamation publicly on the campaign trail.

EdwardAmame -> Greco , 6 hours ago
You are so full of shit. Dems want borders and they want border security based on real experience, not a mnemonic device dreamed up by Roger Stone to focus candidate Trump on immigration issues.
Stuart Wood , a day ago
I think you are putting words in Pelosi's and the democrats mouths. I have heard of none of them espousing getting rid of the border barriers. I believe they view a wall as a dumb idea but are for other improvements for border security. This, I believe, is what the majority of the populace want.
Pat Lang Mod -> Stuart Wood , 15 hours ago
Pelosi and any number of other leading Dems have said that border barriers are immoral. The logical conclusion from those statements is that ALL border barriers are immoral. If that is their position then they should advocate removal of existing barriers. If they do not, then they are politically self serving liars.
EdwardAmame ->