31 August 2020

Saying the Quiet Part Out Loud

Maryland Governor rat-f%$#, aka Paul Hogan, has just fired Arthur (Mac) Love IV, his now former deputy director of the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives for social media posts lauding white supremacist terrorist Kyle Rittenhouse.

Hogan has always had a racist undertones to his campaigns, but the rule is that you don't say it out loud:
A member of the Hogan administration who had been posting statements, photos and memes on social media that appear to applaud the 17-year-old vigilante who allegedly shot three protesters on the streets of Kenosha, Wis., this week, was fired on Saturday afternoon.

The posts by Arthur (Mac) Love IV, who had been the deputy director of the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives, have attracted widespread attention on social media over the last several hours, sparking a furor. The chairman of the Maryland Legislative Black Caucus called on the staffer to be fired.

Shortly after 2 p.m. Saturday, Steven J. McAdams, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives, issued a statement saying Love had been “relieved…of his duties.”

“These divisive images and statements are inconsistent with the mission and core values of the Office of Community Initiatives,” McAdams said. “Earlier today, I relieved this employee of his duties. Kevin Craft, administrative director of the Governor’s Commission on African Affairs, will assume these duties effective immediately.”

Hold off the Praise

There are a lot of people praising Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler to the skies for cutting Donald Trump a new one at a press conference.

I also know that he is right when he says, "It's you who have created the hate and the division. And now you want me to stop the violence that you helped create. What America needs is for you to be stopped so that Americans can come together," among other things in a remarkably similar vein.

He's right, and I appreciate what he said.

That being said, most of the people do not understand Portland, Oregon's form of government, because they have never lived there.

I did.  My family Moved there in 1977, and I went to high school there, and my dad lived there almost continuously for the next 42 years.

Portland, and Portland politics, were fodder at the kitchen table.  (My dad thought that former Portland Mayor Neil Goldschmidt was a bit of a skunk, which was proved by later developments)

One of the peculiarities of Portland is that it has a city commission form of government, an increasingly rare form of government, a form of government that originated in Galveston, TX in 1900, but it is increasingly rare, having generally been replaced by the council-manager form of government since the end of the first world war.

The peculiarity of the city commission form of government is that each city councilman is the head of some part of the municipal bureaucracy.

One might be the head of sanitation, one of housing, one of transportation, one of water, one of Fire/EMS, and one of them is ……… wait for it ……… police commissioner.

Mayor Wheeler is the police commissioner, and has been since he was sworn in as Mayor at the beginning of 2017, he has been in charge of the cops, and he has done nothing about the racist and right-wing cesspool that is the Portland Police Bureau, nor anything about their flagrantly abusive and unconstitutional behavior toward the protesters, and their support for white supremacist terrorists.

A former ally on the Portland City Commission called him for his unwillingness to confront the police over their misconduct, saying that the police misconduct had made Trump's federal intervention inevitable.

Meanwhile, he has presided over a police crackdown on the homeless. (also here and here)

The protests in Portland have been exacerbated and intensified by the brutality and the bias of the police, Mayor Ted Wheeler's police, which he was, and is, in charge of.

He a part of the problem, not a part of the solution.

Linkage


Breaking Ancient and Forgotten British laws (The Fish Runner):

Don't Throw Me in That Briar Patch

Facebook is completely losing its sh%$ because the next version of the iPhone operating system will require that users explicitly opt in to being spied on by advertisers.
They have actually issued an apology of sorts, which is just about as sincere as their apologies for spying on their users:
Facebook has apologized to its users and advertisers for being forced to respect people’s privacy in an upcoming update to Apple’s mobile operating system – and promised it will do its best to invade their privacy on other platforms.

The antisocial network that makes almost all of its revenue from building a vast, constantly updated database of netizens that it then sells access to, is upset that iOS 14, due out next month, will require apps to ask users for permission before Facebook grabs data from their phones.

“This is not a change we want to make, but unfortunately Apple’s updates to iOS14 have forced this decision,” the behemoth bemoans before thinking the unthinkable: that it may have to end its most intrusive analytics engine for iPhone and iPad users.

“We know this may severely impact publishers’ ability to monetize through Audience Network on iOS 14, and, despite our best efforts, may render Audience Network so ineffective on iOS 14 that it may not make sense to offer it on iOS 14 in the future.”

Amazingly, despite Facebook pointing out to Apple that it is tearing away people’s right to have their privacy invaded in order to receive ads for products they might want, Cupertino continues to push ahead anyway.

………

Facebook wants advertisers to know however that it has their back. It will continue to suck as much information as possible off every other device and through every other operating system.

………

Facebook closes out by promising that it will do all it can to prevent user privacy from being respected in future. “We believe that industry consultation is critical for changes to platform policies, as these updates have a far-reaching impact on the developer ecosystem," it said. "We’re encouraged by conversations and efforts already taking place in the industry - including within the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the recently announced Partnership for Responsible Addressable Media (PRAM). We look forward to continuing to engage with these industry groups to get this right for people and small businesses.”
 What can I say but, "F%$# Zuck."

30 August 2020

How Utterly British

The British Ministry of Devense is saying that it cannot give details on payouts made in response to claims against their troops for torture and abuse because there are too many to count, which is why they want a law passed indemnifying their troops for war crimes.

This is like some twisted take on a Gilbert and Sullivan light opera:
The UK government has received so many complaints from Iraqis who were unlawfully detained and allegedly mistreated by British troops that its defence ministry says it is unable to say how many millions of pounds have been paid to settle the claims.

Ministry of Defence (MoD) officials in London say they can provide approximate figures for the thousands of Iraqis who have lodged complaints against British forces involved in the 2003 US-led invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq.

However, they maintain that they cannot disclose how much UK taxpayers’ money has been spent settling their claims, saying that it would take weeks for civil servants to collate the figure.

The department is claiming that it is unable to disclose the sums paid at a time when the UK parliament is about to debate a deeply controversial law which would introduce a partial amnesty for the country’s service personnel who have committed serious crimes - including murder and torture - while serving outside the country.

Known as the Overseas Operation Bill, the proposed new law has alarmed human rights groups, the UK government's political opponents and many ex-soldiers, who fear that it will effectively sanction war crimes by British forces.

………

Even the country’s most senior retired soldier, 81-year-old Field Marshal Charles Guthrie, wrote to the Sunday Times newspaper to warn that the proposed new law would provide room for “de facto decriminalisation of torture”.
Guthrie added that the measures “appear to have been dreamt up by those who have seen too little of the world to understand why the rules of war matter”.

………

Frank Ledwidge, a former army intelligence officer and military historian, warns that the bill - which he calls a “squalid piece of legislation” - could cause more problems than it solves for the MoD and British government ministers.

Ledwidge, who has experience of tracking down war criminals in Bosnia and Kosovo, points out that the International Criminal Court (ICC), which is currently conducting a preliminary investigation into allegations of British war crimes in Iraq, is unlikely to target the interrogators.

“When the ICC does come for us, which it will if this bill is enacted, it won’t be the soldiers they’ll be after,” Ledwidge says. “The men we hunted down in Bosnia were not the trigger-pullers. They were the commanders, the generals and the politicians who sent them and allowed these crimes to happen.”
There are a whole bunch of people who should be in the dock at The Hague for crimes against humanity during the Iraq invasion, and the important ones are the, "Commanders, the generals and the politicians who sent them and allowed these crimes to happen."

This Was Inevitable

The right-wing organized a driving Trump rally in Portland, and after repeatedly driving through crowds of protesters, something that has not been covered by the main stream media, one of the right-wingers was shot to death.  

At this point, there is no information as to where the shot came from.

It could have been the protesters, the counter-protesters, or the cops.
Portland Police Bureau (PPB) say the unidentified victim died around 8:45 pm from a gunshot wound to the chest. Videos shared by reporters on the scene show a man lying on his back near SW 3rd and Alder, surrounded by officers and medics attempting to treat him.

A video posted on Facebook shows the minutes leading up to the shooting from across the street. The clip captures several people on a sidewalk in front of a parking garage shouting at each other before the sound of two gunshots go off, accompanied with a puff of smoke.

The shooting coincided with a pro-Trump car caravan winding its way through downtown Portland. It's not immediately clear if the shooting was directly connected to this protest.

The caravan, dubbed a "Trump cruise rally," met around 4 pm at the Clackamas Town Center parking lot. In the Facebook page for the pro-Trump event, organizers encouraged attendees to bring firearms with them, as long as they followed concealed carry laws.

After gathering at the shopping mall, several hundred vehicles—many waving large American and Trump 2020 flags—then drove to downtown Portland, where they were met by groups of counter-protesters. Portland police dressed in riot gear stood by as caravan members drove through groups of people in the street. Other drivers jumped out of their cars to confront counter-protesters on the street, some getting into fistfights.


This is assault with a deadly weapon, and the cops are ignoring it.

The New York Times coverage, by comparison diminishes the right-wing violence to, "Trump supporters shooting paintball guns from the beds of pickup trucks."

Killing Social Security and Boosting His Reelection Chances


He is hoping to force Congress to make this a permanent tax cut, because the bill comes due in January, millions of Americans may be owing thousands of dollars in back taxes.

It will have the effect of increasing take home pay in the short term, which might give the economy a temporary boost, particularly for a tax as regressive as the Social Security tax, which cuts off at $137,700.00.

It will also have the effect of emptying the Social Security Trust Fund in about 2 years.

On the bright side, I think that many, and possibly most, of employers are going to collect the taxes anyway, because the money is still owed, just deferred, particularly since there is a cost to rewrite their payroll withholding software:

The Treasury Department began implementing President Trump’s plan to allow a payroll tax deferral, an executive action he says will help households weather the pandemic-ravaged economy but which faces significant practical hurdles and skepticism from employers.

The government’s announcement came late Friday, just four days before it is scheduled to take effect. It postpones some payroll taxes that would normally be due between Sept. 1 and Dec. 31 and makes them due between Jan. 1 and April 30, 2021. Under this approach, employers who opt to stop some paycheck withholding now could withhold twice as much as usual early next year.

Mr. Trump on Aug. 8 ordered the Treasury Department to allow the tax deferrals under a law that lets the Treasury secretary postpone tax deadlines after a disaster. It still could take time for private payroll companies to reprogram their systems, and employers concerned about costs and legal exposure may not bother changing workers’ tax withholding.

………

The government’s action doesn’t actually change the underlying taxes, because only Congress can do that. Employees would still owe the taxes eventually. So someone making $75,000 annually could save as much as $1,550 in 2020 but would have to pay that same amount later.

Mr. Trump wants Congress to forgive that tax liability. The IRS document issued late Friday says employers must pay those taxes in the first four months of 2021 or “may make arrangements” to collect the taxes from employees.

“The guidance makes it clear the only purpose of this scheme is to give the illusion of a tax cut before the election,” said Seth Hanlon, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, a group aligned with Democrats.

………

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Council of Chain Restaurants and other trade associations warned that it would be unfair to impose potential future costs on workers and said a system where employees could choose whether to participate would be unworkable.

………

One very large employer looks likely to participate—the federal government that Mr. Trump controls. The National Finance Center at the Department of Agriculture, which processes payrolls for more than 600,000 federal workers at multiple agencies, said last week it was preparing to implement the tax deferral in September.

Forcing hundreds of thousands of federal employees to take tax deferrals could put pressure on lawmakers to forgive the taxes later, as Mr. Trump wants them to do.
When a policy developed to help Republican electoral prospects runs afoul of the U.S Chamber of Commerce, you know that this policy is f%$#ed up and sh%$.

Not a Surprise

Is anyone surprised that,"Nearly half of Twitter accounts pushing to reopen America may be bots?"

The question is who, and who benefits?  (Cui Bono)
Kathleen M. Carley and her team at Carnegie Mellon University’s Center for Informed Democracy & Social Cybersecurity have been tracking bots and influence campaigns for a long time. Across US and foreign elections, natural disasters, and other politicized events, the level of bot involvement is normally between 10 and 20%, she says.

But in a new study, the researchers have found that bots may account for between 45 and 60% of Twitter accounts discussing covid-19. Many of those accounts were created in February and have since been spreading and amplifying misinformation, including false medical advice, conspiracy theories about the origin of the virus, and pushes to end stay-at-home orders and reopen America.They follow well-worn patterns of coordinated influence campaigns, and their strategy is already working: since the beginning of the crisis, the researchers have observed a greater polarization in Twitter discourse around the topic.

They follow well-worn patterns of coordinated influence campaigns, and their strategy is already working: since the beginning of the crisis, the researchers have observed a greater polarization in Twitter discourse around the topic.
So, who is behind this?

We need to find these people, and expose them, and end their grip on power.

29 August 2020

This is Not a Calm Man

The largest of recipient of corporate PAC money among the Democrats in Congress, Richard Neal has a primary in a few days, and it is pretty clear that he is crapping his pants over this, as shown by his campaign has sent a cease and desist letter threatening a libel suit to media outlets to suppress ads by his primary opponent.

This is not someone confident of the outcome of the primary:
Facing a spirited progressive primary challenge, U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass. is pressuring a local television station to pull down an ad criticizing his reliance on corporate PAC money, according to a letter obtained by TMI from Neal’s attorney. Neal’s attempt to block Democratic primary voters from seeing the ads about his campaign financing comes at the very moment his reelection bid is being bankrolled by donors from industries with business before his congressional committee.

Justice Democrats’ super PAC, the group behind the ad, spent at least $150,000 to have the 30-second television spot run through the entire Democratic National Convention. The ad alleges that Neal “took more money from corporations than any other member of Congress” and says he “hasn’t held a town hall in years.” The group says the station has not pulled down the ad.

………

“You have full power to reject the ad for any reason,” wrote Neal’s attorney Brian Svoboda of the Democratic powerhouse law firm Perkins Coie to WWLP-22News, a local NBC affiliate. “To attack Representative Neal’s reputation in his community, the ad purposely confuses the illegal corporate contributions of which it falsely accuses him, with the entirely legal contributions he actually received from PACs — i.e., entities which receive voluntary, personal contributions from corporate and union employees, shareholders and their families, and make lawful contributions from those funds.”

Neal’s counsel called the commercial “defamatory” and implied that the station could face legal consequences: “Because you need not run this ad, you enjoy no immunity from liability for its false claims, and are fully responsible for the defamation and any other torts that might result from their dissemination.”

………

In February, Sludge reported that Neal had been the largest congressional recipient of money from corporate and business-affiliated political action committees (PACs) in 2019. Neal has received nearly $2 million from these PACs this cycle, and it accounts for more than 53 percent of his total fundraising, according to OpenSecrets. On Tuesday alone, Neal received donations from a slew of corporate PACs including $2000 from Allstate’s PAC, $2,500 from Microsoft’s PAC, and $2,500 from WalMart’s PAC, according to federal records reviewed by TMI. 
The most recent polls have Neal up by less than 10%, and undecideds tend to break for the challenger, so I do understand why his campaign is freaking out.

This has been an amazingly good year for primary challenges by progressives, and taking out Neal, who is the head of the Ways and Means Committee, would still be a big f%$#ind deal.

I'm Surprised That It Took So Long


@whatchugotforme How to tiktok
♬ original sound - whatchugotforme

The reason Trump wants to shut down TikTok
The video sharing site TikTok has filed a lawsuit against Trump's executive order shutting it down.

Trump claims that it's a security risk, because its parent company is Chinese owned, but the reality is that he's chuffed about how Sarah Cooper has gone viral doing satirical lip syncing of him.

In any case, this court case will almost certainly result in an injunction that will last well beyond election day:
Made-in-China social network TikTok has decided to challenge the Trump administration's looming ban on its service by taking the matter to the USA's courts.

On its qq account and in a statement, TikTok owner Byte Dance offered a two-pronged rationale for its actions.

The first disagrees with the Trump administration's suggestion that TikTok shares data with China's government and is therefore a threat to national security. ByteDance, the company that owns TikTok, said it has tried to explain itself to the administration and find a solution that would satisfy US authorities its service is safe.

The second strand is an alleged "lack of due process" during those talks. TikTok spokesperson Josh Gartner said the Trump administration "paid no attention to facts and tried to insert itself into negotiations between private businesses".

………

The ban on TikTok was enacted with an Executive Order that relies on powers designed to let a US president act during a national emergency. The power has not previously been applied to an entity like TikTok so the case may well rest on some gnarly legal issues rather than the nature of TikTok's activities.
TikTok allows people to share short videos.

The idea that it could be a threat to anything than it's users' or Donald Trump's dignity is simply ludicrous.

Support Your Local Police

As if it were not blatantly obvious from their behavior, it turns out that the FBI has been following largely successful efforts of white supremacists to infiltrate the police throughout the country:
White supremacist groups have infiltrated US law enforcement agencies in every region of the country over the last two decades, according to a new report about the ties between police and far-right vigilante groups.

In a timely new analysis, Michael German, a former FBI special agent who has written extensively on the ways that US law enforcement have failed to respond to far-right domestic terror threats, concludes that US law enforcement officials have been tied to racist militant activities in more than a dozen states since 2000, and hundreds of police officers have been caught posting racist and bigoted social media content.

The report notes that over the years, police links to militias and white supremacist groups have been uncovered in states including Alabama, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.

………

The exact scale of ties between law enforcement and militias is hard to determine, German told the Guardian. “Nobody is collecting the data and nobody is actively looking for these law enforcement officers,” he said.
………

This week, police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, faced intense scrutiny over their response to armed white men and militia groups gathered in the city amid demonstrations by Black Lives Matter activists and others over the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black father of three who was left paralyzed after being shot in the back. On Wednesday, Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old who appeared to consider himself a militia member and had posted “blue lives matter” content, was arrested on suspicion of murder after the fatal shooting of two protesters.

………

German told the Guardian on Wednesday: “Far-right militants are allowed to engage in violence and walk away while protesters are met with violent police actions.” This “negligent response”, he added, empowers violent groups in dangerous and potentially lethal ways: “The most violent elements within these far-right militant groups believe that their conduct is sanctioned by the government. And therefore they’re much more willing to come out and engage in acts of violence against protesters.”

There is growing awareness in some parts of the government about the intensifying threat of white supremacy. The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have directly identified white supremacists as the most lethal domestic terrorist threat in the country. According to German’s report, the FBI’s own internal documents have directly warned that the militia groups the agency is investigating often have “active links” to law enforcement.
So not a surprise.

Absolutely everything that we have seen over the past 40 years has supported this conclusion.

The right wing has been actively trying to infiltrate the US state security apparatus for years.

28 August 2020

Stating the Obvious

When hospitals are owned by large financial firms, medical facilities charge a lot more to provide healthcare.

I have said it many times, there is no industry for which the application of high finance will not make things worse.

Facebook Supporting Right Wing Terrorists Again

It turns out that the Kenosha white supremacist militia had been repeatedly reported for threats of violence, and moderators refused to take any action:
In a companywide meeting on Thursday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that a militia page advocating for followers to bring weapons to an upcoming protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, remained on the platform because of “an operational mistake.” The page and an associated event inspired widespread criticism of the company after a 17-year-old suspect allegedly shot and killed two protesters Tuesday night.

The event associated with the Kenosha Guard page, however, was flagged to Facebook at least 455 times after its creation, according to an internal report viewed by BuzzFeed News, and had been cleared by four moderators, all of whom deemed it “non-violating.” The page and event were eventually removed from the platform on Wednesday — several hours after the shooting.

“To put that number into perspective, it made up 66% of all event reports that day,” one Facebook worker wrote in the internal “Violence and Incitement Working Group” to illustrate the number of complaints the company had received about the event.

………

The internal report seen by BuzzFeed News reveals the extent to which concerned Facebook users went to warn the company of a group calling for public violence, and how the company failed to act. “The event is highly unusual in retrospect,” reads the report, which notes that the next highest event for the day had been flagged 18 times by users compared to the 455 times of the Kenosha Guard event.

………

During Facebook’s Thursday all-hands meeting, Zuckerberg said that the images from Wisconsin were “painful and really discouraging,” before acknowledging that the company had made a mistake in not taking the Kenosha Guard page and event down sooner. The page had violated Facebook’s new rules introduced last week that labeled militia and QAnon groups as “Dangerous Individuals and Organizations” for their celebrations of violence.

The company did not catch the page despite user reports, Zuckerberg said, because the complaints had been sent to content moderation contractors who were not versed in “how certain militias” operate. “On second review, doing it more sensitively, the team that was responsible for dangerous organizations recognized that this violated the policies and we took it down.”

During the talk, Facebook employees hammered Zuckerberg for continuing to allow the spread of hatred on the platform.

“At what point do we take responsibility for enabling hate filled bile to spread across our services?” wrote one employee. “[A]nti-semitism, conspiracy, and white supremacy reeks across our services.”
All the complaints in the world from Facebook employees who matter, the algorithm folks and the ad folks, not the moderators, start leaving over this, or perhaps when they start demanding concrete actions, like the removal Facebook's vice president of global public policy Joel Kaplan, who is the most aggressive support of violent white supremacists in the organization.

Kaplan is arguably the most powerful supporter of those who promulgate right-wing violent stochastic terrorism of anyone in the USA.

He is a clear and present danger to public safety and to the Republic.*

He is also a Shanda fur die Goyim.

*Please not that I am not calling him a רוֹדֵף (rodef), literally a pursuer who is required under Halacha to be stoped by any means necessary, including lethal force. It would be irresponsible for me to call him a He is a רוֹדֵף (rodef).  It would be irresponsible for anyone to call another person a  רוֹדֵף (rodef).  It is an explicit call for the murder of another individual.
Yiddish for a, "Shame before the nations," meaning that this person is an embarrassment to the whole Jewish people.

Boeing Still Unable to Manufacture Aircraft

They are screwing up a critical structural joint on the 787 down in their union busting facility in South Carolina.

This is not a surprise.  They went there to treat employees like crap, and they have had problems, the the facility for a very long time, to the degree that some of the employees in the North Charleston facility saying that they would refuse to fly in a plane made there:

Boeing earlier this week instructed airlines to pull a batch of eight recently-manufactured 787 Dreamliners from service, prompting their immediate grounding, after the plane maker determined that a manufacturing issue undermined the strength of an area of the jet’s carbon fiber composite structure.

So far, eight 787s — all built in the last few years — have been withdrawn from flying. Aircraft for United Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Air Canada are impacted by the impromptu grounding, according to a person familiar with the situation.
According to those familiar with the issue, an area of the structure in the rear of the aircraft is unable to withstand the maximum stress that would be experienced by the aircraft in service and could fail.
By, "Could fail," they mean a failure in flight leading to a depressurization incident, and possibly an inflight breakup.
………

This new issue is the first publicly known instance in the jet’s nine year service life that a structural defect with its mostly carbon fiber airframe has caused Boeing to immediately withdraw 787s from service. The 787 fleet was grounded for three months in 2013 following the overheating of lithium-ion batteries. At that point, the global cadre of 787s was just 50 airplanes and the jet returned to operation after the company developed a new containment and venting system for the main and auxiliary power unit batteries inside the jet’s electronics bay.

The source of the newly-discovered structural issue has been traced to a mating point inside the aft fuselage between two carbon fiber composite barrels, known as Section 47/48 where the two barrels meet with a large bulkhead that caps the pressurized cabin. The pieces are fabricated and joined with the aft pressure bulkhead at Boeing’s North Charleston, S.C. plant and then delivered for final assembly to the company’s nearby final assembly building or flown to Everett, Wash.

………


The first of the two issues causing the issue centers on how naturally occurring gaps in the structure are filled with shims that ensure stresses on the airframe are carried as they’re designed. Boeing has used a predictive shimming technology on the 787 program for more than a decade, robotically laser scanning the surfaces around the structural joins to automatically generate the required shims to fill the gaps.

In the case of the eight withdrawn aircraft, the gaps were improperly filled. On their own, that might not produce an immediate issue, but Boeing said a second manufacturing issue has prompted the pulling of the jets. The second issue centers on the inner skin of the large monolithic composite barrels. On the suspect aircraft, the skin of the woven carbon fiber fuselage is “supposed to be smooth enough so there are no abrupt ridges,” said one person familiar with the issue.

………

When the gaps are improperly filled in combination with the roughness of the inner skin, the required structural strength does not meet the limit load requirement. Limit load is the maximum expected stress the aircraft would ever expect to experience in service. While limit load is not solely an airline service requirement, every commercial aircraft test program has to demonstrate an aircraft’s structure is designed for limit loads before it can be safely cleared to fly for the first time.

………

Over the longer term, the gaps left by improper shimming can put added stress at certain points in the structure that can cause unexpected fatigue cracks to develop and propagate. The Boeing spokesman said its engineers “are analyzing data on the in-service fleet to determine if action is required, potentially including more frequent inspection or rework. It could also be determined that no further action is required if the condition is found to not impact the longevity of the structure.”

………

A spokesman for the FAA said that the U.S. aviation regulator “is aware of the matter and continues to engage with Boeing,” according to a single-sentence statement.

………

Installation of the shims across the 787s structure have been a recurring challenge for Boeing. Prior to the 787s entry into service, in June 2010, improperly shimmed horizontal stabilizers temporarily grounded Boeing’s test fleet. And the issue, according to several Boeing manufacturing engineers and aircraft assemblers familiar with the situation say the structural shimming has been a longstanding challenge for the company’s South Carolina manufacturing operation.


“Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard to do,” said one engineer. “But they are so hellbent on making rate, sometimes engineering and production aren’t aligned.” In 2012, early in the 787’s production run, Boeing found more than a dozen improperly shimmed longerons, structural stiffeners, inside the same 47/48 section requiring inspections and localized repairs for structural delamination.

………

The recurrence of shimming issues on the Dreamliner program comes as Boeing is considering consolidating 787 final assembly operations exclusively to South Carolina. The North Charleston, S.C. factory that produces the aft fuselage where the structural issue was introduced builds the section regardless of where final assembly is completed.
Shorter Boeing, "Our South Carolina facility is not executing properly, but because we are in a right-to-work state, we can push them to assemble dangerous aircraft and hit the production numbers that we want, so we want to move more production to South Carolina."

This can't but help Airbus, because, even if Boeing is a superior aircraft, you are wiping out a decade of advantages with a two week grounding.

Boeing's upper management has been taken over by former McDonnell and finance types, and they are completely unable to manufacture an aircraft for a civil environment.

27 August 2020

Tweet of the Day


These days, it seems that about 80% of what goes on in Wall Street, and in Silicon Valley is unproductive bullsh%$ that is regulatory arbitrage at best, and more likely outright criminality.

As the saying goes, a fish rots from the head.

Still Over 1 Million

Initial unemployment claims fell by 98,000 to 1,006,000 last week.

I expect the employment to population levels not to reach where they were in February for at least a year.

Also, I expect the effects of the termination of the supplementary unemployment payments sooner rather than later, which will further slow down the economy:
Unemployment claims fell slightly last week but remained historically high, signaling layoffs continue as the coronavirus continues to hamper the economic recovery.

New applications for unemployment benefits ticked down to one million in the week ended Aug. 22, the Labor Department said Thursday. Initial unemployment claims remain well below the recent peak of about seven million in March but are far higher than pre-pandemic levels of about 200,000 claims a week.

The number of people collecting unemployment benefits through regular state programs, which cover most workers, edged down to about 14.5 million for the week ended Aug. 15. So-called continuing claims, which are released with a one-week lag, hit a high of nearly 25 million this spring but have declined in recent weeks, a sign companies are bringing back workers.

“We’re seeing gradual improvement, but we really need to underscore the word ‘gradual’ here. We’re only inching along in terms of the labor market’s recovery,” said Sarah House, senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities.

In a separate report released Thursday, the Commerce Department revised its estimate of second-quarter economic growth, saying gross domestic product fell at a 31.7% annual rate, slightly less than its earlier estimate of 32.9%, due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Those numbers are not just catastrophic, they are apocalyptic.


This is a Vintage Month for Schadenfraude


Epic
Calcasieu Parish refused to remove the Confederate "South's Defenders Monument" when activists demanded that the tribute to to slavery be taken down. Hurricane Laura did the job anyway:
As Hurricane Laura made landfall along the Gulf Coast early Thursday morning, it brought down a Confederate monument in southern Louisiana that community members pushed to remove earlier this summer. Despite requests from residents and support from a local mayor, the government in Calcasieu Parish, where the monument is located, voted to keep it in its place during a meeting held two weeks ago.

On Thursday morning, photos shared to social media showed the Confederate statue, known as the South's Defenders Monument, incurred significant damages overnight as a result of the hurricane.

"Lake Charles and Calcasieu Parish has been filled with controversy and tension after our parish government by a vote of 10–5 refused to take down the Confederate South's Defenders Monument," wrote Davante Lewis, director of public affairs at The Louisiana Budget Project, alongside pictures of the toppled structure.


………

In subsequent comments to Newsweek, Lewis noted that only a few Black members belong to the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury—similar to a board of commissioners—and said the governing body's vote to maintain the South's Defenders statue was divided along racial lines. Although Lewis himself is not currently a resident of Calcasieu Parish, his family lives there and father Eddie Lewis is a representative on the Police Jury.
I am amused.

26 August 2020

Kenosha


Blaming the Victims



The police don't care, it's only black people



Police were collaborating with right wing militias
There is a life cycle for bad cops.  They go to the academy at a large city, and eventually wash out, either at academy or after becoming an officer, because of incompetence, stupidity, and bigotry.

They go to a smaller municipality and get a job there, because someone else has already paid for their training, and they are cheap, and wash out to smaller, and smaller towns, because the smaller (and more resource limited) a police department is, the more it has to take on a police officer who got the boot from the big show.

At the end of the line, it appears is Kenosha, where following a domestic violence call, a police officer (or officers) shot Jacob Blake 7 times in the back, paralyzing him.

It was caught on video, and there have been protests.

The police have responded with violence and provocation.

Last night, a 17-year-old white supremacist,Kyle Rittenhouse, and his AR-15, were driven to Kenosha from Illinois by his mom, he opened fire on the protesters.

The police blamed the victims, describing premeditated murder as, "The use of firearms to resolve whatever conflict."

The officers literally ignored him as he walked past the cops, gun in hand, and was later arrested by Illinois law enforcement and charged with 1st degree murder.

The police were caught on video planning with with white supremacist militias, including the shooter.

It appears that the white supremacists are a part of Kenosha's police auxiliary, and play a major role in the department's legendary corruption:
“Corruption, lies, multiple evidence plantings, and deceit existed throughout the entire Kenosha criminal justice system,” concluded one report, commissioned by the Wisconsin state Supreme Court in 2017 after officers allegedly lied and planted evidence in a murder case.
Of course, this may not matter to the "Silent Majority" that Donald Trump is so enthusiastic about, but this is already hitting them, because the Milwaukee Bucks are  boycotting Game 5 of their playoff series vs. The Orlando Magic in protest. (They should be calling it a strike)

The boycott has since expanded to include NBA playoff games between Houston & Oklahoma City, and the Los Angeles & Portland, as well as games in Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, and the WNBA.

All those folks who freaked out over Colin Kaepernick, including the orange inverted traffic cone, can bite my shiny metal ass over this one.

In refusing to respond in a serious manner to a very real problem, they have made more extreme actions, and more extreme protests, inevitable.

An Interesting Coda to the Brett Kavanaugh Confirmation Hearings

Some of may remember Yale professors, and husband and wife Jed Rubenfeld and Amy Chua, who offered an empassioned defense of Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearings in a WSJ Op/Ed.

At the time, it they were accused of pandering in order to get prestigious federal and Supreme Court clerk positions.

Both of them, particularly Chua, were prominent in part for their ability to get these clerkships, and The Guardian reported that Chua told applicants to Kavanaugh to, "Dress to exude a “model-like” femininity to help them win a post in Kavanaugh’s chambers." (Chua's daughter ended up clerking for Kavanaugh shortly after the Op/Ed.)

There were also allegations that Rubenfeld, one of the most prominent critics of Title IX sexual harassment protections, routinely sexually harassed female students.

Well, the investigation is completed, and Jed Rubenfeld, a tenured professor, has been suspended for 2 years, and after he returns, he will be forbidden from teaching small group or required classes.

I'm kind of surprised that he has not been fired, but tenure provides an enormous amount of protection to professors.

My guess is that Rubenfeld will not be returning to Yale after his suspension ends:
On Monday morning, members of the Yale Law School faculty received a terse message from their provost informing them that Professor Jed Rubenfeld “will leave his position as a member of the YLS faculty for a two-year period, effective immediately,” and that upon his return, Rubenfeld would be barred from teaching “small group or required courses. He will be restricted in social gatherings with students.” As of Tuesday morning, he was no longer listed on the Yale Law faculty site.

Three people familiar with the investigation that led to Rubenfeld’s suspension said it stemmed from the university finding a pattern of sexual harassment of several students. The allegations, which spanned decades, included verbal harassment, unwanted touching, and attempted kissing, both in the classroom and at parties at Rubenfeld’s home.

In a phone conversation Tuesday, Rubenfeld told me, “I absolutely, unequivocally, 100 percent deny that I ever sexually harassed anyone, whether verbally or otherwise. Yes, I’ve said stupid things that I regret over the course of my 30 years as professor, and no professor who’s taught as long as I have that I know doesn’t have things that they regret that they said.”

He added, “Ironically, I have written about the unreliability of the campus Title IX procedures. I never expected to go through one of them myself.”
In 2014, for example, Rubenfeld wrote an op-ed for the New York Times that said that the university that puts in place affirmative-consent standards “encourages people to think of themselves as sexual assault victims when there was no assault” and that it is “illogical” to claim “intercourse with someone ‘under the influence’ of alcohol is always rape.”
Lovely fellow.

Also a liar:
That’s not true, according to Yale’s stated policies — and one of the complainants. “License to write about sexual harassment is not license to sexually harass,” she told me. “I reported because I was sexually harassed. Now he’s being dishonest about even this aspect of the Title IX process. For example, as Yale’s policy requires, I identified myself to him. I had to, and I did so at considerable risk given his influence in the legal community.”

………

Multiple women told me that a whisper network about Rubenfeld operated on campus, and that as law-school students, they were warned by peers to be careful around him. One said she was told by a male alum, “You’ve not scraped the bottom of the barrel when it comes to Rubenfeld’s behavior. Stay away.”

Rubenfeld is married to fellow Yale Law professor Amy Chua, author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, [a paean to abusive parenting] and both wield power in the high-stakes race for judicial clerkships. In the summer of 2018, it was Chua who took to the pages of the Wall Street Journal to vouch for then–Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh as a “mentor for young lawyers, particularly women.” (That was before allegations of sexual assault against Kavanaugh were made public.) The op-ed noted that the couple’s daughter had been about to clerk for Kavanaugh on the appeals court, and a year later, the Supreme Court acknowledged Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld would clerk for Justice Kavanaugh on the Court instead.

The Guardian first reported on the existence of the investigation into Rubenfeld’s conduct in the fall of 2018. He told the paper that he hadn’t been informed of the specifics but that he had been “advised that the allegations were not of the kind that would jeopardize my position as a long-tenured member of the faculty.” Female students also said that Rubenfeld and Chua discussed with students hoping to work for Kavanaugh the importance of their physical appearance. Chua denied telling students that Kavanaugh preferred attractive female clerks or coaching them on how to dress in “outgoing” fashion for interviews, though a Slate story subsequently reported it had “confirmed the Guardian’s reporting with students who were present at the time.”
August 2020 does seem to be a bountiful harvest for schadenfreude.

H/t Atrios

Deep Thought

17 year olds brandishin' AR-15s is no basis for a system of government!

25 August 2020

Boom!


I'm kind of surprised.  I knew that the DeSantis order was terminally stupid, but I did not think that it was illegal:
Florida's state government cannot force schools to reopen this month, a judge ruled yesterday. The state's order to reopen K-12 schools disregarded safety risks posed by COVID-19 and gave schools no meaningful alternative, according to the ruling issued by Judge Charles Dodson of the Second Judicial Circuit in Leon County.

On July 6, Florida Department of Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran issued an emergency order stating, "Upon reopening in August, all school boards and charter school governing boards must open brick and mortar schools at least five days per week for all students." Schools that don't meet this requirement could lose state funding. Corcoran, Governor Ron DeSantis, and other state officials were then sued by the Florida Education Association, a statewide teachers' union; the NAACP; and several individual teachers and parents.

After summarizing the health risks of reopening schools during the pandemic, the judge wrote that the state's order to reopen schools "takes none of that into consideration. It fails to mention consideration of community transmission rates, varying ages of students, or proper precautions. What has been clearly established is there is no easy decision and opening schools will most likely increase COVID‐19 cases in Florida. Thus, Plaintiffs have demonstrated a substantial likelihood of success in procuring a judgment declaring the Order is being applied arbitrarily across Florida."

Dodson concluded that the state's order violates the Florida state constitution "to the extent it arbitrarily disregards safety, denies local school boards decision making with respect to reopening brick and mortar schools, and conditions funding on an approved reopening plan with a start date in August." Having found that the plaintiffs are likely to win at trial, the judge issued a temporary injunction that strikes down the controversial portions of the state's school-reopening order.
Gee, guv, I think that this ruling will leave a mark.

This is Worse than I Had Imagined

I knew that hedge fund fees were excessive, but run the numbers, and it is beyond my wildest imaginings.

Their fees amount to 64% of all returns:
If you already see hedge fund fees as exorbitant, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Over the past two decades, the hedge fund industry has kept 64 cents of every dollar of gross profits that it has generated above the risk-free rate.

You’d be excused for thinking this is a mathematical impossibility. The predominant fee arrangement in the hedge fund industry is the so-called 2-and-20 fee structure, under which a fund charges an annual management fee of 2% of assets under management and a performance incentive fee of 20% of any profits. So how can hedge funds keep more than 20 cents of every dollar of profit, on top of management fees?

The answer is provided in a new study that the National Bureau of Economic Research recently began circulating. Entitled “The Performance of Hedge Fund Performance Fees,” the study was conducted by finance professors Itzhak Ben-David and Justin Birru, both of Ohio State University, and Andrea Rossi of the University of Arizona.

The professors analyzed a comprehensive hedge fund database containing nearly 6,000 funds over the 22 years from 1995 through 2016. Over that period these hedge funds collectively produced total gross profits of $316.8 billion. Of this total, fund managers kept $202 billion ($88.7 billion in management fees and $113.3 billion in performance incentive fees). The remainder—$113.3 billion, or 35.8% of total gross profits — went to investors. (See the chart below.)
That is almost 2/3 of returns, which means that even by hedge funds extravagant claims, they would never exceed the numbers of things like index funds.

What Duncan Said

But this isn't like putting a sign in front of a cliff which says, "please don't step right up to the edge of the cliff," and then blaming the student who plunged to his death for failing to obey the sign. Though that's the story university administrators want to tell.

The student who steps up to the edge of the cliff, idiot as he may be, is tethered to 5 more students, who are tethered to 5 more students, who are tethered to 5 more students...

That some number of students are dipsh%$s was known by the responsible adults making these plans. That each student dipsh%$ is going to infect some number of other "blameless" students is regularly ignored. 
Atrios, aka Duncan Black
(%$# mine)

He is completely right.  In the context of a residential educational institution, it is impossible to make ALL the students behave responsibly.

Administrators know this, and so the outbreaks are a direct result of their callously disregard for the safety of their students, because they wanted the tuition and fee money.

Worst Argument for Identity Politics Argument


I get that these folks want equal opportunity corruption, but that does not mean that they should some sort of special permission to install a revolving door at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue:
A battle is brewing on K Street over an effort by progressives to ensure a Biden administration is devoid of any former Wall Street executives or corporate lobbyists.

Black and Latino lobbyists say a ban of that sort would end up shutting out minorities and could make the administration less diverse if Democrats win back the White House.

The tensions date back to April, when eight progressive groups wrote a letter calling on former Vice President Joe Biden to vow not to appoint any “current or former Wall Street executives or corporate lobbyists, or people affiliated with the fossil fuel, health insurance or private prison corporations” to his transition team, Cabinet or as top aides.

That demand did not sit well with some minority lobbyists, who argue that corporate lobbyists shouldn’t be denied a spot in the administration.

“Given the wokeness of these people, I find it odd they are so comfortable lumping a large group of people together. They have an agenda that is limiting and it has always been limiting,” said Michael Williams, founder of the Williams Group, one of the few Black-owned lobbying shops in D.C.

………

“Vice President Biden has made it clear that he's going to make it a priority to clean up Trump's mess by putting in place tough safeguards against the sort of rampant cronyism and lobbyist influence we've seen over the last four years, even as Biden ensures that his administration's staffing reflects America's diversity,” Biden for President spokesman Michael Gwin said.

Nicole Venable, a lobbyist at Invariant, criticized the effort by progressives, saying their goal to have a Biden administration filled with staff reflecting all of America is undercut by these types of restrictions.

………

Alliance for Youth Action, one of the groups that signed the April letter to Biden, stressed that progressives are particularly concerned about corporate lobbyists serving in a future administration.

“The letter we've sent doesn't call for a ban on lobbyists, it calls for a ban on explicitly CORPORATE lobbyists like the ones who have been able to push a harmful agenda within the Trump administration which have taken away government's ability to protect people of color, young workers and children from pollutants in our air and water and predatory economic practices which continue to hold them in poverty,” Carmel Pryor, senior director of communications at Alliance for Youth Action, told The Hill in an email.
They are literally arguing for corruption.

You want equal rights to profit off of government service.

I want no one to profit off of government service.

The Wheel Has Turned Full Circle

In 1987, following a series of financial and sex scandals, Jerry Falwell, Sr. took over Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker's PTL club, and now following a series of financial, educational, and sex scandals Jerry Falwell, Jr. has been forced to resign as president of Liberty University.

The sex scandal to the degree that we know anything, is (AT LEAST) his wife having an affair with a pool boy (not clear if it's THEIR pool boy) while he watched, at least part of the time.  (I'm sure that there are more details to ……… come, but I won't be discussing them unless some crime is involved)

The educational scandals involve rapes being covered up, athletes leaving because of a poisonous and racist atmosphere, and aggressively opening last spring, which led to a Covid outbreak.

The financial ones seem to be about opacity and a rather profligate life style.

As to the resignation, it was rather chaotic, with the board announcing his resignation, and his denial, and then his announcing that he had resign:
The evangelical leader and key Trump ally Jerry Falwell Jr confirmed on Tuesday he has resigned as president of Liberty University, following a sex scandal.

The confirmation came after conflicting reports of Falwell’s status on Monday night, in the wake of a Reuters report on a sexual relationship between him, his wife and a former business associate.

The board of the Lynchburg, Virginia, evangelical institution was meeting earlier on Tuesday regarding Falwell, who was its president for more than a decade.

Liberty University said in a statement on Tuesday afternoon that the school’s trustees “acted today to accept the resignation of Jerry Falwell, Jr. as its President and Chancellor and also accepted his resignation from its Board of Directors. All were effective immediately”.

After Falwell agreed on Monday to “immediately resign then reversing course”, the university said, he sent his resignation letter through an attorney later that night.

The university’s executive committee convened on Tuesday morning and voted to accept Falwell’s resignation, recommending that the board of trustees accept it. The full board of trustees met via videoconference on Tuesday morning and “unanimously voted” to affirm the committee’s recommendation.

“The university’s heartfelt prayers are with him and his family as he steps away from his life’s work,” the statement said.
So, the University is sending him in their thoughts and prayers.  **snerk**

As I noted above, I do not know where the sexual misconduct leads, and I don't care.

What I do know, having followed affairs at the former Lynchburg Baptist College since their Covid debacle, is that Falwell has been a supremely abusive boss, so I think that there will be a lot of evil stuff found as rocks get turned over.

With some luck, maybe some jail time.

Between Falwell and Bannon though, August has been a great month for Schadenfreude.

24 August 2020

A Feature, Not a Bug

Admission to university in the UK is driven by the "A-Level" exams, which have been canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Boris Johnson government came up with an algorithm driven alternative, which turned out to be so biased against students from poorer publicly funded schools that they had to withdraw it following massive protests.

This article details all of the problems with the process that was developed, but ignores the underlying issue, that it was not a good faith effort.

The Tories were explicitly looking at finding a way of favoring the inbred elites of British society while depriving less affluent, and less-white students fair access to the the UK's elite educational institutions:
When the UK first set out to find an alternative to school leaving qualifications, the premise seemed perfectly reasonable. Covid-19 had derailed any opportunity for students to take the exams in person, but the government still wanted a way to assess them for university admission decisions.

Chief among its concerns was an issue of fairness. Teachers had already made predictions of their students’ exam scores, but previous studies had shown that these could be biased on the basis of age, gender, and ethnicity. After a series of expert panels and consultations, Ofqual, the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation, turned to an algorithm. From there, things went horribly wrong.

Nearly 40% of students ended up receiving exam scores downgraded from their teachers’ predictions, threatening to cost them their university spots. Analysis of the algorithm also revealed that it had disproportionately hurt students from working-class and disadvantaged communities and inflated the scores of students from private schools. On August 16, hundreds chanted “F%$# the algorithm” in front of the UK's Department of Education building in London to protest the results. By the next day, Ofqual had reversed its decision. Students will now be awarded either their teacher’s predicted scores or the algorithm’s—whichever is higher.
(%$# mine)

The problem was not that education authorities failed, but that they over-succeeded.

If they had hit 10% or 20%, they would have gotten away with making higher education in the UK richer and whiter, and the students complaining would have been dismissed as ungrateful (insert race or class epithets here)s.

I Thought That the Political Silly Season Started Months Ago


Bogart Said it Best
I was misinformed.

The silly season starts today, because, as The Root so eloquently states, "‘I’m With Joe’: Punch-a-Nazi Poster Child Richard Spencer Tweets His Endorsement of Joe Biden.

The Biden campaign immediately disavowed the endorsement, but this is the day when the campaign went from weird to being narrated by Rod Serling:
2020 is officially M. Night Shyamalan’s worst movie.*

I mean, I thought this shitshow had already jumped the shark when the mistresses of minstrel, Diamond and Silk, decided they were ready to talk about systemic racism, but this infamous year has apparently decided to pull an Evel Knievel over a mile-long row of sharks as the alt-right favorite with America’s most punchable face, Richard Spencer, has announced his endorsement of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.


On Monday, the tiki-torch boy-band leader (he changed the name of his group to “White Sheet Boys” because “NSYNC With White Supremacy” doesn’t roll off the tongue very well) tweeted an image of his photo next to the words “I’m with Joe” and a quote from an earlier tweet of his that reads, “Liberals are clearly more competent.”

………

Still, a neo-Nazi like Spencer—who the Southern Poverty Law Center described as “one of the country’s most successful young white nationalist leaders,” a “suit-and-tie version of the white supremacists of old,” and “a kind of professional racist in khakis”—throwing his lot behind the Democratic ticket is one weird plot twist.


Anyway, according to Andrew Bates, the director of rapid response for Biden’s campaign, Biden is rejecting Spencer’s friend request.

“When Joe Biden says we are in a battle for the soul of our nation against vile forces of hate who have come crawling out from under rocks, you are the epitome of what he means,” Bates tweeted. “What you stand for is absolutely repugnant. Your support is 10,000% percent unwelcome here.
Go to link above for a video of someone punching Richard Spencer in the face.

*Obviously, the author is younger than I am, as evidenced by the Serling/Shamalan dichotomy in analogies.
Also, I've only seen one of his movies, The Last Airbender, which was so bad that it scarred me for life.

23 August 2020

Acknowledging Reality

The CEO of Ford, Jim Hackett, is walking back expectations on self-driving cars, suggesting that they be limited to dedicated roadways.

That has been the opinion of pretty much every expert whose paycheck is not dependent on selling the still distant technology:
Ford CEO Jim Hackett scaled back hopes about the company's plans for self-driving cars this week, admitting that the first vehicles will have limits. "We overestimated the arrival of autonomous vehicles," said Hackett, who once headed the company's autonomous vehicle division, at a Detroit Economic Club event on Tuesday. While Ford still plans on launching its self-driving car fleet in 2021, Hackett added that "its applications will be narrow, what we call geo-fenced, because the problem is so complex."

Hackett's announcement comes nearly six months after its CEO of autonomous vehicles, Sherif Markaby, detailed plans for the company's self-driving car service in a Medium post. The company has invested over $4 billion in the technology's development through 2023, including over $1 billion in Argo AI, an artificial intelligence company that is creating a virtual driver system. Ford is currently testing its self-driving vehicles in Miami, Washington, D.C. and Detroit.
Driving cars is literally the most difficult things that people do on a routine basis, and it is made all the more complex because it involves incredibly complex interactions with other human beings who do not truly understand the limits of the 1½+ ton death machines.

People who suggest that this is just around the corner are deluded or liars, or both.

Don't Accentuate the Positive

Ian Welsh makes a valid point, that there are times when negative emotions, even hate, are appropriate to the circumstances, and exhortations to eschew hate are self destructive:
There are no human emotions which are always bad. Every emotion is useful in certain circumstances. Emotions are bad when they provide incorrect guidance or they hijack you.

………

That said, even an emotion like hate has utility, if it’s correctly pointed. People like the person below have a problem.

………

Hate exists to tell you when someone is a threat, and you should do something about it. It often is hijacked, as with Americans thinking that foreign leaders like Putin are the primary threat, when it’s their own leaders who kill and impoverish them. When hate operates correctly, it points at actual threats.

………

Trump’s actually dangerous to a lot of people, and hating him is an appropriate emotion. Being consumed by it isn’t, but wishing that Trump would die of natural causes is entirely reasonable. (Granted, Pence might be worse, but you can hate him too.)

Emotions have purposes. Hate is meant to tell you who is a threat. Anger is meant to tell you that someone is doing something they really shouldn’t be doing. (This is one reason why, in spiritual communities which say one should never be angry, abusers manage to get away with abusing for a long, long time.) Jealousy tells you you’re falling behind and not living up to your potential.

………

Anyway, the main problem with hate and anger is that they are easily hijacked and hook onto targets who aren’t actually dangerous, but merely “foreign.” As with the companion feeling of loyalty, most of modern “leadership” is hijacking tribal emotions and pointing them in the wrong direction. Loyalty to Biden or Trump (both evil men who have done, and will do, horrible things) is insane unless you’re directly part of the gravy train.

We humans have very badly f%$#ed up our emotional guidance systems. They’re supposed to point you towards what’s good for you and warn you about what’s bad for you. Trump is bad for almost everyone, and so is Biden. So are most Democratic and Republican politicians, almost all CEOs of major companies, and so on and so forth.

So go ahead and hate them, just don’t let it be chronic or hijack your ability to make decisions. It’s definitely appropriate.

The people who are dangerous to you and who have, over 40 years, impoverished Americans, are your own leaders. Hate threats, they are a threat.
(%$# mine)

People who say that you should not hate are wrong.

You should watch yourself and make sure that your hate does not make you stupid.

A Special Message from the Writers at Jacobin

We Shouldn’t Have to Remind People George W. Bush Was a Terrible President

Seriously people:  He ran a relentlessly corrupt administration, brushed off the threats that led to the 911 attacks, killed somewhere between ½ and 1 million Iraqis, politicized threats to national security, eviscerated FEMA (Hurricane Katrina), etc.

Yeah, and his brother stole the election for him in 2000.

This is a bad man who should be spending his days in jail in The Hague.

He is a not a good person.

I've Seen This Play Before, and I Know Who Will Prevail


Do not pick a fight with this guy
It appears that the Mayor of Danbury, Connecticut is VERY angry about a recent bit that John Oliver did on juries.

Specifically, he's angry that John Oliver had the throw-away line, "F%$# Danbury," when he was discussing disparities in jury selections, and highlighted specific circumstances in Hartford and New Britain, Connecticut where the residents of those cities (about ⅔ of the minority population in those judicial districts) were excluded.

The Mayor of Danbury will not allow this to stand, and so will rename the local sewage treatment plant after the comedian, because, and this is a quote, "Why? Because it’s full of crap just like you, John."

I get that the Mayor of Danbury is offended, but I've seen what Oliver did to killer coal baron Bob Murray (Also here), and you ain't gonna win this fight.

Picking a fight with John Oliver is like wrestling with a pig, you both get dirty, and the pig loves:
Officials in Danbury, Connecticut, say they will name their sewage plant after the comedian John Oliver, in retaliation for an expletive-filled rant about the city on his HBO show.

Mayor Mark Boughton announced the move on his Facebook page.

“We are going to rename it the John Oliver Memorial Sewer Plant,” the Republican mayor said. “Why? Because it’s full of crap just like you, John.”

In a recent episode of HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, the British-born comic explored racial disparities in the jury selection process, citing problems in Hartford and New Britain.

“If you’re going to forget a town in Connecticut,” he said, “why not forget Danbury? Because, and this is true, f%$# Danbury!”

Noting Danbury’s “charming railway museum” and its “historic Hearthstone Castle”, he said: “Danbury, Connecticut can eat my whole ass.”

Oliver added that he knew “exactly three things about Danbury. USA Today ranked it the second-best city to live in 2015, it was once the center of the American hat industry and if you’re from there, you have a standing invite to come get a thrashing from John Oliver, children included, f%$# you.”
(%$# Mine)

I know very little about Danbury.  I've never been there, even when I was living in Connecticut, though I might have driven through it on the way to New York City, but I do know this:  Don't pick a fight with John Oliver.

You have introduced yourself as a world of hurt.

22 August 2020

A New Opiate for the Masses?

Caitlin Johnstone has a very interesting take on QAnon.

Specifically, she thinks that it is a deliberate attempt to sideline the. "Revolutionary Impulse,".

If you subscribe to Marx's theories on religion, there, as Zathras would say, "Symmetry." There is an astonishing level of similarity between the tin-foil hat brigade and the more extreme religions:
The U.S. president has moved from tacit endorsement and evading questions on the toxic QAnon psyop to directly endorsing and supporting it, telling reporters “I don’t know much about the movement other than I understand they like me very much, which I appreciate,” and saying they’re just people who love their country and don’t like seeing what’s happening in places like Portland, Chicago and New York City.

Asked about the driving theory behind QAnon — that Trump is waging a covert war against a satanic pedopheliac baby-eating Deep State —Trump endorsed the idea but reframed it by saying that he’s leading a fight against “a radical left philosophy.”

………

I write against QAnon periodically for the exact same reason I write against the plutocratic media: it’s an obvious propaganda construct designed to manufacture support for the status quo among people who otherwise would not support it. It presents itself as an exciting movement where the little guy is finally rising up and throwing off the chains of the tyrannical forces which have been exploiting and oppressing us, yet in reality all it’s doing is telling a discontented sector of the population to relax and “trust the plan” and put all their faith in the leader of the US government.
As the United States becomes less religious over time, classic Marxist analysis would suggest that something else would take its place, and that capital would support this to distract the masses.

QAnon does seem to check all the right boxes.

Your Post Office F%$#ery Update


This is not a surprise.  Postmaster Louis DeJoy has been lying about a lot, and he has continued to sabotage it while promising that he is not doing so:
Postal workers in Washington State have reinstalled high-speed mail sorting machines—dismantled after controversial orders from the U.S. Postal Service— despite USPS orders not to put machines back in use.

………

Only two facilities, Seattle-Tacoma and one in Dallas, seem to be ignoring the Postal Service’s directive to leave decommissioned sorting machines out of use.
I'm kind of surprised that we haven't seen more insubordination from the Post Office rank and file.

In related news, it turns out that DeJoy lied about the extant of the slow-downs that he has created in mail delivery:
You’re not just imagining it: The mail really is experiencing widespread delays, according to new internal United States Postal Service documents.

The documents were published by Rep. Carolyn Maloney ahead of a Monday hearing with Postmaster General Louis DeJoy before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. Motherboard previously reported that a mix of the coronavirus pandemic, more restrictive overtime policies, and a restriction on the amount of time that mail can be sorted and loaded onto mail trucks before they go out has led to delays in mail delivery. Maloney said that "these new documents show that the delays are far worse than we were told” by DeJoy.

The new documents, a Postmaster General “Service Performance Measurement” briefing prepared for DeJoy on August 12, seemingly show the actual impact of those policies. Across the board, “on-time” scores have fallen sharply since early July. Presorted first-class mail is getting delivered late 8.1 percent more often than baseline, marketing mail (8.42 percent), periodicals (9.57 percent), and even Priority Mail (7.97 percent) have seen similar drops.
Lies from Trump and his  Evil Minions?  Hoocoodanode?