18 March 2019

Update no.897

Update from the Sunland
11.3.19 – 17.3.19
Blog version:  http://heartlandupdate.blogspot.com/


            The follow-up news items:
-- Wow, things moved very fast in the wake of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 (EH302) accident [896], less than five (5) months after the Lion Air Flight 610 (LN610) crashed shortly after takeoff [29.10.2018; 878, 889].  First, the PRC grounded the Boeing B737-MAX8, followed by European countries, and then on Wednesday the United States grounded the aircraft as well as B737-MAX9, which is sufficiently similar.  I have urged caution is speculating and jumping to conclusions.  There is so much we do not know, yet.  The CVR & FDR have reportedly been recovered in both events, so I believe the investigators will eventually determine the likely cause.  So much of this reaction appears to be emotional rather than logical or factual.
            Late Sunday, public disclosure of investigations by federal prosecutors and Transportation Department official, including the department’s Inspector General, raised pressure on Boeing. Knowing how aircraft are certified, there are more than a few Boeing Designated Engineering Representatives (DERs), who are feeling very vulnerable.  Their contribution to the certification of the B737-MAX8 and undoubtedly the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) will be examined in minute detail, and their decisions and action questioned in comparable detail.
            Most of the speculative attention in both accidents has been focused on the aircraft’s MCAS, ostensibly designed to be a stability augmentation system and stall protection provision.  I remember the almost convulsive resistance, especially among big iron pilots, against "glass" cockpit instrumentation in the 70s.  Change is always difficult.  Many of us earned our wings with cables from stick to control surface & zero augmentation.  I was part of the change to hydraulics and no cables, and then fly-by-wire electronic systems.  I've flown experimental aircraft at the highest level of software augmentation, i.e., not flyable without augmentation.  With the suggested MCAS control issues with these aircraft, I certainly cannot discount an "error" in the code or failure modes of that augmentation.  As we dove into the AF447 [391486] augmentation, I found it incredible that the failure modes seemed to be so shallow; they bet the farm on redundancy without apparent consideration of a common anomaly.  Could both accidents be a direct consequence of inadequate failure modes analysis or a coding error, i.e., an aircraft problem?  Yes, absolutely, but those are not the only reasons these two events could happen or might have happened.  I am inherently suspicious of coincidence, which makes the similarities rather scary and daunting, but I continue to contend we do not have sufficient facts for such a drastic action.  I'm just sayin'.
            American Airlines felt compelled to issue a broad general message to its customers, stating: “Yesterday, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) temporarily grounded all Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, including the 24 MAX aircraft operated by American.  We have complied with the directive, which does not apply to our fleet of Boeing 737-800 aircraft.”  The message is a reflection of the serious consequences of broad grounding.  They had to ensure their customers differentiated between the B737-800 and the B737-MAX8.
            Of course, as is the nature of the current fella in the Oval Office, the BIC just had to tweet his omniscient knowledge for the rest of us ignorant folks.
Airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly.  Pilots are no longer needed, but rather computer scientists from MIT.  I see it all the time in many products. Always seeking to go one unnecessary step further, when often old and simpler is far better. Split second decisions are....
7:00 AM - 12 Mar 2019
....needed, and the complexity creates danger. All of this for great cost yet very little gain. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want Albert Einstein to be my pilot.  I want great flying professionals that are allowed to easily and quickly take control of a plane!
7:12 AM - 12 Mar 2019
I just have no idea what we would do without the BIC’s infinite wisdom, I said with dripping sarcasm. The BIC seems to have some blind obsession with the past.  As I’ve asked far too many times, how far back does he wish to withdraw to?   . . . 50 years? . . . 100 years?  Does he have any clue what his retreat to the simplicity of the past means?  I doubt he has even the remotest clue.  If the BIC does not have anything constructive to offer (which he very rarely does), he would be far better served and We, the People, would be less abused, if he just kept his damn thoughts to himself.  The BIC’s comments were not helpful.
-- The Brexit [758] disaster continues to unfold and compound in the United Kingdom and for Her Majesty’s Government.  MPs rejected Prime Minister May’s Plan A [19.1.2019; 889] by a vote of 202-432, and shortly thereafter rejected no-confidence of May’s administration by a vote of 306-325. This week, MPs rejected May’s Plan B by a vote of 242-391 (a reduced margin, so progress I suppose). Then, with the deadline of 29.March approaching, MPs voted 413-202 to seek a three (3) month delay in the execution date.  There is no guarantee the European Union will accept the request, so the drama continues.
            The Brexit fiasco may well become the ultimate example of why representative democracy is a far wiser approach to governance than pure democracy.  We, the People, cannot possibly do the work necessary for informed, responsible governance.  We must focus upon electing the best-qualified representatives we can to act on our behalf.  An action as serious as Brexit should have never been placed before general citizens, but that is water under the bridge, as they say.
            To the last point, the following article is most appropriate:
“How a Bizarre Massachusetts Election Explains the Brexit Chaos”
The Interpreter newsletter, by Max Fisher and Amanda Taub
New York Times
Published: Thursday, March 14, 2019
I see the facts of the article in a somewhat different light—the fallacy of simple majority rule.  To me, the facts presented validate the wisdom of the Founders & Framers in creating a system of checks & balances within a representative democracy.
-- After such an unusually light sentence last week for former BIC campaign manager Paul Manafort [896], his second sentencing this week added another 43 month, which does not sound like much for his crimes.  However, the significant stipulation was the sentences would be served consecutively rather than concurrently.  With credit for time served so far, he is facing 7.5 additional years in federal prison, which at his age may well be a virtual life sentence, and rightly so.  Further, he is not finished, since he is facing state mortgage fraud charges in New York.
-- The House of Representatives passed H.Con.Res.24 - Expressing the sense of Congress that the report of Special Counsel Mueller should be made available to the public and to Congress, by a vote of 420-0-0-4(11).  Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, introduced the bill.  It is not clear what or when the Senate may act on the resolution.
            Of course, what would contemporary life be without the BIC giving us the benefit of his immense and unbounded wisdom!
So, if there was knowingly & acknowledged to be ‘zero’ crime when the Special Counsel was appointed, and if the appointment was made based on the Fake Dossier (paid for by Crooked Hillary) and now disgraced Andrew McCabe (he & all stated no crime), then the Special Counsel.......
6:47 AM - 15 Mar 2019
....should never have been appointed and there should be no Mueller Report.  This was an illegal & conflicted investigation in search of a crime.  Russian Collusion was nothing more than an excuse by the Democrats for losing an Election that they thought they were going to win.....
6:55 AM - 15 Mar 2019
6:56 AM - 15 Mar 2019
I read and re-read the BIC’s words and I can only shake my head in dismay and bewilderment, which is most likely precisely the response the BIC sought to induce among We, the People.  First and foremost, the BIC clearly and unequivocally does not understand, appreciate, and perhaps even comprehend the principles of law at issue in his situation specifically and the Special Counsel’s investigation in general.  I still believe that if the BIC was as innocent and abused as he claims and portrays in his tweets, you would think he would be encouraging full disclosure of the Special Counsel’s report.  Lastly, what exactly has happened to the BIC (yet)? Is he anticipating what he knows to be true and what is ultimately coming his way?  Is he feeling profoundly guilty?
-- On Thursday, Congress passed H.J.Res.46 - Relating to a national emergency declared [893] by the President on February 15, 2019 [Senate: 59-41-0-0(0); House: 245-182-0-5(3)].  As expected, the next day, the BIC officially signed his first veto, sending the resolution back to Congress.  Based on the original passage votes, neither chamber appears to have sufficient votes to override the president’s veto [67 in the Senate; 292 in the House].  It is not clear whether either chamber will attempt to obtain an override vote count.  If Congress fails to override, which is likely, the challenge to the BIC’s “emergency declaration” will turn to the Judiciary.  As I understand the law, the court challenge may well validate that under the law the BIC has the authority, although the BIC’s action is unwise, especially in the light of congressional action.  The potential of an unconstitutional ruling from one or more of the courts with jurisdiction is quite high, based on the president’s violation of separation of powers.

            try to avoid commenting on criminal cases in our society, since such things represent the worst of our society.  However, there are exceptions; we have another exception this week.  A college admissions fraud and bribery scheme reached public disclosure this week.  A list of several dozen of the rich & famous, college officials and culpable consultants was made public.  Among those charged and arrested were actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin. What made this broad case drop to the disgusting level was Loughlin’s daughter, Olivia Jade, who was the beneficiary of her mother’s half million-dollar bribe to the University of Southern California (USC).  Young Olivia Jade had a blog video on-line declaring to the world she could not care less about attending classes or learning anything; she was only at USC to party and have a good time, or perhaps hawk her cosmetic products.  Beyond the sense of entitlement that wealthy people feel belongs to their money, Olivia Jade has become the new face of ungrateful, spoiled, unworthy children who deserve all the ostracism and condemnation society can muster up to thwart her sense of entitlement.  While Olivia Jade’s disgusting shallowness did not result in the deaths of innocent people like the revolting affluenza case of Ethan Couch [626], her actions should attract the same level of condemnation whether she knew of her mother’s bribes or not.  It is rare that we directly witness the blatant corruption of money; this is one of those moments.

            The Senate passed S.J.Res.7 - A joint resolution to direct the removal of United States Armed Forces from hostilities in the Republic of Yemen that have not been authorized by Congress, by a vote of 54-46-0-0(0).  The House has not yet voted on the resolution, but is expected to do so soon.  The BIC may veto this resolution as well, if it makes it to his desk.  I have mixed views of this particular conflict, since it is yet another proxy war exploiting religious divisions.

            Another terrible terrorist attack came to us all at the hands of a white supremacist in Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand. A white Australian citizen attacked two mosques on Friday during prayers, killing 50 innocent people and wounding several dozen other, some of whom remain in jeopardy.  Worse, and even more insulting, the perpetrator referred to the BIC and other white nationalists as his inspiration. Our hearts and prayers go out to those we lost and those in pain from this senseless attack.  Further, I condemn the implicit or tacit support the BIC consistently demonstrates for white nationalists in this Grand Republic, and now by inference, throughout the world.

            Then, with disgustingly perfect timing in the moment of white supremacist terrorism in New Zealand, the BIC’s words of incitement come to us from a Breitbart interview of the BIC.
            The BIC stated:
So here’s the thing—it’s so terrible what’s happening. You know, the left plays a tougher game, it’s very funny.  I actually think that the people on the right are tougher, but they don’t play it tougher.  Okay?  I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump – I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough — until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad.  But the left plays it cuter and tougher.  Like with all the nonsense that they do in Congress … with all this invest[igations]—that’s all they want to do is –you know, they do things that are nasty. Republicans never played this.” [emphasis by me]
            What on God’s little green Earth does the BIC think is going to happen when he makes such statements in public (or private for that matter).  The white supremacists among his supporters, and now apparently worldwide, see those words and think, ah-ha, open season on anyone not like me. The BIC’s army of deniers will undoubtedly claim their fearless leader—the OSGOO—made no direct statement of action . . . just like an experience Mafia boss.  The BIC has consistently been disgustingly wrong in his support of white nationalists; so he remains.

            Comments and contributions from Update no.896:
Comment to the Blog:
“I have read Rep. Ilhan Omar’s words that kicked off the debate over her supposed anti-Semitism.  That notion is nonsense.  She made no reference to the Jewish people or religion.  Rep. Omar decried the influence of the Israeli government’s lobbying arm, AIPAC, on United States politicians.  The ensuing furor demonstrates the truth of her criticism.
“The timing of the U.S. Women’s soccer team’s complaint, three months ahead of the World Cup, is neither coincidence nor offensive to me.  Discrimination in sports is an ethical issue, but it’s also a business matter.  The timing is sound business practice.
“The crashes of two new Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft clearly call for an investigation.  Perhaps aircraft regulation is also in order.
“I’ll note that the reason I don’t describe myself by the political science term ‘libertarian’ is that the Libertarian Party in the United States includes corporations and other collective entities as free entities.  I insist on equal (and broad) freedoms for people, but I would limit such freedoms for groups of any sort.  By their nature, groups have more power than individuals.  That is how I find myself sometimes in agreement with Rand Paul and sometimes very sharply opposed to his positions.”
My response to the Blog:
            Exactly my point regarding Representative Omar’s public statements!  Her criticism is justified, warranted and appropriate to my knowledge.  We do not have to agree with her, but we need to listen without curtailing her speech.  Criticizing Israel and the lopsided U.S. support for Israel has absolutely nothing to do with the state-religion.  I hope Representative Omar stands up for her right to speak.  None of us can speak to what is in her heart; however, in her carefully chosen public words, she has avoided any mention or criticism of religion or even religious belief.  As long as she adheres to that constraint, I encourage her to call ‘em as she sees ‘em.
            Re: equal pay for professional athletes. While I have been a long-time advocate of equal treatment of women, I must urge caution in that even on the same team at the same time every member is not paid the same.  The pay scale depends upon the value and contribution of each member of the team.  It is no different from the military, business, or even the church.  Whether they are paid comparably to the revenue they generate is the appropriate question.
            Oh, there will be investigations of both accidents.  Whether regulation is warranted remains TBD.  I heard disturbing anecdotal information after the Lion Air event, and if proven true, I would tend to agree—Boeing may have screwed the pooch.  When I was still in the experimental flight business, I did not react well to engineers changing things without informing me of the changes and consequences.  The phrase I heard all too often was the changes “were just improvements for production,” as if they were unimportant.   I’m still waiting for the findings on both accidents.
            I’m with you.  I struggle with ascribing rights to groups like corporations that are organizational constructs of convenience.  I cannot find affinity with any political party. I agree with elements, but not the whole.  In my later years, I have come to see party affiliations in the same context as mob rule.  One accomplished agitator can turn the mob, e.g., the BIC.  The Republican Party is not the party of Lincoln or even Goldwater.

Another contribution:
“Cap, just heard moments ago on the BBC the 737 max has been barred from flying in U/K airspace.”
My reply:
            That's news.  Hadn't heard that, yet.  Very sad in so many ways.  The sooner they get to the bottom of both accidents the better.  Has the CAA grounded the B737-MAX8 under UK registration?
 . . . Round two:
“Cap, I understand ‘flying in U/K airspace.’
“Mrs. May has this evening lost her modified Brexit motion in parliament.  What next?
Have you heard of the expression ‘government of the people by the people’?  All I can say is if we end up with a general election look out those MPs who voted this evening against the overall wishes of their constituents.  They will be looking for a new job.”
 . . . my reply to round two:
            The situation with the B-737-MAX8 is getting out of hand.  The groundings appear to be predominantly (if not solely) emotional rather than based on factual information.  I am disturbed by the coincidences in the LN610 & EH302 accidents, but coincidence is not sufficient rationale for such drastic action.  Before I got this response completed, the U.S. has joined the rest of the world and ordered grounding of the B-737-MAX8; my opinion, so far, has not changed.
            Thx for the update on the Brexit situation. I note yet another defeat for HMG, by a lower margin, although PMs have apparently ruled out any “No-Deal Brexit.”  I’m not sure what exactly that means.  The deadline is the 29th of March.
 . . . Round three:
“Our latest news told us that your homeland has not followed us and others- I guess you have been updated.
“Another vote lost by Mrs. May this evening-MPs do not want a no deal Brexit.
“Well this is being thought of as the biggest parliamentary disorder in history.”
 . . . my reply to round three:
            I suspect your news has caught up by now. I read the “Emergency Order of Prohibition” grounding the B737-MAX8 & adding the MAX9.  The grounding is open-ended with no criteria for removal.  While I remain quite disturbed by the similarities in the two accidents, I am struggling with the basis for the grounding.  Nonetheless, the deal is done . . . and of course, the BIC wanted full credit for the decisive action.
            From my distant perspective, I think I would agree with the assessment of the “biggest parliamentary disorder in history” based on the facts available.  The critical factor, it seems to me, is the choice of placing the question before the voters by referendum.  Now, Parliament is left with trying to figure out how to comply with the will of the voters.  I have absolutely no idea what rejection of a “no-deal Brexit” means with respect to the rejection of May’s Plan A & Plan B deals.  This is really getting crazy confusing, which does not bode well for what is going to happen, with or without a deal, on the 29thof March.  The consequences to Great Britain, Europe and the World are incalculable . . . but, will eventually be fully realized.  Parliament seems to be paralyzed into inaction, which is the worst mode, in my humble opinion.  I long ago learned that any action is better than inaction.
 . . . Round four:
“What dreadful news from Christchurch NZ.  My legion branch is associated with a NZ branch of their Legion on the outskirts of Christchurch.
“The problem you ask about is a lack of strong leadership from the senior politicians and the abject willingness of the MPs to be mislead by their own personal views instead of following the requirements of the party they belong to.  We have even had senior cabinet members following the ‘dreams’ of their own interpretations of these events.
“Of course the current ruling party, Conservatives, had an absolutely minimum majority in the house and rely on a Northern Irish party to obtain a majority.  Of course Northern Irish people are heavily involved in the effects of Brexit because they will, should we finally leave the EU be the only boarder link we will have with the EU.
“Mrs. May is under a lot of pressure, looks and sounds generally exhausted.
“What myself and I suspect you may find so difficult to savvy is the hopeless attitude our elected members obligate to their responsibilities to us the electorate that put them in power.  As a former RAF member I would certainly be looking to remove these individuals from my team. I suspect the same applies to you.”
 . . . my reply to round four:
            Yes, the events in Christchurch were dreadfully tragic.  My prayers and condolences go to the citizens of New Zealand who have suffered this insult and terrible loss.  More selfishly, it is deeply depressing that our BIC—the disgusting occupant of the Oval Office—bears responsibility for this horrendous terrorist attack.  The perpetrator actually quoted the BIC in his manifesto. Words matter!  This is the kind of thing we are going to see more of until the memory and influence of the BIC can be expunged from our lives.
            Thank you for your observations regarding the Brexit situation.  Ms. May is trying mightily to herd a bunch of feral cats; it has to be enormously exhausting.  I hold considerable empathy for her dignity, demeanor and perseverance in her efforts to bring order from this chaos.  Unfortunately, I suspect the Brexit experience will be, once it is all said & done, and in the history books, a prime, if not paramount, example of why representative democracy is the best form of governance.  In a pure democracy, We, the People, cannot possibly devote the time and energy, set aside access to highly sensitive intelligence, necessary to act upon the myriad of local, national and international situations the government must deal with in modern life.  I see the original Brexit referendum vote [23.6.2016; 758] as an emotional vote, rather than a logical or factual vote; and perhaps, the prime, if not paramount, example for history of why such questions are inappropriate for We, the People; we have no hope of understanding all of the entanglements and intricacies of such arrangements.  

            Mvery best wishes to all.  Take care of yourselves and each other.
Cap                        :-)