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Apr 05 2019

Self Regulation

Oh yeah. This sooo works.

The Jungle – Upton Sinclair

“Bubbly Creek” is an arm of the Chicago River, and forms the southern boundary of the yards: all the drainage of the square mile of packing houses empties into it, so that it is really a great open sewer a hundred or two feet wide. One long arm of it is blind, and the filth stays there forever and a day. The grease and chemicals that are poured into it undergo all sorts of strange transformations, which are the cause of its name; it is constantly in motion, as if huge fish were feeding in it, or great leviathans disporting themselves in its depths. Bubbles of carbonic acid gas will rise to the surface and burst, and make rings two or three feet wide. Here and there the grease and filth have caked solid, and the creek looks like a bed of lava; chickens walk about on it, feeding, and many times an unwary stranger has started to stroll across, and vanished temporarily. The packers used to leave the creek that way, till every now and then the surface would catch on fire and burn furiously, and the fire department would have to come and put it out. Once, however, an ingenious stranger came and started to gather this filth in scows, to make lard out of; then the packers took the cue, and got out an injunction to stop him, and afterward gathered it themselves. The banks of “Bubbly Creek” are plastered thick with hairs, and this also the packers gather and clean.

And there were things even stranger than this, according to the gossip of the men. The packers had secret mains, through which they stole billions of gallons of the city’s water. The newspapers had been full of this scandal–once there had even been an investigation, and an actual uncovering of the pipes; but nobody had been punished, and the thing went right on. And then there was the condemned meat industry, with its endless horrors. The people of Chicago saw the government inspectors in Packingtown, and they all took that to mean that they were protected from diseased meat; they did not understand that these hundred and sixty-three inspectors had been appointed at the request of the packers, and that they were paid by the United States government to certify that all the diseased meat was kept in the state. They had no authority beyond that; for the inspection of meat to be sold in the city and state the whole force in Packingtown consisted of three henchmen of the local political machine!

Self-Regulation of Boeing 737 MAX May Have Led to Major Flaws in Flight Control System
By Matt Stieb, New York Magazine
Mar. 17, 2019

According to the Seattle Times, the FAA has made a habit of delegating parts of the regulation process to Boeing due to cuts in funding. For the 737 MAX, FAA managers reportedly pressured the agency’s safety engineers to hand over safety assessments to Boeing itself, and to green-light the company’s findings. Remarkably, the paper was working on the report prior to the crash of the Ethiopian Airlines flight, which killed all 157 occupants onboard: “Both Boeing and the FAA were informed of the specifics of this story and were asked for responses 11 days ago, before the second crash of a 737 MAX last Sunday.”

In 2015, Boeing reportedly pushed to expedite the 737 MAX’s approval in order to compete with the comparable Airbus A320neo, which had hit the market nine months ahead of Boeing’s newest 737 model. Several FAA employees told the Seattle Times that their managers asked them to hurry up the process, and hand over more work to Boeing. “There was constant pressure to reevaluate our initial decisions,” said one former FAA safety engineer. “Review was rushed to reach certain certification dates.”

Much of Boeing’s self-certification concerned the 737 MAX’s flight control program, the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS). The FAA reportedly allowed Boeing to handle the safety analysis on the MCAS, and the report the company handed over — which certified the plane as flight-ready — had several flaws.

According to the Seattle Times, the safety assessments “understated the power of the [MCAS],” which could move the plane’s tail “four times farther than was stated in the initial safety analysis.” The extra power was necessary because the MAX’s large engines were placed farther forward on the wing. However, the system “failed to account” for how it could “reset itself each time a pilot responded.” On the Lion Air flight, black-box data suggests that each time the captain pulled the plane’s nose up, the “MCAS kicked in … to push the nose down again,” causing the plane to crash into the Java Sea 12 minutes after takeoff.

To help get the 737 MAX into the air more quickly, Boeing reportedly decided that its pilots would not need a full round of training on the MCAS system. According to the Seattle Times, it wasn’t even mentioned in their flight manuals. Dennis Tajer, a spokesperson for the Allied Pilots Association at American Airlines, told the paper that his training on the 737 MAX was made up of a one-hour session on an iPad that did not have simulator training. By cutting down on pilot instruction, Boeing was able to cut significant costs for the airlines that bought the plane. The Boeing site promised prospective buyers that “as you build your 737 MAX fleet, millions of dollars will be saved because of its commonality” with the prior 737 generation.

This is merely illustrative. The real reason I avoid flying is that Airports are enormously inconvenient and have become almost impossible since the 9/11 Pretend Security Show kicked in. Also, about Computers of which I know a thing or two- it’s never a surprise when they screw up, the wonder is they work at all, it’s like a singing dog.

Donald Trump Is Trying to Kill You
By Paul Krugman, The New York Times
April 4, 2019

(T)he biggest death toll is likely to come from Trump’s agenda of deregulation — or maybe we should call it “deregulation,” because his administration is curiously selective about which industries it wants to leave alone.

Consider two recent events that help capture the deadly strangeness of what’s going on.

One is the administration’s plan for hog plants to take over much of the federal responsibility for food safety inspections. And why not? It’s not as if we’ve seen safety problems arise from self-regulation in, say, the aircraft industry, have we? Or as if we ever experience major outbreaks of food-borne illness? Or as if there was a reason the U.S. government stepped in to regulate meatpacking in the first place?

Now, you could see the Trump administration’s willingness to trust the meat industry to keep our meat safe as part of an overall attack on government regulation, a willingness to trust profit-making businesses to do the right thing and let the market rule. And there’s something to that, but it’s not the whole story, as illustrated by another event: Trump’s declaration the other day that wind turbines cause cancer.

Now, you could put this down to personal derangement: Trump has had an irrational hatred for wind power ever since he failed to prevent construction of a wind farm near his Scottish golf course. And Trump seems deranged and irrational on so many issues that one more bizarre claim hardly seems to matter.

But there’s more to this than just another Trumpism. After all, we normally think of Republicans in general, and Trump in particular, as people who minimize or deny the “negative externalities” imposed by some business activities — the uncompensated costs they impose on other people or businesses.

For example, the Trump administration wants to roll back rules that limit emissions of mercury from power plants. And in pursuit of that goal, it wants to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from taking account of many of the benefits from reduced mercury emissions, such as an associated reduction in nitrogen oxide.

But when it comes to renewable energy, Trump and company are suddenly very worried about supposed negative side effects, which generally exist only in their imagination. Last year the administration floated a proposal that would have forced the operators of electricity grids to subsidize coal and nuclear energy. The supposed rationale was that new sources were threatening to destabilize those grids — but the grid operators themselves denied that this was the case.

So it’s deregulation for some, but dire warnings about imaginary threats for others. What’s going on?

Part of the answer is, follow the money. Political contributions from the meat-processing industry overwhelmingly favor Republicans. Coal mining supports the G.O.P. almost exclusively. Alternative energy, on the other hand, generally favors Democrats.

There are probably other things, too. If you’re a party that wishes we could go back to the 1950s (but without the 91 percent top tax rate), you’re going to have a hard time accepting the reality that hippie-dippy, unmanly things like wind and solar power are becoming ever more cost-competitive.

Whatever the drivers of Trump policy, the fact, as I said, is that it will kill people. Wind turbines don’t cause cancer, but coal-burning power plants do — along with many other ailments. The Trump administration’s own estimates indicate that its relaxation of coal pollution rules will kill more than 1,000 Americans every year. If the administration gets to implement its full agenda — not just deregulation of many industries, but discrimination against industries it doesn’t like, such as renewable energy — the toll will be much higher.

So if you eat meat — or, for that matter, drink water or breathe air — there’s a real sense in which Donald Trump is trying to kill you. And even if he’s turned out of office next year, for many Americans it will be too late.

I think Herr Doktor Professor errs in implying this is a policy peculiar to Unindicted Co-conspirator Bottomless Pinocchio. It has been a core part of the Republican Party Agenda for 40 years or more.

The economic fallacy is that external costs do not exist because the are borne by the general population/environment. The truth is that we subsidize all kinds of businesses in all kinds of ways and Corporations as profit making Institutions are creatures of State dispensation at their core. They are not people, they are fictions of concentrated money.

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