737 Max 8

Ethiopian airliner down in Africa

The autopilot disengaging with a out of trim condition will cause a more violent pitching moment…

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

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

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

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

The plane “digs in” with neutral controls, and further, it “pitches up” even with forward stick…

sims have very little fidelity in reproducing a actual fully stalled condition…

how do you tell in a limited timeframe whether MCAS is trying to save your life or trying to kill you…?

The only reason to put this software system in the plane is because of the bigger engines (that had to be placed in a different area of the wings), which can cause the aircraft to stall…

The new MAX aircraft have been stretched to have over 200 seats. This means the engines go further back causing propensity to stall…

Nowhere else in the original manual were there details on what the MCAS does, bad indications and how to turn it off were included…

I thought the issue was that the engines were relatively speaking, further forward and higher which leads to the stall?

It seems flicking the switches is the only real option, easier said than done when you’re hauling back 50Kgs amidst the disco and wondering WTF?..

Boeing are explicit about overuse of stabiliser trim
during the approach to stall recovery. Positioning the stabiliser in such a sense can severely reduce elevator authority – was this not the contributing factor in the FlyDubai 738 crash in Rostov?..

Big well done to Southwest Airlines Safety Department for retrofitting their Max’s with the optional head down AoA display after the Lion Air accident!..

One cannot overide manually, the system stays in and you have to motor the trim fwd electronically using the system.

Happened with Lion Air…

Have you read what FAA says? They can’t draw any conclusions…

Is there no definitive visual or auditory signal that MCAS is active?..

Every 737 has 2 Angle Of Attack indicators, and an OPTIONAL warning light for a difference in value between the two. SW have paid extra to display the actual AOA value displayed on the respective pilots instruments…

Correct, except the AOA disagree warning light is an optional extra on the 737 MAX, so not every 737 has it…

Common sense and basic principles of human engineering dictate that a system or application that creates this much uncertainty and confusion, even among experts in a discipline, is begging for redesign…

The Lion Air crash happened presumably because of a faulty AOA indicator…

It is a computer controlled solution to aerodynamic instability inherent in the design.

While computerized aerodynamic stabilization of inherently unstable new designs may be the trajectory of future, to apply it as a fix as we push 50 year old designs to new limits may prove to be a mistake…

737 MAX stabilizer cutout switches are guarded. With the guards in their normal, closed positions the switches are forced into the position that provides normal operation of the stabilizer. To cutout the stabilizer motor (i.e., disable electric trim from any source) the guards must be raised and the switches moved to the position that is only possible with the guards raised. Guarded switches of this sort provide two very strong levels of safety. First they make it very difficult/impossible to toggle the switch inadvertently as the guard must be raised before the switch can be toggled. Second they make the polarity of the switch very clear as normal operation position is the only one possible with the guard closed…


MCAS is implemented within the two Flight Control Computers (FCCs). The Left FCC uses the Left AOA sensor for MCAS and the Right FCC uses the Right AOA sensor for MCAS. Only one FCC operates at a time to provide MCAS commands. With electrical power to the FCCs maintained, the unit that provides MCAS changes between flights. In this manner, the AOA sensor that is used for MCAS changes with each flight…

10 seconds, or 2 degrees forward, for each operation of MCAS. And after 5 seconds, you get another 2 degrees of trim, until you end up with full forward trim. It was designed for slow speed, but if it happens inadvertently at high speed, you could be in the sh1t…

The report said that the Fly Dubai pilots trimmed forward for 10 seconds…

If the f/o was flying, he only had 200 hours. After flaps up, the stick shaker goes off, which is mighty disconcerning, and MCAS bungs in a load of trim. The captain cannot see why the trim is trimming, and the low-hours f/o has no clue (seen that many times). The captian thinks he has an airspeed problem and is stalling, and tells the f/o to lower the nose – which the f/o does rather easily, because he is holding a load of back pressure. MCAS then bungs in another load of trim, and the f/o is now really struggling with the controls – never having felt an aircraft behave like this (at this stage, you need about 30 kg of force to hold the aircraft level).

The captain is still convinced the airspeed is wrong and they may be stalling (stick shaker still going), and shouts “I have control”, but does not realise so much pitch force is necessary, so the aircraft instantly pitches forward into a steep dive. Captain is mighty startled by this – is this pitch down the result of a stall? He has forgotten all about the previous trim episodes, and just hauls back on the stick. But MCAS now gives another load of forward trim, which makes the aircraft completely unflyable (60 kg of force necessary on the stick). And here comes terra firma….

Probably the MCAS subsystem will enter the course books of engineering schools, as a textbook example of AS, artificial stupidity, a system designed to be stupid, when you actually need a smart system…

Which engineering workgroup at Boeing could in their sane minds design such a system, that is supposed to save you from a stall but instead decisively flies you into the ground?..

The 737 is an old aircraft with bits bolted on over the decades…

Two professional airline crews have been unable to prevent their aircraft from flying them into the ground/sea…

Aerodynamic forces increase with the square of airspeed…

The Lion crew kept the aircraft reasonably steady for 6 minutes after MCAS issues presented, continuously and manually counteracting the MCAS nose down events that occurred during that whole time. The crew knew they had a stabilizer runaway b/c they kept using the electric trim to correct it. They kept the aircraft basically level at 5000 feet for that 6 minute duration, until, for the last four MCAS nose down commands

The system was obiously never designed to recognise that the aircraft was not stalled…

Why was there not a line of code that says: if ASI greater than 210 kts, deactivate system?..

It’s a systemic issue based on the ever increasing demand for air travel globally and the real cost involved in properly training pilots. The current reality is that the focus is on increasingly complex automation instead of pilot training…

“As a precautionary measure, EASA has published today an Airworthiness Directive, effective as of 19:00 UTC, suspending all flight operations of all Boeing Model 737-8 MAX and 737-9 MAX aeroplanes in Europe…”

If Normal-law drops out because of input errors, the aircraft defaults to Alternate-law, which is a basic control system running on attitude and power…

Boeing effectively using the trimmer as a primary flight control – deliberately placing the aircraft out of trim.

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Venezuela Suffers Power Outage

From MoA on March 4th:

To cover for the non-legal way Random Guyaidó “swore himself in” the Times now alleges that President Maduro did similar…

Maduro can sit this out. Guaidó’s claims to the presidency are clearly illegal. He has failed to gain support at every step of his way. The army stands strongly behind the government.

From the comments:

Next step for Bolton and Abrams may be to hit Guaido and blame it on Maduro…

Venezuela doesn’t have a ready source/supply of Naphtha to reduce the viscosity of these oils, so their options are severely constrained. This is where I suspect you’ll see Russia/China step in with a quick Naphtha project on Venezuelan soil… So the longer Maduro can keep a small hope of Guaidó succeeding and thus the US still hopeful the more time he has to get this stuff done.

From MoA:

It is a strategy of political self-castration. Instead of promoting policy issues that can attract voters, the Democrats draw attention to their anti-Trump campaign…

The use of the Zionist lobby AIPAC and false claims of ‘anti-semitism’ against them is especially outrageous…

Spurred by outrage over Ms. Omar’s latest comments suggesting that pro-Israel activists “push for allegiance to a foreign country,” they will put a resolution condemning anti-Semitism on the House floor…

Anti-semitism’, in the false sense of AIPAC and the Democratic leadership bound to it, is anything that is not 100% in support of the racist state of Israel and the Zionism ideology.

From Robert Bridge at RT:

The predominantly left-leaning US media has just entered its third consecutive year of open warfare against Donald Trump. This non-stop assault risks aggravating political passions to the point where ‘Trump Derangement Syndrome’ snowballs into something completely beyond our ability to control. Like full-blown Civil War.

Russia Sells Top-Notch S-400 Missiles to Qatar; Saudis Enraged

Since Saudi-led GCC states initiated a blockade against tiny but oil and gas rich Qatar staring in 2017, ties between Doha and Moscow have actually improved.

Satellite Images Suggest India Fabricated “Successful” Attack On Terror Camp

Since #India didn’t actually bomb the #JaishEMuhammed camp in #Kashmir, it stands to reason that JeM didn’t actually bomb the bus, killing 44 Indian policemen. More likely, it was a #FalseFlag ordered by #Modi, prior to the election.

From Ken Silverstein at TNR:

In February of 1992, then military officer Hugo Chávez led a coup attempt against Carlos Andrés Pérez. It failed but made him a popular hero, especially after he gave a speech on national television taking responsibility for his actions, a rarity in Venezuelan politics. He famously asked other military officers who supported the coup to return to their barracks because “lamentably” and “for the moment,” their aims had failed.

Chávez went to prison but was released two years later, wildly popular. In 1999, he was elected president—and would be reelected three times…

Fittingly, one of the main opposition points is George Washington Plaza, a rich neighborhood sandwiched between the barrios of El Paraiso and La Vega…

It may be expensive, but poor people can buy it—coffee, sugar, chicken, bread, a dazzling assortment of fruit, among other things—from street vendors and at street markets…’

Cigarettes are too expensive,” Viviana explained. “No one can afford to smoke anymore…

The view from her window included a luxury apartment building. Most of the units were sitting empty, she told me, because the owners had fled to Miami, Orlando, Madrid, Lisbon, and elsewhere abroad…

Both the Brazilian and Colombian governments have publicly declared they will not participate in an armed foray into Venezuela…

Diosdado Cabello keeps a close eye on the military, and everything else in Venezuela. Cabello is the most powerful person in Venezuela and the power behind Maduro’s throne. A military official, he and Chavez were close at least since the failed 1992 coup attempt against CAP. I was told by multiple sources that Chavez picked the hapless Maduro to be vice president only because he was wary of choosing the cagey, brilliant Cabello to be second-in-command…

Pentagon and intelligence officials oppose a U.S. invasion, recognizing that it would be folly.

How Assad Defied the Odds, Won in Syria and Pushed the U.S. Out

The Russian intervention came at a stage when the two sides were already completely exhausted.

The Russian intervention came at a stage when the two sides were already completely exhausted.

The Zionist Caucus’s Political Lynching of Congresswoman Ilhan Omar

This should be a wake-up call to every African-American who reflexively votes for the party that Malcolm X rightly described as foxes who smile at you only to eat you…

I cannot still my tongue and watch a young woman, a first generation immigrant from Somalia who represents the quintessential American story, being ripped apart by racists in order to drive her out of power and to intimidate anyone who dares to follow her lead in speaking truth to power…

The sad reality is that Engle is not the outlier, he is the norm in government that has been thoroughly hijacked by powerful interests…

Zionism is to Jews as the Klu Klux Klan is to Christians…

There are a LOT of Jews who are staunchly against Zionists.

From Chris Hedges at TruthDig:

IP3 executives Gen. Keith Alexander, Gen. Jack Keane, Bud McFarlane and Rear Adm. Michael Hewitt, as well as the chief executives of six other companies—Exelon, Toshiba America Energy Systems, Bechtel, Centrus Energy, GE Energy Infrastructure and Siemens USA—sent a letter to Salman three weeks before the Trump inauguration that presented a plan to build nuclear reactors in Saudi Arabia. They called it “the Iron Bridge Program,” the report states, and characterized it as “a 21st Century Marshall Plan for the Middle East…

General Flynn wanted President Trump to raise the ‘plan for 40 nuclear power plants’ with King Salman…

The white paper stated that the President should implement the Middle East Marshall Plan through an executive order.

https://twitter.com/telesurengli…/status/1100508461488590848

The gaslighting of Ilhan Omar

Liberal Zionists, themselves critical of Israel but having no actual commitment to Palestinians as people, reproduce the same underlying racism of their right-wing counterparts — with the same poisonous consequences — while maintaining the aura of concern for human rights…

The attacks on Omar, like the attacks on solidarity with Palestine in general, are motivated by a deeply entrenched racism that sees Arabs and Muslims as subhuman and pervades liberal Zionism…

Omar’s abuse happened in front of the future of the Democratic Party. It is much harder to disconnect your victim from reality when your numbers are sizeable; the rest of us see what Ilhan sees…

And liberal Zionist racism is that much more damning. Shedding the stench of right-wing chauvinism that has blackened Israel’s image in the eyes of people with basic empathy, these writers and political organizations have embraced the time-honored racism of the white moderate, long ago cited by Martin Luther King Jr. as the true stumbling block to advancement. Writing in the “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” King wrote,

I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.”

From MoA:

Venezuela currently experiences multiple total outages of its electricity network. It is quite possible or even likely that the U.S. is causing these incidents. But it is not certain…

‘How did Marco Rubio know that backup generators had failed? At that time, no one knew that,’ the Bolivarian government official asked.

How Much Longer Will The Middle-Class Politely Tolerate Its Own Destruction?

The middle class being a relatively new phenomenon, nobody can say what the consequences of the all-out war against it will be…

Take away middle class dreams and you may well be taking away the last thing that keeps them paying their taxes, observing the law, supporting the troops and police, in short, everything that from the vantage point of the ruling class, “keeps them in line…”

Victor Hugo said that nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come.

From Andrew McCarthy at TNR:

Paul Manafort would never have been prosecuted if he had not joined Donald Trump’s campaign… Instead, he’ll be sentenced yet again next week. And this time, he’ll get slammed.

What’s Behind US-Backed Electricity Blackout in Venezuela

The automatized control system of the Simon Bolivar Hydroelectric Plant, which is popularly known as El Guri, was attacked. Inside this high-tech power plant, three of five backup generators were electronically sabotaged, Jorge Rodriguez, Sector Vice President of Communication, Tourism and Culture, revealed in a statement explained teh[sic] details of the reasons behind the attack…

The power plant automatized control system was “attacked cybernetically”, Rodriguez said and explained that the security protocols made machines stop as the power plant was under attack.

Maduro says 2 perpetrators of power grid ‘sabotage’ captured

After a failure at the Guri dam left much of the country in the dark on Thursday night, authorities worked round the clock to fix the problem, managing to restore nearly 70 percent of the electrical system before a cyberattack knocked it out again on Saturday afternoon, Maduro said, adding that one of the generators had been working perfectly and could only have been sabotaged by an infiltrator. The Guri hydroelectric plant produces 80 percent of Venezuela’s power.

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Banned by Facebook


Update: 16:30: No longer banned, apparently.

It appears that I am unable to publish new posts on #Facebook.

I immediately changed the header to my version of a MAGA hat and am commenting there.

I don’t read #Facebook and only have 92 friends, most of whom are LEOs pretending to be pretty women I’ve never met.

I use it to record things I think or find and combine them in a blog post, later.

I can easily just do that here.

I’ve been using Facebook to raise consciousness regarding the Russian False Narrative since 2014 and recently supported #IlhanOmar and #Maduro.

I often link to articles found on #ZeroHedge.

Top comment at Zero Hedge: “Badge of honor. Wear it with pride.”

For my next trick, I’ll get banned on Twitter. @fecundstench.

The #Google options at the bottom of this post are disabled.

It appears I can post remotely. Lol.

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Where are the Skripals?

From MoA on March 12, 2018:

British Prime Minister Theresa May claimed (saved tweet) in Parliament that:

  • Sergej Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with a military grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia.
  • The nerve agent was part of a group of agents known as ‘Novichok’.
  • Russia has previously produced the agent and would still be capable of doing so.
  • Russia has a record of conducting state sponsored assassinations.
  • The British government assesses that Russia views some defectors as legitimate targets.
  • The British government concluded that it is highly likely that Russia was responsible for the act against Sergej and Yulia Skripal.
  • This was either a direct act by the Russian State against the United Kingdom or
  • the Russian government lost control of the nerve agent and let it fall into the hands of others…

The Porton Down chemical weapon laboratory of the British military is only some 8 miles away from Salisbury where the Skripals were allegedly poisoned…

Novichok agents are claimed to be up to 10 times as toxic as VX. One drop of VX can kill a person. If the Skripals were poisoned with such an highly effective agent how come they are still alive?..


From Kommersant:

In 1995, Sergey Skripal was recruited by an MI6 undercover agent, Pablo Miller, who at the time was posing as Antonio Alvarez de Hidalgo and working at the British embassy in Tallinn, Estonia.

Pablo Miller was exposed in the early 2000s, after multiple Russians were arrested for spying and fingered Miller as their recruiter.  One of his recruits was Alexander Litvinenko.

Miller and Skripal met frequently: Skripal (whose codename was “Forthwith”) passed the entire Russian military intelligence telephone handbook to Miller, containing details of more than 300 of his colleagues in Russian intelligence.  In 2006 Skripal was jailed.

After the spy swap in 2010, Skripal decided to resettle in Salisbury, where Pablo Miller also lived.  In 2015 Miller retired and received an OBE for services to Her Majesty’s Government.  No doubt Miller was Skripal’s minder and was probably the reason Skripal had gone to Salisbury.

According to his LinkedIn entry (deleted a few days ago), Miller worked as a consultant for Christopher Steele – Miller is the consultant whose name was withheld by the Telegraph.  Steele’s Orbis Business Intelligence was hired by Fusion GPS in 2016 to research Trump.

From Alexander Mercouris:

The British authorities are now apparently claiming that the fact that the poison which was used to poison Sergey and Yulia Skripal was supposedly found on Sergey Skripal’s door knob is the ‘smoking gun’ which points to Russia.

Whether that is so or not – and I share Craig Murray’s deep skepticism about this – the alleged presence of the poison on the door knob cannot be the reason why on 7th March 2018 the British government’s COBRA committee had already come to the conclusion that the attack on Sergey and Yulia Skripal “was almost certainly” the work of Russia.

From John Helmer:

The evidence now accumulating is that the hospital is detaining and isolating the Skripals against their will, preventing contact with their family…

Article 5 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms — incorporated in the UK Human Rights Act of 1998 — orders that “noone shall be deprived of his liberty” except for six specified circumstances. These cover arrest on suspicion of crime, conviction by a court, or “for the prevention of the spreading of infectious diseases.”..

This is also the habeas corpus provision in longstanding British law, explained here

The Alternative Skripal Narrative by Michael Antony at The Saker

An idiot’s guide to the Skripal affair

The Salisbury Poisoning One Year On: An Open Letter to the Metropolitan Police

To those who have spent time looking at the incident, the explanations you have set out contain glaring omissions, factual errors (see here for more detail), and at least one scientific impossibility…

The most glaring problem with your case is the disappearance of Mr Skripal himself — and yes “disappearance” is the right word. It is now 12 months from the original incident, and about 11 months since it was announced that he had recovered. During that time there have been zero public appearances and — curiouser and curiouser — not even one public statement put out in his name. Additionally, it is known with certainty that he has not been in contact with his mother back in Russia — not on her birthday, not at New Year and not at Christmas — which has caused her great distress. This is not just odd; it is highly disturbing, especially given that Mr Skripal was said to be in the habit of contacting his mother every week prior to 4th March…

To all intents and purposes, both Sergei and Yulia Skripal have now disappeared without trace — he since 4th March 2018, and she since 24th July 2018. In the absence of any plausible reason for this, it is reasonable to consider them both as being held against their will, without consular access, without legal representation, and without the ability to contact their next of kin…

There exists “really clear footage” of Sergei and Yulia Skripal feeding ducks with some local boys on the afternoon of 4th March, next to the Avon Playground. The time of this footage was around 13:45 which — it should be noted — is approximately 20-30 minutes after the Skripals were said to have come into contact with a nerve agent on the door handle of their home…

The public were therefore being asked to come forward with information about two people who were on CCTV and could be clearly identified by it, but without so much as a few seconds of this CCTV being shown so that they could see what they looked like, what they were wearing, and where they were going…

The footage shows Mr Skripal and his daughter feeding ducks, with Mr Skripal actually handing bread to three local boys, one of whom apparently ate a piece, but none of whom became contaminated…

Most remarkably of all, given the nature of your claims, at the same time as they were feeding ducks, the two suspects — Petrov and Boshirov — were in close proximity…

They were standing at the entrance to Summerlock Approach, which happens to be the road that leads to the Sainsbury’s car park, which happens to be the car park where Mr Skripal parked his car approximately 32 minutes later…

After being photographed at Summerlock Approach, instead of walking directly to the train station, as your timeline suggested, they went back into town…

Dauwalders, where they were seen at 13:48, is less than 200 yards from the Avon Playground, where the Skripals were filmed at 13:45…

You have left it out of your timeline, never once mentioning that the Skripals had taken a detour to feed the ducks…

On the day following the incident (5th March), a large number of military personnel were extremely focused on the bin next to the Avon Playground as these videos — here and here — make clear…

Leaving aside the frankly preposterous notion that having apparently done their deed, instead of leaving Salisbury immediately, the two men then walked across town, and rather than dumping the open bottle of “Novichok” they had apparently used, they allegedly dumped a bottle they hadn’t used (remember, Charlie Rowley’s box was, according to him, cellophane wrapped) — leaving all those irrational propositions aside, as I say there is an absolute impossibility in what you are asking us to accept…

Why didn’t it kill Mr Skripal and his daughter, since they were both allegedly contaminated with far more than the fatal 2mg of the stuff?..

If the reason they aren’t dead is because “Novichok” breaks down in damp conditions, then it is impossible for the OPCW to have found a substance that hadn’t broken down, which was of “high purity”, and which is resistant to weather conditions…

The public can have no confidence in your explanation and assessment of what happened on 4th March 2018, and has every right to suspect that they are part of what essentially appears to be a politically-driven cover up. 

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A Summer of Pain

From Zero Hedge: US Auto Sales Tumble To 18 Month Low As SUV Demand Hits A Brick Wall

Michelle Krebs, senior analyst for car-shopping researcher Autotrader, told Bloomberg: “Affordability is going to be a challenge for consumers going forward, and we’re beginning to see that…”

New car prices hit a record high in Q4 2018, with Edmunds reporting that the average transaction price for a new vehicle in December hit an all-time high of $37,260, an increase of $6,598 from December 2010 largely thanks to record high average loan amounts for both new and used cars.

Carmageddon was supposed to happen last year, when an unprecedented number of automobiles came off lease and were about to flood the market. Instead, the leasing companies held onto these cars, releasing them to wholesalers so as not to disrupt the market.

18 Really Big Numbers That Show That The U.S. Economy Is Starting To Fall Apart Very Rapidly

#1 Farm loan delinquencies just hit the highest level that we have seen in 9 years.

#2 We just learned that U.S. exports declined by 4 billion dollars during the month of December.

#3 J.C. Penney just announced that they will be closing another 24 stores.

#4 Victoria’s Secret has just announced plans to close 53 stores.

#5 On Thursday, Gap announced that it will be closing 230 stores over the next two years.

#6 Payless ShoeSource has declared bankruptcy and is closing all 2,100 stores.

#7 Tesla is also closing all of their physical sales locations and will now only sell vehicles online.

#8 PepsiCo has started laying off workers and has committed to “millions of dollars in severance pay”.

#9 The Baltic Dry Index has dropped to the lowest level in more than two years.

#10 This is the worst slump for core U.S. factory orders in three years.

#11 We just witnessed the largest decline in the Philly Fed Business Index in more than 7 years.

#12 In January, sales of existing homes fell 8.9 percent from a year earlier.  That was the third month in a row that we have seen a decline of at least 8 percent.  This is an absolutely catastrophic trend for the real estate industry.

#13 U.S. housing starts were down 11.2 percent in December compared to the previous month.

#14 Compared to a year earlier, home sales in southern California were down 17 percent in January.

#15 In December, home sales in Sacramento County fell a whopping 22.5 percentcompared to a year earlier.

#16 Pending home sales in the United States have now fallen on a year over year basis for 13 months in a row.

#17 More than 166 billion dollars in student loan debt is now “seriously delinquent”.  That is an all-time record.

#18 More than 7 million Americans are behind on their auto loan payments.  That is also a new all-time record, and it is far higher than anything that we witnessed during the last recession.

We’ve known for some time that a lot of the retail stores in trouble should never have been built. Private equity firms bought these companies and perceived growth was the only way to please stockholders, most of whom have dropped these unperforming assets.

Indeed, once the retail shakeout is over, those which remain will only exist by virtue of their perceived stock value in a market currently marked at 17 times earnings.

Central banksters have done everything possible to increase inflation, which lowers the value of debt. Unfortunately, a global recession indicates a lack of demand or deflation, which increases the value of debt.

It could not come at a worse time, with Christofascists enslaved with debt by the false promise of Prosperity Gospel. Otherwise, our worship of materialism has enslaved young people with college loans which are not available to bankruptcy, a fascist banking reform which dooms a generation and destroys the housing market.

The USA no longer makes anything and a generation of neoliberal education has produced a workforce with no skills. The globalists have exhausted low cost labor and the Chinese are demanding higher wages. As prices at Walmart and Dollar General inexorably rise, American consumers could not be in a worse position. Indeed, China’s biggest problem is our inability to continue buying their exports.

More and more, the only thing worth watching on cable are shows where old cars are rehabbed. Today, I was putting gas in my old truck, when a guy pulled up in a seventies Chevy truck. You could hear something very cool under the hood.

I complemented him on the truck as he approached, and he stopped to say he’d bought it sixteen years ago for $500 and had lots of fun with the engine.

John Michael Greer wrote a series of blog posts which he published as Retrotopia. It is a treatment of dystopia that is hopeful. After the US is balkanized, regional governments revert to technology of the nineteenth century, which means candles, fireplaces and horses.

JMG has also published blog posts based on the work of Oswald Spengler, who warned that our Faustian civilization is completely unprepared to deal with collapse, whether financial or environmental, and very probably both.

Fortunately, JMG has also written that collapse will be catabolic, or in stages, rather than catastrophic. That’s about as close to good news regarding the future, that you are likely to find, especially as we continue to dash headlong into the unknown, bloated with debt and heedless of our effect on the environment.

Actually, it’s much worse, as millions of Americans on both sides of the political spectrum ignore the plight of innocent Yemenis and support a ludicrous coup in Venezuela, in order for the promise of cheap gas to be fulfilled.

Meanwhile, those of us who’ve manage to live within our means will profit by the misfortune of our neighbors. As the automobile and housing markets finally undergo corrections which might have been eased by government action, we will take advantage.

As retail continues its slide into oblivion, we will sign leases for better properties at greatly reduced rates.

Those of us who decided not to have kids will continue to visit the doctor and dentist, outliving many younger people unable to afford insurance.

Whatever happens this Summer, those of us without debt will prosper.

James Howard Kunstler described American purchases of McMansions and vehicles as the greatest squandering of resources in the history of the world. And since the world will end when power fails to several of the 23 GE Mark I Boiling Water Reactors in the US, he’s probably right.

This fatal national Bacchanalia is based on what Jeremy Grantham said are two-hundred years of unprecedented cheap energy.

We should’ve educated our children and guaranteed their future. Instead, we’ve bequeathed to them unending suffering and debt.

A lot of debt was acquired to maintain the appearance of wealth and all that will evanesce as markets finally correct, bloated inventories are released and asset values are destroyed.

Of course, our military gets up to $1T per year to kill people and break things, which results in the USA being regarded as the most evil force on the planet. So, it’s only natural to assume our Ospreys and F35s invite attack.

It’s remarkable that our actions abroad haven’t already turned the world into an ash tray. But the days of being the world’s bully are numbered.

Trump is burning daylight to ruin the USD as the world’s reserve currency. The appearance of alternative currencies for trading is good for the world, but necessarily greatly reduces opportunities for domestic wealth generation, especially in oil.

NATO is done, as is the EU. The US is in a deadly economic embrace with China, which means they are also our greatest partner. Neoliberalism has taken us in three generations from enemies with the Chicoms to practically being owned by them.

Trump denied Pakistan $1.3B in annual foreign aid. We know this precipitated the resurgence of the Taliban in Astan. And then Netanyahu gets Modi to attack a Jaish e Mohammed camp in Kashmir. A week later, the Paks shot down two ancient Indian jets shooting Israeli stand off missiles into Kashmir and captured the pilots.

Trump and Bibi putting the old one-two on the Paks, just before Modi’s election risks a nuclear conflagration. Fortunately, Pakistan came out smelling like a rose, not the intended consequence.

The Venezuelan coup is another pratfall, with the source of shortages being US sanctions. One of the richest families in Caracas supplies 88% of the nation’s corn flour, a staple. It’s absence in stores provides anecdotal evidence of Maduro’s ineffectiveness and unpopularity.

Trump, Pence, Pompeo, Bolton and Abrams are a clown act performing their tired Banana Republic death squad routine on the world’s most progressive government, whose sovereignty is unfortunately pegged to the value of its oil, which is thick and requires specialized refining. BTW, the IMF and World Bank made sure the Chavez government possessed no refineries, being forced to use those in neighboring countries.

Again, a worldwide recession ruined oil prices and the Chavez communist miracle. US sanctions merely problems worse. Citgo, the national oil company, is heavily indebted.

Worse, Trump is coming to the aid of the wealthy citizens, whose grandchildren are protesting in the streets and assaulting poor people. Juan Guaido is their guy.

But two generations of drug running in Colombia makes the destabilization of Venezuela too tempting to turn down. So, the US will repeat its support of the oligarchs and the rebels, playing one against the other, as required.

Venezuela is apparently the deal Trump made with the Pentagon for leaving Syria. Shutting down CENTCOM and manning up SOUTHCOM had already begun as counterinsurgency assets who worked for Petraeus and McChrystal left Astan for Honduras, several years ago.

The privatization of Honduras has not gone well, with the resulting rise in gang violence, in the absence of adequate law enforcement and use of death squads. The violence has also migrated to El Salvador.

But the neocons didn’t have to deal with the Venezuelan army, democratized as it was by Chavez. So, it’s rich white people against poor brown and black people, who, despite US sanctions, are doing fine.

Trump’s clown act is guaranteed to fail as just the latest foreign policy pratfall going back to Vietnam. Truth be told, the only reason we won WWII is 27 million Soviets died killing the Nazis.

Regarding pending environmental collapse, I’m more concerned about the Pentagon having a nuke with 1/3 the power of Hiroshima. There is no such thing as a tactical nuke. Any use of nukes begins a process we can’t control.

Trump is fearmongering with mini-nukes. I try not to ascribe low motives to Trump, but it looks like a way of appealing to the magical thinking of his supporters. It didn’t help that he recognized Jerusalem and cut off funding to the Palestinians.

I’m assuming the US, Japan, South Korea, China and Russia are together on the Nork negotiations. Ollie Richardson says there is much going on behind the scenes which is not privy to the corporate media.

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The Volcker Shock

From Tim Barker at n+1:

IF SOMEONE WERE TO MAKE a movie about neoliberalism, there would need to be a starring role for the character of Paul Volcker. As chair of the Federal Reserve from 1979 to 1987, Volcker was the most powerful central banker in the world. These were the years when the industrial workers movement was defeated in the United States and United Kingdom, and third world debt crises exploded. Both of these owe something to Volcker. On October 6, 1979, after an unscheduled meeting of the Fed’s Open Market Committee, Volcker announced that he would start limiting the growth of the nation’s money supply…

The experiment—known as the Volcker Shock—lasted until 1982, inducing what remains the worst unemployment since the Great Depression and finally ending the inflation that had troubled the world economy since the late 1960s. To catalog all the results of the Volcker Shock—shuttered factories, broken unions, dizzying financialization—is to describe the whirlwind we are still reaping in 2019…

Ninety percent of job losses occurred in mining, construction, and manufacturing…

To establish its credibility, the Federal Reserve had to demonstrate its willingness to spill blood, lots of blood, other people’s blood…

The logic here is plain: there need to be millions of unemployed workers for the economy to work as it should…

The interest rate shock was the trigger for a worldwide recession…

The tremolo of debt crises across Mexico, Brazil, Zambia, and other countries—and the lost decade that followed—was the overture for IMF structural adjustment, subsequently introduced across the Global South…

In replacing Federal Reserve Board Chairman G. William Miller with Paul Volcker, President Carter had finally caved to Wall Street’s demands for an aggressive attack on inflation without regard for the social costs…

There is no force on earth,” he writes today, “that can stand up effectively, year after year, against the thousands of individuals and hundreds of millions of dollars in the Washington swamp aimed at influencing the legislative and electoral process…

Savings from other countries (above all, Japan) funded Reagan’s government deficits as well as the ballooning balance sheets of Wall Street banks along with a vast expansion in consumer credit…

The troubles of the 1970s simply mutated, like so many other maladies of capitalism, into new forms…

In 2019, the immediate problem is stimulating demand, not stopping inflation…

Debates about job guarantees, Green New Deals, and co-determination make clear a dominant question of our time: the renewal of political economy after decades of depoliticization.  

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Donald Trump isn’t Serious

Russia Touts “Unlimited Range” Of New Nuclear Cruise Missile As INF Unravels

#Trump has no choice but to promote a low yield tactical nuke fired ballistically because #Russia spoofs the #GPS of our cruise missiles.

Trump appears to be a madman for raising the nuclear threat because he can never admit the disastrous performance of Tomahawks in Syria.

You can probably thank John Walker and sons for walking into the Soviet Embassy in 1968 with our submarine comm secrets.

The US didn’t catch the Walkers until 1985. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Anthony_Walker

Given what we saw in Ukraine, I’m not sure NATO can even reliably hit targets with MLRS.  https://en.wikipedia.org/…/M270_Multiple_Launch_Rocket…

The #UAF has only shelled the #DPR and #LPR with howitzers and mortars, which they do daily in violation of the #Minsk ceasefire agreement.

If Russia can spoof our mil band GPS, they can also spoof our ICBMs.

From Tucker Carlson, who had a rough week:

For perspective, Napoleon Bonaparte seized control of France, crowned himself emperor, defeated four European coalitions against him, invaded Russia, lost, was defeated and exiled, returned, and was defeated and exiled a second time, all in less time than the United States has spent trying to turn Afghanistan into a stable country…

Listed in one place, Boot’s many calls for U.S.-led war around the world come off as a parody of mindless warlike noises, something you might write if you got mad at a country while drunk.

From Matthew Hoh at CounterPunch:

The Afghan government and military have been the key figures in the Afghan drug trade, not just the Taliban…

Some US military personnel, so disgusted by the overt keeping of child sex slaves, took matters into their own hands, only to be relieved of command and forced out of the military…

The Taliban is not monolithic and is composed of dozens if not hundreds of locally organized insurgencies that fall under the umbrella of larger, regional insurgencies whose leadership is based in Pakistan.

From Jonathan Turley:

I have testified before Congress, warning about the expansion of executive power and the failure of Congress to guard its own authority. The two primary objections have been Congress giving presidents largely unchecked authority and undedicated money. The wall funding controversy today is a grotesque result of both of these failures…

Trump is using appropriated funds. Like the authority under the National Emergencies Act, Congress gave this money to the executive branch without meaningful limitations.”

From Patrick Lawrence at Consortium News:

Pence declared in Warsaw. And in Munich: “America is stronger than ever before and America is leading on the world stage once again.”

Venezuelan Military Reject Trump’s Incitement to Rebel: ‘Over Our Dead Bodies’

Venezuela’s opposition is organising a large international concert in the Colombian city of Cucuta on Saturday, only eight kilometres from the Venezuelan border. The concert, which is being financed by British media mogul and Virgin CEO Richard Branson, is being branded as “Live Aid for Venezuela.”

From Tom Engelhardt:

Never in history has such a great power, at its height, seemed quite so incapable of effectively applying force, military or otherwise, to achieve its imperial ends or bring its targets to heel…

You can feel the unhinged nature of events in a world in which, after so many years of war, America’s enemies still seem to have the formula for staying afloat, no matter what Washington does.

Venezuela – No More Than 20,000 People Came To Branson’s Concert Stunt – (Updated)

The idea failed to attract any globally known acts…

Three Venezuelans, who rammed a barrier blocking a border bridge in Venezuela before defecting to Colombia, seem to have paid little care about the well-being of civilians and injured several people…

Local Media Report that First Truck with US Humanitarian Aid Burnt on Venezuelan-Colombian Border

From the comments:

branson is just another long line of rothschild front men cut outs…

just another city of london satanick sicko…

This was all they could do. It was just a propaganda move. And the bolt is now shot…

The risk-aversion of the US (to put it politely) is huge, much, much greater – in my estimation – than is commonly perceived…

Does Trump really want to go into an election with a new Vietnam on his hands?

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