Wealth Over Money | Boeing’s Crash and an Autonomous Future | Huawei, Tear Down This Tower | America’s Education Trap

MARCH 12, 2019  /   SUBSCRIBE


“An event of great agony is bearable only in the belief that it will bring about a better world. When it does not, as in the aftermath of another vast calamity in 1914-18, disillusion is deep and moves on to self-doubt and self-disgust.”

“Regulations,” he would say, “are all very well for drill but in the hour of danger they are no more use.… You have to learn to think.” To think meant to give room for freedom of initiative, for the imponderable to win over the material, for will to demonstrate its power over circumstance.”

– Barbara Tuchman



157 Dead In Yet Another Boeing Crash: For the second time in less than five months a new Boeing 737 MAX 8 airplane has crashed, causing multiple fatalities. This time it was an Ethiopian Airlines jet that took off from Addis Ababa on Sunday, crashing shortly afterward. All 157 people onboard were killed. The same type of plane, operated by Indonesian carrier Lion Air, plunged into the Java Sea minutes after taking off from Jakarta in October, killing all 189 aboard. US and Ethiopian accident investigators were combing the crash site looking for clues, and analysts cautioned it was still too early know what caused the plane to come down.

Certain US air carriers with that model Boeing aircraft in their fleets were busy Monday trying to put out fires sparked by some flight attendants and travelers, who were asking on social media whether these planes are safe and whether they can switch their flights. Southwest had 34 of the 737 MAX 8 planes in its fleet of more than 750 Boeing aircraft on December 31, 2018. A statement from the carrier said it remains “confident in the safety and airworthiness” of its aircraft. American Airlines, which has 14 planes of the same Boeing model in its fleet, had not altered its ticket change policies as of Monday morning. American also issued a statement saying it had full confidence in its planes and crew members. Neither United nor Delta operate any 737 MAX 8 planes.

Chinese and Indonesian airline regulators told local carriers Monday to temporarily ground Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes. The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, which represents 50,000 flight attendants at 20 airlines, formally requested the Federal Aviation Administration to investigate the plane.

Additional read: “Which airlines are still flying Boeing 737 MAX 8s?” (CNN)



Boeing Prepares For the Autonomous FutureBoeing Australia introduced its artificial intelligence drone, the “Loyal Wingman” at an air show Wednesday. The software on the 38-foot-long, single-engine drone, which has a range of more than 2,000 miles, will allow it to fly independently, or in support of manned aircraft, while maintaining a safe distance. Boeing said its drone will be able to engage in electronic warfare as well as intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance missions, and swap quickly between those roles. (CNN)

Huawei, Tear Down This Tower: On Friday America’s ambassador in Berlin wrote to Germany’s economics minister warning Germany to prohibit any Chinese vendors, including Huawei, from constructing Germany’s 5G network or risk losing access to US intelligence. The two countries have been carefully rebuilding their intelligence-sharing relationship since 2013-2014, when deep distrust developed after Edward Snowden revealed the NSA had been secretly collecting metadata. Last month, German officials said they “weren’t ready” to ban Huawei equipment and were unsure of the legality of such a request. According to the Wall Street Journal this would be the first time the US has explicitly threatened consequences against a country for using the Huawei’s equipment. (CNBC)

A Boondoggle of Benjamins: The latest data from the Federal Reserve shows the number of outstanding US $100 bills in circulation has skyrocketed since the financial crisis; the 12 billion plus of them across the world has more than doubled in a decade and now surpasses the number of $1 bills. The surge of circulating C-notes has led some to say it could be a troubling indicator for global corruption. High-denomination bills remain a favorite for criminals, given the anonymity and lack of transaction record. (CNBC)

Welcomed Home With Open Borders And Hopefully Very Few Weapons: As tensions mount over the enforced return of refugees to Syria, a conference is about to begin in Brussels. Host countries such as Lebanon intend to call on the international community to do more to aid returning refugees. An estimated 5.6 million Syrians are refugees in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt; an additional 6.2 million are internally displaced. Lebanon’s president said recently: “International aid should be paid to Syrian refugees after they return home to encourage their return.” He said distributing aid to refugees in Lebanon encouraged them to stay and compete with the Lebanese labor force. The conference is focused on the demands of civilian society as well as the politics of a settlement with Bashar al-Assad. Attendees will hear repeated warnings that the Syrian government’s treatment of returning refugees includes killings, disappearances, intimidation and sometimes compulsory military service. Germany, France and the UK have enforced a strong policy that the EU will not provide reconstruction funds until Bashar al-Assad accepts an agreed political settlement, but the sustainability of this boycott is being challenged as humanitarian groups are “already undertaking work that looks very much like reconstruction.” (Guardian)



Putin Moves With Political Impunity: Russian president Vladimir Putin is on a power trip. Last week he signed a decree suspending implementation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, and boasted that his security agencies had thwarted nearly 600 foreign intelligence operators last year. Russian lawmakers passed new legislation aimed at curtailing internet freedom, particularly for military personnel. And among the laws awaiting Putin’s signature is a measure that would allow authorities to jail individuals for posting anything online that shows “disrespect for society, the state, (and) state symbols of the Russian Federation.” 2018 amendments to anti-terrorism laws passed in 2016, known as the Yarovaya Package, allowed police to conduct raids on the private homes and places of worship of religious minorities. Under the amendments, Russian authorities prosecuted individuals of many denominations for unauthorized missionary activity, and imposed other stringent prohibitions on religious freedom. (CNN)



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America’s Education Trap: President Trump’s new 2020 budget proposal was released Monday. Under the plan the Department of Education would face a 10 percent funding cut. The budget would end subsidized student debt, in which interest doesn’t accrue on the loans while borrowers are in school or in economic hardship. It also reduces the number of repayment plans for borrowers and eliminates the service loan forgiveness program. The latter program was signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2007 and allows not-for-profit and government employees to have their federal student loans canceled after 10 years of on-time payments. The publisher of SavingForCollege.com. said: “Eliminating public service loan forgiveness will hurt members of the U.S. Armed Forces, police, fire, EMTs and other first responders. It will also reduce the number of people pursuing careers in public interest law, such as public defenders and prosecutors.” (CNBC)



Measles, Money, and Millennials




“Pessimism is a primary source of passivity.” – Barbara Tuchman

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