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Thread: Inauguration Day, Inauguration Hooooooraaay!

  1. #14361
    Admiral of Awesome
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reid View Post
    It doesn't help that the "Art of the Deal" Trump is possibly the worst negotiator in human history.
    Quote Originally Posted by Reid View Post
    How do we think this is going to affect negotiations with North Korea?
    The Iran deal, or Trump being the world's worst negotiator, or...?

    I admittedly haven't been rubbernecking this particular train wreck, but I'm not aware of the United States offering the North Korean government anything better than what they've already got. So really, as far as negotiation goes, there, er,... isn't one? I'm sure Trump and other like-minded world monsters are having a great time chatting over Diet Cokes and 9,000 calories of fried chicken or whatever, but nothing will ever come of those discussions because a.) nuclear standoff against the United States is better than what the United States is offering, and b.) even if the other party folded, Trump is programmed to assume that any acceptable agreement must be bad for him, because he's the worst negotiator in human history.

  2. #14362
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    To be fair, though, leaders with terrible negotiation skills isn't limited to the United States. Maybe I'm the only person who sees this connection, but the loss of negotiation skill among leaders and recognition of that skill among the informed public seems like a natural consequence of our increasingly bifurcated and coercive economy. Negotiation is about everybody getting more. Large corporations and oligarchs simply don't need to be skilled negotiators, because they can always extract whatever they want through coercion rather than negotiation (work for me or starve, sell your business to me or I'll destroy it, etc.). The people living in such a society, when effectively shut out from any process resembling actual negotiation, receivers of unconditional terms rather than participants in the process, have necessarily come to accept this sort of behavior as not only normal but actually representative of how real negotiation ought to be done.

    So yeah, then no big surprise, they vote for hard-nosed jackasses like Trump. Someone like that has them bent over a barrel, after all, and they're at least as tough as North Korea!

  3. #14363
    Quote Originally Posted by Reid View Post
    How do we think this is going to affect negotiations with North Korea?
    I havenít spent much time thinking about NK lately, but from what I gather the key problem is that the US has an interest in preventing a peaceful settlement to the conflict. The division of the Korean Peninsula is useful to the US because it gives the US a base to take an aggressive position towards China.

    I think the argument that Trump reneging on past deals fundamentally changes the calculus of other countries often stems from a ďTrump is an exceptional threat to the liberal world order and to American security that dramatically breaks with all past precedentsĒ worldview, and I think itís wrong. Itís fundamentally rooted in punditry and in sensationalism. Iím sure you know this, but one thing that influenced NK is that after surrendering and dismantling his nuclear program in exchange for more favorable relations during the Bush admin, under Obama the US came in and literally killed him. That has effected NKís calculus, but mostly because of the very strict similarity between the circumstances, not because of general concerns about reliability. Aside from that, itís been well known for a long time that as a type of regime, democracies are known and have been known for quite some time to be particularly unpredictable and to backtrack on their commitments. And the US has been a good example of a country with a schizophrenic foreign policy.
    Last edited by Eversor; 05-10-2019 at 05:08 PM.

  4. #14364
    Quote Originally Posted by Reid View Post
    By undercutting the deal, we are treating Iran inconsistently. This undermines their trust. You could possibly argue that the Iran deal was a mistake, sure. But now there's a snowball's chance in hell they'll negotiate a deal and stick to it. Backing out randomly was possibly the worst choice someone could have made.
    Iíll get back to this when I get around to writing my promised ďlong postĒ, but but I donít think this is right. Iím not convinced at all that trust is an important variable here; as Jon mentioned, rational calculation and pursuit of interest are both more relevant. Iran entered the JCPOA because it was in its interest to. The goal of the Trump administration right now is to put so much unbearable weight on Iran that eventually it decides it doesnít have a choice but to come back to the negotiating table ó in effect, what Obama did to bring Iran to the table, but without Obamaís willingness to accommodate on various other issues (such as, perhaps, Syria), and with a more aggressive military and economic posture. So yeah, itís not about trust. Itís about Iran mitigating its losses and preventing risk.

  5. #14365
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    I would guess Iranís perspective on the issue is that Saudi Arabia spends 3-4 times as much on their military, and theyíre ruled by a radical and bloodthirsty sect that explicitly wants to genocide them for religious reasons. Not even including Saudi Arabiaís allied western so-called democracies that have proven eager to help Saudi Arabia engage in genocide, like, say, the United States. So if I were an Iranian, even if my vote did count, I would be voting for higher military budgets too. Much higher.
    I definitely think Iran sees its outward projection of power as defensive. Itís expanded into Syria and bolsters Assad, for example, because Syria is its most important Arab ally, and it has a stake in the regime. Itís run by the Alawite minority, but Syria is actually a Sunni majority country, and if Assad werenít in place, it would likely become aligned with Saudi Arabia and a base for attacks in its borders, and it canít allow such a state to exist.

  6. #14366
    Quote Originally Posted by Eversor View Post
    Damn, accusing two people of not conforming to their gender roles in a single dependent clause. Points for the economical use of language.
    LOL, sorry. I'd been waiting forever to make that joke somewhere. I mean, it's not like Chris Hayes comes up in casual conversation much anywhere.
    "I would rather claim to be an uneducated man than be mal-educated and claim to be otherwise." - Wookie 03:16


  7. #14367
    i was on the floor with that one

  8. #14368
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eversor View Post
    Reminds me of Chris Hayes’ book on meritocracy, where he talks about how there are two prevalent diagnoses of what the big central problem of our society is. Effectively:

    1) people don’t trust institutions
    2) institutions have become untrustworthy

    HRC is obviously talking as if she belongs in the first camp.

    He wrote that book in 2011, and in some ways it was easier to understand what our current problems are then than it is now. The loss of trust, both at times warranted and others unwarranted, is the central issue still.
    Going back to trust for a sec:

    So this is all still shaking out, but basically it looks like the Boeing 737 MAX has fundamentally different performance characteristics from previous 737s, so in order to save airlines from having to train their pilots, Boeing's software engineers* whipped up some software to make the 737 MAX pretend it's a 737. Going as far as forcing the system on whenever the stabilizer trim motor is powered, even when pilots think automated control is disabled.

    (* N.B. software developers aren't engineers. We don't really know what we're doing, and none of us have ethics. Furthermore, software in a machine is always a cost-saving measure. Always. Just as it is here.)

    Then, after the software people finished up with it, the Boeing sales department took over. That software I mentioned above? It requires a certain kind of sensor to work, angle of attack. Commercial pilots normally don't use angle of attack, but military pilots do, so AoA stuff is usually tossed into a sort of "deluxe package" that carriers can buy if they plan to hire veterans; it's cheaper than retraining them. Well, Boeing sales didn't make an exception here - redundant AoA sensors and the AoA disagree alert (which warns the pilot about a sensor malfunction) were both sold as premium features, like they normally would be on any other aircraft. But on the 737 MAX they aren't premium features, they're essential for safe operation. Which means the stock 737 MAX was sold with zero redundancy in a critical component, software that deliberately suppressed a vital warning for want of a turnkey upgrade, and, most importantly, customers were never informed that AoA sensors/displays were being used for anything important.

    But the US government says it's safe. The FAA certified it, right? Well, no, actually:

    - Small government conservatives won power and 'starved the beast', slashed federal funding and instituted hiring and pay freezes.
    - Industry engineering prestige/salary runs away from what the US federal government is allowed to pay.
    - Important agencies like the FAA can't retain an internal engineering staff.
    ---- There's nobody working at these agencies today with the technical skill to evaluate aircraft designs or revisions.
    ---- But the FAA still needs to approve those designs!
    ---- But they factually cannot do it!
    - Emphasis because reasons: The only organization left that does have the technical skill to evaluate a Boeing jet is Boeing
    - So the FAA outsources the job to Boeing.
    - This works ok for a couple of decades.
    - Boeing falls asleep, because they aren't actually a competitive business, they just play one on TV
    ---- Airbus, Embraer, and Bombardier all make jets that start to eat away at the Boeing 737 market
    ---- Boeing/US government does a bunch of other anticompetitive stuff, TL;DR: it doesn't work
    ---- Boeing panics because they've never had competition in living memory
    - Boeing (for the first time?) uses its secret FAA rubber stamp powers to push through a jet they reallllllly shouldn't have

    So the FAA didn't really approve of anything Boeing has done. In fact, they haven't really approved of much of anything in decades. They're just taking Boeing's word on it.

    And now the reason for this rant: Some web**** on HN wrote "One of the lessons learned is that the FAA is no longer a credible institution."

    And yeah, it isn't. But here's the thing. It's not really the FAA that's lost all credibility, it's the United States as a whole. That might sound bombastic (or maybe even a little chauvinistic), but I promise you, it's not. This is a matter of commerce.

    Even if you personally believe that governments shouldn't be regulatin' yer ****, the foreigners you want to hawk yer **** to do want it regulated. That's actually great news for Americans, because today the United States has an outsized influence on product regulation. Generally when a US government agency approves something, everybody else considers it "good enough". FAA certification for aircraft is universally recognized. But it also filters down to a lot of other products, like EPA and FMVSS certification for cars, FDA inspections for food and even pharmaceuticals. Basically, your exports are gonna be regulated one way or another, but when US federal regulations are doing the work it bigly greases US exports.

    1.) American products only have to get certified in one country, the United States, and
    2.) the United States gets to decide what certification means!

    So this is the situation as things stand, the way I see it. Basically all of that **** I wrote above? Yeah, that needs to die pronto.

    The FAA's word isn't worth the **** it's written on. Everybody knows Boeing is just making it all up now.

    But beyond that, I think all safety-critical products designed in the United States are suspect. This arrangement between Boeing and the FAA isn't just a single captive regulator. It's a consequence of deep structural flaws in the United States and the prevailing beliefs of American voters. And that means other countries can't really afford to trust the EPA, NHTSA, FAA, FDA, etc. anymore. So, yeah. American-designed cars, drugs, food, aircraft, trains, -- you name it, all of these kinds of products need to be banned for import until they've been approved by our own government agencies, because the United States government simply isn't willing or capable of doing that work themselves anymore.
    Last edited by Jon`C; 05-12-2019 at 04:21 AM.

  9. #14369
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    Today, the US government is outsourcing the FAA's job to Boeing because only Boeing employees are qualified to do its work.

    Tomorrow, the US government outsources highway safety tests to car manufacturers because they're the only people who can afford the equipment to test cars.



    ...lol, just kidding. That's how highway safety tests have always been done.

  10. #14370
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    http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-s...ness-shattered

    ^ does anyone really find this kind of news surprising? It's, I suppose, a nice confirmation. I think anyone with one acumen of business sense though would see Trump is a terrible businessman from a mile away.

    I know this venture has been harped on to death, but Trump Steaks? The dude slapped his name on ****ing steaks and tried to sell them at The Sharper Image. Why you would even try this, and moreover why you would want your name on it, is just plain confusing. Anyone with even a whisper of sense would recognize immediately that this is a terrible venture and will fail horribly. What does such an obviously stupid waste of time and effort say about the business sense of the person who promoted it?

    Any other attempt to look at Trump's business past shows much of the same ****. So are we really surprised he's year over year one of the biggest financial losers, and only has any wealth due to scamming America with tax fraud with daddy's money? Moreover, what does it say about the rubes who voted for him? Are the evangelical/racist Republican sorts really so terrible at business they couldn't see how much of a failure this guy is?

  11. #14371
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    Today, the US government is outsourcing the FAA's job to Boeing because only Boeing employees are qualified to do its work.

    Tomorrow, the US government outsources highway safety tests to car manufacturers because they're the only people who can afford the equipment to test cars.



    ...lol, just kidding. That's how highway safety tests have always been done.
    Did you ever see the Al Jazeera investigative reporting on Boeing?



    They ask workers on the floor if they'd fly in a 787 and a few of them answer no. And there's plenty of other rumors about shoddy quality control, using untested materials, etc going on at Boeing. Unfortunately nearly all American airlines seem to fly Boeing airplanes, because I'd dump them in a heartbeat and fly on only Airbus if I could.

    The real question is why do so many Americans not care about regulatory capture literally killing people? Ralph Nader fought for this.

  12. #14372
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reid View Post
    http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-s...ness-shattered

    ^ does anyone really find this kind of news surprising? It's, I suppose, a nice confirmation. I think anyone with one acumen of business sense though would see Trump is a terrible businessman from a mile away.

    I know this venture has been harped on to death, but Trump Steaks? The dude slapped his name on ****ing steaks and tried to sell them at The Sharper Image. Why you would even try this, and moreover why you would want your name on it, is just plain confusing. Anyone with even a whisper of sense would recognize immediately that this is a terrible venture and will fail horribly. What does such an obviously stupid waste of time and effort say about the business sense of the person who promoted it?

    Any other attempt to look at Trump's business past shows much of the same ****. So are we really surprised he's year over year one of the biggest financial losers, and only has any wealth due to scamming America with tax fraud with daddy's money? Moreover, what does it say about the rubes who voted for him? Are the evangelical/racist Republican sorts really so terrible at business they couldn't see how much of a failure this guy is?
    "By 1991, [Trump's losses] had grown to nearly $418 million, accounting for fully 1 percent of all the losses that the I.R.S. reported had been declared by individual taxpayers that year. "

    It's genuinely dumbfounding just how bad he is at everything he does.

  13. #14373
    Quote Originally Posted by Reid View Post
    http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-s...ness-shattered

    ^ does anyone really find this kind of news surprising? It's, I suppose, a nice confirmation. I think anyone with one acumen of business sense though would see Trump is a terrible businessman from a mile away.

    I know this venture has been harped on to death, but Trump Steaks? The dude slapped his name on ****ing steaks and tried to sell them at The Sharper Image. Why you would even try this, and moreover why you would want your name on it, is just plain confusing. Anyone with even a whisper of sense would recognize immediately that this is a terrible venture and will fail horribly. What does such an obviously stupid waste of time and effort say about the business sense of the person who promoted it?

    Any other attempt to look at Trump's business past shows much of the same ****. So are we really surprised he's year over year one of the biggest financial losers, and only has any wealth due to scamming America with tax fraud with daddy's money? Moreover, what does it say about the rubes who voted for him? Are the evangelical/racist Republican sorts really so terrible at business they couldn't see how much of a failure this guy is?
    yeh, like I'd trust a Trump article written by Shiv Bannon...

  14. #14374
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    Trump seems like a pretty normal billionaire CEO to me?

  15. #14375
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    Y'all laughing about Trump being an idiot who doesn't deserve anything, who inherited everything from daddy, broke the law to get rich, keeps failing upwards because other rich people bail him out, doesn't pay his taxes, doesn't pay his contractors, can't negotiate, being an egomaniacal sex pest, etc.

    But really the joke's on you, because that describes the man-shaped wallets that control Democratic Party too.

  16. #14376
    It's Stuart, Martha Stuart
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    Going back to trust for a sec:

    So this is all still shaking out, but basically it looks like the Boeing 737 MAX has fundamentally different performance characteristics from previous 737s, so in order to save airlines from having to train their pilots, Boeing's software engineers* whipped up some software to make the 737 MAX pretend it's a 737. Going as far as forcing the system on whenever the stabilizer trim motor is powered, even when pilots think automated control is disabled.

    (* N.B. software developers aren't engineers. We don't really know what we're doing, and none of us have ethics. Furthermore, software in a machine is always a cost-saving measure. Always. Just as it is here.)
    MCAS is really only necessary around stall conditions. It shouldn't really even activate unless something has gone wrong. Also, software developers almost certainly didn't make that call. They would have had extremely rigid requirements that were given to them by systems and control systems engineers. It's not even a software bug either, it's a control law / system design bug.


    Then, after the software people finished up with it, the Boeing sales department took over. That software I mentioned above? It requires a certain kind of sensor to work, angle of attack. Commercial pilots normally don't use angle of attack, but military pilots do, so AoA stuff is usually tossed into a sort of "deluxe package" that carriers can buy if they plan to hire veterans; it's cheaper than retraining them. Well, Boeing sales didn't make an exception here - redundant AoA sensors and the AoA disagree alert (which warns the pilot about a sensor malfunction) were both sold as premium features, like they normally would be on any other aircraft. But on the 737 MAX they aren't premium features, they're essential for safe operation. Which means the stock 737 MAX was sold with zero redundancy in a critical component, software that deliberately suppressed a vital warning for want of a turnkey upgrade, and, most importantly, customers were never informed that AoA sensors/displays were being used for anything important.
    The issue is that Boeing wasn't aware that those sensors are critical. People keeps shouting for more training about MCAS, but really MCAS should be competently transparent to the pilot. For pilots to need to know the system existed really means that the system sucks and needs to be rethought. At this point, it seems pretty clear that the people calling the shots expected very low failure rates on the AoA sensor, and that if it did fail, it would be a matter of running the stab trim runaway checklist, because that's exactly what it would cause. What's not clear is whether using a single instrument for something like this would be considered good practice. I suspect that it's debatable, and wrong people won the argument. I also suspect that the teams responsible for working on this system had poor communication, and possibly had some important experience/competence gaps that weren't obvious at the time.



    But the US government says it's safe. The FAA certified it, right? Well, no, actually:

    - Small government conservatives won power and 'starved the beast', slashed federal funding and instituted hiring and pay freezes.
    - Industry engineering prestige/salary runs away from what the US federal government is allowed to pay.
    - Important agencies like the FAA can't retain an internal engineering staff.
    ---- There's nobody working at these agencies today with the technical skill to evaluate aircraft designs or revisions.
    ---- But the FAA still needs to approve those designs!
    ---- But they factually cannot do it!
    - Emphasis because reasons: The only organization left that does have the technical skill to evaluate a Boeing jet is Boeing
    - So the FAA outsources the job to Boeing.
    - This works ok for a couple of decades.
    - Boeing falls asleep, because they aren't actually a competitive business, they just play one on TV
    ---- Airbus, Embraer, and Bombardier all make jets that start to eat away at the Boeing 737 market
    ---- Boeing/US government does a bunch of other anticompetitive stuff, TL;DR: it doesn't work
    ---- Boeing panics because they've never had competition in living memory
    - Boeing (for the first time?) uses its secret FAA rubber stamp powers to push through a jet they reallllllly shouldn't have

    So the FAA didn't really approve of anything Boeing has done. In fact, they haven't really approved of much of anything in decades. They're just taking Boeing's word on it.

    And now the reason for this rant: Some web**** on HN wrote "One of the lessons learned is that the FAA is no longer a credible institution."

    And yeah, it isn't. But here's the thing. It's not really the FAA that's lost all credibility, it's the United States as a whole. That might sound bombastic (or maybe even a little chauvinistic), but I promise you, it's not. This is a matter of commerce.

    Even if you personally believe that governments shouldn't be regulatin' yer ****, the foreigners you want to hawk yer **** to do want it regulated. That's actually great news for Americans, because today the United States has an outsized influence on product regulation. Generally when a US government agency approves something, everybody else considers it "good enough". FAA certification for aircraft is universally recognized. But it also filters down to a lot of other products, like EPA and FMVSS certification for cars, FDA inspections for food and even pharmaceuticals. Basically, your exports are gonna be regulated one way or another, but when US federal regulations are doing the work it bigly greases US exports.

    1.) American products only have to get certified in one country, the United States, and
    2.) the United States gets to decide what certification means!

    So this is the situation as things stand, the way I see it. Basically all of that **** I wrote above? Yeah, that needs to die pronto.

    The FAA's word isn't worth the **** it's written on. Everybody knows Boeing is just making it all up now.

    But beyond that, I think all safety-critical products designed in the United States are suspect. This arrangement between Boeing and the FAA isn't just a single captive regulator. It's a consequence of deep structural flaws in the United States and the prevailing beliefs of American voters. And that means other countries can't really afford to trust the EPA, NHTSA, FAA, FDA, etc. anymore. So, yeah. American-designed cars, drugs, food, aircraft, trains, -- you name it, all of these kinds of products need to be banned for import until they've been approved by our own government agencies, because the United States government simply isn't willing or capable of doing that work themselves anymore.
    Wrong. What you are missing is that the FAA is essentially a government subsidy to Boeing. They provide, or are supposed to provide, expertise and engineering peer review to make sure Boeing's aircraft are safe. Boeing needs safe aircraft. The airliner industry is hyper competitive *and always has been*. Boeing essentially does not compete with Embraer, or Bombardier. Bombardier is sort of kind of trying to make a 737 competitor, but... it's not really a meaningful presence in the market, and it probably never will be. Boeing and Airbus are both conglomerations of a number of failed aircraft manufacturers that couldn't keep up, or get screwed by making the wrong guesses about the market. Since the 90's, both companies have been hyper competitive across the entire market, and the economic value of both companies to the political regions they operate in is enormous. They make a reasonable profit, but they have massive, massive revenue. They both drive a huge amount of highly paid domestic industry from their suppliers, and the political capital they wield because of it is backed by votes.

    It's why governments are so happy to give them both massive subsides and tax breaks. The few percent Boeing takes off the top is nothing compared to all the suppliers that don't get those tax brakes or subsides. There's a ton of jobs and revenue at stake, and it's very myopic to think that those pressures don't apply to both companies.

    Lastly, Boeing and Airbus operate on a very, very long term basis. The aircraft they design now need to match global economic demand 7-10 years after they commit to development. It's all a big guessing game that manufacturers and airliners work together on. Make the wrong guess, and they could easily take massive losses they make it impossible for them to catch up. To give you an idea how sketchy it is, when they make a new airliner, they are taking losses on a the first several years of production. Not just on NRE, but per unit. They have to pull all of their profit from future improvements from production efficiency. So if they can't sell as many airframes as they expect, they are mega super screwed. That's the reason it's a duopoly. There just isn't room for anyone who isn't incredibly massive.

    Probably the main reason that the MAX exists instead of a new airliner, is that Southwest doesn't want to have to do a major transition. They are a massive single aisle customer, so their preference has a lot of weight.

  17. #14377
    Quote Originally Posted by Reid View Post
    I know this venture has been harped on to death, but Trump Steaks? The dude slapped his name on ****ing steaks and tried to sell them at The Sharper Image. Why you would even try this, and moreover why you would want your name on it, is just plain confusing.
    Clearly youíve never had a Trump steak.

    No, but really, I bet the answer is that the reason why they did it is because there was only upside for Trump. There probably was a company that was already going to sell luxury frozen steaks, and they just spent a big chunk of their advertising budget licensing the Trump brand so that theyíd instantly have a higher profile than they would have otherwise. Trump probably took on very little risk compared to the guaranteed upside and left all the risk to someone else. So, in short, the answer to ďwhy did he do itĒ is because it was free money.

    AFAIK licensing his name is the way that Trump has made most of his money.

  18. #14378
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obi_Kwiet View Post
    MCAS is really only necessary around stall conditions. It shouldn't really even activate unless something has gone wrong.
    Due to new engine placement the 737 MAX pitches up whenever itís throttled up. They also used MCAS to correct this so the plane felt like a 737, not during stall, during normal operations. According to literally every credible source the MCAS is absolutely ****ing not only activated during stall conditions.

    Also, software developers almost certainly didn't make that call.
    Yeah but they also did the work, so **** em.

    They would have had extremely rigid requirements that were given to them by systems and control systems engineers.
    The issue is that Boeing wasn't aware that those sensors are critical.
    two very consistent stances

    People keeps shouting for more training about MCAS, but really MCAS should be competently transparent to the pilot. For pilots to need to know the system existed really means that the system sucks and needs to be rethought.
    Solution there, it seems to me, is to create unhackable systems.

    Wrong. What you are missing is that the FAA is essentially a government subsidy to Boeing. They provide, or are supposed to provide, expertise and engineering peer review to make sure Boeing's aircraft are safe.
    mmm yup cool, I guess since you didnít give enough of a **** to read my post I donít have to read the rest of yours either.



    The FAA is a government subsidy to make Boeing more competitive in global markets. What a ****ing novel idea youíve got there.

  19. #14379
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    Since I guess this point was lost on some people, my post wasn't about Boeing. It was really about the long term effects of austerity policies on international competitiveness. I just chose the 737 MAX as my case study because it's topical (and particularly salient, due to the FAA's universal recognition).

    The FAA exists so their name can help Boeing commit international regulation run-around. And broadly, that's what the American government is becoming: international regulation arbitrage. And since American voters still seem in love with austerity neoliberalism, this trend will probably continue. So, yeah. The rest of us should probably pay attention to this. Probably stop recognizing American regulations, if not to keep American companies in line, then to put them on even ground with companies from countries that still care about these things.


    The problem with a race to the bottom is that, whether you win or lose, you're at the ****in' bottom

  20. #14380
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eversor View Post
    Clearly you’ve never had a Trump steak.

    No, but really, I bet the answer is that the reason why they did it is because there was only upside for Trump. There probably was a company that was already going to sell luxury frozen steaks, and they just spent a big chunk of their advertising budget licensing the Trump brand so that they’d instantly have a higher profile than they would have otherwise. Trump probably took on very little risk compared to the guaranteed upside and left all the risk to someone else. So, in short, the answer to “why did he do it” is because it was free money.

    AFAIK licensing his name is the way that Trump has made most of his money.
    I believe Trump owned Trump Steaks.

  21. #14381
    Quote Originally Posted by Reid View Post
    I believe Trump owned Trump Steaks.
    Apparently not.

    From ThinkProgress: https://www.google.com/amp/s/thinkpr...6fc31b689/amp/

    But if selling steaks still seems like an illogical move for the Trump brand, consider, for a moment, the Trump brand ó hyper-masculine, decadent, built on the back of luxury real estate, hotels, and casinos. All those properties ó especially the casinos and the hotels ó boasted restaurants, and those restaurants needed to source their steak from somewhere.

    So Trump struck up a relationship with Buckhead Beef, a specialty meat company that was purchased by Sysco, the largest marketer and distributor of food service products in the United States, in 1999. According to Jack Serratilli, a Buckhead Beef sales manager, Trump first approached the company when he opened his first casino in Atlantic City. Buckhead had already been servicing other casinos in Atlantic City, supplying beef for their restaurants, and they began to do the same for Trump.

    Beginning around the mid-2000s, however, Trumpís Atlantic City projects began to suffer financial blows, culminating, eventually, in a 2004 Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. According to the filing, Trump Hotels owed Buckhead Beef $715,240, related to their partnership with the casino.

    Two years later, on August 6, 2006, Trump filed an application to trademark Trump Steaks. A few months later, in October, the New York Inquirer published a story reporting that Trump had entered into a partnership with Buckhead Beef to sell the steaks. The now-trademarked Trump Steaks name was first used in commerce, according to filings made to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, in December 2006. To start, it appears as though Trump sold his steaks through a direct sales website, housed at www.trumpsteaks.com.
    From the New York Inquirer article cited:

    It's a licensing deal, attaching the Trump brand to some hunks of meat. Porterhouse, New York Strip, included. And for the cosmopolitan element: Japanese-style Kobe Beef.

  22. #14382
    Selling mail-order steaks isnít a very risky venture if youíre already in the meat business. It opens up another channel for distribution/additional revenue without requiring significant additional costs. If you sell no steaks it doesnít matter.

  23. #14383
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eversor View Post
    Apparently not.

    From ThinkProgress:

    From the New York Inquirer article cited:
    I think it depends exactly what we mean here. Obviously Trump didn't buy slaughterhouses or set up a big supply chain or anything. Trump Steaks was a branding and customer-facing middleman. But it wasn't just a licensing deal, Trump owned Trump steaks entirely and basically used Buckhead Beef as a supplier. The article should have been clearer about the business deal IMO, because you could argue that it was "like" a licensing deal. But Trump didn't license his name to that company.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eversor View Post
    Selling mail-order steaks isn’t a very risky venture if you’re already in the meat business. It opens up another channel for distribution/additional revenue without requiring significant additional costs. If you sell no steaks it doesn’t matter.
    Risk free for Buckhead Beef, yeah. Trump Steaks would be taking the risks, if their advertising campaign failed to generate sales.

  24. #14384
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    From what you linked, though, Trump Steaks wasn't even really a voluntary venture. It was Trump trying to scramble together some B.S. to help pay back some of the money he owed to Buckhead Beef. So it was more a desperate attempt to recoup losses than a real original idea.

  25. #14385
    Quote Originally Posted by Reid View Post
    Risk free for Buckhead Beef, yeah. Trump Steaks would be taking the risks, if their advertising campaign failed to generate sales.
    Except they didnít have an advertising campaign. You can read about it in the ThinkProgress article, but they effectively made Sharper Image responsible for advertising (and they didnít even ask SI to contribute much. Posters of Trump on store windows).
    Last edited by Eversor; 05-13-2019 at 12:12 AM.

  26. #14386
    Quote Originally Posted by Reid View Post
    I think it depends exactly what we mean here. Obviously Trump didn't buy slaughterhouses or set up a big supply chain or anything. Trump Steaks was a branding and customer-facing middleman. But it wasn't just a licensing deal, Trump owned Trump steaks entirely and basically used Buckhead Beef as a supplier. The article should have been clearer about the business deal IMO, because you could argue that it was "like" a licensing deal. But Trump didn't license his name to that company.
    Whatís your source for the inaccuracy of the article? I donít see where youíre getting ďownershipĒ from. It seems like it was more of a product produced by the Trump organization in partnership with another company.

  27. #14387
    I donít know... sure, the fact that heís selling marked up steaks through the sharper image is of course comical in and of itself, but it doesnít seem that dumb to me. Very little downside, and he doesnít seem to have invested much into it. Seems like it was low risk with big potential upside relative to the risk, even if it was unlikely to be successful, and they didnít invest the resources in it to make it work.

    In the world of celebrity endorsed vodkas and whatever other nonsense, why not try it and see if it works?

  28. #14388
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    Risk: tarnishing a carefully-groomed public persona of shrewd business practices and personal opulence by associating it with base hucksterism.

    Big potential upside: capturing a tiny bit of grocers' consumer surplus without an economy of scale.



    Edit: seems to me like the risk was pretty high relative to the upside, especially given the fact that it's what happened.

  29. #14389
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    Risk: tarnishing a carefully-groomed public persona of shrewd business practices and personal opulence by associating it with base hucksterism.
    Is this a joke? I haven't heard much about "shrewd business practices" when I've heard about Trump's exploits in Atlantic City in the 90s (or any other stage of his career). Base hucksterism has been baked into the cake for some time.

    Edit: Also, I said big potential upside relative to the risk (which I think was infinitesimally small).
    Last edited by Eversor; 05-13-2019 at 12:41 AM.

  30. #14390
    Quote Originally Posted by Reid View Post
    From what you linked, though, Trump Steaks wasn't even really a voluntary venture. It was Trump trying to scramble together some B.S. to help pay back some of the money he owed to Buckhead Beef. So it was more a desperate attempt to recoup losses than a real original idea.
    It's certainly implied that Trump's bankruptcy and debt to Buckhead was a cause of the venture, but I think you infer more here than can rightfully be inferred given what is written.

  31. #14391
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eversor View Post
    What’s your source for the inaccuracy of the article? I don’t see where you’re getting “ownership” from. It seems like it was more of a product produced by the Trump organization in partnership with another company.
    Because Trump registered the trademark Trump Steaks, and the order website was copyrighted to him. At the very least his company appears responsible for managing this website and taking orders. The New York Inquirer article seems more like a joke article than a serious description of the deal, so I wouldn't take it too literally.

    The ThinkProgress article mentions that Trump took almost no money from The Sharper Image for the licensing of the Trump Steaks name.

  32. #14392
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    Based on what's been learned via the media recently, I like how Trump is terrible at business and still has a book ghost-written for him about how good he is at business. The book is a bestseller and the man is President, though, so that counts for something. He's good at being born into wealth, and I think he's pretty good at bull****ting even though he's had some evident failures in that regard.

  33. #14393
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eversor View Post
    I don’t know... sure, the fact that he’s selling marked up steaks through the sharper image is of course comical in and of itself, but it doesn’t seem that dumb to me. Very little downside, and he doesn’t seem to have invested much into it. Seems like it was low risk with big potential upside relative to the risk, even if it was unlikely to be successful, and they didn’t invest the resources in it to make it work.

    In the world of celebrity endorsed vodkas and whatever other nonsense, why not try it and see if it works?
    Opportunity cost.

    I agree it's not a particularly risky venture. He wasn't in risk of bankrupting the Trump Org over it.

  34. #14394
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eversor View Post
    It's certainly implied that Trump's bankruptcy and debt to Buckhead was a cause of the venture, but I think you infer more here than can rightfully be inferred given what is written.
    Yeah, you're probably right. I'm reading too much into that.

  35. #14395
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eversor View Post
    Is this a joke? I haven't heard much about "shrewd business practices" when I've heard about Trump's exploits in Atlantic City in the 90s (or any other stage of his career). Base hucksterism has been baked into the cake for some time.
    No, it's not a joke. You're greatly overestimating how informed most people are. Before 2016 all most people thought about Trump was that he was super rich, built a lot of expensive buildings, and was so good at business and management that they hired him to fire people on TV.

    Like, it's pretty reasonable for someone to assume that if a building says "TRUMP", then Donald Trump had something to do with it, yeah? Most people don't assume Donald Trump must have trademarked his last name and licensed it out to third party developers. Most people don't even know that's even a thing that businesses do. And considering developers were still licensing his name through 2016, those normal people were given a pretty strong signal that Donald Trump is better at business than he really is.

    Edit: Also, I said big potential upside relative to the risk (which I think was infinitesimally small).
    I guess you must, since that upside also seems infinitesimally small to me. "Doesn't think Trump is a con artist", "can afford luxury steak", and "doesn't buy it from a butcher" isn't exactly a growth segment no matter how many resources you pour into making it work. Like, even if you're an egomaniac, you've gotta realize that it's food. It's ridiculously low margin everywhere. Stamping a good name on it will only move the needle so much.

    I honestly think Reid's take is more probable than Trump pursuing this as an actual... uh, thing.
    Last edited by Jon`C; 05-13-2019 at 01:29 AM.

  36. #14396
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krokodile View Post
    Based on what's been learned via the media recently, I like how Trump is terrible at business and still has a book ghost-written for him about how good he is at business. The book is a bestseller and the man is President, though, so that counts for something. He's good at being born into wealth, and I think he's pretty good at bull****ting even though he's had some evident failures in that regard.
    He has gumption and refuses to quit, I'll give him that. The author of that book called it lies though lol.

  37. #14397
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    I guess you must, since that upside also seems infinitesimally small to me. "Doesn't think Trump is a con artist", "can afford luxury steak", and "doesn't buy it from a butcher" isn't exactly a growth segment no matter how many resources you pour into making it work.
    Yeah, the issue here is the intersection of the markets. Who does Trump's brand appeal to? Poor people who know nothing about what affluence is really like. Who mail orders luxury steaks? I have no ****ing clue, but it's absolutely not people poor enough who like the Trump brand (or people who shop at The Sharper Image).

    Re: licensing, I should clarify that a 'pure' licensing deal is best exemplified by Star Wars Legos. Disney has zero hand in actually making or distributing LEGOs, their only input would be over brand image. Trump does do this kind of licensing, and that does seem to be where much of his money comes from. It just seems the case of Trump Steaks in particular was more of an 'actual' middleman business than just simply licensing his name.

  38. #14398
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    Trump nominally operating the steak portal is consistent with his real estate licensing, where he nominally ran building management. Of course he didn't actually do it, but a part of the licensing scheme was to create the illusion that he did own the buildings.

  39. #14399
    Quote Originally Posted by Reid View Post
    Opportunity cost.

    I agree it's not a particularly risky venture. He wasn't in risk of bankrupting the Trump Org over it.
    Yeah, and I agree that it wasnít a literal licensing model, although my first guess was still pretty close.

  40. #14400
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eversor View Post
    Yeah, and I agree that it wasnít a literal licensing model, although my first guess was still pretty close.
    Yeah, in spirit it seems to be pretty much just that.

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