Where is the prophetic cry from “Network’s” Howard Beale, “I’m mad as hell and not going to take it anymore”?
One theory is that the Trump administration has simply exhausted America’s capacity outrage that noble sentiment, so vital to democratic rule.
Consider the following.
Being Boeing seems to mean that you never have to say you’re culpable for the deaths of 346 people from crashing 737 MAX airliners.
The New York Times reported Saturday that Boeing recently discovered that the flight simulators airlines that fly the 737 MAX have been using to train their pilots on what to do if their planes starts to nose dive don’t always work. The simulators, the Times reported, could not accurately replicate the conditions created by the malfunctioning anti-stall system, which played a role in both crashes.
Since the two crashes, we’ve learned that America’s largest exporter virtually regulated itself. Thanks to dogged reporting by the Seattle Times and others in the supposedly “fake news” press, we’ve learned that the underfunded, overworked Federal Aviation Administration had virtually set up shop inside the company and relied on Boeing’s own information to certify the safety of its aircraft.
We’ve learned that despite the twin crashes within five months, America was the last nation that owned a lot of those 50-year-old redesigned planes to ground them.
We’ve learned that rather than take the time to design a new plane to compete with a new Airbus jet, the company moved the locations of its old jet’s engines and made other quick fixes rather than lose sales to its competitor.
We’ve learned that even after the first crash, Boeing kept selling a package of safety enhancements rather than give it away to all MAX owners and insist that their pilots be retrained.
We’ve learned that FAA managers reportedly pressured its own safety engineers to green light the company’s safety findings, and those whistleblowers who complained about sloppy practices at the company’s plants were ignored or punished.
We’ve learned that 747 MAX was the only modern Boeing jet without an electronic alert system warning of malfunctions and explaining quickly how to resolve them.
We’ve learned that pilots who had less than half a minute to stop their plane from plunging had to check a manual to figure out what to do to save their plane.
We’ve learned that one of CEO Dennis Muilenburg’s early responses to the crisis was to call President Trump to urge him not to ground the planes.
We’ve also learned that since the crashes, stock losses have wiped out about $28 billion of Boeing’s market value, or about 10 percent of its total.
But Muilenburg remains CEO, and no member of the board or senior management has been fired or retired to spend more time with his family. Where is accountability, if not the outrage?
Bill de Blasio
On Thursday, “BdB,” as he is unaffectionately known to New Yorkers, became the 23rd Democrat to announce his desire to replace Donald Trump in 2020. Of course, he already has a full-time job. He’s the mayor of a deeply troubled city filled with 8.5 million people, for which he is paid $258,750.
Never mind that the self-styled “people’s mayor” who came to office vowing to end the “tale of two cities” – the growing gap between the city’s rich and poor – has failed to make a dent in inequality, according to a study by the Manhattan Institute, where I work.
Or that on his watch, homelessness, panhandling and turnstile-jumping have dramatically increased.
Bill de Blasio has been a prodigious fundraiser for his own political advancement. He has raised millions of dollars from labor unions and individuals with business for his special projects, despite multiple state and federal investigations
Or that he has presided over what the Wall Street Journal calls the “catastrophic mismanagement of the New York City Housing Authority,” the long-struggling public housing agency which collapsed under a lead-paint scandal that caused a federal judge to impose a federal monitor to oversee the thousands of decrepit units.
Should he not seek to fail upwards just because his “Renewal” program for failing public schools wasted $800 million without much improvement in student performance?
Why should he not be ferried around to his favorite gym each morning in a gas-guzzling SUV while railing against climate change and trying to ban glass-skyscrapers because they emit too much CO2?
Lazy, incompetent, and eager to blame New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and anyone else for the city’s problems, he was booed at a recent anti-Trump rally.
Small wonder that, according to a Quinnipiac University poll last month, a staggering 76 percent of New York voters said they didn’t want him to run.
But he does have one key qualification for the job. As my City Journal colleague Seth Barron noted in his morning blog, de Blasio has been a prodigious fundraiser for his own political advancement. He has raised millions of dollars from labor unions and individuals with business for his special projects, despite multiple state and federal investigations into what Barron described as a “pay to play” operation.
Pacific Gas & Electric
You know them. They’re the friendly folks from the utility that Cal Fire says was at the root of last summer’s horrendous Camp Fire. On Wednesday, state fire investigators confirmed what Californians already knew: the worst fire in California’s history, responsible for the death of 85 people, the destruction of 150,000 acres of farmland and other property, and damages totaling in the billions of dollars, was caused by faulty maintenance and decrepit electrical transmission lines owned and operation by the utility giant.
“It’s a disappointment that this happened,” the Associated Press quoted Bill Johnson, the utility’s recently appointed new chief, as saying. “Let’s not do it again.”
The Cal Fire report has been forwarded to a District Attorney for possible action, but nothing can bring back what has been lost due to what Gov. Gavin Newsom called “over two decades of mismanagement, misconduct, and failed efforts to improve a woeful safety culture.” Where were California’s political overseers during those years?
Though it could be held responsible for damages if found negligent, the utility filed for bankruptcy protection in January. “We remain committed to working together with state agencies and local communities to make our customers and California safer,” the company’s statement said.
Though he was forced out of office, the former head of the Environmental Protection Agency is still making news.
His dogged effort to weaken the federal regulations intended to protect the nation’s environment and assure the safety of our air and water clearly exhausted him. That’s probably why he needed to travel first class and sleep in $600-a-night hotel in Italy at the taxpayers’ expense.
This week, after a two-year investigation, the EPA’s inspector general found that Pruitt’s travel had cost American taxpayers over $985,000, and recommended that the government try to recover some of that money, some $124,000 spent “without sufficient justification.”
About 80 percent of that was for first-class and business-class airfare, including 16 trips to or thru Tulsa, where Pruitt owned a home.
Pruitt maintained he had done nothing wrong. The travel upgrades and first-class hotels were needed as “security measures.”
Will the government prevail? Don’t hold your breath. Not when it comes to Pruitt, PG&E, de Blasio or Boeing. Not as long as Americans just tune out and turn the page or channel.