Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Notations On Our World (Special Quarter-End Edition): A Virtual Celebration

In celebration of our anniversary, our team decided to feature the Atlantic Festival Ideas Stage here and throughout our Properties as we look forward to to serve:

Monday, September 28, 2020

Notations From the Grid (Weekly Edition): A Sampling of Discourse On #Election2020 In the United States

It is the eve of the first US Presidential Debate here in the United States as we went to press.   Our team curated a sampling of the discourse over Social Media this Past Week courtesy the Financial Times, Defense One, The Bulwark as we also hereby note two articles courtesy the New York Times & New Yorker On the state of America:  


Without Stimulus Funding for Aircraft Makers, Defense Firms Could Suffer

"If the commercial side doesn't get some relief, you are going to see companies in the supply chain go out of business and that will impact the defense side," Aerospace Industries Association CEO Eric Fanning said Wednesday. "We're going to see bankruptcies, consolidations, closures in the supply chain and in some cases there are single points of failure." AIA released a "Roadmap to Recovery" laying out ways to help the sector recover from the pandemic. With passenger air travel at record lows, airlines have grounded thousands of planes and canceled orders for new ones. "That's gonna bleed into the defense side," even if it takes a little longer, Fanning said.

F-35 Deploy on British Aircraft Carrier

Ten U.S. Marine Corps F-35 fighters are aboard the United Kingdom's HMS Queen Elizabeth for NATO exercises in the North Sea. Six Royal Navy destroyers, frigates, and auxiliaries will be joined by warships from the Royal Netherlands Navy and U.S. Navy. These shops will "form the largest UK-led multi-national force in recent years, which will accompany HMS Queen Elizabeth on her global, inaugural deployment in 2021," the U.S. Marine Corps said in a statement

The training deployment comes as both the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.K. reconsider just how many F-35 they need. The Marines and Royal Air Force both fly the F-35B, which can take off from short runways, like those on small-deck aircraft carriers, and land vertically, like the Harrier jump jet they are replacing.

Meanwhile, the U.S. is looking to have a deal in place to sell F-35s to the United Arab Emirates, Reuters' Mike Stone reports. But as former NATO Supreme Allied Commander James Stavrides writes in Bloomberg, the UAE F-35 deal is all about Israel. Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz was at the Pentagon this week where U.S. Defense Minister Mark Esper "expressed continued support for Israel's Qualitative Military Edge," according to a U.S. Defense Department readout from the meeting. "Secretary Esper and Minister Gantz agreed that the normalization of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain under the Abraham Accords represents a historic opportunity to strengthen regional security."

Cubic For Sale?

Possibly, according to Reuters. "Hedge fund Elliott Management and buyout firm Veritas Capital have made a joint bid for Cubic Corp following weeks of private talks with the defense and transportation technology firm, people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday." Cubic makes training and simulations tech for the military while its transportation business is best known for making the contactless payment cards used on the Washington Metro, New York City Transit and London Underground.

House Passes CR

The temporary spending measure, which the Senate must also pass, would keep the government funded through Dec. 11, after the U.S. November elections. That would leave it up to a lame duck session of Congress to pass a full-year appropriations or another continuing resolution.

Army Chinook Flies with New Engines 

A U.S. Army CH-47 helicopter recently made its first flight with GE Aviation T408s, the powerful engines that are used on Marine Corps' newish CH-53K Super Stallions. The Army called the flight a "milestone that could expand the capabilities of future Chinook heavy-lift missions." The GE T408 produces 7,500 horsepower, about 56 percent more than the Honeywell T55 that currently powers most Chinooks, FlightGlobal reports.

Northrop Joins Two Teams Bidding for New Interceptor

When Boeing announced the formation of a team to bid on the Missile Defense Agency's Next Generation Interceptor program, its press release highlighted the inclusion of General Atomics and Aerojet Rocketdyne. But buried a few paragraphs down is another partner: Northrop Grumman — the same company whose acquisition of rocket maker Orbital ATK led Boeing to drop its bid for the Air Force's next ICBM. And Northrop isn't just playing on Boeing's team; the Virginia-based company has announced that it will offer an NGI bid with Raytheon.

HII Creates Drone Development Center

The 20-acre campus in Hampton, Virginia, will support unmanned systems prototyping, production, and testing, Huntington Ingalls said in a statement. It is expected to create more than 250 jobs. The company chose Virginia, home of its nearby Newport News Shipbuilding over North Carolina.

The SCOTUS Vote Is a Sign of Republican Weakness

They think they're going to get blown out on November 3.

1. Weakness

Here are the two data points that explain why Republicans are going to push a SCOTUS nomination through before November 3:

  • 62 percent of Americans say the winner of the election should pick the next nominee.

  • Joe Biden leads the national polling average by +7 points.

That’s it. That’s your explanation.

The polling on who should be making this SCOTUS pick is pretty definitive. Only 23 percent of respondents said that Trump should be the one making the nomination.

So why would Republicans rush into a high-profile fight where they’re on the wrong side of public opinion by nearly 3-to-1? And in the process weaken their presidential nominee and make a bunch of vulnerable senators even more vulnerable?

Because they believe Trump is going to lose.

If Republicans were confident that Trump was going to win, they’d hold off on the SCOTUS vote. They wouldn’t expose senators such as McSally or Gardner.

If Republicans thought that Trump had a realistic chance to win, they’d also hold off on the vote. Because they’d be scrapping for any issue that might tilt 50-50 odds in their favor.

(And besides, they could tell themselves that if this gamble didn’t pay off, then they could always vote on the nomination in the lame duck session.)

But the decision to vote now tells us that Mitch McConnell and the Republican caucus have decided that Trump is highly likely to lose—and that they are likely to lose their majority, too. 

Which is why they have to push the vote through before the election—because doing it in a lame-duck after a large-scale loss would invite apocalyptic levels of public backlash.

In other words: This is a decision based not on strength, but on weakness and fear. And you know what the old green guy says about fear:

You might think of Senate Republicans as a bunch of bank robbers, running around in the vault, stuffing every last wad of cash they can grab down the front of their pants because they hear the sirens and they know that the cozzers will be on the scene any minute.

One more thing: In all of the SCOTUS drama of the last few days, you don’t see a lot of “more in sorrow than in anger” arguments from Republicans saying, something like:

Yes, this is worrisome. Yes, it’s a judgment call. And yes we understand that it looks bad and that there will be adverse consequences for the court and the country if we hold this vote. But for reasons X, Y, and Z, voting on Trump’s nominee is still the most prudent course.

Instead what you see is closer to . . . glee.

It’s almost as if Republicans are relishing jamming through a last-minute vote even more than they would a normal, orderly confirmation process.

It’s almost as if the norm-busting is part of the appeal.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Notations From the Grid (Special Edition): On this Passing on #RBG


Justice Ruth Baden Ginsburg passed away.   Our team hereby presents the following as a tribute to her memory as our team will continue to assess the transformation of the US Supreme Court:

We also present a discourse of the debate that ensued in the aftermath of the passing of Justice Ginsburg:

Friday, September 18, 2020

Notations On Our World (Special Friday Edition): #RandomThoughts on Our World

As our team continues its' on-going assessment of the US Election Scene, we hereby present the following courtesy Seth Meyers and Trevor Noah on the week that was:

This is as this occurred this week:

In its last meeting before the November elections, the Federal Reserve on Wednesday did as expected and announced that it will maintain a target interest rate at or near zero percent until the economy recovers from the coronavirus pandemic, which could take years to accomplish.

Read the full story here.

As we continue our assessment of a POST-COVID World, we present this snapshot of the expected recovery courtesy the team at the Visual Capitalist: 

Counting votes cast in Maine's marquee Senate race will be complicated this fall by a likely surge in mail-in ballots and its voting system.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins needs majority support, not just a plurality of the votes, if she wants to win her fifth term after first being elected to Congress in 1996. That's because, for the first time, Maine's Senate race could be decided by ranked-choice voting.

Read the full story here.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Notations From the Grid (Special Thursday Edition ): On #Iran


As we noted historic developments earlier with the signing of the Abraham Accords, there has been a lot going on in Iran.

Iran executed a championship wrestler, Navid Afkari, in spite of pleadings for mercy from throughout the World.   This is as the leading Iranian Civil Rights Lawyer, Nasrin Soutodeh, continues her hunger strike and another one of the leading activists, Mohammad Nourizad, is in poor health based on the report we received from his wife.    Our team is continuing to assess it all as we leave all with a sense of the true realities in Iran right now:

Reza Pahlavi, the Son of the Late Shah of Iran, released an editorial for the Wall Street Journal regarding Navid Afkari:


Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Notations On Our World (Special Mid-Week Edition): On #AbrahamAccords

It was a historic day yesterday at the White House:

One perspective from the region was also noted below along with the analysis by the Haaretz' Noa Landau available here: