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Saturday, January 21, 2017

Hateful Columbia University Palestinian Supporter


 19 JANUARY 2017 17:14

For some in the Jewish community, "infest" posses an antisemitic connotation that hearkens back to the Nazi era, when Jews were described as "rats" or "vermin."

Columbia University Professor Rashid Khalidi
Columbia University Professor Rashid Khalidi. (photo credit:YOUTUBE SCREENSHOT)
A pro-Palestinian professor created controversy on Thursday after
 that under the incoming Trump administration, advocates for Israel would
come to "infest" the United States government.

During an interview with Chicago public radio station WBEZ, Columbia
University Professor of Modern Arab Studies Rashid Khalidi surmised that
 supporters of Israel would have greater influence on incoming US President
 Donald Trump, which would impose a new "vision" of the Middle East
disproportionately favoring the Israeli government.

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"So they have a vision whereby the occupied territories aren’t occupied, they
 have a vision whereby there is no such thing as the Palestinians, they have
a vision whereby international law doesn’t exist, they have a vision whereby
the United States can unilaterally cancel a decision in the United Nations,"
Khalidi said.

"And unfortunately, these people infest the Trump transition team, these
 people are going to infest our government as of January 20. And they are hand
in glove with a similar group of people in the Israeli government and Israeli
political life who think that whatever they think can be imposed on reality,"
 he added.

For some in the Jewish community, "infest" possesses an antisemitic 
connotation that hearkens back to the Nazi era, when Jews were described
 as "rats" or "vermin."

Khalidi, who has previously campaigned on behalf of the Boycott,
 Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS), has been credited as a
for the Palestinian Liberation Organization in Beirut in the 1970's and
1980's, when Israel and the US considered the group a terrorist organization.

Khalidi, however, has denied ever working for the PLO, stating that he
 "often spoke to journalists in Beirut, who usually cited me without
 attribution as a well-informed Palestinian source," according to The 
Washington Times. 

Last year, the Ivy league educator circled a petition demanding that
 Columbia University immediately divest from Israel, garnering the
signatures of at least 40 colleagues, according to online publication
The Tower.

Columbia University said in response for comment that “Faculty have
freedom to speak out on public issues. No one, however, represents the
university when doing so.”

Professor Khalidi was not available for comment at the time of publication
 of this article. 

Sad News--Will We Ever Know What Happened To Malaysia Airlines 370

Forever a mystery? MH370 search ends after nearly 3 years

By KRISTEN GELINEAU | Associated Press | Published: January 17, 2017
SYDNEY — The nearly three-year search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 ended Tuesday, possibly forever — not because investigators have run out of leads, but because the countries involved in the expensive and vast deep-sea hunt have shown no appetite for opening another phase.
Late last year, as ships with high-tech search equipment covered the last strips of the 46,000-square-mile search zone, experts concluded they should have been searching a smaller area immediately to the north. But by then, $160 million had already been spent by Malaysia, Australia and China, who had agreed over the summer not to search elsewhere without pinpoint evidence.
The transport ministers of those countries reiterated that decision Tuesday in the joint communique issued by the Joint Agency Coordination Center in Australia that announced the search for Flight 370 — and the 239 people aboard the aircraft — had been suspended.
"Despite every effort using the best science available, cutting-edge technology, as well as modeling and advice from highly skilled professionals who are the best in their field, unfortunately, the search has not been able to locate the aircraft," said the agency, which helped lead the hunt for the Boeing 777 in remote waters west of Australia.
"Accordingly, the underwater search for MH370 has been suspended. The decision to suspend the underwater search has not been taken lightly nor without sadness."
Relatives of those lost on the plane, which vanished during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014, responded largely with outrage. A support group, Voice 370, issued a statement saying that extending the search is "an inescapable duty owed to the flying public."
Without understanding what happened to the plane, there's a "good chance that this could happen in the future," said K.S. Narendran, a member of the group.
In this March 31, 2014 file photo, HMAS Success scans the southern Indian Ocean, near the coast of Western Australia, as a Royal New Zealand Air Force P3 Orion flies over, while searching for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. After nearly three years, the hunt for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 ended in futility and frustration on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017, as crews completed their deep-sea search of a desolate stretch of the Indian Ocean without finding a single trace of the plane.
But last year, Australia, Malaysia and China — which have each helped fund the search — agreed that the hunt would be suspended once the search zone was exhausted unless new evidence emerges that pinpoints the plane's specific location. More than after of those aboard the plane were Chinese.
Since no technology currently exists that can tell investigators exactly where the plane is, that means the most expensive, complex search in aviation history is over, barring a change of heart from the three countries.
There is the possibility that a private donor could offer to bankroll a new search, or that Malaysia will kick in fresh funds. But no one has stepped up yet, raising the bleak possibility that the world's greatest aviation mystery may never be solved.
For the families of the aircraft's 227 passengers and 12 crewmembers, that's a particularly bitter prospect given the recent acknowledgment by officials that they had been looking for the plane in the wrong place all along.
In December, the transport bureau announced that a review of the data used to estimate where the plane crashed, coupled with new information on ocean currents, strongly suggested that the plane hit the water in an area directly north of the search zone.
Officials investigating the plane's disappearance recommended that search crews head north to a new 9,700-square-mile area identified in a recent analysis as where the plane most likely crashed. But Australia's government rejected that recommendation, saying the results of the experts' analysis weren't precise enough to justify continuing the hunt.
"Whilst combined scientific studies have continued to refine areas of probability, to date no new information has been discovered to determine the specific location of the aircraft," the transport ministers of the three countries involved said in their statement Tuesday.
The lack of resolution has caused agony for family members of the flight's passengers, who have begged officials to continue the hunt for their loved ones.
"The whole series of events since the plane disappeared has been nothing but frustrating," said Grace Nathan, a Malaysian whose mother was on board Flight 370. "It continues to be frustrating and we just hope they will continue to search. ... They've already searched 120,000 square kilometers. What is another 25,000?"
Investigators have been stymied again and again in their efforts to find the aircraft. Hopes were repeatedly raised and smashed by false leads: Underwater signals wrongly thought to be emanating from the plane's black boxes. Possible debris fields that turned out to be sea trash. Oil slicks that contained no jet fuel. A large object detected on the seafloor that was just an old shipwreck.
In the absence of solid leads, investigators relied largely on an analysis of transmissions between the plane and a satellite to narrow down where in the world the jet ended up — a technique never previously used to find an aircraft.
Based on the transmissions, they narrowed down the possible crash zone to a vast arc of ocean slicing across the Southern Hemisphere. Even then, the search zone was enormous and located in one of the most remote patches of water on earth — 1,800 kilometers (1,100 miles) off Australia's west coast. Much of the seabed had never even been mapped.
For years, search crews painstakingly combed the search area in several ships, largely pinning their hopes on towfish, small vessels equipped with sonar that sent information back to the boats in real-time. The ships slowly dragged the towfish through the ocean just above the seabed, hoping the equipment would detect some trace of the plane. Unmanned submarines were used to examine areas of rougher terrain and objects of interest picked up by sonar that required a closer look.
The search zone shifted multiple times as investigators refined their analysis, all to no avail. Some began to question whether the plane had gone down in the Southern Hemisphere at all.
Then, in July 2015, came the first proof that the plane was indeed in the Indian Ocean: A wing flap from the aircraft was found on Reunion Island, east of Madagascar. Since then, more than 20 objects either confirmed or believed to be from the plane have washed ashore on beaches throughout the Indian Ocean. But while the debris proved the plane went down in the Indian Ocean, the location of the main underwater wreckage — and its crucial black box data recorders — remains stubbornly elusive.
If the plane is never found, the reasons for its disappearance and crash will probably never be known, though Malaysia has said the plane's erratic movements after takeoff were consistent with deliberate actions.
The sister of the pilot, Capt. Zaharie Ahmad Shah, slammed authorities for ending the search without settling the mystery, saying her brother will not be absolved of suspicions he deliberately crashed the plane.
"How can they end the search like that? There will be finger-pointing again," Sakinab Shah said.
The transport ministers praised the efforts of the search crews and said the search had presented an "unprecedented challenge."
"Today's announcement is significant for our three countries, but more importantly for the family and friends of those on board the aircraft. We again take this opportunity to honor the memory of those who have lost their lives and acknowledge the enormous loss felt by their loved ones," the ministers wrote. "We remain hopeful that new information will come to light and that at some point in the future the aircraft will be located."

Another Billionanaire Tries His Hand At Politics

'I'm going to be his worst nightmare': 'Shark Tank' judge Kevin O'Leary is running to lead the Conservative Party in Canada

kevin oleary shark tankKevin O'Leary. Mark Davis / Staff / Getty Images
Kevin O'Leary, an entrepreneur and "Shark Tank" star, announced his entrance into the race to lead the Conservative Party in Canada.
The "Shark Tank" star, nicknamed Mr. Wonderful, announced his campaign in a video posted on his Facebook page after flirting with the idea for months.
He spoke about his background as the child of Lebanese and Irish immigrants and how Canada was the "land of opportunity" for his family.
"That's the promise of Canada. It always has been," O'Leary said. "Somehow, we've lost that. It's been squandered. And there's a reason — his name is Justin Trudeau.
"Today, with you, I'm starting my journey to do something special for him," O'Leary continued. "I'm going to help him find his real calling in 2019 — 'cause it's not running Canada. He doesn't know what he's doing."
O'Leary said Trudeau's "feeling of failure" is "permeating everything" in the country.
"I'm going to be his worst nightmare, but I'm doing it for us — you, me, my kids, yours," O'Leary said.
He likened Trudeau negotiating with US President-elect Donald Trump to "Godzilla versus Bambi" in a November interview after Trump won.
"I think Trump versus Trudeau is Godzilla versus Bambi," O'Leary told the CBC. "It's going to end very badly. You need someone that can negotiate."
With his announcement, O'Leary enters a crowded field to take over for Stephen Harper, Canada's former prime minister, as the leader of the Conservative Party. There are 13 other candidates, including current and former members of Parliament — some of whom have been campaigning since last spring.
He also waited until the morning after the French-language debate to announce his candidacy, meaning the reality-TV star didn't have to participate. O'Leary doesn't speak French, according to the CBC.
O'Leary's campaign will have to scramble to make up for lost time, with the Conservative Party's election five months away, on May 27.
Canada's next federal election is in 2019.

Friday, January 20, 2017

What Will Trump Do With The Overpriced Unreliable F-35


Flawed project 70 percent over cost, years behind schedule


The F-35 stealth fighter jet suffers from hundreds of problems and won’t be fully combat-capable before 2020, says a scathing report from the Pentagon’s top evaluator.
New issues keep cropping up, and fixing them all may cost over $1 billion.
Dr. Michael Gilmore’s damning assessment is part of the massive annual report for fiscal year 2016, and his 62-page dossier devoted to the F-35 paints a grim picture of America’s much touted, futuristic Joint Strike Fighter. The program, which began in 2001, was supposed to deliver a fifth-generation jet serving the needs of the Air Force, the Navy and the Marine Corps, achieving savings through a modular design. Instead, it is 70 percent over initial cost estimates and years behind schedule.
Dr. Gilmore, the Pentagon’s director of operational test & evaluation (OTE) under President Barack Obama, is leaving the Department of Defense as part of the regular change in politically appointed officials. Though F-35 officials have continued to insist the jet is doing just fine and that the problems found in operational testing were being fixed rapidly, Gilmore’s final report makes it clear that he doesn’t believe their reassurances.
“The Services have designated 276 deficiencies in combat performance as ‘critical to correct’ in Block 3F, but less than half of the critical deficiencies were addressed with attempted corrections,” says Gilmore’s report, referring to problems in the F-35’s software. “Deficiencies continue to be discovered at a rate of about 20 per month,” the report added.
“Much more testing is needed to assess the cybersecurity structure of the air vehicle and supporting logistics infrastructure system,” the report says, “and to determine whether, and to what extent, vulnerabilities may have led to compromises of F-35 data.”
Worse yet, the program is trying to skip many of the tests and declare the systems development phase over early, shifting the testing to the Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) process starting in August 2017, the report noted. Rushing the tests means shifting the risks onto operational testing, follow-on modernization, and to the pilots intended to fly the planes into combat.
The F-35 program office “has no plan to adequately fix and verify hundreds of these deficiencies using flight testing within its currently planned schedule and resources,” Gilmore wrote.
“Multiple problems and delays make it clear that the program will not be able to start IOT&E with full combat capability until late CY18 or early CY19, at the soonest,” meaning 2018 and 2019, respectively. Finalizing the systems development phase would cost around $500 million, Gilmore noted, adding that the Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation office’s estimate ranged up to $1.125 billion.
In addition to software trouble, the jet is plagued by structural problems. For example, the connection between the vertical tail and the airframe is wearing out much faster than expected, while arresting hooks are fraying after only one use. Engine nacelles are overheating under certain flight tests, horizontal tail continues to suffer heat damage, and the “excessive, violent” oscillations during catapult launches of the naval F-35C version present a safety concern for pilots.
Tests of the pilot escape system showed a risk of serious neck injury or death for pilots weighing less than 136 pounds (61kg), who remain restricted from flying the F-35.
On the maintenance side, technicians are required to physically connect the Portable Maintenance Aid (PMA) laptops to the aircraft in order to conduct most activities. If the PMA fails to connect to the aircraft properly and technicians unplug it prematurely, the laptop cannot connect to another aircraft until it is reset by an Automatic Logistics Information System (ALIS) administrator, “which can be a lengthy process.”
Given all that, the Department of Defense should consider committing to a “block buy” of the jets, since in their current state the F-35 does not fit the legal requirements and the Pentagon’s “fly before you buy” approach to purchases, Gilmore’s report concluded.
The F-35 is a single-seat, single-engine aircraft that comes in three versions: the F-35A for the Air Force; the F-35B for the US Marine Corps; and the F-35C for the US Navy. It is being developed by Lockheed Martin, with additional funding from Australia, Canada, Denmark, Italy, Norway, the United Kingdom and Turkey. Israel and Japan have also placed orders for the jet.