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 51 
 on: September 16, 2014, 09:50:22 AM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by DougMacG
"Our robot can be silent and as efficient as animals. The only things you hear are the feet hitting the ground," said Sangbae Kim, associate professor of mechanical engineering at MIT. "This is kind of a new paradigm where we're controlling force in a highly dynamic situation. Any legged robot should be able to do this in the future."
http://www.designntrend.com/articles/19619/20140915/mit-robot-cheetah.htm

 52 
 on: September 16, 2014, 09:39:58 AM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by ccp
Objectivist,

I agree with you.  I see in health care what you see in IT.  Not only from a state where half of doctors are born in another country but my many patients in IT most of whom are also born somewhere else.
Only when one gets squeezed by the competition does one wonder what is going on.

  I don' think many on this board will agree with us.

The Cans are foolish if they don't see the great political opportunity this opens up in reaching out to new groups of voters.  Jeff Sessions might.  Even Marc Levin who is a promoter of capatilism sees this.

But the rest of the Republicans seem to be too timid or in bed with the likes of Andressen and are more concerned about promoting their business fortunes with cheap labor than the offering jobs to Americans.

I am not a union guy but this is about undercutting Americans - not about unions.

 53 
 on: September 16, 2014, 09:27:23 AM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by ccp
Well Charles doesn't go far enough.  Of course Obama is a narcissist.  But he also has a *narcissistic personality disorder*.    "Megalomania"  is descriptive of this guy.

*****Charles Krauthammer: Barack Obama ‘narcissist’

By LUCY MCCALMONT | 9/15/14 5:38 PM EDT
Conservative columnist — and former psychiatrist — Charles Krauthammer took time Monday for presidential couch analysis, saying the President Barack Obama is not manic, but rather a narcissist, who “talks like the emperor, Napoleon.”

“So I decided when I left psychiatry never to use my authority. But let me just say as a layman, without invoking any expertise, Obama is clearly a narcissist in the non-scientific use of the word. He is so self-involved, you see it from his rise,” Krauthammer said Monday on the Hugh Hewitt Show, according to a transcript.


Pointing to what Krauthammer called the “theater” of Obama’s 2008 campaign, he continued to slam and assess the president’s personality.

“I think he’s extremely self-involved. He sees himself in very world historical terms, which means A) because he’s an amateur, he doesn’t know very much, and B) because he’s a narcissist, he doesn’t listen,” Krauthammer said.

The conservative emphasized that he doesn’t like to use is authority on psychiatric analyses, “because you really can’t do it at a distance,” but nevertheless offered up a take on Obama.

“My specialty when I was a psychiatrist was bipolar disease. And I wrote some papers on manic disease. He’s not manic, and I don’t think he’s depressed,” Krauthammer said.

He also noted that Obama’s speeches often refer to himself, which Krauthammer suggested Obama has done more than his White House predecessors.

(Full 2014 election results)

“This is a guy, you look at every one of his speeches, even the way he introduces high officials – I’d like to introduce my secretary of state. He once referred to ‘my intelligence community’. And in one speech, I no longer remember it, ‘my military’. For God’s sake, he talks like the emperor, Napoleon,” Krauthammer said.

He continued, “He does have this sense of this all being a drama about him, and everybody else is just sort of part of the stage.”

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/09/charles-krauthammer-barack-obama-narcissist-110975.html#ixzz3DULc9g4s

 54 
 on: September 16, 2014, 09:17:11 AM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by DougMacG
1. No overseas commitment of U.S. forces to combat should be made unless a vital interest of the United States or a U.S. ally is threatened.
2. If U.S. forces are committed, there should be total support - that is, sufficient resources and manpower to complete the mission.
3. If committed, U.S. forces must be given clearly defined political and military objectives. The forces must be large enough to be able to achieve these objectives.
4. There must be a continual assessment between the commitment and capability of U.S. forces and the objectives. These must be adjusted if necessary.
5. Before U.S. forces are committed, there must be reasonable assurances that the American people and their elected representatives support such a commitment.
6. Commitment of U.S. forces to combat must be the last resort.

Much to consider there.  This is a different enemy with a different threat than Sec. Weinberger faced or contemplated.  Perhaps all of that still applies.  Setting objectives and the completion of the mission do not have obvious definitions in a war that looks like it will never end.  The only thing obvious is that doing nothing is not an option.  There is no question that Israel and other allies are threatened by an expanding ISIS and there is no question that acting sooner is better than acting later to stop them.

Pres. Obama's mission I believe needs to  be broken down into objectives that can be achieved within his term.  With full use of allies and coalition, we need to take back specific territory from ISIS, degrade their capability to prosecute war and choke off their control over oil and money used for terror and militarism.  Meanwhile, a Presidential campaign is starting and the public will part of a full debate over our level of involvement in the future.

Europe and the US, and elsewhere like Russia, India, China, etc. face a large threat of homegrown and imported terror.  Now that the US government admits we are in war with an enemy sworn to kill us, our first and most obvious step should be to take control of our own border.

 55 
 on: September 16, 2014, 07:41:53 AM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by objectivist1
Here is a very interesting fact that is being almost wholly ignored by the establishment media - the billionaire leaders of Silicon Valley's high-tech companies are pushing for what is essentially amnesty because linked to this is the TRIPLING OF THE NUMBER OF H-1B VISAS - these allow foreign workers with advanced degrees to get green cards and work here in the U.S. - typically for MUCH LOWER wages than American workers.  In fact - often times these companies (and I know because I work for a software company here in GA) require these foreign workers to sign NON-HIRE AGREEMENTS - which essentially state that the worker agrees to indefinite "contract worker" status - never to be hired as a regular employee - and by design - never to command native U.S. wages.  I also agree that Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) is an American hero.  See below:


Jeff Sessions vs. the ‘Masters of the Universe’

Posted By Michael Cutler On September 16, 2014 @ frontpagemag.com

On September 12, 2014 Breitbart posted an infuriating report, “Facebook’s Marc Andreessen: Jeff Sessions ‘Clinically Insane’ for Supporting U.S. Workers.”

The title of the report made it clear that at best, Andreessen lacks respect or compassion for his fellow Americans and those who support unfortunately all-too-rare politicians such as Senator Jeff Sessions, whose unwavering support of American citizens through effective enforcement of America’s already existent immigration laws have evoked such a vile and outrageous response from Andreessen.

If Andreessen believes that “supporting U.S. workers” is indicative of mental illness, it must be presumed that Andreessen believes that sanity involves betraying American workers.

It has been said that you can judge a person by his enemies and his friends. Anyone who is so hated by Andreessen should be seen as an American hero and, indeed, Senator Sessions is an American hero — a title that is far too uncommon among our members of Congress.

Here is an important excerpt from the Breitbart article that makes Senator Sessions’ position crystal clear and perhaps should cause Americans irrespective of political affiliation to seek to convince Sessions to run for President:

A Sessions aide told Breitbart News that “it’s clear that a few mega-millionaire and mega-billionaire activists are calling the shots for Democrats on immigration.”

“The question at hand is pretty straightforward: who should get preference for American IT work – the 11.4 million Americans with STEM degrees but no STEM jobs, or the citizens of foreign countries now living overseas?” the aide told Breitbart News. “It appears that Democrat politicos and their super-elite patrons believe the answer is the latter.”

After criticizing “young Mr. Zuckerberg” for blasting America’s laws in a foreign capital, Sessions singled out Zuckerberg’s FWD.us, largely because the pro-amnesty lobby has spent millions of dollars trying to ram through a comprehensive amnesty bill that would give the tech lobby massive increases in guest-worker visas at a time when there is a surplus of American high-tech workers and a record number of Americans out of work.

In fact, as Sessions noted, the comprehensive amnesty bill that the tech industry wants and pro-amnesty advocates have spent $1.5 billion over the last decade pushing would “double the supply of low-wage foreign workers brought into the United States.” Silicon Valley companies, which have even been notoriously accused of trying to keep wages down with “no-hire” agreements, believe they will get a good return on their investment if Congress grants them massive increases in guest-worker visas.

After pointing out that Microsoft is laying of 18,000 workers, Sessions posed “a question to Mr. Zuckerberg” if he wanted to expand Facebook’s workforce by 10 percent.

The harsh reality is that Andreessen is so driven by greed that he seeks to amass even greater wealth, than he already possesses, by robbing from struggling middle class families who are increasingly losing their tenuous grasp on their standing as members of the middle class.

Andreessen’s obvious goal — a goal clearly shared by Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and the other self-proclaimed “Masters of the Universe” — is to not only loot American workers and their families by driving down their wages, but also looting the future of their children who are acquiring STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) degrees at great financial expense and effort.

These American students have run up student loan payments that resemble mortgage payment, worked tirelessly to graduate with high averages and yet, as the saying goes, many are “all dressed up with nowhere to go.” For these hapless Americans, through no fault of their own, the “American Dream” will never come any closer to reality than an elusive dream.

On November 20, 2013 Fox News Latino published a report that must be considered, “The Billionaire And The Immigrant — Mark Zuckerberg And Carlos Vargas Join Forces In Silicon Valley For Immigration Reform.”

Here is how this report begins:

They were born one year apart, into vastly different worlds.

Carlos Vargas, 28, began life in poverty in Puebla, Mexico, where he shared one small bedroom with his widowed mother and three siblings. His mother, who crossed the U.S.-Mexican border illegally in 1990 with her four children, held multiple jobs here to make ends meet.

Mark Zuckerberg, 29, started his life in Dobbs Ferry, an affluent New York suburb of tree-lined streets and meticulously tended lawns rimming million-dollar homes. Zuckerberg, also one of four children, is the son of a dentist and a psychiatrist.

But if countless circumstances separated Vargas and Zuckerberg, a mastery of technology and a keen interest in seeing U.S. immigration laws overhauled created a bond.

On Wednesday, the two men will join forces in Silicon Valley, where Zuckerberg is hosting a hackathon in which the Facebook chief executive, as well as other kings of the Internet – Dropbox’s Drew Houston, Groupon founder Andrew Mason and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman – will work with undocumented high-tech wiz kids on building tools to help immigrants and the push for immigration reform.

(Hackathon is the term given to a marathon event in which programmers collaborate on software projects.)

Vargas is one of 20 people chosen from hundreds of applicants across the country to be part of the two-day event at LinkedIn headquarters. They are scheduled to work with some of Silicon Valley’s best and brightest coders to develop tech tools relating to immigration causes.

“It caught me by surprise to be chosen,” Vargas said in an interview with Fox News Latino days before his flight to California. “Here I am, and in just a few days, I’m going to be speaking with Mark Zuckerberg about Facebook and immigration. This moment, the hackathon, could be history, we could create something that helps the push for immigration reform.”

Why on earth is Zuckerberg not willing to offer this incredible opportunity to American students especially American children living in poverty to help lift them from poverty and potentially a life of crime by providing them with an incredible chance to excel? Why on earth is Zuckerberg not offering this opportunity to returning members of America’s armed forces — especially those who may have been injured in combat protecting our nation and, point of fact, protecting him?

In December 2011 “Dan Rather Reports” aired a disconcerting hour-long report, “Rather Reports: No thanks for everything,” on how highly educated and experienced American computer programmers are being replaced by programmers from India.

On May 15, 2007 a four-minute infuriating video was aired on “Lou Dobbs Tonight” on CNN. It features an immigration lawyers’ conference in which lawyers were being coached to “not find qualified U.S. workers.” The lecturer is identified in the video as being Lawrence M. Lebowitz, the vice president of marketing for the firm of Cohen & Grigsby.

I have written about this outrageous betrayal of hard-working Americans and our nation itself by these greed-driven enemies of America in several recent articles. On July 22, 2014 FrontPage Magazine published my article, “Immigration ‘Reform’: Engineered Destruction of the Middle Class.”

On June 9, 2014 Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) posted my commentary, “Betrayal of the American Dream.”

The Winter 2014 Edition of “The Social Contract” published my paper, “American Dream Being Sold at Auction – America’s Middle Class to Be Put on Endangered Species List.”

Andreessen, Zuckerberg, Gates and their cohorts are in an ever-increasing feeding frenzy and the organism that they most closely resemble is a super-aggressive malignant cancerous tumor that seeks to bathe itself in nutrients. Such cancers generally secrete hormones that facilitate the growth of large numbers of blood vessels to deliver those nutrients to that tumor so that it can rapidly grow — generally starving the surrounding healthy tissue.

Andreessen and the others are societal cancers that seek to bathe themselves in wealth, literally and figuratively, at the expense of America and Americans. These foes of American workers are already billionaires, many times over, who are driven to acquire even greater wealth.

It is worth noting that Andreessen was born in Cedar Falls, Iowa and raised in New Lisbon, Wisconsin. Gates and Zuckerberg are also citizens of the United States who were born in the United States yet are quick to show abject contempt for their fellow Americans, pumping more than 1.5 billion dollars into pushing Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

Most people understand Comprehensive Immigration Reform as an ill-conceived legislative initiative that would provide unknown millions of illegal aliens with lawful status and identity documents — even though there would be no realistic way of determining the true identities and backgrounds of these aliens who evaded the inspections process that is supposed to prevent the entry of, among other categories of aliens, terrorists and criminals.

What is not generally known, however, is that this legislation would also have tripled the number of H-1B visas for high tech workers. Additionally, it would have, for the very first time, provided dependent family members of H-1B visa holders with lawful authority to work in the United States on any job they are qualified to do, even if it placed them in direct competition of available and qualified American workers.

Comprehensive Immigration Reform would provide for a huge increase in foreign high tech workers and would no longer protect American workers from unfair foreign competition. This is precisely what Alan Greenspan called for when he testified before a 2009 hearing convened by the Senate Immigration Subcommittee chaired by Senator Chuck Schumer, chief advocate for Comprehensive Immigration Reform and one of the “Gang of Eight” on the topic: Comprehensive Immigration Reform in 2009, Can We Do It and How?

During his prepared testimony Greenspan stated, in part:

“The second bonus (in accelerating the influx of skilled immigrant workers) would address the increasing concentration of income in this country. Greatly expanding our quotas for the highly skilled would lower wage premiums of skilled over lesser skilled. Skill shortages in America exist because we are shielding our skilled labor force from world competition. Quotas have been substituted for the wage pricing mechanism. In the process, we have created a privileged elite whose incomes are being supported at non-competitively high levels by immigration quotas on skilled professionals. Eliminating such restrictions would reduce at least some of our income inequality.”

It is beyond belief that Greenspan would have the chutzpah to refer to American middle class workers who are highly skilled and educated as the “privileged elite” and that the goal should be to reduce “wage inequality.” This is not about enhancing the wages of hard working educated American workers but about lowering their wages to narrow the gap between the middle class and America’s growing number of citizens who now live below the poverty line.

On September 11, 2013 Newsmax published a report about a meeting scheduled to be conducted on September 19, 2013 by Zuckerberg and Republican Congressional leaders to persuade them to support Comprehensive Immigration Reform. The article was titled: “Facebook’s Zuckerberg to Meet With GOP House Leaders.”

Here is how this report began:

The meeting, scheduled for Sept. 19, will include House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, Whip Kevin McCarthy, and Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, the head of the Republican conference, according to two leadership aides who weren’t authorized to speak publicly.

Topics of discussion will include a range of issues such as Internet privacy, the economy, a revision of the tax system, and changes to immigration law, according to one of the aides.

Zuckerberg has joined other technology companies to create the pro-immigration advocacy group Fwd.us.

On August 30, 2013 “Business Insider” published a Reuters news article, “Poverty Stresses The Brain So Much That It’s Like Losing 13 IQ Points”

The title of that alarming report makes it clear that poverty often becomes self-perpetuating.

Notwithstanding these facts, Andreessen, Zuckerberg, Gates and the other “usual suspects continue to push for importing huge numbers of foreign high-tech workers to lower wages and increase corporate profits.

It is beyond belief that proponents for Comprehensive Immigration Reform talk about “compassion” as a justification for admitting ever greater numbers of aliens into the United States while blithely ignoring the obvious — that today Americans have never been in greater need some of that “compassion.”

What no one seems to have noticed is that they themselves are all native-born American citizens. Additionally, while Elon Musk, the founder of Pay-Pal, the Tesla car company and Space-X, was born in South Africa, he was provided with lawful status in the United States, providing clear evidence that this component of the immigration system already in place works for so-called “extraordinary” foreign professionals.

On May 7, 2014 ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) issued a news release about the enrollment of foreign students in the United States, “SEVP report provides snapshot of international students studying in US international student enrollment up 2 percent at US schools, 75 percent of students from Asia.”

Here is the key paragraph from that press release:

As of April 1, almost 1.02 million international students were enrolled in nearly 9,000 U.S. schools using an F (academic) or M (vocational) visa. This marks a two percent increase from January. Seventy-five percent of all international students were from Asia, with 29 percent from China. Saudi Arabia and India had the greatest percentage increase of students studying in the United States at 10 and eight percent, respectively, when compared to January statistics. The top 10 countries of citizenship for international students included: China, India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, Mexico and Brazil.

We need to be extremely concerned about the vetting process for these students and those 9,000 schools. Note that Saudi Arabia is among the top ten countries of citizenship for foreign students.

While it would be wrong-headed to blame all citizens of Saudi Arabia for the terror attacks of 9/11, it is worth noting that on December 20, 2-13 ABC News posted the report, “9/11 Families ‘Ecstatic’ They Can Finally Sue Saudi Arabia”

It is remarkable that the average American has been duped into believing the lies and rhetoric of the politicians who regularly chant the same false phrases repeatedly. Think about the (false) claim that we must import many more high-tech workers because American schools are incapable of providing effective education where the STEM courses are concerned. Consider that the very same politicians who make that claim have also stated that we must “Staple Green Cards onto the diplomas of the foreign students who acquire their educations in the United States.” If our schools are that inept and incapable, why in earth should we seek to employ those foreign students once they get their degrees?

In point of fact, on September 3rd, I was a guest on the NewsMax-TV news program, “America’s Forum” hosted by JD Hayworth to discuss yet another troubling story about yet another screwup by the DHS, an agency I have long referred to as the Department of Homeland Surrender.

The focus of my interview was that fact that the DHS conceded that some 6,000 foreign students had gone “missing” in the United States. ABC News reported on this in its report, “Lost in America: Visa Program Struggles to Track Missing Foreign Students.”

I urge you to read the entire fact-filled, hard-hitting report.

Here is how this truly disturbing report begins:

The Department of Homeland Security has lost track of more than 6,000 foreign nationals who entered the United States on student visas, overstayed their welcome, and essentially vanished — exploiting a security gap that was supposed to be fixed after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.

“My greatest concern is that they could be doing anything,” said Peter Edge, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement official who oversees investigations into visa violators. “Some of them could be here to do us harm.”

Homeland Security officials disclosed the breadth of the student visa problem in response to ABC News questions submitted as part of an investigation into persistent complaints about the nation’s entry program for students.

ABC News found that immigration officials have struggled to keep track of the rapidly increasing numbers of foreign students coming to the U.S. — now in excess of one million each year. The immigration agency’s own figures show that 58,000 students overstayed their visas in the past year. Of those, 6,000 were referred to agents for follow-up because they were determined to be of heightened concern.

“They just disappear,” said Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla. “They get the visas and they disappear.”

Coburn said since the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, 26 student visa holders have been arrested in the U.S. on terror-related charges

The infamous bank robber, Willie Sutton, when asked why he robbed banks said simply, “That’s where the money is!” Today Andreessen and his playmates seek to find employees oversees in Third World countries because that is where the cheap labor is. When Sutton robbed a bank he stole from a relatively small number of people. Andreessen and company are stealing from an entire generation of their fellow Americans and do so with utter disregard to the future of their victims or the future of their own country.

America’s middle class has been at the heart of America’s strength and the “American Dream” and made America the role model for countries around the world. The success of our middle class encouraged countries to embrace democracy and free enterprise. As the saying goes, “Nothing succeeds like success!”

America’s middle class is in a very real sense in danger of becoming extinct. This would do serious harm to the United States.

There is a cautionary message to be considered. Cancers tend to be the most successful organisms in its victim’s body — right up until the day that the victim of that cancer stops breathing. The cancer dies when its victim dies. Weakening America, especially in this especially perilous era is an exceedingly dangerous course of action with potentially catastrophic consequences for Americans and, indeed, people around the world.

 56 
 on: September 16, 2014, 03:21:32 AM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog


 The Weinberger Doctrine

In 1993, the professional concerns of the military led to the resurfacing of the Weinberger Doctrine. This was reinforced by events in 1993 in Somalia (where the objectives of U.S. troop involvement remained unclear) and by the fears of some that the United States would become involved in the conflict in Bosnia-Herzogovina.

The Weinberger Doctrine was established by Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger in the Reagan administration in 1984 to spell out the conditions under which the U.S. ground combat troops should be committed. (Recall that in the earlier part of the 1980s U.S. marines were sent to Lebanon with tragic consequences and the U.S. invaded Grenada where it was criticized for its political and strategic overkill.)


The elements of the Weinberger Doctrine include the following:

1. No overseas commitment of U.S. forces to combat should be made unless a vital interest of the United States or a U.S. ally is threatened.

2. If U.S. forces are committed, there should be total support - that is, sufficient resources and manpower to complete the mission.

3. If committed, U.S. forces must be given clearly defined political and military objectives. The forces must be large enough to be able to achieve these objectives.

4. There must be a continual assessment between the commitment and capability of U.S. forces and the objectives. These must be adjusted if necessary.

5. Before U.S. forces are committed, there must be reasonable assurances that the American people and their elected representatives support such a commitment.

6. Commitment of U.S. forces to combat must be the last resort.

 57 
 on: September 16, 2014, 03:13:52 AM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog
This actually sounds rather promising:
=================================

Boeing Takes Lead to Build Space Taxi
Aerospace Giant Poised to Beat SpaceX for U.S. Contract to Ferry Astronauts
By Andy Pasztor
WSJ
Updated Sept. 15, 2014 7:39 p.m. ET

NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy working on the International Space Station in May 2013. NASA/Zuma Press

Boeing Co. BA -0.50% appears positioned to beat out two smaller rivals for the bulk of a multibillion-dollar NASA contract to ferry astronauts to and from orbit, according to government and aerospace-industry officials.

An award to Boeing would represent a victory over the newer Space Exploration Technologies Corp., or SpaceX, which had been considered a favorite in many quarters because of its lower costs and nimbler approach. The decision on the development of space taxis will be a milestone for commercial space endeavors, locking in unparalleled authority for contractors to develop and operate vehicles with limited federal oversight. An announcement is expected as early as Tuesday.


Recent signals from the Obama administration, according to the officials, indicate that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's leadership has concluded on a preliminary basis that Boeing's proposed capsule offers the least risky option, as well as the one most likely to be ready to transport U.S. crews to the international space station within three years. The officials cautioned that a last-minute shift by NASA chief Charles Bolden, who must vet the decision, could change the result of the closely watched competition.

But interviews with numerous space experts from industry, government and elsewhere—all of whom have been monitoring developments closely—reveal a growing consensus that Boeing is likely to emerge as the big winner to develop and operate the nation's replacement for the space-shuttle fleet, which was retired in 2011.

If Boeing ends up with the largest share of the commercial-crew program's future dollars, the Chicago company could buttress its position as a leading force in U.S. manned space efforts for generations.  One of the two other bidders—SpaceX or Sierra Nevada Corp.—is expected to obtain a smaller contract as a second source, these experts said. SpaceX is in a very strong position to get the nod, the experts added.

For virtually the first time in its history, NASA is also seeking to reduce risk and keep a lid on prices by maintaining competition involving a major program. The success of NASA's commercial efforts depends on long-term competition, according to James Muncy, an industry consultant and former congressional staffer. "I actually care more about NASA choosing two providers than any specific company I happen to favor."

NASA currently relies on Russian rockets and capsules to fly U.S. astronauts to and from the space station. The price tag has climbed to about $70 million a seat even as U.S. policy makers and lawmakers worry about continued dependence on the Kremlin.

A NASA spokesman declined to comment on the status of the proposals except to say "we anticipate an announcement in September." The agency plans to issue fixed-price contracts extending through 2017 that will include at least one manned demonstration flight linking up with the space station. Some industry officials expect a number of additional fights to be part of this round of awards.


Without commenting on the outcome, a Boeing spokeswoman said the company has demonstrated that "the method and order in which we design and test has been successful." Boeing's team "realizes this is a really tough decision for NASA," she said, and is "waiting patiently to roll full steam ahead" assuming the company wins the contract.

A spokesman for SpaceX also declined comment on its chances. But he said the company "has a track record of 100% primary mission success" on every flight of its Falcon 9 rocket. The company has developed more hardware for manned missions than any rival, the spokesman added.

A spokeswoman for Sierra Nevada, the only company proposing a winged vehicle designed to return to earth by landing on a runway, couldn't be reached for comment.

Southern California-based SpaceX had been widely seen as the leading competitor because of its success in reliably transporting cargo to the orbiting international laboratory. SpaceX's proposed manned system uses many of the same components, and the company and its supporters have long argued that its entrepreneurial style promises lower prices, newer technology and an opportunity to shake up NASA's traditional way of doing business.

But people familiar with the process said Boeing, with its greater experience as a NASA contractor, appears to have become the favorite partly because it has met earlier development goals in the same program on time and on budget. SpaceX didn't fully meet all of the critical design requirements, according to a person familiar with the details.

The dollar value of Boeing's potential contract isn't yet clear, and it depends on how many missions end up being included in the award. NASA currently budgets nearly $700 million annually to support the development of a domestically built alternative to Russian spacecraft, and it could spend billions more over the next decade to pay for ongoing transportation services.

Boeing's role in NASA projects stretches back nearly four decades and includes serving as the prime contractor on the space station. The company also has a primary role developing a deep-space rocket for NASA. "They know the customer and what the customer wants to hear," said a former NASA official keeping tabs on the program.

Many of the agency's engineers and scientists favor Boeing, which intends to use 1990s-vintage Atlas V rockets to blast crews into orbit. Boeing officials have repeatedly said they won't continue to develop the CST-100 manned capsule, which has been in development for three years, without further government support.

By contrast, SpaceX supporters emphasize that in little more than a decade, the closely held company has developed two rockets, three different engines and a capsule designed, from the beginning, with the essential safety features required for manned missions. Founder and Chief Executive Elon Musk and other senior company managers have said they plan to continue development of the Dragon capsule regardless of NASA's decision.

William Gerstenmaier, a 37-year veteran of NASA and the associate administrator in charge of manned exploration programs, is the lead official in the selection process.

As of midday Monday, congressional leaders hadn't been briefed on any impending announcement. Boeing and its backers in Congress have been pushing for a single award, arguing that NASA can't afford to support two contractors.

But Eric Stallmer, incoming president of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation trade group, said that having two contractors gives NASA more options and "much greater leverage" to keep the work on track. White House and NASA officials have made the same point in recent years, emphasizing the importance of moving away from a single-source provider of transportation into orbit.

Whatever the outcome, one aspect of Boeing's proposal already has provoked lots of discussion inside NASA, various Pentagon offices and among White House science aides. The Atlas V rocket to be used by Boeing includes a Russian-built engine, and the Obama administration has made it clear it wants to secure a domestic alternative to ensure that NASA and military satellites will continue to have unfettered access to space.

Such broader national security concerns ultimately have to be factored into NASA's decision, according to current and former government officials.

 58 
 on: September 16, 2014, 03:02:58 AM 
Started by captainccs - Last post by Crafty_Dog
Given the fustercluck Baraq has created I surely don't envy him the choices he faces now.   That said, I continue to think the strategy I offered is better than this.

=======================================================================

U.S. Efforts to Build Coalition Against Islamic State in Iraq, Syria Are Hampered by Sectarian Divide
Russia Warns Against Strikes on Syria Without Regime's Consent
By Stacy Meichtry, Jay Solomon and Maria Abi-Habib
WSJ
Updated Sept. 15, 2014 10:19 p.m. ET

A conference to discuss how to combat the Islamic State is under way in Paris. Made up of 26 countries, including the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Russia, it aims to show a united front on fighting the militant group. WSJ's Mark Kelly reports

U.S. efforts to build a broad coalition to combat Islamic State on Monday ran straight into the sectarian chasm that has divided the Middle East for centuries, with Arab allies disagreeing over whether Iraq's neighbors—particularly Iran and Syria—should have a role in any military campaign.

A group of 26 countries gathering in Paris—including the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Russia—vowed to back the fight against the Sunni extremist organization "by any means necessary, including appropriate military assistance."

But a day after the U.S. said Arab states were willing to participate in airstrikes, Arab countries attending the Paris meeting gave no sign they were ready to join the military campaign. The U.S. also faced criticism from Russia, Syria's top international ally, which insisted airstrikes on Syria must be coordinated with Damascus and Tehran.

After the international meeting concluded, the U.S. military said Monday night it made its first airstrike in Iraq targeting Islamic militants as part of the expanded mission announced last week. The airstrike hit a single fighting position set up by Islamic State militants that was firing on Iraqi security forces southwest of Baghdad, officials said.

Previously, the military was limited to strikes designed to assist with humanitarian missions, such as driving militants from Sinjar, to defend Iraqi infrastructure, or to protect U.S. personnel and facilities.

The hesitancy of many of the Middle East's major Sunni leaders, including in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, to back military operations is driven, in part, by a belief American airstrikes against the Islamic State will benefit the region's three main Shiite-dominated governments in Iran, Iraq and Syria, according to U.S. and Arab officials involved in the deliberations.

That debate highlighted how the Obama administration's plans to lead the international coalition against Islamic State have plunged it more deeply into a regional feud between Sunni and Shiite states.

Sensitive to Sunni Arab states' concerns, Secretary of State John Kerry and other U.S. officials have publicly ruled out in recent days cooperating militarily with Tehran and Damascus in rooting out Islamic State, though Washington acknowledged private discussions have been held with Iran's rulers.  Such a stance raises the possibility that Iran's Islamist rulers and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime could attempt to sabotage U.S. military operations, as they did in Iraq in the years following the George W. Bush administration's overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

In recent days, leaders of Iraqi Shiite militias close to Tehran, including Kata'b Hezbollah and the Mahdi Army, have publicly warned Washington that U.S. soldiers could be targeted if the White House pushes ahead with its military offensive against Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.

"If you come back, we will be back too," radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who commands the Mahdi Army, said in a televised statement Monday.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei put the Obama administration on the defensive ahead of the talks by publicly claiming his government has rejected numerous overtures from Washington to jointly cooperate against Islamic State.  Iraq's new leaders reprimanded the U.S. and its European and Arab allies for not inviting Iran to attend the Paris conference.

"We had insisted for Iran to be there and we regret their absence," Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said in Paris, adding that Tehran had provided his government with "significant support" in fighting Islamic State.

Mr. Kerry acknowledged private discussions with Iran about Iraq and said the U.S. remained open to future discussions, including next week at the annual United Nations General Assembly in New York.  But the American diplomat ruled out any military cooperation with Iran in Iraq and Syria and intelligence sharing. He also acknowledged that his opposition to Tehran attending the Paris conference was driven, in part, by threats made by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to boycott the meetings if Iranian officials attended.


"We're not coordinating with Iran, but as I said, we're open to have a conversation at some point in time if there's a way to find something constructive," Mr. Kerry said Monday.

The role of the Assad regime in combating Islamic State is also presenting a dilemma for the Obama administration.  U.S. officials have rejected Syrian overtures to coordinate military strikes against Islamic State.  But Mr. Assad's allies, particularly Russia, warned on Monday that excluding the Syrian government risks fueling more conflict in the region.

"One cannot but feel concerned by publicly stated intentions to attack the [Islamic State] positions in Syria's territory without interaction with the Syrian government," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in Paris. "Syria, as well as Iran, are our natural allies in the fight."

Mr. Kerry, as in the case with Iran, offered somewhat contradictory statements on the U.S. positions toward Syria. He ruled out cooperation, but also said the U.S. would "communicate' with Mr. Assad's government to avoid any potential clashes with Syrian forces as the campaign against Islamic State gathered momentum.

"There are all kinds of ways of communicating to avoid mistakes or disasters," Mr. Kerry said.

Administration officials said at a briefing in Washington later Monday that American forces would respond if Mr. Assad used antiaircraft weapons against U.S. planes.

Current and former U.S. officials and Arab diplomats worry the buildup of the military campaign against Islamic State risks mirroring Washington's interactions with Tehran and Damascus in the months both before and after the 2003 invasion of Iraq.  At the time, the Bush administration held extensive talks with Iranian officials to discuss the creation of a stable Iraq in the wake of Hussein's fall. U.S. officials also discussed Iraq with Mr. Assad's government, particularly concerning the flow of foreign fighters.

As the U.S. occupation of Iraq dragged on, however, Iran and Syria actively worked to undermine the U.S.'s goals of creating a stable and democratic government in Iraq, according to current and former U.S. officials. Iran and Syria have denied supporting extremist groups in Iraq.

U.S. officials said so far, Iran's government hasn't attempted to interrupt American military operations against the militants.  One U.S. official said intelligence showed that the commander of the Revolutionary Guard's overseas operations, Gen. Qasem Soleimani, has explicitly ordered Iraqi Shiite militias not to target American personnel, arguing the weakening of Sunni militant groups was in Tehran's interest.

Still, U.S. officials have voiced concerns that Iran could change its stance if they view American military operations in Iraq and Syria as posing a threat to Iran's core objectives and the rule of Mr. Assad.  Mr. Khamenei on Monday indicated that this could eventually be the case.

"I said we will not accompany America in this matter because they have got dirty intentions and hands," Iran's most powerful figure said in a televised address. "They see pretexts to interfere in Iraq and Syria, just as they did in Pakistan, where [the U.S.] can commit any crime it wants."

At Monday's session, key U.S. allies, particularly those in the Middle East, gave no sign they were ready to commit to a military campaign in Iraq or Syria.

Even the U.K., one of Washington's most reliable allies, is hesitant. U.K. Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said his country would play a "leading role" in the fight against Islamic state but conceded: "We haven't made a decision yet about how we will best contribute to the coalition."

French President François Hollande, who hosted Monday's conference, said Syria's "democratic" rebel forces "must be supported by all means."

So far, France has answered Washington's call for military intervention. The French began to mobilize their Air Force on Monday, deploying reconnaissance jets over Iraq, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said.

"Get ready to intervene," Mr. Le Drian told French forces gathered at the Al Dhafra air base in the United Arab Emirates.

—Carol E. Lee and Julian E. Barnes contributed to this article.

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