Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Don't click that Google Doc invite, but if you did, here's what to do!

NJ.com ^ | May 03, 2017 | Spencer Kent 

You've probably heard about that treacherous phishing scheme going around the Internet masquerading as a Google Doc invitation. Worse, maybe you've fallen victim to the scam, yourself.
For those still unscathed, here are a few tips to keep you nice and safe. As for all you innocent bystanders out there panicking after clicking on one of the links, don't freak out. Take a deep breath and read this carefully. We'll get through this together.
First, what is it?
People have been reporting getting emails from a known contact seeking to share a Google Doc with them. After clicking the invite and signing into what appears to be an authentic Google sign-in page, the bug then spreads to that person's contacts...
How can you tell?
One obvious sign that you've been targeted is if the email is addressed to something like, "hhhhhhhhhhh@mailinator.com." Also, use your judgment. Maybe there is something included in the email that you know is uncharacteristic of that known contact.
How do I avoid being hit?
The answer is simple: Don't click on any Google Doc invitations for the time being -- not from your mother, your father, no one. Again, a lot is still not known about this bug, and how it is affecting users, media reports have said.
What do I do if I clicked on the link?
First, don't beat yourself up, it isn't a reflection on you. Second, immediately change your password.
Reports are also advising users to go through their Gmail Account Recovery security checklist.
The good news is, it wasn't malware, which is often much more harmful...
To recap, phishing attacks can usually be thwarted by the user changing his or her password. But make sure to use some numbers and symbols in there. And make sure to do it soon.
(Excerpt) Read more at nj.com ...

US Commandos Set To Counter North Korean Nuclear Sites

Washington Free Beacon ^ | 5-3-2017 | Bill Gertz 

U.S. special operations forces are set to conduct operations against North Korean nuclear, missile, and other weapons of mass destruction sites in any future conflict, the commander of Special Operations Command told Congress Tuesday.

Army Gen. Raymond A. Thomas stated in testimony to a House subcommittee that Army, Navy, and Air Force commandos are based both permanently and in rotations on the Korean peninsula in case conflict breaks out.
The special operations training and preparation is a warfighting priority, Thomas said in prepared testimony. There are currently around 8,000 special operations troops deployed in more than 80 countries.
"We are actively pursuing a training path to ensure readiness for the entire range of contingency operations in which [special operations forces], to include our exquisite [countering weapons of mass destruction] capabilities, may play a critical role," he told the subcommittee on emerging threats.
"We are looking comprehensively at our force structure and capabilities on the peninsula and across the region to maximize our support to U.S. [Pacific Command] and [U.S. Forces Korea]. This is my warfighting priority for planning and support."
Disclosure of the commander's comments comes as tensions remain high on the peninsula. President Trump has vowed to deal harshly with North Korea should another underground nuclear test be carried out. Test preparations have been identified in recent weeks, U.S. officials have said.
Trump said on Sunday that China appears to be pressuring North Korea but that he would be upset if North Korea carries out another nuclear test.
(snip)
(Excerpt) Read more at freebeacon.com ...

‘What winning looks like’: Trump gets border wall funds, money for military!

Washington Times ^ | May 2, 2017 | By S.A. Miller and Stephen Dinan 

The White House insisted Tuesday that the $1 trillion spending bill includes money for 40 miles of border fencing, as President Trump sought to shore up Republican voters by saying the deal also lays the groundwork for rebuilding the military.

The president said there is “enough money to make a down payment on the border wall,” and said a $15 billion boost in defense spending — without having a dollar-for-dollar match in domestic spending — has set a new standard that will benefit Republicans and the Pentagon.
“This is what winning looks like,” Mr. Trump said.

Republicans bristled after Democrats declared victory on the spending bill Monday, saying they had won every major fight by keeping money flowing to Planned Parenthood and sanctuary cities, boosting spending for the National Endowment for the Arts, bailing out Puerto Rico’s troubled Medicaid system, expanding college aid for poor students and preserving the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget.

“We have more money now for the border than we’ve gotten in 10 years,” said Mr. Trump. “The Democrats didn’t tell you that. They forgot.”
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtontimes.com ...

Justice Neil Gorsuch is already shaking up business as usual at SCOTUS

Hotair ^ | 05/03/2017 | Jazz Shaw 


He hasn’t been wearing the robes very long, but Supreme Court Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch (and I swear I will never get tired of typing that phrase) is striking out on his own path at the nation’s highest court. The Daily Caller put up this report yesterday and it deals with a somewhat controversial decision that Gorsuch made pretty much as soon as he’d taken his seat. It has to do with what’s referred to as the “cert pool” which is the method the court uses to determine which of the thousands of petitions they receive every year are granted a hearing. They are typically spread out among the clerks of the various justices who review them and pass on a recommendation to the justices as to whether they merit granting a hearing or should be rejected.
Gorsuch has declined to participate in this traditional process and will instead have his own clerks review all of the petitions individually. That begs the question of precisely why he wants to take on this additional work.
In choosing not to join the pool, Gorsuch is flashing an independent streak. By having his own staff review each petition, he may be signaling misgivings about the judgements of other chambers, or of pool memos prepared by clerks who don’t share his interpretative commitments. Under the cert pool system, the justices must accept that a significant portion of petitions are reviewed by young clerks who may not share their opinions on a wide range of legal issues.
On the other hand, it may simply reflect a preference for the work product of his own clerks, an inclination shared by other federal judges including Judge Alex Kozinski of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. He may also feel that opting out of the pool ensures greater scrutiny is given to each petition.
This might be seen as a bit of a insult to the rest of the judges because it could be interpreted as calling into question the competency of their clerks. Or, as the DC notes, it may just be a case of Gorsuch wanting to be absolutely thorough in discharging his duties even if it eats up a lot more cycles in his own office. Either way, it’s definitely a signal that he’s not ready to settle into the status quo.
But the existence of the cert pool actually should be worrying in the first place. Getting a position as a clerk to a SCOTUS judge isn’t easy and I’m sure they’re not just grabbing people off the street, but that’s still not the same level of experience as an actual justice on the high court. And the justices no doubt choose clerks who are ideologically in their own orbit. How many petitions show up which might be of great interest to a particular subset of justices but never see the light of day because they got a thumbs down from the clerk of one of the other members? Yes, the court can override the recommendation in the memo, but given the volume of applications, how often does that happen?
This could be a very positive signal from the court’s newest member. If he’s willing to take on the work of having his own office review every single petition which is received, he may wind up overruling the call made by (for example) one of Sotomayor’s clerks. Well… he can’t “override” it on his own, but he could at least make the case for granting or dismissing from one of the nine seats.
I’m going to take this as a positive sign for the time being. The man has been granted some of the most awesome power in the country and he has a responsibility to wield it wisely. Sounds like he’s off to a good start.

Shut up, Jimmy Kimmel, you elitist creep

washingtontimes.com ^ | 5/3/2017 | Charles Hurt 

This is why America hates Hollywood.

Late night “funny” man Jimmy Kimmel delivered a heart-wrenching monologue Monday night that every mother and every father could relate to.
In the emotion-drunk moments last month after the birth of their son — still in the hospital room surrounded by nurses and euphoric family — he and his wife watched their boy turn blue and got the terrifying news that something was wrong with his heart. Or lungs. Or both.
Mr. Kimmel called it the “longest three hours of my life” as more nurses and doctors and machines crowded into the room and his little infant boy was cut open for emergency open-heart surgery. Which, thank the Lord, was successful.
Understandably, Mr. Kimmel could not get through the story without breaking down in tears throughout the telling.
And then his monologue went horribly awry.
Here was this moment highlighting the preciousness of life, the heroism of nurses, the unmatched expertise of surgeons and the magical power of family. And what is the point of it all for Jimmy Kimmel?
Politics. Grubby, dirty politics.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtontimes.com ...

Hilton to Hire 20,000 More Veterans

CNBC ^ | April 26, 2017 | Jason Gewirtz

Hilton announcing this morning it will hire 20,000 veterans in the next two and a half years. The hiring spree will target each part of the hotel giant's operations from headquarters, to regional offices right on to the hotels themselves.

In a statement released this morning the company's chief human resources officer Matt Schuyler said "Our message to our veteran Team Members is simple: we value the leadership, integrity, teamwork and other skills you bring to the hospitality industry, and Hilton will do everything it can to support you in making a smooth transition to the civilian workforce."

The company began a program in 2013 to increase its hiring of U.S. veterans and was able to sign up 10,000. Today's announcement would bring the number to 30,000 by the year 2020.

The company was founded by Conrad Hilton who was a veteran of World War 1 serving in France....
(Excerpt) Read more at cnbc.com ...

DNC: We rigged primaries. So what?

WND ^ | 05/02/2017 | Alicia Powe 

'We could have gone into back rooms like they used to and smoke cigars and pick the candidate'!
The Democratic National Committee is currently defending the tactics it used last year to rig the presidential primary against Sen. Bernie Sanders in a class-action lawsuit, brazenly telling voters in a court of law that the party is not obligated to run a fair and impartial primary election.
Outraged by how the DNC unfairly boosted former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and cleared the way for her primary victory, supporters of Sanders and Democratic donors sued the DNC in June 2016 alleging it defrauded its constituents.
During the primaries, the DNC blatantly tilted its primary system in favor of Clinton. Then-DNC chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz was repeatedly criticized for trying to make the Democratic Party presidential debates as few and low-key as possible, to Clinton’s advantage.
Regardless of Sanders’ victories during the primaries and caucuses, superdelegates immediately lined up behind Hillary, guaranteeing Sanders’ defeat.
Internal DNC emails only confirmed allegations of the DNC’s rigged primary system, underscoring deep-rooted corruption.
{..snip..}
(Excerpt) Read more at wnd.com ...

US Army Says It Badly Needs A Scout Helicopter After Junking The Ones It Had

The Drive ^ | MAY 2, 2017 | TYLER ROGOWAY 


The US Army has executed its grand rotary-wing aviation restructuring plan that saw the ousting of hundreds of Bell JetRanger derivatives from service—653 airframes in total. These included the Army's entire fleet of 187 TH-67 Creek primary trainers and the roughly 340 OH-58D Kiowa Warrior armed reconnaissance/armed scout helicopters that performed so brilliantly in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now, just months after the final Kiowa Warriors were officially retired, the US Army is whining about how badly they need...an armed scout helicopter.
Under the same aviation plan, the OH-58D was partially "replaced" by far more complex and expensive AH-64E Apache Guardian helicopters and drones, with the hopes that the Apache-drone teaming would work like a charm. Well the concept is still floundering, and clearly it cannot replace the efficiency or capability that the Kiowa Warrior provided. Not just that, but the plan also has seen entry-level Army helicopter pilots being taught to fly on $5 million twin turbine medium utility helicopters—the equivalent of running a drivers ed classes in a brand new Lexus SUV.
The Army's bumbling of the often step-child like but highly effective armed scout helicopter program and community is nothing new. The service has failed to field a OH-58D replacement for nearly a decade and a half. Before its cancellation in 2004, the cutting-edge and stealthy RAH-66 Comanche was supposedly going to fill the role and more. Then the Army went for a far lower-end replacement with the ARH-70 Arapaho program that also failed after costs spiraled out of control and developmental issues persisted.
In between these programs the Army kicked the tires on many other armed reconnaissance helicopter concepts, but none made it very far. Even upgrading the OH-58D significantly was a touch-and-go affair before the type was suddenly axed entirely.
By the turn of the decade it looked as if the Kiowa Warrior would get its first major facelift in over two decades in the form of the OH-58F program. The upgraded Kiowa Warrior first flew in 2013 and it was planned to reach initial operating capability in 2016, with the entire fleet of OH-58Ds being slated for the upgrade. The type would fly in "Foxtrot" form till at least 2036, but likely even beyond. Then the end came as the Army enacted its rotary-wing aviation restructuring plan, and the Kiowa's proud service came to a fairly abrupt and unglamorous end.
During this year's Army Aviation Association of America convention, Army aviation officials stressed that the biggest gap in capability they have is the one left by the Kiowa Warrior's quick retirement, and that they are seeking to fill that gap as a top priority. As it previously sat, the Army wouldn't be able to replace the Kiowa Warrior anytime soon, as the service remained focused on developing and procuring a scalable family of new helicopter systems dubbed Future Vertical Lift.
According to Aviation Week, under the program, which seeks to employ a new form of high-speed vertical lift capability across the services, there are five levels of aircraft that could be procured. Capability Set One (CS1) being a light helicopter, all the way up to Capability Set Five (CS5) being a heavy lift cargo aircraft. In the center is CS3, which will theoretically become the replacement for the UH-60 Black Hawk and the AH-64 Apache, and also possibly the USMC's UH-1 and AH-1 fleets, among other helicopters. Currently this part of the FVL is the highest priority overall for the program, and CS3 isn't scheduled to be procured till around 2030—if the funds for such a large force featuring capabilities that are currently deemed as "exotic" materializes.
Both Sikorsky-Boeing, with their pusher-prop X-2 and S-97 Raider derived configuration dubbed the SB-1 Defiant, and Bell with their revised tiltrotor setup dubbed the V-280 Valor are the primary competitors vying for what could be the most high-stakes helicopter competition of a generation. Although both types are CS3 aircraft, it's the "densest" category of the FVL lot when it comes to potential airframe sales. So the winning technology for CS3 is likely to factor in heavily, if not totally when it comes to the Pentagon's decisions on other FVL capability set needs. A flight demonstration phase will begin by the end of the decade with both the V-280 and SB-1 airframes acting as competing technology demonstrators.
But the Army now seems to being interested in pushing forward with a CS1 design on its own, possibly outside the official multi-service JVL program. The Sikorsky S-97 Raider was originally viewed as yet another possible successor to the OH-58D—that is before sequestration hit. It is currently in flight testing and offers many additional capabilities that the OH-58D didn't—such as the ability to haul six troops into combat—and in some ways, it would even eclipse the utility of the AH-64 Apache for a portion of the Army's more kinetically oriented missions. Its speed gives it enhanced survivability, faster response times to emergency troops in contact calls, superior anti-access capabilities and enhanced sortie rates among other benefits. It is even rumored to have some low observable features, although it can't be considered a "stealth" aircraft.
Army officials state that affordability must key if they are going to move forward and try to fill the hole left by the OH-58D in the not so distant future. This is somewhat of a laughable concept considering the service basically threw away hundreds of economical helicopters they already owned outright which were still capable of the armed scout mission. Nonetheless, while FVL will highly depend on scalability across as many services as possible for each aircraft capability set category cooperatively procured—for instance would the USMC want a CS2 or CS3 design to replace their attack helicopters, and if they go for a lighter and cheaper CS2 aircraft, maybe the US Army would follow suit—an Army armed scout replacement initiative would likely travel on its own vertical track. This way there would be no need for a "wait and see" mentality in regards to finding out other services' needs and wishes, or for FVL to mature as a program at all. As a result, if the funding materializes, an armed scout helicopter replacement could happen relatively quickly. But once again, getting the funding to do so is about as big of an if as it gets right now.
All this seems to be happening with little reflection as to what caused this capability gap in the first place. Specifically that it was partially self imposed as part of a highly questionable scheme that many predicted would end exactly how it has—with a glaring capability gap. If the Kiowa Warriors were kept and given some focused upgrades so that they could last even another decade, a replacement could have been procured based on far more mature FVL associated technologies. Not just that, but the Army would not be flying a fleet of twin engine utility UH-72 Lakota helicopters as trainers, nor would they need to have procured 100 more to augment the 87 existing airframes that were ordered to be ported over to the training role as part of the plan.
Supposedly there have been some minor benefits associated with using the UH-72 for the training mission, but it seems very unlikely they outweigh the high cost of procuring and operating these relatively large and complex helicopters in such a basic role. Really, the Army could have executed other parts of its rotary-wing restructuring program—which included moving attack helicopters from the Guard to the active force, and Black Hawks from the active force to the Guard—while leaving the OH-58 and TH-67 alone. Additionally, if the Pentagon and the services under its purview would finally grow up and look at their assets in a holistic manner, a portion of the UH-72s could have been ported over to the USAF to replace its relatively ancient UH-1N missile tenders and VIP helicopters. In fact, the same 87 airframes sent to Fort Rutger to provide training, probably would have done the trick.
The upside to all this is that if the Army could come up with some serious funds to procure a new advanced armed scout helicopter, Sikorsky has been self-funding development of the S-97 raider for years, so the Army would be stepping in later in the Raider's development process than it would have otherwise. And if given the chance, the aircraft could even prove itself so indispensable that it may even be able to pull from other Army aviation budget pales, including the traditionally highly guarded funds set aside for its attack helicopter force.

SIKORSKY
The company is already working on different configurations for the S-97 via a series of kits. They are also examining the possibility of an unmanned and stealthy Raider drone.
Special Operations Command (SOCOM) could also potentially get involved with the S-97 program if "big Army" blazes the way. The type seems extremely well suited for the intense demands of the famed 160th Special Operations Air Regiment (SOAR), and could partially or fully replace the MH-6 and AH-6 Little Bird, as well as the MH-60 Direct Action Penetrator. The more participation in the program the more the unit cost could decline and it could also actually lower risk for the Future Vertical Lift program in the coming decade as a byproduct.
On the other hand, even though it is unlikely, the US Army could very well go for a far lower-cost, off-the-shelf solution just to get the armed scout mission back in its portfolio. The highly mature AH-6i, a militarized MD530F derivative, that has seen export success would be able to fill the role in a very low-risk and low-cost manner.
By procuring the AH-6i, the Army would be able to field a platform with hard hitting-Hellfire missile capability at a fraction of the cost of an Apache. Not just that, but the helicopter can carry many types of stores and execute many other roles, from intelligence gathering to liaison duties. With the advent of highly accurate but compact laser-guided rocket, a small helicopter like this, or even the retired OH-58D, can now feature a deeper precision guided weapons magazine than ever thought possible. In retrospect it is sad the OH-58D never got to leverage this new weapons capability, it would have likely given the humble chopper new worth.
Above all else, the AH-6i would give the Army a cheap, easily forward deployable reconnaissance helicopter that can hit hard when called upon. All without the heavy logistical footprint of the far more complex and expensive Apache. Then, in a decade and a half, once FVL has matured, the Army can look toward fielding a far more elaborate armed scout asset if it still wants to.

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