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New engine for Russia’s Sukhoi T50 to be tested this year

Russia confirms that its new front line fighter will be tested with its new engine over the course of this year.

Alexander Mercouris

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Russia’s newest front line fighter – the Sukhoi T50 – is to be tested with its new engine over the course of this year.

The Sukhoi T-50 has up to now been powered AL-41F1 engine with 93.1 kN (21,000 lbf) of dry thrust, 147.1 kN (33,067 lbf).  It is an advanced derivative of the AL-31 engine that powers the preceding Sukhoi SU-27 family of fighters.

Though contrary to some claims this engine does provide the Sukhoi T50 with sufficient power, it has always been intended to replace this engine with a more powerful and advanced engine.

The new engine began full scale development in 2011, and the fact that it is expected to be ready for flight testing by the end of this year suggests a successful programme.  Supposedly this engine will provide 107 kN (24,050 lbf) of dry thrust and up to 167 kN (37,500 lbf) in afterburner.  It is dimensionally similar to the AL-41F1, so that it can apparently be fitted in to the Sukhoi T50 with minimal changes to the aircraft.

Though the Sukhoi T50 is likely to enter service shortly, it is unlikely to do so in large numbers until 2020, when the new engine should be available for operational aircraft.

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Twitter buckles to elitist madness, BANS Alex Jones and InfoWars

Four weeks after Twitter tried to act fair, it banned Jones, using an argument he had with a CNN reporter and Jack Dorsey himself as an alibi.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Four weeks ago, Twitter came under fire for not banning Alex Jones from its social network as a wave of bans against the strongly conservative newsman swept across other prominent media outlets like Facebook, Apple and YouTube. But now, it appears that Jack Dorsey has caved into the pressure.

Alex Jones and InfoWars are now banned from Twitter as well. CNBC reports:

Twitter has permanently banned the accounts of right-wing conspiracy theorist and radio host Alex Jones and InfoWars for violating the company’s abusive behavior policies, the company said Thursday.

The ban appears to be related to a heated exchange between Jones and a CNN reporter Wednesday, which Jones live streamed on the Twitter-owned video service Periscope. Jones ranted at the reporter, as well as Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, following back-to-back congressional hearings where Dorsey addressed online election meddling, as well as accusations of political bias and conservative censorship on the platform.

“We took this action based on new reports of Tweets and videos posted yesterday that violate our abusive behavior policy, in addition to the accounts’ past violations,” the company said in a series of tweets. “We wanted to be open about this action given the broad interest in this case.”

The ban comes weeks after Jones’ accounts were removed or suspended by other major tech companies like Apple, Facebook and YouTube. Twitter had initially declined to take disciplinary action against Jones, saying the accounts had not violated community guidelines, but later suspended him for a period of seven days.

Accounts for Jones and Infowars were also banned from Periscope. Jones will not be able to recreate his presence on the sites under another account.

Freedom of speech is a Constitutional right to every American citizen under the First Amendment. This means that the government cannot curtail a citizen’s right to speak against the government, and indeed, to speak about anything one desires to say. The text of the amendment is here below:

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Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

However, while Congress cannot curtail free speech, private industry can, and it is here that the elements of the American and global left have directed their efforts to curtail political free speech. Since YouTube is a worldwide platform, and since Apple is similarly large, and of course, Facebook, the elimination of Alex Jones’ broadcasts and posts on and through these media outlets places a burden on Mr. Jones to find ways to get his message out, according to his Constitutional freedom to do so.

In a sense this move by Twitter help slam the door even further on conservative dissent against the liberal and globalist agenda as it applies to the United States. While the assault on free speech rights (for conservatives) has been on for decades, in the present Trump years, the movement to silence conservative dissent against a mostly monolithic media narrative got much more focused and much stronger.

While Alex Jones still has his own website and is still almost as accessible as he ever was, the large social networks greatly eased his network’s efforts to get its point of view out to the world. Apparently the ban hit while he was trending at #1 on Twitter. This in itself is quite interesting that the pundit was canned while he was surging in popularity on Twitter.

A few hours after the ban was announced, Alex Jones gave this statement through his site, Infowars.com: (A VPN may be required as this website is blocked or partially blocked in some countries.)

I was taken down not because we lie, but because we tell the truth, and because we were popular. And because we dared go to that Committee hearing, and stand up to Rubio, and stand up to the lies of the mainstream media, and speak the truth. And then we ran into Oliver Darcy, who is the secret police captain, who admits he goes around and gets people like InfoWars taken off other platforms. Because we confronted that monster, that has abused us, and lied about us, and taken our speech… Yeah, because of that, they took us down…

InfoWars – and Alex Jones – are truly caught up in an Information War.

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Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court Tragic Comedy Circus

Incredibly unruly Democrat opposition to conservative Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh continues, with ever greater theatrics.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings began Tuesday, marking perhaps the first truly real political news in a couple weeks. This confirmation hearings began with disruption, spectacular theatrics and attempts to stall the confirmation hearings and otherwise delay, damage or destroy the chances of this judge becoming a Supreme Court Justice. All this resistance came from Democrats.

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In the succeeding days what can only be called a political circus continued to gain steam, as the full power of the Democrat Party apparatchik came to bear on this confirmation, with people like Hillary Clinton, Senator Cory Booker and others doing everything they could to disrupt and prevent the confirmation of this judge to the US Supreme Court.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, the loser in 2016’s Presidential election, was silent when the first new Supreme Court Justice, Neil Gorsuch, went through the confirmation process. But this time, she sent out 25 tweets to her 23 million followers urging them to tell their respective senators not to confirm Judge Kavanaugh.

According to The Washington Times, Cory Booker, a US Senator from New Jersey, released previously confidential documents in a display of grandstanding, daring people to charge him with breaking the law, and possibly losing his Senate seat:

Sen. Cory Booker released previously confidential documents Thursday from Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s past into the public, declaring it an act of civil disobedience and saying he was ready to be kicked out of the Senate for his behavior. Republicans said it was presidential posturing for Mr. Booker, who is part of a crowd of Democrats eying a White House bid, and looking to use the confirmation hearings to try to stand out for liberal activists.

But Mr. Booker said the documents, which he says relate to “racial profiling,” deserve to be made public. And he said he would welcome being martyred for his actions, which the GOP said could include being expelled from the Senate.

“Bring the charges,” the New Jersey senator demanded.

By the time he released the documents, Republicans said they had, in fact, been cleared for release.

The conflict arose after Mr. Booker probed Judge Kavanaugh Wednesday night over his thoughts on race in America — and demanded he explain 2002 emails where he said the Supreme Court nominee discussed racial profiling.

But the emails are among tens of thousands that have been turned over to the Judiciary Committee, though they are not yet public. That left the nominee struggling to answer, and Republicans complaining of unfair treatment.

Mr. Booker quoted from the emails during his questioning of the judge. He said they were labeled “racial profiling,” and said they related to the practice after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. After Judge Kavanaugh said he wanted to see the emails before responding, it was revealed that the email couldn’t be shared because it was deemed “committee confidential.”

Republicans argued that even discussing the documents in public was a violation. But Democrats said the documents should never have been kept confidential in the first place.

“I am releasing it to expose that number one, emails that are being withheld from the public have nothing to do with national security,” Mr. Booker said Thursday morning.

Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican, said he hoped Mr. Booker would change his mind because releasing sensitive records would be “conduct unbecoming of a senator.”

“Running for president is no excuse for violating the rules of the Senate,” Mr. Cornyn said.

Other Democrats on the committee, though, stood behind Mr. Booker. Several said they would also release confidential documents, and said they would face the consequences along with Mr. Booker.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, welcomed their resistance on Twitter.

“I stand [with] Judiciary Committee Democrats who are well within their rights to release these very important documents that a former Kavanaugh deputy designed as ‘committee confidential,’” Mr. Schumer tweeted.

This is a small wonder, given Kavanaugh’s record as a strict constitutionalist, and therefore conservative with regards to interpretation of the Constitution. As the replacement for the newly retired Robert Kennedy, Mr. Kavanaugh carries with him the potential of keeping a conservative majority in the Supreme Court for a generation or more to come.

This is not good news for the globalist, liberal, elite, progressive, secular humanist ranks that make up the modern Democrat Party in the United States. A solid constitutionalist majority is sure to block much of their efforts to continue the forty or fifty-year trend of “legislating from the bench” that progressive liberal activists have employed, taking lawsuits to the Supreme Court to “create” rights that the Constitution never mentioned, and to destroy the traditionally Christian, family-centered culture that was once commonly held by most Americans, regardless of political party.

Fox News reported on the theatrics that began the the first day of the confirmation hearings in Washington:

Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing was overtaken by political theatrics on Tuesday, as Democratic lawmakers and protesters delayed the formal start of proceedings by more than an hour – and Republicans fired back by touting Kavanaugh’s credentials and decrying the breach of decorum.

The spectacle underscored the political nature of the confirmation hearings, coming two months before the midterms and as some senators gear up for a possible 2020 presidential run against President Trump. Several of those senators led the charge Tuesday in objecting to Kavanaugh.

The disruptions continued as lawmakers attempted to make opening statements. There were 63 interruptions before the break for lunch.

Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch struggled to deliver his prepared remarks, as protesters audibly shouted over him.

Grassley acknowledged it was one of the most unruly openings of any Supreme Court hearing, saying “this is something I’ve never gone through before in 15 Supreme Court nominations.”

This was rightfully also a mob in action, and not at all even relevant to the matter of Kavanaugh himself. This amounted to campaigning, probably because the Democrat senators are concerned about losing the November midterm elections.

When Judge Kavanaugh actually got to introduce himself to the Senate, his speech was simple, direct and compelling in a very understated sort of way. In it he made the point that his view of the Supreme Court is that it is not supposed to be a partisan stronghold. He discussed the matters of strictly following the Constitution without regard for the fashionable opinions of the moment. Judge Kavanaugh’s whole opening statement is shown here:

The struggle is likely to go Kavanaugh’s way. In fact, although the Democrats don’t act like they realize this, their actions may actually end up hurting them in the November elections. However, this is the direction the party has chosen: to go hard to the left, to be extremely progressive, virtually socialist, in nature.

While this strategy has helped them win primaries, it is unclear how it will affect the outcome of the midterm elections, and this is the concern most prevalent on the minds of Democrat strategists.

Stormy waters ahead.

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Leak on the ISS becomes a matter of controversy

A leak on the ISS and its repair becomes a mystery, made more speculative by the bad political climate between the US and Russia.

Seraphim Hanisch

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On August 30, the inhabitants onboard the International Space Station (ISS) were alerted to falling atmospheric pressure. The leak was very slow, and it was easily fixed by placing some Kapton adhesive tape over the place where the hole was, and then filling the hole with epoxy sealant. No one was in danger from this leak.

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However, initial reports that the hole was due to a micrometeroid impact have given way to much more disturbing speculation. The hole was 2 millimeters across, and it was on the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft which is currently docked to the ISS. And it appears to have been man-made.

The Internet is abuzz about the possibilities of this being anything from a manufacturing defect to deliberate sabotage. TASS News Agency reported the following:

The hull of the manned spacecraft Soyuz MS-09 was damaged on the ground, most probably, at the industrial plant that made it (space rocket corporation Energia), because drilling the hole on board the ISS in a situation of zero gravity would hardly [be] possible, if at all, a member of the K.E. Tsiolkovsky Russian Academy of Cosmonautics, Alexander Zheleznyakov, told TASS.

“Why should any of the crew try to do that? I would not like to use the word nonsense, but all this does not fit in well with logic,” Zheleznyakov said, when asked if any of the ISS crew might have made the hole in the spacecraft’s hull. “Judging by what I saw on the photos, it must have been done on Earth. The hole is in a place that is very hard to get to. Drilling it would not be easy.”

“At Baikonur the spaceship is tested for leaks. It is examined by the manufacturer. Most probably all had happened at the manufacturer’s plant. A hole that has been patched up with glue is hard to detect. The glue was strong enough and the hole not very big. The test for leaks was passed. There was no chance for electronic equipment to spot anything, either. Most probably, a worker drilled a wrong hole and then patched it up and then either avoided telling anyone or those he had informed preferred to keep quiet, too,” Zheleznyakov said, adding that theoretically, a situation where several people knew about the incident was a possibility.

Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin earlier said the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft, attacheds to the ISS, had been damaged from the inside and the space rocket corporation Energia was proceeding with inquiries to identify those responsible. Various versions were being considered, but the impact of a meteorite had already been ruled out. Investigation is in progress into who had access to the spacecraft, what manipulations and works were performed, and who supervised them, Rogozin said.

On August 30, instruments registered falling atmospheric pressure inside the ISS. The crew examined the compartments of the station and the spacecraft docked to it one by one to expose a two-millimeter hole in the hull of the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft. In the evening of the same day it was patched up with several layers of epoxy resin. The air pressure on board the ISS returned to normal. On August 31, the crew reinforced the patch.

While this rather factual explanation is probably the whole story about the actual problem on board, the media speculation on sabotage started to take on a life of its own on Tuesday. Carly Casella, writing for sciencealert.com, had these thoughts to offer:

…A special commission was set up by the Russian State Space Corporation Roscosmos to investigate the cause of the rupture. What they found was unexpected.

At first it seemed likely that the tiny hole had come from a micrometeoroid impact – one of the many bullets of debris that whizz around in space.

But as the inquiry progressed, the hole began to look more and more like it came not from the outside, but from the inside.

“We are considering all the theories,” said Dmitry Rogozin, head of Roscosmos, according to the Russian news agency Tass.

“The one about a meteorite impact has been rejected because the spaceship’s hull was evidently impacted from inside”.

Then, things began to get shadier. A photo, released by NASA and then mysteriously deleted, reveals what looks strangely like a drill hole.

“It was done by a human hand – there are traces of a drill sliding along the surface,” confirmed Rogozin.

We even have a tweet from the ISS and a photo:

And this video offers the conversation that took place about repairing it.

And the Sciencealert.com article went even further:

Rogozin assured the media and the public that the Russian space agency was doing everything it could to find the culprit.

“It is a matter of honour for Energia Rocket and Space Corporation to find the one responsible for that, to find out whether it was an accidental defect or a deliberate spoilage and where it was done – either on Earth or in space,” he said, referring to the Russian manufacturer of the space craft.

Another anonymous source confirmed that the hole was accidentally drilled by a worker at Energia, who decided to hide their mistake with a seal and decorative fabric instead of reporting it.

For two months, the gamble paid off. Their patchy solution even managed to pass the spacecraft’s pressurisation tests before it was launched into space to meet up with the ISS. But then, the seal began to leak.

“[Once in orbit], the glue dried and was squeezed out, opening the hole,” the second source told RIA Novosti.

Repairing the hole has been neither simple nor straightforward, and the problem may have even caused a few cracks between Moscow and Houston.

The plot indeed does appear to be thickening.

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