China, Indonesia and several airlines around the world have grounded the Boeing 737 MAX 8 after the second crash in nearly five months. All 157 people on board a 737 MAX 8 operated by Ethiopian Airlines were killed when the plane crashed shortly after takeoff on Sunday. In late October, a 737 MAX 8 flown by Lion Air went down off the coast of Indonesia. Both the Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air planes were brand-new aircraft, and both crashed minutes after taking flight. Several countries are grounding their current fleets, but not the US. American Airlines has 24 of the jets in its fleet, and the FAA issued a statement, saying, "Today, the FAA will issue a Continued Airworthiness Notification to the International Community (CANIC) for Boeing 737 MAX operators. The FAA continuously assesses and oversees the safety and performance of US commercial aircraft. If we identify any issues that affect safety, the FAA will take immediate and appropriate action." It's unprecedented for an aircraft of that type to be grounded. What's going on here, and why are the planes still flying in the US?
The Trump administration accused Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government of torching a truck carrying humanitarian aid amid a civil plight in Venezuela in February. But now, The New York Times has exposed the claim as a lie. While the State Department released a video of the "incident," the NYT says, "There is a problem: The opposition itself, not Mr. Maduro's men, appears to have set the cargo alight accidentally. Unpublished footage obtained by The New York Times and previously released tapes — including footage released by the Colombian government, which has blamed Mr. Maduro for the fire — allowed for a reconstruction of the incident. It suggests that a Molotov cocktail thrown by an anti-government protester was the most likely trigger for the blaze."
The White House is defending the annual budget blueprint that has been sent to Congress. The $4.7 trillion proposal makes deep cuts in domestic spending while continuing to boost the Pentagon's budget. Talking with reporters today, acting White House budget chief Russell Vought said that the proposal does not include funding for "endless wars." He said there is considerable waste and inefficiency in the federal government that the US can no longer afford. The budget plan calls for more than $8 billion for the massive border wall that is President Donald Trump's top priority. That is a non-starter with Democrats who now run the House of Representatives. The budget roadmap also forecasts trillion-dollar deficits for the next three years. Vought argued that the president's budget plan would lead to a balanced budget in 15 years, calling the overall blueprint fiscally responsible. Meanwhile, Vought rejected reports that the budget proposal cuts Medicare.
Captain Ross "Rusty" Aimer — CEO of Aero Consulting Experts and perhaps the most experienced pilot in the world still flying today. His distinguished career includes piloting the Shah of Iran and two former Russian presidents.
Daniel Lazare — Journalist and author of three books: "The Frozen Republic," "The Velvet Coup" and "America's Undeclared War."
Dr. Jack Rasmus — Professor of economics at Saint Mary's College of California and author of "Central Bankers at the End of Their Ropes: Monetary Policy and the Coming Depression."
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