Tag Archives: government

“The disease may recede, but the stigma lingers.”

Link here. The author notes how his 21-year-old daughter tested positive for the Wuhan virus, exhibited no symptoms at any time, and yet finds now herself too often treated like a leper to be avoided in terror. He then provides a magnificent analysis of this disease’s true threat, which is practically nothing at all when put in proper perspective. Consider just this one example provided by him:

The CDC discloses in only six percent of all coronavirus deaths, “COVID was the only cause” mentioned. For the other ninety-four percent, “there were 2.6 additional conditions or causes per death.” There were 115,495 fatalities where patients got admitted to the hospital with “influenza and/or pneumonia.” Another 93,393 checked in with respiratory failure, while 35,167 arrived amid cardiac arrest. Yet hospital administrators sign COVID on death certificates one hundred percent of the time. Early on, Dr. Deborah Birx publicized the probability that medical facilities overstate numbers of actual coronavirus fatalities

Of U.S.165,000 casualties attributed to COVID, six percent translates that less than ten thousand fatalities were otherwise healthy.

He also notes this:

Over the past couple of weeks, the media, with lackey doctors Fauci and Gottlieb providing imprimatur, double down on hysteria as for several days, COVID cases spiked above 70,000. Even Republican governors cowed under pressure as many states slow or halt reopening economies. For perspective, for the six-month Oct-April 2020, CDC reports up to 56,000,000 seasonal flu cases. This calculates to over 300,000 per day. Currently, the official COVID count stands just over 5 million. Does anyone, ever, refer our annual flu “tradition” as a pandemic? During the recent case spike, deaths never got above 55 percent of the April peaks.

There’s lots more, if only people were willing to read it and put aside their false terror of this disease. Sadly, they are not. His accurate analysis will fall on deaf ears.

It ain’t the national elections in November that matter

The Declaration of Independence

Much analysis and punditry is on-going in both the conservative and liberal press on whether Trump or Biden will win the presidential election come November. Similarly, those same pundits spend much ink considering the fate of the House and Senate. Will the Republicans retake the House? Will the Democrats retake the Senate?

All important. The fate of our country hangs in the balance, and based on the irrational behavior of the Congressional Democrats these past four years, giving them control of both houses of Congress will not bode well for the nation, especially if the increasingly mentally-incapacitated Joe Biden wins the presidency. Since the 2016 election the Democrats and Washington administrative state have foisted on us a fake Russian collusion investigation and a fake impeachment trial against Trump. They clearly wish to do more. If they win both houses and Trump wins the presidency I predict that within six months they will move to remove him from office, using another set of fake charges but really instigated by their blind hatred of Trump and their refusal to accept defeat in an election.

Even, so these national elections are not the most important elections coming in November. What really will tell the tale for the future is how the elections at the local and state levels play out. For you see, it is those governments by their very actions that give us a peek into the future. What they do will percolate upward with time.

Let us do a quick survey of some of the worst local governments to get an idea who really should be thrown out of office.
» Read more

Air Force terminates development contracts to ULA, Blue Origin, Northrop Grumman

In awarding ULA and SpaceX exclusive launch rights for all launches through 2026, the Air Force also decided to end prematurely the development contracts to ULA, Blue Origin, and Northrop Grumman aimed at helping these companies develop new rockets.

An issue at hand is the termination of the Launch Service Agreement contracts that the Air Force awarded in October 2018 to Blue Origin and Northrop Grumman, as well as to ULA. The purpose of the agreements was to help Phase 2 competitors pay for launch vehicle development and infrastructure. Blue Origin received $500 million; Northrop Grumman $792 million and ULA $967 million. The funds were to be spread out through 2024, and the Air Force from the beginning said the LSAs would be terminated with those companies that did not win a Phase 2 procurement contract.

Despite political pressure to not end the LSAs, the agreements will be terminated, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition Will Roper said Aug. 7 during a video conference with reporters. “We will work with those two companies to determine the right point to tie off their work under the LSA agreements,” Roper said. The intent of the LSAs “was to create a more competitive environment leading into Phase 2,” he said. “The point is not to carry them indefinitely.”

LSA funds supported the development of Blue Origin’s New Glenn rocket and Northrop Grumman’s OmegA launch vehicle. ULA will continue to receive funds for its Vulcan Centaur vehicle.

Almost immediately after the award of these contracts was announced in 2018, ULA and Blue Origin announced one year delays in the development of Vulcan and New Glenn. Apparently, meeting the additional requirements of military’s bureaucracy in exchange for getting the cash slowed development.

Now they won’t be getting a large part of that cash, making the decision to take it a deal with the devil. The delay in development has definitely hurt both companies in their competition with SpaceX. First, it likely has raised the cost and complexity of their new rockets, making it harder to compete in price. Second, the delay has given SpaceX more time to grab more customers while improving its own rockets.

SpaceX initially protested not getting a share of this development money, but has subsequently chosen to no longer pursue such government money for Starship because it doesn’t want itself hampered by obtuse government officials and their mindless requirements.

Meanwhile, Northrop Grumman’s Omega rocket is almost certainly dead. That company took the old big space company approach, structuring development around government cash. Without it there is no R&D money at Northrop Grumman to continue work. Furthermore, Omega was designed to serve only once customer, the military. Without any launch contracts there are no customers for Omega, especially because it likely has too high a launch price.

Dentists: Serious health issues from overuse of masks

Dentists are now reporting an upsurge in a range of serious dental issues caused by the overuse and misuse of masks, mandated by government.

The new oral hygiene issue — caused by, you guessed it, wearing a mask all the time to prevent the spread of the coronavirus — is leading to all kinds of dental disasters like decaying teeth, receding gum lines and seriously sour breath. “We’re seeing inflammation in people’s gums that have been healthy forever, and cavities in people who have never had them before,” says Dr. Rob Ramondi, a dentist and co-founder of One Manhattan Dental. “About 50% of our patients are being impacted by this, [so] we decided to name it ‘mask mouth’ — after ‘meth mouth.’ ”

…While mask mouth isn’t quite as obvious, if left untreated, the results could be equally harmful. “Gum disease — or periodontal disease — will eventually lead to strokes and an increased risk of heart attacks,” says Dr. Marc Sclafani, another co-founder of One Manhattan Dental. He says the stinky syndrome is triggered by face coverings since wearing a mask increases the dryness of the mouth — and a buildup of bad bacteria. [emphasis mine]

I have highlighted the big lie, “preventing the spread of the coronavirus.” It can’t be done, no one until June ever thought it was possible, and to claim it now suggests a willful stupidity, a blindness to reality, or a eager desire to trumpet a lie for political purposes.

Meanwhile, the health of Americans will continue to suffer, just as their economic situation and their basic rights under the Constitution have suffered. All based on a big lie.

European health officials: Masks are useless, maybe a health problem

They must be white supremacists! Leading health officials in Denmark, the Netherlands, and Sweden continue to state that there is no scientific evidence masks can prevent transmission of COVID-19, while there is ample evidence that their improper use can lead to many other heath issues.

Others, echoing statements similar to the US Surgeon General from early March, said masks could make individuals sicker and exacerbate the spread of the virus.

“Face masks in public places are not necessary, based on all the current evidence,” said Coen Berends, spokesman for the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment [Holland]. “There is no benefit and there may even be negative impact.”

The point here is that research into the ability of masks to block transmission of a virus like COVID-19 is presently very unsettled and unclear. However, the evidence that masks, when used improperly (as almost everyone does) can be unsanitary and actual transmission points for disease is well documented.

Under such conditions it is unconscionable for governments to mandate their use.

Air Force limits future launch bidding to SpaceX and ULA

The Air Force today announced that it decided, after more than a year of discussions and negotiations, to limit bidding on all launch contracts for the next five years to only SpaceX and ULA, thus restricting competitive bidding on those contracts.

The awards represent the second phase of the military’s National Security Space Launch program, which is organized by the Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center in Los Angeles, California. Four companies — Elon Musk’s SpaceX, ULA, Northrop Grumman and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin — bid for the contracts, with the military set to spend about $1 billion per year on launches.

The NSSL awards represent nearly three dozen launches, scheduled between 2022 and 2026. ULA won 60% of the launches, and SpaceX won the remaining 40%.

The award blocks Northrop Grumman and Blue Origin from bidding on these contracts. Expect a lawsuit from these two companies demanding that they have the right to bid, just as SpaceX did several years ago when the Air Force tried to maintain ULA’s monopoly on bidding.

On a very common sense level, this approach by the Air Force (its space operations soon to be taken over by the Space Force) makes little sense. Why restrict bidding? Both Blue Origin or Northrop Grumman expect to have their new rockets operating commercially in the next two years. They should have the right to bid on military launches. The competition will strengthen the launch market, reduce the costs to the military, and give it more redundancy and flexibility.

Based on my research, the only real reason I have ever been able to find for the Air Force’s desire to do this is their inability to deal with their paperwork should more than two bids be received.

The hateful violent Antifa/Black Lives Matter rioters

The new civility: Watch the numerous videos at this link of masked Antifa/Black Lives Matter rioters in Portland as they attack and abuse an old woman using a walker, who simply wants to protect a police precinct building from being vandalized and burnt to the ground.

Remember these facts about what you watch:

1. Democrat Jerry Nadler (D-New York) claims these hateful rioters are “a myth.” Nadler is also typical of most Democratic politicians, who have for the past four years, since Trump was elected, treated these Antifa rioters (now joined by the Marxist, white-hating BLM crowd) as the SS wing of the Democratic Party. While they will sometimes disavow their violence, they do nothing to stop it, since it instills fear and submission among their opponents.

2. Watch and listen. These rioters epitomize hate in every way, in their dress, in their behavior, in their irrational violence, in their bigotry (assuming all who disagree with them are evil). And we are somehow supposed to let them do as they wish, because of the First Amendment?

3. Speaking of the First Amendment, since when did free speech morph into allowing a mob to rampantly loot, burn, and destroy whatever they want? Since when did it include the right to attack cars and even threaten to kill people?

4. Note how our politicians, mostly Democrats but helped by numerous weasel Republicans, have now normalized the wearing of masks, based not on any science but on irrational fear. We have now all been forced to adopt the garb of these hateful thugs. It is as if some mustached national leader required us all to wear armbands carrying the symbol of his political movement, with the threat of arrest if we dare to dissent.

Other than these minor details, everything these Portland “protesters” are doing is wonderful and perfect and must be defended blindly, forever. And don’t dare say otherwise, or you will be doxed and they will come to your home to accost your family and your children.

Russia to ship Nauka to Baikonur launch site August 10

Russia now plans to ship its Nauka ISS module to Baikonur on August 10th, three days later than previously planned, where it will begin the final nine months of preparations for launch.

“The stage of electrical tests takes about six months together with preparations because there is a large number of systems. Scheduled operational measures take another three months from this moment to the launch. This involves direct preparations for the launch together with the provision of microbiological protection, fueling and other operations,” he explained.

Nauka will provide the Russians a second toilet on ISS, plus produce oxygen and water (from urine) for six astronauts. It will also become the cabin for a third Russian-flown astronaut, either tourist or professional.

Nauka is a quarter century in the making, its construction having started in 1995. As a government-run project, that pace matches well with SLS, Orion, the James Webb Space Telescope, and many other big government projects not related to space. The goal isn’t to accomplish anything really but to create the justification for fake jobs that can last a lifetime.

California & Space Force to encourage private launches at Vandenberg

Capitalism in space: The state government of California has signed an agreement with the U.S. Space Force to expand private launches facilities at Vandenberg Space Force Base

It appears that the Space Force is aggressively trying to encourage new private launch operations to take flight out of Vandenberg. The article however is very unclear about exactly what this new agreement accomplishes. I could not find its actual text, and from the story all we get is typical government blather:

[Chris Dombrowski, acting director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development] said the organizations under the [agreement] will develop a “master plan that identifies the required infrastructure, human capital development, governance and financing necessary to support the United States Space Force mission and position California as a leader in the future of the commercial space industry.”

“This MOU serves as a critical investment in California’s innovative economy as we work to safely recover from the COVID-19 induced recession,” he said.

If anything, it appears that California’s Democratic and very power-hungry government is using this agreement to take control of any new private operations, so that it can dictate how they operate, according to its whims. If so, don’t expect much private enterprise to prosper at Vandenberg.

Masks, social distancing, and mass hysteria

This past weekend Diane and I went hiking, as we try to do at least once a week. With the gyms closed by our petty dictator governor, Republican Doug Ducey, we need to find a way to get out and exercise, both for our sanity and to strengthen our immune systems, since outdoor exercise is probably the most effective way to prevent yourself from getting sick from any respiratory illness.

As we were hiking along a single male hiker, probably in his mid- to late- twenties, approached us from the other direction. When he saw me in the lead, he immediately cringed off to the side of the trail in what seemed literal terror, holding a bandana to his face.

I looked at him in irritation. “You don’t need the mask, we don’t have cooties and we won’t make you sick.”

“I don’t want to make you sick,” he said as I passed him.

“What makes me sick,” I responded as I continued past him down the trail, “is the irrational terror and fear I see in everyone’s eyes, over something that really is not much more different than the flu.”

I will admit to have become somewhat of a cranky grump these days when I see everyone wearing masks. And I feel this way because of the utter mindlessness of mask-wearing. This healthy young hiker, who almost certainly was not contagious in any way with any illness, including COVID-19, was only within four feet of me for about one second. Even if he had COVID-19 and was infectious to me and tried to pant in my face as I went by it would have been almost impossible for him to infect me. We were just not in close enough contact for long enough.

Moreover, he stood there holding the bandana to his mouth and nose, with his hand. That its exactly the wrong thing to do if you want to protect yourself, as your hands are the most likely transmission point for infection, and by pressing his bandana against his face with his hand he risked placing that infection at the very place he breathed.

He might have reduced my chances of getting infected by an infinitesimal amount, but he increased his own risk substantially.

Mask-wearing is just plain irrational, and for intelligent Americans to go along with this silliness is beyond shameful, especially because in almost every jurisdiction, even those that mandate mask use, you can opt out by simply stating you have medical reasons for not wearing a mask, and are not required under HIPPA regulations to even show documentation proving that statement in any way. It must be accepted on its face, without question.

Let’s review the absurdity of this situation, and maybe remind people why it is foolish.
» Read more

Russians sign deal to fly two tourists to ISS

Capitalism in space: Now that their Soyuz capsule is no longer required to fly NASA astronauts to ISS, the Russians have spare seats, and have now signed a deal with Space Adventures to fly two tourists to ISS in late 2021.

They will announce the tourist’s names later this year.

Space Adventures also has a deal with SpaceX to fly two tourists on a Dragon capsule on a week-plus long orbital mission (not docking with ISS). SpaceX also has a deal with the space station company Axiom to fly tourists to ISS. Next year could thus see two or three tourist flights to space.

Isn’t competition wonderful?

Yutu-2 completes 20th lunar day on Moon

The new colonial movement: The Chinese lunar rover Yutu-2 has completed its 20th lunar day on the farside of the Moon, and has now been put in sleep mode for the long lunar night.

Yutu 2 continued on its planned journey to the northwest of the lander, according to the China Lunar Exploration Program (CLEP). The rover covered 90 feet (27.64 meters) during the lunar day to make a total of 1,610 feet (490.9 m) of roving since setting down on the far side of the moon in January 2019.

The article at the link includes some images, including visual data from the ground-piercing radar that suggests at least four layers in the lunar subsurface.

Russia’s Proton rocket launches two communication satellites

Russia today successfully launched two communications satellites into orbit using its Proton rocket.

This was the first Proton launch in 2020, after Roscosmos discovered in April problems with three rockets that required them to be sent back to their manufacturer.

The leaders in the 2020 launch race:

18 China
11 SpaceX
9 Russia
4 ULA
3 Japan

The U.S. still leads China 19-18 in the national rankings.

House rejects Artemis; Senate funds Artemis

The Senate gives, the House taketh away: Even as the Democratically-controlled House continues to refuse the Trump administration’s request for $2.6 billion to fund its 2024 manned lunar landing, the Republican-controlled Senate has provided $1.6 billion of those funds in the next COVID-19 stimulus package.

This illustrates why such stimulus packages are utterly corrupt. Much of the money allocated has little to do with helping the country recover from the Wuhan panic, but is instead earmarked for the favorite agencies of the politicians. The Republicans are also trying to use this package to sneak across funding for Artemis without the House Democrats noticing, or being able to object.

It remains to be seen whether that strategy will work. Either way, we continue on the road to bankruptcy and financial collapse, as the federal government is trillions in debt, and simply doesn’t have the money for any of this.

Midnight repost: American Kristallnacht

The tenth anniversary retrospective of Behind the Black continues: Though this essay was only first posted less than two months ago, it bears repeating, over and over and over again, whenever power-hungry thugs use violence to achieve their ends.

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American Kristallnacht

It might have been an accident, or maybe it was because of the events of the past three months, but earlier this year I decided to finally read William Shirer’s masterpiece, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. Previously I had only read the first few chapters in order to learn something about Hitler’s background. Now it was time to read the whole book.

I am only halfway through it but no matter. Every page has sent terror through my soul, as it appears to not be a history of the 1930s foolishness and madness that allowed a megalomaniac to become the leader of a powerful nation, intent on conquering the world while committing genocide against millions, but a news report of modern America.

What we have seen for the past three months — accelerated to madness with riots this week — has been nothing more than a return to the Nazi tactics of the 1930s, with the only difference being that the targets have not been just Jews, but all private businesses as well as anyone who dares to oppose their wanton destruction. In fact, the use of rocks to break windows and loot businesses and attack and even kill their owners this week was so reminiscent of Kristallnacht that I find it more than horrifying. From the link:
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Academia proves it can fake presidential speeches

MIT last week released a seven-minute-long fake documentary that made believe the Apollo 11 landing on the Moon was a failure and that Armstrong and Aldrin had died. The big moment in the film was the faked but very real-looking broadcast of President Richard Nixon giving the speech to the nation, announcing their death. (The speech was actually written by Nixon just in case the mission had failed, so those are his words, though never actually spoken in public.)

In this disturbingly real deepfake video, President Nixon breaks the news that NASA failed and astronauts died on the moon. Deepfakes are video forgeries that make people appear to be doing or saying things they aren’t. Deepfake software has made manipulated videos accessible and increasingly harder to detect as fake.

…It took a half a year for Massachusetts Institute of Technology AI experts to create the very convincing 7-minute deepfake video that mixes actual NASA footage with Nixon delivering a tragic speech as though Apollo 11 had not succeeded in its mission to the moon.

Artificial intelligence “deep-learning” technology was used to make Nixon’s voice and facial movements convincing. The contingency speech (which can be found in National Archives) was read aloud by an actor.

The makers of this fake film claim it was done “to show people the dangerous influence deepfake videos can have on an unsuspecting public.” I say it was done to demonstrate that it could be done, and thus lay the groundwork for discrediting politicians who don’t toe the party line. Politicians now know that they can be destroyed either with faked videos having them do something ugly, or by convincing the public that something they really did say was instead fake.

The level of immorality required to spend the time to create such fakery boggles my mind. It used to be that people questioned the morality of everything they did. For example, in the 1930s physicists and nuclear scientists wrestled with the idea of working on nuclear weapons, and most only ended up doing it during World War II because of the threat that the Nazis would get it first. Otherwise most would not have refused.

It is for this exact same moral reason that I always let my readers know every change I make to any NASA image, in order to gain their trust about what I present.

It appears to me that makers of this video at MIT had no such moral qualms. Instead, their effort has acted to further erode the public’s faith in any information they get about anything. Soon no one will be able to trust anything they read or see, especially because most mainstream news organizations today are decidedly lax about revealing such photo-shopping. Instead, such photo-manipulation is becoming increasingly common, without any notice to the public that it is being done.

This fake video demonstrates that now, anything goes. And yes, we all should expect this technology to be used quite soon in politics. There is no ethics there any longer, at all. Politicians were always a profession that attracted a low class of individuals, but that class is now lower because the entire society has declined.

Hat tip Mike Nelson.

Midnight repost: A society run by mob rule

The tenth anniversary retrospective of Behind the Black continues: Why have the concepts of free speech and tolerance declined in the United States? Tonight’s midnight repost essay, from November 25, 2019, tries to answer that question.

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A society run by mob rule

In the past week several ugly events have illustrated forcefully how mob rule now dictates who can or cannot speak freely in America. Worse, these events show that we are no longer a civilized social order run by reason. Instead, we have become a culture where whoever can throw the loudest tantrum dictates policy.

First we have the horrible events last week at the State University of New York-Binghamton.

To understand how disgusting and despicable the first story above is, it is necessary for you to watch the video below. Pay special attention to the taller girl in the fur-lined parka who at about four minutes keeps looking at the camera-person (whom I think is also a girl) and aggressively and repeatedly asking, “Why are you shaking so? Why are you shaking so?” The reason is obvious. The girl filming is one the conservative students, and she is justifiably frightened. The taller girl, hostile and irrationally angry because a conservative dared to advocate opinions she doesn’t like, is clearly being physically threatening. As are all of her leftist compatriots.

The response of the college administration to this atrocious behavior was even more vile, essentially endorsing the actions of the mob:
» Read more

COVID-19: Bad policy rules!

U.S. daily COVID-19 deaths through July 28

Though it appears in the past two weeks that we are presently experiencing in the U.S. a small uptick in COVID-19 deaths, as shown by the graph to the right [source], overall the data suggests that the disease is on the wan. Since its peak in late April the daily death toll has steadily dropped, even as the number of detected infections has skyrocketed. Many more people are getting the disease, but many fewer are dying from it.

What the data now tells us is that our leaders failed us in their response to the virus, in every way possible that can be imagined. Such incompetence and bad judgment should result in wholesale firings in every county, city, and state government that imposed lock downs come the November elections. No one should be immune in these local governments.

(Note: The two spikes on the graph of daily deaths on May 7 and June 25 are because New York and New Jersey suddenly added a whole slew of new deaths, under suspicious circumstances.)

The failed lock down policies

» Read more

Midnight repost: “They’re coming for you next.”

The tenth anniversary retrospective of Behind the Black continues: Tonight’s midnight repost, written in July 2018, illustrates the danger to each and every one of us because of the rise and dominance of intolerance in the United States.

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“They’re coming for you next.”

This week we had a number of really ugly examples of the hate the left has for anyone who might dare express an opinion that might suggest even the slightest support for President Donald Trump.

But then, how is this week different from any other week since Trump was elected president in 2016?

The top example however is how Judge Jeanine Pirro was treated when she appeared on the The View. I have embedded the video below. You must force yourself to watch. It is painful and ugly, but the hate and very clear close-mindedness of those who disagreed with her, especially from Whoopie Goldberg, illustrates well the terrible state we are in.


» Read more

Midnight repost: “If you have wrongthink, you will not be allowed.”

The tenth anniversary retrospective of Behind the Black continues: Tonight’s repost, from April 6, 2018, provides more cultural evidence that America’s culture no longer celebrates freedom of thought and tolerance.

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“If you have wrongthink, you will not be allowed.”

The fascist, intolerant, and oppressive nature of today’s leftist culture has now gotten so bad that The Atlantic, a liberal publication long considered a reasonable intellectual voice from the left, can no longer tolerate for more than two weeks the hiring of a conservative, even though that conservative, Kevin Williamson, was also a vehement opponent of Donald Trump.

The quote that forms the title of this essay however comes not from the above Williamson story, but from a cogent essay by Ben Domenech, publisher of The Federalist about that intolerant leftist culture. As he says,

This story [Williamson’s firing] is a predictable continuation of the left’s ownership not just of media but indeed of all institutions. It is depressing. It is predictable. And it is where we are as a country now. It is not confined to the realm of ideas. Eich, Damore, Williamson and others are subject to blacklists and HR reports and firing in every arena of industry and culture. If you have wrongthink, you will not be allowed for long to make your living within any space the left has determined they own – first the academy, then the media, then corporate America, and now the public square. You will bake the cake, you will use the proper pronoun, and you will never say that what Planned Parenthood does is murder for hire, and should be punished as such under the law.

As Domenech notes, Williamson’s firing is only one example of a legion of similar stories. There is the fascist intolerance of modern academia for example. Or we can talk about the hateful scapegoating of innocent NRA members, blaming them for a murderer’s violence merely because they wish to defend their Constitutional rights as specifically outlined in the Bill of Rights.

Or maybe we should mention the hate and violence committed against children and students, merely because they either wear a “Make America Great Again” t-shirt or carry signs supporting Trump.

I wish these were only isolated examples. They are not. For most of the second half of last year I was able to post weekly updates listing anywhere from six to several dozen new stories describing this hateful leftist culture. Here are just a few more that I gathered in mid-March but found too depressing to report at the time:
» Read more

Midnight repost: Buy dumb!

The tenth anniversary retrospective of Behind the Black continues: The failures of modern technology (shaped sadly by a lot of government regulation) often illustrates well the coming dark age. Tonight’s repost from September 15, 2019 gives one good example, and what you can do to counter this trend.

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Buy dumb!

The dumb washing machine we hunted for and got
The used “dumb” machine we
paid $285 for that actually
cleans our clothes.

The smart washing machine we threw out
The “smart” machine that we
paid $923 for and sold for $40.

Two years ago our old Kenmore Series 80 washing machine broke down. The repair guy said it would be so expensive to fix that he recommended it was time to buy something new.

So off we went to Sears, where we ended up buying one of today’s modern “smart” machines for a mere $923. As the LG website proudly exclaims,

A Smarter Way to Wash: 6Motion™ Technology uses up to 6 different wash motions to provide a smart cleaning experience that is gentle on clothes and maximizes washing performance.

The problem was the machine never got any of our clothes clean. It also refused to provide enough water. The way it worked was to sense the weight of the clothes you put inside, and determine the needed amount based on this. Routinely, it wasn’t enough, so Diane did web searches to discover numerous owners faking out the machine’s brains by pouring several buckets of water on top of the clothes before turning on the machine, making them weigh more.

The machine also did not have an agitator, the new in-thing among washing machine manufacturers two years ago, probably forced on them by new federal regulations. And though the tub itself did shake, it did it so gently that the clothes hardly moved.

There were also other issues with the machine’s smart technology that frustrated Diane. The machine was boss, and would not allow for any flexibility to its predetermined wash and rinse cycles, even when they made no sense.

Last week Diane had had enough. » Read more

China admits Three Gorges Dam deformed under flood pressure

Not good: Earlier this week the Chinese government finally admitted what a number of independent writers have noted, that the gigantic Three Gorges Dam has deformed from the record flood waters that are pressing against it this year.

The official Xinhua News Agency quoted the operator of the the world’s largest hydroelectric gravity dam as saying that some nonstructural, peripheral parts of the dam had buckled.

The dam was a pet project of the late Premier Li Peng and a monumental pride of the nation when it blocked and diverted Asia’s largest river in 1997.

The deformation occurred last Saturday when the flood from western provinces including Sichuan and Chongqing along the upper reaches of the Yangtze River peaked at a record-setting 61,000 cubic meters per second, according to China Three Gorges Corporation, a state-owned enterprise that manages the dam and the sprawling power plant underneath it.

The company noted that parts of the dam had “deformed slightly,” displacing some external structures, and seepage into the main outlet walls had also been reported throughout the 18 hours on Saturday and Sunday when water was discharged though its outlets.

Not surprisingly the Chinese government also insisted that the dam is really okay and there is nothing to worry about. And we trust them implicitly, don’t we?

Now for the punchline: If the dam does not hold the city most threatened by it is Wuhan, home to the COVID-19 virus that has panicked the globe.

China launches Earth observation satellite

The new colonial movement: China yesterday used its Long March 4B rocket to launch a new Earth observation satellite into orbit.

The rocket also launched as a secondary payload a smaller communications satellite.

The leaders in the 2020 launch race:

18 China
11 SpaceX
8 Russia
3 ULA
3 Japan

The U.S. and China are now tied for the lead in the national rankings at 18 launches each.

Midnight repost: Freedom dying

The tenth anniversary retrospective of Behind the Black continues: Last night’s midnight repost tried to predict what would happen politically following the big Republican victories in the 2010 midterm election. I was not sure, but worried that the Republicans would not have the courage to do what they promised (cut the budget and repeal Obamacare) and would fold like a house of cards when pressured with government shutdowns by Obama and the Democrats.

They did fold, and the result was that the Democrats were further emboldened, and the Republicans weakened in the long run. Tonight’s repost, written on November 7, 2018, illustrates the consequences of this by taking a look at the just completed 2018 midterm elections. There, the American people had rewarded the Democrats for their endless slander campaigns and power grabs. Times had changed, but not for the better.

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Freedom dying

The results of yesterday’s election, when taken in the context of the stories below, confirm for me the sad belief that freedom in the United States is steadily dying. Freedom might return, but for the next few decades I think we are headed for oppressive times. Be prepared.

The stories are only a sampling, and are cited because of what they show: In every case they describe attacks against individuals defending freedom of speech and diversity of thought, and all the attacks come from the students, the future of our society.
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Another university researcher arrested for spying for China

The FBI yesterday arrested a researcher who had been working at the University of California-Davis and had lied about here contacts with the Chinese communist party and its military.

Juan Tang, 37, who had been a visiting cancer researcher at UC Davis for several months, left her Davis apartment in June after FBI agents questioned her about evidence that she lied concerning whether she was a member of the Chinese military or Communist Party when she applied for a visa, according to federal court papers.

…U.S. authorities have no authority to enter the consulate without permission, and it was not immediately clear Friday whether she had voluntarily surrendered. Jail records show the FBI arrested her overnight and booking was still in progress Friday morning.

She is one of four Chinese researchers charged by the Justice Department this week for spying. The other three have already been arrested.

Today’s fake news in space

In the past day we have had two space-related stories that sadly illustrate the shallowness of our modern press. Modern mainstream reporters literally know nothing of the subject they are reporting on, and expend zero effort to improve their knowledge.

First we have the story making the rounds about a Russian anti-satellite test. This BBC story,
UK and US say Russia fired a satellite weapon in space“, is typical. It takes at face value the claims of the military bureaucracies in the United States and the United Kingdom, and makes it sound as if the Russians were doing something new and unique that no one has ever done before.
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Penn Republicans surrendering to mail-in voting

The stupid party: Republicans in Pennsylvania are joining Democrats to call for mail-in voting in the coming November election.

“Now is a time for all Americans to stand up and put their country over their party,” said former congressman Patrick Murphy, a Bucks County Democrat. “From the elderly grandmother to young people, everyone needs to understand that the process of mail-in voting is trustworthy, and if they want to vote in person they need to know how to do that safely.”

Murphy, who also once served as acting secretary of the U.S. Army, has joined forces with former Pennsylvania House Republican majority leader Dave Reed to chair VoteSafe Pennsylvania. The group launched its statewide information campaign on Tuesday. “With everything going on here in 2020 and it happening to be a presidential election year as well, I think it’s fair to say we have a really polarized nation right now politically,” Reed said in an interview. “This project is just focused on making sure people feel safe and secure in voting with the mail-in ballots. And for folks who want to go to an in-person ballot precinct, making sure those places are safe and that folks are comfortable in doing so.”

“The bottom line is just very simple,” Reed added. “We just want to make sure everybody has an opportunity to participate this year.” [emphasis mine]

The article then goes on to related the numerous problems experienced in Pennsylvania with tabulating its mail-in votes in the most recent primary. It took some counties weeks to count the vote, and there were innumerable problems.

The one bright light in this darkness is that both of these idiots are former state legislators, and have clearly teamed up to push elected officials to buy their scheme. We can only pray they don’t get what they really want, a way to rig elections easily for their own benefit.

NASA’s safety panel expresses concerns about Starliner

My heart be still: During a teleconference yesterday, members of NASA’s safety panel expressed concerns about Boeing’s Starliner capsule while cautiously and very tentatively endorsing SpaceX’s intention to launch future manned missions with reused Falcon 9 first stages and reused Dragon capsules.

I consider this safety panel worse than useless. For example, based on this news report, they appear to have had little involvement in the NASA/Boeing investigation into the issues that caused the premature de-orbit of first unmanned orbital test flight of Starliner. Instead, it appears they have simply reviewed that investigation, and are now just kibbitzing from the sidelines.

Of course NASA should be concerned about the 80 issues it found, mostly involving software. No one needs this safety panel to tell the agency this.

Meanwhile, the panel’s tentative support for reusing Falcon 9 boosters and Dragon capsules is merely a rubberstamp of already decided NASA policy, and also illustrates the panel’s uselessness. This safety panel spent the last five years blasting everything SpaceX was doing (causing many delays), while literally missing the real elephant in the room, Boeing’s own quality control issues.

It appears to me that NASA is very gently and quietly making the safety panel irrelevant to its operations. Even better would be to disband it entirely. It serves no purpose other than to delay and block future exploration, sometimes foolishly.

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