Tag Archives: government

Chinese military officer arrested trying to leave U.S.

A Chinese military officer who had been participating in research at the University of California in San Francisco under false pretenses was arrested on June 7th as he was trying leave the country with data and information gathered during his stay.

To obtain a visa, Wang allegedly lied about his affiliation with the Chinese military, claiming his service with the People’s Liberation Army had ended in September 2016. In reality, according to the Justice Department, Wang was still associated with the military, which was paying him a stipend while he was in the U.S.

In May, Wang told his supervisor at the university that he was “being recalled to China by his employer, the Fourth Military Medical University, and that he would not return to work at the UCSF lab, thus cutting his fellowship short by approximately one year,” court documents said. Wang also informed his supervisor that he wanted to collaborate remotely from China and that he had already duplicated some of the research conducted at the California laboratory. Court documents said the duplication of research “was previously unbeknownst” to the supervisor in the U.S.

“Wang was instructed by his supervisor in China, the director of the Fourth Military Medical University lab, to observe and document the layout of the lab at UCSF in order to replicate the lab when he returned to China,” the Justice Department said.

The wisdom of the decision by the Trump administration to restrict entry of any Chinese students with ties to the Chinese military is becoming clearer and clearer.

Seattle fire station to become “community center for black residents”

The return of segregation! The Democratically-controlled city of Seattle has decided to bow to demands from a black supremacy group and give that group control over a fire station, making it a “community center for black residents”.

“We at the City of Seattle understand the urgency behind making bold investments in the Black community and increasing community ownership of land in the Central District,” the city wrote. “The City believes in the vision behind the William Grose Center for Cultural Innovation and we remain committed to making the transfer of Fire Station 6 to the community a reality.”

“We have received Africatown’s list of community requests along with a longer list of asks from other black-led organizations. Deputy Mayor Shefali Ranganathan has already met with the King County Equity Now coalition and, on behalf of Mayor Durkan, she will be working with Seattle Department of Neighborhoods and Seattle Office of Planning and Community Development to work on next steps with the community,” it added.

Based on everything I can gather, this new “community center” will be for blacks only. Gee, wasn’t the whole point of the civil rights movement to no longer exclude people based on their skin color?

No matter. This policy of race-based segregation is merely the Democratic party going back to its roots. The only difference is that, unlike in the past when they favored whites and oppressed blacks, they are now favoring blacks and oppressing whites. Seems like a wonderful reason to vote for them, right, Seattle?

New analysis of COVID-19 death rate ranks it the same as “a strong seasonal flu”

A new analysis of the COVID-19 death rate has found that it is really no more dangerous than “a strong seasonal flu”, and that it poses little threat to the general population.

Moreover, the analysis finds that

Up to 30% of all additional deaths may have been caused not by Covid19, but by the effects of the lockdown, panic and fear. For example, the treatment of heart attacks and strokes decreased by up to 60% because many patients no longer dared to go to hospital. Even in so-called “Covid19 deaths” it is often not clear whether they died from or with coronavirus (i.e. from underlying diseases) or if they were counted as “presumed cases” and not tested at all. However, official figures usually do not reflect this distinction.

Read it all. There is lots more, all pointing to the unwarranted nature of the panic over the flu, and how that panic likely caused more deaths and damage. Had we reacted more calmly (as had been done for all past similar new such respiratory diseases), the harm to society and number of deaths would have likely been less.

Trump had better do something soon

In Seattle on June 9, 2020 a group of rioters and Antifa and Black Lives Matter radicals took complete control over a seven block wide area of the city, throwing out the police, taking possession of the police station, and declaring the area the Capital Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ).

The next day, June 9th, President Donald Trump tweeted the following:

Radical Left Governor @JayInslee and the Mayor of Seattle are being taunted and played at a level that our great Country has never seen before. Take back your city NOW. If you don’t do it, I will. This is not a game. These ugly Anarchists must be stooped (sic) IMMEDIATELY. MOVE FAST!

Not surprisingly the response from the Washington Democratic politicians was contempt and defiance.

Gov. Jay Inslee also fired back at Trump on Twitter, posting, “A man who is totally incapable of governing should stay out of Washington state’s business. ‘Stoop’ tweeting.”

I think their contempt here is justified. Trump, who until the arrival of the Wuhan flu panic this spring had consistently stood up against the bullying and irrational hate of the left, has been played by them badly in the past three months.
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NASA IG: Bolden misused NASA resources after leaving agency

According to a new NASA inspector general report released today [pdf], former NASA administrator Charles Bolden improperly used the services of his NASA executive assistant for two years after his resignation, and that misuse included aiding him in building his private consulting firm.

The [inspector general] concluded that the EA [Executive Assistant] inappropriately provided significant administrative assistance to Bolden to include managing his personal and business appointments, making travel arrangements, and coordinating special requests for almost 2 years, from his departure in January 2017 through December 2018. We further found that the EA’s assistance helped facilitate the growth of Bolden’s private consulting business and, as a result, Bolden was able to hire the EA as an employee upon her retirement from NASA in early 2019.

The report is remarkable kind to Bolden, making many attempts to excuse this essentially illegal abuse of government resources for private gain. But then, he is a Democrat who worked for the Democratic Obama administration, and if there is anything we have learned in the past decade, it is that there is an unwritten law in DC that states that no Democrat shall ever be punished for any crimes.

In Bolden’s defense, the report states the following,

Bolden took full responsibility for his actions, offered to provide reimbursement for the services he had received, and recommended that in the future specific guidance be provided to departing senior executives as to what type of administrative support they could expect to receive, if any.

I really wonder if anyone can really assign a number to this work. Moreover, there is no evidence in the report that Bolden has actually reimbursed the agency. Based on past such incidents, I am very doubtful such reimbursement will ever happen. The tactic each time has been to make a loud announcement of contrition, but then when things quiet down to conveniently forget about it.

India’s first manned mission faces delays, caused by COVID-19

The new colonial movement: According to ISRO officials, India’s first manned mission, Gaganyaan, might have to be delayed because of restrictions imposed due to the Wuhan flu panic.

Bengaluru-headquartered ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) had earlier said it has planned two trial flights without crew ahead of Gaganyaan — the first one around December 2020 and the second around July 2021.

“…there are some disturbances because of COVID, but still nothing is confirmed (about delay). We need to see, still we have got some six months time. We are trying to see if we can reach there,” a senior ISRO official told P T I. He added: “There may be slight up and down (in the schedule), but that will be known only when we do the complete evaluation…it is premature to say anything, because the team that is working (on the project) has not indicated (about delay).”

The manned flight is presently scheduled for 2022. This might change.

NASA confirms Webb launch delayed again

NASA officials yesterday confirmed that, due to the new work conditions and the lock down imposed by the Wuhan flu panic, the launch of the James Webb Space telescope will not occur in March 2021.

“We will not launch in March,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, the space agency’s associate administrator for science. “Absolutely we will not launch in March. That is not in the cards right now. That’s not because they did anything wrong. It’s not anyone’s fault or mismanagement.”

Zurbuchen made these comments at a virtual meeting of the National Academies’ Space Studies Board. He said the telescope was already cutting it close on its schedule before the COVID-19 pandemic struck the agency and that the virus had led to additional lost work time. “This team has stayed on its toes and pushed this telescope forward at the maximum speed possible,” he said. “But we’ve lost time. Instead of two shifts fully staffed, we could not do that for all the reasons that we talk about. Not everybody was available. There were positive cases here and there (in the surrounding area, not on site). And so, perhaps, we had only one shift.”

No new target date has been set, though the comments even hinted that they might not be able to do it in 2021.

Webb will cost 20 times more than originally budgeted ($500 million vs $10 billion) and is now more than a decade behind schedule. In the process, those overages and delays wiped out almost all of NASA’s other astronomy projects during the 2010s.

But don’t worry! Once Webb launches the task of wiping out more astronomy projects with overages and delays will be courageously taken up by NASA’s Roman Space Telescope (formerly WFIRST), already behind schedule and over budget, and it is still only in the design phase.

Astrobotic wins contract to land VIPER rover at Moon’s south pole

Capitalism in space: NASA today awarded the private company Astrobotic a $199 million contract to provide the lander that place place the agency’s VIPER rover down near Moon’s south pole.

The target date for the mission is late 2023, and is intended as a scouting mission for the Artemis manned landing to follow.

During its 100-Earth-day mission, the approximately 1,000-pound VIPER rover will roam several miles and use its four science instruments to sample various soil environments. Versions of its three water-hunting instruments are flying to the Moon on earlier CLPS lander deliveries in 2021 and 2022 to help test their performance on the lunar surface prior to VIPER’s mission. The rover also will have a drill to bore approximately 3 feet into the lunar surface.

The key to this mission continues to be NASA’s shift from building things to hiring others to build them. If Astrobotic is successfully, they will then be positioned to offer their lander design to others, since it belongs to them, not NASA.

Chinese launch and Rocket Lab scrub

Electron on launchpad, June 11, 2020

Yesterday China used its Long March 2C rocket to launch an ocean observation satellite, while also testing both grid fins and a revamped fairing. The goal of the grid fins is to control the first stage’s return to Earth so that it won’t crash on top of any homes. The fairing change is to hopefully lead to their capture and reuse sometime in the future.

Late today, or actually early on June 11th, Rocket Lab tried to do its twelve commercial launch, but after three launch tries the high winds won out and they had to scrub. The image to the right shows the Electron rocket on the launchpad. If you look close, you can see the wind whipping the LOX evaporating off the rocket.

The leaders in the 2020 launch race:

11 China
8 SpaceX
7 Russia
3 ULA

The U.S. continues to lead China 13 to 11 in the national rankings.

India to give private space access to ISRO facilities

The new colonial movement: India’s government has announced that private commercial space companies will be given full and equal access to the facilities operated by its space agency, ISRO.

The private sector will be allowed to use ISRO’s facilities and assets and they will be provided a level-playing field in satellites, launches and space-based services, Union Minister Jitendra Singh said on Tuesday, days after the government announced opening up of the domain.

Future projects for planetary exploration and outer space travel will be open for the private sector, he added. ‘Private companies to be provided a level-playing field in satellites, launches and space-based services. Future projects for planetary exploration, outer space travel will be open for the private sector,’ he said in a statement.

If true, what this means is that if a private company builds its own rocket, it will be allowed to use ISRO’s launchpads to launch from. It also means that the government does not want ISRO to lord over those private companies.

Whether this will happen as intended however remains a question. In essence this is the same turf war between the private sector and a government-run industry that has been playing out in the U.S. Here, the private sector appears to be winning, mostly because of the effort of SpaceX. I am not sure what will happen in India, as they don’t yet have any companies like SpaceX to push the issue.

S7 now in “negotiations” to sell Sea Launch to Russian government

Nice launch platform you got here. Be a shame if something happened to it: The private Russian airline company S7 is now in “negotiations” to sell the Sea Launch floating rocket launchpad to one of the Russian government’s state corporations, because it appears the Russian government is imposing such high fees on its operation the company can’t make a profit.

The second source confirmed the information, adding that “given the condition of the platform and the commander ship following the US side’s removal of equipment, and in connection with the need to create coastal infrastructure from scratch, costs of implementing the project are estimated as high.”

“Considering financial losses sustained as a result of the pandemic, a private company simply has no money to do that,” he added.

Previously the company had suspended operations because the Russian government had suddenly increased drastically the fees it was charging the company. I said then that this was simply a power play by that corrupt government to grab control of the launch platform. It appears now that this mob-like grab is succeeding.

Scientists to appease racist Black Lives Matter movement

Yesterday I received an email press release from the American Astronomical Society (AAS), stating the following:

The American Astronomical Society (AAS) endorses the grassroots efforts to #ShutDownSTEM, #ShutDownAcademia, and #Strike4BlackLives on Wednesday, 10 June. The AAS Board of Trustees encourages everyone in our community to make a lifelong commitment to action to eradicate anti-Black racism in the astronomical sciences, in other STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields, and in academia and research more generally.

Internally at the AAS Executive Office, regularly scheduled Wednesday meetings have been cancelled and staff have been given the option of using the day to find time and space for individual reflection, learning, and action. We have postponed a professional development webinar that was originally scheduled for 10 June and will not be using email, Zoom, or any of our other communication channels for normal Society business that day.

THIS MEANS WE WILL NOT DISTRIBUTE ANY PRESS RELEASES ON WEDNESDAY, 10 JUNE.

This action by the AAS is part of a new kowtowing effort by scientists, dubbed #ShutDownSTEM and ‘Strike For Black Lives’, that is calling for a worldwide pause in all science work today, June 10, to signal their solidarity with that movement. As stated by these quislings at the second link (from the science journal Science):

Those who participate should “stop all usual academic work for the day, including teaching, research, and service responsibilities,” the organizers of Strike For Black Lives write on their website. Black strikers should spend the day doing “whatever nourishes their hearts,” it states, while non-Black strikers should “take actions that center Black lives and agitate for change in our communities.”

I wish to note that what will “nourish my heart” today will be to continue to work, as normal, posting and writing. I am also stating herewith that this feel-good do-nothing protest is a piece of garbage and will do nothing to end bigotry. If anything, it will increase it in its biased political favoritism towards one race over all others. Moreover, this protest is really nothing more than a political movement aimed at gaining power, and since I disagree with its political goals (favoring blacks in all things over everyone else), I will not only not participate, I will bluntly condemn it.

I realize in this increasingly fascist country, this action on my part might cause me trouble. So be it. I do not bow to tyrants, or bigots.

“Insane” & “Mad rush” to escape New York & San Francisco

As people always do, they flee fascist and oppressive states. And now they are doing so from the Democratic Party strongholds of New York and San Francisco.

In both cases, I am sure it isn’t just fear of the Wuhan flu. People are also fleeing the lock downs, the violence and looting in connection with protests related to George Floyd’s death, and the overall tyrannical bankrupt rule by Democrats in both places.

Trust me, it is only going to get worse. I have great doubts the voters will throw these bankrupt Democrats out of office in November, which means the mad rush will continue. Just like East Germany in the 1950s, people will not sit and suffer in a communist fascist state, if they have an option to leave. And just like in East Germany, I will not be surprised if the leaders in both New York and San Francisco, assuming the voters make no change, take more restrictive actions to stop the flight.

ULA on schedule for maiden flight of Vulcan in early 2021

Capitalism in space: According to ULA, the development program for its new Vulcan rocket remains on schedule, and will make its maiden flight in early 2021 as initially planned.

The launch will send Astrobotic’s privately built Peregrine lander to the Moon, carrying NASA science instruments.

The article provides a good overview not only of the status of construction, but also the political history that forced the development of Vulcan, that being the insistence by Congress that ULA stop using Russian engines in its rockets.

NASA endorsement allows SpaceX to shift focus to Starship

Capitalism in space: Three different news stories today about SpaceX point out strongly the direction in which the company is heading, both in its design focus and in where it will be doing it.

First, SpaceX has informed the Port of Los Angeles that it is now definitely abandoning all plans to establish a Starship manufacturing facility there.

The company made this announcement on March 27th, which means it is not directly related to the tiff that Musk had with Alameda County officials about keeping his Tesla factory open during the California Wuhan panic lock down, which occurred in early May. Nonetheless, this decision, combined with Musk’s May 9th statement that he was going to move Tesla from California, suggests strongly that he and SpaceX is losing patience with California politics, and is likely to increasingly minimize the presence of Musk’s companies there.

This also means that the company will be expanding its Starship operations in both Texas and Florida.

In a second related story, it appears that — with the success of the first manned Dragon mission — Musk now wants SpaceX to shift its development focus entirely to Starship. Prior to that successful Dragon launch, NASA had made it clear that it did not want the company distracted by Starship, and instead stay focused on fixing any issue that might delay Dragon. As NASA is SpaceX’s biggest customer, the company was obliged to comply.

With the Dragon success however SpaceX has completed the job, so Musk now feels free to shift the company’s development teams over to Starship. And NASA is even helping him do this (today’s third SpaceX story) by agreeing at last to permit the company to use reused Falcon 9 rockets and Dragon capsules for future manned missions.

In a wholly unexpected turn of events, a modification to SpaceX’s ~$3.1 billion NASA Commercial Crew Program (CCP) contract was spotted on June 3rd. Without leaving much room for interpretation, the contract tweak states that SpaceX is now “[allowed to reuse] the Falcon 9 launch vehicle and Crew Dragon spacecraft beginning with” its second operational astronaut launch, known as Post Certification Mission-2 (PCM-2) or Crew-2.

NASA in the past was very slow to accept the use of reused capsules and rockets. It now appears they have abandoned this reluctance entirely, so much so that we could even see American astronauts flying into space on a reused rocket and in a reused capsule before the end of the year.

I want to pause to let this fact sink in. SpaceX has turned what what was considered only a few years ago as an absurd, dangerous, and wholly insane idea into the only and right way to do things.

This big endorsement of reusability by NASA also means that the agency is now willing to let SpaceX make its shift to Starship, since refurbishing rockets and capsules does not take the manpower as building new equipment.

Expect the action in Boca Chica to ramp up quite spectacularly this summer.

A gun-control Democrat in Chicago calls for defunding the police

At least one Chicago alderman is now demanding that the city defund its police force as her solution to the rioting and looting and gun violence occurring there and nationwide.

She is also clearly in favor of the strict gun control laws in Chicago, which means she, like Democrats in California, New York, Minnesota, and elsewhere, sees the lawbreaker as her base and the ordinary and innocent citizens as her enemy.

UPDATE: It occurred to me that there is another aspect to this story that needs noting. If you go to the link, you will see a video news report that includes an interview of alderman Rodriguez-Sanchez as well an “activist” and a representative of the ACLU, all strongly in favor of defunding the police. Amazingly, the reporter, Will Jones, apparently never once thought to ask any of these individuals about the strange conflict between their desire to defang the police, while maintaining Chicago’s very strict gun control. Tells us a bit about his own biases, or maybe his own lack of depth in thought.

A Catholic archbishop chooses sides, and picks Trump

This might be a first: A Catholic archbishop, Carlo Maria Viganò, has written a public letter condemning very forcefully the “deep state” and those supporting the riots, the looting, the lockdowns, and the race-baiting of the last few months, and telling Trump he is fighting on the side of the angels.

In society, Mr. President, these two opposing realities co-exist as eternal enemies, just as God and Satan are eternal enemies. And it appears that the children of darkness – whom we may easily identify with the deep state which you wisely oppose and which is fiercely waging war against you in these days – have decided to show their cards, so to speak, by now revealing their plans. They seem to be so certain of already having everything under control that they have laid aside that circumspection that until now had at least partially concealed their true intentions. The investigations already under way will reveal the true responsibility of those who managed the Covid emergency not only in the area of health care but also in politics, the economy, and the media. We will probably find that in this colossal operation of social engineering there are people who have decided the fate of humanity, arrogating to themselves the right to act against the will of citizens and their representatives in the governments of nations.

We will also discover that the riots in these days were provoked by those who, seeing that the virus is inevitably fading and that the social alarm of the pandemic is waning, necessarily have had to provoke civil disturbances, because they would be followed by repression which, although legitimate, could be condemned as an unjustified aggression against the population. The same thing is also happening in Europe, in perfect synchrony. It is quite clear that the use of street protests is instrumental to the purposes of those who would like to see someone elected in the upcoming presidential elections who embodies the goals of the deep state and who expresses those goals faithfully and with conviction. It will not be surprising if, in a few months, we learn once again that hidden behind these acts of vandalism and violence there are those who hope to profit from the dissolution of the social order so as to build a world without freedom: Solve et Coagula, as the Masonic adage teaches. [emphasis in original]

This statement by Viganò is significant in that during the past few elections the Catholic church remained disgustingly neutral, even after it was quite clear that the party of Obama was aggressively working to restrict the freedom of religious people, especially in the context of the homosexual agenda. It was as if the order had gone out from on high that they were not to take any sides politically, either out of fear of losing their tax-free status, or (more likely) because too many powerful church leaders cared not a whit for the principles as outlined in the Bible and were in fact in favor of the left’s agenda.

I wonder if the recent madness related to the Wuhan flu and George Floyd has finally caused the scales to fall from their eyes.

Hat tip Tom Biggar.

Minneapolis city council will disband police force

Boy would I be hiring moving vans: The Minneapolis city council today announced at a George Floyd protests that it now has a veto-proof majority determined to disband that city’s police force.

Minneapolis’ left-leaning City Council members on Sunday announced a veto-proof push to disband the Minneapolis police department, ramping up a major conflict inside the city following the death of George Floyd while in police custody.

Many activists have been pushing at least for their cities to defund local police departments, a move many other analysts considered unrealistic. The measure has been the main focus for many people protesting against police brutality.

The city council members spoke at a protest at Powderhorn Park, a neighborhood in Minneapolis. The number of supporters in attendance represented a veto-proof majority to push the measure through, Fox 9 reported.

It appears the council members supporting this measure are all from Minnesota’s version of the Democratic Party, the same party in the state legislature that only three months ago passed bills making it easier to confiscate citizens’ guns and more difficult for citizens to get them.

So, let’s sum up: The Democrats in Minnesota are demanding that citizens be disarmed, while simultaneously working to eliminate any police protection. Sounds like a plan, doesn’t it?

What these policies illustrate is that these Democrats see the ordinary citizen, from all races, as a justified target, and are doing whatever they can to facilitate their murder.

New data suggests COVID-19 is weakening in deadliness

New research, as well as impressions from scientists in a number of locations worldwide, is suggesting that the Wuhan flu is becoming with time a less lethal disease, mimicking behavior seen previously with other similar coronaviruses.

[S]everal …American scientists, including some at Arizona State University, announced findings in May that could bolster claims that the virus is less deadly than it once was.

The scientists at ASU said that they had detected a gene deletion in one sample from several hundred Arizona patients that potentially reduced the fitness of the disease. Notably, they claimed it was similar to a deleted sequence observed in the 2003 SARS virus that was observed near the end of that disease’s epidemic—possibly signaling that COVID-19 may be bound for a similar fate.

Those conclusions were echoed by scientists in Spain this week, who proposed that COVID-19 may have adopted what the researchers call a “don’t burn down the house” strategy, “reducing the severity of the infection and tissue damage without losing transmission capability.” In effect, the disease could be opting to become less lethal so that it can spread more easily—a hallmark of evolutionary behavior, and also a boon for anyone who gets infected with the milder strain.

Meanwhile, the evidence continues to suggest that the overall mortality this year is not significantly different than other years, and that the Wuhan flu “isn’t much worse than than a bad seasonal flu.”

Finally, the leftist demonstrations yesterday and today prove that the demands that we social distance, that we wear masks, that we shut down the economy and bankrupt a quarter of the population in order to slow the spread of COVID-19, were all a lie. Suddenly, it’s okay to march down streets in crowds, as long as that crowd is in favor of the bigoted organization Black Lives Matter and opposed to Donald Trump.

But then, it was all a patently obvious lie from the beginning. First we were to social distance for a few weeks to slow the spread (not stop it) so that hospitals would not be overwhelmed. Then we had to close-down all businesses arbitrarily chosen by governors as non-essential (noting that this choice almost never included big corporate chains). Then the lock-downs and social distancing had to be extended, sometimes forever, in order to stop the disease. And then we needed to wear masks everywhere, even though it is clear from the scientific evidence that masks do little while actually increasing the wearer’s health risk.

The moment however the left, which was where most of these demands were coming, had a new cause that required demonstrations and protests, these new “norms” went out the window. At least they are out the window for the next few days, while the George Floyd protests continue. Once those die down, expect the demands to return, and to be applied (as they have so far) selectively, aimed mostly at hurting those the left sees as their enemy.

Northrop Grumman wins contract to build Gateway habitation module

Capitalism in space: NASA on June 5 awarded Northrop Grumman the contract to design and build the habitation module for the agency’s proposed Lunar Gateway space station.

NASA said it issued a contract to Northrop Grumman valued at $187 million for the Habitation and Logistics Outpost (HALO) module, which will serve as an initial habitat for crews visiting the lunar Gateway. The module, described by NASA as the size of a small studio apartment, will be able to support short stays by crews arriving on Orion spacecraft.

The contract does not cover all the work needed for HALO. Instead, the award announced June 5 funds design of the module through a preliminary design review late this year. The contract also allows Northrop Grumman to issue subcontracts for hardware with long lead times. A contract modification will come later to fund full development and testing of HALO.

And why might that contract only award “design” money? It is because the Lunar Gateway, as far as I know, has still never been approved by Congress. It remains still the dream of NASA and its bureaucrats, now with the political support of the Trump administration (who have fortunately revised and de-emphasized its place within the agency’s entire manned lunar program).

In the end I suspect NASA will get that Congressional approval, but when it does it will signal once again how political power in the U.S. has devolved from elected officials, put their by the citizens of the country to be in charge, to unelected bureaucrats within the military-industrial complex in DC. And I say this recognizing that as revised by the Trump administration, Gateway might actually make some sense now.

ArianeGroup developing new rocket engine

Capitalism in space: The private company ArianeGroup has now gotten the okay from the European Space Agency (ESA) to begin full development of its new Prometheus rocket engine, intended to reduce costs 10x.

By applying a design-to-cost approach to manufacturing Prometheus, ESA aims to lower the cost of production by a factor of ten of the current main stage Ariane 5 Vulcain 2 engine. Features such as variable thrust, multiple ignitions, suitability for main and upper stage application, and minimised ground operations before and after flight also make Prometheus a highly flexible engine.

This Prometheus precursor runs on liquid oxygen–methane which brings high efficiency, allows standardisation and operational simplicity. Methane propellant is also widely available and easy to handle.

Essentially, ArianeGroup is going to try to build its own methane-powered rocket engine, having seen the success that SpaceX has so far had with its own Raptor methane engine. This also signals an increased recognition at ESA and ArianeGroup that their new Ariane-6 rocket, whose first launch is still about a year away, is not going to be competitive with SpaceX’s offerings, and needs to be upgraded or replaced.

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:
» Read more

The coming death of America

I have been so appalled and horrified by the events of the past three months, culminating in the riots and brutal violence and looting this past week, that I have found myself unable to express myself. I stand for freedom, for justice, for equal protection under law, and for our Constitution and Bill of Rights, fundamental documents that more than any philosophical tract ever written outline the most just way to run a country.

That country however appears to be dying, fast. It strongly appears that a large plurality, maybe even a majority, no longer believes in these ideals. This fact has made me depressed beyond words.

The speech below by Tucker Carlson however does a very good job of summing things up, based on facts, while making it clear what we must do to change this madness. He pulls no punches. He attacks every politician from both parties who have stood by or even supported the rioting and the nullification of our most basic laws. He demands better from them, and he demands that we, the citizenry, demand it as well.

I beg my readers to watch it. Set the speed at 1.25 and you can see it faster.

I also pray that some of my readers, after watching it, will recognize how deadly the situation really is, far beyond rioting, and how necessary it is for us to require proper behavior from our leaders, without exception, based on law and justice. No more race-baiting. No more apologies for enforcing the law meant to protect the innocent. No more cowardice. If our political leaders can’t protect everyone, then they must be fired. All of them.

And if we, the American people, still fail to recognize how bad things are and refuse to do something about it, then my headline above will simply be an accurate prediction. I weep to think I might be right.

I must also add that to understand what I mean, you must watch Carlson’s speech first. Otherwise, you will be doing exactly what I rage against.

China’s Long March 2D launches Earth observation satellite

The new colonial movement: China’s Long March 2D rocket today launched an Earth observation satellite, described as designed to study Earth resources.

The leaders in the 2020 launch race:

10 China
7 Russia
7 SpaceX
3 ULA

The U.S. still leads China 12 to 10 in the national rankings.

Another coup leader at the FBI forced to resign

More house-cleaning at the FBI: The FBI’s general counsel, Dana Boente, yesterday resigned as demanded by William Barr, the attorney general of the Justice Department, apparently due to his participation in the effort to frame former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

Boente signed one of the warrants renewing the FBI’s authority to surveil Flynn. The warrants, known as FISA warrants, were renewed several times and had to be approved by a judge.

Boente also said in a recently leaked memo that material put into the public record about Flynn was not exculpatory for the former national security advisor. The memo undermines the Justice Department’s latest position that material about Flynn was mishandled by prosecutors.

The article is from NBC, so it exudes both ignorance and hostility about this resignation. The FISA warrants that Boente signed have been repeatedly proven to have been falsely obtained, dependent on unverified and outright false and fake information. His actions clearly showed he was part of the coup attempt in the FBI attempting to find by any means necessary a way to overthrown the legal election of Donald Trump. Framing Flynn was only one part of that effort.

We’ve only just begun. There are a lot of people still working at both the FBI, the Justice Department, and throughout the executive branch, who have been willing to violate the Constitution and some fundamental laws, all because they did not like how the American people voted in 2016. They all need to be shown the door, with many escorted next to a prison cell.

“The Trump-Russia investigation was a politically driven fraud”

The first two paragraphs of this summing up of what we now know of the corrupt attempt to overthrow the legal election of an American president by the FBI and the Department of Justice, instigated by the Obama administration and continuing during the first two years of the Trump administration says it all, quite succinctly:

No need to build to a crescendo — let’s just say it: The Trump-Russia investigation was a politically driven fraud from beginning to end. It was opened on false pretenses, sustained by investigative abuses, and will undoubtedly end in recriminatory angst, which is what happens when the kind of accountability the victims demand does not, indeed cannot, come to pass.

Worst of all is the damage wrought, though even that isn’t fully understood. Obama administration officials exploited the awesome national security powers that we trust our government to use for counterintelligence operations that safeguard America from jihadists and other foreign hostiles. Because of the abuse, and the growing awareness that few of the abusers will be held to meaningful account, those powers have lost the solid constituency they had maintained in Congress for nearly two decades. Thus, this episode will prove to be a catastrophe for American national security.

Make sure you read it all, carefully. Andrew McCarthy outlines a truly illegal power-grab by Washington insiders, who did not want power transferred to an outsider who did not share their goals and political beliefs but who the American people had legally elected. And they were willing to toss out the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and all previous legal precedent and history to overthrow that outsider.

These crooks should all find themselves behind bars for many years. That they likely will not tells us that we are in for some very perilous times. The Constitution and Bill of Rights were specifically written to protect us, the ordinary citizen, from abuses of power by corrupt power-hungry people like this. If we are no longer honoring these documents we ordinary citizens cannot expect much justice in the coming years.

Fuel leak in Russian rocket in French Guiana

According to French engineers in French Guiana, “systematic signals from the alarm system [have been detected] indicating the presence of oxidizer vapors” from the Fregat upper stage for a Russian Soyuz-2 rocket.

Russia is sending a team of its own engineers there to trouble-shoot what is essentially a fuel leak.

It also suggests that Russia’s systemic quality control problems in its aerospace industry have not been solved.

From my perspective, I don’t see how Russia can really eliminate what appears to be poor workmanship throughout their space industry without introducing competition, something they have banned with the consolidation of their entire aerospace industry into a single government-run corporation.

China launches its new quick-launch Long March 11 rocket

The new colonial movement: China has successfully launched its new quick-launch Long March 11 rocket for the ninth time, placing two engineering test satellites into orbit.

The Long March-11 (Chang Zheng-11) is a small solid-fueled quick-reaction launch vehicle developed by the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT) to provide an easy to operate quick-reaction launch vehicle, that can remain in storage for long period and to provide a reliable launch on short notice.

LM-11 is a four-stage solid-fueled launch vehicle equipped with a reaction control system on the fourth stage.

It is also designed to launch smallsats, and essentially uses military missile technology to do it.

The leaders in the 2020 launch race (for the moment):

9 China
7 Russia
6 SpaceX
3 ULA

The U.S. still leads China 11 to 9 in the national rankings. That lead will widen should SpaceX successfully launch later today.

New Zealand confisicates guns; gun crime goes up

This is par for the course: New Zealand’s April 2019 gun control law, which made almost all guns illegal and required their confiscation, has resulted in the past year in the most gun crimes in a decade.

This week the first evidence vindicating this position came in when Radio New Zealand (RNZ) published figures it had obtained from the government showing that for last year crime involving firearms was the highest it had been since 2009.

According to an RNZ article titled, “Rates of gun crimes and killings using guns at highest levels in a decade in 2019,” last year “there were 3540 occasions where an offender was found with a gun​.” The report went on to note that “in both of the last two years, the rate of deadly incidents involving a firearm was the highest it had been since 2009” and that “[t]he number of guns seized by police is also on the rise, up almost 50 percent on five years earlier at 1263 last year.​” Making clear that the figures cited in the article were not skewed by the horrific shooting in Christchurch, the report noted that “[t]he 15 March terror attacks were listed as two separate firearms-related incidents.​”

This is the pattern in Chicago, New York, Australia, Great Britain, anywhere strict gun control laws are passed. Gun crime goes up. The criminals routinely don’t obey the law, so they keep their guns, while the innocent citizens who do obey the law and turn in their guns become helpless targets for the criminals.

But what matters logic and facts. The gun control made us feel good, and feel-good gestures are the rule of modern society. God help us.

More evidence masks are merely a symbolic gesture

A new study has found that both improvised and surgical masks are ineffective in stopping the spread of COVID-19.

They found that “neither surgical nor cotton masks effectively filtered SARS–CoV-2 during coughs by infected patients.” They also “found greater contamination on the outer than the inner mask surfaces,” suggesting that any contact with a mask worn for a long time will likely mean the mask increases the chance of spreading the virus.

Their conclusion?

[B]oth surgical and cotton masks seem to be ineffective in preventing the dissemination of SARS–CoV-2 from the coughs of patients with COVID-19 to the environment and external mask surface.

Granted the experiment only tested four individuals in a controlled situation, but what they found matches what many others have been saying. It also illustrates the uncertainty of the science. Considering that the World Health Organization (WHO) states now that healthy people should not wear masks, and that there are also health risks for those that do, it once again seems very inappropriate (I am using a very mild word here) for our leaders or anyone to now demand that we all wear them, all the time, in all situations, blindly.

If others wish to wear masks, all power to them. I however will not submit to something I consider irrational. And I suspect sadly that I am mostly alone in this, because I think that most who say they agree with me will still cooperate and put on a mask when told to do so. I will not. At the moment I am fighting with two doctors, who will not see me for regular doctors appointments unless I wear a mask. I have told them I will not, have cited the medical reasons why (I have asthma), and they so far have not bent.

If it means I no longer have any doctors to treat me, then fine. I would rather die than live in such a society. I was born free, I will die free. Or as Ronald Reagan once said:

I am no longer young. You might have suspected that. [Laughter] The house we hope to build is one that is not for my generation, but for yours. It is your future that matters. And I hope that when you’re my age, you’ll be able to say as I have been able to say: We lived in freedom, we lived lives that were a statement, not an apology.

I intend to live my life as a statement, not an apology.

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