Tag Archives: Trump

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.

Obama misused intelligence agencies for years to spy on political opponents

We now have substantial evidence going back years — well before its illegal misuse of the FISA court — that the Obama administration and officials in its FBI and Justice Department misused National Security Agency (NSA) databases to illegally spy on its political opponents.

The article at the link is very long and detailed, but this is necessary to unpack the history that not only documents that spying before 2016, but why Justice and FBI high officials felt compelled then to use a fake dossier paid for by the Clinton campaign to get a warrant from the FISA court. Once they lost access to the NSA databases that year, they needed something that would allow them to continue that spying.

During the time-frame of December 2015 through April 2016 the NSA database was being exploited by contractors within the intelligence community doing unauthorized searches. On March 9, 2016, oversight personnel doing a review of FBI system access were alerted to thousands of unauthorized search queries of specific U.S. persons within the NSA database.

NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers was made aware. Subsequently NSA Director Rogers initiated a full compliance review of the system to identify who was doing the searches; & what searches were being conducted. On April 18, 2016, following the preliminary audit results, Director Rogers shut down all FBI contractor access to the database after he learned FISA-702 “about”(17) and “to/from”(16) search queries were being done without authorization.

In other words, the NSA database of phonecalls between Americans, an illegal database in its own right (the Constitution forbids such indiscriminate spying on Americans without a warrant), was being used by unauthorized individuals to gain information on Americans. From the article it becomes clear that those individuals were Obama administration operatives, and the Americans they were digging dirt on were their political opponents.

When Rogers shut down access to this keyhole, it was then necessary to instigate an unjustified warrant from the FISA court to allow these same Obama officials the right to continue their spying. At the same time they also instigated an effort to get Rogers fired.

What infuriates me about this is that even now, years later, no one has been indicted for any of these clearly illegal acts, despite substantive and documented evidence. We get reports, we get leaks, we get outraged Congressman on cable networks, and we get Trump tweets ranting about how terrible it is. What we don’t get is anyone behind bars.

Midnight repost: It’s the hate, not the violence

The tenth anniversary retrospective of Behind the Black continues: Though tonight’s essay was written in June 2017 it still applies today. The mindless hate that moves the left has now escalated beyond Trump and the Republican Party to encompass all of American history.

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It’s the hate, not the violence

The last few days have probably been the ugliest I have ever seen in American culture. Not only was an attempt made to commit mass murder against a group of Republican elected officials, the response from too many mainstream Democrats has generally been tone deaf and even supportive of the violence. Worse, the violence appears to be on-going, with no sign of relief.

My list is hardly complete. The stories above are only a small sampling of the ugly stuff I have read since the shooting on June 14. The best I have seen from some Democrats is a hint that maybe they have let their rhetoric get out of hand, but even here they often backtrack to blame Republicans and only Republicans for the shooting.
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Ballot harvesting in Oregon’s vote-by-mail system demonstrates Democratic strategy to steal elections

Link here. The article describes what the Democrats do when they make voting-by-mail legal.

[I]n Oregon’s vote-by-mail system, county elections offices don’t just sell your party registration and voting history, they also regularly inform campaigns of the status of the voter’s ballot, usually daily throughout Oregon’s lengthy 18-day voting window. Ballot harvesting is when campaigns determine exactly which voters have already turned in their ballots, and then they come after those who have not. Lots of phone calls, lots of door knocks, lots of robocalls. If you purposely wait to vote until the last day (voters have realized that many major scandals haven’t surfaced until the final days of a campaign), the efforts border on outright harassment.

In a primary election, most “1×4” and “2×4” voters are not as likely to vote. That’s when the unions go to work. Dozens and dozens of public employee union workers build and track voter files daily on Democrat-leaning voters. Then they turn their public employee armies loose to gin up votes for their candidates.

Imagine the knock at your front door. The union member offers you a flyer for their candidate, then asks if you’ve voted yet (they know you haven’t). Next they offer to wait while you fill out your ballot. Maybe then they offer to return your ballot envelope. (If you indicated a preference for the other primary candidate, do you think your ballot will really be delivered?)

None of this is illegal. All of it should be done by Republicans also, but then, the Republican Party has too often shown itself as cowardly wimps eager to lose. The result is that Democrats harvest a lot of extra mail-in votes. And I am sure they use the mail-in system to put their finger on the scale to disqualify or lose as many Republican votes as possible, as mailed ballots are so easy to manipulate.

This is their plan for November. They are now pushing for mail-in-voting nationwide, and will certainly get it in many more states before the election. In each case they will use it to up their vote count, as the Republican Party twiddles its thumbs.

It seems to me that rather than buy lots of stupid television ads, Trump and the Republicans should be investing in the same kind of door-by-door army, harvesting their own votes in this manner. It seems a far more effective way to win elections.

Midnight repost; The utter childishness of modern intellectual discourse

The tenth anniversary retrospective of Behind the Black continues: This essay from January 8, 2018 encapsulates well the cultural collapse of the United States in the past two decades. And though now more than two and a half years old, it is not dated in the least, and remains terribly predictive of our coming dark future..

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The utter childishness of modern intellectual discourse

The world is faced with threats of nuclear and chemical attacks from North Korea. Iran is hit by protests that might escalate into all out civil war. Islamic terrorist attacks have now become almost routine. And in the U.S. there appears to be corruption at the highest levels of the FBI and the Department of Justice, while at the same time the federal government has produced a national debt exceeding $20 trillion, with more debt on the way.

Have any of these significant stories been the primary focus of our American media, from either side of the political spectrum?

An objective look at the culture of today’s press says no. Even as the leftist American mainstream media continues to focus its energies on petty and ineffective attacks of Donald Trump, too many journalists on the right unfortunately appear to be diving right in to join them with their own petty counter-attacks. The result is a press that spends the bulk of its time on irrelevant stories of partisan bickering that have little substance or importance.

In the last week of 2017 we had one particularly acute example of this. First a mainstream liberal news source pushed an absurdly trivial story in a shallow effort to discredit Donald Trump. This was then followed by a frenzied and as-shallow response from the conservative press. I want to showcase both, not merely to illustrate how weak the original story was (which is obvious on its face), but to also point out the childishness of the response.

I must add that everything written in every one of the news sources that I will cite below appears to be 100% accurate. My point here isn’t to highlight examples of error-filled news reporting — which these days mostly comes from left leaning sources overwhelmed by their blind hatred of Trump — but to illustrate reporting from both sides that hardly rises above the level of a five year old, and is thus completely inconsequential.

From CNN: Truck blocks cameras from filming Trump on golf course.

Apparently the day before CNN had managed, by peering through some bushes on the edge of the Trump International Golf Club in Florida, to videotape President Trump playing some golf. When they came back the next day a white truck now blocked their view. This then became a big scandal for CNN, with the cable network then spending gobs of time every hour for the next few days investigating the truck and following up on this terrible act of corruption, obviously part of the evil Trump administration’s effort to cancel the First Amendment and to silence the press! Much of the leftwing media piled on as well. Below are some of CNN’s coverage, as well as a bit of that liberal news pile on.
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Midnight repost: The think tank culture of Washington

The tenth anniversary retrospective of Behind the Black continues: The essay below, first posted on June 22, 2016, was the result of a Washington DC. trip, occurring during the heat of the presidential campaign just after Donald Trump had become the Republican candidate for president.

The impression I got of the Washington culture then has sadly proven more accurate than I would have ever guessed. And their response to Trump’s election was just as I feared.

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The Think Tank Culture of Washington

On Monday I attended and gave a presentation at the one-day annual conference of the Center for New American Security (CNAS) in Washington, D.C., in conjunction with the space policy paper I am writing for them, Exploring Space in the 21st Century.

CNAS was founded ten years ago by two political Washington insiders, one a Democrat and the other a Republican, with a focus on foreign policy and defense issues and the central goal of encouraging bi-partisan discussion. For this reason their policy papers cover a wide range of foreign policy subjects, written by authors from both political parties. The conference itself probably had about 1,000 attendees from across the political spectrum, most of whom seemed to me to be part of the Washington establishment of policy makers, either working for elected officials, for various executive agencies, or for one of the capital’s many think tanks, including CNAS.

I myself was definitely not a major presenter at this conference, with speakers like Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), and Senator Joe Reed (D-Rhode Island). I was part of a panel during one of the lunch breakout sessions, where approximately one third of the attendees came to have lunch while we spoke about space. I only had ten minutes to speak, and used that time to outline (1) the influence SpaceX is having on the entire launch industry and (2) the vast differences in cost, development time, and results between the Orion/SLS program and commercial space. Not surprisingly, the aerospace people from the big established companies appeared to be somewhat uncomfortable with what I had to say, though the Airbus people liked it when I made it clear I thought that the U.S. should allow foreign companies to compete for American business, including government launches.

Their discomfort was best illustrated by the one question asked of me following my talk, where the questioner said that I was comparing apples to oranges in comparing a manned capsule like Orion, intended to go beyond Earth orbit, with the unmanned cargo capsules like Dragon and Cygnus, that only go to ISS. I countered that though I recognized these differences, I also recognized that the differences were really not as much as the industry likes to imply, as demonstrated for example by SpaceX’s announcement that they plan to send Dragon capsules to Mars beginning in 2018. After all, a capsule is still only a capsule. The differences simply did not explain the gigantic differences in cost and development time.

I added that Orion compares badly with Apollo as well, noting that Apollo took about a third as long to build and actually cost less. I doubt I satisfied this individual’s objections, but in the end I think future policy will be decided based on results, not the desires of any one industry bigwig. And in this area Orion/SLS has some serious problems. I hope when my policy paper is released in August it will have some influence in determining that future policy.

My overall impression of CNAS, the speakers, and the people who attended was somewhat mixed. Having lived in the Washington, D.C. area from 1998 to 2011, when I attended many such conferences, I found that things haven’t changed much in the last five years. Superficially, everyone was dressed in formal business suits (something you see less and less elsewhere), and they also got to eat some fancy food at lunch.

On a deeper level my impressions were also mixed.
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Proposed House NASA budget flat, with some surprising support for Artemis

While the first House proposal for NASA’s 2021 budget has rejected the Trump administration’s request for a total $3 billion increase for the agency to fund Artemis so that it can complete a manned mission to the Moon by 2024, it also provided about 18% of the funds requested for building the manned lunar lander required for that mission.

Back in February, the White House asked for $3.37 billion in fiscal year 2021 to accelerate development of the lander.

Democrats in the House have been skeptical of the 2024 launch date—some see it as political due to the timing of the next presidential election—and so have been slow to fund the lander. In its budget, the House appropriates $1.56 billion for “Exploration Research and Development.” This includes funding for the lander, Lunar Gateway, and other activities related to the Moon’s surface, of which more than $600 million can be used for the lander.

The House also provided a boost of $343 million to SLS.

My guess is that the Democrats in the House are working to keep Artemis going because of the jobs it brings to their districts, but want to slow it down enough so that it cannot succeed while Trump is in office. Thus, the release of some funds for the lunar lander, but not enough to build it, now.

The House proposal also includes a loosening on Congress’s mandate that Europa Clipper must launch on SLS. NASA is now given the option to consider other alternatives if SLS is not avaiable, which means that NASA can now consider using the Falcon Heavy instead.

This proposal must still pass the Republican-controlled Senate, so expect more changes.

With Americans under attack where are Trump and the Republicans?

For me, the most distressing part of the panic over COVID-19 has not been the rules, the mandates, the nullification of the Bill of Rights, and the shut down of normal life, all of which have been terrible, wrong-headed, and a disaster for our country.

What has distressed me the most is the gutless response by the nation’s so-called conservative Republican politicians. All of the panic and harsh rules and economic damage has been designed by the Democrats to hurt the reelection chances of Trump. Little of it has anything to do with stopping the virus, and in fact most are nothing more than symbolic gestures that can accomplish nothing.

Despite this, Republican elected leaders have acquiesced to the Democrats demands, almost across the board.

Consider my own state of Arizona. My governor, Doug Ducey, is Republican. Republicans also have majorities in both houses of my state legislature. Yet, they have either let the Democrats run the show, or have acted in ways that are indistinguishable from the worst dictators in New York and New Jersey. First Governor Ducey imposed and then extended a lockdown that has bankrupted many businesses in the state. Then, as he began to loosen that lockdown he ceded his power to the generally Democratically-controlled local governments, letting them impose their own odious rules in place of his. The result is that in most big cities in the state, the lock down did not really end, but got tightened with new rules mandating masks.

Yesterday he reinstated part of his lock down for another thirty days. And like Democratic governors in Michigan, Pennsylvania, California, and New Jersey, the new rules he imposed [pdf] were arbitrary and capricious, and will thus have little if any effect. Bars, gyms, indoor movie theaters, and water parks have to close until July 27th. Government and community pools however can stay open. So can restaurants, shopping centers, clothing stores, and many other venues that previously were considered “non-essential.” He also banned any gathering of more than fifty people, but exempted political demonstrations and religious services.

And why did he do this? It appears there has been an increase in COVID-19 cases in the past few weeks! That means (oh no!) the number of people either hospitalized or dying might skyrocket, and overwhelm the hospitals!
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Appeals court orders hack judge to dismiss Flynn case

The DC Court of Appeals has ordered Democratic Party hack judge Emmet Sullivan to grant the Justice Department’s request to dismiss its case against former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

A three-judge panel on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, in a 2-1 ruling, said the department’s decision to abandon the case against Flynn settles the matter, despite Flynn having reached a deal with prosecutors from special counsel Robert Mueller’s office to plead guilty to making false statements in connection with a now-discredited FBI probe into whether the 2016 Trump campaign colluded with Russia.

Having lost his prosecutor, Sullivan had tried as judge to take on that role himself to keep the case going. Such actions by a judge are beyond the pale, since judges are supposed to be the neutral arbiter in any legal proceeding. By taking sides in this unprecedented manner Sullivan should be impeached and removed from office. Don’t count on it however.

Note too that Sullivan was also the judge who managed the whitewash in the Awan case, allowing that guy to skate free despite clear evidence Awan acted as a spy for Pakistan while working as the IT expert in a number of Democratic congressional offices.

Oklahoma Supreme Court gives Trump permission to hold political rally

O thank you my Lords! The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled Friday that it will allow Trump to hold a political rally in that state today.

[T]he state’s Supreme Court ruled against the request to force everyone attending to wear a mask and stay at least six feet apart from one another — a policy that would have complicated the massive event with thousands of people. The court ruled that the two local residents among those filing the suit couldn’t establish that they have a clear legal right to the relief they sought. In a concurring opinion, two justices wrote that the state’s reopening plan is “permissive, suggestive and discretionary.”

“Therefore, for lack of any mandatory language in the (plan), we are compelled to deny the relief requested,” that opinion said.

The legalities aside, can you imagine any time in our past history where a sitting president and presidential candidate had to get a court’s approval to hold a political rally? I can’t. The idea would have been inconceivable to past American generations. But the precedent is now clearly set. The courts apparently do have the power to allow or block political rallies. All Trump’s opponents need do to shut down future events is to go to court. Sooner or later a court will go along and forbid the event from occurring, and based on Trump’s behavior up to now, he will bow to that court’s will.

DOJ attorney refuses to resign as announced by Attorney General Barr

The swamp continues to win: Today attorney general William Barr announced that U.S. attorney Geoffrey Berman, who has overseen a number of investigations and witch hunts against Trump associates (including his lawyer Michael Cohen), was resigning.

This evening Berman denied he was resigning, stating that he had no intention of leaving his post until the Senate approves his successor.

I have no idea what is going on here, but if Barr is supposed to be in charge, it sure doesn’t look like it. Instead, it looks like this member of the anti-Trump swamp, recognizing Trump’s weakness during the Wuhan panic and the recent anti-American riots, has decided he can defy his superiors and get away with it. And even if Trump does fire him, he will benefit financially because he knows the leftist Democratic press will pour money into his pockets for being a Trump opponent.

UPDATE and more proof the swamp is winning: Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) has now blocked Trump’s nominee (which is for the NY office of the Justice Department), claiming that it must first be approved by New York’s senators.

The article also makes the incredible claim that Trump, the sitting president of the United States and with whom Article II, Section 1, of the Constitution clearly states holds that executive power, cannot fire Berman.

Can Trump fire Berman? Uh … probably. It would be strange and likely a violation of separation of powers if the head of the executive branch couldn’t fire an employee at the Department of Justice. (We went through this with Mueller, remember.) The fact that Berman was appointed by a federal court, not the president, adds a wrinkle, though. And federal law adds another wrinkle about how, exactly, a court-appointed U.S. Attorney is to be replaced:

“To recap: 1) Berman was appointed under 28 U.S.C. § 546(d). 2) That statute contemplates that he keeps his job until a permanent successor is confirmed by the Senate. 3) 28 U.S.C. § 541(c) says U.S. Attorneys are subject to removal by the President. So the statutes conflict,” — Steve Vladeck (@steve_vladeck) June 20, 2020

This Vladeck then adds

Of course, the Trump DOJ may argue that § 546(d) is unconstitutional insofar as it prevents the President from removing Berman, but that’s complicated here by Berman being an *Acting* U,S. Attorney—over whose appointment and removal Congress can arguably exercise *more* control.

If we have reached the insane situation where a Republican President can no longer fire those under him, then our Constitutional government is truly dead.

UPDATE: Trump has now fired Berman. We shall see whether the courts and the swamp will let that action stand.

U.S. & U.K. sign space agreement

Anticipating the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union, the Trump administration has signed an new space agreement with the U.K. in order to facilitate the ability of U.S. companies export British technology as well as launch from its spaceports.

I cannot find the actual text of the agreement so my description, based on news reports and the press release (linked above) might be wrong. It does appear however that the agreement is designed to smooth out the regulatory environment that might block commercial space development involving both countries.

It also seems required because of the UK’s exit from the EU. They need to sign bilateral agreements with other nations to replace the EU framework.

Dozens of scientists forced out because of foreign ties, mostly with China

An investigation by the National Institute of Health (NIH) has resulted in 54 scientists either resigning or being fired because they had illegally kept secret their financial ties to foreign governments, almost all of which were with China.

Some 54 scientists have resigned or been fired as a result of an ongoing investigation by the National Institutes of Health into the failure of NIH grantees to disclose financial ties to foreign governments. In 93% of those cases, the hidden funding came from a Chinese institution.

The new numbers come from Michael Lauer, NIH’s head of extramural research. Lauer had previously provided some information on the scope of NIH’s investigation, which had targeted 189 scientists at 87 institutions. But his presentation today to a senior advisory panel offered by far the most detailed breakout of an effort NIH launched in August 2018 that has roiled the U.S. biomedical community, and resulted in criminal charges against some prominent researchers, including Charles Lieber, chair of Harvard University’s department of chemistry and chemical biology.

“It’s not what we had hoped, and it’s not a fun task,” NIH Director Francis Collins said in characterizing the ongoing investigation. He called the data “sobering.”

The article, from the liberal journal Science, tries to imply that there is something bigoted about this investigation because the bulk of those forced out happened to be Asian, but that is junk journalism. China itself is bigoted, and targets those of Asian ancestry for its spying. If we are to defend our nation from them, we have to accept the fact that the ethnic statistics here will not be balanced.

The bottom line remains: If you want to get an American government research grant, you cannot have financial ties with hostile foreign governments. And if you lie about those ties, than we can safely assume you are an agent for those hostile governments, and are really a spy subject to arrest and prosecution.

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.

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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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.

Dragon docks with ISS; astronauts reveal its name is Endeavour

Capitalism in space: SpaceX’s first manned Dragon capsule successfully docked today with ISS.

A few hours after launch the two American astronauts, Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, also revealed that they had named the capsule “Endeavour.”

I know this is really old news from late last night and early this morning, but I was out on a cave trip (taking a work break to have some fun underground for the first time in three months). I post it for completion. I also know that the live stream of these events was active here all day for my readers to follow things, as they happened.

Prepare for even more increasing space excitement in the coming years. The Trump administration increasingly is shifting NASA’s gears to have private companies build its spaceships and rockets and science instruments. The more they do this, the less expensive and the more capabilities we shall have as a nation. This success will be a challenge for other nations to match, which in turn will raise the stakes and increase the competition, the excitement, and the action in space.

Yes, the 20s I hope are going to roar, at least in space.

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.

Russia says it will oppose Artemis Accords

My heart be still: Roscosmos head Dmitri Rogozin declared today that Russia “will not, in any case, accept any attempts to privatize the Moon.”

“It is illegal, it runs counter to international law,” Rogozin pointed out.

The Roscosmos CEO emphasized that Russia would begin the implementation of a lunar program in 2021 by launching the Luna-25 spacecraft to the Moon. Roscosmos intends to launch the Luna-26 spacecraft in 2024. After that, the Luna-27 lander will be sent to the Moon to dig up regolith and carry out research on the lunar surface.

Rogozin is doing the equivalent of a 2-year-old’s temper tantrum. Being a top-down authoritarian culture that likes to centralize power with those in charge, Russia doesn’t like Trump’s effort to regularize private enterprise and private property in space, including the administration’s new requirement that any international partner in its Artemis Moon program must agree to that effort.

Russia would rather we maintain the status quo as defined by the Outer Space Treaty, with no private property in space and everything controlled by UN bureaucrats and regulations, who are in turn controlled by the leaders from authoritarian places like Russia.

If Russia wants into Artemis, however, it looks like they will have to bend to the Trump accords. Or they will have to build their own independent space effort, competing with ours. Their problem is that their own program has been incredibly lame for the past twenty years, unable to get any new spacecraft or interplanetary mission off the ground.

Maybe the competition will help Russia, as it did in space in the 1960s. Or maybe they will simply help Biden get elected, and then all will be well! That brainless puppet will be glad to do the bidding of Russia and China, and will almost certainly dismantle Trump’s policies in favor of private enterprise.

Trump exiting Open Skies treaty

According to anonymous sources, Trump has decided to pull the U.S. out of the Open Skies Treaty, negotiated in 2002 to allow countries to overfly other nations freely.

President Trump will be pulling the United States out of the Open Skies Treaty, an agreement between more than 30 countries that allow for those involved to fly in each other’s air spaces, a senior administration official confirmed to Fox News. The New York Times first reported that Trump was planning to withdraw from the agreement, worrying NATO member nations who are concerned that once the U.S. is out, Russia will block their flights, which provide valuable surveillance of their own borders.

U.S. officials have warned that Russia had been violating the treaty already by not allowing flights over areas where military exercises were taking place or sites where Russia had nuclear weapons deployed. Each nation in the treaty agrees to make all its territory available for surveillance flights.

Note also that China is not a signatory.

Not surprisingly, their Democratic Party allies, always ready to aid other countries over U.S. interests, are already blasting this decision by the Trump administration.

The Artemis Accords: The Trump administration’s effort to bypass the Outer Space Treaty

Capitalism in space: The Trump administration yesterday released the guidelines it will require any international or private partner to follow if they wish to participate in its Artemis lunar and planetary manned program.

The guidelines, which you can download here [pdf], list ten very broad and vague principles. Most reiterate support for the most successful requirements of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, such as:

  • the requirement that all activities be conducted for peaceful purposes
  • the requirement that everyone design equipment for interoperability and to international standards
  • the requirement that everyone take reasonable steps possible to render assistance to astronauts in distress
  • the requirement that everyone publicly register anything they launch
  • the requirement that everyone release their scientific data publicly
  • the requirement that all parties take actions to mitigate space junk

The remaining four principles appear designed to bend the Outer Space Treaty in the direction of allowing countries and companies to have some control over the territories they occupy in space.
» Read more

Another scientist arrested for failing to disclose ties to China

The Trump administration today arrested another scientist, this time one who took money from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), for failing to disclose his ties to China.

Dr. Qing Wang, a former Cleveland Clinic Foundation (CCF) employee, is charged with false claims and wire fraud related to more than $3.6 million in grant funding that Dr. Wang and his research group received from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

According to the criminal complaint, Dr. Wang knowingly failed to disclose to NIH that he had an affiliation with and held the position of Dean of the College of Life Sciences and Technology at the Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST) and received grant funds from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (CNSF) for some of the same scientific research funded by the NIH grant. As a result, Dr. Wang’s false representations and promises led NIH to approve and fund grants to Dr. Wang and his research group at CCF.

It is also alleged that Dr. Wang participated in the Thousand Talents Program, a program established by the Chinese government to recruit individuals with access to or knowledge of foreign technology and intellectual property. As a result of his admission into the TTP, China provided $3 million in research support to enhance the facilities and operations at HUST. Dr. Wang received free travel and lodging for his trips to China, to include a three-bedroom apartment on campus for his personal use. This also occurred at the time Dr. Wang was receiving NIH grant funds yet failed to disclose this affiliation to the NIH.

This is the second arrested this week, and the fourth in the past three months.

Senate approves FISA renewal

Ya gotta have your KGB! The Senate today approved 80-16 a renewal of the FISA court, allowing that corrupt secret tribunal to continue its spying on Americans.

Since the Senate revised the House bill slightly, the new version will have to go back to the House for approval. It is unclear if the House will approve it as written, or if Trump will sign any of these versions.

Republicans, who spear-headed the passage of this bill, will claim that its new restrictions will protect the rights of Americans. They are lying.

While senators agreed to add the Lee-Leahy bill, they also rejected two other amendments: one from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) preventing FISA warrants from being used against Americans and one from Sens. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) preventing law enforcement from obtaining internet browsing and search history without a warrant.

The epidemic has passed its peak

Link here. The author goes into great detail, with numerous graphs, illustrating that in nation after nation and state after state, the peak of the epidemic has passed, and we have done all the flattening of the curve we are ever going to do. Among a range of recommendations, he concludes that

In those countries and states that are past the peak, declare the emergency is over and open everything back up. Acknowledge that the chance to flatten the curve is gone, and revoke each and every emergency order. They are only valid for the duration of the emergency. [emphasis in original]

He notes, as I have repeatedly, that the lock downs have not worked. For example, he finds that the overall epidemic in Sweden, which did not lock down its society, trends smack dab in the middle when compared with all other countries. The lock downs made no difference.

If we need to do anything, he emphasizes again that you do not quarantine the healthy, you quarantine the sick.

He also notes that the economic crash, caused by those lock downs, has caused far more harm that the virus ever would have.

It’s like … it’s like … well, about the only example I can think of which has equivalent idiocy is if a mosquito were to land on your head and you grabbed a sledgehammer to get rid of it.

The lock downs must end, now. We need to accept the reality that the Wuhan virus is here to stay, and that it is really quite comparable to the range of similar viruses humans have lived with for eons.

List of Obama officials who illegally used wiretaps to spy on Americans

The federal government’s intelligence services have for many years been authorized to listen in on the phone conversations of foreign nationals for the purpose of detecting any potential threats to the United States.

However, if those conversations happen to include an American citizen, they are also forbidden from revealing who that person is to anyone, including and especially their political bosses, except in extraordinary circumstances, because these spies are not allowed to spy on Americans, without reasonable cause and a warrant. And even when these names were revealed, “unmasked” in intelligence parlance, until the Obama administration such unmasking was only permitted to a very small and select number of people.

The Obama administration changed this. Obama allowed the unmasking to be revealed to numerous people in his administration, and worse, his administration made unmasking a tool for spying on his political opponents. This is how Obama and the FBI knew that Trump’s former National Security Chief Mike Flynn had been talking to the Russian ambassador (as was proper for him to do during the transition time between the two administrations). They had listened in, and then unmasked Flynn’s name, improperly.

Well, we now know some of the people in the Obama administration who ordered these illegal unmaskings.

The list revealed that then-U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power made unmasking requests seven times between Nov. 30, 2016 and Jan. 11, 2017. The list revealed that Clapper made three requests from Dec. 2, 2016 through Jan. 7, 2017; and that Brennan made two requests, one on Dec. 14 and one on Dec. 15, 2016. Comey also made a request on Dec. 15, 2016. On Jan. 5, 2017, McDonough made one request, and on Jan. 12, 2017, Biden made one request.

The day McDonough requested the information is the same day as an Oval Office meeting that has drawn scrutiny in the wake of the Flynn developments. The meeting included Obama, Biden, Clapper, Brennan, Comey, then-National Security Adviser Susan Rice and then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates.

That meeting was the first time Yates learned about Flynn’s calls with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, according to notes from her special counsel interview which were released last week. Yates, in her interview, indicated Obama was aware of Flynn’s intercepted December 2016 phone calls with Kislyak during the presidential transition period. [emphasis mine]

I have highlighted the dates because it is interesting that all these unmaskings occurred during that transition period, after Trump had won the election but before he took office. It is almost as if the Obama administration and his stooges in the FBI, CIA, and other departments are gathering information to use against Trump and his people.

Which is exactly what they were doing. They wanted to overthrow that legal election, and were digging around trying to create a scandal to do so. They didn’t find anything, but what they had gave them the chance to manufacture the Russian collusion hoax.

Note that this list is not complete. It is only the start. What we know now is that Power, Clapper, Brennan, Comey, McDouough, and Biden misused their power against their political opponents.

NASA signs deal with Russians for one Soyuz seat to ISS

Citing a need to provide some back-up in case there are more delays getting the American manned capsules being built by SpaceX and Boeing into operation, NASA yesterday announced that it has signed a deal with Roscosmos to buy one seat on the October Soyuz launch to ISS.

The statement did not disclose the value of the deal, but NASA spokesman Josh Finch told SpaceNews the agreement is valued at $90.25 million. That includes the seat on the Soyuz spacecraft and various training, pre-launch and post-landing services. In addition, Finch said that NASA will compensate Roscosmos for bumping a Russian cosmonaut off that Soyuz mission by flying an unspecified amount of Russian cargo to the station on NASA commercial cargo spacecraft.

I wonder if there are other political reasons behind this deal, besides insuring American access to ISS. $90 million is a lot of money to the Russians, and considering their impending loss of income from NASA (with us no longer buying Soyuz seats in the future) as well as their loss of most of their commercial launch business, it could be that NASA managers wanted to shore up Roscosmos’s financial situation. Remember, at NASA there are many who swear a greater loyalty to space operations from all countries, even at the expense of the United States.

“A naked abuse of authority.”

The quote that makes up my headline comes from Congressman Devin Nunes (R-California). It was said in response to the new information that has come out about how partisan and corrupt FBI agents, hostile to Trump and his administration, falsified the interview report of Trump’s then National Security Adviser Michael Flynn in order to get him either “prosecuted or fired” (their words). The full quote:

“The FBI set up General Flynn — that is clear as day,” Rep. Devin Nunes, ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, tells RealClearInvestigations. “There is FBI leadership ordering the case kept open when agents wanted to close it for lack of evidence, the discussion of getting Flynn to lie or trying to get him fired, the ambush interview, the withholding of exculpatory evidence, and many other acts of blatant malfeasance. None of this is standard procedure. It’s a naked abuse of authority.”

Nunes might be a politician and a Republican (with the expected partisan agendas), but everything he says here is accurate and true (as has been the case for Nunes throughout this sorry affair). The article outlines in excruciating detail the fraud and manipulation that FBI officials Peter Srtzok, Lisa Page, and Andrew McCabe went through to rewrite the report of Flynn’s FBI interview, in order to create the false impression that he had lied during that interview, and thus frame him.

Revealing this criminal activity and abuse of power by these FBI officials is good, but as long as they avoid indictments and punishment, we accomplish nothing. These people have to face juries, and go to prison. If they don’t, then nothing will change in Washington, and in fact we in the future can expect more such abuses, coming from both parties.

Trump administration drafting new space agreement to supersede Outer Space Treaty

The new colonial movement: According to this Reuters article, the Trump administration is presently drafting a new space agreement, which they have dubbed the “Artemis Accords,” that would allow private property ownership in space and thus supersede Outer Space Treaty’s restrictions on sovereignty.

The Artemis Accords, named after the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s new Artemis moon program, propose “safety zones” that would surround future moon bases to prevent damage or interference from rival countries or companies operating in close proximity.

The pact also aims to provide a framework under international law for companies to own the resources they mine, the sources said.

In the coming weeks, U.S. officials plan to formally negotiate the accords with space partners such as Canada, Japan, and European countries, as well as the United Arab Emirates, opening talks with countries the Trump administration sees as having “like-minded” interests in lunar mining.

They at the moment are not including Russia or China in the discussions, since those countries have little interest in promoting private enterprise and ownership in space.

Back in 2017 I proposed in an op-ed for The Federalist that Trump do almost exactly this:

Trump should propose a new Outer Space Treaty, superseding the old, that would let nations plant their flags in space. This new treaty should establish the rules by which individual nations can claim territory and establish their law and sovereignty on other worlds or asteroids.

The American homesteading acts of the 1800s could work as a good guide. Under those laws, if an American citizen staked a claim and maintained and developed it for five years, that claim and an accompanying amount of acreage would then become theirs.

In space, Trump could propose that in order for a nation to make a territorial claim, a nation or its citizens must establish a facility. If they occupy and use it for a minimum of five years, that nation can claim it, plus a reasonable amount of territory around it, and place it under that nation’s sovereignty.

Now consider this quote from the Reuters article:

The safety zones – whose size would vary depending on the operation – would allow for coordination between space actors without technically claiming territory as sovereign, he said. “The idea is if you are going to be coming near someone’s operations, and they’ve declared safety zones around it, then you need to reach out to them in advance, consult and figure out how you can do that safely for everyone.”

In other words, the safety zones would essentially be the claimed property of the colonizers, a completely reasonable position.

It is hard to say at this moment whether the Trump administration will succeed in this tactic, of side-stepping a renegotiation of the Outer Space Treaty by working out a new agreement with other interested players. Canada for example has expressed reservations about the Trump administration’s recent public announcement encouraging private ownership of resources in space.

Regardless, that the administration now appears to be addressing the limitations of the Outer Space Treaty is very heartening news. Let us hope they can make it happen.

New documents prove FBI targeted Flynn and framed him

Newly released documents now prove that FBI management targeted and framed the Trump administration’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn as part of their effort to overthrow Trump and the 2016 election.

The documents show two things. First, after doing its initial investigation and finding no evidence of wrong-doing at all, the FBI closed the case against Flynn. Fired FBI agent Peter Strzok then insisted on reopening it. Second, other newly released documents show that the goal of this reopened investigation was “to get him to lie so we can prosecute him or get him fired.”

They then set up interviews with Flynn, and when they didn’t quite get what they wanted, Strzok rewrote the interview reports to his own personal satisfaction.

I expect Flynn’s case to be thrown out this week, exonerating him completely. This also lends weight to the other rumors last week that the investigations of this FBI and Justice misconduct against Trump will result in actual indictments in the coming days.

If so, I sing “Hallelujah!” At last some of these corrupt individuals will face the consequences of their abuse of power. It can’t happen too soon.

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