Saturday, October 19, 2019

Impeachment and other exit strategies. Twenty different chess moves! A sample chapter from POLEMICAL JUDO.

Here's a chapter-excerpt from the book you'll all be pre-ordering, by the time you get five paragraphs in! Chapter 1 is already posted as a free sample, along with half of Chapter 2.

This chapter is the most topical timely as everything might change at any minute! I attempt to do what no TV or online pundit seems inclined to do... look at the chessboard and think three moves ahead.

Memes for our political knife-fight

Chapter 16

Exit Strategies – Impeachment, Indictment,
the 25th Amendment and all that[1]

You desperately want to envision a quick way out of this torment. Okay then, without any preamble or delay – and from the fast-changing perspective of mid-October 2019 – let’s ponder four general scenarios - and their many variants: 


Sorry, but as of October 2019, despite the frenzied urgings of sumo-fighters, Speaker Nancy Pelosi is right about investigating first and impeaching later. Even if the House indicts[2] Donald Trump, Senate conviction requires cooperation from eighteen GOP Senators. That is extremely unlikely till conditions are right. 

Those conditions may occur! Trump revelations may pass a certain (as yet unknown) threshold, especially if disclosures from Deutsche Bank[3] bear any resemblance to rumors, or in the event of a truly major national crisis. When President Trump becomes a terminal liability to his masters… if they perceive him dragging down their investment in a worldwide oligarchic putsch… they may seek a new formula to salvage a win-win. 

How? By letting the Democrats clean up the GOP's mess? By extorting or bribing just enough Republican Senator ‘defectors’ to help remove Donald Trump despite fury from the base, compensating those “defectors” with enough cash (or blackmailing them) to compensate for the end of their political careers. (And perhaps not even that, if the volunteers have four years till their own re-election campaigns.) 

There is a rub to this scenario, and we’ll get to it. Till then, you’ll never get the 18 Republican Senate votes needed for conviction and removal. And that’s why we don’t hurry, but look at this tactically, in phases.

         Phases. I am not an expert politician like Pelosi and Schiff, but here are my guesses at how they view timing, during the months ahead. 

         a) Hurrying to impeach before the 2020 primary season, there are risks at both the high and low end. 

Low end. Assume further revelations just keep perking along, piling ever-higher at a rate similar to the last 3 years, then RASRs and ostriches and professionals will keep leaking away from the Republican Party, but the Trump-rally core of Red America will be like the proverbial frog in a saucepan, never confronting a break-point they can’t rationalize.

Especially if none of the polemical methods in this book are used to corner them. 

Mountains of turpitudes will be shrugged off as ‘witch hunt’ stuff. Any premature House impeachment vote will be seen as just a sterile, partisan gesture – a tit-for-tat against Bill Clinton’s impeachment in the nineties. [4] That’s how they’ll spin it, as comparable events, despite one being a zit and the other a basketball-sized tumor. The Senate will vote “no,” and that will be that. 

At the high end, even supposing revelations accelerate to some breaking point (which they might, even as I am typing this, canceling out much of my book!), think about the consequences if impeachment and Senate removal come too soon. Republicans might just go ahead and replace Trump, then campaign for Paul Ryan (or Romney, or worst-case Pence), without breaking stride, pretending it all never happened! Remember, they did exactly that recently, when the 2016 GOP Convention omitted mention of every party leader between Reagan and Ryan, even two Republican presidents.[5]

And they got away with it. Because Democrats let that happen without mention or comment.

Either way, McConnell wants a rapid pace! The eagerness of liberals for a Thanksgiving season vote is dumb and plays into his hands. Rushing in is not judo.

         b) Impeach during primary season. Time it right and continuing revelations might help challengers like William Weld to become noticeable irritants. Not enough, probably, to deny Trump the nomination, but sufficient to drive him into ever greater hysteria. Again that depends on the magnitude of revelations. But short of that putative video of him shooting someone on Fifth Avenue, actual impeachment during this phase would be risky – Dems will be accused of doing it as an election ploy. Still, it’s a better time than before or after.

A sweet spot? Cornered by revelations and outrages, but terrified of home voters, GOP Senators don’t dare convict Trump - but they do collaborate on emergency bills limiting his powers.[6] He is lethally wounded for November. Republicans cry sauve qui peut! and scurry to the lifeboats, trying to save themselves while Romney (or some Russian front) tries to form a third party.

         c) Impeach during the general election season. Oy, what a mess. Howls of “Let the voters decide!” While voting machines go haywire.

         d) Final revenge. A deliciously awful opportunity might come after a major victory for America in November 2020 – during a brief window between the seating of a new, Dem-majority Senate and Inauguration Day, 2021.[7] With a little help from off-year GOP Senators, Trump might be removed from office, dragged out of the White House, and kept off the inaugural stage -- an indignity that would be mostly about vengeance. I mention it because, frankly, I expect revelations to mount that high.

All told, it’s a minefield. And liberals who play armchair general shouldn’t just assume they know what’s best. The way I’m behaving, for example.


Now for a rub. The fact that must keep Vlad and Rupert up at night. Suppose Trump becomes an unbearable liability, dragging down everything they’ve built, but he refuses to go quietly? No buy-out offer or threat works and he sees the Republican Party trying to rally around a new, “fresh” standard bearer. Well, this would finally give Donald Trump the reality show role he was born for –

– as furious, livid-living martyr. Liberated from the prison of the White House. Free to stage rally after rally, howling about schemes and injustices 24/7, while riling the confed base to volcanic fury. And he turns it all against the GOP. 

There are two ways out for Rupert and Vlad. 

(i) make democrats do all the work and arm-twist just enough Republican Senators to go along, drawing Trump’s wrath mostly upon Democrats and just individual Republicans. Or else…

(ii) real martyrdom. The biggest win-win for Fox and Moscow. Eliminate their irritant the same way that cynical executives got rid of their liability, Howard Beale, in Network. Blame those cityfolk and liberals! Or an ethnic patsy. And it’s likely we'd tumble into hot civil war. Putin’s win-win.

Ponder these chess moves in advance and don't fall for them. If it comes to (i) then I’d ask a dozen Democratic Senators to play sick, so the GOP must pony up an equal number of their own, to reach two-thirds and removal. 

And if it ever comes down to possibility (ii) then it is vital that Democrats not pour into the streets, celebrating! Rather, react with rage at the blatant culprits -- an oligarchy that cruelly used-up and then disposed of a sick, addled old man, as soon as they were done with him.

It will work, at so many levels.

Does all of this sound like fantasy? 

No, what is stupid is not to work out possible chess moves, in advance. 

The Secret Santa Variant

Let's dig further down the rabbit hole of Mitch McConnell's possible ploys. All right, so imagine that he and his masters have deemed Donald Trump a liability. Mike Pence has agreed to follow orders. Ideally, Trump would resign or take a leave of absence and head off to have fun riling his base against Democrats... but he refuses, or he can’t be trusted not to blab the deal.

Moreover, thanks to the skill and professionalism of the Secret Service, any “Howard Beale” martyrdom option is off the table.

Well, there’s impeachment and removal, under the Constitution. But were McConnell to go along by providing 18 Republican votes for Senate conviction, Trump would go off the assigned rails, turning volcanic rage -- and his base -- against the Republican Party and possibly even the oligarchy that controls it! 

Are there ways that Mitch (with likely nods from John Roberts) might arrange this to happen without incurring Trumpian fury on the GOP?

Well, for starters, there is nothing preventing either the House or the Senate from holding a secret vote (with the tally put under seal until past the next election cycle). This would free people to vote their conscience. In fact, this is already being discussed re: the House impeachment decision, perhaps giving some protection to Democrats who represent reddish districts. (It won’t work, but it does help give Speaker Pelosi an excuse to follow her own tactical timetable.)

In the Senate, secret voting would almost certainly result in conviction, as at least two dozen Republicans eagerly cast folded ballots into a box to rid the nation of their party’s greatest embarrassment. There are two problems with this option though:

1. It would raise a fire storm in public and press, especially when every Republican Senator claims to have voted “nay.”.

2. It would not mollify Trump’s reflex to lash out at the GOP leaders who ‘betrayed’ him.

The Go-Limp Option

There is a sneaky – if barely plausible – way out of this trap. Who says the number of Republican defectors has to be 18? That's only required if every Senator attends the trial. Only now look at the Constitution:

Art. I, Sec. 3, Cl. 6 & 7: The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on oath or affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: and no Person shall be convicted without Concurrence of two-thirds of the Members present.

“Two thirds of the Members present.” A quorum of at least 51 Senators is required, in order to be in session, hence it might theoretically take just 34 to convict and remove a sitting president! And if those voting 'yea' are 100% Democrats, then a deposed and enraged Trump wouldn't go after the GOP, would he? 

Let's assume all 47 Democrats (and partners) vote to convict. That will amount to the required two-thirds if no more than 70 Senators are present, 23 of them Republicans. That can happen if thirty GOP Senators somehow don't show up. Perhaps they call in sick. Or they declare a “boycott” of a "kangaroo proceeding." (Or, if you are writing a cheap thriller novel, you'd portray thirty of them blown up at a conference, blame Democrats and the "deep state," and trigger a truly hot war, leaving Putin on top of the world.[1]) However Mitch arranges such a mass absence, Democrats could then remove Trump all by themselves, on a party line vote.[2]

Would they be so stupid? So propelled by reflex hate that they fall into such a trap? 

Not if they reply “He's your problem, Mitch. Deal with it.” And especially not if they look at the alternative.

[1] A good reason for Republican Senators to avoid caucus meetings outside the Capitol?
[2] Or make it less obvious by letting just a few RINOS vote to convict. Few enough not to trigger Trump against the GOP.

Trump’s impeachment insurance.

Sure premature impeachment might be a trap that a hundred million liberals will eagerly charge into. But that’s not my biggest reason for siding with Pelosi’s go-slow approach. My worry is… the alternative. While Donald Trump is a dangerous/loony foreign agent, at least his Murdoch/Moscow masters don’t want the world to end

It is absolutely verified that Mike Pence does. We’re talking literally. So let me lay it out.

With only one exception, GOP presidents always appoint someone utterly unqualified as their Vice President. (Reagan did choose a qualified VP… who became the worst president of the 20th Century.) Whether or not this is done as impeachment insurance, we need to consider all potential outcomes. 

Right now, Trump’s White House leaks like a sieve. The civil service and intel/military officers are wary and careful. Cauterized, he can do limited harm. In contrast, Mike Pence would fill the Executive Mansion with dedicated and utterly disciplined Dominionists who would strive - tight-lipped - toward the same goal. Each and every one prays daily for events described in the Book of Revelation to all come true. They are open about it, as is the president-in-waiting.

An end to all human ambition, democracy or science. An end to all generations of children. An end to the United States of America. And brutal endless torment for 90%+ of Americans.

President Pence will croon smoothly about ending our “national nightmare.” Hundreds of thousands of officers etc. will moan with relief and hurry to serve. Pence might even pull his name from consideration as a candidate. All that will mean is that the clock is ticking a rapid countdown.

The 25th Amendment  

I talk about this Constitutional quirk in detail, in the rest of CHAPTER 16. (See the book.) Alas, I see little chance it will work, unless the Republican masters forsake Don as a liability. And if that happens, they’ll prefer martyrdom over making VP Mike Pence the fall guy, which would happen under the 25th.

Let’s suppose Pence corralled a majority of cabinet officers (do “acting” secretaries count?) into invoking the 25th. Trump and Pence would then send "letters" back and forth at an ever-accelerating rate until the email servers melt. Congressional Republicans will dither, covering their ears to the blatant psychological meltdown of the man-with-nukes.  Till the Supreme Court has to step in with some kind of non-Constitutional arbiter. Insane amounts of damage. Which of course will make some parties giggle with glee. 

Yes, Congress could appoint that “other body” I described elsewhere, to bypass the Cabinet… a commission of sages that could have real power for good, under the 25th. If the right people were on it, our nation could ease out of civil war. And the chances that McConnell would go along, or that a Trump veto could be over-ridden, are nil.

I comment further on this, in the second half of Chapter 16

Donald Trump is pressured to resign

Um right. That would require something on the order of the Pee Tape. Nothing less and probably much more. You got hopes.

A hybrid seems possible.  DT takes a “stress break.” A vacation with no electronics of any kind. Or maybe blame his recent worsening hysteria on a brain tumor. (Ideally one induced by Democratic windmills.) Dems should insist on independent examinations and that they get to see him, daily.

Status quo

The circus goes on and on. We depend utterly on the sane adults of the civil service, intel community, law professionals and the U.S. military officer corps to keep us safe (though alas not the Kurds), while Donald Trump adds fuel to phase 8 of the Civil War, destroying the Republican brand and riling up the Union to truly take up the fight.... ending ideally with America – not the confederacy – winning overwhelming victory at the ballot box. (Though that will also require dems wising up on tactics.)[9]

Status Quo doesn't mean passivity! Congress must rescind the 2001 War Powers Act now! And set up a commission of sages that can (if unanimous) allow the military to pause a presidential command. That commission could be explicitly granted 25th Amendment “other body” powers giving it real muscle. (If it is partisan, then we're entering Venezuela territory.  So start with all the ex-presidents, ex-Vice Presidents and ex Supreme Court Justices. Throw in every U.S. Nobel laureate?) 

The unspeakable

Any “fifth option” I can think of is too horrific for words – though one of them starts with “M” and I’ve used it several times here in this chapter. A way for Trump’s masters to both eliminate a liability and rile up the base to hot-war violence. I denounce it, in advance. In fact I am on record asking that Trump be careful what he eats, especially with his foreign “friends.” And God bless the U.S. Secret Service.

My advice, especially to Democratic politicians, remains not to fall for traps. Calm down. 

We're supposed to be smart people, it’s what Putin/Murdoch fear about us, right? We have all of the fact-user professions. Use that. Think.


That was half of Chapter 16 of POLEMICAL JUDO. 
Want more? Chapter One and half of Chapter Two are posted, as well as the Table of Contents, all for FREE.

POLEMICAL JUDO is now available for pre-order (cheap!) and purchase (Kindle format). 

I'll be coming back repeatedly to urge you to help spread the word!  Seriously, if you don't find dozens of concepts, tactics and needed chess moves you never saw elsewhere, I will eat a bug.

[1] Sources: Exit strategies – 25th Amendment and

[2] Impeachment is like grand jury indictment. GOP complaints about prim witness confrontation due process are specious. (1) this is constitutional, not judicial; (2) it is more about a board of directors firing a corrupt employee; and (3) It is the Senate trial that should be primly like a courtroom.

[3] Rumored revelations from Deutsche Bank.

[4] For fibbing about some 3rd base marital infidelity, which both his wife and a majority of female voters forgave? Do you want the tsunami of Trumpist horrors dismissed as equivalent? 

[5] Except Newt Gingrich.
[6] Limit presidential powers? At surface, they’ll cooperate to constrain a loose cannon Trump, but with an eye to weakening the coming Dem president. Do this carefully!

[7] Of course, that would be about revenge. 

[8] At last! On October 16, 2019, Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke of praying for the mental health of a clearly sick Donald Trump. It played out as I predicted, rousing effective responses in all directions.


Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Our fate is being decided in Beijing and Moscow... and a New York courtroom. And Pelosi's pacing.

I'll finish with a note about AOC and Pelosi and our need for masterful timing...

... but begin with a reminder. Within two weeks, I will publish my e-book POLEMICAL JUDO: MEMES FOR A POLITICAL KNIFE FIGHT.

It will offer 100+ tricky or blunt weapons that could add to our arsenal in this desperate fight for civilization. Keep alert for announcements so you can pre-order!

== While all the attention is on Washington and Syria... == 

... there are three other world capitals where the destinies of America and the West and the Enlightenment Experiment are being decided. 

First: Xi's Choice: Destroy Trump - or save him and weaken America. Shall the Chinese give Trump a huge "victory" to crow about, in a new trade deal that might salvage his failing poll numbers? That would possibly allow DT further opportunities to continue his all-out campaign to weaken us by destroying all fundamentals, our alliances and sciences, civil service, innovative industries and moral high ground. 

Or else, Xi can stand his ground and let Trump's trade war trigger an economic downturn. That finishes off Trump, though at some pain to the Chinese economy, as well, though protecting current trade practices..

Moscow isn't the same. The Putin-led mafia-cabal that owns old Two Scoops has only has some overlapping interests with the Chinese politburo: they are wary allies, knowing they'll eventually confront each other, after America is brought low. So Xi has a serious tradeoff to ponder. This article is flawed-but-plausible thinking outside the standard box.

Of course Trump is absolutely proved to be a Kremlin asset. In the last week he handed  the Kurds over to Turkey, with Russian military forces occupying former US bases, cementing Turkish President Erdogan's alliance with Moscow and completing Putin's control over an arc stretching from Crimea and Ankara to Lataika and Syria, through Iraq to Tehran. 

I've worried about what Putin will do, when Trump ceases to be useful. When he's for-sure a liability, demolishing the Republican Party that the KGB and mafia-oligarchs have so thoroughly suborned. When that happens, how do you cast aside the liability, without unleashing a livid-living Trump to turn his rally-mobs against the GOP? Well, the former(?) KGB agent has a standard fallback, turning Donald into a martyr. (God bless the Secret Service!) I had imagined that point to be imminent, as Trump's polls collapse. But this last week showed clearly there's lots more benefit (U.S. destruction) to be got from him. 

(What the FBI should be intensely interested in is HOW Trump coordinated with Erdogan and Putin. Seriously, via Giuliani? Codewords during DT's calls with Vlad? You think he can remember code words? Unless...)

What neither Putin nor Xi can comprehend is the degree to which we've been protected by a rule-of-law tradition that has augmented across 250 years. Moreover, despite the "Roberts Doctrine" that may protect some White House traitors from subpoenas, there are already hemorrhages as civil servants ignore orders to appear before Congress.

And there awaits big news from a New York courtroom.

 == Follow the Money ==

I don't give much damn about the tax returns, which are likely just embarrassing. But there is a potential "big one" that'd reveal criminal money laundering in the range of tens of billions. Deutsche Bank, it is back in the news. House Democrats have subpoenaed the bank to hand over the financial records of Trump, his family, and his company. Trump sued to block the subpoenas, but in April U.S. District Court Judge Edgardo Ramos ruled that the subpoenas were valid and could be enforced. Trump appealed.

Trump's lawyers argued before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Manhattan that the Democrats are just trying to damage him and have no valid legislative reason for seeing all the records. House lawyers said that Congress has investigative powers as well as legislative powers and needs the records to see if there has been money laundering and foreign meddling in U.S. elections. 

Ah, let us see if it is officially revealed that the funds that both rescued Trump Inc. and meddled in our elections came from any or all of Roman Abramovich, Alexander Abramov, Oleg Deripaska, Mikhail Prokhorov, Alisher Usmanov, German Khan, Viktor Vekselberg, Leonid Mikhelson, Vagit Alekperov, Mikhail Fridman, Vladimir Potanin, Pyotr Aven, and Vitaly Malkin. And yet more Lenin-raised, Marxism-reciting – then suddenly mafiosi -- overlords, many of the KGB-trained, but suddenly “great guys” to the mad American right.

Moreover, this is also being fought in state courts. (God bless New York!) And here's the deal. All it will take is one civil servant, at say the IRS, or one bank inspector or fed-up Deutsche Bank employee or EU auditor to -- when served by a legal subpoena -- decide to say "okay!" instead of primly waiting for the appeal to cross Roberts's bench. 

In fact, hold that thought. Because it points to a way for Pelosi and Schiff and Nadler to bypass the courts entirely, should John Roberts decide to go full monty with his Non-Justiciable Doctrine.

== Details... details... ==

Meanwhile The Washington Post has discovered that in the 5 years before becoming president, Trump borrowed (at least) $360 million from Deutsche Bank for his hotels in D.C. and Chicago and his Doral golf resort in Florida. The loans all have variable interest rates, so a 1% drop in interest rates would save Trump $3.6 million per year on these loans alone.

There’s a word for this kind of person. “Pompeo warned Trump would be an 'authoritarian president' in 2016. Now he's one of Trump's most loyal and trusted advisors.” Why? One word. Dominionism. He is timing his loyalty to suit his future master: Mike Pence. They have to time things just right.

But... but... why on Earth would Trump rescind the Bush-era policies encouraging shift to efficient and superior-in-all-ways LED light bulbs? Not even any industry moguls pushed for this. “The most plausible explanation is that Trump knows his base will cheer him for "owning the libs." In fact, much of what he does seems to be designed to make liberals' blood boil, rather than achieving any policy goal that Trump cares about.” 

== A great judge of character? =

President Donald Trump tweet-fired national security adviser John Bolton as he "strongly disagreed with many" of Bolton's suggestions." "I thank John very much for his service. I will be naming a new National Security Advisor next week," Trump wrote. 

“Trump has plowed through an unprecedented number of national security professionals while multiple geopolitical crises have played out. The President has had three national security advisers -- Bolton, Michael Flynn and H.R. McMaster. He has summarily fired a secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, by tweet after undercutting the former ExxonMobil CEO for months. Secretary of Defense James Mattis resigned, reportedly in frustration over Trump's decision to pull out of Syria. … “The President has also churned through two Homeland Security secretaries, John Kelly and Kirstjen Nielsen, and a National Security Agency director, Mike Rogers. He's lost a deputy national security adviser, K.T. McFarland and an ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and his deputy, Sue Gordon, left their posts last month." (And I clipped this 2 weeks ago, before the latest firings!)

"Bolton's departure comes as tensions with Iran are escalating in the Persian Gulf, North Korea continues to develop its weapons capabilities, arms control experts are warning of a potential nuclear arms race with Russia and trade tensions with China are intensifying, while Trump is discussing a drawdown of forces in Afghanistan.”

Some comment that this does seem to mean that Trump (unlike all past GOP presidents since Ike) is not a big fan of actual hot war. It suggests that saber waving at Iran might not go all the way to a Tonkin-Gulf style provocation. (Still, get ALL the folks you know to look up "Tonkin Incident" and "Gleiwitz" and "Reichstag Fire.")

But the towering point that no pundit or politician seems ready to make is that Mr. “Great Judge of Character” has been ‘betrayed” by more former Great Guys than any twenty other presidents, combined. Set aside the lies and treason and turpitude. Great judge of character is what bites home. They have no answer for that.

== AOC and Nancy and timing ==

I am a fan of AOC and I am glad the DP "Roosevelt wing" is very active. Still, it is vital to avoid splitterism and falling for tricks to harm our enlightenment-patriotic coalition against the Putinist Cabal. Especially, all this piling onto Nancy Pelosi is both unfair and intemperate/shortsighted -- an example of 'sumo' politics that always, always falls into Republican traps. The Judo approach requires timing. Those who question Pelosi's courage or determination bear a steep burden of proof. Under what scenario do they even imagine she is shy over combat? Of course she is being strategic! Why assume anythings else? What matters now is NOT going for formal impeachment, followed by a failed Senate vote. What matters is: 

1- that formal impeachment hearings might corner Chief Justice John Roberts into ruling in favor of Congressional subpoenas, since that is a process specifically described in the the Constitution. This is paramount! Nothing else matters as much, because once the subpoenas and hearings are unleashed, the Trumpists face evisceration. (And we must be prepared with a plan in case Roberts betrays us.)

2- that the impeachment process must NOT wind up being seen as just "revenge for Clinton," allowing the Red Base to rally around their martyr. If you think it will be enough just to defeat the GOP in 2020, you have ZERO memory of 2010 and 1994 when they came roaring back. They must be crushed for all this criminality and treason, and removing Trump a couple of months early is less urgent.

3- If you want a huge symbolic victory, then TIME impeachment so that the senate trial is held in the NEW Senate that takes hold a couple of weeks before inauguration in 2020. Think about that.

4- tune the meaning. A tsunami of corruption revelations during 2020 will win us defections from the confederacy, while a Senate trial that happens BEFORE those defections will win us an earthquake of Timothy McVeighs. Above all, our audience is the so called "deep state" - a fictitious, slanderous term for the brave and devoted men and women who have been preserving the republic by adhering to the law, during a lawless regime. If they see us dotting the i’s while revealing crimes, we keep them loyal.

5- Pence. OMG have folks any concept of reality at all? Trump is largely cauterized by his own blithering moronic behavior. Pence gets in and all damage to the Republican brand goes away as he smoothly croons about peace and reconciliation, winning large numbers of relieved officers back into the GOP fold... the leaky Trump White House gets replaced by one packed by Pence with devout Book of Revelations Dominionists, utterly disciplined and dedicated to the end of the world. 

Literally. Absolutely and literally. The end of the world

Pace yourselves. Radicalize! Fight! By getting your neighbors ready with tumbrels and torches.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Space marvels - and possibilities

I don't know how much longer I'll be able to offer science and space news, as the crisis of survival of civilization gets crazier and more dangerous, daily. I promise some cool space news, below!

But first... Donald Trump's possibly worst treason, hidden under so much else! I'd talk about how the troops sent to Saudi and the Iranian ship hit by "missiles" all point to a return to an Iran-US dog-wag war. (Remind all your friends of the terms "Tonkin Incident" and 'Gleiwitz' and Reichstag fire. BUT THERE'S NO TIME! I'd get you all to insist the nation's mayors demand huge deposits before any Trump rally gets permits, since they stiff the taxpayers. BUT THERE'S NO TIME! Because something far more important is up!

Yes, a bigger danger. Trump appears to be about to pull the U.S. out of the Open Skies Treaty, by far the most-important arms control compact and the one Dwight Eisenhower prayed for (for all our sakes) till the day he died. Like with the IRBM treaty Trump abrogated, the one wanting this to end is the puppet master Vladimir Putin. Dig it, the KGB (it's renamed version) can already track goings on in the US. The treaty favors us, vastly! And that's why Putin has ordered his puppet to end it. (The IRBM treaty also favored us, hence Trump went 'siegheil comrade' and pulled out.) It is time for eminent officers to tactically and carefully and slowly but emphatically resign-and-speak. This relatively unmentioned move - hidden by other headlines - may be the most dangerous Trumpian Treason of all.

== The Universe goes on, magnificently... though maybe soon without us... ==

A second confirmed visitor from interstellar space appears this time to be a comet about 10 kilometers across as it appears to have a visible tail. Unlike Ou'muamua, this one is not only about six times brighter but is also making its way into the Solar System at about 30 kilometers per second, giving us a much longer period of time to study it.

Didn't expect this for a couple of years. Water vapor has been detected in the atmosphere of a super-Earth in a red dwarf's goldilocks zone. We are amazing. And we should be capable of wresting back the revolution that led to all these wonders.

Hayabusa! The Japanese spacecraft at asteroid Ryugo has done it again. Performed difficult sample collecting maneuvers flawlessly. They'd be great partners for NASA to head out and do valuable, exciting new things, instead of joining a crowded field of Apollo wannabes aiming to plant dusty footprints (with zero prospect for benefits) that our ancestors achieved half a century ago. Boldly go. Ikimasho!

Speaking of rocks. Japanese scientists have calculated that the dinosaur-killer asteroid would have ejected  billions of tons of life-bearing meteorites into space. Further, a A previous study found that more Earth ejecta must end up in interstellar space than all the other planets combined. As much ejecta would have ended up on Europa as on the Moon: around 100 million individual Earth rocks in some scenarios. That’s because the huge gravitational field around Jupiter acts as a sink for rocks, which then get swept up by the Jovian moons as they orbit. If life evolved at just 25 different sites in the galaxy 10 billion years ago, the combined ejecta from these places would now fill the Milky Way.

== Steps toward Space Exploration ==

The Moon might be only 50 million years (an eyeblink) younger than Earth itself. The massive collision that tossed a lot of Earth’s crust into orbit, to settle into the Moon, appears to have occurred very early, not the 150 million years previously thought. The newborn Moon was covered in a magma ocean, which formed different types of rocks as it cooled. 'These rocks recorded information about the formation of the Moon, and can still be found today on the lunar surface,' says Dr Maxwell Thiemens, former University of Cologne researcher and lead author of the study. (Terrific work, Max!) Though it doesn’t change the fact that there are no “ores” on that barren dustpile, that is (for the foreseeable future) only good for tourism.

Hollow lava tubes almost certainly exist on the Moon and Mars – we count many openings – “skylights” whose bottoms aren’t plumbed by orbital scans. In fact NIAC has supported small research efforts aimed at exploring these potentially valuable cave systems, which could be crucial for supporting extended human presence, for much roomier habitats that are safer from temperature swings, radiation, meteorites and blowouts.  Most intriguing are pits inside Philolaus Crater near the north pole of the moon. "They might be skylights associated with a network of lava tubes formed not in volcanic lava flows, but in an impact melt sheet, the temporary pool of molten rock that ponded inside Philolaus Crater following the large impact that created the crater," combining the habitat attraction with water ice.

Caves may become important to the future of Mars exploration because they provide shelter from the entire range of harsh surface conditions while maintaining near-pristine interior surfaces and relatively stable microclimates. Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter‘s (MRO) cameras have spotted hundred of “candidate” cave entrances, just in the area of the three Tharsis shield volcanoes. Many may just be shaded alcoves but even those offer opportunities for potential future explorers/colonists.  There’s also a chance that these sites have served as water-ice collection sites in places much more convenient than the polar craters where the sun never shines.

A pretty good article detailing how well-prepared humanity is, for discovering and appraising asteroids that might impact the Earth, especially two vital survey telescopes in Hawaii.  Alas, we are in more danger from comets, which can come in with little warning. But there’s work on that, as well. And the NGO-nonprofit you could join, to help prevent that particular catastrophe, is the B612 Foundation.

== Space tech ==

The Bigelow “inflatable” habitat modules keep getting more impressive.

Meanwhile, Collins Aerospace has unveiled its next generation spacesuit, which can be adapted to either micro-gee  or the lunar surface.

Vast sheets of ultra-light aerogel might be key to terraforming swathes of Mars. But there are tradeoffs. Strong enough to last decades? Then when they shred do they become ultimate pollution?

Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach explores the irresistibly strange universe of space travel and life without gravity.

Soon to be released: Space Exploration: A History in 100 Objects - from Sputnik to Hubble and the Curiosity Rover, author Sten Odenwald visualizes the iconic objects that have enabled us to explore and see further into the cosmos. 

It’s widely believed that the Trump rush to get footprints on the moon is ego driven, to land before the end of his “second term.” But here we see another possible reason… An urgent hurry allows contracts to be given without abiding by competitive bidding and evaluation rules. I’m not saying this is so! But in light of what happened in Iraq, when Bush-Cheney family logistics companies were the beneficiaries of “emergency” no-bid contracts to the order of tens of billions, we should be wary.

Airbus, Boeing, and SoftBank are now developing stratospheric autonomous drones, capable of flying at (and even above) 60,000 feet. Intended to fly for months without intervention, the drones could deliver imaging and even internet services from above.

A new kind of space elevator would evade some of the safety and materials worries of earlier concepts. The Spaceline would be tethered to the surface of the Moon and dangle down into geostationary orbit around the Earth like a plumb bob. “Instead of rocketing all the way out of orbit, astronauts would only need to reach the end point of the Spaceline, cutting back the cost and challenge of rocket launches. Once it reaches the vacuum of space, free of terrestrial gravity and atmospheric pressure, the spacecraft would meet up with the cable and latch onto a solar-powered shuttle that would climb along its length."

My own concept for a moon-anchored space elevator goes in the opposite direction… outward away from Earth, and yet it would serve a similar function… plus one more, over the course of millions of years. Saving the Earth!

We can do all those things! But first -- save civilization.