Sunday, September 18, 2022

Plasma Sheath Effects in High Hypersonic Flight

The figure indicates what is happening for a coasting body at higher hypersonic speeds.  If propelled,  the propulsion stream replaces some or all of the recirculating wake zone.  For purposes here,  “high hypersonic” is roughly Mach 8 or more.

The bow shock is close to the body surface (that is the definition of “hypersonic”).  Between it and the body there is shocked air,  and there is a sort of boundary layer sheath affected by friction,  that wets the body.  Because of friction dissipation effects,  this boundary layer is hot enough to show some ionization,  even at lower hypersonic speeds (about Mach 6 or 7).  The shocked air just outside it will eventually also show ionization,  but only at much higher speeds. 

The faster the speed,  the more ionization there is.  The more ionization there is,  the brighter the plasma sheath glows,  and eventually also the shocked air.  The brighter the plasma glows,  the more opaque the plasma sheath is to radio,  radar,  infrared,  and visible light.  That greatly affects what on-board guidance approaches will be feasible,  as well as communications to and from the body,  and also the visibility of the body and its flow field to sensors on the ground.  

Inertial guidance of high quality can take your hypersonic missile to a fixed target quite accurately,  as long as the flight time does not exceed about a quarter hour.  But hitting a moving target will be a severe problem,  especially if it is fast-moving.  The missile would have to slow down enough to dissipate the plasma sheath,  in order to use radar,  optical,  or infrared guidance to find its target.  The same would be true for radio command guidance,  from the launch (or some other) site.

Radar on the ground will not see the body itself,  but it will see the plasma sheath and the wake flows,  as these are electrically conductive,  rather like a metal.  Because they glow from incandescence,  they emit light and heat (infrared).  This shows up as a glowing streak across the sky,  of some length corresponding to how quickly mixing and energy emission cool the plasma back to non-incandescence.  The glowing streak persists for minutes at entry altitudes,  only seconds much lower down. At Mach 6 to 7,  with only about 1 second persistence,  the glowing streak is still about 2 km long!

Radar is not like human vision:  it sees only the relative brightness among discrete pixels that represent its field of view,  with a timed range that is accurate regardless.  If the radar system is capable of being programmed to track the leading tip of the moving bright streak across the sky,  then effectively it is tracking the body.   If not,  then it cannot accurately track the body.  A similar thing applies to reticle-type infrared tracking.   Visible or infrared imaging will see the leading tip of the streak more-or-less the same way the human eye does:  quite effectively.

The plasma sheath is turbulent,  and moving at rather high speeds relative to the body surface.  Between that relative motion and that turbulence,  plus the obscuration of the body itself,  a doppler radar will inherently obtain the wrong speed for the body,  if it can sort anything at all out of a very confused signal.  So if the target tracking is based on a doppler-derived velocity,  it will sooner or later lose track,  by grossly mis-predicting the next location. 

But with the right signal processing algorithms in the radar system,  looking at the motion of the leading tip of the streak instead of doppler,  the glowing plasma sheath is NOT a “cloak of invisibility”,  as is often claimed!  

To imaging systems (optical or infrared) that “see” the way the eye does,  there is no “invisibility” at all,  quite the opposite,  actually!

Monday, September 12, 2022

Nuclear War Warning

Well,  when this Ukraine war started,  like most folks,  I expected Russia to over-run Ukraine in a matter of days.  That obviously did not happen!  The war has see-sawed back-and-forth some months now,  and here of late,  it can only be said that Ukraine is winning with Western help.  I did not expect that at the outset,  but I am glad to see it,  because I am no fan of Putin in Russia! 

We have not seen the end of this yet.  Russia may again counterattack,  and conquer territory again.  You have to be prepared for that.  But,  if the current trend continues through the next couple of months,  it would seem that the Russians are headed for complete defeat.  And Ukraine may yet eject them from all its territory,  including the Crimea that Russia stole 8 years ago.

You really have to understand what that prospect portends.  In reference 1,  I compared Putin to Adolf Hitler,  and indicated that this invasion of Ukraine is the start of World War 3 in Europe.  I stand by that assessment.  The parallels to 1930’s Europe are just too close.  Think Czechoslovakia.

The problem is a longstanding military policy of the old Soviet government in Russia,  that tactical nuclear weapons are to be used to avoid defeat on the battlefield.  Putin is well-known to wish to restore the old Soviet empire,  and he was a functionary in the old Soviet secret police,  the KGB.  Why would he not want to continue that policy,  especially now,  facing defeat on the battlefield by the Ukrainians?  You need to face that prospect,  unpalatable as it is.

Nuclear war warning #1:  if this drags on another month or two in Ukraine’s favor,  expect the Russians to use tactical nuclear weapons on the battlefield in Ukraine!  The effects of that will be felt throughout Europe,  mostly radiological.  These will be low-altitude air bursts,  and even surface bursts,  of weapons in the several kiloton range.  NATO will be forced to intervene,  to stop the radiological damage to its European members,  and that might well start the general war that becomes World War 3.

If Putin fails to use tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine,  he faces two,  and only two,  outcomes that he cannot abide!  He will either be defeated in Ukraine,  whereupon he will be deposed by his own military and his people,  or he will “mobilize his full military might”,  meaning he drafts everybody of age in Russia into the army to conquer Ukraine.  Whereupon his people sooner or later will rise up and depose him,  assisted by his military.  Either way,  he falls and dies.  So he will use them in Ukraine!

Nuclear war warning #2:  if Putin falls,  he will lash out at the West!  This will take the form of at least a limited strategic nuclear weapon strike at Europe,  and quite probably the US as well.  It could be a massive strike,  he really is that dangerous!  Either way,  there will be atomic attacks in the multi-megaton range,  and the bigger scenario could end all life on the planet. 

Putin will not care about that!  Either he lives and remains in power,  or he is deposed and dies.  He cares not for anybody else!  The old “mutual assured destruction” (MAD) deterrent to the big strategic strike does not apply with a madman Hitler clone like Putin!  He is quite unlike Yeltsin,  Gorbachev,  or even Kruschev.  I knew he was evil,  even way back in the G. W. Bush days (“rootin tootin Putin”).

Somebody,  somewhere,  outside Ukraine,  will get A-bombed by Putin at one level or another,  before he falls.

Nuclear war warning #3:  if on the other hand,  things go against the Ukrainians,  and Putin succeeds in conquering the little country,  that will embolden another Adolf Hitler clone in China:  namely Xi Jin Ping.  He will then invade and conquer Taiwan as quickly as he can,  which will start World War 3 in the Pacific between China and the US,  very much like the Pearl Harbor attack started World War 2 in the Pacific for the US versus Japan. 

If we intervene for Taiwan,  what starts as a conventional war between the US and China will rapidly escalate!  And that war will go tactical nuclear rather quickly!  Then it will rapidly escalate into strategic nuclear war,  quite probably ending life on this planet!

If we do not intervene,  then China will go on a conquering-territory rampage in the western Pacific,  just like the Japanese did after Pearl Harbor!  Either way,  it is World War 3!  And strategic nuclear weapons WILL be used!  To stop this,  we must stop Putin in Europe to deter Xi!

Bottom line:

Stopping Putin means he must fall,  and we are going to be A-bombed at one level or another as he falls.  That is inevitable.  But it is required to stop Xi,  who will otherwise eventually try to destroy us all.  He has the economy and military might to do so,  if undeterred.  Russia does not.

You have been warned!



#1. G. W. Johnson,  “What the Ukraine Thing Is Really All About”,  20 February,  2022,  article posted by the author on

#2.  G. W. Johnson,  "Mishandling Classified Materials is a Very Serious Crime",  1 September,  2022,  article posted by the author on


Update 9-16-2022:  the timeline for all this war risk overlaps with the timeline for the insurrections and uprisings that I fully expect will follow the indictments and trials of key "Trumpworld" figures.  I expect those indictments to start in the month or two after the November election,  which is also pretty close to the time I expect to see Putin use tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine (assuming the current war trends against the occupying Russian army continue without change for another month or two).   See ref. 2 for a discussion of only part of why I think those indictments and arrests are coming. 

There's no point denying that these "Trumpworld" uprisings will happen,  we've already seen a smaller one Jan. 6,  2021,  at the Capitol.  "Trumpworld" is a cult,  and facts do not matter to cult believers.  There is no talking them out of this,  their belief system includes a need to oppose by force all who do not believe with them.  There's more than one key cult leader now (there are several,  actually). 

Indictments and arrests of any of them will start the uprisings.  These will be armed insurrections,  and they will be killing lots of people.  They will try to stage attempts at an armed coup to take over the country and install one of their key cult figures as a fascist dictator,  which will require our regular military,  to put these coup attempts down. 

We in the US are in for some really bad times between about November's election and maybe (at the earliest) sometime in the spring,  putting down the armed "Trumpworld" revolts.  If either of the European and Pacific war scenarios detailed above also come to pass,  and escalate,  then we may not survive this at all!  THAT is what I am trying to warn you about! 


Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Two-Stage Reusable Spaceplane Rough-Size

I did this study without much forethought,  because of all the hypersonic craft and spaceplane stuff I have been seeing on LinkedIn.  Much of that stuff ignores the issues that (1) without a heat protection solution,  there is no credible hypersonic design,  and (2) combined-cycle propulsion is still at the concept and early test stage,  and scramjet s not quite yet truly ready for application. 

What I show here seems to be feasiblealthough it is not optimized.  This is a study of a two-stage vertical takeoff,  horizontal landing system,  to be powered by liquid rocket engines approximating the performance of SpaceX’s Raptor-2 designs.  Each stage is a flat-bottomed wave-rider aircraft with a delta wing,  a butterfly tail,  and retractable landing gear.  The second stage mounts on the first stage,  belly-to-belly.  As the vehicle leaves the sensible atmosphere at only Mach 2,  there is no danger from shock impingement heating between the two parallel-mounted airframes. 

The first stage booster aircraft has initial thrust/weight of 1.5,  and flies very nearly vertically to the staging speed,  achieved well exoatmospheric,  then it coasts to a very high altitude (probably beyond orbit altitude),  and finally falls back.  It performs an entry burn to reduce its speed to about Mach 2 at around 130,000 feet,  where the sensible atmosphere begins.  It then belly-flops to subsonic,  goes nose first,  pulls out of the dive,  and glides back to the base from which it was launched.  A short entry transient at only Mach 2 allows the use of organic composites for the bulk of its airframe,  and it needs no heat shield at all.  It retains just enough propellant to make a go-around burn at landing.

The second stage has a similar shape,  just smaller.  It carries 5 metric tons of cargo internally,  for delivery on-orbit.  The system is sized to reach low-inclination low Earth orbit.  It has an ignition thrust/weight of only 1.05,  so that the gravity turn effect has serious effect early in the ascent burn.  It makes that ascent burn,  then coasts to orbit altitude,  where it makes a circularization burn.  End-of-mission,  it makes a de-orbit burn,  then aerobrakes at high angle of attack to about Mach 3 at 13,000 130,000 feet (corrected 9-26-2022).  From there it belly-flops subsonic,  and then glides to an approach to its landing.  It retains a bit of propellant to enable a go-around at that landing.  This sizing includes carrying the entire cargo mass back from orbit.

The basic concept is illustrated in Figures 1 and 2.  As it turns out,  no solid booster rockets were necessary.  Figure 3 illustrates the approximations I used for the go-around capability.  Figure 4 illustrates most of the other assumptions I made.  Figure 5 has the results.  Note that both craft have inert masses that are 15% of their ignition masses!  These craft both have wings and landing gear,  unlike anything else flying into space today.  The second stage orbiter must have a heat shield and largely-metallic construction.  The first stage booster must have the structure and attachments to carry the second stage at some large gee values. 

It would be quite unrealistic to assume anything less than 15% inert fractions for the two stages.  However,  anything significantly larger would render the concept infeasible!  Note that the 5 metric tons of cargo is just about 1% of the cluster gross mass at liftoff.  Expendable and semi-reusable vertical launch rockets carry larger payload fractions than that,  which explains their overall popularity over the decades.  Per flight cost must be lower,  to make the low payload fraction attractive.


Update 8 Sept 2022:  What this study explores is almost exactly the original design concept for the Space Shuttle, which originally was a 2-stage spaceplane vertically-launched,  with both stages landing horizontally,  using wings.  The Shuttle was fueled with hydrogen,  leading to bulky fuel tanks and sizes,  and the resulting very serious aerodynamic drag problems.  Shuttle stages in that original concept did not have go-around capability at landing.  They were "dead stick" gliders.  (We all know how that concept got changed to the semi-reusable cluster that actually flew,  for budgetary reasons.) 

My study here is methane-fueled,  avoiding most of the bulkiness and drag problems (and the notorious hydrogen leak problems).  I did allow for a minimal go-around capability at landing,  with both stages.  What I noticed was the criticality of selecting the "right" staging speed,  and the very narrow window of feasible inert masses in both stages!  

Most people use too low an inert mass fraction to be realistic,  and the resulting performance results fool them into thinking they have a feasible design with breakthrough performance.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Even my 15% inert fractions may be too low in terms of realism,  but if any higher,  the feasibility goes away almost immediately as deliverable payload zeroes.  


While you cannot really do this in the real world,  this study is simple enough that everything (masses and thrusts) scales proportional to delivered payload mass.  Example:  if 10 tons,  double everything.


Figure 1 – Basic Two-Stage Spaceplane Flight Plans for Vertical Takeoff,  Horizontal Landing

Figure 2 – Basic Two-Stage Spaceplane Shapes and Inboard Layouts

Figure 3 – Outline of the Go-Around Approximation

Figure 4 – Most of the Remaining Assumptions Illustrated

Figure 5 – Summary of the Results Obtained,  Not Optimized,  Just Feasible

Values Used for Propulsion

The SpaceX Raptor-2 engines provided the Isp ranges used here.  I did not specifically use the SpaceX thrust values,  nor did I size engine counts.  The vacuum and sea level designs share the same power heads,  but with different expansion bells.  The sea level engine has a 40:1 expansion ratio (curved bell).  The vacuum engine has a 150:1 expansion ratio (curved bell).   Performance is listed at full chamber pressure 4400 psia.  It is lower,  if throttled down.


#1. G.W. Johnson,  “Rocket Engine Calculations”,  paper yet to be posted here on “exrocketman”,  which shows how to get close estimates of liquid engine performance,  and uses the SpaceX Raptor-2 sea level and vacuum engines as examples.

#2. Pratt & Whitney “Vest-Pocket Aeronautical Handbook”,  12th edition,  21st printing,  Dec. 1969,  for the US 1962 standard day atmosphere data within.

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Mishandling Classified Materials is a Very Serious Crime

There is nothing unexplained about the Mar A Lago raid!  There was a very explicit,  court-approved warrant with supporting affidavit,  preceded by subpoenas and other requests that were ignored or illegally denied,  plus a prior recovery of improperly stored classified materials last January.  There is a pair of signed (by Trump lawyers) inventories of items taken by the FBI in August.  Among those items (and dominating them in importance) are various additional classified materials. 

That issue of improperly-handled classified materials is the only issue I explore here.

These classified documents included confidential,  secret,  top secret,  top secret/special access required (SAR),  and top secret/sensitive compartmented information (SCI) materials,  among some other special categories.  SAR means you must have a justified need-to-know to even see the document at all,  regardless of your confidential,  secret,  or top secret clearance.  SCI requires armed guards watching over you in a properly-secured location (like a vault or military base),  as you view the document.

None of those classified materials taken from Mar A Lago was secured in any kind of safe,  much less the government-approved safe that is the only approved thing to be used for such purposes!  They were laying about in boxes!  Mar A Lago is not an approved,  registered site for such documents to be stored,  even if a proper safe were on the site (which Mr. Trump’s wasn't). 

And,  there is absolutely nothing about Mar A Lago that makes it a candidate for viewing SCI materials,  after he left office.  There was a SCIF (Secret Compartmented Information Facility) there,  during his presidency,  but it was removed when he left office.  Which means no SCI documents can currently be viewed there,  nor can any be stored there.

All the hoopla over making public the affidavit and warrant is irrelevant legal maneuvering to avoid facing justice.  All the noise about whether this was a properly ordered raid is irrelevant propaganda to avoid facing justice.  There are two (and only two) things that are relevant here:  (1) documents marked classified were left unsecured in an unapproved location,  and (2) Donald Trump had effective possession of them,  they being within his residence.  Those facts are essentially self-proving,  and they constitute multiple very serious violations of federal law,  at the felony level.

There are still some real issues to decide.  The most important is:  were these documents with classification markings actually classified materials?  Some person or office originally classified these things,  which under the law then require proper handling,  subject to a penalty if mishandled.  Such can become declassified,  and not all the copies originally distributed may have been re-marked as declassified.  That happens quite frequently,  actually.  Once actually declassified,  they can legally be kept by persons without security clearances,  and be stored unsecured,  even in private residences. 

In prior decades,  there was a routine classification downgrade schedule for many classified documents (not all of them),  usually on a 12-year cycle from the publication date.  Such classified documents had exactly that marking on their front page or cover.  Secret reverted to confidential after 12 years,  then to unclassified 12 years after that,  and so forth. 

That changed during the Reagan administration,  which essentially means all classified documents generated since then remain classified “forever”,  unless explicitly declassified by the originating agency,  or by the president.  Whether that is the right policy is debatable (military secrets being the most fleeting of all secrets).  But,  it is the policy in place.

A sitting president can indeed declassify things all by himself,  something done before (for one,  George W. Bush with intelligence regarding Iraq weapons of mass destruction),  and upheld by the courts.  But the way this must be been done generates a paper trail:  a document written and signed by the president that he actually did declassify something,  and (critically) a description in that declassification record document specifying exactly what he declassified.  This implies that anything not so specified is still classified.  Just his verbal word is not enough!  And that authority goes entirely away when he leaves office.  Period!

Either that presidential declassification paper trail exists for the documents found at Mar A Lago,  or it does not!  If not,  the marked documents were mishandled:  an open-and-shut case against somebody!  Period!  Claims otherwise are bullshit,  to borrow a coarse but accurate term from former attorney general Bill Barr. 

Those violations rate up to 10 years in prison per offense (and each and every single document left unprotected is a separate offense under the law)!  If I had mishandled so many classified documents when I was dealing with them 40-50 years ago,  I would still be in jail today,  without any hope of ever getting out.  Intention or not to do harm doesn't matter under the law.  Only improperly handling documents matters,  as demonstrated by many cases against ordinary persons like me over the decades.

The only other issue to resolve is who actually caused the marked documents to be boxed up and sent to Mar A Lago illegally,  when Mr. Trump left office.  Under the law,  the person who ordered this action bears prime responsibility,  but those who carried out his instructions also bear responsibility.  The person who owns and resides at Mar A Lago (Mr. Trump) also bears responsibility no matter who ordered this,  since the mishandled documents were inside his place of residence!  So,  if justice is to be done correctly,  there are multiple cases against multiple individuals here.  It is not about who you should charge with a crime and who you should not.  They all must be charged!

There is a double standard of justice in this country,  though!  You apparently get all the “justice” your money and your political power can buy.  The Justice Department often chooses to let powerful public figures off with lesser punishments,  or even none at all,  using "no intent to do harm" as the excuse.  

They did exactly that with Hillary Clinton’s use of unsecured private phones for State Department business calls,  some of which were actually classified;  in part because she quit doing that,  after being called to task for it.  Mr. Trump (and several others) should be going to jail for what he and his people did,  for a very long time indeed,  but they won't do that to him!  Money and power talk. Unfortunately.

However it is very clear that he (and they) should serve some significant jail time,  plus the associated penalty (under the law) of never again holding any federal office.  That is what is done with ordinary people like me,  and Mr. Trump must not be above the law,  despite his being a former president!

Mr. Trump quite-apparently committed multiple counts of federal felonies.  In my opinion,  he’s pretty much already convicted himself,  as demonstrated by the facts uncovered in the raid.  However,  we will see if justice is really done.  It will happen slowly,  so be patient. 

“Trying” him quickly in the press or social media is irrelevant.  Let the Justice Department do its job,  and let them get this “right”,  something the press and social media rarely achieve.  But feel free to publicly encourage the Justice Department to do their job more swiftly.  This outcome will affect who can,  and cannot,  run in future presidential elections,  and it will impact future midterm elections.

They have to address the espionage act violations,  plus the issues of mishandling presidential records,  and any obstruction of justice items (per the warrant).   It’s a big job all together,  but the espionage act violations should come first,  being the most serious.


Update 7 Sept 2022A federal judge has ordered that a "special master" be appointed to review the materials confiscated from Mar A Lago,  which will slow down DOJ's investigations.  Many experts question whether that "special master" is an appropriate action at all.  This is not the judge and court that authorized the search warrant,  but this judge is a recent Trump appointee.  That does suggest "judge shopping",  which is not exactly illegal,  but it is unethical.  It also suggests this particular judge may prioritize returning the favor to Trump above upholding the law equally for all.  If that proves to be the case,  it is a violation of her oath of office,  and thus an impeachable offense.


Monday, August 22, 2022

Automotive Work

People who know me personally,  know about my rather-extreme vocalizations while I am working on cars and pickup trucks.  This first started many decades ago,  when I was doing all my own maintenance and repair to various air-cooled VW vehicles. 

It has gotten more vocal since.  The more modern vehicles have just made the effect worse,  because they are so damned hard to work on (too much crap piled into too little space),  and they have proven far less reliable in so many multiple ways. 

I have spent the last 3 years working in a repair shop (after coming out of retirement to do that for two friends) on all sorts of cars and trucks.  Whatever walks in the door.  What I have seen is two-fold.  I have now gone back into retirement in the summer of 2022.  And,  I do not want to come back out!


Of the widely-available vehicles,  I have not seen very many Toyotas or Subarus in the shop.  I have seen a lot of Fords,  Chevys,  Dodges,  and Jeeps.  I have also seen quite a few Nissans,  Hondas,  and Hyundais.  If you are interested in reliability and low maintenance costs,  then Toyotas and Subarus are the cars to look at.  Period.  End of issue.  Volvos,  etc.,  don’t count,  there are so few of them out there. 


Of the ones I have seen more often in the shop,  generally speaking,  the later models after about 2005 are the ones which are noticeably less reliable.  This takes the form of computer and sensor failures,  not so much mechanical failures like brakes and wheel bearings,  transmissions,  or engine failures!  The late-model sophisticated electronics are just not as reliable as the mechanical components,  and that’s a fact,  Jack! 


In point of fact,  you can no longer splice wires back together after a rat or squirrel has chewed them,  because the idiot computer cannot accept the change in wire resistance,  after you splice it!  That is totally ridiculous!  But true!  And quite expensive.   You have to replace the wiring harness.

And the manufacturers are making mistakes that they simply should not be making!  One example (of many) is the 2-piece spark plug that Ford introduced for a while in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.  Why change something which has worked for over a century?  Ridiculous!  And very expensive to repair,  because it breaks apart when you try to remove the plug,  and it takes a special tool to get the broken stub out,  without enough room to work.

The Trend Toward Everything Computerized Is Bad

I am totally against this!  The term “artificial intelligence” (AI) is an oxymoron,  as far as I am concerned!  No computer is yet capable of responding to anything it has not been programmed for!  And the programmers simply do not know all the things the system must cope with.  And that’s another fact,  Jack! 

If the programmer did not anticipate something (and they so often do fail to anticipate common problems),  then people die in the real world,  as Tesla is learning so very reluctantly!  It’s utter bullshit to think otherwise!  Tesla is not alone in this mistake!  But they really have made this mistake!  It’s why they keep getting into trouble with the feds.

Don’t get me wrong:  Teslas are good cars!  Just do NOT use the auto-pilot feature!  It will get you killed,  sooner or later!

It's one thing to have a computer navigate for you.  I personally find that to be a serious driver failing,  but most folks today do not.  I like paper maps, myself.  But so be it.  It is quite another thing to have a computer drive your car for you,  while you dope off or nap.   That is what a computer cannot do,  unless and until it has been programmed for every possible contingencyMy contention is that we are still very,  very far from that!  That much is being proven by the current accident rates. 

There is (and has been for many decades) a garbage-in,  garbage-out law (GIGO law) relating to computers.  Computers quite happily process bad inputs,  and spit out the corresponding bad results data,  without any notation that they are processing bad input data.  That’s a very serious failing. 

You the human must be able to sort out the garbage output from the computer,  from the “good stuff” that is actually correct.  The only way to do that in a car is to drive the car yourself.  The current reliance on computer controls denies that unpleasant little fact of life.  And it is killing people!  So,  do not trust the computer!

I Recommend:

Dare trust nothing!  Learn to drive your car as if there were no automatic functions.  Do not trust any of the automatic functions,  except the automatic navigation functions.  Otherwise,  just do it for yourself.   

As for navigation,  look on the internet before you depart.  You may find the automatic navigation function is in some degree of error.  I usually find it delayed to the point of uselessness in real-time navigation,  myself.  Such as telling you to turn,  after you have already gone through the intersection. 

Warnings of exit and entrance ramps are too often delayed past the point of useful navigation.  You really have to be able to zoom in close on an internet map to see these things,  and once you are driving,  that is too late!

Do not buy a highly-automated car.  It’s just that simple.  Learn how to do it for yourself.  You will live longer.


Tuesday, August 9, 2022

FBI Raids Trump’s Mar-A-Lago Estate

see update 8-22-22 below


Copied from the PBS News Hour website as of Aug 9,  2022:


4 things to know about the FBI search of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate

Politics Aug 9, 2022 4:37 PM EDT

 The FBI’s raid of former President Donald Trump’s estate on Aug. 8, 2022, caught Trump by surprise – and prompted immediate speculation about exactly why and how the law enforcement agency secured a search warrant.

“My beautiful home, Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, is currently under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents. … They even broke into my safe!” Trump said in a statement released through his political action committee, Save America.

Trump brought 15 boxes of classified materials with him to Mar-a-Lago when he left the White House, and delayed returning the materials to National Archives officials for months.

READ MORE: FBI searches Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate

 The FBI and the Department of Justice have not commented on the raid, but the Justice Department is known to be investigating how Trump possibly mishandled government secrets. Trump is also facing other potential charges from the state of Georgia stemming from his alleged interference with the 2020 elections.

Georgia State University legal scholar Clark D. Cunningham, an expert on search warrants and the criminal investigations of interference in the 2020 election, explains what could have led to the raid and what the raid tells us about the state of the federal investigation into Trump’s activities.

1. There are legal hurdles to getting a search warrant

The U.S. Constitution requires that all search warrants “particularly describe the place to be searched and the … things to be seized.”

This requirement can be traced in part to a famous British case from the 1760s when agents of King George III searched the house of John Wilkes, an opposition member of Parliament, for incriminating papers. The warrant they used was condemned by the courts as a “general warrant” because it did not specifically name Wilkes, his house or the seized papers.

Courts and commentators also criticized the Wilkes warrant because it was based on mere suspicion. The U.S. founders looked to the Wilkes warrant as an example of what the Constitution should prevent and added the Fourth Amendment – requiring that search warrants only be issued “upon probable cause, supported by Oath.”

WATCH: Jan. 6 committee says Donald Trump is to blame for the violence

Criminal procedure laws help enforce these constitutional requirements by requiring search warrants to particularly describe “evidence of a crime … or other items illegally possessed.”

Only judges can issue search warrants, and they must find, based on sworn testimony, that there is probable cause that such evidence or items will be found in the location described in the warrant.

This means that a judge must have found that there was probable cause that either a crime had been committed, or that Trump was illegally possessing items taken from the White House. The FBI’s request for a search warrant might also have indicated concern that these documents would either be destroyed or moved off of the premises.

2. There are also potential policy hurdles

In February 2020, then-Attorney General William Barr announced new restrictions  that require the FBI and other law enforcement agencies to get permission from the Attorney General before investigating presidential candidates or their staff.

Barr’s successor, Attorney General Merrick Garland, has kept this policy in place – keeping in line with general Justice Department guidelines that try to prevent politically charged investigations.

This means that this search would not have taken place without Garland’s approval. Given the generally strong tradition of political independence at the Justice Department, it is not surprising that President Joe Biden and his aides were not informed in advance of the raid and found out on Twitter.

3. The FBI might have found more than it was looking for

The Supreme Court ruled in a 1990 case that police executing a warrant that authorized searching for the proceeds of a robbery could also lawfully seize weapons that were in plain view.

WATCH: Jan. 6 panel probes Donald Trump’s ‘call to arms’ on social media

Assuming that the FBI’s warrant authorized only searching for classified documents taken from the White House, if the FBI found “in plain view” other evidence of crimes related to the 2020 election or Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection, they likely could have taken that, as well.

4. There may be a connection with Trump’s possible election interference

A federal grand jury, requested by the Justice Department, has been investigating the presence of potentially classified documents at Mar-a-Lago since at least early May 2022. It seems likely that something has happened recently to cause this urgent search. One possibility is that the search warrant was issued based on information gathered in one or more of the criminal investigations involving 2020 election interference.

The Conversation

In particular, the Department of Justice on July 12, 2022, obtained a warrant to search the cellphone of John Eastman, Trump’s former lawyer. As hearings by the Jan. 6 House committee have revealed, Eastman was a primary architect of the plan to block Congress from certifying Biden’s victory.

There seems little doubt that the Justice Department had compelling, perhaps overwhelming, legal justifications for conducting this unprecedented search of a former president’s home. However, the secrecy required for Justice Department investigations and grand jury proceedings means that the country will have to be patient – the justifications for the search may become public only if and when criminal charges are filed.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.


My Conclusions:

1.      Sounds like a very apolitical,  very well-executed (and proper) search warrant,  not anything at all like a “radical left witch hunt”.  Looks to me like the DOJ and FBI did this “right”. 

2.      It will be a while before we hear what they actually found,  and what legal jeopardy the former president might actually be in,  because of this.

3.     The fact that the probable cause evidence submitted to the judge was good enough to issue the search warrant,  suggests that a federal criminal indictment of Mr. Trump is more likely to follow,  than not.  Perhaps multiple indictments.  Perhaps not.  We will see.

4.     The pro-Trump extremists calling for civil war over this,  are committing treason,  in my opinion.

All that I know for sure is that,  in this country of late,  you get the best “justice” that your money can buy!  (And we-the-people need to fix that,  because it very definitely is not right!)  If I had mishandled classified information in my defense jobs 3-to-5 decades ago,  the way Mr. Trump did with his classified presidential records taken to Mar-A-Lago,  I would still be in prison today,  doing hard time. 


Update 8-22-2022:

The warrant specifies searching for evidence for (1) violations of the espionage act (specifically mishandling classified materials),  (2) violations of the presidential records act (these must be given to the national archives,  not retained),  and (3) possible obstruction of justice.  

On the face of it,  the violations of the espionage act and the presidential records act seem pretty cut-and-dried self-proving as "guilty".  Those are federal felonies.  As for obstruction of justice,  we'll see.  It'll take DOJ a while to comb through all the stuff taken by the FBI,  and they will be reluctant to reveal what they find before the cases go to court.