Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Trump as Target of DOJ Jan 6 Investigation

Trump "says" he got a letter from Jack Smith about being the target of the Jan 6 investigation,  and he "says" he expects another indictment.  He "says" he got the letter on a Sunday.  He said this on his “Truth Social” network,  which in point of fact is anything but truthful. 

Since nearly everything Trump has ever said has been a lie before,  during,  and after his presidency,  why would you believe him now?  There was and is no US postal delivery on Sunday.  It would either be a lie,  or else a special courier delivery.  Do not believe any of this until Jack Smith himself addresses it,  or until the letter itself is produced in front of the public.   

Myself,  I do expect there to be an indictment of some kind related to the Jan 6 insurrection,  and I do expect it to be felony level.  I also expect to see a felony-level indictment issued from Georgia for election interference there.  Those expected two indictments,  plus the classified documents case and the NYC hush money business fraud case,  make a total of all 4 of the originally-anticipated felony indictments against Trump. If he's in court defending himself against any of these,  he will be too occupied to run for office,  and he (and his lawyers) know that.  Expect delay-delay-delay,  on any grounds at all,  no matter how flimsy.


Update 7-28-2023:  the classified documents indictment just got some charges added,  and a third defendant added.  Still no indictment yet for the Jan.6 thing.   Or election interference in Georgia. 


The fact that his polls and his fundraising go up at each indictment verifies my contention that this man is the center of a personality cult-of-belief.  I am talking about a cult-of-personality exactly like that of Adolf Hitler and his Nazis,  exactly like David Koresh and his Branch Davidians,  exactly like Lenin and his Bolsheviks,  etc,  etc,  etc.  Facts do not matter to cult believers.  You cannot argue facts with them,  facts are unimportant.  Only belief matters,  no matter how mistaken it might really be.  We’ve recently already seen this with the Taliban,  Al Qaeda,  ISIS,  and many more.

These cults are quite dangerous.  Many of these cults ended in disaster,  some not yet,  and this one will,  too.  And polls indicate that at least 40% of Republican voters are such cult believers blindly supporting Trump,  no matter how many egregious crimes he is accused of.  That party has clearly been hijacked by an extremist cult.  It is now a clear and present danger to our democracy,  and has been,  since before the 2020 general election.

According to testimony aired by the House Jan 6 committee,  Trump wanted to go to the Capitol and lead the insurrection himself on Jan 6,  but his secret service agents took him instead to the White House,  making him very angry.  His idea was to lead the insurrection into massive violence,  justifying a presidential declaration of martial law.  With enough support from high-ranking cultists in the military leadership,  that martial law gets turned into a military dictatorship with Trump as the dictator,  which is what the Trump personality cult really wants.  That is a key part of their belief system,  long posted on Qanon and other far-right sites.  Go see for yourself.  His advisor General Flynn even said so,  in public. 

In the picture below,  note the partially-obscured Qanon flag lower left.  This was taken at the rally on the Ellipse,  right before the insurrection started,  January 6,  2021. 

And it is this intent to overturn his own government and become a military-supported dictator,  that I really hope the Jack Smith investigation and indictment(s) are all about!  As far as I am concerned,  this insurrection plan leading to martial law and dictatorship,  was treason.  Even more so than the Confederates ever committed,  by waging war on the US to secede. At least they never tried to actually topple the government,  they just tried to get out from under it. 

Update 1 Aug 2023:  one shoe just dropped,  the DOJ indictment for the Jan 6 thing.  There was no sedition charge as best I can tell,  but the counts were all very serious federal felonies.  Trump has been summoned for arraignment Thursday (3 Aug).  That leaves the Georgia thing yet to come. 

Update 3 August 2023:  Mr. Trump has been arraigned today on the DOJ Jan 6 charges.  I downloaded and read the indictment.  It is very detailed,  and includes lots of supporting evidence.  The sooner this goes to trial,  the happier I will be,  and the better off we all will be.  

Update 16 August 2023:  The "fourth shoe finally dropped",  and a few days earlier than "everybody" expected.  Fulton County Georgia just issued an 41-count felony indictment late last night,  against 19 defendants.  13 of those counts are against Donald Trump,  and a couple of those have a mandatory sentence of 5 to 20 years if convicted.  

That makes 4 felony indictments against Trump,  with trials looming.  Two are federal cases,  two are state cases (New York and now Georgia).  He could be a convicted felon by the time of the 2024 election,  perhaps multiply-convicted.  

Second on the list of defendants in the Georgia indictment is Rudy Giuliani.  Included among them are Trump's Chief of Staff Mark Meadows,  several lawyers who helped engineer the multiple attempts to stay in power,  and Jeffrey Clarke,  a rabid supporter that Trump wanted to put in as Attorney General,  stopped only by the mass resignation threat from DOJ.  All 19 defendants have 10 days,  until 25 August,  to surrender to Fulton County authorities for arraignment.  

The Republican Party has no business running a 4-time indicted felon for President,  and anybody with any critical thinking skills knows that!  It may be legal,  but it is not right!  Yet,  they have been doing exactly that in Texas for multiple years now,  with indicted felon Ken Paxton re-elected as the state AG.  (He is out of office now,  under impeachment,  and his trials loom in the courts and the Texas Senate.)

That is what you get after 40-some years (standardized testing began in 1979) of dumbing-down public school education,  with school funding tied to a low-bar standardized test:  no critical thinking skills,  leading to the widespread belief in lies and conspiracy theories,  instead of actual facts.  And "right-wing media" (of multiple kinds) amplified the spread of this crap with their lies and echo-chambers. 

Update 25 August 2023Yesterday,  Trump was processed and posted bond for the Georgia indictment.  Unlike the other 3,  they did fingerprints and a mug shot.  They processed him at the jail,  not the courthouse.  One of his co-defendants failed to come up with a bond agreement before surrendering,  and ended up staying in jail.  The mug shot was probably the first time he could not control the circumstances of any publicity about him.  His expression certainly reflects that. 

Update 8-28-2023 Tentative dates for Mr. Trump's trials have been proposed by the appropriate judges,  except not quite yet in Georgia.  The Georgia prosecutor has asked for October 2023,  but the official arraignments aren't scheduled until Sept 6,  2023,  so that date is not set yet,  even tentatively.  

The federal case for the January 6 insurrection,  and the NY state case for financial fraud are both scheduled for March 2024.  The federal case for the classified documents is scheduled for May 2024.  Spring 2024 is likely going to be a very busy time for Mr. Trump and his lawyers. 

Meanwhile,  Mr. Trump is using his Georgia mug shot to raise money.  He says $7 million so far.  How crass is that?


Sunday, July 16, 2023

Solution to Fermi Paradox?

For those who don’t know,  the Fermi Paradox asks why,  if there are so many possible inhabitable planets in the galaxy,  have we not been contacted? 

Here is one possible answer: 

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Public Figures Not Doing Their Jobs

I recently returned to McLennan County from a trip to Denton.  Basically,  the road surface of the interstate was quite worn,  and there was dangerous debris littered everywhere. 

The road shoulders (and in some cases the lanes themselves) were very littered with debris,  a significant portion large enough to be quite dangerous to any passenger car,  and nearly all of it tire fragments shredded up from blown tires on big-rig trucks. 

In many places,  you could not drive a half-second (around 50 feet) without seeing yet another tire fragment.  A few places had multiple fragments per yard! 


It amazes me that our state seems to have the budget funds necessary to bus or fly migrants all over the country,  and to pay National Guard troops to go to the border (when that is not a state duty).  And to build some idiotic floating wall in the Rio Grande that will get washed away,  the next flood event!  But,  it does not seem to have the money to support public safety by cleaning dangerous debris off the highways,  and keeping the roads in better repair.  Nor does it fund public education adequately,  which is really why your property taxes are so high (although they lie egregiously to you about that). 

Can’t afford to do the public’s business,  which they swore to do?  Really?

I suggest that party political agendas and personal politics are by far outweighing the public good (and even basic public safety)!  That is entirely and egregiously unacceptable!  In point of fact,  it is oath-of-office-breaking,  and that should be criminal!  And it is aggravated in a state under one-party control.  I hated one-party control decades ago under the Democrats,  and I hate it now under the Republicans.  They misbehave far worse when their power is unchecked.

These folks have been in office way too long.  My recommendation:  vote for the “other person” instead.  Why?  Because you cannot do worse than what you have,  but you might do better if you change them out!  Party is irrelevant to that choice.  Public safety and the public good are not!

For you party loyalists out there,  thinking I’m with your opposition,  think again.  I dislike both parties.  I am a fierce independent!  In fact,  I think George Washington was correct in his farewell address warning us not to go the political party route.  We did anyway,  and chaos has resulted,  now quite extreme.

The picture of big-rig truck tire debris given just below is “generic” off the web,  for a Texas highway.  It is not a picture that I took during the trip to Denton,  although I saw lots of stuff just like that on I-35.  However,  that kind of large crap will flip a compact car,  if struck at speed.   It is quite dangerous.


Friday, July 7, 2023

On the Loss of the “Titan” Submersible

We will all know more,  after the Coast Guard inquiry is completed.  The picture shows the layout and characteristics of the vessel.  The cylindrical portion was a tube made of carbon composite,  with a wall thickness of 5 inches.  The domes on each end were thick titanium metal,  bolted to metal rings bonded to the carbon composite tube. 

The end domes were recovered more-or-less intact,  along with other large chunks that include some of the aft exterior plating,  and some exterior-mounted equipment items.  This suggests it was the carbon composite pressure hull tube that failed in the catastrophic implosion,  as no large chunks of that tube have been seen as recovered items. 

Composites made with layers of woven cloth must be compressed during cure,  to avoid massive porosity issues.  This is usually done by vacuum-bagging the layup for cure.  The stronger the vacuum,  and the thinner the part,  the lower the porosity.  That porosity weakens the part,  and gives it a finite life under cyclic loading,  due to the voids locally concentrating stresses. 

Parts made by continuous fiber winding are not vacuum-bagged,  but avoid the massive porosity of woven-cloth parts,  at the cost of requiring multiple fiber winding directions to handle all the forces applied in various directions.  Some porosity is inherent,  just as in the properly vacuum-bagged woven cloth parts.

I suggest that composite material was the wrong choice for a deep submergence vehicle pressure hull! 

There is time for sea water to infiltrate into the porosity voids during the descent and subsequent bottom time. At those depths,  sea water is slightly compressible (by around 1.5 to 2% of volume).  It does not have time to fully percolate back out during the ascent,  so to one extent or another,  it swells and causes local cracking around the porosity voids,  weakening the part.  The part gets more damaged internally and thus a little bit weaker,  with each dive cycle.  Sooner or later,  it will fail.

The problem here is sea water infiltration under high pressure into the inherent porosity of the part,  something that does not happen in more ordinary conditions.  Metals do not suffer this porosity infiltration mechanism,  although they are subject to fatigue. 

Update 7-7-2023:  Just to be clear,  composites do not “fatigue” the way metals do (agglomerating atomic lattice misalignments leading to cracks,  with stress concentrations at the crack tips propagating them rapidly further).  But there is a limited life in composites due to accumulating internal damage with cyclic loading.  This is not as well understood as metal fatigue,  but nevertheless,  it is quite real. 

It appears to have something to do with stress concentrations about voids in the matrix (leading to cracks),  and about other voids at the fiber-matrix interfaces (leading to delaminations).  What I suggest here in this article is a seawater infiltration effect at high pressures that greatly compounds the already-existing cumulative damage problem. 

The infiltrated seawater cannot get out fast enough during the ascent,  but as sea pressure reduces,  it expands,  forcing both these types of voids wider,  and making the damage they do  much worse.  This would not be so much of a problem at the “ordinary” depths of submarines,  where the seawater is essentially incompressible.  But at very deep depths,  the seawater actually is compressible,  and you can incur significant damage,  as it expands faster than it can get out of the material,  during even a single ascent. 

To reduce that risk,  you use only materials with no internal porosity.  And that rules out composites!  Which is exactly why I said composites were the wrong material choice,  for the pressure hull of a deep-diving submersible. 

Monday, July 3, 2023

Ukraine War Stuff

Update 7-6-2023 an edited version of this appeared as a board-of-contributors column in the Thursday 7-6-2023 Waco "Tribune-Herald".  


It seems the long-anticipated Ukrainian counter-offensive has begun.  This thing is supported by vast quantities of weapons from the US and multiple other western nations.  However,  the supporting air cover is still lacking,  so it is a grindingly-slow battle of attrition on the ground. 

The “wild card” so far has been the failed armed rebellion in Russia,  by the Wagner Group mercenaries,  who have been the most battle-worthy troops Russia has fielded so far in Ukraine.  The real Russian military supplies their heavy weapons and vehicles,  though.  What effect that rebellion and its outcome may have on the counter-offensive,  is still uncertain.

The Ukrainians are our proxy army against Putin’s Russian troops and mercenaries,  who invaded as the next escalation beyond their previous relatively-unopposed misbehaviors (annexing Crimea,  fomenting uprisings in the east).  Do not expect fast results:  this entire thing is going to be a knock-down/drag-out army-against-army thing,  with high casualties on both sides,  almost no matter what else happens. 

Evidence is mounting that Putin’s Russians destroyed that dam in the Kherson region,  with disastrous effects,  but also halting the counter-offensive in that region.  The Russians had the means,  and the motivation,  to do this,  and they had control of the dam when it actually failed.  If it quacks like a duck…

They claim the Ukrainians did it,  but one would be unwise in the extreme to accept that claim!  A common modus operandi with Putin’s Russia is to do something atrocious,  then claim the other side did it instead,  as loudly as they can,  to divert blame from themselves.  We’ve seen it before,  and not just with Putin’s Russia.  It’s right out of the playbook that all dictators have used for centuries.

Putin has also been making threats to use nuclear weapons for almost a year now,  and has recently started moving nuclear weapons into neighboring Belarus,  a Putin ally adjacent to Ukraine.  As the Ukrainians begin to push the Russians out,  I think Putin might actually use nuclear weapons on Ukraine for revenge.  He’s done just about every other atrocious war crime that there is to do.  It fits his pattern.

Regardless,  this war must go to the correct completion:  only a Ukrainian victory can be the outcome here!  We have to supply the weapons necessary to bring this about,  or otherwise Putin will continue invading other breakaway nations that were formerly part of the Soviet empire (and some of them are members of NATO now,  triggering an all-NATO response that starts WW3 in Europe).  As with Hitler,  you cannot appease a dictator,  or negotiate limited behaviors.  Only raw naked force in sufficient quantities is effective to stop them.  We’ve seen that before,  too!

Our supplying the Ukrainians sufficient means to win is what Putin fears the most,  other than direct war with all of NATO!  That is why his spy agencies and hacker groups have been spreading propaganda lies on social media,  and among far-right “news” outlets,  trying to convince enough people in the US and other western nations to oppose supporting Ukraine,  for any of a number of bogus “reasons”. 

It is also why they meddled in the 2016 US election,  trying to help Trump get elected.  They knew Trump would favor Putin over our NATO allies,  and he did,  starting in Helsinki.  We all saw it on live TV.  And to my way of thinking,  that behavior was arguably treason of the “aid and comfort to the enemy” type. 

Our press have repeatedly noted the existence of a “Pro-Putin wing” of the GOP that wants to end support for Ukraine.  The right-wing social media and “news” outlets are infested with both conspiracy theories and Russian propaganda,  and that’s all those folks ever hear,  so they believe it (repeated lies becoming “true” is another item right out of the dictator’s playbook).  So,  I just told you why the Putin wing of the GOP exists.  And I have been describing to you why it is deadly wrong.

Do not be deceived by any of this!  Ukraine must win to contain future Russian invasions,  and we must fully support them to make that outcome fully happen.  Otherwise,  this degenerates into general war,  sooner or later (that unopposed escalating misbehavior is exactly how WW2 started in Europe). 

And if Putin starts succeeding in Europe,  Xi in China will see the western countries as too weak to stop him,  and so he will immediately invade Taiwan.  That starts WW3 in the Pacific,  exactly the same way Japan started WW2 in the Pacific with the Pearl Harbor raid. 

Only this time around,  everybody involved already has nuclear weapons!  You have been warned! 

Russian Mobile Battlefield Nuclear Missile


Update 7-12-2023:  Reports say Zelenskyy is upset because NATO could not offer Ukraine a clearer path to membership.  I can understand that.  Ukraine is NATO’s proxy war-fighter against ever-enhancing Russian aggression.  This role has already laid much of Ukraine in ruins. 

NATO exists to counter Russian (and similar) aggression.  Simple as that.  I think it is past time NATO did more in this war to push Russia back.  It may be time to immediately make Ukraine a member,  and send in the NATO armies per Article 5.  All the stuff tried up to now is short of that response,  and it really isn’t working all that well.  If at all.

Putin’s Russia has demonstrably moved from threats and saber-rattling to actual invasions (with associated atrocities and war crimes).  This is exactly the same as the behavior pattern of Hitler’s Nazi Germany in the mid-to-late 1930’s.  Unless stopped,  Russia will continue escalating its egregious behavior into general war,  just like Nazi Germany did,  in the late 1930’s. 

Either learn from history,  or else repeat it.  The repeat is not identical:  this time all the participants have nuclear weapons.

Diplomacy and economic sanctions are never going to stop Putin’s Russia.  Only large amounts of raw naked force will!  This has escalated to the point that one small proxy is not going to be able to do the job that has to be done.  It has become painfully obvious that NATO must take direct action,  while Putin still fears direct war with NATO. 

Sooner than you might suspect,  Putin will no longer fear that!  His pattern of behavior is identical to that of Hitler, who by 1939 no longer feared war with the western allies.