Money Well Spent

Closing Thought–10Dec20

I am always going on and on about the money that government pisses away….and sadly the US government is not the only waster of taxpayer cash…..

This story about Venice……that is in Italy not Florida…..

St. Mark’s Square in Venice was submerged on Tuesday, and an incorrect forecast may be to blame. The city has since October had an experimental system of inflatable barriers in place to prevent flooding. Thing is, the $8 billion system is activated when high tides are expected to reach a minimum of 4 feet, 4 inches. On Tuesday, the waters were predicted to hit just 4 feet, 1 inch, below the activation threshold. But they reached just over 4 feet, 6 inches, flooding shops and restaurants. Stronger-than-expected winds are apparently to blame for the elevated tides. “Unfortunately, the weather is freer than us. It does what it wants,” said Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro. The AFP notes the city’s lowest point is St. Mark’s Square, which sits roughly three feet above sea level.

The AP reports Venice suffered its worst flooding in half a century a year ago, when high tides hit 6.5 feet. The barriers—78 moveable ones—can safeguard the city from tides of up to 10 feet and is designed to be readied in just 30 minutes. But the Guardian explains that by the time the water reached the lagoon Tuesday morning, it was too late to get the system up and running. That system is known as MOSE (that’s (MOdulo Sperimentale Elettromeccanico, or Experimental Electromechanical Module), a nod to the Biblical figure Moses, who parted the waters of the Red Sea. Brugnaro commented on the learnings from Tuesday’s flooding, “To activate MOSE a bigger forecast is necessary. We will have to review the rules of the command post.”

Good to know that it seems to be a human trait no matter which side of the pond they are on.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Biden’s Legal Problems

That would be legal problems for Hunter not Joe.

We all have written about the legal problems that our current president has been facing for the last four years…..and it is a simple joy to have a president-elect that is not facing legal questions…..Joe is not but son Hunter is facing investigations.

Hunter Biden, son of President-elect Joe Biden, confirmed Wednesday that his tax affairs are under federal investigation. “I learned yesterday for the first time that the US Attorney’s Office in Delaware advised my legal counsel, also yesterday, that they are investigating my tax affairs,” he said in a statement, per the Hill. “I take this matter very seriously but I am confident that a professional and objective review of these matters will demonstrate that I handled my affairs legally and appropriately, including with the benefit of professional tax advisors.” Hunter Biden, who served on the board of an energy company in Ukraine while his father was vice president, was attacked by Trump allies during the presidential campaign, with Rudy Giuliani claiming he had a laptop with proof of criminal conduct.

The tax investigation “is not connected to the attacks the Trump campaign and their allies made against Hunter during the campaign,” an insider tells the Washington Post. “President-elect Biden is deeply proud of his son, who has fought through difficult challenges, including the vicious personal attacks of recent months, only to emerge stronger,” the transition team said in a statement. GOP Rep. Ken Buck urged Attorney General William Barr to appoint a special counsel to investigate Hunter Biden before Trump leaves office in six weeks, saying it “would be wildly inappropriate if his dad’s AG was involved in this matter.”

What could possibly the problems and/or issues that Biden is facing?

The investigation into Hunter Biden’s tax affairs centers around business deals with China, a source tells the AP. Specifically, officials are looking into whether the younger Biden and his associates violated any tax or money laundering laws, sources tell CNN. The probe was launched a year before Joe Biden, who is not implicated, announced his presidential run, but the younger Biden didn’t learn of it until this week; sources say that it was a Justice Department policy barring “overt investigative acts” that might impact elections that prevented investigators from disclosing the probe to Hunter Biden earlier. Now that the election is over, federal prosecutors are serving subpoenas, including one for Hunter Biden, and seeking interviews.

President Trump was, perhaps not surprisingly, crowing about the probe on Twitter: “‘10% of voters would have changed their vote if they knew about Hunter Biden.’ Miranda Devine @nypost @TuckerCarlson But I won anyway!” the POTUS wrote Wednesday. “‘If you’re looking for Election Rigging, look no further. That’s what this is. They kept information from the public in order to influence the outcome of the Election. They RIGGED it.’ @TuckerCarlson.” Needless to say, this whole issue could prove quite tricky for Joe Biden, who has pledged to keep the Justice Department free of political influence; whomever he selects as attorney general could ultimately oversee the probe into his own son if it has not been resolved by January.

It will be interesting to see if the MSM jumps on this as hard as they jumped on the Trump kids….

If he, Biden, is guilty then he needs to be prosecuted… the Trump kids should be.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Sunday’s Space

CRAP!  I hit the wrong button… instead of draft….enjoy a few days early….

Another Sunday and more space news that means nothing to most people….but I am a child of the 50s and space was always on mind mind…..

Does anyone remember Voyager probe?  Yes it was featured in the Star Trek original movie….it was named Veger….

The two Voyager spacecraft were launched by Nasa more than 40 years ago, with the aim of flying to the far reaches of our solar system. They have now gone even further than that, reaching interstellar space, and exploring the gaps between the stars, giving us the first glimpses of what it might be like in that mysterious zone.

The latest discovery from the spacecraft – using data taken from both Voyager 1 and 2 – saw them pick up bursts of electrons like none ever detected before. They found that cosmic ray electrons are being accelerated by shock waves that originate in major eruptions on the sun, and are then flung out into space.

Once we get to Mars one of the challenges will be oxygen to breath….and now a system has been invented to extract oxygen from the Martian water…..

Humankind’s quest to set up base on Mars has received a boost as scientists have now claimed to have discovered a way that can help extract oxygen and fuel from the salty water found on the red planet.

The water which is salty due to the Martian soil can’t be used for drinking purposes. Even electrolysis, the usual method of using electricity to break it down into oxygen (to breathe) and hydrogen (for fuel) requires removing the salt – a cumbersome method that can be a costly endeavour in a harsh environment like Mars.

But now researchers at Washington University in St Louis have developed an electrolysis system that can directly separate oxygen and hydrogen from briny water – in a less complicated and expensive manner.

I am a geek for diplomacy…..and have written about space and laws and such…..but how will diplomacy effect space exploration?
This is a paper by a grad student…..
Let us be frank, humankind is not exactly renowned for its willingness to collaborate, particularly when self-interest must be sacrificed. Though we have made enormous progress on the back of collaboration, the history of humankind is littered with stories of greed, corruption, and a constant willingness to stratify and dominate others. But as we step into the future, into the great beyond of space, that must remain buried in the sands of history. Humans must reject the identities that are protective shells for advancing personal interest and adopt a collective vision. One that allows for freedom and respect for sovereign thought processes, but also champions ethical and moral considerations. Most likely, this will occur at the level of the nation-state.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Warmongers Press

After the assassination of the Iranian scientist I have been saying and writing that it was all an attempt to get Trump to start a war with Iran.

For at least 20 years Israel has been lying about Iran’s search for nukes….some times they are months away and others they are a few years away….in other words there is NO consistency t the accusations.

Israel has wanted the US to solve their Iranian problem for decades….so they take small steps to try and push a reaction by Iran that would justify an all out attack.

As time has elapsed since the killing of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh on 27 November, the chances for quick retaliation are fading away.

After the assassination, in an operation east of Tehran attributed to Israel’s Mossad, senior Iranian leaders have used harsh language to promise revenge, not only against Israel but also the United States and Israel’s new allies in the region, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

Among those vowing retribution were President Hassan Rouhani and military confidants of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, including former Defence Minister Ahmad Wahidi.

But the inflammatory rhetoric subdsided. Gut feelings made room for cool-headed decisions. The first question to be asked is, why? Why did Israel decide to kill him?

Warmongers who have the president’s ear like Cotton and other diehard war enthusiast they keep pushing as well…..

Since Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was killed in an apparent Israeli plot, the US and Israel have been warning about threats in the region. Despite Iran’s clear desire to make it to January 20th without a military confrontation with the US, anonymous officials are hyping the threat of Iranian retaliation for Fakhrizadeh’s death.

On Monday, an anonymous US official told The Associated Press that Washington fears Iran may take advantage of US troop drawdowns in Iraq and Afghanistan. For this reason, the official said the US might have to hold off on the planned departure of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz from the Persian Gulf.

In September, the Nimitz was deployed to the Persian Gulf to send a message to Iran. The US official said the ship must remain in the region “for some time to come.” The official added that an additional fighter squadron might be sent to the Middle East. The US recently deployed B-52 bombers to the region and moved a fleet of F-16 fighter jets from Germany to the UAE.

US and Its Allies Stoking Fears of Possible Iranian Attacks

So the question is….will Trump take the bait and help Israel and start a new endless war?

What are the chances?

Following his election loss Donald Trump reportedly sought options to strike Iran. The president’s senior advisors dissuaded him from doing so, though it’s unclear if he settled on a different option. Then, on 17 November, both Israel and Saudi Arabia reinforced their agreed message that that Iran can never possess nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities. Netanyahu spoke to Biden by phone about Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s repeated offer that Iran was willing to return to the 2015 nuclear deal, which was negotiating during the Obama-Biden administration. At that point, nothing appeared out of the ordinary when it came to Iran. There also appeared to be a coalescence of interests between Trump (for his remaining days in office), Israel and Saudi Arabia against Iran.

Opinion – Is the Next Middle East War on the Horizon?

Will there be a 2021 surprise?

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”