“Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.” - George W. Bush

All The Best


I want to thank everyone who participated in the Elephant Bar over the past twelve years. We had millions of visitors from all around the World and you were part of it. Over the past dozen years, two or three times a night, I would open my laptop and some of you were always there. I will miss that.

My plans are to continue my work with technology and architecture. You know my interests and thoughts.

At times, things would get a little rough in the EB. To those of you that I may have offended over the years, I apologize. From all of you, I learned and grew.

An elephant never forgets.
Be well.

Deuce, 21 June 2018

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

After the crash, what now for NASA and the International Space Station?


Russia Calls for Ban of US Military Launches Using Russian Rocket Engines( Reported last May)


Russia Calls for Ban of US Military Launches Using Russian Rocket Engines
View photo

United Launch Alliance's Atlas 5 rocket is powered by the RD-180 engine, which is built by NPO Energomash in the Moscow region and sold to ULA by RD-Amross, a joint venture between the Russian manufacturer and United Technologies Corp.
WASHINGTON — Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who oversees the country’s space sector, said he would ban exports of Russian-made rocket engines used to launch U.S. military satellites.
Rogozin also said via Twitter that Russia does not intend to continue cooperating with the United States on the International Space Station program beyond 2020. The White House has proposed extending station operations to 2024 and has been working to bring the program's international partners onboard. 
The rocket engine in question is the RD-180, which is used to power the first stage of United Launch Alliance’s Atlas 5 rocket, one of the U.S. military’s two main satellite launchers. The engine is built by NPO Energomash of Russia and sold to ULA by RD-Amross, a joint venture between Energomash and United Technologies Corp. [50 Great Russian Rocket Launch Photos]
"Russia is ready to continue deliveries of RD-180 engines to the US only under the guarantee that they won’t be used in the interests of the Pentagon," Rogozin said via Twitter today (May 13).
Rogozin is one of 11 senior Russian officials sanctioned by the U.S. government following Russia’s incursions into Ukraine.
A U.S. federal judge recently barred U.S. purchases of the RD-180 because of concerns that they might violate the sanctions. The ban was lifted after U.S. government officials said no decision had been made to designate NPO Energomash as a Rogozin-controlled enterprise.
The judge's temporary ban was issued in a case brought by rocket maker Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) challenging U.S. Air Force plans to buy a large batch of rockets from ULA on a sole source basis.
In a statement emailed to Space News, ULA spokeswoman Jessica Rye said neither ULA nor NPO Energomash are aware of any specific restrictions on the use or RD-180 engines. "However, if recent news reports are accurate, it affirms that SpaceX’s irresponsible actions have created unnecessary distractions, threatened U.S. military satellite operations, and undermined our future relationship with the International Space Station."
Rye expressed hope that the United States and Russia will work together to quickly resolve the matter. She also said the Air Force and ULA have contingency plans to deal with an interruption in deliveries of the RD-180.
"ULA and our Department of Defense customers have always prepared contingency plans in the event of a supply disruption. ULA has two launch vehicles that can support all of customers' needs. We also maintain a two-year inventory of engines to enable a smooth transition to our other rocket, Delta, which has all U.S.-produced rocket engines."
Rogozin also tweeted that he will suspend operations of U.S. GPS satellite ground stations that are based in Russia. 
"Suspending GPS stations operation in the territory of the Russian Federation from June 1st won’t affect the signal quality that Russian users are getting," Rogozin said. "Roscosmos (RUS Fed Space Agency) stands ready for talks with the US on equal-footed cooperation and on deploying GLONASS stations in its territory."
Glonass is Russia’s satellite-based positioning, navigation and timing system.
According to the U.S. government's main GPS information website, GPS.gov, there are 12 command-and-control antennas and 16 monitoring sites for the GPS system throughout the world, including facilities in the United Kingdom and South Korea. The website makes no mention of GPS ground stations in Russia.
However, there are GPS signal-reception stations in Russia that are used for scientific and engineering purposes. These sites are not part of the GPS operational infrastructure.
Late last year, a proposal to place Glonass ground stations in the United States triggered a backlash among congressional Republicans, who proposed a legislative ban on any foreign satellite navigation facilities on U.S. soil. Members of the House Armed Services also asked Defense Department leaders for a report on the threat Russian ground stations posed to the U.S. military in an authorization bill passed May 8.
Glonass was initially deployed in the 1980s but suffered from neglect following the end of the Cold War. Russian authorities have made replenishing and upgrading Glonass a priority in recent years.
Russian officials have said they hope to expand the Glonass ground network into 30 countries, including the United States and Brazil as well as Spain, Indonesia and Australia. The ground stations verify the accuracy and monitor the integrity of satellite navigation signals.
This story was provided by Space News, dedicated to covering all aspects of the space industry. Follow Mike Gruss on Twitter: @Gruss_SN.


    1. The Titans blowing up at the 5:24 period on the top video were truly spectacular.

    2. Speaking of things blowing up - The Atlantic has noticed

      The other day I was talking to a senior Obama administration official about the foreign leader who seems to frustrate the White House and the State Department the most. “The thing about Bibi is, he’s a chickenshit,” this official said, referring to the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, by his nickname.

      This comment is representative of the gloves-off manner in which American and Israeli officials now talk about each other behind closed doors, and is yet another sign that relations between the Obama and Netanyahu governments have moved toward a full-blown crisis. The relationship between these two administrations— dual guarantors of the putatively “unbreakable” bond between the U.S. and Israel—is now the worst it's ever been, and it stands to get significantly worse after the November midterm elections. By next year, the Obama administration may actually withdraw diplomatic cover for Israel at the United Nations, but even before that, both sides are expecting a showdown over Iran, should an agreement be reached about the future of its nuclear program.

      The fault for this breakdown in relations can be assigned in good part to the junior partner in the relationship, Netanyahu, and in particular, to the behavior of his cabinet. Netanyahu has told several people I’ve spoken to in recent days that he has “written off” the Obama administration, and plans to speak directly to Congress and to the American people should an Iran nuclear deal be reached. For their part, Obama administration officials express, in the words of one official, a “red-hot anger” at Netanyahu for pursuing settlement policies on the West Bank, and building policies in Jerusalem, that they believe have fatally undermined Secretary of State John Kerry’s peace process.


      1. {...}

        Over the years, Obama administration officials have described Netanyahu to me as recalcitrant, myopic, reactionary, obtuse, blustering, pompous, and “Aspergery.” (These are verbatim descriptions; I keep a running list.) But I had not previously heard Netanyahu described as a “chickenshit.” I thought I appreciated the implication of this description, but it turns out I didn’t have a full understanding. From time to time, current and former administration officials have described Netanyahu as a national leader who acts as though he is mayor of Jerusalem, which is to say, a no-vision small-timer who worries mainly about pleasing the hardest core of his political constituency. (President Obama, in interviews with me, has alluded to Netanyahu’s lack of political courage.)

        “The good thing about Netanyahu is that he’s scared to launch wars,” the official said, expanding the definition of what a chickenshit Israeli prime minister looks like. “The bad thing about him is that he won’t do anything to reach an accommodation with the Palestinians or with the Sunni Arab states. The only thing he’s interested in is protecting himself from political defeat. He’s not [Yitzhak] Rabin, he’s not [Ariel] Sharon, he’s certainly no [Menachem] Begin. He’s got no guts.”

        I ran this notion by another senior official who deals with the Israel file regularly. This official agreed that Netanyahu is a “chickenshit” on matters related to the comatose peace process, but added that he’s also a “coward” on the issue of Iran’s nuclear threat. The official said the Obama administration no longer believes that Netanyahu would launch a preemptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities in order to keep the regime in Tehran from building an atomic arsenal. “It’s too late for him to do anything. Two, three years ago, this was a possibility. But ultimately he couldn’t bring himself to pull the trigger. It was a combination of our pressure and his own unwillingness to do anything dramatic. Now it’s too late.”


      2. {...}

        This assessment represents a momentous shift in the way the Obama administration sees Netanyahu. In 2010, and again in 2012, administration officials were convinced that Netanyahu and his then-defense minister, the cowboyish ex-commando Ehud Barak, were readying a strike on Iran. To be sure, the Obama administration used the threat of an Israeli strike in a calculated way to convince its allies (and some of its adversaries) to line up behind what turned out to be an effective sanctions regime. But the fear inside the White House of a preemptive attack (or preventative attack, to put it more accurately) was real and palpable—as was the fear of dissenters inside Netanyahu’s Cabinet, and at Israel Defense Forces headquarters. At U.S. Central Command headquarters in Tampa, analysts kept careful track of weather patterns and of the waxing and waning moon over Iran, trying to predict the exact night of the coming Israeli attack.

        Today, there are few such fears. “The feeling now is that Bibi’s bluffing,” this second official said. “He’s not Begin at Osirak,” the official added, referring to the successful 1981 Israeli Air Force raid ordered by the ex-prime minister on Iraq’s nuclear reactor.

        The belief that Netanyahu’s threat to strike is now an empty one has given U.S. officials room to breathe in their ongoing negotiations with Iran. You might think that this new understanding of Netanyahu as a hyper-cautious leader would make the administration somewhat grateful. Sober-minded Middle East leaders are not so easy to come by these days, after all. But on a number of other issues, Netanyahu does not seem sufficiently sober-minded.


      3. {...}

        Another manifestation of his chicken-shittedness, in the view of Obama administration officials, is his near-pathological desire for career-preservation. Netanyahu’s government has in recent days gone out of its way to a) let the world know that it will quicken the pace of apartment-building in disputed areas of East Jerusalem; and b) let everyone know of its contempt for the Obama administration and its understanding of the Middle East. Settlement expansion, and the insertion of right-wing Jewish settlers into Arab areas of East Jerusalem, are clear signals by Netanyahu to his political base, in advance of possible elections next year, that he is still with them, despite his rhetorical commitment to a two-state solution. The public criticism of Obama policies is simultaneously heartfelt, and also designed to mobilize the base.

        Just yesterday, Netanyahu criticized those who condemn Israeli expansion plans in East Jerusalem as “disconnected from reality.” This statement was clearly directed at the State Department, whose spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, had earlier said that, “if Israel wants to live in a peaceful society, they need to take steps that will reduce tensions. Moving forward with this sort of action would be incompatible with the pursuit of peace.”

        It is the Netanyahu government that appears to be disconnected from reality. Jerusalem is on the verge of exploding into a third Palestinian uprising. It is true that Jews have a moral right to live anywhere they want in Jerusalem, their holiest city. It is also true that a mature government understands that not all rights have to be exercised simultaneously. Palestinians believe, not without reason, that the goal of planting Jewish residents in all-Arab neighborhoods is not integration, but domination—to make it as difficult as possible for a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem to ever emerge.

        Unlike the U.S. secretary of state, John Kerry, I don’t have any hope for the immediate creation of a Palestinian state (it could be dangerous, at this chaotic moment in Middle East history, when the Arab-state system is in partial collapse, to create an Arab state on the West Bank that could easily succumb to extremism), but I would also like to see Israel foster conditions on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem that would allow for the eventual birth of such a state. This is what the Obama administration wants (and also what Europe wants, and also, by the way, what many Israelis and American Jews want), and this issue sits at the core of the disagreement between Washington and Jerusalem.


      4. {...}
        Israel and the U.S., like all close allies, have disagreed from time to time on important issues. But I don’t remember such a period of sustained and mutual contempt. Much of the anger felt by Obama administration officials is rooted in the Netanyahu government’s periodic explosions of anti-American condescension. The Israeli defense minister, Moshe Ya’alon, in particular, has publicly castigated the Obama administration as naive, or worse, on matters related to U.S. policy in the Middle East. Last week, senior officials including Kerry (who was labeled as “obsessive” and “messianic” by Ya’alon) and Susan Rice, the national security advisor, refused to meet with Ya’alon on his trip to Washington, and it’s hard to blame them. (Kerry, the U.S. official most often targeted for criticism by right-wing Israeli politicians, is the only remaining figure of importance in the Obama administration who still believes that Netanyahu is capable of making bold compromises, which might explain why he’s been targeted.)

        One of the more notable aspects of the current tension between Israel and the U.S. is the unease felt by mainstream American Jewish leaders about recent Israeli government behavior. “The Israelis do not show sufficient appreciation for America’s role in backing Israel, economically, militarily and politically,” Abraham Foxman, the head of the Anti-Defamation League, told me. (UPDATE: Foxman just e-mailed me this statement: "The quote is accurate, but the context is wrong. I was referring to what troubles this administration about Israel, not what troubles leaders in the American Jewish community.")

        What does all this unhappiness mean for the near future? For one thing, it means that Netanyahu—who has preemptively “written off” the Obama administration—will almost certainly have a harder time than usual making his case against a potentially weak Iran nuclear deal, once he realizes that writing off the administration was an unwise thing to do.

        This also means that the post-November White House will be much less interested in defending Israel from hostile resolutions at the United Nations, where Israel is regularly scapegoated. The Obama administration may be looking to make Israel pay direct costs for its settlement policies.

        Next year, the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, will quite possibly seek full UN recognition for Palestine. I imagine that the U.S. will still try to block such a move in the Security Council, but it might do so by helping to craft a stridently anti-settlement resolution in its place. Such a resolution would isolate Israel from the international community.

        It would also be unsurprising, post-November, to see the Obama administration take a step Netanyahu is loath to see it take: a public, full lay-down of the administration’s vision for a two-state solution, including maps delineating Israel’s borders. These borders, to Netanyahu's horror, would be based on 1967 lines, with significant West Bank settlement blocs attached to Israel in exchange for swapped land elsewhere. Such a lay-down would make explicit to Israel what the U.S. expects of it.

        Netanyahu, and the even more hawkish ministers around him, seem to have decided that their short-term political futures rest on a platform that can be boiled down to this formula: “The whole world is against us. Only we can protect Israel from what’s coming.” For an Israeli public traumatized by Hamas violence and anti-Semitism, and by fear that the chaos and brutality of the Arab world will one day sweep over them, this formula has its charms.

        But for Israel’s future as an ally of the United States, this formula is a disaster.

      5. JEFFREY GOLDBERG is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting.

    3. People everywhere are waking up to the fact that Netanyahu is a disaster. I learned that a long time ago in Cheltenham.

    4. I'm working on it now, Ash.

      The first words are:

      IT WASN'T ABOUT anything.....


      We are off to a good start in our analysis of it being the monomyth upside down ass backwards as the beginning affirmation of the mononmyth is:

      It is about everything.

      Analysis in progress.......

    5. I am working on the idea that the first movement here from the bar into the 'world', the street, under the street light, is the ass backwards movement in the monomyth from the 'world' into higher consciousness.....

      There is a subset of human relationships to talk over here as well......

      1. "IT WASN'T ABOUT anything, something about making punch, and then we started fighting...."

        Grrr, grr, grrrrr.....

    6. In:

      The EU

      the women can -



    7. Hackers suspected of working for the Russian government breached the White House’s unclassified computer networks in recent weeks, according to a published report.

      According to The Washington Post, the attacks resulted in temporary disruptions to some services while cybersecurity teams worked to contain the incursion. Anonymous White House officials told the paper that the intruders had not damaged the system and there was no sign that the classified network was breached.

      The Post reported that the FBI, Secret Service, and National Security Agency are all involved in an investigation of who was responsible for the hack. It was not immediately clear whether any data was stolen.

      A White House official told the Associated Press Tuesday that "activity of concern" was detected while assessing numerous possible cyberthreats that the Executive Office of the President is made aware of daily. The official said that the situation was dealt with immediately and work continues, although the new measures have led to temporary outages and loss of connectivity for some White House employees.

      The Post reported that the White House officials discovered the breach earlier this month after being alerted to it by an ally. The paper reported that some staffers were asked to change their passwords and Intranet or VPN access was periodically shut off.

      The intrusion became public hours after The Wall Street Journal reported that investigators for a private security firm discovered malicious code within the internal network of a firm harboring U.S. military secrets. The investigators noted that the code was programmed on Russian-language machines and built during working hours in Moscow.

      In the report, a U.S. official told the Journal that it is often difficult to determine whether cyberattacks are backed by the Kremlin or merely the work of unaffiliated criminal groups.

    8. Deuce ☂Wed Oct 29, 01:00:00 AM EDT
      People everywhere are waking up to the fact that Netanyahu is a disaster. I learned that a long time ago in Cheltenham.

      What an interesting and confusing statement. Although Netanyahu is not my favorite cup of tea, Cheltenham has nothing to do with my opinion, just as Cheltenham has nothing to do with Israeli public opinion.

    9. Re: rocket explosion

      ... play silly games, win silly prizes ...

      Vlad is a badass and a big dog. Mr. Obama is not. Small dogs should take care when attempting to wag the tail of a mastiff. Just sayin'.
      Oh, and "reset" only works in games. China and Russia are not avatars; they are real world and will not be "reset" unless it is in their interests.