Space shuttle launches and why the US gave them up

or…Congress reacts to the news that Russia is pulling out of the International Space Station in 2020 and fully plans to frustrate American intentions to continue with it.

From the Congressional Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

After a summary of NASA’s assessment that there was no threat of Russia interrupting the flow of astronauts to the ISS on March 27:

Image

 

The heart of the matter.

Image

This will get interesting. It may help shake the US space community out of its lull.

There is a trilateral dynamic to this, as well. Russia will huff and puff, but as the US responds, America’s ability to compete with China will increase.

Why Obama sent the Syria question to congress

Obama doesn’t want to launch a missile strike on Syria – he just can’t say so. But there is the Party of No in full bloom over in Congress. Send the issue to them, let them say no, then Obama has political cover to turn to the world and say ruefully, “The people have spoken and I must respect their wish.”

Besides, the Republicans who have had a field-day with Bengazi (or at least tried to) need to start wear a little of the bad PR linked to Syria.

Further, if it divides the Republicans, exposing the chasm behind the interventionists and the isolationists, all the better. This is part of the identity crisis that the Republicans face. And Rand, while he will score short-term points, will still look too radical come 2016. People know the rise of libertarian right has coincided with more misery for the middle-class, and that includes middle-class Republicans and independents.

On the surface, if Obama accepts a congressional ‘no’ on Syria, this will make Obama look weak. But as time moves on, he’ll be able to re-route the blame over to the GOP which is already in a much more dire state of disarray than the the Dems going into 2014. We’ll see. Moreover, avoiding another US military disaster is a greater feather in his cap (and a better legacy and direction for the US) than driving the country into another ditch so he can look like a strongman to the world for a few hours.

If I am right about Obama’s motives, it would be one of the most politically savvy moves of modern politics.

Congress to probe Snowden’s pre-leak links to China

Sort of a no-brainer, I’d say.

“It seems unusual that he would be in China and asking for protection of the Chinese government and giving press conferences to the Chinese media,” C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger of Maryland, the top Democrat on the Intelligence panel, told reporters. “We’re going to investigate.”

More on this later.