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By Robert A. Vella

There’s a bloated beast lurking about ready to explode besides the familiar one currently wrecking America and the world from the White House (more on him later).  It is a red supergiant star named Betelgeuse in the constellation Orion.  Betelgeuse is so enormous that it dwarfs our own Sun, being 11-12 times as massive.  Stars that size don’t live very long because they burn up their hydrogen fuel at a furious rate.  As they exhaust that primary fuel source, their immense gravity collapses the star to the point where intense pressures and temperatures allow other fuels (e.g. helium) to ignite via nuclear fusion.  The burst of new energy overcomes the gravitational collapse and the star expands tremendously.  What was once a relatively stable blue-white star (stellar class B) transforms into an unstable and distended red monster consuming the planetary bodies around it.  If Betelgeuse was in our solar system, its surface would reach out to the orbit of Jupiter!

Such stars are in their death throes.  It doesn’t take long for them to burn through their helium reserves;  and, with each successive heavier element they attempt to burn, the energy return decreases until iron (Fe) is reached (which consumes more energy to fuse than it produces).  At that point, the final gravitational collapse occurs triggering a catastrophic explosion known as a supernova.

You wouldn’t want to be anywhere near a supernova explosion.  Being closer than perhaps 20-30 light years (depending on the size of the star) would expose you and your planet to a barrage of deadly radiation.  Fortunately, Betelgeuse is much farther away from Earth at over 640 light years;  so, there’s no need to worry.  When it does blowup, however, it’ll put on a spectacular show from our vantage point.  At night, the luminosity of the explosion would rival that of the Moon;  and, it could easily be seen during the daytime.

Recent astronomical observations indicate that Betelgeuse has undergone a significant collapse, and gravitational wave measurements suggest that a supernova explosion might be imminent or might have already occurred (if it exploded 640+ years ago, we’d just being seeing it now).  If we do see it over the next several weeks, we’re in for a visual treat.  Although by April, Betelgeuse will be obscured by its apparent proximity to the Sun.  See:  The supergiant Betelgeuse star will explode. It’s just a matter of when, astronomers say

Here are this weekend’s new stories primarily concerning that other bloated beast – President Donald Trump:

From:  ‘Take her out’: Recording appears to capture Trump talking about firing ambassador

A recording obtained by ABC News appears to capture President Donald Trump telling associates he wanted the then-U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch fired while speaking at a small gathering that included Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman — two former business associates of Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani who have since been indicted in New York.

The recording appears to contradict statements by Trump and support the narrative that has been offered by Parnas during broadcast interviews in recent days. Sources familiar with the recording said the recording was made during an intimate April 30, 2018, dinner at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Trump has said repeatedly he does not know Parnas , a Soviet-born American who has emerged as a wild card in Trump’s impeachment trial , especially in the days since Trump was impeached.

“Get rid of her!” is what the voice that appears to be Trump’s is heard saying. “Get her out tomorrow. I don’t care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. OK? Do it.”

Related stories:

Trump’s threat to muzzle Bolton could undermine constitution, experts say

Pompeo berated, cursed at NPR reporter over Ukraine questions, she says

From:  Who is Dmytro Firtash? The man linked to $1 million loan to Giuliani ally has a shadowy past

In September, one month before Lev Parnas was indicted on campaign finance charges, his wife received wire transfers from a bank account in Russia.

The sum was $1 million, and the source was a lawyer for Dmytro Firtash, according to a court filing by U.S. prosecutors.

Firtash, a Ukrainian oligarch who made a fortune in the natural gas trade, is perhaps the most enigmatic figure in the scandal that has played a key role in President Donald Trump’s impeachment.

A billionaire with alleged ties to the Russian mob, Firtash is facing bribery-related charges in the U.S. and fighting extradition from Vienna. He once attempted to buy and redevelop the famous Drake Hotel in New York with the now-incarcerated Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman. And he’s seen by Ukrainian anti-corruption activists and Western governments as a corrupt instrument of Russia.

From:  WSJ: Prosecutors obtain evidence linking leaked [Jeff] Bezos texts to girlfriend’s family member

The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that prosecutors now have evidence indicating that Bezos’s girlfriend, Lauren Sanchez, gave the text messages to her brother, Michael Sanchez, which he then sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars to the National Enquirer.

The text messages are reportedly part of the materials being reviewed by federal prosecutors who are investigating whether American Media Inc. (AMI), the publisher of the National Enquirer, tried to extort Bezos. Federal prosecutors have also investigated whether Bezos’s phone was hacked, the newspaper reported.

[…]

The story comes days after reports emerged that a forensics audit commissioned on behalf of Bezos claimed that the CEO’s phone was hacked after he was sent a file from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s WhatsApp account.

Two United Nations experts this week connected the hacking of Bezos’s phone with coverage of Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a columnist who was critical of Riyadh and wrote for The Washington Post, which Bezos owns.

Related stories:

Regime Critic Says Saudis Tried to Kidnap Him on U.S. Soil

Saudi Arabia ‘planned to spy on Khashoggi’s fiancee in UK’

From:  US neo-Nazi directing group from Russia, BBC finds

The American founder of a US-based militant neo-Nazi group is directing the organisation from Russia, a BBC investigation has found.

Rinaldo Nazzaro, 46, who uses an alias in public, left New York for St Petersburg less than two years ago.

His extreme right-wing organisation – The Base – is a major counter terrorism focus for the FBI.

Seven alleged members were charged this month with various offences, including conspiracy to commit murder.

Related stories:

Racist threats rattle students, faculty at [Wake Forest] university

Store owner to remove Nazi, KKK items after complaint

Trump is threatening a damaging new trade war with the United Kingdom after Brexit

4 police officers disciplined for ‘improper’ Stormy Daniels arrest at strip club

AP Exclusive: Feds plan to move Epstein warden to prison job

Mississippi prison debacle with deaths and riots triggers rally for reform

‘Some folks were tearful’: CIA waterboarding on trial in Guantánamo

E.P.A. Is Letting Cities Dump More Raw Sewage Into Rivers for Years to Come

US fines Delta $50,000 for booting off 3 Muslim passengers

Tennessee governor signs bill allowing adoption agencies to reject LGBTQ parents

Hong Kong Leader Declares Coronavirus Emergency And Halts Official Trips to China Mainland

Several countries have breached arms embargo agreed at Libya summit: U.N.

6 thoughts on “Sunday Focus: The Bloated Beast, and this weekend’s news stories

  1. Betelgeuse in the constellation Orion: How fascinating! What boggles my mind is that we’re looking into the past when we look out into the Universe. Past and present existing as one.

    The other bloated beast: The plot thickens. What could go wrong should the Russian mob take control of America’s corridors of power in Washington? How can we be sure that they haven’t already done so?

    Liked by 1 person

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