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NASA Politics

Partisan Food Fight Erupts Over NASA, Commercial Space 164

Posted by Soulskill
from the we-strongly-support-things-that-poll-well dept.
RocketAcademy writes "Until recently, space policy has been a non-partisan issue. Even when politicians disagreed on space-policy issues, that disagreement rarely aligned with party lines. That has changed in the last few years. Now, one organization is throwing fuel on the political fire. The Space Frontier Foundation has called Republicans the Party of Big Government Space. SFF is upset about the GOP platform, which lacks specifics about space policy. According to the SFF, the GOP 'has nothing but hackneyed praise for NASA, and doesn't even mention the increasing role of the private sector.' The Obama campaign quickly echoed the statement. But NASA Watch points out that the Democratic platform is even less specific than the GOP's. Others express concerns that partisanship harms space policy."
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Partisan Food Fight Erupts Over NASA, Commercial Space

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  • by symbolset (646467) * on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @05:48PM (#41228803) Journal
    Every new administration we get to keep things fresh by having an entirely new space policy. The incoming administration gets to label the prior efforts a billion-dollar boondoggle and ashcan it, putting their unique stamp on a whole new paradigm that can achieve new heights of replicating prior work until it, too, is ashcanned by the next administration before too much progress is made.
    • by schnell (163007) <meNO@SPAMschnell.net> on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @06:19PM (#41229145) Homepage

      I know you're making a joke, but there is at least one grain of serious truth to it. Given how boneheaded the last few administrations' plans for the manned spaceflight program have been, the fact that they keep getting changed has actually prevented us from spending ridiculous sums of money on the them. Can you imagine - at a time when millions of Americans are jobless and without healthcare - what the public backlash would be against the space program if we were actually spending hundreds of billions of dollars a year on a manned Mars mission or (to a lesser $$$ figure) Constellation? In the meantime, that indecision and flailing has left the door open for private spaceflight projects to fill the "useful" void of reliable, cost-effective transport to LEO and GEO.

      So while on one hand the political ping-pong game over NASA has resulted in billions of dollars in waste and squandered the talents of our best and brightest, on the other hand it has prevented us from spending hundreds of billions on bad ideas. Not exactly the tradeoff you want, but I'm trying to find the upside here...

      • by frosty_tsm (933163) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @07:08PM (#41229571)
        Hundreds of billions going to what? People's salaries, government contractors, and some natural resources. The money isn't being burnt (except maybe when a test rocket blows up ;-). One way the government can help the economy is by judicious spending (this is why a sudden cut of spending can cause a recession by itself). Just as we might spend billions on space exploration, we spend multitudes more on defense (for arguably a lesser accomplishment for mankind).
        • Feel the burn (Score:2, Insightful)

          by SuperKendall (25149)

          Hundreds of billions going to what? People's salaries, government contractors, and some natural resources. The money isn't being burnt

          Yes it is.

          That is a MASSIVE opportunity cost from what private industry could have done with the same funds.

          For every NASA worker private industry could probably hire two or more people. For every billion spent private industry could have created 10 billion in return for every billion spent, if it had not been taken from them.

          I love NASA, NASA did thigns no-one else could ha

          • by asylumx (881307)

            For every NASA worker private industry could probably hire two or more people.

            Ah, but they won't. That would cut into their profit margins -- something the gov't doesn't have to be concerned with. I have watched plenty of fortune 500, multi-billion dollar companies work with skeleton teams to accomplish their goals. If we're going to be serious about space travel, skeleton crews on the ground are not going to cut it.

            So back to your statement... It's possibly true that private industry *could* hire t

            • by GNious (953874)

              Skeleton crews on the launch-vehicles, shuttles, spacestations - that would work, since they weigh less and store easily for transport!

              what?

      • Can you imagine - at a time when millions of Americans are jobless and without healthcare - what the public backlash would be against the space program if we were actually spending hundreds of billions of dollars a year on a manned Mars mission or (to a lesser $$$ figure) Constellation?

        I know, really! Imagine what the public backlash would be against actually spending TRILLIONS of dollars on a needless oil war and secret police regime...

      • by MightyYar (622222)

        The Bush plan to Mars would have supposedly cost $120 billion over 15 years. Double that, because the government can never come in on-budget, and you still are talking about $16 billion / year. That's an absolute pittance by Federal government standards, and nowhere near the pitchforks-in-the-streets hundreds of billions per year you suggest. Bush's father proposed a plan that would have cost far more, but when NASA ran the numbers it was abandoned.

        • by tsotha (720379)

          Bush knew his plan would never actually be implemented. Any plan for NASA that has all the costs back-loaded will never happen, and everyone ought to realize the whole point is a photo op and a few inches of news copy.

          I'm no fan of Obama, but for me the one bright spot of his administration has been his stewardship of NASA, which should never have been in the business of LEO operations.

          • by jamstar7 (694492)

            Bush knew his plan would never actually be implemented. Any plan for NASA that has all the costs back-loaded will never happen, and everyone ought to realize the whole point is a photo op and a few inches of news copy.

            I'm no fan of Obama, but for me the one bright spot of his administration has been his stewardship of NASA, which should never have been in the business of LEO operations.

            Pretty much this. Some nice column inches, some great photo ops, and a shitpile of pork to key Congressional districts is all . Let's face it, the only job of a Congresscritter is to get re-elected, and how best to do that than grabbing all the pork he can for his district and maybe create a couple jobs?

      • by symbolset (646467) *

        My joke is sad but all good jokes are. We laugh because we dare not cry. Of course there's a grain of truth in it. Otherwise it wouldn't be funny. (It has somehow avoided funny moderation though. Maybe the sadness of it is leaking through).

        So while on one hand the political ping-pong game over NASA has resulted in billions of dollars in waste and squandered the talents of our best and brightest, on the other hand it has prevented us from spending hundreds of billions on bad ideas.

        The problem is that we've avoided almost all ideas, both good and bad from being followed through. Research might be considered wasteful sometimes, in the sense that oil exploration drills many holes - many of which are dry. But to drill all holes halfway to wher

      • by whitroth (9367)

        Hundreds of billions? When or where has *anyone* in Congress, or elsewhere, advocated that?

        Snap quiz:
        0. What's NASA's budget, and what percentage is it of the US national budget?
        1. Do the techs and engineers who work on the ships, and the companies that build the parts and materials,
        have jobs? Do their jobs count?
        2. When NASA's budget is irregular, and cut, so that trained people leave, and go elsewhere for other jobs,

    • by ganjadude (952775)
      So true, which makes the claim even funnier. From my memory, the previous admin set forth major plans which were all but stripped by this admin, and they changed the course even further with this lovely bit http://usgovinfo.about.com/b/2010/07/07/obama-tells-nasa-to-improve-muslim-relations.htm [about.com]

      how did we go from not being in space - to the moon - in a decade however now we cant even seem to get out of our own way? as a long time space entheusiest, I was even a part of a club that watched the jupiter col
      • by Teancum (67324) <robert_horning@ n e tzero.net> on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @12:30AM (#41231681) Homepage Journal

        The previous administration (aka NASA under Mike Griffin in the Bush Administration) proposed a program so horrible that an independent and non-partisan group of industry experts [wikipedia.org] recommended strongly that those programs be immediately terminated. On top of that, they proposed realistic alternatives and laid out the possible directions for future spaceflight initiatives that NASA could consider.

        The amazing thing here was that Obama actually listened to that independent commission. If you haven't read that report and still perpetuate the notion that shutting down those programs was a bad thing, at least try to intelligently refute these people who have presented some pretty strong arguments for the current direction of spaceflight in America.

        I don't agree with almost any other program that Obama has done and I think he is incompetent as President along with a general dislike of the guy's policies or even governing philosophies. Still, of all of the things he has accomplished, one of the best was to appoint Charles Bolden as head of NASA and to support the adoption of many recommendations from this commission.

        My largest gripe against Obama and space policy is that I see his commitment to that policy to be dead last in the USA. Charles Bolden was nearly the last (or may have even been the very last one) of the major departments or agencies to have a director/administrator appointed as its head. I haven't seen Obama really care much about space policy, but he also isn't hurting in this area of expertise either.

    • The beauty of Commercial Space is, it doesn't cost taxpayers anything. As a matter of fact, it does the opposite of cost, it generates jobs and tax revenue. The pragmatist in me thinks commercial space corporations need to hurry up and get big enough to graft along with big boys so they can get a place at the troughs of power, and we can get space exploration moving again.

      Say what you want about the East India Trading Company, it really tied the planet together...

      • by symbolset (646467) *

        The pragmatist in me thinks commercial space corporations need to hurry up and get big enough to graft along with big boys so they can get a place at the troughs of power, and we can get space exploration moving again.

        Maybe sooner than you think. And this wallowing at the trough does cost the taxpayer. Not that I mind that. One of the key purposes of government seems to be to deplete the surplus productivity and prevent dangerous excess idleness thereby. The problem with wasting tax money on space research is that left unmolested those darned engineers will actually invent things that improve the average productivity and thereby make the idleness problem worse! Which is why it's important to reorganize them periodic

      • I think it only doesn't cost taxpayers anything if things go well. If there is an accident with lots of collateral damage, then the government has to pay for it (even commercial flights are insured by the government).

      • by necro81 (917438)

        The beauty of Commercial Space is, it doesn't cost taxpayers anything

        I understand the point you are trying to make, but have you forgotten the large development grants and contracts that NASA has been giving to these companies? SpaceX probably would have run out of operating capital it if hadn't landed the ISS supply contracts (starting with the demonstrator missions). SpaceX would also have been hard pressed to get anything off the ground if it didn't have access to Cape Canaveral and Vandenberg AFB.

      • by lennier (44736)

        The beauty of Commercial Space is, it doesn't cost taxpayers anything.

        You sure it doesn't? Someone's paying the bills for that commercial launch operation, and it's probably the guy who wants the payload launched. That might be your TV company, or your phone company, as long as it's about exploiting already well-developed markets in well-understood technologies. And you know for sure that that launch cost will be included as a surcharge in your monthly bill, which for a ubiquitous service is pretty hard to distinguish from a "tax". But for innovative stuff that might or migh

  • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @05:49PM (#41228807)

    That's how it sounds: They are complaining that the GOP relies too much on NASA, and doesn't provide enough incentives for private space companies. (I wonder if they think the DNC is any better?)

    • by jamstar7 (694492) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @11:42PM (#41231407)
      The GOP is all about the big business. Boeing, Lockheed, et al would have folded if not for government cost-plus contracts that pay even when nothing is delivered, and have all those nifty cost overruns built right into them. It's The Way It's Done in the aerospace industry. If they manage to get control of both Congress and the White House, expect the 'traditional' aerospace companies to be deregulated and piled in pork while outfits like SpaceX get buried under red tape. Can't have these young upstarts changing The Way It's Done, especially with the next round of elections only a bit over 2 years away...
      • by steelfood (895457)

        Boeing, Lockheed, et al would have folded if not for government cost-plus contracts that pay even when nothing is delivered, and have all those nifty cost overruns built right into them.

        It also subsidizes the civilian arms of these companies, as well as heavily promotes aerospace research within them. Military research projects can eventually find use in civilian contexts.

        Not to say that there isn't a better way, but there are benefits to the general public. My inclination is to see this money go to universities, and knowledge to go into the public domain, since it's government-funded. But government funding some research is better than none.

        Of course, given the state of science and techno

      • by cpu6502 (1960974)

        Would rather have taxdollars funding aerospace & defense (note I said defense, not offensive war) than the Democrat methodology of funding green companies that eventually go bankrupt (Solyndra was merely the first of several dozen), or building trains that run into the middle of the California desert where nobody lives, or extending subways from the edge of Baltimore to the edge of the mountains (these new extensions average a mere 2 persons per trip). Waste, waste, and more waste. Except they do achi

  • Partisanship might not be good for the space program but it sure is good for page views!

  • by noobermin (1950642) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @05:54PM (#41228869) Journal

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/wp/2012/07/13/13-reasons-why-this-is-the-worst-congress-ever/ [washingtonpost.com]

    You don't need to read it all, the first reason says it all. The entire point of congressional sessions is ot discuss and the whole point of discussion is to change minds. There is none of that from this congress and thus, they don't do their jobs but they get paid anyway.

    • by guises (2423402)
      You should read it all though, that was a good article. Thanks.
      • It is a good article. It sounds awfully partisan but I somewhat agree with the main point that the tea party holds a large stake in the blame. Still, there are two sides to every conflict so the continued blood spilling owes to dems too. I personally don't worry too much about the Presidency, well, full disclosure, I do lean towards Obama but even if Romney gets elected and shows his more moderate stance from, you know, before this whole shenanigan of moving to the right, I fear the tea party will even bloc

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I was expecting to see pictures of a huge food fight that broke out on the ISS.

    Now I'm disappointed. Assholes.

  • by RabidReindeer (2625839) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @06:01PM (#41228957)

    Dang. I was looking forward to flying Tang and freeze-dried ice cream.

    Can't the idiotologues leave ANYTHING in peace?

  • DNC Versus Obama (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    But NASA Watch points out that the Democratic platform is even less specific than the GOP's.

    Yeah, that blogger appears to be right about the DNC. But Obama's got specifics with a track record [barackobama.com]. What scares me is that Romney says he'll privatize as much as possible. He's quoted as saying [cnn.com]:

    “I think fundamentally there are some people—and most of them are Democrats, but not all—who really believe that the government knows how to do things better than the private sector And they happen to be wrong.”

    He promises to cut non-defense spending and NASA is a non-defense expense that politicians are pushing hard to privatize.

    • by AK Marc (707885)
      A "sector" doesn't know anything. You might as well argue a cow knows about making cheese and pasteurization because it's from the dairy sector.

      If the problem is that the better people stay away from public service, doesn't that point to a different solution? If the problem is the wishy-washy Congress asserting control over agency internal actions, doesn't that point to a different solution?

      From where I sit, it looks like the Republicans assert that the government is incompetent, while trying to get ele
  • by Riddler Sensei (979333) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @06:05PM (#41228989)

    I had been under the impression that for some time a large portion of the political bickering regarding NASA was over whose state got what pork as opposed to toeing the party line.

    • by tsotha (720379)
      As far as Congress is concerned, NASA is there to provide jobs to their constituents. If something science-y happens in the meantime, well, that's great, but it's not the driving motivation.
  • What is private? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tomhath (637240) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @06:06PM (#41229003)

    If NASA is funding development then it's not private.

    If private companies want to develop their own space vehicles and offer their service for hire that's fine, but it's in addition to what NASA does (that's the Republican platform). Democrat platform seems to depend on what state the day's speech is delivered in.

    • by Nyeerrmm (940927)

      You're right that the nomenclature is confusing. "Private" in this case means that the NASA is attempting to kickstart a competitive market by putting itself out there as a guaranteed customer -- very similarly to how the USPS helped jump-start the commercial airline industry by guaranteeing itself as a customer to use airmail. In the end, an SLS vehicle will be owned by NASA, while a Dragon capsule or Dream Chaser vehicle will be owned by their respective companies, and are free to sell rides to anyone e

    • by jonwil (467024) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @08:39PM (#41230247)

      Its not about "Private" vs "Public". Its about a fundamental shift in the way NASA buys things.

      Under the new system (the one Obama is so fond of), NASA is paying fixed amounts of money to private companies for fixed deliverables. This gives an incentive to companies doing the work to reduce costs as much as possible, to not reinvent the wheel if they dont need to, to use as few staff as they need to use to get the job done and generally to do more with less.

      The old way (which is how the space shuttle got built and very much like the way the military buys large things like aircraft or tanks) involved the government having a lot more say in exactly how things were built, where they got built, which companies got to make which bits etc. (just look at the pressure from a number of congressmen to get NASA funding bills passed that basically say "whatever NASA builds next, it MUST use the rockets made by ATK systems"). It resulted in a lot of inefficiencies that were bad for the total cost of these projects but got there because someone in congress wanted some factory or facility in their state and wanted the jobs and benefits that come with it.

      • Re:What is private? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Teancum (67324) <robert_horning@ n e tzero.net> on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @10:00PM (#41230805) Homepage Journal

        There is a time and a place for "cost-plus" contracts that have been traditionally used by NASA over the years (along with the Department of Defense for a great many projects). It is based upon the very successful model used for the Manhattan Project, where a bold goal was established by the government... something seen as critical perhaps even to the survival of the country itself. As to if that was true for building a nuclear bomb or flying people to the Moon could be debated, but the point is that those were set out as significant goals that simply had to be met, and how much it cost to get them accomplished was of relatively minor importance.

        It is also important to note that while there were scientists who said that such endeavors were in theory possible, nobody knew at all how to actually get them accomplished. It really is exploring the frontier of human knowledge, where going to the Moon wasn't even conclusively proven to be even possible using any kind of machine on a practical level. Certainly entire new technologies had to be invented from scratch for both the Manhattan Project and the Apollo Project. If you asked even well respected contractors how much it was going to cost to build those devices, they would just give you a blank stare. Oh, they might come up with a rough estimate, but the truth is nobody knew how much it was really going to cost. It had never been done before, so there was no possible way to even remotely guess a great many of the costs. Certainly no sane contractor would ever enter into a contract with the government to produce a device or provide a service when they can't even reliably depend upon even the order of magnitude for the costs they will come into.

        That is why you need to have the government take the risk of the costs for such significant endeavors, which is the "cost" part of the contracting model. The "plus" is a guaranteed profit that the company will earn simply for participating and getting involved with such a project. That makes shareholders happy, but it also allows us as citizens to receive the benefits of a company which has the skills and equipment necessary to pull off such important national endeavors.

        One of the problems after the Apollo project (and the Manhattan Project in terms of DOD contracts) is that it was considered normal to use such a contracting model for everything else, even if they didn't need such a contract. Sending people into space to go and dock with the ISS is something with a long history and a great many rockets that have been developed over the years capable of such a feat. It is indeed possible to estimate fairly well how much it will cost to perform such a launch down to just a few dollars. For that reason, the cost-plus contracts really should have been abandoned a long time ago.

        Going to Mars still has a whole bunch of unknowns about it, and for building the actual spacecraft or even the forward logistical supplies that need to be sent to Mars ahead of time is something that isn't really well known. There have been several spacecraft that have gone to Mars already, so there is at least some history there... it doesn't need to be purely cost-plus, but there might still be some role to play for using that model.

        The SLS program is one that is using the "cost-plus" contracting model, which is one of the reasons why it will eventually die as a huge embarrassment to the good United States Senators who held advanced degrees in aeronautical engineering and designed the program through legislation in the first place. It shouldn't be all that complicated to send a big rocket into low-Earth orbit from Kennedy Space Center. Heck, the SLS won't even be the largest vehicle sent from KSC into LEO.

  • by Vylen (800165) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @06:07PM (#41229015)

    Seriously, the headline had me thinking it was about a fight over food supplies in space with issues regarding commercial vendors to supply NASA or something.

    Greatly disappointed :(

  • Um, yeah... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rickb928 (945187) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @06:24PM (#41229199) Homepage Journal

    Partisanship harms ALL policy. It is inevitable in our system, but for the past few cycles it has been an increasingly more violent atmosphere (blatant space lingo there) that is harming a lot more than just space policy.

    The solution? Smarter and more involved voters. Politicians will not change unless we make them. We let this happen.

    And while I'm a Republican, space exploration is what government does better, so far, than private industry. We should be doing a LOT more. But I would happily exchange that initiative for an Apollo-style alternative energy program to render fossil fuels largely obsolete in 10 years. A manned mission to mars would ahve impact on our science, engineering, etc, so either project is a drvier for me. But making NASA a political football makes no sense, unless you're just a partisan that needs something to argue over.

    ps - Side note, blame the Republicans all you want, remembering that the other parties are not innocent of the same problem - arguing anything for the sake of it.

    • Re:Um, yeah... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by artor3 (1344997) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @07:47PM (#41229889)

      ps - Side note, blame the Republicans all you want, remembering that the other parties are not innocent of the same problem - arguing anything for the sake of it.

      False equivalence. The Democrats have never focused so single-mindedly on the destruction of a president. You're just telling yourself that the Dems are just as bad as a defense mechanism.

      Only one party threatened to cut off unemployment benefits for millions if they didn't get a tax cut extension for the rich.

      Only one party forced the country to default on its debts in order to force major budget cuts to both military and domestic program, and then even had the gall to try to renege on the military cuts.

      Only one party proposed cap and trade as a capitalist alternative to environmental regulations, and then called it socialism when the other guys tried to implement it.

      Only one party proposed an individual mandate as a capitalist alternative to single-payer health care, and then screamed about "death panels" when the other guys tried to implement it.

      Only one party proposed giving illegal immigrants a path to citizenship through military service or college, and then screamed "amnesty!" when the other guys tried to implement it.

      The Republicans today are nothing like those of the 90s or 80s or 70s or any other point in time. They're nothing like this country has ever seen. They've realized that politics is just a game, and they can break the game by refusing to negotiate on anything. Our country cannot survive that sort of game-breaking exploit. If people like you don't wise up and punish them for it, we're through.

      • The Dems really are bad, you just don't realize it because you're so partisan.

        Which president filled his staff with ex-Goldman Sachs execs? If you said Obama, you are right. If you said Bush, you are also right. If you said Clinton, you are also right.

        The candidate who says, "Any bank that receives a federal bailout will be broken up. Any bank that is too big to fail is to big to exist," will have my vote. I don't care if he's republican, democrat, or independent, I'm voting for that.

        Don't fall for th
      • by rickb928 (945187)

        "False equivalence. The Democrats have never focused so single-mindedly on the destruction of a president. You're just telling yourself that the Dems are just as bad as a defense mechanism."

        You wrote that? Nixon resigned. Despite being guilty, the Democratic Party focused so single-mindedly on Nixon that he left office. Rightly or not, this was the beginning of the politics of public personal destruction. Nixon was guilty. The Democrats destroyed him.

        "Only one party threatened to cut off unemployment b

  • by Nutria (679911) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @06:24PM (#41229201)

    until someone both
    (a) invents a new and *highly* efficient engine that's both high-thrust and high specific impulse and
    (b) and small, high-wattage, long-lasting energy source that doesn't need tons of shielding.

    Until then, humans are going no further than the Moon, and even then just for short term National Pride visits.

    • by OzPeter (195038)

      and even then just for short term National Pride visits.

      I just had a vision of a NASA pride rally.. oooh that wasn't good.

    • by symbolset (646467) * on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @08:49PM (#41230317) Journal
      Not really. You can do a lot with LH2/LO2 if you have enough of it on orbit to boost a LEO craft out beyond cislunar space. Planetary Resources has the start of a plan, big-money backing, and they're cash-flow positive. I think they've got good odds of kickstarting something interesting.
    • NERVA. Been there. Done it. Need to bring it back, but using thorium instead.

      While It will not serve to launch here (too many idiots here), it can be used for solar system transport of humans and robots, as wells as launches on/off the moon and mars.
  • by bmo (77928) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @06:26PM (#41229207)

    ...come out and endorse doubling NASA's budget.

    Then the Republicans will do an about-face and claim that Obama isn't supporting private space initiatives and they will claim to double their support for Space-X and whatnot.

    Republicanism is party before country and "whatever it is, I'm against it."

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtMV44yoXZ0 [youtube.com]

    --
    BMO

  • by greg_barton (5551) <greg_barton@ya[ ].com ['hoo' in gap]> on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @06:26PM (#41229213) Homepage Journal

    It's trans-partisan. Obama, supposedly the most liberal human being since the big bang, has reformed The space race to rely more on the private sector. This isn't mentioned in the Democratic platform because the hard core lefties don't like it. It isn't mentioned in the Republican platform because it made the hard core righties' heads assplode.

    Meanwhile a middle of the road solution was found that is working fine. Mission accomplished.

  • by WindBourne (631190) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @06:28PM (#41229229) Journal
    The republicans have continued to gut over and over the private space. In addition, they were the ones that gutted NASA back in the late 90's and stopping them from doing the original COTS program that was suggested in 1994. Worse, they have continued to fight against funding for private space while pushing multiple (3-5 Billion PER YEAR) to their key programs such as Constellation and now the god foresaken SLS.

    yes, some dems have joined these dark creatures of the night, but the neo-cons that control the republican party are far more interested in helping themselves and their friends rather than the nation. Even now, I am fully aware that MY representative, Mark Coffman, takes money from a company that he KNOWS is owned by the Chinese gov. The fuck who screams patriotism would rather take money from China than help America. GD pricks.

    Sadly, other than O, the dems are absolutely USELESS. They have no sense of loyalty to either nation or party. Instead, they are bunch of fuck-ups. The only reason why they do not sux worse then the neo-cons is that the neo-cons are pretty much committing treason against the nation and have been actively working to destroy unions, etc. IOW, they consider it a higher priority to destroy unions (which they could have self-destructed on their own) then to help the nation.

    We need 2 answers: a third party of social moderate/fiscal conservative (nixon was the last time that a republican was a fiscal conservative), and RootStrikers to get amendments on the constitution. We need to kill off all of the dark creatures of the night within the republicans party (or simply stake them all), and re-bury the zombies in the dem party, while creating a new party.
    • by ganjadude (952775)
      you do know that obama is borrowing money from china at an alarming rate rather than cut spending, so.... i guess obama is one of them GD pricks you speak of
      • by WindBourne (631190) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @09:03PM (#41230403) Journal
        First off, he inherited a 3/4 T deficit from W. (the constant .5T / year deficit of W/neo-cons is what cratered our economy in the FIRST place). O cranked it up to 1.2T for the first year due the great depression that we were looking at. Then O did a 1T for the second, while the 3rd year should have been cut, but he did not (which is why I have issues with this last year).
        BUT, he is the one that worked with Boehner to do cuts and then cantor came in and gutted it. Then when Cantor did his theatrics of saying that they would cut a deal with the dems, but that O was to be excluded, O simply insisted that if they failed, that automatic cuts happen THIS COMING YEAR. Well, the neo-cons FAILED (yeah, like that is new) and then blamed O for it all.

        The fact is, that O has been being gutted by the neo-cons in an attempt to crater him. And THEY are the ones wasting money on building launcher that depend on using manufacturers in their areas wasting 3-5B / year, while screaming about less than 1B/year for a couple of years to get MULTIPLE cheap private space going. No doubt had McCain been in office, private space would have been gutted and the SLS would have been bumped up to 5B/year and still would not be ready until 2024.

        As I said, I am not wild about O, but compared to the vampire republicans and the zombies dems, he is at least alive and mostly useful. I really hate the fact that he is pushing for cuts in our nuke warheads as well as that insane cap/trade, not dealing effectively with our lack of nuclear power (we should spend money on thorium power), and the issues with China.

        However, even romney has said that the economy is MUCH better off then it was 4 years ago, which is a good sign.
      • by jamstar7 (694492)
        El Presidente doesn't hand Congress a budget for consideration, Congress hands him a budget for his approval. And they haven't even done that in the last three years because they want him to fall flat on his ass. Why do you think we ran into the debt ceiling in the first place? The only 'cuts' in spending and 'increases' in taxes in the last three years are ones that were put in place before Obama showed up at the table and Congress couldn't ratfuck.
  • 16 Trillion reasons (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nevermindme (912672) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @06:50PM (#41229423)
    16 Trillion reasons not to spend more than keeping life support on for NASA. When there are less than 50% of US citizens are dependent on some type of federal aid to keep above bankruptcy it might be time to go to the moon. And when college students can afford to pay tuition from the earnings of part time job and not finance the basic education until there retirement perhaps mars would be in reach of American Astronauts. We will need to go backwards for a bit to rebuild ourselves.
    • by ancientt (569920)

      You make a good case. I think I'm in favor of government spending on big technology projects and NASA's 0.5% slice of spending makes me feel like we're placing our priorities in the wrong place. When you mention the debt though, and I realize my personal share is $51,147.22 as it stands today, I really want to see us reprioritize. Debt is 103% of GDP right now and that's a pretty shocking figure. When you try to figure out how to deal with a debt like that, you need a growing economy or a shrinking budget,

    • by symbolset (646467) *
      Come on. That's just funny money anyway. Nobody seriously believes that debt will ever be paid, do they? Even now we have candidates for national office crowing about how they're each going to reduce the tax burden that doesn't even come close to covering running expenses.
  • by T-Bucket (823202) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @11:35PM (#41231359) Homepage

    Seriously, none of this will matter in a few years. At the rate we're LOSING space capability we won't even be able to use a telescope by the end of the decade. 40+ years ago we could land on the moon, now we're paying the russians to send people into space for us. It's embarassing. What the hell is left to have partisan fights over?!? Where we're going to spend the money they yank from what used to be the space program budget?

  • by wonkey_monkey (2592601) on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @05:31AM (#41232895) Homepage

    Partisan Food Fight

    What does this mean? Is "food fight" a well-known metaphor for something? This situation doesn't sound like good-natured, if creamy, horseplay.

    Now, one organization is throwing fuel on the political fire.

    Okay, which idiot brought fuel to a food fight?

    It's about time everyone put their battleaxes back in the scabbard. They've made their cake, and now they have to lie in it.

  • This sentence from Mitt Romney just doesn't compute:

    For example, his “Utility MACT” rule is purportedly aimed at reducing mercury pollution, yet the EPA estimates that the rule will cost $10 billion to reduce mercury pollution by only $6 million (with an “m”).

    How do you reduce mercury pollution by "$6 million"? Does this guy have any idea what mercury is?

...there can be no public or private virtue unless the foundation of action is the practice of truth. - George Jacob Holyoake

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