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Obama and His Space Cadet
It seems President-elect Obama's transition team clashed
with the head of NASA last week about how much the space agency can cut from its budget. According to an article in the Orlando Sentinel
Obama's people want to cancel the Ares rocket and Orion capsule program, which would eventually return Americans to the moon and then, later, take our space travelers to Mars. NASA Administrator Mike Griffin wants nothing to do with axing the Ares/Orion work, and rumors
are swirling that a meeting last week between Griffin and Obama's transition member for space-related matters, Lori Garver, got pretty ugly.
It is worth noting that Lori Garver used to be an Associate Administrator at NASA. Her stint at the space agency
consisted for the most part of being nothing more than a "public affairs officer." She was not involved in engineering, planning, budgeting, or any other hands-on work there. Once she had done her time on Uncle Sam's tab, she started her own "consulting firm" called Capital Space LLC, which is rather hard to track down but seems to be involved in sucking up public funds for private entrepreneurial endeavors related to space transport. One of her consulting gigs involves DFI International
, where her job is to "...assist DFI's senior management in strategic planning and business development activities related to the firm's corporate space practice."
Yes, Obama's Lori Garver is a corporate shill of the worst kind: she's a "consultant."
Read that: "lobbyist." Just like countless others, she parlayed a stint in public service to start a "consulting" business so she could rent her little Blackberry of access to government insiders; and given that she now makes her dime with paychecks from the private sector, she has every incentive to interfere with NASA's public space programs because she's a point person for private companies that want to take over what is going to be a hugely lucrative business for the rest of the 21st Century.
Space transport? There's going to be way
too much money in that business to let the public sector do it.
Anyway, the folks at NASA really shouldn't be worried about its future manned space program getting canned. The way Barack Obama is promising to spend money like there's no tomorrow, federal budget deficits that are already staggering thanks to years of Bush Administration madness will now go so high that we can just strap astronauts on them and make it to Mars in no time. As Buzz Lightyear would say, "To infinity and BEYOND
Oh, yes, one more thing. Obama and his people want NASA Administrator Griffin out. This is the same Obama cabal that has no problem with the likes of Defense Secretary Robert Gates and FBI Director Robert Mueller staying in their positions. Robert Gates, whose unbelievably appalling history
is a disgrace to this nation, and Robert Mueller, a man who has shredded
any right to privacy Americans might once have enjoyed, get to stay; but the head of NASA has to go.
Yeah. Right. That makes sense.
No, really, it does
. But only if you stop thinking Obama's presidency is something other than the Bush Administration with every bit of the arrogance, a whole lot of the corruption, a good dose of the viciousness, more than a hint of the short-sightedness, but not one shred of the incompetence.
The 21st Century, Epilogue
, will now continue.
Star wars between NASA head and Obama transition team
Ye cannae evaluate my space program! Ye dinnae have the power!
That's probably not exactly what NASA administrator Michael Griffin told Lori Garver, who is heading up Barack Obama's space transition team. But according to the Orlando Sentinel, that's the gist of it.
I'm having a bit of a problem following the story line here.
It seems that Mike Griffin doesn't want to cooperate with questions from Lori Garver because she's not an engineer, so he wants to talk to Obama instead?
Isn't that rather like saying that, because she's not a teacher, a student should not ask the professor questions and the professor should talk to the dean instead?
(Poor analogy, I know.)
Good afternoon, Moody Blue.
There's far more to the story. Griffin delivered detailed information not just to Obama's people, but to the Bush Administration and Congress all along. NASA's transparency might be somewhat in question, but overall, the budgetary details have been crystal clear. The Obama transition team wanted to "look under the hood" (as they described it) merely for the purpose of demonstrating their power over the Griffin budget, which is to say that they were signaling that their gal, Lori Garver, had something close to absolute power over Griffen, her former superior.
Now, that word "superior" has a whole lot of meaning here besides the fact that he was her boss. First, she was nothing but a PAO, and that is a job that put her nowhere in the same universe with the highly educated, highly trained, highly experienced people who are the backbone, nerves, and brains of NASA.
Furthermore, everybody including Griffen knows what Lori Garver is really all about. Private space "exploration" companies are just giddy about the commercial potential of near-interplanetary space.
Think "trucking" and the potential to capitalizing on the movements of personnel and (far more importantly) materials, both raw and refined, in the decades ahead.
Also, think "military" and the money that will be made in moving privatized war-making machinery into and out of near-space.
That's what Lori is all about. She is a corporate shill, and Griffin is not. Neither are the insiders at NASA stupid. They know what's going to happen when you put corporate interests directly in a budgetary authority line with a side order of Democrats desperately looking for nickels and dimes to cut while they blather grandiosely of trillion dollar plans to "revive" the economy.
Obama talks about repairing and upgrading our infrastructure? Well, maybe he needs to join the 21st Century and get the clue that near-space is part of the infrastructure waiting to be repaired, upgraded, and updated.
If we don't do it, rest assured, the Chinese, the Russians, the Indians, and the Europeans will; and they won't be stupid enough to think this is a privatization affair.
They will also not be foolish enough not to link the commercialization of space to its weaponization.
We're the ones who might be stupid enough to ignore the future, as interesting, dangerous, and ugly as it's going to be.
The Dark Wraith might even live long enough to say, "Told ya so."
Thank you for making it clearer, Wraith. (The student had to ask, didn't she?! And there I was, thinking the weird part was that Obama wasn't an engineer either! Goodness!)
I do agree that our infrastructure is sorely in need of attention, although I do have a tendency to think that which is on earth in our country really needs some major repair, upgrading and updating, too: you can't get there from here if there’s no "here" there.
(And the thought of any weaponry in space sends chills up my spine. This world needs to make a pact to stand down from that sort of thing. IMO)
I can't figure out where the heck all the funding is going to come from, when the everyday taxpayers are already over burdened, the country is up past its eyeballs in debt and the economy is in the toilet.
Obama will simply create electronic currency out of nothing at all.
The creation of money doesn't even require paper anymore, it's only limited by how many data bits we use in our software.
We have the capacity to create more dollars than there are subatomic particles in the universe.
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