Saturday, August 11, 2018

Space Force all the way!

Given that half of his base thinks the moon landing is a hoax, you have to wonder why Trump and Pence are so keen to kickstart the space program.  Just the same, there was Mike Pence unveiling the new "space force"  last week.

This has been a pet project of Republicans for some time now.  Newt Gingrich was pushing for moonbases during his ill-fated 2012 run for President, earning him the nickname Moonbase Newt.  But, where Newt wanted to colonize the Moon and even Mars during his proposed presidential administration, the Trump administration has something more along the lines of Reagan's Star Wars in mind, only with Russia and China as the new "evil empire" to contend with.  It didn't help that North Korea launched one of its intercontinental rockets well into the thermosphere last year.  Far higher than anyone expected they could reach.

While there are reasons to worry, do we really need a separate arm of the military to deal with it?  Given how slow things work in the Pentagon, it could be decades before they actually get a "space force" off the ground, and by then, well, all kinds of calamities might occur, given our over-heated planet.

The Pentagon worries more about global warming that it does a space race.  We are witnessing the hottest summer on record, leading to forest fires throughout the northern hemisphere, even into the Arctic Circle of Norway.  Yet, all Trump has done has throw more fuel on the fire by blaming California's environmental regulations that don't allow fire departments to pump enough fire to put these fire outs.  A bullshit claim that is a very thinly veiled attempt to endorse the Republican John Cox running for governor.

So, are we to assume all this attention given to the "space force" is some kind of political ploy as well?  Or, merely a branding ploy in an effort to leave some kind of legacy behind him should be booted from the White House in the next Congressional session?

Most likely, Newt or someone else planted this bug in his ear and he couldn't get it out of his head.  Kind of like the tariffs he felt so emboldened to initiate when some strategists told him they might rally the base in the midterm elections.  It is hard to know where these ideas come, but while we scoff his political base eats it up.

What is most curious about this is why a man who promised to cut the annual budget deficit to zero his first term in office would keep spending money left and right on projects that have very little value.  Here again, all we need to do is look at the extravagant bill he has rung up on weekend getaways the past 18 months to see this is a guy who doesn't give a rat's ass about the any budget.  He had also promised he would be so busy he would have no time to play golf.

Yet, he is literally promising America the moon.  I suppose he can't stand Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk getting all that attention with their space programs.  He plans to one-up them by creating his own space force regardless of anything NASA is doing, which is working with Bezos and Musk to develop rockets to carry its astronauts to the international space station, since it doesn't have the budget to do it on its own.  NASA has to content itself with probes like the one that failed to launch yesterday on a journey to the sun.

NASA has been working on a relatively threadbare budget for decades.  It had to mothball its space shuttle program in 2011 due to lack of funding, relying on Russia to ferry its astronauts into space.  But, nary a word in Pence's lumbering speech about NASA.  Like everything else, Buzz Trumpyear wants to rebrand the final frontier in his name, hoping that it will excite his political base this Fall, getting their minds off far more pressing concerns.  There are even patches that come with it, which not surprisingly the Internet has had a field day with.

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