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To The Moon, Alice

Why is it that every time a politician feels themselves sagging in the polls, they invoke some improbable, obviously impossible, pipe dream about the space program?  This pantomime is almost invariably played out in front of a NASA audience in Cape Canaveral, involves some completely ludicrous timeframe, and involved rockets.  Americans, apparently, love them some rocket action.

Today, Newt Gingrich announced that if elected president, he would personally ensure that there would be a permanent US base on the moon, rather ambitiously, during his second term.  Given the US military’s tendency to proliferate permanent bases around the world, why not in the heavenly bodies?  Anyway, he also proclaimed that he believed there would be a “continuous propulsion system” that would allow travel to Mars in more practical time frames.  Sounds like he plans to be busy in the back yard of the White House with his slide rule and some bottle rockets, as well.

This stupid plan has been trotted out by every President since Clinton, including Dubya and even Obama.  Every time one of these obviously lame attempts to invoke memories of the famous “We choose to go to the moon..” speech by John F. Kennedy that launched the Space Race is tarted up for the press I am amazed that Americans buy any of this bullshit.

Americans need to come to grips with the fact they are staring down the barrel of a prolonged, likely irreversible economic decline.  Let me put this in perspective:  When you’re fucked, your credit cards are maxed, and your house is about to be foreclosed on, you don’t go out and buy a Bugatti Veyron. Well, I guess you do, actually.. so you can wreck it and collect the insurance money.  That’s America.

For the rest of us on the planet watching so many Neros, fiddling while Rome burns, is incredible.  I realize now that Americans will never elect a politician who is a realist.  They will cast their votes for sycophants who allow them to continue the fantasy of prosperity while their world crumbles around them, all the while fanning the flames of crisis.  They have cultivated educational, governmental, electoral, and media systems that literally weed out any form of realist or fixer, because fixing what’s broken requires a change of behaviour on a mass scale.  And reality is something that the vast majority of Americans would rather leave up to a later, less fortunate, generation to endure.

Ian

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