Friday, April 1, 2011

More Fear Mongering from Space Coast Representatives

Rep. Bill Posey appeared before the House Budget Committee on March 30 to falsely claim that Russia and China have announced plans to colonize the Moon — and "they are not going there to collect and study rocks like we did."

On March 24, Florida Today published an editorial that lambasted Republicans who claim "the Obama administration is ceding U.S. human spaceflight to Russia."

That’s far from the truth.

President Bush made the call to fly U.S. astronauts aboard Russian rockets as part of his decision in 2004 to end the shuttle program in 2010 without having a new American rocket ready to replace the orbiters.

The move was supported by Republicans who then controlled Congress and Democrats backed it, too, when they took over in 2006. When President Obama entered the White House in 2009, the shuttle’s shutdown was well under way and the Russian policy long set.

The rhetoric accomplishes nothing, further poisoning the atmosphere when level-headed bipartisan leadership is necessary to steer NASA through the post-shuttle transition.

The editorial was an implicit rebuke of Rep. Sandy Adams, whose district includes Kennedy Space Center. Adams on March 17 sent a letter to House Budget Committee chair Rep. Paul Ryan in which she wrote:

Throughout history, scientific exploration has been a hallmark of the great nations — the ones that led. But once again, the Obama Administration's budget willingly ceded that leadership to China, Russia and India — countries that understand the importance of human space exploration. We cannot continue to accept this administration's assault on American exceptionalism and world leadership.

I addressed Ms. Adams' falsehoods in this March 24 blog. I also posted a March 22 e-mail I sent to Ms. Adams via her web site, and received an automated reply which promised a prompt response. So far, no response has been received.

Adams' Space Coast Republican congressional colleague, Rep. Bill Posey whose district includes Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, appeared on March 30 before the same House Budget Committee and managed to top Adams' nonsensical rhetoric.

You can read the transcript here, including his plagiarism of Adams' "U.S. will be ceding its leadership in space to China and Russia" line.

Posey went further than even Adams had dared.

Human space flight is a matter of national security. Space is the world's military high ground, our Golan Heights if you will.

By ceding our leadership to other nations such as China, Russia, and India we would be literally giving them the ultimate military high ground.

China and Russia have announced plans to colonize the Moon — they are not going there to collect and study rocks like we did.

Let's start with the basics.

The National Aeronautics and Space Act specifically states that all military uses of space are the purview of the Defense Department, not NASA.

... activities peculiar to or primarily associated with the development of weapons systems, military operations, or the defense of the United States (including the research and development necessary to make effective provision for the defense of the United States) shall be the responsibility of, and shall be directed by, the Department of Defense ...

Posey appears to have fabricated his claim that "China and Russia have announced plans to colonize the Moon." When? Where? How? Unless he saw a press conference the rest of us missed, Posey simply made it up.

Then he claimed, "They are not going there to collect and study rocks like we did."

Well, they're not going there, at least with people.

But China did announce on March 2 that they intend to send a robotic probe to the Moon in 2017 to collect a rock sample and return it to Earth.

So he lied about that too.

Republican or Democrat, in my opinion the Space Coast deserves better representation in Congress than those who fabricate wild claims to advance a partisan agenda.

UPDATE April 3, 2011 9:00 AM EDTFlorida Today columnist John Kelly adds his insight into Rep. Posey's remarks.

The agency remains partly paralyzed by a lack of action by Congress, as much as anything else. Posey was trying to raise that concern with the members of the committee — and the concerns are on the mark. NASA needs direction and a budget. Other members of Congress joined in the expression of outrage, pointing fingers at NASA leadership and the White House for not implementing the new space policy.

Why isn't NASA hurrying up to build the super-sized rocket that Congress wants developed? Why isn't NASA moving ahead with important decisions about how to achieve the goals it's been assigned? The chief reason is that Congress hasn't done its job and passed a federal budget to fund the policy put in place.

I have to disagree with Mr. Kelly's assertion that Posey was merely speaking out against inaction by Congress. The rhetoric in his statement placed sole blame on the Obama administration and fabricated tales to support his position.


  1. Is it my imagination, or are we getting more hyperbole nowadays than we have in the recent past?

    It's also seems bizarre that people are not bothered by such outright fabrications from our politicians - have we just come to expect stupidity as the norm from them? I know I expect more.

  2. Man where do you get your fact from? Or better, who is paying you to twist the fact around/// Having lived here and worked on this program since day one, we all clearly with out any doubt, knew in 2004 when President Bush announced the end of Shuttle that there was IN FACT a replacement system already in design and to be built, in case you forgot, it was called Constellation/Orion.. The country spent 9 billion dollars buildin it and all the facilties to fly it.. and we did fly one last year.. From 2004 thru 2007, there was never a dount we sould be building a flying this Vehicle, AND THERE WAS NEVER A WORD ABOUT THE RUSSIANS OF ANYONE ELSE flying our astronauts to the ISS...

    SO sir, if you rally want any credibility for this blog of yours.. then speak the fact, the truth not what you and your liberal friends from California want you to make us belive today.. we were here.. you just got here, by your own Bio....

    Your obviously in bed with the commercial space groups like Space X based in CA... SO don't come here spouting off lies and calling our representative liars...

    We will keeping an eye on the fact of your blog.. and if required, come out with our own fact checker for you brand social of BS...

    You been hanging around the president too.. he came here and to our face lied as well... Jerk..

  3. One other thing.. If Bush had followed up with his plan to find Constellation with congress as wes in the 2004 budge planning, we would have already been flying Constellation by now.. NASA and the contractors like the one I work for made constellation raise off the drawing board through cuts to other areas within NASA's budget.. so that natualy slowed down the production and moved dates out to the right..

    No one wants to talk about the funding and congresse lack of doing their job to pass the budgets required to keep the dates on track.. There would have been payoffs here regardless, we also knew that, but it would have been a far cry from "everyone" getting the boot..

    The socialization of this country is dumming down the USA and outsourcing our work overseas.. People like you have ruined American pride and dimmed how the world looks at us.. So you and your buddies enjoy paying the Russuans $63,000,000.00 per astronaut to the ISS... what was that contract worth.. if you forgot, it's $2.3 BILLION dollars to the Russians, and tens of thousands of highly skilled Americans out of work...

    Hows that for "Change we can belive In"...

  4. Hmmm ... I guess we're supposed to be impressed by someone who anonymously posts falsehoods.

    I've written extensively about Constellation. As documented in this entry, for example:

    ... Constellation was underfunded by the Bush administration from the get-go. No less than John McCain said so, two weeks after Bush proposed the Vision for Space Exploration. It's right there in the C-SPAN recording, five minutes into the hearing. Several other Senators of both parties agreed with him.

    You also lie when you write, " AND THERE WAS NEVER A WORD ABOUT THE RUSSIANS OF ANYONE ELSE flying our astronauts to the ISS..." (By the way, use of the CAPS LOCK is considered amateurish in the cyberworld, but knock yourself out). It's right there in the same C-SPAN recording. NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe told the committee they intended to rely on the Russians to reach ISS until a replacement was ready. Senator Nelson criticized his four-year estimate, saying it would be much longer.

    It was also on Page 1 of the January 30, 2004 Florida Today, which I documented here:

    Constellation was over budget, behind schedule and badly managed. The non-partisan Government Accountability Agency issued several audits during the Bush administration warning of these problems. The final audit was released in August 2009, shortly after Obama took office, but most of the work was performed before the administration change. The audit concluded that Constellation lacked "a sound business case" because Ares was being built to go the ISS, but ISS was being decommissioned in 2015 to pay for Ares, therefore we had no need for it.

    I welcome your use of a "fact checker." You might want to start with yourself. You could use a spell checker too.