Obama's Move To Wreck NASA
Spurs Patriots to Impeachment
by Nancy Spannaus
Feb. 19—While Lyndon LaRouche is still the only major public figure in the United States to call for the impeachment of President Barack Obama—the last straw being Obama's endangering the very future of the nation by eliminating NASA's manned space mission—the popular uproar against the NASA cuts as a strategic threat to the United States is growing by the day. The President is already seen as a total loser, within the Democratic Party, as the dramatic departure of Indiana's Democratic Senator Evan Bayh underscored. But, under the leadership of LaRouche, his political action committee and the national campaign of three LaRouche Youth Movement Congressional candidates are defining the issue: Either we get this British puppet to leave office—by impeachment or resignation—or the nation won't survive.
The Congress will begin to hold hearings on the Obama Administration's proposed NASA budget Feb. 24 and 25—only the first step in the processs that could turn the President's abominable proposal into law. If the opposition to the budget remains limited to the three key states that house the manned space program, namely, Alabama, Florida, and Texas, it will be virtually impossible to stop the Administration's program. The Obama political team was canny enough to spread around "goodies" in the NASA budget, meant to buy off Senators and Congressmen in districts with science labs, with the intent of preventing them from fighting for the NASA mission, and the nation, as a whole.
In fact, so confident is the Obama team that it will be able to ram through the murder of NASA, that, according to a letter by 29 Congressmen issued Feb. 12 (see below), the Administration has already begun, preemptively, to shut down the Constellation program (for manned spaceflight, including a return to the Moon and possibly on to Mars), by disapproving one contract related to the Ares-I rocket, before even presenting the Obama proposal to cancel Constellation. As the legislators point out, however, this action flies in the face of Congress's express decision, and thus, may be in violation of law.
A fight over legal technicalities will not save NASA, however. Congress must be forced to fight on the basis that Obama's proposed cuts threaten the very Constitutional commitment of the United States to scientific and technological progress, and he must go, either by his own choice, or that of the people.
U.S. Existence Is at Stake
In his Feb. 3 call for Obama's impeachment, LaRouche declared: "President Barack Obama's stated intention, to shut down and destroy the NASA program at its root, when added to the Hitler-like health-care policy, and the general, destructive features of all other leading Obama policies, is one step too far to bear.... Our industries have gone, the security of our food supplies has been undermined, and now the last bastion of the means of technological progress, the space program, is scheduled for obliteration."
The reality that the proposed elimination of NASA's manned space-flight program—allegedly to be replaced by outsourcing the creation of a flight vehicle to amateur private industry—represents a threat to the future of the United States, is getting through the skulls of many, including those who recognize that the Obama NASA budget would undermine national security.
On Feb. 15, three senior astronauts—Scott Carpenter, Gene Cernan, and Charlie Duke—joined with Ed Buckbee, a collaborator with Kennedy-era space pioneer Wernher von Braun, in issuing a letter to "Mr. and Mrs. America," which urges the citizenry to join the fight to save the manned space program. "The demise of America's space program is just another step in the dismantling of our nation," they argue. "The national security implications are starkly real" (see below).
The international president of the Machinists union, Thomas Buffenbarger, made a similar point Feb. 4, in an open letter to the President. Buffenbarger urged Obama to "reconsider the proposal for NASA to become completely dependent on private contractors for space travel."
"NASA plays a critical role in both our national and economic security," he stated. "Our space program has been a critical driver of innovation," which results in commercialization of new technologies.
Buffenbarger attacked the Office of Management and Budget for the "unfounded claim that this privatization proposal" will create thousands of new jobs. Since there is no evidence to back up such claims, he continued, "we have to assume that this is ideological blind faith in private markets...." Having private enterprises own and control our manned spacecraft, "will weaken both our national security and economic interests." He pointed out that, not only in the U.S., but in Russia, Europe, Japan, and China, the space industry "is a creation of government spending."
Rather than outsourcing our critical capabilities, which, in Iraq, has led to "disasters, fraud, and abuses," Buffenbarger proposes to "accelerate and modify the Ares and Orion program to meet NASA's mission needs."
Even NASA Administrator Charles Bolden acknowledges publicly that so-called "fiscal" concerns, imposed by the British-trained behaviorists around the President, such as OMB chief Peter Orszag, and not scientific considerations, are the source of the proposed cuts in the manned vehicle program. The British financier oligarchy, still committed to the destruction of the United States, has long wanted to destroy the U.S. manned space program—and many of the bogus arguments against it can be traced directly to British origins.
The budget considerations are incompetent, as well as treasonous. While a few billion dollars are being cut from Constellation, along with more than 10,000 jobs, immediately, more than $6 billion is allocated to the private companies which are allegedly to build their own manned space vehicles. More importantly, the billions that would go to a crash program for manned space flight, represent the core of science and technology that would boost the entire U.S. economy into a new realm of productivity—just as the Apollo mission of the 1960s did at that time.
Amazingly, budget-cutter Orszag—already notorious for his Hitler-like health-care proposals—did not even bother to consult with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates on the military implications of the United States losing its manned launch capability for the foreseeable future. Gates was unequivocal when asked at a hearing on the Department of Defense budget before the House Armed Services Committee Feb. 3, if anyone had consulted with the Defense Department about how cancelling NASA's next generation rockets for Constellation would affect defense programs. "No," he said.
The overlap between rockets required by the DoD, and the NASA program, in depending upon the infrastructure for space flight which is proposed to be dismantled, is more than obvious.
Astronauts Speak Out
Many senior astronauts are taking the Obama announcement extremely seriously—as a death knell for the mission for which they risked their lives, and which, still today, represents the hope of the nation. While much of the media is playing up those, like Buzz Aldrin, who support cutting the manned Moon mission ("I've already been there"), other astronauts are attempting to get their message out.
One chief organizer of the opposition to killing the program is former NASA Administrator Mike Griffin. In a statement released on Jan. 27, Griffin said that while President Nixon's ending of the Apollo program was "one of the most significant, yet strategically bankrupt, decisions in human history," the expected ending of NASA's manned space flight program by President Obama is "even worse." When Apollo's missions to the Moon abruptly ended in 1972, tens of thousands of the nation's scientists, engineers, and highly skilled workers lost their jobs. But at least Nixon "left us with the Space Shuttle," Griffin said. The Obama program, he charged, "leaves NASA and the nation with no program, no plan, and no commitment to any human spaceflight program beyond that of today."
Griffin added that the "very existence" of the International Space Station, now 90% complete, will be held "hostage to the hope that presently nonexistent commercial spaceflight capability can be brought into being in a timely way. The president has chosen to recommend that the nation abandon its leadership on the space frontier."
Griffin has gone beyond statements, by organizing resistance to the cuts, especially in the area of Huntsville, Ala. Joining him are local officials, and unionists, such as those in Titusville, Fla., who have called a community meeting on the NASA cuts for this coming week. Joining them will be AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka, among others.
Lunar geologist Paul Spudis, who is a principal investigator for experiments on both Indian and American unmanned lunar spacecraft, is also waging a campaign of resistance against the NASA cuts, in a series of commentaries on the Internet, since the release of the Administration's budget request for NASA on Feb. 1.
Spudis takes on the argument, recently mouthed by NASA's Bolden, that the Vision for Space Exploration, which Constellation was to implement, is nothing but a repeat of Apollo. "Despite concerted efforts to distort its meaning, the goal of lunar return was not to repeat Apollo, but to create long-term, sustained human presence in space by learning to use the material and energy resources of the Moon," to "create a new space-faring capability." Recent results from unmanned lunar probes, he explains, have shown us that lunar resources, such as ice, are more extensive than we had thought.
When they terminated Constellation, they cancelled the vision, he writes, but "what was put in its place? Nothing."
I agree, says Spudis, with those who say "this change will not result in the space utopia its advocates promise and that an agency saddled with an unworkable approach is a ripe target for elimination."
Spudis's point about the NASA's long-range mission was echoed by the crew of the current Endeavor mission to the Space Station, during their photo-op with President Obama on Feb. 17. Asked by the President about the purpose of their experiments, they answered that the aim was to facilitate flights "beyond Earth orbit"—precisely the flights which the Obama budget rules out of existence.
Is Obama Breaking the Law?
While the greatest crime of the Administration's proposed NASA budget is against the very core commitment of the United States to scientific and technological progress, Congressmen have pointed out that the President may be breaking the law as well. At issue is the report of measures that have already been taken to start shutting down NASA's lunar Constellation program, against the will of Congress.
In their Feb. 12 letter, the Congressmen (21 Republicans and 8 Democrats), warned NASA Administrator Bolden that the steps he's taken "may be in direct violation of the Impoundment Control Act (as well as the appropriations language for FY10). That act resulted from the refusal of the Nixon Administration to allot funds to activities specified by Congress."
In addition, they wrote, "there are disturbing reports of verbal instructions to Program Managers to begin the shutdown of Constellation programs." The FY2010 appropriations law prohibits the Administration from taking any steps to end Constellation without the approval of Congress.
Funds for Constellation "are to be spent as if the program will continue," the letter stated, and asked that Bolden write to the NASA center directors, informing them that there will be no slowdown or termination of contracts. They set a deadline of March 1.
The only way Congress will back the Administration down, however, is by taking the fight to the level raised by LaRouche. What's at stake is the future of the nation—and obstacles to that future, including a British puppet President, must be removed.