Saturday, February 6, 2010

The two Faces of Janus: The United States of America's CONGRESS

Well, the pukes we call our representatives in the U.S. Congress are up to their lying shenanigans again.

President Obama has proposed a breathtaking $3.83 trillion budget for the 2011 federal fiscal year. Based on a population of 307 million, that works out -- are you ready for this??? -- to a stunning $1,247,557 for every man, woman, and child in the country.

For just a single year.

Not that this kind of spending is anything new. President Bush's final budget came out to some $3.5 trillion dollars -- and that didn't include funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. (I'll be coming back to that point shortly.) In fact, President Bush's last budget drove our budget deficit to the highest level, as a percentage of GDP, since 1945 -- when we were polishing off the Second World War. (Bet you didn't know that, did you?) And the Manhatten Project didn't come cheap. For you young'uns, that was the project that developed the atomic bomb, which we promptly dropped on Hiroshima then Nagasaki, bringing an end to the war in the Pacific. (The war in Europe ended three months earlier, in May, 1945.)

Now, it's very much to the point to mention that this is an election year. Every single member of the House of Representatives, except those calling it quits, face re-election campaigns come this autumn, as do one third of our Senators. In these tough economic times, they understandably are screaming bloody murder about the President's proposed budget.

But there are a couple of facts they don't like to mention, especially the Republican candidates. President Bush's final budget didn't include funding for the twin wars we have going on -- but President Obama's DOES include that funding, which is the major reason the budget deficit shot right straight up into the stratosphere; had President Bush's last budget included that funding, his final budget deficit would have been even more than President Obama's.

They hate the phrase, those D.C. oinkers, but that is, indeed, "an inconvenient truth."

Think of it this way: what they're basically saying is "Lookee, lookee! I have $1.000 left in my checking account" -- WITHOUT mentioning the TWO thousand dollars' worth of checks they wrote but "forgot" to write down in their checkbook register.

Two-faced is what they are. ALL of them, including the conservative Democrats fighting for their political lives. They're just like the Roman god Janus.

But it doesn't stop there.

I imagine most of you have heard that the President has cancelled any plans for NASA to return to the Moon, although NASA does get a slight budget increase in his proposed budget.

This has grave implications for the manned space program.

I need to insert a full disclosure: I am a life-long fan of our space program, both our manned and robotic missions. It's impossible for me to be neutral. Just want to be honest about that point. I still remember, with crystal clarity, the night Dad took me out to the back yard and pointed out Sputnik 1 orbiting high above. I already had developed a deep enchantment with the night sky, and that image set that enchantment in stone for me.

I mean -- who doesn't love our twin Mars rovers??? Planned for 90 days -- but six years later they're still trucking! (Well, okay, so one of them is stuck, but it still can serve as a stationary platform -- IF it survives the upcoming northern hemisphere winter, that is. Still, a damned impressive performance.) And who doesn't love the spectacular photos the Hubble Space Telescope keeps on downloading to us -- and do you realize that this coming April 24th will be its 20th anniversary of coasting right along???

And those of you of a certain age or older -- I'm 58, soon 59 -- can remember the glory days of NASA, when President Kennedy challenged us as a nation to get boots on the ground, as in MOON ground, within a decade. And we beat that deadline by a couple of years or so, when Neil Armstrong climbed down the lunar lander ladder, planted his boots in the Moon dust, and spoke those immortal words: "That's one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind."

That was July 20, 1969 -- only eight years, two months, and 15 days after Alan Shepard became the first American in space in a sub-orbital flight on May 5, 1961. A humorous historical footnote about Shepard's flight: launch was repeatedly delayed, the spacecraft finally lifting off several hours later than planned. During that delay, Shepard finally needed to pee-pee -- but of course there wasn't any way for him to do so, suited up in his space suit and strapped down flat on his back inside the tiny Mercury capsule. He bitched about it, demanding to be let out -- he couldn't exit unaided -- but the space suit folks decided to tell him he couldn't come out -- but to go ahead and just whiz away in his space suit, as it wouldn't be damaged! Shepard thus became not only the first American in space, but the only American, to date, to fly floating in his own PEE-PEE!!! :-)

I'll never forget the first Moon landing, either. Talk about electrifying.

ANYway -- back to those turds in Washington. When President Obama gave his speech outlining his budget proposal, within hours, members of the Congressional delegations of Texas, Alabama, and Florida -- home, respectively to the NASA Manned Spaceflight Center (in Houston, Texas), the George C. Marshall Manned Space Flight Center (at the Redstone Arsenal, near Huntsville, Alabama), and Cape Canaveral (on Merritt Island, Florida -- betcha didn't know it's on an island, did you? Huh? Huh??? Didja? DIDJA???) -- were raising holy hell, whining about lost jobs, mostly.

To be fair -- they're right. Cancelling the return-to-the-Moon program announced by President Bush in 2004 will cost jobs. And I, for one, am deeply distressed at the thought of cancelling those plans, and the thought of those lost jobs. Those folks are my fellow Americans.

However -- those b*st*rds pissing and moaning now don't like to mention that just as was the case with funding for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, President Bush announced the plan for returning to the Moon-- but never requested a single dime to pay for it.

Nor do they like to mention they never saw a piece of pork -- if it was in their home district, in the case of Representatives or in their state, in the case of Senators, they didn't like. Both my Senators (for example) were right on board the band wagon that shoved 12 extra F-22 fighters down the Pentagon's throat, even though the Air Force Chief of Staff, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Secretary of Defense, and President Obama didn't want them -- 12 aircraft costing a cool $350 million -- each -- for a grand total of $4.2 billion. I don't know about you, but to me that's a fair chunk of change.  Compare that to about $50 million per copy for the next-generation fighter slated to go into service, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. It'll be assembled in Texas, as is the F-22 -- but $50 million per copy is a lot less PORK than the $350 million per shot for the F-22. Oink-oink-oink! Squealing in pain, those miserable oinkers. Even the more expensive STOL [short take-off and landing] and carrier-based versions planned for the Marine Corps and Navy, at about $60 million each, don't cut it, not in Oink-oink-oinkity-friggin'-OINK terms.

There's a single word that summarizes all this, a word from Greek that you know -- betcha didn't know you know some Greek, did you??? That word is "hypocrisy." (It stems from the Greek word "hypokrisis," which means "acting on the stage, pretense.")

Yeah. "REDUCE THE BUDGET!!!" they scream. "But not from MY budget, by god!!! -- Cut it from THAT guy's!!!"

Excuse me while I go puke now. . . .

By the way, feel free to post a comment by clicking on the link just below this post.

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