Tea, Terror, Rockets Red Glare, and Destroying Our Future


According to Rand Paul:

“…“Last night, there was little debate, no committee hearings held, no amendments allowed, and no examination of whether our government had lived up to its responsibility to protect the liberty of the people. I commend the House for rejecting the renewal of the PATRIOT Act on these grounds,” Sen. Paul said.

“The fight will continue in the House over the next week. It is likely that even with this temporary victory, the House will pass these extensions and send the PATRIOT Act renewal to the Senate. And when they do, I will oppose it,” he continued.

“I do not say that lightly. I firmly believe it is a primary duty of our government to do what it can to protect the lives of its citizens. But I also believe it must in equal measure protect our liberty, and in this our government has failed us. We should remember the words of Ben Franklin, who famously said ‘Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.’”

“It is time for Congress to stop quietly extending this law and avoiding a serious discussion about protecting all the rights of all Americans. I will insist the Senate allow debate and amendments as we consider this important legislation,” he concluded….”

The tea parties, Ron Paul and ultra liberal Dennis Kucinich have joined forces in an alliance that may end up killing people.  That’s okay, the libertarians appear to want to do away with most laws, and they are starting their campaign to destroy our future.  In Salon, Glenn Greenwald wrote:

“…Early on in the Bush years, a bill to repeal Patriot Act abuses was co-sponsored by Kucinich and Ron Paul, and supported by the ACLU.  A bill to audit the Federal Reserve was opposed by most of official Washington but enacted by a left-right alliance.  Some of the earliest and most outspoken opposition to Bush civil liberties radicalism — and the war in Iraq — came jointly from the Left and from the Cato Institute.  Religious Right groups scared of federal government oppression have long joined with the ACLU and others in opposing some civil liberties incursions, such as the Patriot Act.   Controversy over things like TSA patdowns and the corrupt way the Wall Street bailout was manufactured came from both the Right and the Left.  The fact that it’s Tea Party Sen. Rand Paul willing to question the value of American financial and military assistance to other nations (including to Israel) — while Democrats attack him for that brave position — further underscores the potential here.  And in other nations — such as Britain — one finds a genuine left-right alliance against the political establishment’s relentless assaults on civil liberties. …”

If Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul agree on something, how can it possibly be conservative?

“…Last night, the House of Representatives voted not to suspend the rules and pass three key counterterrorism amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The amendments—two found in the PATRIOT Act and one in the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004—are set to expire at the end of February. The vote in the House was 277–148, with 26 Republicans voting against the extension.

With at least 36 known plots foiled since 9/11, the United States continues to face a serious threat of terrorism. As such, national security investigators continue to need these authorities to track down terror leads and dismantle plots before the public is in any danger. These three amendments—which have been extensively modified over the years by Congress and now include significant new safeguards, including substantial court oversight—are vital to this success. Congress should not let the sunset provisions expire and should instead seek permanent authorization….”

Kenneth Silber has a commentary at Frum Forum about what will happen if Rand  Paul and his tea party friends shut down the DOE.  What people don’t understand is that is where the research is done for the military and for NASA.  A heck of a lot of really serious classified research goes on there, but idiots like Rand Paul don’t care.  They simply want to rant and rave about cutting things they know nothing about, and saving things like Medicare and Social Security.  Until they get real and decide to work on those two programs, which are half our budget, it’s all a crock.

Then again, I gather they don’t believe in science and research.  We can go back to the days of horses and buggies with no regulations, minimum wage, safe guards for workers, and oppressive and deadly child labor.  That’s how the Robber Baron fortunes were made.  Guess they want the good old days!

Frum Forum

The tea party bunch teamed up with Dennis Kucinich to defeat certain aspects of the Patriot Act that have kept us save for the past decade.

“…The bill would reauthorize three expiring provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act until December 8. The provisions are set to expire at the end of the month if Congress does not act. The provisions give the government the ability to use roving wiretaps to monitor the communications of suspects; obtain special court orders forcing businesses, libraries and banks to turn over records; and conduct surveillance on a so-called “lone wolf,” someone who is not knowingly associated with terrorists….”

Lindsey has words for Rand Paul:

“...This is what I would say to Senator Paul and Senator Leahy, who is the chairman, let’s watch what we say and do when it comes to making statements about funding for Egypt. The army is the most stable institution in Egypt. They’re respected by the people, and most of our aid for the last 30 years has gone to the army. And before the 30-year involvement by the United States, they were in the Soviet sphere. Where the Soviet empire has collapsed, but it’s good that we have a relationship with the army. They buy American equipment, their officers train here in America. And this relationship we have had with the army has been a godsend during this crisis.

I would say to all of my colleagues, let’s slow down, take a deep breath, the foreign operation budget is less than 1 percent of total federal spending. But to Rand Paul, my friend from Kentucky, you’re right, we can reform that budget, we can some money, but getting out of the foreign operations assistance to our friends business only buys trouble. It’s a penny wise and a pound foolish in my view….”

Marco Rubio thinks that the tea party caucuses are nothing but little clubs.

“...Now, specifically about the Tea Party Caucus, the concern that I’ve expressed, is that what I think gives the tea party its strength and its legitimacy in the American political process is that it’s a grassroots movement of everyday Americans. … My fear has always been that if you start creating these little clubs or organizations in Washington run by politicians, the movement starts to lose its energy. Basically, the media will jump on that and start paying attention to that instead of the grass roots movement which is really what has given the tea party its voice. … I don’t want us to do anything that kind of changes its grassroots nature. #

In the other chamber of Congress, a number of leading House Republicans have criticized Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) for founding the House Tea Party Caucus (which inspired the Senate version). House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) refused to join the caucus, saying the tea party movement is “certainly not of Washington and in that respect it’s better left with the people.” Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), who also refused to join despite his closeness to the tea party, said the movement “should be kept outside Congress.” “The more you try to put structure around the tea party, the more compromised it will be,” Chaffetz wrote warned. #…”

Rand Paul wants to cut 25% from NASA’s already beleaguered budget.  He also wants to do away with the DOE.  The tea party idiocy  is now threatening our future in space and our national security.  But, what the heck, they’re saving money, right?

“…(CNN) — The marching orders from Congress and the White House to NASA were pretty straightforward. Go out and build a new big rocket to replace the retiring space shuttle fleet.
Unlike the shuttle, the new rocket has to be powerful enough to get out of low Earth orbit and carry humans to an asteroid and eventually Mars, perhaps even the moon. There must also be a test flight by 2016.

But at this point, NASA officials are warning of a potentially devastating setback to future space exploration.

Its first new rocket in 40 years may not happen because the agency doesn’t think the $8 billion budgeted over the next three years is enough.

“We have done calculations with current models and approaches to doing this type of development and it doesn’t work with funding constraints combined with schedules that were laid out in the Authorization Act,” Doug Cooke, NASA’s associate administrator for exploration systems, told CNN.

Congress has already responded that unless NASA can prove there’s not enough money, the rocket must — by law — be built….”

America Space

There may be a way to get the money we need.  And – it’s something that works for me.  There are those in the House who want to divert funds from global warming (a crock) to something useful.

“…“For years, Presidents and Congress have charged NASA with completing tasks that fall outside the scope of NASA’s primary mission,” the letter states. “Specifically, NASA spent over 7.5 percent — over a billion dollars — of its budget on studying global warming/climate change in Fiscal Year 2010.”

The letter also says climate-change research garnered the lion’s share of NASA’s $1 billion in 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds, though NASA’s plan for spending the economic stimulus money included just $325 million for major climate-change research priorities set in the U.S. National Research Council’s most recent decadal survey.

In addition, the letter states that excessive spending on climate-monitoring initiatives is not limited to NASA.

“Overall, the government spent over $8.7 billion across 16 Agencies and Departments throughout the federal government on these efforts in [fiscal 2010] alone,” the letter states. “Global warming funding presents an opportunity to reduce spending without unduly impacting NASA’s core human spaceflight mission.”

Citing the need to ensure U.S. national security and economic competitiveness with China, India and Russia, the letter calls on House appropriators to fund NASA’s continued global leadership in human spaceflight.

“We must not put ourselves in the position of watching Chinese astronauts planting their flag on the moon while we sit — earthbound by our own shortsightedness,” the letter states….”

Thanks to the tea party “patriots”, Ron Paul, and Dennis Kucinich, certain provisions of the Patriot Act were not renewed.

“…The controversial bill was debated earlier in the way, which allowed several Democrats to voice their opposition.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) was one of the more vocal opponents, and cited a report that said the FBI has conducted thousands of warrantless searches using so-called “national security letters.” These letters are a form of subpoena that the FBI and other agencies have used to demand records, and they are not subject to any judicial oversight.

“The Patriot Act is a destructive undermining of the Constitution,” Kucinich said. “How about today we take a stand for the Constitution to say that all Americans should be free from unreasonable search and seizure, and to make certain that the attempt to reauthorize the Patriot Act is beat down.”

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), who sponsored the bill, replied in his own one-minute speech that the Patriot Act did not authorize national security letters, which were instead authorized in a 1986 bill authored by Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt.).

Later in the debate, Kucinich said the Patriot Act expanded the list of agencies that are authorized to issue national security letters. But Sensenbrenner again responded by saying the authority for the letters was made permanent in 2006, and that the Patriot Act actually gave recipients of these letters the option of judicial review.

Sensenbrenner today also noted that House Democrats, such as then-House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), supported the extension last year when Democrats were in control of the House. In his closing remarks in the debate, current Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) noted that the Obama administration supports the extension….”

Then again, SpaceX just might work.  I hope it does.

“…SpaceX, the rocket company headed by serial entrepreneur Elon Musk, sold its first launch to the moon, a mission that gives Pittsburgh-based Astrobotic Technology, a Carnegie Mellon University spin-off, an early lead in a $32 million race to land a privately owned rover on the lunar surface.

The contract, announced Sunday, reserves a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket to fly Astrobotic Technology’s lander and rover to the moon as early as December 2013.

“For every hundred technology developments there is one that has a ride booked. It’s a real distinguishing factor,” David Gump, president of Pittsburgh-based Astrobotic Technology, told Discovery News.

There’s room aboard the Falcon 9 for another 240 pounds of additional cargo, space Astrobotic Technology is selling for $700,000 per pound, plus a $250,000-per-payoad fee for integration, communications and other support services.

SpaceX’s Falcon 9, which has made two successful flights, is the same rocket NASA is buying to fly cargo — and perhaps eventually astronauts — to the International Space Station after the shuttles are retired in about six months.

Aside from adjusting navigation software, Falcon 9 doesn’t need any modifications to reach lunar orbit, Musk wrote in an email to Discovery News.

“Falcon 9 is capable of launching missions to the moon, Mars or beyond. Payload to the moon is about three tons and to Mars about two tons, meaning Falcon 9 could have launched the Spirit and Opportunity Mars rovers on a single flight,” wrote Musk….”