Do you know Daniel Greenberg, also affectionately know as Sultan Knish? Every day, other than religious holidays, Daniel brings enlightenment to the fore on many issues. I consider his work to be ‘literary’ as in worthy of being ‘literature,’ published in an Internet space called a ‘blog,’
Literature: …”writings having excellence of form or expression and expressing ideas of permanent or universal interest…” Merriam-Webster
His is the ‘literature’ of terrorism and truth, the ‘literature’ of a free people and those who pray for their demise. His is the ‘literature’ of the state of our union.
1984 by George Orwell is prescient and today we recognize it as such. Scares the hell out of us. If Daniel put his essays into book form, in only a decade, today’s teenagers could read those essays with jaw-dropping awareness.
Below is a snippet of one of his latest, and if it doesn’t lay on your heart and ache, sit in your gut and fester, and remain in your memory as authentic thought that deserves your attention, you are a qualified, helplessly clueless dolt, or worse, a hardcore Progressive.
From one of the Daniel’s commenters on The Eagle Has Landed article:
My God, the truth of what you said is so sharp that it cuts like a knife and wounds just as deeply. There is nothing more to be said, but there is one more question to be asked…
Why haven’t we fought back, why do we not rage rage against the dying of the light?
Forty-four years ago, a nation that we now know was racist, didn’t care about the environment and drank too much soda, landed on the moon.
Half-a-billion television viewers watched it happen live. They saw men walk on the surface of another world. They saw that human beings could break free of their world and take a first step into the rest of the universe.
And that was that.
Neil Armstrong died about the time that Obama finished gutting NASA. He lived long enough to write a saddened letter about the decline of American space exploration under Obama that everyone in the media did their best not to pay attention to. The letter was also signed by Eugene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon.
Cernan is 79. Of the dozen men who walked on the moon, only four are dead, a testament to their quality of their vigor.
No one who was born after 1935 has walked on the moon. That period is swiftly becoming a historical relic. A thing that men did who lived long ago. A great work of other times like the building of dams and fleets, the winning of wars and the expansion of frontiers.
Those are things that the men of back then did. Those are not things that we do anymore.
The youngest man to have walked on the moon, Harrison Schmitt, is 78. He was only 37 when he walked on the moon. Soon he will be one with the last of the Civil War soldiers and the last of the WW1 soldiers and then the last of the WW2 soldiers.
We like to believe that walking on the moon is still something we could do if we really wanted to. But like building all the big things, we just choose not to do it. We have more important things to worry about like social justice and figuring out the implications of the latest 1,000 page bill.
Forget exploring space. We explore the breadth of our own bureaucracy. We are the Schliemanns of Trojan horse government. We are the Neil Armstrongs of government landing on the paper moons of bills and acts by whose pale light we lead our pallid lives.
In those long lost days, we did great things. The bureaucrats took their cut and the contractors chiseled and the lobbyists lobbied and the whole great vulture pack of government swarmed and screeched and still somehow, with a billion monkeys on our back, we moved forward, because we still had great goals. Now our goal is government. There is no longer a moon. Only a paper moon.
The whole mess of bureaucrats, contractors, lobbyists, policy experts, consultants, congressmen, aides, crooks, creeps, thieves and agents is no longer a necessary evil that we put up with in order to accomplish great things. It is the great thing that we accomplish. There are no more moon landings, no more dams or tallest buildings in the world. The massive towering edifice of our own government is now our moon landing, our Hoover Dam, our Empire State Building.
Like so many decrepit civilizations before us, the massive rotting edifice of our government has become our great work. Keeping it going, keeping it from falling apart, wiping its bottom, finding the money to prevent its latest imminent failure, fighting over the last folder while the barbarians shout “Allah Akbar” and put all the paper to the torch because the Koran makes it redundant, that is what we do now.
We no more go a-roving so late into the night. Not when our own night has come. And it is late indeed. [my emphasis]
There is more to The Eagle has Landed. I hope you will read it here and pass Daniel’s work on to your friends. He has a lot to say. America needs to hear.
Daniel’s article refers to a letter written by Neil Armstrong and other astronauts to President Obama. The following begins with a news article about Obama’s plans for our Space program, with a portion of the astronaut’s response following – April 2010:
Barack Obama heralded a “bold new vision” for human spaceflight tonight, using the symbolic backdrop of Cape Canaveral, America’s gateway to the stars, to try to rescue his strategy for the next generation of exploration and discovery.
In recent days some heavyweight critics, including Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, and several fellow Apollo-era astronauts, have criticised the US president for abandoning the $108bn (£70bn) Constellation programme of rockets and spacecraft designed to return man to the lunar surface by 2020.
But in an address at Florida’s Kennedy Space Centre, the launch site of every manned US mission since 1961, and accompanied by Armstrong’s Apollo 11 crewmate Buzz Aldrin, a key supporter, Obama attempted to quell the growing dissent by unveiling an “ambitious” new direction for his administration’s space policy.
The plan includes an extra $6bn for Nasa over five years; $3.1bn for “vigorous new technology development” that could result in a pioneering heavy-lift rocket to take astronauts to Mars, with future “stepping stone” missions into deep space to help get them there; support for those losing jobs when the 30-year-old space shuttle programme ends this year and the salvaging of Constellation’s axed crew capsule for use at the international space station.
He said he expected the first crewed missions beyond the moon by about 2025, and to orbit Mars by the middle of the following decade. “A landing on Mars will follow. I expect to be around to see it,” he said.
“What we’re looking for is not to continue on the same path, but to leap into the future. Read more at Guardian
When President Obama recently released his budget for Nasa, he proposed a slight increase in total funding, substantial research and technology development, an extension of the International Space Station operation until 2020, long range planning for a new but undefined heavy lift rocket and significant funding for the development of commercial access to low earth orbit.
Although some of these proposals have merit, the accompanying decision to cancel the Constellation programme, its Ares 1 and Ares V rockets, and the Orion spacecraft, is devastating.
America’s only path to low Earth orbit and the International Space Station will now be subject to an agreement with Russia to purchase space on their Soyuz (at a price of over $50m per seat with significant increases expected in the near future) until we have the capacity to provide transportation for ourselves. The availability of a commercial transport to orbit as envisioned in the president’s proposal cannot be predicted with any certainty, but is likely to take substantially longer and be more expensive than we would hope.
It appears that we will have wasted our current $10bn-plus investment in Constellation and, equally importantly, we will have lost the many years required to recreate the equivalent of what we will have discarded.
For the United States, the leading space faring nation for nearly half a century, to be without carriage to low Earth orbit and with no human exploration capability to go beyond Earth orbit for an indeterminate time into the future, destines our nation to become one of second or even third rate stature. While the president’s plan envisages humans travelling away from Earth and perhaps toward Mars at some time in the future, the lack of developed rockets and spacecraft will assure that ability will not be available for many years.
Without the skill and experience that actual spacecraft operation provides, the US is far too likely to be on a long downhill slide to mediocrity. America must decide if it wishes to remain a leader in space. If it does, we should institute a programme which will give us the very best chance of achieving that goal. Signed:
Commander, Apollo 11
Commander, Apollo 13
Commander, Apollo 17
End Astronaut’s Letter
Two months after Obama announced his “bold new vision,” we learned about his NASA “outreach” to the Muslim World.
It’s not really surprising that President Obama told NASA administrator Charles Bolden that his highest priority should be “to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science … and math and engineering.” It fits with so much that we already knew about the president.
It is consistent with his wildly exaggerated concept of governmental and presidential power and competence. Samuel Johnson wrote: “How small, of all that human hearts endure, that part which laws or kings can cause or cure.” Obama believes the opposite — that his presidency can be a transformative moment not just for the nation, but for the world He will halt global warming and stop the rise of the oceans, transition America to a green energy future, prevent the “cycle of boom and bust” in the economy, provide universal health care while spending less than before, cushion “underwater” mortgage holders without rewarding profligate borrowers, increase taxes on the “rich” without harming the middle class, solve the problem of excessive public debt by amassing more public debt and so on.
How in the world would NASA help Muslim nations to “feel good” about themselves? Would NASA hold science fairs in Tripoli or Tehran? Produce and circulate propaganda films about Great Muslim Men (careful, never women) of Science? Stress our global debt to Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi, the father of algebra? (That’s risky, since al-Khwarizmi reportedly learned his math from the Indians.) How would Obama’s NASA chief undertake to alter the civilizational self-esteem of a billion people? More by Mona Charen at Real Clear Politics
Neil Armstrong had two more years to live with that elephant in the room.
Receive Maggie’s Notebook daily posts in your inbox. No Ads, No Spam, Ever!