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Gingrich-SLS a “Political Pork-Barrel”

From Spacepolitics.com-

Former Speaker of the House and current 2012 Republican presidential candidate said Thursday he would “absolutely” privatize human spaceflight if elected president. Speaking at a town hall meeting in Dallas, Gingrich was asked about the Space Launch System (SLS) heavy-lift rocket that NASA is developing as required by the 2010 NASA Authorization Act. “I think it is disgraceful the way getting into space has been turned into a political pork-barrel. It’s an abuse of the taxpayer and an abuse of America’s future,” he said, according to a statement from the Space Frontier Foundation, which also provided a transcript of the exchange. “It is a tragedy that between bureaucrats and politicians we have reduced NASA to the point where we are relying on Russian rockets to get to the space station…”

Full story…

OK, so Gingrich is against pork-barrels. He wants alternatives to government-led programs. I did a quick google to see if Gingrich is consistent with this view, and he’s a flip-flopper.

From Prospect.org-

When it comes to the Iraq War, Gingrich has a long history of flipping, flopping, and then flipping again. As Alex Koppelman reported in Salon last year, “As a close advisor to the administration over the past six years, and an intimate of both Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Gingrich was a powerful advocate both for the idea of invading Iraq and for the botched way in which it was done.” A member of the influential Defense Policy Board, Gingrich helped draw up war plans at the Central Command for the Middle East in Tampa, Fla. And his Oct. 16, 2002 USA Today column about Iraq was titled, “Strike Sooner Than Later.”

Full story…

Well there ya go. If Gingrich was really into private solutions and getting government out of the way, he would have told the oil companies to hire their own mercenary army to invade Iraq and take the oil!


27 Responses to “Gingrich-SLS a “Political Pork-Barrel””

  • Paine:

    “If Gingrich was really into private solutions and getting government out of the way, he would have told the oil companies to hire their own mercenary army to invade Iraq and take the oil!”

    If the government does one thing, you imagine the government must do everything?

    Thinking like that explains why the “Huntsville Space Professionals” have squandered so many billions of dollars and failed in so many attempts to build a Shuttle replacement.

  • John:

    Gingrich is simply pandering to the privatization “in crowd” without having to give a defined national space policy recommendation.

  • mike shupp:

    Sorta yes, sorta no. Gingrich has said, maybe not as often as Jerry Pournelle, but more than once that he favors prizes for driving space programs. Offering 2 billion bucks for a successful lunar colony, with the ante going up another 2 billion each year until someone finally collects has been suggested.

    I suppose I can imagine someone — a consortium of Boing and Lockheed, perhaps? –finally popping up to say “We’ve done it! Its 2046 and we’ve had 12 people in a self-supporting habitat on the moon for a solid year, just like the rules say, so give us our 70 billion dollars right now!” I can’t imagine either Republicans or Democrats paying out that sum, but maybe that’s just my failure.

    What’s kind of interesting, however, is the notion that even if you “don’t have” a space policy, the types and sizes of prizes you choose to fund actually do show off your space policy. Offer a prize of a thousand bucks, let’s say, for establishing a self-sustaining lunar colony basically guarantees no one is tackle that goal. Offering a couple hundred billion bucks would probably get people up there by the end of next year. There are other comments I might make about matching prizes and objectives and sequences of prizes, but I demur — let’s just say Newt doesn’t talk about prizes with much show of sophistication.

    Another thought that occurs to me is that we might make prizes decide policy. Suppose we offer equal amounts for some proposed developments in solid propulsion (demonstrate quenching and re-ignition on the same flight), or liquid propulsion (demonstrate superior propellent and oxidizer mixing and higher sustainable combustion temperatures in a re-usable engine) or nuclear propulsion (move 100 tons of cargo from earth orbit to mars orbit within a two week period). The idea being that we award a prize to whichever of the goals is met first, and tailor our future program to whichever new capability we have. Literally hundreds of possible futures would be open to us!

  • Astronautics_Student:

    Just tell him that LCROSS discovered oil on the moon and he’d be all for a big government space program in no time.

  • Space:

    Good one! That’s exactly right.

    That makes me think of the movie Avatar. If there was some real profit in a resource from a source other than Earth, governments and big corporations would be all over it.

  • Kelly Starks:

    Ah so 99% of congressmen and Senators voted for the Iraq war for oil?
    Were you asleep that year the whole idea was being debated? Did you mis the fact we’ld been working for a decade or two tto STOP Iraq from selling oil to try to starve down Sadam?

    As for Gingrich, hes so into playing the game for party or person, he frequently stands firm on a foundation of hipocracy. Though its fair to note hes long been a big suporter of commercializing space, or space efforts done via prizes vrs gov programs. What he’ld actually do if he got in office – who knows anymore.

  • Space:

    To your first question, yes, absolutely-even if no one wants to admit it, or even realizes it.

    Think of what would happen if Iraq had no oil. A Saddam in a place like that would not even be on the radar.

    The sanctions were punishing a system run by a bad character that had a nationalized oil economy. The whole reason for the fuss was to break up that system for a more private model, to benefit western interests. All the other stuff you saw in the news was off topic.

  • Kelly Starks:

    Space – your nuts!
    Sadam had been trying to concur the surounding countries, which could cause a lot of troulbe for world stability and our Allies. Everyone internationally and nationally was convinced by Sadams “I’m hiding nuclear weapons” game that he had restarted and completed his nuclear weapons program. To paraphrase Hillary (and others on both sides of the aisle), “if you don’t beleave Sadam has weapons of mass destruction, your not looking at the evcidence.” And folks overestimated his support of the terrorists that attacked us on 9-11. Also frankly we wern’t didn’t have enough military to do anything against said terrorists with 30,000 troups stuck keeping Sadam in his cage 24/7.

    Granted if he had no oil, he’ld have had no capacity to threaten anyone – but he did. Not a lot of oil, he was never a big provider or influentiual in world oil prices etc (other then threatening to attack all the mid east providers).

    Again, all this was argued out for most of ’02.

  • Space:

    I have been called nuts before on this and proved everyone wrong.

    Read “Out of the Ashes” by Cockburn.

    I posted some stuff online a few months before Op Iraqi Freedom actually started and showed that the WMD claim was false, because it was. 

    The thing people missed is that Saddam did THINK he had a viable WMD (chemical, not nuclear). The CIA picked up on communications about it and believed it, their mistake. His own son in law was in charge, but it was a weak program. His own people were lying to him about the progress.

    His son in law defected to Jordan and revealed the plans, and Saddam had to reveal destroy the chemical facility to look good.

    It’s a very interesting story, google Hussein Kamel Hassan al-Majid  and research it yourself.

  • Kelly Starks:

    In the first Gulf wqar he hadvast quantities of chemical and biological WMD, and fielded a lot of the chemical WMD to his artilury groups (who refused/didn’t use it ) but those were destroyed (along with his nuclear wepons program) after the first gulf war. And it was his big pretense of a non existent secound nuclear program (a sharade to intimidate and increase status) that was the point the world leaders were talking about in ’02.

  • Space:

    I know that. Guess where he got it in the beginning… From us, to use against Iran. Then when he tried to replace it with his own, the effort fell apart. I wasn’t fooled, but the news and Congress were.

    Did you do any research on this like I did? :)

  • Kelly Starks:

    > Guess where he got it in the beginning… From us, to use against Iran..

    No he manufactured it himself – and in quantities VASTLY greater then we ever had. Huge parking lot piled high with 55 gal barrels full of chemicals. Railroad yards full of tankers full of weaponized anthrax.

    This stuff is pretty routine chemistry and biology now a days. Especially if you don’t care about safe handeling or storage. The later ment most of the stuff had broken down or rotted in storage. The former led to a high “turnover rate” among workers in the program.

    This was all in the news (given burning that much WMD makes good video. Discovery chanel even sent folks in to do a show on the problems collecting and disposing all of it without getting killed.
    I’ll never forget one Iraq storage facility worker wondering why the UN folks insisted on getting into full hazmat suits, to go in and handel leeking drums he handeled with gloved hands wearing short sleved shirts.

  • Space:

    Not so.
    You have your timeline mixed up.
    The stuff you saw on TV was years after Iraq was supplied by us. This stash was revealed by his son in law after he defected to Jordan and revealed its existence. It’s was destroyed publicly so Saddam supposedly could save face.

    After that, his program was going nowhere. Saddam wanted to rebuild what he had before, but it wasn’t successful. His own people were lying to him about progress. US intelligence picked up on chatter about it and mistakenly believed there was again a huge pile of it.

    Try and study this stuff if you really care so much, intstead of just relying on what you see on TV. I got interested enough to study the facts. You should too!

  • Kelly Starks:

    >..The stuff you saw on TV was years after Iraq was supplied by us.

    The US never manufactured that kind of stuff on that scale ever, and by then we wern’t producing at all, adn our stockpiles were degrading so bad just carrying them to disposal sites was dangerous. I think we finally moved it all and desatroyed about all of it to clear the land for Denvers new big airport in Late 80′s I think?

  • Space:

    There is no need to guess or make up false claims. Just read.

    Google this phrase-
    US exports to Iraq included the precursors to chemical warfare agents, plans for chemical and biological warfare facilities and chemical warhead filling equipment.

    You should get 18,000 hits. Maybe just read a FEW of them instead of just making things up, or trying to remember what you maybe sorta heard on TV. :)

    Also, note that when studying the facts of history, timelines matter. One needs to consider the dates of the events you are interested in relative to other important events. I already showed that the chem weapon stash was destroyed after Hussein Kamel defected and revealed it to the public. It was not replaced, that’s why no one ever found anything (I knew they wouldn’t). This was years before the current operation started, so that reason to go in was false up front. I knew this at the time, and anyone else that would have read the facts and ignored the politics would have known this too.

  • Astronautics_Student:

    Don’t be silly, Space. It doesn’t count if the US of A supplies the materials, right?

  • Space:

    I guess not, and extra points for getting TV news and print mags to change the story and tell it differently-which is easy to do.

  • Kelly Starks:

    > US exports to Iraq included the precursors to chemical warfare agents, plans
    > for chemical and biological warfare facilities and chemical warhead filling
    > equipment.

    So first your saying Sadan got chemical WND and now your saying he got precursor chemicals? Not even close to the same thing.

    “precursors chemicals” are standard chemicals you could get at any grocery store and “chemical warhead filling equipment” what a funnel?

    Give me a break.

  • Space:

    This is really getting repetitive and boring.

    Here’s something for you-

    I didn’t write it, so don’t blame me for it.

    It has 20 references. If you can prove all 20 to be just made up, and provide more reliable info, you win.. :)

  • Kelly Starks:

    Why bother? It doesn’t support what your claiming. The few really damning statements just quote themselves, or other web blogs. I can go over it paragraph if you want?

    By the way – who is the iranchamber.com, and who writes for it.

  • Space:

    It’s doesn’t matter who does the site. They obviously have a point of view to defend. Each of those things needs to be evaluated further to see if they are reliable, same as you should do for all the things you think happened based on TV news reports or word-of-mouth. They are just as unreliable.
    In the real world, people typically listen to points of views that suit them, and they see no need to keep digging once they hear what they want to hear.
    I made up my mind 25 years ago to never be one of those people, and it’s been interesting. There is always much more going on than the news tells you. Its not too hard to see through official stories once you spend the time to learn how to take them apart.

  • Kelly Starks:

    video by a major net work of fields of WMD canisters is a little more relyable then a point of view by a random web page.

  • Kelly Starks:

    Something about evidence..

  • Space:

    How do you know what was in it, where the video was taken, how it got there, what year it was, what were the circumstances, what happened to it, etc?

    Unless you have real info, it’s just video.

  • Kelly Starks:

    Then by your standards Sadam never had WMD, adn the folks who died of its use were just video.

  • Dan:

    The thought of a Saturn 5 type rocket is awesome but the cost of the SLS ($41 billion by the time it is all said and done) is a waste. Congress has mandated this to keep old Shuttle jobs around but we could do a lot of other things with 41 billion. Also the heavy lift is not going to be ready until 2030. The Spacex Falcon 9 can do the job for a lot less and a lot sooner. Either way SLS or Falcon it will be great to get back into something other than low earth orbit again,,,just wish it was sooner.

  • mike shupp:

    Dan: 30 to35 billion bucks was NASA’s guesstimate for Ares costs, back in Bush’s first term. Estimated costs of upgrading the size and manrating Delta and Atlas were about the same for both boosters. So cost growth from that to 41 billion over an 8 year period isn’t unreasonable.

    As for whether some variant of Falcon 9 can do the Moon job for a whole lot less … I’d love to see it, but frankly I’m a tad skeptical. Right now, we haven’t seen but one Falcon 9 launch to earth orbit, and none yet carrying cargo to space station. So, one step at a time. eh?

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