Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Assorted

1. The High Frontier Is Now Closed To America.

Someone has screwed up royally:

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin announced Tuesday that Russia has denied a NASA request for continued co-habitation of the International Space Station beyond 2020, citing sanctions on Russia over the ongoing crisis in Ukraine as a reason the Russia government wants to distance itself from the US space program.

Reuters reports Rogozin announced that the United States would not be able to use the International Space Station beyond 2020, when the mutual agreement to use it was set to expire, though NASA had requested an extension to 2024. The money used to keep it open would go to "more promising space projects" after 2020, he said.

In addition, Russia would not allow its native rocket engines to launch US military satellites and would close off eleven GPS sites on its territory until further notice. The measures are in response to sanctions from the United States, which Rogozin called "out of place and inappropriate."

While the United States has had access to the International Space Station for years, the only way to enter the station is using Russian Soyuz spacecraft, the Daily Mail notes. This gives Russia full discretion to decide which astronauts can access it.

If memory serves, most of the money and essentially all of the orbital expertise that went into the International Space Station were American. So by surrendering our ability to launch manned orbital craft, we've surrendered all of the fruits of those investments to a nation that has proved, once again, to be anything but well-disposed toward us.

There's plenty of blame to go around, of course. Several Administrations watched as the space shuttles aged toward uselessness. Several Administrations declined to encourage private exploration and exploitation of space. Several Administrations permitted NASA to wallow in its malaise. The current one merely continued the sins of its predecessors, though it set a cherry atop that distasteful sundae by decreeing that NASA's principal mission is outreach to Muslims.

Anyone with an iota of strategic vision can see how serious a matter this is...which speaks volumes about the abysmal idiocy and lack of foresight in our governing class generally and the Obama Administration in particular.


2. And While We're On The Subject Of Muslims...

...some folks dislike it when an Islamic terror organization is called "an Islamic terror organization:"

A "horrendous crime" that "violates every major objective of Islam."

That's how Daisy Khan, founder of the Women's Islamic Initiative in Spirituality and Equality described the recent kidnappings of nearly 300 schoolgirls by Nigerian terrorist group, Boko Haram. Despite similar denunciations of Boko Haram's actions by Muslim religious leaders, activists, organizations, and intellectuals across the world, right-wing media are set on using the kidnappings as a justification for their Islamophobic narratives and their attempt to make Boko Haram the face of Islam.

Boko Haram is a marginalized terrorist organization operating out of Nigeria whose murky ideological goals include eliminating secular education. In recent history their attacks have concentrated on schools, killing Christian and Muslims alike who speak out against them. Before the kidnappings, Boko Haram attacked two mosques in August 2013, murdering more than 65 Muslims.

You really have to wonder about some people. Given that Boko Haram has openly announced that its motivating ideology is Islam and the global jihad, given that it cites the Qur'an -- correctly! -- as the authority for its actions, and given that it freed its Muslim captives while compelling its non-Muslim captives to "convert" to Islam, it must take a staggeringly well-practiced blindness to facts to assert that the organization has "murky ideological goals." Either that or Michelle Leung, the author of the article cited above, is a world-class idiot.

But then, those on the Left will do anything to avoid conceding a point to us in the Right, especially when that point is that freedom has sworn enemies determined to use any means, up to and including mass violence, to extinguish it. When one of those sworn enemies habitually calls America the "Great Satan" and Israel the "Lesser Satan," the probability drops to zero that Michelle Leung and her Media Matters brethren have any motive but hatred of America.


3. The Big Lie Comes To America.

The "Big Lie" was a staple of Nazi public relations. It was the belief of Hitler, Goebbels, and others in that regime that the very biggest lies have the greatest political usefulness, and are also the most plausible by virtue of their grandiosity. The Democrats appear to have adopted the technique for their own:

Megyn Kelly caught three senators in a whopper of a lie and she had the sound bites to prove it.

In his new memoir, Tim Geithner revealed that the White House wanted him to lie on the Sunday news shows.

Geithner said he refused to tell what was an obvious lie – Social Security was not contributing to the deficit.

Jay Carney, a notorious liar, said that it didn’t happen that way, but he has zero credibility.

Geithner wrote this:

“I remember during one Roosevelt Room prep session before I appeared on the Sunday shows, I objected when Dan Pfeiffer wanted me to say Social Security didn’t contribute to the deficit,” Geithner wrote in his new memoir, “Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises.” “It wasn’t a main driver of our future deficits, but it did contribute. Pfeiffer said the line was a ‘dog whistle’ to the left, a phrase I had never heard before. He had to explain that the phrase was code to the Democratic base, signaling that we intended to protect Social Security.”

The left apparently likes to be called by dog whistles no one else can hear rather than be told the truth straight out, but aside from that, how about the senators who did lie without a problem?

Here's Megyn Kelly's highly revealing clip:

It's unwise to take any politician's words as unquestionable, but when the politician in question is a Democrat, the most reliable assumption is that he's speaking the exact reverse of the truth and will continue to do so until compelled irresistibly -- and there are few compulsions a skilled liar cannot resist.


4. A Song of Ice and Fire and Contemporary Fantasy.

Fans of George R. R. Martin's books and / or the HBO series founded on them might find this article from some opinionated chump or other to be of interest. In truth, the question whether A Song of Ice and Fire is likely to reshape high fantasy in a "dark" mold is a good one. My hope is that it won't, but we shall see.

High fantasy has been mired in the doldrums for some time. The immense power and influence of The Lord of the Rings has a great deal to do with that, of course. A few writers have succeeded in winning at least partway free of the Tolkienian channel; Jack Vance's Lyonesse trilogy comes to mind, as does Stephen R. Donaldson's Thomas Covenant series. But A Song of Ice and Fire is a complete inversion not only of Tolkien's heroic-quest vision, but of the openly Catholic moral theses from which he wrote. If Martin's series succeeds in jolting high fantasy out of the Tolkienian groove, we can only hope that:

  1. We don't start seeing an unrelieved series of "imitation Martin fantasies;"
  2. The trend doesn't turn entirely to villains and anti-heroes with no moral vision.

Again, we shall see.

1 comment:

  1. It blows my mind - absolutely blows it up like a neutron bomb - that America has ceased to retain the capability for manned space flight.

    In some sense, our space program was all that separated us from other Third World nations. Now, nothing.

    ReplyDelete

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