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SpaceX founder Elon Musk
SpaceX founder Elon Musk
Did you miss it? The decades-long storied history of spaceflight in the United States added a dramatic and revolutionary new chapter this week. Just a few hours before the time of this writing, the robotic arms aboard the International Space Station hauled in the Dragon Capsule manufactured by the private company SpaceX. As the Washington Post writes, this represents a revolutionary step in the history of space exploration, not just of the United States, but the world:
The moment marked a pivot point in U.S. space ambitions, away from total NASA control and toward creative private enterprise. While NASA furnished seed money and technical advice, SpaceX engineers designed, built, launched and drove the white gumdrop-shaped Dragon capsule until the final moments.
SpaceX hopes to eventually ferry more than just cargo to the space station: ever since NASA terminated the shuttle program, our space program now contracts with Russia to ferry our astronauts, to the pricey tune of $63 million per seat.

The company was founded by an entrepreneur by the name of Elon Musk, and his story is one that Galt-goers everywhere should love. Musk made a massive fortune by founding Paypal, which was eventually purchased by eBay. After making a his billions as a technology entrepreneur, however, Musk decided that instead of sitting back and enjoying a lifetime of leisure, he was going to try to revolutionize the world instead. Musk founded two companies to do just that, and set out to run them simultaneously. Anyone who has seen the film Revenge of the Electric Car is familiar with Musk's stewardship of Tesla Motors, the luxury electric car company which, as the film tells it, survived a painful growing process only because of his dedication. If the chants of "We love Elon!" reported by the Washington Post are any indication, it's more than likely that SpaceX added a new chapter to the history of spaceflight owing in no small part to his thirst for success.

By any measure, Musk should be someone whom the right wing in all its objectivist glory should idolize: a self-made billionaire setting out to prove that one man with drive can use the private sector as a world-changing force. It would also, then, be expected that Republicans in Congress would be thrilled to support the change in our country's aeronautical exploration strategy that SpaceX represents: instead of NASA, a government agency, maintaining ultimate control over all aspects of the operation, we are now at a point where entirely private companies are competing with each other to produce the innovations that will result in the next phase of space exploration. But as Space News reports, that has not been the case.

A surprising cast of enemies, often powerful Republican legislators, have queued up to oppose the commercial crew contracts. Increasingly, opponents argue against even modest government investment in the commercial transport of astronauts to the international space station. They succeeded in cutting more than half of President Barack Obama’s budget request for this year, resulting in at least one year’s additional delay to the program. Now they argue that commercial crew is so tardy that, even assuming no further delays, the currently approved life of the international space station will expire only three years after the first commercial flight. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) has gone so far as to suggest raiding the commercial crew budget and removing competition from the program in order to restore Mars science funding.
The reason? As Space News explains, Congressional Republicans—and Democrats as well—love traditional corporate welfare even if it comes at the expense of fostering innovation, as long as that welfare happens to be coming home to their particular states and districts. These Republican efforts to eliminate novel programs are not only hurting the transformation that seems to be the next stage of the space exploration industry; they are also hurting American jobs by making it more likely that rocketry contracts will go to foreign companies, and that we will continue to have to pay Russia for the privilege of having our astronauts hitch a ride with them.

Republicans should have considered the success of SpaceX and its entrepreneurial founder Elon Musk to be an ideological coup: a strong testament to the spirit of entrepreneurship and private-sector competition. Instead, many are seeking to undermine it at every opportunity.

Outside of a gravy train for their big business contributors, what do Republicans stand for exactly? Hard to know.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun May 27, 2012 at 05:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Science Matters.

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Comment Preferences

  •  A suggestion (25+ / 0-)

    Since some of the GOP hypocrites are suddenly so interested in the space program when it affects their corporate masters or their districts, I suggest they be given a closer look at space.  

    I wonder how much a one way ticket on Dragon or Orion or any other vehicle that will take them from this earth will cost.

  •  So Peter Weyland is Elon Musk (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Dead Man, Shockwave, Aunt Pat, annieli

    Doctor Mitt Romney Brain Sturgeon-The Operation was a success but the patient died, where's my fee?

    by JML9999 on Sun May 27, 2012 at 05:06:55 PM PDT

  •  They Work For Their Lords. (10+ / 0-)

    Generally the lords agree that government for the people must be terminated, so usually the Republicans are pretty good at working together.

    So this is not a problem of Republicans, it's indicative of a struggle among the nobility.

    Gotta expect that to happen until the market is fully consolidated.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun May 27, 2012 at 05:07:53 PM PDT

  •  Just a comment (9+ / 0-)
    These Republican efforts to eliminate novel programs are not only hurting the transformation that seems to be the next stage of the space exploration industry; they are also hurting American jobs by making it more likely that rocketry contracts will go to foreign companies, and that we will continue to have to pay Russia for the privilege of having our astronauts hitch a ride with them.
    Space exploration has taken a HUGE hit with the elimination of the NASA Space Shuttle program during this administration.  I was just so bummed out that this was scrapped.  I know it had a lot to do with the cost, but I am not so sure there are many other programs that couldn't have been cut or scrapped in its place, in my considered opinion.

    Now, we will see other countries going forward with space exploration or even worse for many within the anti-capitalist crowd, some capitalists.  

    Just a comment, of course -_-

    The truth is sometimes very inconvenient.

    by commonsensically on Sun May 27, 2012 at 05:13:35 PM PDT

  •  Republicans stand for???? (9+ / 0-)

    1.  Repressed sexuality
    2.  Disguised Racism and misogny
    3.  Cultural ignorance
    4........fill in the blanks

  •  It'll turn into Halliburton in space soon enough (6+ / 0-)

    Progressive Candidate Obama (now - Nov 6, 2012)
    Bipartisan Obama returns (Nov 7, 2012)

    by The Dead Man on Sun May 27, 2012 at 05:18:50 PM PDT

    •  Exactly. I think this privatization is a bad idea (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bensdad, Andrew M

      A glaringly, obviously, potentially immensely catastrophically bad idea.

      I'm surprised at how most people seem to cheer it.

      •  They haven't watched enough Alien(s)/Prometheus (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Shuksan Tahoma, Andrew M

        Letting "Weyland/Yutani" have control of space is a bad, bad idea. (the lawlessness, corporate control of government, etc.  not just the xenomorph thing)

        Progressive Candidate Obama (now - Nov 6, 2012)
        Bipartisan Obama returns (Nov 7, 2012)

        by The Dead Man on Sun May 27, 2012 at 06:23:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  It could be, but doesn't have to be. (6+ / 0-)

        Businesses do lots of good things, and I think space access is necessary for the survival of humanity, so when government is in gridlock about doing it, I'm glad that a concerned citizen is stepping up and making it happen.

        -We need Healthcare Reform... but i'm selfish, I Need Healthcare reform-

        by JPax on Sun May 27, 2012 at 06:51:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Education is necessary as well. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          If a private company can argue, as has Musk according to many of you, that it can deliver education more effectively than the local/state governments, should we as Dems support that as well.

          I see Romney today, arguing that just as Dems support SpaceX in the aerospace sector, they should support CompanyX in the education field.

          Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project.

          by PatriciaVa on Sun May 27, 2012 at 07:11:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  there's a track record (0+ / 0-)

            charter schools, as they exist now, are failures in general, although a few might be worth saving.

            •  I think charter schools, as a component (0+ / 0-)

              Of the public school system, can be a good idea.

              I don't think they should be all the schools, and I think they should be nonprofit, but they can be a vehicle for giving people choices in how they educate their children.

              I'm all for choice, in almost all things. But there need to be controls, and charters should never be running the entire school system.

          •  Good point, but there is a difference. (0+ / 0-)

            Education is an essential service to the proper operation of our society and to a democracy in general, or so many of us believe. We believe that all children need access to education, however few of us believe that children need access to space. While I believe that space access is important for society as a whole, not all members need to participate in order for all members to benefit.

            -We need Healthcare Reform... but i'm selfish, I Need Healthcare reform-

            by JPax on Sun May 27, 2012 at 10:26:32 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Space has been privatized for years (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        this is about commercialization.  They are not the same thing.  

        I am curious - how do you see us settling space without commercialization?

        •  Would you want to live on Halliburton City, Moon? (0+ / 0-)

          If you thought the old time company store was bad, imagine working on a company moonbase where you have to pay for air.  No laws except company laws.  Strike? It's cheaper to decompress the living quarters and then ship a new set of workers in.

          NOW SHOWING
          Progressive Candidate Obama (now - Nov 6, 2012)
          Bipartisan Obama returns (Nov 7, 2012)

          by The Dead Man on Tue May 29, 2012 at 04:20:02 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I am hopeful that it doesn't come to that (0+ / 0-)

            but I do want to see space settlement.  And we live in a world were there is commercialization.  

            Further as I said, Space has been privatized for decades.  Thats why companies like Chrysler and playtex have had space divisions.  Thats why NASA has contracted out.   What we need to figure out is whether there is an ROI to human spaceflight.  And the only way to do that is to force us to see what actual value we get from space is.

            So I go back to my question - how do you propose we do space settlement without commercialization?  

  •  Republicans aren't FOR anything. (5+ / 0-)

    They're anti-liberal, no matter the cost.

    •  they are for channeling money (7+ / 0-)

      from the poor to the rich.  

      •  Elon Musk's car relies on transfers from poor to.. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        ..the rich.

        The Tesla Larry Ellison bought has was subsidized to the tune of 10K (7.5K federal +2.5 state).  That 2.5K came from the sales taxes paid by the struggling family in East LA.

        And this is before factoring in the 500M loan from the federal government.

        Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project.

        by PatriciaVa on Sun May 27, 2012 at 06:22:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  how many people have jobs (0+ / 0-)

          that wouldn't otherwise and would be on food stamps, too?

          "There's nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires." - President Obama

          by fhcec on Sun May 27, 2012 at 06:46:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  So what you're saying is (0+ / 0-)

          The rich don't buy things and if they do, they just wink and nod and the sales tax is refunded to them,

          •  I'm saying that the struggling family in East LA.. (0+ / 0-)

            ...should not be forced to subsidize Larry Ellison's Tesla in NorCal.

            Of course, some believe that the poor don't pay their fair share, and that their tax burden should increase.

            I'm not one of those people.

            Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project.

            by PatriciaVa on Sun May 27, 2012 at 07:13:18 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  That isn't true (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          orlbucfan, Andrew M

          The $10k only means that Ellison gets to decrease his adjusted gross income by $10k. If he's in the 35% tax bracket, that means the gov't only received $3.5k less in taxes, not $10k less. It's dishonest to count the full face value of the tax break since the gov't would not receive an additional $10k otherwise.

          Of course, Larry Ellison isn't the only one eligible for the tax break. You and I are, too, and many of the people who take advantage of it might not be in the 35% tax bracket. (Although, admittedly, none of the struggling families in East LA will be taking advantage of it, in all likelihood.)

          The tax break isn't there to help Musk or Tesla. (It goes to a whole class of vehicles, not just one company.) It's there to try to get a whole new industry off the ground in this country. (And to improve gas mileage.) Those are legitimate public goods, and the gov't is rightly spending money to promote them.

          Assuming the loan is paid back, the cost to the gov't will be nowhere near $500M.

          The question is, should the gov't spend money to bolster industry, create jobs, improve gas mileage, and get new technology and a new class of vehicles off the ground?

          It isn't what we don't know that gives us trouble, it's what we know that ain't so. — Will Rogers

          by dconrad on Mon May 28, 2012 at 04:22:23 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I have a sneaking suspicion (11+ / 0-)

    that if it were a Koch Brothers capsule currently docked at the space station, the very same legislators would be screaming to defund the great boondoggle known as NASA, in order to redirect a few tens of billions to Koch Space Industries.

  •  It has become hard to share the same planet... (7+ / 0-)

    ...with these hypocritical Repugs.

    If their shamelessness could fuel a rocket we would be in Jupiter's moons by now.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Sun May 27, 2012 at 05:26:37 PM PDT

  •  SpaceX is giving NASA a new paradigm. (15+ / 0-)

    Contracts that have to be met at a fixed price.  Other contractors work cost-plus and don't give a s**t about whether they deliver works.  As one contract VP told me

    We don't care if we deliver a brick. The Government will pay us more to get it working.
    Thus the overruns on NPP, NPOESS and GOES-R.

    It is pretty clear Senator Mikulski is pissed off by the current model.  It is unlikely that a corporate welfare model to get money to big contractors to miss Mars would happen.

    Let's hire contractors on a delivery model which says if you don't deliver what you were contracted to build, you don't get paid.  That will stop all the underbidding to win a contract when you know with 100% certainty you cannot build what you are bidding on.

    The Muslim said "I wished I had met Christ before I met the Christians" - Rev. Marvin Winins

    by captainlaser on Sun May 27, 2012 at 05:29:10 PM PDT

    •  I would allow some cost overruns (0+ / 0-)

      But not unlimited. Maybe 10% wiggle room.

      But I agree, if you don't meet the time constraints, you don't get paid.

      •  Why? They are currently required by NASA (0+ / 0-)

        regulations to bid with a 35% contingency which cannot be used until they are in final build.   If you cannot bid within 35%, you should try another line of work.

        The Muslim said "I wished I had met Christ before I met the Christians" - Rev. Marvin Winins

        by captainlaser on Mon May 28, 2012 at 06:38:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  When I think of "space" I think of (15+ / 0-)

    John Benton Harris. Who was he? He was my great uncle. He was a pilot in WW II who escaped not once, not twice but three times from German POW camps. He went on to become an aerospace engineer and was one of the men who brought us the Space Shuttle.

    Great Uncle Jack believed that government could do great things. He proved it, too.

    Santorum: Man on Dog; Romney: Dog on Car. Ren and Stimpy: Dog on Cat

    by commonmass on Sun May 27, 2012 at 05:37:18 PM PDT

    •  Congratulations on this noble lineage. (5+ / 0-)

      The Space Shuttle was one of mankind's greatest achievements, period.

      •  Considering all the bloat in the design, getting (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        it airborne was a great achievement. It was a hodge-podge of design ideas necessitated by the desire to convince congress that there was a military role for it. That's why it has such a large delta-wing, for cross range capability allowing it to launch and land at the same location (which would otherwise be impossible because the Earth rotates underneath the orbit track. If there had been no wings, we might not have had the Challenger disaster from side-mounting and definitely wouldn't have had the Columbia disaster.

        -We need Healthcare Reform... but i'm selfish, I Need Healthcare reform-

        by JPax on Sun May 27, 2012 at 06:57:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The fact that it involves *science* should render (9+ / 0-)

    the opinions of most any republican legislator politician null and void.

    It's akin to having Inhofe run the FAA.

    This country needs a massive GOVERNOR purge.

    by here4tehbeer on Sun May 27, 2012 at 05:41:34 PM PDT

  •  Republicans don't support free enterprise. (13+ / 0-)

    They support corporate oligarchy, which innovative entrepreneurs like Elon Musk threaten.

    Our Germans are better zan zeyr Germans.

    by Troubadour on Sun May 27, 2012 at 05:47:46 PM PDT

  •  Maybe because he believes in the other green (12+ / 0-)

    He founded and runs Tesla, which makes what some republicans call Obamacars (anything electric threatens the oil companies), and Solar City, which produces residential solar power systems.  That's just the wrong kind of capitalism for these people.

  •  Not so much for these days as against (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mdmslle, fhcec, JPax, JeffW, mmacdDE, orlbucfan

    Anything that counts as an accomplishment on Obama's watch, they stand against it. They're happy to see America lose if that what it takes to keep Obama, Democrats or liberals in general from winning on anything.

    They are the Party of NO; in fact calling them the Party of HELL NO!!! would be closer to the facts.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Sun May 27, 2012 at 06:04:28 PM PDT

  •  Republicans stand for selfishness (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    foresterbob, fhcec, JeffW

    and self-interest.  They attempt to hide this behind a facade of patriotism and religiosity.

    An illusion can never be destroyed directly... SK.

    by Thomas Twinnings on Sun May 27, 2012 at 06:08:09 PM PDT

  •  My cousin is an astronaut and went up with... (14+ / 0-)

    the Russians last year.  He trained in Russia for about 3 years, learning the space craft, language and medical, so he could attend to anyone needing a medic during their space stay, which was approximately 6 months in duration.

    This was his third trip up to the space station, the first two were with NASA on the shuttles, but the writing was on the wall and NASA sent him to train with the Russians.

    I remember thinking at the time that it was ironic that we were now hitching rides with the Russians.  I guess his senators in Tejas were too busy with big oil to pay any attention to NASA, oh, and they (the senators) are and have been rethuglicans for years now.

    None-the-less, he came out of the womb saying he wanted to be an astronaut and he thoroughly enjoyed his time at the space station with his Russian comrads.

    "A weed is a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered." Ralph Waldo Emerson

    by Yo Bubba on Sun May 27, 2012 at 06:10:25 PM PDT

  •  apropos of nothing, (0+ / 0-)

    dude looks a lot like the Duke of Cambridge.

    you don't need to read my comments. this is not the sigline you're looking for. Move along.

    by bubbanomics on Sun May 27, 2012 at 06:20:29 PM PDT

  •  Elan Musk Is A Person? I Thought It Was Body Spray (5+ / 0-)

    cultural jetlag

    There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

    by bernardpliers on Sun May 27, 2012 at 06:23:01 PM PDT

  •  Maybe we should clarify one thing: (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PatriciaVa, Yo Bubba, stevej, Andrew M

    Who is PAYING SpaceX. That would be the US Government. Why should liberals be jumping up and down with happiness because we outsourced a NASA function to a Elon Musk, and now pay an extra premium in the form of profit?

    I don't get this one.

    •  I don't get it as well. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Andrew M

      If it were a K-12 school receiving tax dollars via vouchers, Dems would be eviscerating him.

      Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project.

      by PatriciaVa on Sun May 27, 2012 at 06:27:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Public/Private partnerships (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dconrad, Andrew M

        are supposed to combine the best of government with the best of private industry.  Usually they combine the worst of government with the worst of private industry.  If you're actually building something that works, you're already an exception.

        There are enough rightwingers and others outspoken about their desire to abolish public education entirely.  I'd be a fool to watch the first stages of demolition take place without objecting.

    •  Maybe he's doing it more cost-effectively? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I have no idea, just one possible reason.

      "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

      by kovie on Sun May 27, 2012 at 06:43:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Because (5+ / 0-)

      SpaceX spent a billion dollars to design, build, & fly a launcher and capsule, while Big Aerospace spent ten times that on SRB-derived hardware and came up with a plan for spending that much again before valid hardware flies.

      Plus SpaceX's roadmap includes reuse of all components, whereas the Ares-1X test (of a booster with four segments, not five as per the actual design) ended with trashed hardware.

      Long story short, SpaceX delivers.  Big Aerospace is welfare for Republican congressional districts.

    •  Made in America? (5+ / 0-)

      Not sure if it was union labor or not though.

      Just because Dems and progressives are accused of being socialists, doesn't mean they have to be.

      Perhaps now that private spaceflight is real, some private companies will order satellites and space stations for SpaceX to fly for, and those might not use ANY taxpayer money. That's the hope.

      I'm okay with this idea, but then, I'm also okay with letting private businesses drive trucks on public roads too.

      -We need Healthcare Reform... but i'm selfish, I Need Healthcare reform-

      by JPax on Sun May 27, 2012 at 07:03:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I suspect that some of the Republican distaste (0+ / 0-)

    for Musk is due to his other venture, the Tesla, which may be seen as a threat to entrenched interests. I'm not sure why, as the Tesla is not the really the way forward for displacing gasoline, at least not at this point - nor, do I think, was this his intention. The guy has tenacity and huevos, and gets my kudos for this SpaceX endeavor.

  •  Don't forget Krathhammer's comments on the matter (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kovie, JPax, JeffW, happymisanthropy

    These comments are from his article lamenting the loss of the space shuttle program.

    Is there a better symbol of willed American decline?

    Nor for the private sector to get us back into orbit, as Obama assumes it will. True, hauling food up and trash back down could be done by private vehicles. But manned flight is infinitely more complex and risky, requiring massive redundancy and inevitably larger expenditures. Can private entities really handle that? And within the next lost decade or two?

    We lament the decline of American manufacturing, yet we stop production of the most complex machine ever made by man — and cancel the successor meant to return us to orbit.

    He claims that America is in decline because the Shuttles stopped flying, and we didn't get another big government program to replace it.  And then he goes on to dismis everything SpaceX has been doing.  That is American industry, manufacturing, engineering.  It is American greatness.

    And no, I don't understand it one bit either.

    •  Also, he didn't get his jetpack (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Which I guess in his case would make more sense, but I didn't mean it like that.

      Find something a Dem does, and a RW ideologue shill will find something terribly wrong with it. It burns a hole in their rotting souls to see a Dem do good.

      These are twisted, twisted people who got left behind--because they chose to.

      "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

      by kovie on Sun May 27, 2012 at 06:42:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Replace orbit with air (0+ / 0-)

      And he could be arguing against commercial aircraft in general.

      Airplanes are complex vehicles, they require extensive training to operate, and we had airlines carrying people around the world in less than 50yrs after the wright bros. hell, less than 30.

      We've been launching manned space vehicles for 50 yrs. we should have space ports, commercial freight and passenger rockets, and a base on the moon by now.

      But we don't. We got that with planes because planes were never built by the govt, even though the govt used them, contracted for them, and subsidized them in lots of ways.

      Private industry built planes, and because they were building them, they found other uses for them to make more money.

      If you only need 5 of something, you're not going to go into business to build it. You might do it as a sideline for another business, but it won't be your sole product. It can't be.

  •  Public-private partnerships are commie plots (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happymisanthropy, dconrad

    to undermine the precious bodily fluids of all right-thinking Americans.

    Like that Erie Canal thing. What a crock.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Sun May 27, 2012 at 06:44:25 PM PDT

  •  Rand's "Fountainhead" is an Obama Democrat. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    No one personifies the hero, Howard Roark, of Rand's novel "The Fountainhead more than Elon Musk.

    From the internet to electric cars to space, the final frontier, Musk has been the epitome of brilliant entrepreneur who puts principles to work via the private enterprise system and wins.

    That the real "Howard Roark" is an Obama Democrat shows how reality is the exact opposite of the twisted right wing Rand/Reaganomics that has eaten away at the foundation of US economy and political system over the last 30 years.

  •  Which is why... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Andrew M

    "Congressional Republicans—and Democrats as well—love traditional corporate welfare even if it comes at the expense of fostering innovation,"

    Which is why privatization is a fucking joke and will further hurt our nation.

    F*ck those idiots and the voters they rode in on.

    by roninkai on Sun May 27, 2012 at 07:06:01 PM PDT

  •  Freeeeedddooooommm!!! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Andrew M

    Interesting, I heard an interview yesterday about this and the libertarian talking this up said freedom about 1,500 times when he wasn't saying how great it was to finally have a trip entirely by a private company into space. He said that this was a great moment in U.S. space flight, because unlike China the people in the U.S. could never get behind the space program since it was done by the government.

    While going crazy over this and pumping up the Galtian freedom-lovers on the right he forgot to mention that the whole thing was only possible because U.S. taxpayers provided the seed money; government money without which almost no major exploration has ever happened.

  •  Republicans Should Love Musk (0+ / 0-)

    Heard a story about Elon Musk on NPR a couple weeks ago.  Apparently he gives $$ to Ron Paul.  His views on EPA, regulation, and the environment ought to bring joy to any committed GOPer.

  •  As the story spins. (0+ / 0-)

    If I recall correctly, and I may not, SpaceX was working on rockets (and, I think, the Dragon) well before the COTS program came to be.

    I suppose there are some people expressing ill will towards Musk, but I think the real antipathy goes towards government funding of private research -- the benefits of which accrue to private profit.

    And, to be honest, Musk would seem like the least likely poster child for that harangue.  SpaceX is first because it was already up and going.  SpaceX would be up and going without any government subsidies, though it might take a bit longer to get there.

    The real criticism as I recall, was not directed at the entrepreneurs, but at the government for abandoning the shuttle program and leaving the US without a manned launch capability, effectively putting US space exploration at the mercy of the Russians.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Sun May 27, 2012 at 09:04:23 PM PDT

  •  Here's another little tidbit... (0+ / 0-)

    Florida congratulates SpaceX.  Texas? Not so much.

    This country needs a massive GOVERNOR purge.

    by here4tehbeer on Sun May 27, 2012 at 11:03:49 PM PDT

  •  Excellent article! (0+ / 0-)

    I had not known that the conservatives were putting the hate on this accomplishment. It is a surprise given their "free enterprise" mantra. But not so much since they really only want to keep their industrial campaign contributors happy.

    It's a sad state of affairs when you elect a candidate for the people, and then have them turn into a representative for the corporations instead.

    We really need to circumvent Congress and put together a vote across the electorate on a new set of rules that Congress should live by. Is that possible?

    - No more lobbyists
    - No more buying influence
    - No more corruption

    "I think it's the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately." -- George Carlin, Satirical Comic,(1937-2008)

    by Wynter on Sun May 27, 2012 at 11:27:59 PM PDT

  •  So, let me get this straight... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Andrew M

    you're arguing FOR unrestricted free market capitalism here.  But only in space. Here on earth, in everything else, like energy, govt should be funding it.

    Got hypocrisy?

  •  Thanks to you and to Troubador for (0+ / 0-)

    bring this to light.

    T, sorry for sounding/being so grumpy on your post/comment on the same matter a few days ago. Appreciate the information.

    It could be made into a monster if we all pull together as a team.

    by Superskepticalman on Mon May 28, 2012 at 10:15:40 AM PDT

  •  The Final Frontier, brought to you by PayPal. (0+ / 0-)

    You will not find me cheering this development. The privatization of spaceflight -- and eventually space exploration -- worries me deeply. The fact that NASA is ceding control over America's access to space to rich Randroids like Musk worries me even more.

    Do we, as a species, want Earth orbit, the Moon, the Lagrange points, Mars, and beyond to be the property of some corporation? Because if they think they can get away with it, they will. For myself, there needs to be a higher purpose to the human exploration of space than appraising it for what some megacorp can exploit.

    We have but scratched the surface of what other planets can teach us about what happened there. Mars in particular may have a lot to tell us, but probes can't tell us everything; they don't have the intelligence, the reaction times, or the imagination of human beings. And Mars won't be able to tell us anything at all if it gets strip-mined for some strategic resource to be sold at a markup back home.

    This is why government is needed in space exploration and spaceflight. At the very least, we can hold governments more accountable for their actions than Elon Musk or John Carmack or whoever else throws their hat into the ring. And being accountable to the people is a must if the people are going to gain any benefits from space travel.

    With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censured, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied - chains us all, irrevocably.

    by Andrew M on Mon May 28, 2012 at 03:28:51 PM PDT

  •  Elon Musk - no dirt? (0+ / 0-)

    I seem to recall reading that during Paypal's early years, when, presumably, it was all Musk's operation, it was run as a Christian weirdo cult, with forced prayer breaks and other managerial maneuvers to enforce the religious health of their staff.

    Today, I see no connection between the now-touted name of Elon Musk and forced Christian piety. Am I mistaken in observing this connection? Or has Musk gotten over his religious hankerings, in his maturity? Or is there another shoe still undropped? Knowing minds want to inquire.

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