Rising Budget Stakes for Space Warfare

Exclusive: As a backdrop to the Russia-gate hysteria and the heightened fear of China is a budget war over how much U.S. taxpayer money to pour into space warfare, explains Jonathan Marshall.

By Jonathan Marshall

There’s a civil war being fought on our nation’s soil, right in our capital. It pits the Secretary of Defense and senior generals against a bipartisan band of militant legislators who accuse the Pentagon of standing pat while Russian and China work to achieve military superiority over the United States in space.

The Pentagon, headquarters of the U.S. Defense Department, as viewed with the Potomac River and Washington, D.C., in the background. (Defense Department photo)

No doubt these bureaucratic warriors will eventually call a truce. But in the meantime, the American people will almost certainly become less secure and more indebted (in budget terms) as a result of both sides’ macho posturing for new warfighting capabilities in space (differing mostly on how far and how fast to go).

Eager congressional advocates of space warfare have attached an amendment to the House defense authorization bill requiring the Pentagon to create a new U.S. Space Corps to join the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard by 2019. Currently, the Air Force oversees most space warfare projects.

The amendment has sent senior Pentagon leadership into a tizzy. Secretary of Defense James Mattis “strongly” urged Congress to rescind the requirement, stating in a letter that “it is premature to add additional organization and administrative tail to the department at a time I am trying to reduce overhead.”

Similarly, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson protested that the proposal will simply “add more boxes to the organization chart.” Meanwhile, Gen. John W. Raymond, commander of Air Force Space Command, insisted that his service has space matters well in hand. (He should be happy — the Pentagon recently raised his position to a 4-star rank.)

Upping the Ante

In response, Rep. Mike Rogers, an Alabama Republican and chairman of the Strategic Forces subcommittee, announced that he was “pissed” and “outraged” at the Air Force for fighting the new Space Command, saying its obstructionism would “set back efforts to respond to adversaries and space threats” and allow Russia and China “to surpass us soon.”

The U.S. Capitol

“The Air Force leadership would have us trust them: I don’t think so,” Rogers sneered, as if speaking about the Russians. “They just need a few more years to rearrange the deck chairs: I don’t think so. This is the same Air Force that got us into the situation where the Russians and the Chinese are near-peers to us in space.” He vowed, “We will not allow the status quo to continue.”

Behind all the fiery argumentation lies a bipartisan consensus that the United States must sharply increase its spending on the militarization of space to maintain global supremacy. Gen. Raymond applauded Congress for recognizing the “national imperative” of his mission to “normalize, elevate, and integrate space as a war-fighting domain.”

Secretary Wilson published an op-ed column last month on her new initiatives to “develop space airmen who have the tools, training, and resources to fight when – not if – war extends into space.” She fully expects Congress to follow through on her request for a 20 percent increase in Air Force space funding. (Total military spending on space, including non-Air Force programs like the National Reconnaissance Office, came to about $22 billion last year.)

What’s driving all this activity — aside from baser motives of bureaucratic advantage and financial gain — are “intelligence assessments” that “China and Russia have aggressive programs to both demonstrate and produce eventual operational capability to . . . attack our space assets across the spectrum,” in the words of David Hardy, acting deputy undersecretary of the Air Force for Space.

“While we’re not at war in space, I don’t think we can say we’re exactly at peace, either,” said Navy Vice Adm. Charles A. Richard, deputy commander of U.S. Strategic Command, in March. Gen. John Hyten, head of the Pentagon’s Strategic Command, recently declared that the United States needs not only a good defense, but “an offensive capability to challenge” space threats from Russia and China.

The High Stakes in Space

The stakes are potentially huge because the United States uses space for all manner of command, control, and intelligence missions, not to mention civilian applications. Orbiting satellites provide near-real-time images of conflict zones, sense missile launches and nuclear tests, provide precise positioning coordinates to guide weapons systems, and route secure communications to remote regions of the globe.

The image of the Earth rising over the surface of the moon, a photograph taken by the first U.S. astronauts to orbit the moon.

Of some 1,400 operational satellites currently in orbit, 40 percent belong to the United States, nearly twice as many as Russia and China combined. About 150 U.S. satellites serve military applications.

Any threat to satellites would thus pose a serious, even disproportionate military risk to the United States. But instead of supporting international initiatives to put space off limits to warfare, Washington has led the way in developing anti-satellite missile technology, encouraging a space arms race that puts our assets in peril.

The United States and Russia experimented with primitive anti-satellite technology as far back as the 1960s, but the United States first used a missile fired from a fighter jet to destroy an aging satellite in 1985. Not until 2007 did China conduct a similar test, blowing up an old weather satellite, while emphasizing its interest in multilateral talks to prevent the weaponization of space. The following year, the United States used a Navy interceptor missile to shoot down a dying military satellite. Russia followed suit with an anti-satellite test in 2015, proving that no military advance goes unanswered.

Some Key Facts

Alarmists who selectively cite Russian and Chinese activities to warn of an impending military space “gap” ignore a few key facts:

  1. The United States holds a clear technology lead and spends at least 10 times more on military space operations than every other country on earth combined.
  2. Although U.S. satellites are vulnerable to attack, most have maneuvering capabilities, shielding against various forms of radiation, and jam-resistant communications.
  3. For years, Russia, China and other nations have sought to control the spread of weapons into space — only to face consistent opposition from Washington.

An Outer Space Treaty signed in 1967 limited only the deployment of nuclear weapons in space. In 2002, the George W. Bush administration withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty with Russia, opening the door to widespread deployment of weapons that put U.S. satellites at risk. A year later, the Air Force declared in its Strategic Master Plan that “the ability to exploit space while selectively disallowing it to adversaries is critically important and . . . an essential prerequisite to modern warfare.”

Former President George W. Bush prepares to celebrate the dedication of his presidential library, which opens to the public on May 1, 2013.

Candidate Barack Obama proposed an international “code of conduct” in space, but as president he met resistance from the State Department and Pentagon, and dropped the idea as U.S.-Russia relations soured. In 2011, Congress passed an amendment banning cooperation with China in space, thus encouraging a military space race between our countries.

In 2014, the United Nations General Assembly voted 126 to 4 to pass a Russian resolution banning an arms race in space. The four dissenting countries were Georgia, Israel, Ukraine — and the United States.

Because the United States depends on space more than any other nation, both for military security and commerce, it has the most to lose if wars spread into space. Instead of relying only on military superiority to keep us safe, the time is long overdue to pursue diplomatic options for arms control — which potentially could help us achieve greater security for far less money.

“Unfortunately, the structural inertia that supports and, indeed, advocates, aggressive space postures requiring expensive weapon systems is strong,” notes Joan Johnson-Freese, a professor of national security affairs at the Naval War College and expert on space warfare. “Congressional support for their efforts is easily garnered, as building hardware creates lucrative jobs and corporate profits, whereas diplomacy does not.

“But if the goal of U.S. space security efforts is to maintain stability in space so it can fully utilize its space assets, then the time seems ripe for proactive diplomatic leadership and, at the same time, sustained strategic restraint. Otherwise, the U.S. will be seen (not for the first time) as advocating a policy of do-as-we-say-and-not-as-we-do regarding pursuit of offensive space capabilities.”

Johnson-Freese is not alone in her call for fresh new thinking about space warfare. A 2016 policy paper that she co-authored was published of all places by the Atlantic Council — a pro-NATO, Pentagon-funded think tank.

Its introduction declared, “The days of ‘space dominance’ are over and we need to move from thinking of space as a military domain of offense and defense to a more complex environment that needs to be managed by a wide range of international players. Doing so would calm growing tensions in space and, with deft management, lead to a more stable, peaceful space domain.”

The author of those words was retired Marine Gen. James Cartwright, former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They are words that sensible Americans — who want a safer world and a sane limit on military spending — should rally round. We will stand a greater chance of preserving our civilization if we reserve space wars for movies and novels.

Jonathan Marshall is a regular contributor to Consortiumnews.com.

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73 comments for “Rising Budget Stakes for Space Warfare

  1. john wilson
    July 14, 2017 at 5:39 am

    Nukes in space is inevitable and I am surprised Putin hasn’t already done it. He is certainly justified as the US has ringed his country with missiles. Once these weapon are up there we will have double jeopardy, with the risk some fool will push the button down here on earth or that a meteorite will crash into the weapons(s) up there.

    • Patrick
      July 14, 2017 at 6:21 am

      Don’t think that they would put nukes in low-orbit, but maybe powerful lasers. (but maybe this is to much James Bond like thinking)
      Personally I would grant every country powerful spy satellites who could monitor every move of the opponent. (nothing better that clarity, right) Same for radar installations, the more the better. Clarity is always in the advantage of the peace-loving side. Also, I would allow every country defensive patriot-like missiles. Nothing bad with protection. Nukes and attacking missiles however should be kept far away from the borders.

  2. Adrian Engler
    July 14, 2017 at 6:45 am

    The question of militarization of space had been discussed a lot during the Cold War, and many had come to the conclusion that it is very dangerous.

    Military satellites are very vulnerable. Since the US military relies on them in a particularly strong way, there is an incentive for other countries to destroy such satellites in order to work towards restoring balance. That could be considered an act of war, but a relatively humane one. On the other hand, because the US does not want to give up the strategic advantages these satellites give them, they have an incentive to treat attacks on these satellites like attacks on the US itself, which could be answered with a nuclear strike. In this situation, there is a big danger that US satellites are destroyed by accident (e.g. by space debris) and that, by mistake, the US interprets this as an attack it responds to with a nuclear attack.

    During the Cold War, many thought for this reason that militarization of space is so dangerous that it should be severely limited and strictly regulated by treaties. Nowadays, people should not forget the warnings of many people during Cold War.

    • GMC
      July 15, 2017 at 6:15 am

      I think people are forgetting the fact that we are not the only ” beings” in space or in our solar system and that others have been on the planet who might be a little P Oed about nukes in so called ” Our Space”. The USG has shown to be 1 F Up after another and this would be just another of their dozens of F Ups. Just by asking for more funding and enlarging the Space Fleet is scary enough. Thanks.

  3. mike k
    July 14, 2017 at 6:54 am

    The drive for world domination eventually spreads to every activity of the would be Hegemon. Science becomes military science. The Warfare State gobbles up all resources, human, economic, natural, social. Winning the race for Global Supremacy, Full Spectrum Dominance over shadows every other value. The Empire sees threats and potential enemies everywhere. Peace becomes a dangerous trap to be avoided at all costs. Those who counsel peace become traitors to the one cause of domination through violence.

    The insanity of the addiction to war is the greatest danger to all of us. We must find ways to awaken the sleeping people to this imminent danger, so that they can become active in opposing and preventing it from destroying our world.

    • July 14, 2017 at 8:05 am

      Thanks Mike for the saneist comment so far. Obviously the Alabama Congressman Mike Rogers has a lucrative lobbying job awaiting him in the burgeoning space war industrial complex after he retires from “public service,” cough, cough.
      Meanwhile as these war profiteers allocate tax money from people who earn real incomes from producing real goods and services, into destructive infrastructure, our bridges, roads, schools, water, environment decline to third world levels. Parasites rule this planet and unfettered capitalism is the breeding ground for unearned incomes and the parasite pandemic.

      • mike k
        July 14, 2017 at 9:12 am

        i like your term for these scum – parasites. And these are the kind that can kill their host – us.

  4. mike k
    July 14, 2017 at 7:10 am

    Why is the bill to establish a Department of Peacemaking having so much trouble getting passed? The answer is obvious, the US Government is primarily about war and aggression.

    http://peacealliance.org/issues-advocacy/department-of-peace/

    • July 14, 2017 at 8:10 am

      Yes, anytime a peace candidate dares run for president the entrenched duopoly immediately throws them under the media bus. They are ridiculed and ignored. Congress is ruled by lobbying, a euphemism for bribery. Let’s take back the language, then the media then the production of our own money then we can oust the parasites.

      • fudmier
        July 14, 2017 at 10:01 pm

        yeph! 340,000,000 peace loving governed, spied on Americans vs. 527 war-savory propaganda-elected fully salaried corporate endowed members of the USA.. Its a wonder with those odds, that a single bullet gets bought?

    • Sam F
      July 14, 2017 at 10:00 pm

      Peaceful industries have not the power of the MIC. Domestic demand is met, but the MIC can always export arms and violence if the people are afraid. So a peaceful government-supported export requires a public that feels obliged or afraid not to export a peaceful product, so that they will vote for a federal budget to produce it.

      That requires James’ (and Carter’s) “Moral equivalent of war” the equivalent appeal of war in the moral domain.

      But politicians easily sell war, although a majority of the public would agree to about 18% of the federal budget given as foreign aid – building the roads, schools, and hospitals of poor nations, re-purposing 80% of our bloated military for construction and aid management, achieving security instead of making enemies by bullying.

      In part this is the inertia of subsidized MIC nuts in DC, and in part the zionist demand for military aid to counter Russia in the Mideast. In large part it is the contempt of our mass-media-fed public for charity, and the corruption of mass media in selling advertising via violent entertainment. We have a degenerate system of MIC/WallSt/zionists bribing political demagogues and mass media, and only the elimination of economic influence upon mass media and elections can stop this.

  5. Tom Welsh
    July 14, 2017 at 7:51 am

    “Because the United States depends on space more than any other nation, both for military security and commerce…”

    Commerce? How’s that?? I would have thought that almost everyone relied on GPS… which, by the way, is a huge single point of failure that could be taken out, not only by war, but by a large enough solar flare.

  6. Tom Welsh
    July 14, 2017 at 7:52 am

    “Former President George W. Bush prepares to celebrate the dedication of his presidential library, which opens to the public on May 1, 2013”.

    George W. Bush… library. George W. Bush… library. George W. Bush… library.

    Am I the only one to feel cognitive dissonance on hearing those words juxtaposed?

    • July 14, 2017 at 8:38 am

      His library has one book, My Pet Goat.

  7. Chris Chuba
    July 14, 2017 at 8:44 am

    The U.S. wants an arms race in space because we think we can win it. It really is that simple.

    I read a lot of articles on realceardefense.com realclearworld.com (actually neocon portals), and I periodically read ancillary articles dropped in on unrelated topics like, ‘oh but wait until we get rods from gods dropped in from space’. The Russians / Chinese have minimal if any space weapons and what they have are limited to ground based systems like the S500 that can hit low orbital satellites. The Chinese tested a similar system and there were a flurry of articles saying ‘hurry, hurry, we are losing the space war!’

    The Russians have a small military budget and their priority is on other systems, like air defense and nuclear modernization to keep ahead of our ABM technology. After that they are slowly building out their PAK-FA (stealth fighter), very slowly and then their navy and then slowly rolling out their Armata. After that they are slowly expanding their ground to ground missiles, in other words, practical stuff.

    If we really do open the taps on space wars, it will really cement the Chines / Russia alliance because of our heavy handedness. They will have to become allies just to maintain their mutual sovereignty. How cynical I’ve become in 15yrs. I used to be quite the Neocon myself prior to the Iraq war.

    • Zachary Smith
      July 14, 2017 at 12:22 pm

      I’m going to reword your first sentence to align with the situation I saw after skimming the linked pieces.

      The U.S. wanted an arms race in space because we thought we could win it.

      Consider this quote from an early link:

      More unsettling still, the United States has long been leery of treaty-based efforts to constrain a potential arms race in outer space, as supported by nearly every other country in the world for decades. Indeed, under the administration of George W. Bush, the U.S. talking points centered on the mantra “there is no arms race in outer space,” so there is no need for diplomat instruments to constrain one. Now, a decade later, the U.S. military – backed by the Intelligence Community which operates the nation’s spy satellites – seems to be shouting to the rooftops that the United States is in danger of losing the space arms race already begun by its potential adversaries.

      My interpretation is that “we” thought we could be top dog in space by throwing boatloads of money at space-war. That was successful to the extent that Russia and China have been forced into the competition. Not having the resources of the US, they were compelled to wage a smarter battle, and the howling the quote speaks of suggests to me that they’ve been successful. The US has a hell of a lot more to lose in space than anybody else! Later down in the same piece:

      Further, the United States is not unable to protect its satellites, as repeated during the CNN broadcast by various interviewees and the host. Many U.S. government-owned satellites, including precious spy satellites, have capabilities to maneuver. Many are hardened against electro-magnetic pulse, sport “shutters” to protect optical “eyes” from solar flares and lasers, and use radio frequency hopping to resist jamming.

      Offensive weapons, deployed on the ground to attack satellites, or in space, are not a silver bullet.

      In my opinion the first part is flat-wrong, and the final sentence is misdirection. The evidence I see is that it isn’t going to be ground-based weapons which are the threat to satellites – an attack will be space-based and aim at physical destruction rather than “jamming” or “blinding”. Still an opinion, but I believe the elimination of every important US satellite as something which approaches “easy” for an opponent who has made the proper plans and acquired the necessary equipment.

      Whether creation of a “new” agency to manage the problem is a good idea isn’t something I’m in any position to judge. More fumble-fingered money grabbing bureaucrats? Or some some dedicated people working on the problem instead of blowing it off. I’ve no idea!

      Finally, one of the links took me on a wild goose chase, and I had to find another place to read the report.

      https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/images/publications/AC_StrategyPapers_No5_Space_WEB1.pdf

    • backwardsevolution
      July 14, 2017 at 3:02 pm

      Chris – “The U.S. wants an arms race in space because we think we can win it. It really is that simple.”

      I think you’re right. It’s all about winning, always having the upper hand on the other guy, the boot on your neighbor’s neck. These guys went from schoolyard bullies to Pentagon bullies, and didn’t bother to blink in between. I mean, it’s what they select for. There’s no way someone like me could even muster up the strength to go work in a place like that every morning, I’d be ostracized, but these guys are actually proud of it and there’s a spring in their step. “Rah, rah, U.S.A., rah, rah, me!” Like meets like, high fives all round.

      The psychology behind their thinking is very interesting. If they actually knew what made them tick, they’d off themselves.

  8. Joe Tedesky
    July 14, 2017 at 10:33 am

    I will admit when it comes to our orbit, and space, I don’t know much. What I do know, is we have polluted our space around our earthly orbit with so much ‘space junk’, that we humans owe it to future generations, and too nature itself, that we should go out there and clean up the mess we humans have made. Seriously, go see if you can find any pictures of this junk that is circling around our globe, and you will agree that we have a lot of work to do towards managing our tiny section of this vast universe. What we have done to space is disgraceful.

    Someone above mentioned how we in the U.S. should partner with other nations, and to take war off the table, as research and development would replace our tendency to kill each other. This sounds good to me, and you have my vote on this one.

    Other than that, I haven’t had a glass of Tang in over forty years, and Corning Ware I think had problems with asbestos law suits, who hasn’t. Gone are the good old days when I covered a table with a huge sheet that hung down on the sides, then I strapped my football helmet on, as I pretended I was Alan Shephard or John Glenn. Wasn’t Glenn part of the Keating Five? Nothing is what it use to be, and for sure getting on a plane isn’t fun anymore either.

    No more war! Should be mankinds first priority, and close right behind it should be feeding and giving people a comfortable place to dwell. The earth has grown too small for war, but this doesn’t mean we should stretch our destructive nature all the way out into the vast reaches of our space beyond. I mean haven’t we screwed up this earth enough, that now with that ugly project fully underway, we should ruin the dark matter that surrounds us?

    • mike k
      July 14, 2017 at 11:04 am

      Yeah, those were the days Joe. When I was eight years old, our family traveled to New York City to see the 1939 World’s Fair. The theme was how modern science was creating a glittering Utopia for all our enjoyment. I was a big science fan back then, and planned to become a scientist and make some great discoveries like Edison, or Pasteur, or Einstein. Little did we know that we were on the eve of the most catastrophic war the world had ever known, much of it thanks to the military use of science’s discoveries.

      • Patrick
        July 14, 2017 at 11:27 am

        Now I start to understand you mike,..you are 86 year old! I think its great you are still actively involved in these internet blogs.

        • mike k
          July 14, 2017 at 11:46 am

          Patrick, I hope you understand me better than I understand myself!

      • Joe Tedesky
        July 14, 2017 at 11:31 am

        Although I was born in 1950 from what I understand that 1939 Worlds Fair was quite a celebration of the future. Wouldn’t it be great if mankind could put all of our energy into peaceful projects? It’s disgusting that no matter what mankind does it has to have a war component. We people aren’t happy unless we are constantly at work devising ways to wipe each other out. Here, you want to cure a disease, then come up with an antidote to combat this instinct man has, and then let’s enjoy each other and life. The earths animal kingdom will rejoice.

        • mike k
          July 14, 2017 at 11:56 am

          Joe, those dreams of a magical future are still being cranked out today. Unfortunately a society unwilling to take a hard look at itself, and do the remedial work, and make the sacrifices necessary to make a better world really possible, is not what is happening. Going to some other planet to solve our problems!?? This is the kind of wishful daydreaming that ensures we will go down into oblivion without ever having to face the things we are doing that guarantee our demise. I wish I could tell you it ain’t so Joe, but I am stuck with my obsession to know the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth…..

          • Dave P.
            July 14, 2017 at 3:26 pm

            mike K: Thanks for sharing your thoughts. ” . . .but I am stuck with my obsession to know the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth…”. I have been reading your comments and really happy to find that you are letting some of search for “the whole truth” thoughts into your comments. Watching on TV and reading about the inhumanity of those in Power does wear out the soul. Reading your comments revives the spirit, mike.

          • Seer
            July 14, 2017 at 3:42 pm

            The human race’s curse is that it is unable to recognize its own hubris. NOTE: “hubris” could really be plain self-deception; the two are pretty much indistinguishable, and for the most part the ends come out the same.

            There is, and never will be, any “solution” (magic bullet). The very word “solution” implies a state of permanence, something which is impossible as long as time exists.

            There are, IMO, three ideological camps in this world that basically break down as:

            1) God (religion) will save us;
            2) Technology (science) will save us;
            3) The earth is all we have.

            The first two camps are “escapist” ideologies. In a way you can say that #1 has set this all up quite perfectly for there to be #2 (creating our “God in the sky” via satellites, lasers and such up in outer space- we will forever more be looking up to the “heavens” [like those hounded by US drones]). Religion (nearly all) and technology is dedicated to fostering control (always pitched as being a protector of the masses). To see the hardcore rightwing folks, who are almost exclusively “god fearing” people, strongly embrace technology (while, curiously, discounting and condemning science) should be of no surprise (they have help from the “left” which believes we can have the good -technological “solutions”- without the bad.

            The third ideological domain is that of the realists. It follows the close understanding that Nature rules: Mother Nature bats last (not sure of proper attribution on this). No escapism is possible, though there are to be moments of “escape” in the marvels of nature (and then we scurry to keep from being a victim of nature, for another day). Here you will find folks that are more in line with true ecological concerns/values; such people are heavily attacked by the above ideological group(s) of folks (because, as Kissinger once quipped, “Who controls the food supply controls the people; who controls the energy can control whole continents; who controls money can control the world.”).

          • backwardsevolution
            July 14, 2017 at 5:31 pm

            Seer – great comments! Thank you. I’d fall into the third category, and I’m probably considered more “right wing” here than others, but only because I see the folly in the first two groups’ magical thinking: that money grows on trees, food magically appears with no work involved, that technology will come up with something (it has to, they say!), or that God will look after us so we can continue over-populating, polluting, strip-mining the planet, and sucking up the last bits of energy.

            Reality? It appears to be nowhere in sight.

      • john wilson
        July 15, 2017 at 4:43 am

        That’s right mike, the military always uses the benefits of science to kill people. When they realised how dangerous electricity was they invented the electric chair!!

    • Patrick
      July 14, 2017 at 11:19 am

      It all starts with respecting each others borders Joe. Some countries can’t even do that.

      • Joe Tedesky
        July 14, 2017 at 11:26 am

        Patrick being Italian I know all about respect, and I agree with you. Joe

    • jo6pac
      July 14, 2017 at 3:41 pm

      Joe I put in comment at the end of this with info on space you and others might enjoy. It’s caught in Mod mode right now but arrive after whom ever does that here.

  9. July 14, 2017 at 11:14 am

    Martin Luther King, Jr.’s comment comes to mind, “The nation that, year after year, spends more money on military programs than on programs for social uplift, is approaching spiritual death”. The USA is not approaching spiritual death, it is already spiritually dead. Your comments were great, Mike, and yours too, Lee. Joe, your comment was great and also amusing, especially about Tang. This country is hopelessly insane! We here at CN can be counted among the sane, but as you said once, Mike, it’s like “talking to a stone”!

    Russia and China would not be getting into these programs were it not for Uncle Sam’s war machine. While the welfare of this country’s people, real people, rots!

    • Joe Tedesky
      July 14, 2017 at 11:23 am

      Jessica if my comments made you smile for that half second then my mission is accomplished for the day, I could only wish more people would find humor in what I have to say, when I’m attempting to cheer them up. It’s stuff like this that we need more of, and then maybe that spiritually dead will have a resurrection, or something like that to awaken our weary heads. Take care Jessica and as the song goes, just keep on smiling. Joe

  10. July 14, 2017 at 11:45 am

    Thanks, Joe, it’s downright maddening that these parasites keep feeding on us, the host, as mike says. Commenters today were quite enlightening. I loved Lee’s comment about Bush’s library with “My Pet Goat”.

    I do think we have to be downright honest with Americans who are asleep, like with friends and families, and wake them up! Speak truth now, constantly. Tell them lies are being told constantly. Tell them not to trust MSM. We have to do it. If we kill our planet, we are dead!

    Nonhuman animals are doing better than humans at showing good qualities. I read a story the other day about an adopted rescue dog in Arizona that pushed part of his blanket under the fence to offer to a stray dog outside, as if to say he’d like to help, please use part of my blanket.

    • mike k
      July 14, 2017 at 12:11 pm

      Jessica, a study group I belong to is looking for the next book for us to consider together, and I am suggesting The Myth of Human Superiority by Derrick Jensen. This book is an in depth look at many other members of the living family, and how much better they are handling situations that we are completely screwing up. Jensen is one of my favorite teachers, and I highly recommend everything that he has written calling our attention to the atrocities that we humans are perpetrating on all life on this beautiful planet.

    • Joe Tedesky
      July 14, 2017 at 12:38 pm

      Not long ago, on a day where I was feeling under the weather, while I laid on the couch my son’s little puppy come over to the side of the couch with one of his toys in his mouth, and if only you could have seen the look on this little dog’s face then you would appreciate how I had to feel a little better, as I took the toy into my hand and started playing tug with this adorable little mutt.

      I’m glad that I’m at the stage of my life where such things do pleasantly effect me. If only our dastardly evil leaders could think this way. Like Hillary retiring to be a great grandma. Wouldn’t it be nice if Netanyahu rather than kill a boat load of Palestinians, that he would enjoy playing with a dog or cat. What I’m saying, is that these animals and the nature around us, what’s left of it, should be most paramount to what we live for, and not us inventing some new kind of phosphorus laced bomb as being our latest accomplishment to go kill more innocent life’s, all in the name of freedom and democracy.

      Although watching a chipmunk, as I do looking out into my yard, that little creature appears to not know a thing of what it’s doing. Although this chipmunk out smarts the puppy every time. The chipmunk pops his head out of the hole, and when the puppy sniffs the hole, the little rascal chipmunk pops up from another place….then the dog goes there, and then the chipmunk pops up in the first place the dog saw him. Wow, talk about killing off an afternoon. It always ends up with puppy coming in the house for a treat, and then puppy gets to look out the window to see the chipmunk run back and forth….does this chipmunk even know the word ‘plan’? Anyway that’s my wildlife story…have a good one Jessica Joe

      • backwardsevolution
        July 14, 2017 at 6:05 pm

        Joe – puppies are the embodiment of sunshine, aren’t they? You can’t help but smile when they’re around. Getting out in nature makes us see how very small we are. We’re confronted with the fact that everything around us is doing exactly what we’re doing: trying to survive and thrive. If we realize that we are no more special or deserving than the tree we just walked by, then we will have learned a valuable lesson.

        • Joe Tedesky
          July 14, 2017 at 9:44 pm

          I have traveled a million miles in search of, only to come home and discover it in my own backyard,

          Good to hear from you backwardsevolution Joe

  11. July 14, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    Actually, Patrick, I think it all starts with respecting each other, not getting so hung up on nationalistic ideology, that’s the borders bit. We are all beings on one planet, and we’re in this together. And that respect should apply to “all creatures great and small”, whales, honeybees, all. I have a card of a Sitting Bull saying which I like: “The white man knows how to make everything, but he doesn’t know how to distribute it”.

    • mike k
      July 14, 2017 at 12:15 pm

      Jessica, you wrote this before I composed my response above. I think we are really on the same wavelength! Like interpersonal synchrony, or a degree of Vulcan mindlock?

  12. July 14, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    Thanks, mike, I’ve heard of Derrick Jensen’s book, “The Myth of Human Superiority”, but never read it. I’m going to look for it. I took ethology courses in college and loved them. Other animals have so much to teach, if only humans will listen. Why do humans get so hung up on war? Of course, that’s studied widely in Anthropology. Sociobiology says that overcrowding and resource depletion leads to conflict. We are seeing that now but dominated by the greedy, especially oligarchs who dominate.

    • mike k
      July 14, 2017 at 12:52 pm

      / Power corrupts. When humans began to achieve greater power by virtue of their growing intelligence, some among them became addicted to the perks accruing from possession of more power than their fellows. Of course early on we expressed this domination complex by destroying other animals, and hunting became the model for warfare – which is actually the hunting and killing of other humans. And this continues today. That is why vegetarianism is so associated with peace and nonviolence. What would the world be like if we had not hunted , enslaved (domesticated) our animal neighbors? It was not to be, and here we are, trying to undo some of our historical mistakes…..

    • Skip Scott
      July 14, 2017 at 1:07 pm

      Jessica K-

      I don’t know if you can get access on the net or not, but I subscribe to “The Sun” magazine, started by an old hippy named Sy Syfransky in Chapel Hill NC. The May issue has an interview with an ethologist named Joe Hutto. It was great. The Sun is my favorite magazine-great articles, stories, poetry, interviews, and photography. They also have a readers write section on a different topic each month. And no Ads! Check them out.

  13. July 14, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    Joe, i do believe the people in DC are very troubled because they are so alienated from nature!

    • Joe Tedesky
      July 14, 2017 at 1:00 pm

      You make a good point. It goes to reason, that if you take a moment to appreciate all that is around you, like plants, animals, and these items of nature, then war would be the farthest thing from your mind. Like they say, stop and smell the roses.

      • mike k
        July 14, 2017 at 1:51 pm

        Back to nature sounds so trite – but it’s true. The time I have spent out in nature was some of the best time in my life. And it’s hard to love anything unless you spend time with it.

        • backwardsevolution
          July 14, 2017 at 3:46 pm

          mike k – “And it’s hard to love anything unless you spend time with it.” So true. Reminds me of a little book I used to read to my children, “The Little Prince”.

          “It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.” And:

          “You’re beautiful, but you’re empty…One couldn’t die for you. Of course, an ordinary passerby would think my rose looked just like you. But my rose, all on her own, is more important than all of you together, since she’s the one I’ve watered. Since she’s the one I put under glass, since she’s the one I sheltered behind the screen. Since she’s the one for whom I killed the caterpillars (except the two or three butterflies). Since she’s the one I listened to when she complained, or when she boasted, or even sometimes when she said nothing at all. Since she’s my rose.”

        • Joe Tedesky
          July 14, 2017 at 3:50 pm

          I guess a more inclusive way to put it would be to just simply state, to take a look around you. I mean let’s visit a maternity ward, or watch kindergartners play, and for good measure be there to see a baby take it’s first step. Nature is a big part of all of this, and without this nature there wouldn’t be anything to appreciate. All I’m saying, and know mike you understand this, is that there is so much more to life than killing so as to enrich ourselves, that it is criminal to do things that man does. For all those Christians out there who are waiting for Armageddon, I think that they are very mislead, and that what God really wants is for man to take care of and enjoy the earth he gave us, and not to destroy it.

          always a pleasure to read you comments mike K Joe

        • Dave P.
          July 14, 2017 at 4:35 pm

          mike k: You are right on that. At least for me, it makes sense. Growing up in a place with nature, and community around me, even now after more than half a century, my nerves get all rattled in a big city like New York. Never got used to living in midst of a big city. All those summer camps – even for the kids of workers – in Soviet Union we used to read about, I think it was a good idea. Man was made to live in nature, not in these big metropolises.
          Your comments on vegetarianism above make sense.

  14. July 14, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    I just had some fun. I read that Ted Cruz was on NBC and said Putin was a thug and Russia is our enemy. I called Cruz’s office and got his sanctimonious voice with b.s. how it’s wonderful to hear from you. So I left a message and laid into him, with a biting tone told him that Putin is not a thug and Russia is not our enemy, said you folks in Washington are the problem and better wake up, you’re going to kill our planet with your stupidity! I finished with “Idiots!” Cruz asks for email and I said I wouldn’t give it. Maybe his aide will blank it out, but it sends a thought wave.

    • backwardsevolution
      July 14, 2017 at 3:38 pm

      Jessica K – sometimes you’ve just got to let it rip! Good for you, Jessica. Everybody should be bombarding their representative’s emails, phone lines, mail boxes. Blast them til they can’t take it anymore.

      It’s all going to eventually come to an end. Military spending is taking up about half of your spending, and medical spending is going to meet it somewhere in the middle. It’s going to be game over. Imagine if the military personnel were employed in the health care field as nurses, doctors, researchers! What couldn’t be done with all that? A ton of them could be employed in rebuilding U.S. infrastructure.

      It could be great, but not with these idiots in control. I contend that they don’t want “good”, that they’re only happy when they’re at war. It’s too much a part of their psyche.

    • Sam F
      July 14, 2017 at 4:14 pm

      There is a vote that counts!

  15. Herman
    July 14, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    Congressman Rogers:” In response, Rep. Mike Rogers, an Alabama Republican and chairman of the Strategic Forces subcommittee, announced that he was “pissed” and “outraged” at the Air Force for fighting the new Space Command, saying its obstructionism would “set back efforts to respond to adversaries and space threats” and allow Russia and China “to surpass us soon.”’

    Another example of fabrication and phoniness for aggrandizement, profits and jobs. The Congressmen and the Generals will play the game, the reluctant Generals forced to bow to the aggressive Congress and relent in receiving billions.

    • backwardsevolution
      July 14, 2017 at 3:53 pm

      Herman – as you said, there are “reluctant” generals in the mix who are just getting pulled along. It would be interesting to see just who exactly pulls the strings here. You probably could remove a handful of the top brass and the whole house of cards would fall. A few people are dictating what’s going on. They need to be rooted out and removed.

  16. jo6pac
    July 14, 2017 at 3:23 pm

    Not to worry with what Rep. Mike Rogers, an Alabama Republican has to say, the Russian and China are ahead of us. The reason because of the genius like little mikey and other continue slice and dice NASA and NOAA budgets.

    I love Si-Fi and all things about space but right now in Amerika we can’t launch anything of size without an Atlas 5 rockets which is made in Russia that the US AF, NASA, NOAA, and others buy to reach space with their satellites. Space X does get there and are soon to test a Heavy Lifter but still not in the league of Russia or China. Who ever came up with idea that corp. could do it better most of had stock in corp. Amerika. Thanks congress both demodogs and repugs.

    Fun sight and free to join, mine is set to fine the ISS
    http://www.n2yo.com/

    This weather satellite was just launched and hopefully the anti-science crowd in the belt way will let them get the other three up. It was suppose to go on rockets built by some texas croup but NOAA remove that rocket and put on their own Atlas 5 built by Russia.
    https://www.nesdis.noaa.gov/content/goes-16-gallery

    You can sign up for free and NASA will send you a text or email when ISS will appear over you. It’s amazing
    https://spotthestation.nasa.gov/

    This site will show how much is in space above the little blue sphere hurling through space
    http://stuffin.space/

    A good site on what new.
    http://spacenews.com/

    Thanks SS for the site The Sun.
    Thanks JM and yes we the little people will suffer while the .001% get more $$$$$$$$$$$$.

    I was born in 1948

    • Joe Tedesky
      July 15, 2017 at 9:24 am

      Thanks jo6pac for this information. Sorry your comment got loss in moderation.

      Apparently the U.S. needs Russia for the rocket engines.

      It is ashame that a small few can effect so many.

      You certainly gave us something to think about jo6pac. Joe

    • Skip Scott
      July 15, 2017 at 11:15 am

      Hey Jo6pac-

      Thanks for the links. Always happy to turn people on to “The Sun”. Enjoy.

  17. F. G. Sanford
    July 14, 2017 at 4:08 pm

    This is what happens when creationist politicians are elected by a population of morons to run a country which has achieved greatness based on the accomplishments of a small scientific minority. You end up with “Space Crusaders” hell-bent on using high technology for medieval lunatic purposes.

    In 1964, what eventually became the MiG-25 “Foxbat” first flew. It became operational in 1970. `Officially, it has a “service ceiling” of about 67,000 feet. Service ratings routinely confuse the lay population. That is the reason armchair aerospace “experts” still argue that an Su-25 could not have shot down MH-17. “It had to be a Russian Buk missile.”

    So, somebody needs to explain to Congressman “Buck” Rogers, R-Outer Space, that when the Foxbat was initially fielded, its intended purpose was as an interceptor. The salient point is what it was intended to “intercept”. US supersonic bombers were on the list, along with – OK, I’m not making this up – intercontinental ballistic missiles and satellites. The Foxbat holds unofficial altitude records well over 100,000 feet and speed records in excess of Mach 3. Anybody can go on Youtube and watch videos of “edge of space” flight filmed from the cockpit of a MiG-25.

    So, anything these “Space Rangers” want to deploy is vulnerable to 1964 technology. The energy requirements for an orbiting platform utilizing anything like directed energy weapons, lasers and the like would require an onboard nuclear energy source. Soar panels just wouldn’t cut it. All satellites eventually succumb to orbital decay, which means that a nuclear reactor would eventually re-enter the atmosphere and vaporize at approximately 17,500 miles per hour. Imagine that. Uranium-235 vaporized at high altitude by the heat of re-entry, and evenly dispersed throughout the Earth’s atmosphere.

    These morons need to stick to building life-size replicas of Noah’s Arc in Kentucky, and leave “The Final Frontier” to modern, rational thinkers. But that’s a tall order. The closest these “Star Warriors” will ever get to their dreams is by legalization of marijuana. Then, we’ll have plenty of “Space Cadets”.

    • Seer
      July 14, 2017 at 4:24 pm

      Awesome post!

    • mike k
      July 14, 2017 at 4:27 pm

      Thanks for a good laugh F.G. I live in Ky. The closest us yokels will get to outer space is to smoke plenty of weed, and visit Noah’s Spacey ship!

    • Joe Tedesky
      July 14, 2017 at 4:57 pm

      I like the legalize ‘pot’ part, when do we start.

    • backwardsevolution
      July 14, 2017 at 5:16 pm

      Sanford – Funny post! “This is what happens when creationist politicians are elected by a population of morons to run a country which has achieved greatness based on the accomplishments of a small scientific minority.” The morons actually think they’re responsible for the greatness, like Lola behind the cosmetics counter added somehow.

      “Imagine that. Uranium-235 vaporized at high altitude by the heat of re-entry, and evenly dispersed throughout the Earth’s atmosphere.” Chicken feed, they’ll say. “Why, you just invent something to mop it up! Simple.” Magical thinkers.

  18. wholy1
    July 14, 2017 at 4:50 pm

    Out-of-control MIC gov spending – what else is new?

  19. delia ruhe
    July 14, 2017 at 5:22 pm

    Having turned the world’s nations into either compliant vassal states or flesh-eating monsters about to swallow America whole, Washington seems determined on an American suicide so violent that it will take the rest of us down with it. And not only does it promise the annihilation of the planet but the destruction of half the solar system as well. What else can you expect from a bunch of “leaders” who lead with their dicks — or their dick-envy, as the case may be.

  20. Virginia
    July 14, 2017 at 6:43 pm

    Thanks for all the nature comments. Delightful! and they go right along with what I was just saying this morning, that with all the bunnies hopping, birds flying, squirrels climbing, running, jumping around here, that I feel like Alice in Wonderland or Snow White. Interesting how you all just added to that pleasure-picture! Can’t wait to share your The Little Prince section with my husband who very meticulously clipped roses this morning. It does give one a sweet familial sense to be close to one’s plants, … or puppies or a chipmunk. Or even to a hummingbird!

  21. Joe Wallace
    July 14, 2017 at 6:47 pm

    Instead of wasting all kinds of money to achieve supremacy in space, shouldn’t we be countering the threat from parallel universes? It would put us way ahead of the Russians and the Chinese.

  22. July 14, 2017 at 11:15 pm

    An Imaginary Message from the Bunker

    “It would be our policy to use nuclear weapons wherever we felt it necessary to protect our forces and achieve our objectives.”
    Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara, Testimony to House Appropriations Committee, 1961

    Hello out there. How are you all doing after the Big Blast? Well I hope! This message is from your Leader and other world leaders protecting your freedom. The latest news from our satellites and the space platform is not good. It appears there are huge fires all over the earth. Numerous cities have been destroyed and the oceans are boiling hot. Nuclear war has its consequences. Anyway not to worry, as far as we can gather from our intelligence info the enemy has been destroyed and freedom still reigns supreme.

    Unfortunately millions upon millions are dead others who survived are contaminated and will die eventually. Here in the bunker we are in constant contact with the space platform who tells us what they see. Meantime, say a prayer for those on the space platform they are totally prisoners up there in the sky, because there is no way we can bring them back at this time. Our infrastructure for doing that has been destroyed. They are now heroes in space destined to be up there forever, a monument to man’s insanity, oops I mean bravery. Talking about bravery, any of you still alive out there in the contaminated earth, pat yourselves on the back for standing tall for freedom and democracy. You are the salt of the earth amongst its ashes.

    Some of you still alive are perhaps wondering how we pass our time in the bunker. We have it fitted out just like home. We have a huge selection of movies, plenty of food and our chefs to cook it. It’s not exactly a blast down here, but we survive. But hey, that nuclear blast was bright and immensely powerful and set off a huge chain reaction around the planet. Thank goodness we were in the bunker. The really important people are here in the bunker. These are ones whose expertise will be needed to put it all back together when we can safely venture outside into the world once more. We also have a psychiatrist with us down here in case any mental disorders occur. We try to think of everything in this little world of ours.

    Did I tell you we have been in contact with other leaders in other bunkers,’ some have reported in, but from others sadly nothing. Perhaps, they never survived. Oh well, there had to be some collateral damage. We will have a minutes silence for those leaders who never made it. But hey, that’s what leaders are for. Captains go down with their ships and some leaders go down in their bunkers. Does that make sense? Anyway, I’m sure you know what I mean.

    Meantime, I ask all you people still alive and terribly burned and contaminated not to lose hope. Everything happens for a reason, and there is no greater reason in this world than saving democracy. Without democracy there is nothing worth living for and that is why I hit the send button. Watching it all here in the bunker on our closed circuit TV was missile heaven. I have never seen so many missiles flying across the sky. It was a heart warming display of man’s ingenuity. I have to admit watching all those missiles of freedom blast off was a proud moment. The bunker was a madhouse for a moment. Everybody cheered, and applauded some gave high fives, punched the air and shouted “yes.” Though one lone voice was heard to say, “What have we done?” There is always a doubter amongst the enthusiastic! Still, we know the system worked well. And we gave the enemy hell. We won the battle for freedom and that is surely what counts. I’ll close for now, have a nice day, if you can, keep the faith, don’t worry and remember your leader is here in the bunker and in control.

    http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2012/02/imaginary-message-from-bunker.html

    • mike k
      July 15, 2017 at 4:51 pm

      Your tale got me thinking Stephen. If we do let the nukes fly at each other, what would be my response? Would I pray that at least some of us survive? I don’t think so. I would think, “Well this proves it, we were the most evil beings on Earth, doing the greatest harm to others. I don’t see those remaining would do any differently in the future. I hope this rids the planet of our evil presence for once and all. At least the beings who remain after us can live out their lives without our disturbing interference.”

      Dark thoughts, eh? Yes, but we had our chances and refused to reform and do the right thing. The whole idea that we are special, God’s favorites who are not supposed to vanish is after all just another human conceit. We cannot plead ignorance of the law of Love, for our teachers reminded us of it again and again throughout our history. We deserve what comes to us for our failure change. I don’t say that with any anger or condemnation or spirit of vengeance, but with resignation to the impersonal operation of cause and effect, the law of karma. In many ways we did what we could, but it was inadequate. We played the game of Life, and we lost. And that’s how it goes…..

  23. Douglas Baker
    July 15, 2017 at 12:02 am

    7/14/2014 Once in the “San Francisco Chronicle’s Sunday Magazine” (R.I.P.) it carried my letter in response to a piece on Oakland’s Chabot Space and Science Center. I called for a new service Academy in Oakland, California, for “Space Cadets” entirely separate from the U.S. Air Forces operations in Earth’s atmosphere or the U.S. Army on land, or the U.S. Navy at sea, as I remembered, ahead of lining out, a U.S. major general writing in the 1900’s “Scientific American” why you can’t fly. Rear view reflections while attempting to go forward may carry errors of the highest magnitude, when international cooperation may yield terrific consequences for all of Earth’s life to carry on as we continue to learn from the international space station in low orbit not many leagues above Earth’s surface.

  24. Michael Kenny
    July 15, 2017 at 11:19 am

    It’s nice to see somebody admitting that the US has a “clear technology lead” over Russia. American authors tend to portray Putin’s rickety cold war-era military as an invincible hoard that would make mincemeat of US forces in five minutes if any US president dared to oppose the unshakeable will of Uncle Vlad. The nub of this may be in Professor Johnson-Freese’s comment: “building hardware creates lucrative jobs and corporate profits”. It’s essentially good old-fashioned pork barrel politics. Also, Obama’s Ukraine policy, which Trump hasn’t changed, is to combine sanctions with a hugely expensive arms race and an unwinnable guerrilla war in the Middle East. That formula, minus the sanctions, brought down the Soviet Union and, for all Putin’s bravado, it seems to be working.

    • Zachary Smith
      July 15, 2017 at 8:31 pm

      Also, Obama’s Ukraine policy, which Trump hasn’t changed, is to combine sanctions with a hugely expensive arms race and an unwinnable guerrilla war in the Middle East.

      The sources I read suggest that the “sanctions” have been a massive failure for the US, and have have been an overall positive for Russia. I doubt that the Russians are very happy to be forced to throw money at new weapons, but it’s my impression that they’ve been getting their money’s worth with the ones they do end up acquiring. (no F-35 style money pits) As for that “unwinnable guerrilla war” in the Middle East, virtually all the reports suggest Syria is on the path to victory there.

      Regarding Obama’s Ukraine policy, I’ve no idea what will happen there. Ukraine doesn’t seem to be doing very well, and pretty soon they’re going to lose a bunch of Russian gas transit fees.

  25. Geneste
    July 18, 2017 at 3:22 am

    Excellent paper! The USA bring the world to the ineluctable militarization of space. This opens the door for 3 things, basically:
    1- Deep spending in military space for a probably very small operational efficiency since making very efficient weapons to kill spacecrafts is very easy
    2- Lack of thought about what a true war can be, in particular assymmetric war together with forgetting that the wars of the 20th century aimed at killing civil populations. If this remained the goal, space war is a noway, since it kills nobody!
    3- Lack of thought for terrestrial substitutes to space technology. Such devices do or could exist… Of course!

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