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SPACE, THE FINAL FRONTIER
by Steven Neill, ©2012
(Dec. 5, 2012) — Sold to Americans as the next step in space exploration, the Space Shuttle Program was ushered in with great fanfare and expectations. It was hailed as a means for the military to increase national security, for private industry to open new commercial opportunity; and to gain incredible scientific knowledge of space. From the very beginning, the program was beset by delays and problems as NASA tried to live up to its promises.
A total of 5 operational shuttles were delivered between 1979 and 1991. Originally scheduled for July, 1985, Space Shuttle Challenger Mission (Flight STS-51L) was to be the 25th Space Shuttle mission and the 10th launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger. But the launch suffered multiple delays from technical problems, weather issues and a payload change pushing the final lift-off to the morning of January 28, 1986.
Even though the fateful morning arrived with much lower temperatures than what NASA had hoped for, it was determined to push ahead with the launch anyway as NASA officials were under enormous pressure to launch the shuttle. With a huge media presence and on live television, Challenger launched at 11:38:00 a.m. EST. For 73 magical seconds, the world watched as once again, US technology proved superior to all obstacles. Then, at an altitude of 46,000 feet, tragedy struck when the ship was transformed into white billowy clouds that splintered and flew in several directions at once. The announcer watched for several seconds in stunned silence as the disaster unfolded in front of millions of spectators. Within minutes it was over; the Challenger was blown into bits killing all 7 crew members.
That night, President Ronald Reagan was scheduled to deliver his State of the Union Address, but instead, he tried to comfort a grieving nation.
Reagan, speaking directly to the nations’ school children said:
“I know it is hard to understand, but sometimes painful things like this happen. It’s all part of the process of exploration and discovery. It’s all part of taking a chance and expanding mans’ horizons,” he said. “The future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave. The Challenger crew was pulling us into the future, and we’ll continue to follow them.” (Reagan, 2001)
Then to close, Reagan spoke to all America in what was perhaps the most memorable speech of his presidency:
“We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and “slipped the surly bonds of earth” to “touch the face of God,” (Reagan, 2001)
See no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil
The death of the crew members and particularly teacher Christa McAuliffe shocked the nation. This shock turned to outrage as the cause of the disaster became known. What came to light almost immediately was that engineers at Morton Thiokol, the contractor responsible for building the solid rocket booster, had vigorously opposed the launching of Challenger, but their warning had gone unheeded. For the last eight years, these engineers had been concerned about the O-rings separating the fuel from the ignition area of the solid rocket booster. They were justified in their alarm as it was later proven that a burn through happened at precisely that spot
Further investigation later showed that the concerns of the Thiokol engineers were never relayed to the top decision makers in NASA. These officials added that they would not have given the final approval to launch if they had known of these concerns. After a careful study of the variables contributing to the Challenger explosion, it was concluded that although the O-ring failure was the immediate cause, a flawed decision-making process was an equal, if not more important factor of the disaster. The major findings were:
1. There was a serious flaw in the decision-making process leading up to the launch of flight 51-L (the Challenger flight). Safety was not the priority; a successful launch was, so concerns were ignored by the midlevel management team.
2. Management would not communicate potentially serious problems to other decision makers thus jeopardizing the entire project.
3. Thiokol management reversed its position and recommended the launch of 51-L, at the urging of NASA and contrary to the views of its engineers in order to accommodate a major customer. (University) (Wikipedia, 2012)
In other words, government officials made unrealistic promises over the objections of those who knew of the weaknesses of the system. Unfortunately, this is exactly where America is on a national level today. Americans routinely elect only those that promise the most handouts from the public treasury while those pushing for restraint or speaking of an impending economic calamity are branded as “extremists” and shoved to the side.
The Bigger the Lie, the More People Will Believe It
Over the last 100 years, the American government has been communicating to the Americans many things that have been proven not only false, but detrimental to our nation. Social Security, we were told was at first “voluntary” and would be self sufficient, neither of which is true today. The Great Society and the war on poverty would end poverty in America, today some 47.1 million Americans receive food stamps and the number will only increase. We were told NAFTA, and CAFTA along with belonging to the World Trade Organization would not only allow us access to lower priced goods, but would create millions of jobs. But according to a report Economic Policy Institute economist Robert Scott, entitled “Heading South: U.S.-Mexico trade and job displacement after NAFTA,” an estimated 682,900 U.S. jobs have been “lost or displaced” because of the agreement and the resulting trade deficit.” (Strachan, 2011) The war on drugs has created a nightmare for Mexico with over 50,000 people being killed in drug gang violence and no end of addictions here. The war on terror has sent our troops all over the world creating more terrorists than before while allowing a near totalitarian police state to form and helping to bankrupt our country. Today’s latest promise is the Affordable Healthcare Act, or affectionately called “Obamacare.”
Since the election, there has been a flood of opinions expressed in the media proclaiming the conservative movement has experienced its Waterloo. Those who are celebrating Obama’s re-election might want to release their pigeons quickly as the party may not last long as the full effects of Obamacare are felt throughout the job market.
Though Obamacare is touted as the end all to be all, the end result will be severe rationing of medical care as doctors by the droves will get out of the profession and fewer people will enter it. According to a survey done by the Doctor Patient Medical Association in June of 2012, 87% of practicing Doctors are considering leaving the profession. (Goodman, 2012) This will have the effect of driving up costs while creating a rationing of government controlled health care for the American people.
It only gets worse from there, according to dailyjobcuts.com. Since 11/6/12, there’s been tens of thousands of US workers laid-off and over a hundred businesses shutting down or closing locations because of Obamacare. (Snyder, 2012) (Duclos, 2012) This doesn’t include the huge number of positions being reduced from full-time to part-time to escape the costs. Denny’s Restaurant has also announced a .5% surcharge on their food to pay for Obamacare. (Malkin, 2012) For those inclined to believe the layoffs are some kind of CEO plot against the working man, Stryker, a medical equipment manufacturer will lay off 5% of their workforce (around 1000 workers). A company spokesperson stated the company would complete the layoffs before the end of this year because of a $150 million tab for compliance with the medical device tax included in Obamacare taking effect January 1. (Staff, 2012) Pat Stryker, who is a major stock holder of the company along with her brother, donated over $2 million dollars to Obama and pro-Obama groups this year. The end results will be an enormous government expansion and a less prosperous economy. Whatever pretend recovery there has been will not cover these job losses.
If Obamacare was the only disastrous new policy America faced, it would more than likely survive once the deceptive façade falls off. Sadly, it is not. We face catastrophic debt in every level and area of America; our infrastructure is crumbling around us; our population is aging; our manufacturing is a dying industry and the few leaders this nation has that are not corrupt or incompetent are simply overwhelmed. It is time to recognize that short of direct intervention by God, America is facing an economic disaster the likes of which we have never seen before.
So, good reader, you are at a point of decision; do you believe the words of a government that has been less than forthright on most issues of our times or do you put aside the Kool-Aid and make preparations for the coming economic meltdown and social unrest that will follow it. The choice is yours.
“The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.” Margaret Thatcher
Duclos, S. (2012, 11 21). The Obama Economy: Business Closings and Layoffs. Retrieved 11 25, 2012, from Wake Up America: http://wwwwakeupamericans-spree.blogspot.com/2012/11/the-obama-economy-layoffs-and-business_21.html
Goodman, A. (2012, 07 10). Obamacare Driving Away Doctors. Retrieved 11 25, 2012, from CommetaryMagazine.com: http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2012/07/10/obamacare-driving-away-doctors/
KAREN TRAVERS, JESSICA SMALL and HELEN ZHANG. (2011, January 28). Remembering the Challenger: 25 Years Ago, Space Shuttle Exploded After Liftoff. Retrieved November 27, 2012, from ABC News with Diane Sawyer: http://abcnews.go.com/US/space-shuttle-challenger-explosion-25th-anniversary/story?id=12781669
Malkin, M. (2012, 11 16). Hows That Obamacare Workin’ Out For Ya? Retrieved 11 25, 2012, from MichelleMalkin.com: http://michellemalkin.com/2012/11/16/hows-that-obamacare-waiver-workin-out-for-ya/
Reagan, R. (2001). Ronald Reagan “Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster Speech”. Retrieved 11 27, 2012, from American Rhetoric Top 100 Speeches: http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/ronaldreaganchallenger.htm
Snyder, M. (2012, 11 09). Share This Massive List Of Post-Election Firings And Layoffs With Everyone You Can. Retrieved 11 09, 2012, from The Economic Collapse: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/share-this-massive-list-of-post-election-firings-and-layoffs-with-everyone-you-can
Staff, M. D. (2012, 11 20). Stryker on track for 1,000 layoffs ahead of medtech tax. Retrieved 11 25, 2012, from Massdevice.com: http://www.massdevice.com/news/stryker-track-1000-layoffs-ahead-medtech-tax
Strachan, M. (2011, 05 12). U.S. Economy Lost Nearly 700,000 Jobs Because Of NAFTA, EPI Says. Retrieved 11 29, 2012, from Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/12/nafta-job-loss-trade-deficit-epi_n_859983.html
University, S. H. (n.d.). The Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster. Retrieved 11 25, 2012, from A Study in Organizational Ethics: https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:p3PzKVy7-6gJ:pirate.shu.edu/~mckenndo/pdfs/The%2520Space%2520Shuttle%2520Challenger%2520Disaster.pdf+the+space+shuttle+challenger+disaster+a+study+in+organizational+ethics&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESgd7jVePVc
Wikipedia. (2012, 11 27). Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster. Retrieved 11 25, 2012, from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Shuttle_Challenger_disaster