FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Dead Rover, Dead Rover

by DAVE LINDORFF

 

The most wilfully ignorant and unscientifically minded man to hold the office of President in recent memory and his conniving handlers must be grinding their teeth at the thought that they now have to count on the work of engineers and scientists to rescue them and their fanciful “Americans to the Moon, Mars and Beyond” campaign strategy from embarassment and disaster.

The recent effort by Karl Rove & Co.to parlay the landing of a robot rover on Mars into a campaign gimmick, designed to give Bush that “vision thing” his father found so lacking has run into a huge pothole: the crash of the $400-million rover’s sophisticated electronics system. Once again, NASA’s effort to put a equipment on the Martian surface appears in danger of failing spectacularly, leaving a $400-million piece of junk on the planet’s surface.

It will be interesting to see how the corporate media, which managed to keep a straight face while running fanciful drawings by NASA artists to illustrate the non-story of Bush’s purported “return to space” proposal, despite his offer of only $1 billion in extra funding (roughly the cost of this and another duplicate Martian rover), handles this propaganda fiasco.

If NASA cannot manage to make a robot work on Mars, how exactly is the space agency going to build a whole base on the Moon, much less the Red Planet?

Maybe the second rover, due to land on Mars on Jan. 25, will rescue Rove’s and Bush’s campaign stunt, but there must be a lot of crossed fingers over at the White House right now. The Democratic candidates for the nomination–and the media–should have a good time with this one, if they can stop obsessing about each other’s polls.

Actually, of course, Bush and the Republican administration have no intention of initiating a half-trillion-dollar program to send explorers to Mars. Heck, they can’t even find the money to finance medical care for the poor guys coming home maimed from the current war, some of whom are reportedly waiting weeks or even months for treatment because of a shortage of veterans facilities.

The whole thing was a political ploy, much like the No Child Left Behind education ploy, the Healthy Forest environmental ploy, and the Operation Iraqi Freedom democratization in Arabia ploy. With this admistration, the whole public agenda (as opposed to the private agenda of enriching the rich) is a Potemkin Village of programs, none of which are what they seem. The Spirit rover seemes to have lost its steam, which is sad for the scientists who invested years in the project, but at least its apparent loss gives the lie to one of those pieces of presidential fakery–in the process shining a light on the larger charlatanism.

It’s a fair bet that it will turn out the problem on the rover was caused by NASA engineers having to make shortcuts because of underfunding by the Bush Administration of the very project he was trying to take credit for–about what one can expect to happen to whatever stunted lunar project–if any–gets underway in the years to come.

And about what is happening to the nation’s schools, forests, rivers and soldiers.

Then again, maybe instead of the Martian rover discovering signs of life on Mars, life on Mars found the rover, realized the device was the advance guard of an invasion from Earth, and did something Native Americans probably should have done to Columbus: drove a stake through its heart.

Keep CounterPunch Alive:
Make a Tax–Deductible Donation Today Online!

home / subscribe / about us / books / archives / search / links / DAVE LINDORFF

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

May 24, 2017
Binoy Kampmark
Return to Realpolitik: Trump in Saudi Arabia
Vern Loomis
The NRA: the Dragon in Our Midst
May 23, 2017
John Wight
Manchester Attacks: What Price Hypocrisy?
Patrick Cockburn
A Gathering of Autocrats: Trump Puts US on Sunni Muslim Side of Bitter Sectarian War with Shias
Shamus Cooke
Can Trump Salvage His Presidency in Syria’s War?
Thomas S. Harrington
“Risk”: a Sad Comedown for Laura Poitras
Josh White
Towards the Corbyn Doctrine
Mike Whitney
Rosenstein and Mueller: the Regime Change Tag-Team
Jan Oberg
Trump in Riyadh: an Arab NATO Against Syria and Iran
Susan Babbitt
The Most Dangerous Spy You’ve Never Heard Of: Ana Belén Montes
Rannie Amiri
Al-Awamiya: City of Resistance
Dimitris Konstantakopoulos
The European Left and the Greek Tragedy
Laura Leigh
This Land is Your Land, Except If You’re a Wild Horse Advocate
Hervé Kempf
Macron, Old World President
Michael J. Sainato
Devos Takes Out Her Hatchet
L. Ali Khan
I’m a Human and I’m a Cartoon
May 22, 2017
Diana Johnstone
All Power to the Banks! The Winners-Take-All Regime of Emmanuel Macron
Robert Fisk
Hypocrisy and Condescension: Trump’s Speech to the Middle East
John Grant
Jeff Sessions, Jesus Christ and the Return of Reefer Madness
Nozomi Hayase
Trump and the Resurgence of Colonial Racism
Rev. William Alberts
The Normalizing of Authoritarianism in America
Frank Stricker
Getting Full Employment: the Fake Way and the Right Way 
Jamie Davidson
Red Terror: Anti-Corbynism and Double Standards
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange, Sweden, and Continuing Battles
Robert Jensen
Beyond Liberal Pieties: the Radical Challenge for Journalism
Patrick Cockburn
Trump’s Extravagant Saudi Trip Distracts from His Crisis at Home
Angie Beeman
Gig Economy or Odd Jobs: What May Seem Trendy to Privileged City Dwellers and Suburbanites is as Old as Poverty
Colin Todhunter
The Public Or The Agrochemical Industry: Who Does The European Chemicals Agency Serve?
Jerrod A. Laber
Somalia’s Worsening Drought: Blowback From US Policy
Michael J. Sainato
Police Claimed Black Man Who Died in Custody Was Faking It
Clancy Sigal
I’m a Trump Guy, So What?
Gerry Condon
In Defense of Tulsi Gabbard
Weekend Edition
May 19, 2017
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
Getting Assange: the Untold Story
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Secret Sharer
Charles Pierson
Trump’s First Hundred Days of War Crimes
Paul Street
How Russia Became “Our Adversary” Again
Andrew Levine
Legitimation Crises
Mike Whitney
Seth Rich, Craig Murray and the Sinister Stewards of the National Security State 
Robert Hunziker
Early-Stage Antarctica Death Rattle Sparks NY Times Journalists Trip
Ken Levy
Why – How – Do They Still Love Trump?
Bruce E. Levine
“Hegemony How-To”: Rethinking Activism and Embracing Power
Robert Fisk
The Real Aim of Trump’s Trip to Saudi Arabia
Christiane Saliba
Slavery Now: Migrant Labor in the Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia
Chris Gilbert
The Chávez Hypothesis: Vicissitudes of a Strategic Project
Howard Lisnoff
Pay No Attention to That Man Behind the Curtain
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail