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).

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
August 31, 2015
Michael Hudson
Whitewashing the IMF’s Destructive Role in Greece
Conn Hallinan
Europe’s New Barbarians
Lawrence Ware
George Bush (Still) Doesn’t Care About Black People
Joseph Natoli
Plutocracy, Gentrification and Racial Violence
Franklin Spinney
One Presidential Debate You Won’t Hear: Why It is Time to Adopt a Sensible Grand Strategy
Dave Lindorff
What’s Wrong with Police in America
Louis Proyect
Jacobin and “The War on Syria”
Lawrence Wittner
Militarism Run Amok: How Russians and Americans are Preparing Their Children for War
Binoy Kampmark
Tales of Darkness: Europe’s Refugee Woes
Ralph Nader
Lo, the Poor Enlightened Billionaire!
Peter Koenig
Greece: a New Beginning? A New Hope?
Dean Baker
America Needs an “Idiot-Proof” Retirement System
Vijay Prashad
Why the Iran Deal is Essential
Tom Clifford
The Marco Polo Bridge Incident: a History That Continues to Resonate
Peter Belmont
The Salaita Affair: a Scandal That Never Should Have Happened
Weekend Edition
August 28-30, 2015
Randy Blazak
Donald Trump is the New Face of White Supremacy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Long Time Coming, Long Time Gone
Mike Whitney
Looting Made Easy: the $2 Trillion Buyback Binge
Alan Nasser
The Myth of the Middle Class: Have Most Americans Always Been Poor?
Rob Urie
Wall Street and the Cycle of Crises
Andrew Levine
Viva Trump?
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Behind the Congressional Disagreements Over the Iran Nuclear Deal
Lawrence Ware – Marcus T. McCullough
I Won’t Say Amen: Three Black Christian Clichés That Must Go
Evan Jones
Zionism in Britain: a Neglected Chronicle
John Wight
Learning About the Migration Crisis From Ancient Rome
Andre Vltchek
Lebanon – What if it Fell?
Charles Pierson
How the US and the WTO Crushed India’s Subsidies for Solar Energy
Robert Fantina
Hillary Clinton, Palestine and the Long View
Ben Burgis
Gore Vidal Was Right: What Best of Enemies Leaves Out
Suzanne Gordon
How Vets May Suffer From McCain’s Latest Captivity
Robert Sandels - Nelson P. Valdés
The Cuban Adjustment Act: the Other Immigration Mess
Uri Avnery
The Molten Three: Israel’s Aborted Strike on Iran
John Stanton
Israel’s JINSA Earns Return on Investment: 190 Americans Admirals and Generals Oppose Iran Deal
Bill Yousman
The Fire This Time: Ta-Nehisi Coates’s “Between the World and Me”
Scott Parkin
Katrina Plus Ten: Climate Justice in Action
Michael Welton
The Conversable World: Finding a Compass in Post-9/11 Times
Brian Cloughley
Don’t be Black in America
Kent Paterson
In Search of the Great New Mexico Chile Pepper in a Post-NAFTA Era
Binoy Kampmark
Live Death on Air: The Killings at WDBJ
Gui Rochat
The Guise of American Democracy
Emma Scully
Vultures Over Puerto Rico: the Financial Implications of Dependency
Chuck Churchill
Is “White Skin Privilege” the Key to Understanding Racism?
Kathleen Wallace
The Id(iots) Emerge
Andrew Stewart
Zionist Hip-Hop: a Critical Look at Matisyahu
Gregg Shotwell
The Fate of the UAW: Study, Aim, Fire