Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Lack of TRUE LEADERSHIP in Washington has lead the US to possible 2nd place status in Space Exploration going forward

The lack of LEADERSHIP in Washington has been apparent for decades. The genuine Leaders we had in the past have given way to the political hucksters that dominate the halls of Government.

People's confidence in Congress & the Executive Branch are at all time lows.

It seems difficult to comprehend that we have not had any real LEADERS in the White House for almost 50 years....The list of the past nine Presidents since JFK reads like a train wreck of POLS who wanted to leave a legacy but only passed through leaving some accomplishments, but not the legacy that we saw from those who lead us through the first 2/3rd of the 20th century. Johnson (Lost Vietnam),Nixon (Lost it, period.), Ford (Placeholder), Carter(Another placeholder), Reagan (nice man but only really a figurehead - bankrupted the Soviets), Bush Sr. (Did well with the Gulf War but was dumped for Bubba), Clinton ( a True POL's POL ), GW Bush ( Another nice guy but light in real Leadership chops) and lastly, and the least (scraping the bottom of the barrel) Obama.

None of these men had the LEADERSHIP qualities of JFK, IKE, Truman or FDR. Comparing the "True Leadership" abilities held by the four men from 1932-1963 to the nine men from 1964 - 2011 shows that the real issue we have suffered over the last 48 years is a lack of genuine leaders. We have elected people who said they could lead but in the end, inspired little and left behind messes for those who followed them.....Now we have another group of " Wannabees" all jockeying to get into the Oval Office to replace the worst President we've seen since Hoover.

Well we need LEADERSHIP to stay ahead in the areas of Space Exploration as that was JFK's true legacy....He took us to the MOON and man has marveled at all that followed that stop now due to inept political folly and lack of vision is not only wrong, it is a crime.

Kennedy targeted the moon within a decade, we'll be lucky if in ten years, we are where we were ten years ago
Posted By David Rothkopf Wednesday, July 6, 2011 -

Last week, NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden said in reference to Friday's launch of the last of 135 space shuttle missions,

" Some say that our final shuttle mission will mark the end of America's 50 years of dominance in human spaceflight. As a former astronaut and the current NASA Administrator, I want to tell you that American leadership in space will continue for at least the next half-century because we have laid the foundation for success -- and here at NASA failure is not an option. "

No, Charlie, at today's NASA, failure is not an option. It's an inevitability.

It's inevitable not because the quality of the men and women of NASA has declined. They remain among the best the United States has to offer. However, they have been drawn to a fabled program more because of what it has done in the past than what it is likely to do in the future. And that fact reveals the root cause of NASA's crisis -- and make no mistake, the program is more deeply in crisis than even during the dark hours around tragedies from the Apollo launch pad fire to the Challenger explosion to the disintegration of the Columbia on re-entry in 2003.

NASA is on a course to cede more than half a century of leadership in manned spaceflight not because of what has happened in Houston or at Kennedy Space Center in Florida or because of something that happened in space. No, NASA was undone by a loss of vision among America's political elites.

Simply put, they have forgotten how to lead and as a consequence, they have sacrificed our ability to lead as a nation. The national dialogue is devoid of a compelling vision of tomorrow, of the kind of lift that is essential if we are to head in any direction but down.

When I talk about such a dialogue, I'm not talking about the kind of reflexive, simplistic and misleading debate about whether we can afford a manned space program when the country is broke. No, I'm talking about the debate that real leaders, clear-eyed men and women who aspire to a better future, should continuously be having about how we ensure the country has the resources it needs to do those things it cannot afford to do without…including the exploration of new frontiers, the development of new technologies, and the inspiration of future generations.

You see, brain-dead political posturing of the sort that marks the current childish and irresponsible budget bickering in Washington has been going on for years. And as a consequence, the national patrimony has been given away in the form of tax breaks for rich individuals and companies that do not need them, deserve them or, in many cases, even want them. Whether George W. Bush offered up tax cuts and went into wars of choice because of deep seated ideological beliefs or for political gain, in so doing he didn't just obliterate America's surplus, he helped doom us to the period we are now entering: a period of austerity-induced withdrawal and decline.

When Republicans make the specious and childish arguments (see both David Brooks and David Leonhardt in the New York Times -- Leonhardt's piece is especially good) about not "raising taxes" at a time when we need to do everything to balance the budget, they are not just risking disaster and seeking to sacrifice the poor to pay for indulgences for the wealthy, they are effectively inviting China, Europe, India, and others to lead in the century ahead.

Manned spaceflight will continue…and Russians, Europeans, Japanese, Chinese, and others will step up to fill the void left by the fat, feckless Americans. We will be left with grainy images of John Kennedy setting the bold goal to reach the moon within a decade and wonder why such things could be achieved by greater generations that came before. How is it that once political leaders inspired by setting great goals and today our goals seem to be so defensive, so retrograde?

"We choose to go to the moon," said Kennedy in the late summer of 1962, "We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because the goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win…."

Now, our goals are what? To get back to where we were a decade ago? Back to a budget surplus? Back to a fairer tax code? Back to American global leadership that was untainted by missteps from Iraq to Guantanamo to Afghanistan?

To paraphrase another Kennedy, there are those -- among today's politicians -- who look at things the way they are and ask why…and then they dream of things that never were and do everything in their power to ensure we can't achieve them. In fact, in some cases, in the case of NASA and manned spaceflight -- the real stuff of dreams and inspiration and innovation and national pride and historical accomplishments -- it appears that we are going to stop even trying. As a consequence, when the Atlantis touches down, it will not just be a remarkable reusable spacecraft coming back to earth, it will also be, in a real way, a country's dreams grounded…at least until a true leader emerges again to set goals that lift us and drive us forward.

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