Asteroids -- The Next Evil Empire

To create an empire you must first discover -- or invent -- a common enemy. Next, you must unite all potential victims of this wanton scourge within your dominion. Calculated leaks of breathtaking stories help to clinch your audience. The motherload of all common enemies was the former Soviet Union, which went out of business six years ago. Prior to the Bear's permanent sleep, actually since World War II's end, US corporations have milked billions of dollars from the national treasury in order to shield us from a Third World country's ragtag brigade.When 1970's Pentagon economic data indicated that the Evil Empire would crumble in another decade from its own inertia, military/industrial titans convinced us to build up militarily. Let's make enough tools of war, they argued, to finally push those Reds over the abyss -- before their own ineptness does it for them. In which case we won't be able to continue raiding tax dollars to build more war stuff. This charade explains the positioning of missiles in such abundant numbers that we measured them in "overkill."Now gone to sleep, the Russian Bear is no longer a pinada bag from which the greedy military/industrial complex can poke for 'goodies.' Perturbed by loss of profit, armies of displaced nuclear engineers and military fossils, feeling impotent in a world gone soft on warmongering, gathered in January of 1992 to create a new common enemy. They pronounced "asteroids" our threat. Yes, asteroids. Hurling around in gaseous indirection, an itinerant rock of ages may orbit into Earth, pounding enough dust loose on impact that we'd be in the dark for months.Egged on by an exaggerated article "Earth Is Target for Space Rocks at Higher Rate Than Thought", journalist William J. Broad claimed that asteroid impact was imminent. Circling their wagons to thwart these big rocks, NASA, the Department of Energy, national nuclear laboratories, the Pentagon -- the whole military/industrial complex about which Eisenhower grimly warned us -- huddled to create the next hoax under which they would raid the national treasury. University of Maryland professor of physics Dr. Robert Parks relates a summary of the 1992 meeting in an interview with Karl Grossman, author of "The Wrong Stuff, the Space Program's Nuclear Threat to Our Planet"."The cold war had ended, governments on both sides of what had once been an iron curtain were making plans to convert nuclear weapons laboratories to civilian purposes and to begin dismantling their huge arsenals of nuclear missiles. Star Wars enthusiasts, scientists, and Pentagon officials met at Los Alamos National Laboratory with H-bomb father Edward Teller and his protege Dr. Lowell Wood in attendance." After a frothing of passions, Dr. Wood exploded with "Nukes forever!" from the back of the auditorium, according to Dr. Park.Frenzied with mutual admiration of nuclear 'power' the conference attendees concocted a new justification for their continued rape of public coffers. With self annihilation by an all-out nuclear war unlikely, those who had defended the free world from the Evil Empire had to remain relevant -- and rich. Enter asteroids from stage right.To assist creation of the asteroid threat myth, faithful scribes of the nation's canon come to the aid of the military/industrial complex. Very convenient, since General Electric and Westinghouse, the world's two biggest nuclear hardware manufacturers also own NBC and CBS. Pliant scribblers churn out horrific tales of impending doom and 1997 becomes a banner year for asteroid disaster scripts. NBC broadcast a two-part, four-hour miniseries called Asteroid. The New York Times review headlined with "Will the Asteroids Destroy Kansas City? Guess."NBC followed the next week with Asteroids: Deadly Impact, a National Geographic hour on "the likelihood of asteroid annihilation," as Newsday described it. The same week Discovery Channel aired Three Minutes to Impact followed by TBS's Fire from the Sky. Finally, the Washington Post bannered a cover page with "Chicken Little Was Right ... The Sky Is Falling".But how right is Chicken Little?There is widespread belief among scientists that 65 million years ago dinosaurs and other life forms became extinct when an asteroid 10 miles in diameter and traveling 30,000 miles per hour hit the Caribbean basin near present-day Mexico. With scuttled debris floating everywhere, Earth experienced months of choking darkness. It is remarkable that other than the dinosaur theory, there is not a single account in recorded history of anyone being killed by a meteorite according to the New York Times, "Star Warriors on Sky Patrol, Edward Teller Wants to Nuke Asteroids".Undeterred by fact, nuclear interests stoke public fear with endless programming on asteroid Armageddon. Meanwhile, the real story of how the nuclear industry, our space program, and, now, the media, come together 'to make an elephant disappear' on stage goes uncovered.In the US, we don't censor, we omit. Hardly a bunch of conspiracy hacks, the Columbia Journalism Review following the Challenger disaster reported journalist William Boot's claim that there is a breakdown in the watchdog role of the US media. They commit the sin of ommission. What our media does not say about NASA and nuclear applications to satellites creates a de facto form of censorship -- a form that is not organized, commiserated over, or the result of a nefarious plot. We don't get all the facts to make a clear judgement.Project Censored, a media research think tank at Sonoma State University, has repeatedly cited Grossman's journalism as "under-reported" or "best censored". Left unexamined, the space program myth can grow like a fungus until the public is alarmed enough to buy phony cures -- like nuclear powered satellites in space to ward off asteroids.For 1998, Congress should resolve to observe Article I, Section 9 of the US Constitution which requires that government agencies submit their budgets for review. Otherwise, we will forever be in the dark and incapable of changing writer William Hines' reference to NASA as "Never A Straight Answer".


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