There Are No Scandals When the Earth is in Danger

We’ve all experienced lame attempts to change the subject when people have been caught red-handed engaging in sleazy business, but the White House just made one the lamest efforts ever.

Drowning in scandals involving spying on Americans and improperly using information and political authority to harass conservative groups for their beliefs, the Administration asked for the public’s help in a massive effort to defend the Earth from asteroids.

I know, right?

Why not just have Jay Carney come out to the podium, point to the nearest tree while shouting “squirrel!” then run away?

According to the White House, the asteroid project would attempt to locate, track and defend against wayward space rocks that could cause significant damage on Earth. Supposedly, the program would enlist amateur astronomers, universities and government agencies, which would create new technologies, magically produce jobs, yada yada yada.

The price tag for tracking and blowing up space stuff is a little vague (figure billions), but the important thing is that this would be one in a series of “Grand Challenges,” which is this Administration’s weak attempt at morale boosting in light of its dismal economic failures. Other “Grand Challenges” include making electric vehicles affordable; making solar power cost-effective; something called USAID’s Grand Challenge for Development, which “catalyzes groundbreaking prevention and treatment approaches for pregnant women and newborns in poor, low resource communities” (so, condoms and abortions for blacks and Latinos?); and my favorite, the DARPA Brain Initiative (ostensibly to treat brain illnesses, but DARPA is military, founded in response to Sputnik and inventor of the Internet, sans Al Gore).

The White House is doing its best Chicken Little impression to stir up the country. According to the Washington Post, “The search for NEOs (Near Earth Objects) took on greater urgency on Feb. 15, when, on the very day that a previously detected asteroid was about to make a close pass of the Earth, an unknown 50-foot-diameter rock came out of the glare of the sun and fireballed through the atmosphere above the Russian city of Chelyabinsk.”

Always beware of stories about science projects that include the word “urgency.” As soon as you read it, rest assured you’re outside the lab and firmly in political territory. Just like with the nonexistent global warming, saying it’s “urgent” that we detect space rocks is just a bid for more of your tax money to make a handful of wealthy people wealthier.

There’s no way to tell if detection of space rocks is a real urgent need or not. Historically, Earth gets a significant jolt from a meteor maybe once or twice per century. A true cataclysm-maker, on the other hand, seems to only occur on the order of millions of years. Or it could happen tomorrow.

There’s something wrong with the mindset that refuses to accept that life can’t be completely controlled. Often, the effort to control things outside our power causes more damage than the event itself. Government attempts at weather control come to mind.

This particular project would serve a secondary purpose, as it could help identify a victim, er, subject asteroid for the Administration’s “catch a falling star and put it in your pocket” project to drag an asteroid into lunar orbit, allowing astronauts to fly up, gather samples and set up a base for future travel to Mars.

Astronomy fans across the globe have noted that we already have a perfectly good space rock on which to establish a base, get ready for Mars travel and gather samples — it’s called the moon. That brings into question the real point of the asteroid capture. One can only surmise that the Greys who currently operate Space Base Luna don’t want us on the moon, so we’re looking to establish our own little gated community.

When you’re dealing with an Administration that specializes in lies, coverups, secret programs and ulterior motives, anything goes.

The real point of this current distraction is simple: Ignore those nonexistent “scandals,” focus your anxieties on outer space, and keep those popularity points and tax dollars rolling in.