Think again. In the growing movement that I'll call the "If You Can't Beat 'Em, Join 'Em" Caucus, two Democrats have introduced the legislation:
The bill from Reps. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) would create the Apollo Lunar Landing Sites National Historical Park. The park would be comprised of all artifacts left on the surface of the moon from the Apollo 11 through 17 missions.
The bill says these sites need to be protected because of the anticipated increase in commercial moon landings in the future.
Under the legislation, the park would be established no later than one year after the bill passes and would be run jointly by the Department of the Interior and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
The measure would allow the government to accept donations from companies and foreign governments to help manage the landing sites and "provide visitor services and administrative facilities within reasonable proximity to the Historical Park."
After one year, Interior and NASA would have to reach an agreement on how to manage the site, including how to monitor it, managing access to the sites and cataloguing the items in the park.Where does one even begin? Since humor and satire don't rank among the talents of our 10 percent approval-rating Congress, I simply couldn't believe at first that passive-aggressive pranksterism is at the core of this bill. At first glance, it does appear to be just one more symptom of the decline of Democracy and death of governance for the common good. We apparently have no money for the social safety net, but the sky's the limit for a Lunar Visitors' Center for the mega-rich!
I think it was pretty much a given that the so-called Progressive Caucus had already capitulated to the right wing forces of Neoliberalism and corporate interests. But to go the whole Bachmanesque crazoid route? What gives? Well, for starters, the bill is assuredly of the camera-ready variety. It's outlandish enough to have been awarded a 21 percent chance of getting out of Committee for a formal floor vote. (Unlike the CPC's People's Budget, whose launch failed about two inches above the blast-off point) Is this the only way the Democrats can get some free attention from the corporate media?
The bill is, on its face, a huge pander to the ruling elites, the only people who can even dream of going to the Moon in their private rocket-ships. Cost for a ticket is expected to be in the $1.5 billion range. Out of the Orbitz of the casual traveler, for sure. Can you envision William Shatner doing the Price Line pitch?
Instead of fighting for the repeal of the Sequester, which has taken a big chunk out of earth-bound National Parks accessible to their constituents, Democrats seem not only to have given up -- they are fully embracing corporatism, unbelievably suggesting we just develop a Space Park for the richest of the obscenely rich, funded with public-private money. And it seems like only yesterday (it was actually two months ago) that Progressive Caucus member Keith Ellison was railing against the cuts to the parks service:
A new report released by Rep. (now Senator) Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), details the sequester impacts to 23 national parks around the country. According to the report, U.S. national parks supply the economic lifeblood for countless communities across the United States. They contribute more than $30 billion in economic activity, support more than 250,000 jobs and generate $9.34 billion in labor income. The National Park Service faces $110 million in budget cuts, which means reduced hours and services for the nation's 398 national parks, 561 refuges, and more than 258 other public land units.So the moon national park bill has got to be a huge practical joke. Right? There is simply no other explanation. Maybe Johnson and Edwards -- also members of the Congressional Black Caucus -- are trying to embarrass President Obama, who finally deigned to meet with them yesterday, after having avoided them like the plague for more than two years. Maybe he gave them a reprise of the spiel at his last meeting, when he ordered them to get off their duffs and put on their marching shoes for his Greater Glory. Maybe this time he told them to put on their marching shoes to forcibly march all their suffering constituents to the predations of private insurance, for the greater glory of ObamaCare.
Adding insult to injury, Obama apparently kept the CBC waiting for more than an hour as he attended to more pressing business than that of the crisis of a black unemployment rate almost double that of whites. Of course, the delegates later reported that the closed meeting had been positive. Really. Out of this world, as a matter of fact.
Why else would two of them put on their marching shoes and introduce a bill for the construction of an outer space park for the top One Percent of the One Percent? If that isn't making a Statement, I don't know what is.
And knowing the Republicans, they'll probably add an amendment slashing Medicare coverage of oxygen supplies in order that the rich can breathe freely as they carouse in their lunar theme park. And the Democrats will give in, doing their clumsy political version of the Michael Jackson moon walk. They'll appear to be moving forward and going backward at the same time. It's called Maintaining the Status Quo.
What can you do against the lunatic who is more intelligent than yourself, who gives your arguments a fair hearing and then simply persists in his lunacy? -- George Orwell, 1984.