Bad Tech

Suborbital subsidies

Richard Branson couldn’t stop smiling and praising himself for “blasting off” as high as the Soviet Union sent a dog in the 1950’s. Jeff Bezos followed it up by tying the records set by “Ham” the chimp the US sent up in 1961.

Sixty years later, and the only difference is they shaved the Monkey.
And gave him sunglasses and an old hat. Stole the image from here.

Neither Ham nor Bezos controlled the flight. It was all run by robots and computers. The only difference is the monkey didn’t have to cover the bill.

Elon Musk will be the third final bullshit “shoe” to drop as these billionaires fight off their own boredom on this planet by pretending to “travel” to the next.

It’s “rocket envy” that only Freud could love.

The worst part. We, the collective we as in the taxpayers we, paid for it.

Branson got a $220 million subsidy from New Mexico to build his space station. Musk and Bezos have financed their personal trips with a lot less than what they should pay in personal taxes.

All of their “not quite in space” companies are basically funded by government contracts or the speculation that they will get more contracts in the future. They are buying up government built facilities, and government trained people for fractions on the dollar.

Then they fight each other for who got the bigger share of the government pie.

What have they accomplished? Next to fucking nothing. Low level joy rides that don’t advance science or space travel. These rich fuckers can’t even get in orbit. It’s 11 minutes for a single thrust, a few seconds of release from gravity, followed by the post-weightless “crash”.

Instead of a cigarette and another drink, they reach for a microphone and hold an hour-long “presser” on national TV. It’s bad enough they are screwing us for a joy ride — now the media fawns over them like they are good at sports. Fuck them too.

Proponents argue it’s a costly “start-up” that will drive down costs later... that they are bringing Artificial Intelligence and other modern updates to Space Travel.

No they are not. They are pumping up their chances to get more government contracts and become the preferred vendors for NASA. It’s a PR stunt to jump the line ahead of Boeing, GE and the other “contractors” who have been sucking NASA’s teat since 1958.

The future of space travel is not people. It’s robots. Robots don’t freeze to death. They don’t need all the oxygen, water and a place to shit themselves. Robots don’t get old as fast and can “live” the length of time needed to get to Mars and back.

Put enough sensors and cameras on the ship, and we can all experience space travel through a cheap-ass headset. It’s the same feeling without the deaths on re-entry. We don’t need to waste billions sending 8 people 50-miles up, just so they can come back and tell us how great it is to spend our money on them.

Or worse, come back with a new idea to make space the new garbage dump for heaving industry and used cardboard boxes with a fake fucking Amazon smile painted on the side.

Other people say this is a week long commercial for a wealth tax. I could go for that.

But it’s worse. It’s an indictment of the system that allows a few people to collect hundreds of billions of dollars in personal wealth. Where are the boards of directors and stockholders, fellow investors and partners? Why are they not getting these billionaires under control? It seems like they are not even sharing the wealth among the wealthy. Or at least throw a few more dollars to the people who can pay $100 a share in the company.

Don’t get me started on Amazon slave wages and warehouses that are the modern day sweatshops to support Bezos and his brother.

Until it’s web service started making millions, Amazon was largely a Ponzi scheme of retail. For 20 years it lost more money on building warehouses, websites and delivery infrastructure than revenue it was making. But Bezos managed to buffalo his investors into leaving him the lion’s share of the profits when they finally came.

Branson fell ass-backward into money by signing the Sex Pistols and Ozzy Osborne to his Virgin Record contracts. He has squeezed dollars out of every imaginable industry ever since. Good for him, but is that really worth $4.6 billion to society? He’s a millionaire 4,600 times over.

In case you couldn’t guess… the answer is NO. Branson is the “poorest” of the billionaires in space, and we should be able to agree as a society that even he is waayyyyy over paid.

When I was younger, and Reagan was in office, unfettered capitalism made more sense. We still had unions, some government regulations and controls and a collective conscious that kept these greedy bastards in check. We still had a middle class. Upward movement was still possible for the many.

A little slack in the system, a little more motivation seemed OK.

But in the last 40 years, most of that shit is gone. Greed has become the only goal for corporations. Taxes are only for the shrinking middle class. Or as the Orange Putin Puppet implied — taxes are only for the stupid people who follow the rules.

Social mobility is only for the lucky and nobody wants to enforce anti-trust or regulations that keep a small number of people from absconding with a vast majority of the resources. Where the fuck is Teddy Roosevelt when we need him?

Corporate leaders have bought their way into politics, the courts and even into people’s minds — paying for think tanks and talking points that hide the impacts of the economic gap with myths of freedom, growth and “job creators.”

Fuck you, “job creators.” I have earned every job I’ve had. No one “created” a job for me. We do the work that make them wealthy — not the other way around.

Now we are paying the bills for these billionaire joy rides. It’s nothing but suborbital subsidies, and I don’t want to fucking pay for them anymore.

4 replies »

  1. I don’t mind these billionaires shooting themselves up into space. It’s their return that leaves me troubled. And I agree with you about Teddy Roosevelt. It would be nice to see some antitrust action taken against corporations like Amazon and Facebook. It’s worrisome to see so much power being concentrated in the hands of so few people.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well said and SO the antithesis of bullshit, Kieran! You are the little kid at the side of the parade yelling that the emperor has no clothes on, a fact that a lot of people (including these modern day emperors) cannot seem to see.

    Deb

    Liked by 1 person

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