Thursday, April 18, 2024

The Menace from Space


"The spear, the bow, the gun, and finally the guided missile had given him weapons of infinite range and all but infinite power. Without those weapons, often though he had used them against himself, Man would never have conquered his world. Into them he had put his heart and soul, and for ages they had served him well. But now, as long as they existed, he was living on borrowed time."
Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey

The Jewish Space Lasers Lady is back.

The Republican from Georgia (which sounds like the title of a 1950s science fiction pulp novel) Marjorie Taylor Greene, submitted an amendment to the Israel Aid funding bill that, if approved, would provide funds to "develop space laser technology for use on the Southern Border." 

Space laser technology.

For use on the Southern Border. 

Space lasers.

Again. I mean, you remember the space lasers, right? 

But what do I know? Greene asks. I just like to read a lot. 

She likes to read nutty antisemitic conspiracy theories about the Rothschild Investment Corporation and and she likes to imagine "The Jews" have some secret space program so advanced it can launch industrial grade orbital solar power stations without anyone actually noticing but some smelly beardo in a dirty bathrobe living in a run down trailer somewhere in West Virginia and posting his "findings" to Truth Social. And not just those launches, but somehow vast orbital acres of highly reflective solar panels necessary to such installations have likewise somehow gone unnoticed by not only military, government, and academic observatories but those amateur telescope wranglers who track everything from SpaceX launches to the International Space Station. 

But, yeah, what would she know, right? 

Greene says America deserves the "same type of defense for our border that Israel has and proudly uses." (emphasis mine).

Has and proudly uses. 

Space lasers. 

Apparently she thinks Israel has space lasers. Which they use to defend their borders (and if that's the case, it's hardly an advertisement given the current state of affairs). This system Which I guess was lofted by the vast Israeli space program is also used to start forest fires in California on the orders of some secret Jewish investment bank because something something gazpacho and sure it sounds crazy when you say it out loud on social media but that doesn't mean it's not actually bugfuck insane, does it?

Folks, we really have to stop electing lunatics to run our government. 

Yes, even you, Georgia. Seriously, just stop it. 

That said, imagine it. 

No, really, imagine weapons grade lasers in orbit.

Space-based laser weapons powerful enough to punch through 200km of increasingly thick atmosphere with enough energy to ... what exactly? fry people and vehicles on the ground? Start forest fires? defend Israeli borders? burn ants? I don't know and the amendment doesn't say, but, imagine that weapon. 

Imagine what you could do with it, not just on the border, but anywhere, anytime, against anyone

Now, imagine giving control of that weapon to ... who? Trump? Biden? Booger eating crazypants Ex-General Flynn? The Arizona Supreme Court? Who?

Yes, imagine that. 

But then, you don't have to imagine it. 

We already have this, you know. 

Well, not have have, but we've got fully developed engineering plans for a similar weapons system. One that would have actually worked. 

Project Thor. 

That's right: Rods from God. The finger of death, smiting the sinners from upon high. 

Orbital-based Kinetic Bombardment. 

And if the sound of that doesn't scare the shit out of you, you've never read enough military science fiction. 

Except it wasn't fiction. 

The whole thing was thought up back in the 1980s by a bunch of science fiction writers and NASA engineers led by Dr. Jerry Pournelle (who was both). Thor is a fully fleshed-out design for kinetic energy weapons. Telephone pole sized solid tungsten rods, dropped from low orbit. A satellite might hold a dozen or more of these missiles. You can drop one or all of them at once, then a solid fuel rocket engine deorbits the Thor impactor and simple basic missile electronics guide it precisely to target (you wonder why we ever developed something so expensive as the GPS system? You didn't think it was for the public good did you?). Tons of metal moving at hypersonic velocity, you don't need a warhead or explosives. Depending on a number of variables, the impact energy of these things could be measured in kilotons. They could hit nearly anywhere on earth's surface with the power of a nuclear bomb, a manmade meteor. No radiation, no fallout. You could drop one or a hundred, or thousands, globally, all at once. Scalable, flexible, the system could target a tank column or a missile silo, a single building or an entire city, a battle group at sea or even submerged submarines. 

Simple and elegant in design -- if elegant is a word you associate with mass death from the sky. 

You don't need any new technology. The materials and engineering have existed for decades. We could have built a basic system as far back as the 1970s. 

There could be no defense against it.

It was developed as part of Ronald Reagan's Star Wars program. It was expensive and it would get more expensive the more satellites you put into orbit (it got cheaper if you had a reusable launch system, hey, and now you know some of the impetus behind the Shuttle's development and why Reagan was willing to keep funding it) but not nearly as expensive as maintaining a massive nuclear arsenal and the associated delivery systems (except the Shuttle vastly exceeded its design and operating budgets and never even came close to lowering the cost of launching material into orbit, and it turned out the nuke ICBMs were cheaper after all). 

But it wasn't the expense that ultimately canceled the program, so much as the idea of the sheer power of such a weapon.

You see, Thor, once implemented, could be used to impose an ironclad dictatorship over friend and foe alike.

You could use it against targets in the Middle East and the Soviet Union (remember, it was still the Cold War), but you could also use it against uppity Americans. Or your allies, if they forgot who their friends were. 

Now, there were certainly those who salivated at the idea of such power, but eventually it was cancelled before any serious hardware was constructed. They never got a working platform into space (probably).


If we had built it, can you imagine handing over control of such a thing to Donald Trump in 2016? The power of surgical strike tactical and/or strategic nuclear weapons without the associated downside of radiation, EMP, and long term contamination? Can you imagine handing control of that system over to the guy who wanted to know why we couldn't just nuke a hurricane? The guy who gleefully bragged on worldwide TV about dropping the "Mother of all Bombs" on Afghanistan?

That guy? 

Can you? 

Can you imagine that?

Who would he have used such weapons on? Think about that. Think about that power in any president's hands. 

I know Marjorie Taylor Greene is thinking about such power right now. 

I know she is. I don't have to guess. She told us. She keeps telling us.

That's all she and her ilk think about.

The power of God. And using it on us, those she considers undesirable and where have we heard this sort of thing before?

Yes, of course, Greene's amendment is idiotic. 

We're not going to build space lasers. Not yet. Not now. For the same reasons we didn't build Thor. We won't build Space Lasers for a lot of reasons. 

But this isn't really about that, is it?

It's about how these vile people think. 

It's about how they dream of having the absolute power of gods, being able to send down lightning from the heavens and fry the people they hate. Us.

The state of the art -- and the limitations of the budget -- won't let them do that. Yet.

But that doesn't make us safe from our leaders who dream about killing us. 

If you let them have power, they'll find a way to eliminate those they despise and they won't need science fiction weapons to do it. Whether it's cattle cars, camps, cyanide showers, and gas chambers or something more modern, they'll find a way just as those of their evil ilk always have. 

Because that's all they dream about. 

It's all they dream about. They tell you this in speeches, in their social media posts, in every amendment they write. They can not go a single minute without fantasizing about mass murder. 

Those like Marjorie Taylor Greene, like Trump, like the modern Republican Party, they don't build better futures. Not even for themselves. 

The only things they build are walls. 

The only things they create are new ways to to commit mass murder.

Their gods are hate and fear and profit. 

If you give them power, they'll use it to kill. To burn. To destroy. To tear down civilization and bury history in mass graves next to all those they despise. They told us so. 

It's all they dream about.

It's right there in their words, they don't even try to hide it. 

It's aways fascinating to me, the irony when someone whose entire identity is vested in some charismatic wannabe dictator calls me a communist.

A communist. 


I'm not a communist. Never have been. And in fact I spent a not insignificant fraction of my adult life in the uniform of my country standing against communism. I despise communism. 

I'm not even a socialist -- not that these drooling halfwits can tell the difference between socialism and communism, or care to find out.

Hell, I barely qualify as a liberal most of the time. 

And you wouldn't have to read very far back in the archives of this blog to figure that out. But the truly ironic part is where most of these people proudly wear their Christianity on their sleeve. A religion whose own founding prophet allegedly told his adherents in no uncertain terms: feed the hungry, clothe the poor, heal the sick, do unto others as you would have them do unto you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to get into heaven, judge not least ye by judged... 

And we could have done that. 

Even if you don't believe in that god, even if you don't adhere to that religion, those are good ideas. Feed the hungry. Clothe the poor. Heal the sick. The Golden Rule. We could have done all of that. We could have fed everyone by now. We could have clothed and sheltered everyone on the planet. We could have healed almost everyone, or at least made sure everyone had effective quality medical care. We could all be wealthy. We could all be entitled to liberty and justice. We could have made this world a paradise for all, instead of embracing an ideology that promises salvation to only a select few and eternal misery to all the rest. 

We could have done that.


You damn right, I'm mad. 


Yes, that too. 

I'm fucking furious at all the things we could have dared, and did not. 

I'm terrified of what these dirty rotten selfish greedy miserable fanatical sons of bitches will do next, should we let them have power again. 

We better show up. 

We better do our duty. 

We'd better stand fast, shoulder to shoulder, against the fall of night, or one day real soon they'll find a way to burn us all down and civilization along with us. 

You want a better nation? 

Hell, you want a future where our leaders don't dream about murdering us? 

Then you have to be a better citizen. That's where it starts. 


"Pffaww, They're a pair! They don't like anything. They don't even like the dachshund. Who doesn't like dachshunds? They're little parcels of dog-shaped goodness. I've known Jalabite Hegemon ships that give up conquest and start little farmsteads just so they can have happy dachshunds. Everyone likes dachshunds, everywhere in the universe. Well, except on Bithomorency. People there got into a war with a refugee column of evolutionarily advanced dachshund super soldiers fleeing the destruction of their home world. The wire-haired marines took out an entire town. Two hundred thousand dead. And it was a tragic misunderstanding. The dachshunds only stopped to ask for some biscuits, automated defense systems fired on them. There's a lesson: never give control of your space weapons to an unsupervised machine. Schoolboy error.”
― Nick Harkaway, Doctor Who: Keeping Up with the Joneses