Nuke the moon, fiscal cliff and the electoral college

Nuke the Moon

The U.S. Government at one time planned to nuke the moon. Image: striatic/Flickr/CC BY

According to CNN, the U.S. government once had plans to nuke the moon in a show of power. It was believed the explosion would be just a harmless burp on the lunar surface. But could they have been absolutely sure of that at a time, when man had barely penetrated the Earth’s atmosphere? Sure enough to risk the safety of the entire planet? However, this kind of cosmic gambling is still practiced in Washington today.

Nuke the moon

The now-declassified “Project A-119” was suggested in 1958. Physicist Leonard Reiffel, the project’s leader, now 85, recently spoke to CNN about the plan to explode a nuclear missile on the moon. He said that, at the time, Americans were concerned because the Soviet Union had beaten us into space.

“The United States was feared to be looking puny,” Reiffel continued. “So this was a concept to sort of reassure people that the United States could maintain a mutually-assured deterrence, and therefore avoid any huge conflagration on the Earth.”

In other words, it was a muscle-flexing contest on a cosmic scale. Fortunately, the plan was abandoned in favor of developing a domestic space program in 1959. But its spirit still lives on.

Fiscal cliff

The so-called “fiscal cliff” is a time bomb of budget-slashing and tax increases, all coinciding on the first day of 2013. But the time bomb, which would likely plunge the nation into a depression, was intentionally set as a method of preventing the nation from being plunged into a depression.

Last year Congress and the Administration sat down to address the debt ceiling, creating perhaps the worst political gridlock in the nation’s history. At stake was the nation’s ability to repay its debts, which would destroy its credit rating and make investors think twice about buying U.S. securities, a major source of revenue.

That ended in an agreement to raise the debt ceiling for now, but to form a “supercommittee” to work out a bi-partisan solution to reduce the deficit. But just in case that didn’t work out, they also imposed a doomsday scenario for which a solution had to be found to avoid financial suicide.

Guess what? The supercommittee couldn’t stop blaming each other long enough to come to any conclusions. Therefore, we now zoom toward the fiscal cliff like Thelma and Louise.

Although it is in nobody’s interest to fall off the figurative cliff, both sides are still at it. Democrats are refusing to budge on entitlements, and Republicans are refusing to budge on tax increases. You can argue all day about who has the more pure intentions, the fact is, the fiscal cliff can only be avoided by raising taxes AND reducing deficit.

This kind of stand-off is all too common in today’s politics, and it is the direct result of a two-party system.

Electoral college

And all that is the long way around to address the point of this article, which is the abolition of the electoral college.

Our forefathers set up the system in lieu of a true popular election for many reason. Chief among them was the fact that most people were illiterate and ill-informed in the nation’s infancy. Another was the matter of counting all those votes. But now we have computers, the vast majority of American adults can read, and information is readily available from many sources.

Yet the electoral college system continues. A third or a fourth party choice would give representation to more than two schools of thought, helping to eliminate the “lesser of two evils” mentality faced by many voters at their polling places. But under the electoral college system, third party candidates can only influence elections by taking votes away from one party or the other. However, there is virtually no chance of a third party candidate receiving enough electoral votes to be elected.

Al Gore supports abolishing the electoral college in lieu of a popular vote, and I think it’s something worth considering. Something has to be done to end this political gridlock when so much is at stake for some many people.



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