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#1 2017-11-01 12:16:15

EdwardHeisler
Member
Registered: 2017-09-20
Posts: 313

Senators Nelson and Murray: Bridenstein Is Not Fit To Be NASA Head

November 1, 2017
Nomination Hearing
Ranking Member Bill Nelson

Mr. Chairman, I’d like to extend a welcome to our nominees this morning.  In the interest of time, my opening will focus on our NASA nominee. I’ll include a statement in the record on our other witnesses.

It is certainly no secret how passionate I am about NASA having qualified and effective leadership. This passion comes from a deep respect I have for NASA and for everything the space program does to advance our national security, our economy, our understanding of cosmos and of ourselves, and for the hope and inspiration that NASA provides to all.  It also comes from having witnessed, very directly, the tragic consequences when NASA leadership has failed us.

We have three new human spaceflight vehicles that are all at the most critical phase of their development. We have over 70 ambitious science missions in operation and 50 more under development. Now, more than ever, NASA needs – and deserves – an administrator who is up to the challenge of leading the agency through this critical juncture. Because at this juncture, success will mean our triumphant return to deep space and rapidly expanding economic activity in Earth orbit.  Failure, on the other hand, could jeopardize the lives of brave astronauts and set back the search for life beyond Earth for decades.  Failure is not an option.

The NASA administrator should be a consummate space professional who is technically and scientifically competent and a skilled executive.  More importantly, the administrator must be a leader who has the ability to unite scientists, engineers, commercial space interests, policymakers and the public on a shared vision for future space exploration.

Frankly, Congressman Bridenstine, I cannot see how you meet these criteria.

While your time as a pilot and your service to our country in the military is certainly commendable, it does not qualify you make the complex and nuanced engineering, safety and budgetary decisions for which the head of NASA must be accountable. Moreover, your past statements on climate change are troubling from a scientific perspective and have sparked great concern from climate experts around the nation, which brings me to my greatest concern regarding your nomination.

Your recent public service career does not instill great confidence about your leadership skills or ability to bring people together.  In fact, your record and behavior in Congress is as divisive and extreme as any in Washington. 

You have advocated for discriminatory policies toward the LGBT community, which runs contrary to the civil rights of these Americans and poisons our national discourse.

On the House floor, you called President Obama dishonest, incompetent and vengeful – and followed it up by calling Vice President Biden “equally unfit and even more embarrassing.”

But your divisive behavior and remarks don’t stop there and haven’t been reserved just for Democrats.

You attacked Speaker John Boehner for reaching across the aisle. You later tweeted your opposition to Paul Ryan because he was critical of the vile remarks candidate Donald Trump made about sexually assaulting women.   
You made television commercials attacking my friend and fellow Senator from Florida, Marco Rubio, deriding his work to find common ground on immigration and claiming he was working to make America less safe. 
Later in Arizona, the GOP challenger to Senator McCain accused him of being directly responsible for the rise of ISIS. You then endorsed her in her Republican primary challenge to Senator McCain.  Most of us believe John McCain is an American hero. As a bipartisan member of the Armed Services Committee, I can tell you that those who would do our country harm have no greater enemy than Chairman McCain.
And you’ve supported the Senate Conservatives Fund, a political action committee that opposed Senator McConnell in his primary and any number of other Republican senators who did not meet the committee’s extremist ideals.   
Mr. Bridenstine, you’ve gone to great lengths to try to convince folks that you want to keep NASA bipartisan and work across party lines, but that is not what you said in January 2014 at a convention in South Carolina.   

These are your words not mine: 

“You’ve got collusion between Republicans and Democrats in Washington, DC.  They’re coming together and they’re making deals…You’ve got Republicans and Democrats trying to come together...But what we need is fighters. We need people who will stand up and say ‘no, we’re not going to do this anymore…”

Congressman Bridenstine, on behalf of every member who has devoted their career to reaching across the aisle to build consensus and to find working solutions for the American people, I take offense to that. That line of thinking is why Washington is broken. 

NASA represents the best of what we can do as a people.  NASA is one of the last refuges from partisan politics. NASA needs a leader who will unite us, not divide us. Respectfully, Congressman Bridenstine, I don’t think you’re that leader.

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News Releases
Senator Murray Calls on Colleagues to Oppose President Trump’s Nominee to Lead NASA
Oct 26 2017

Senator Murray: “Rep. Bridenstine’s denial of climate science & consistent opposition to equal rights for women, immigrants, and LGBTQ individuals should disqualify him from consideration”

(Washington, D.C.) –  In a letter today to the Senate science and transportation committee, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) urged her colleagues to oppose the nomination of Representative Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) to serve as Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Full text of Senator Murray’s letter below.

October 26, 2017

Dear Chairman Thune and Ranking Member Nelson,

I write today to express my deep concern over Representative Jim Bridenstine’s nomination to be Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Rep. Bridenstine’s background makes him an extremely concerning choice to lead this critical agency and its 19,000 diverse employees. Rep. Bridenstine’s denial of climate science and consistent opposition to equal rights for women, immigrants, and gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) individuals should disqualify him from consideration. Given his very public statements and positions, it is clear Representative Bridenstine would move us backwards not forwards, and I urge you to vote against his nomination.

Rep. Bridenstine has repeatedly rejected the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change. In a June 2013 speech delivered on the floor of the House of Representatives, Rep. Bridenstine repeated the debunked claim[1] that “global temperatures stopped rising 10 years ago.”[2]  A March 2013 tweet from Rep. Bridenstine failed to recognize the difference between local weather conditions and the broader planetary climate, a basic scientific concept: “Today's House Science Committee Hearing On Global Warming Was Cancelled Because Of Snow!”[3] Given that NASA’s fiscal year 2018 budget requested $1.8 billion for Earth-observing and climate science missions,[4] Rep. Bridenstine’s failure to accept fundamental scientific truths about Earth’s climate make him an ill-suited and dangerous choice to lead the agency.

Rep. Bridenstine is an outspoken opponent to the rights of LGBTQ individuals, immigrants, and women. In a May 2013 speech, Rep. Bridenstine suggested that LGBTQ individuals were sexually immoral, stating, “Some of us in America still believe in the concept of sexual morality, that sex is intended for one man and one woman within the institution of marriage.”[5]  In response to the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling in 2013, Rep. Bridenstine stated that “the court’s decision was a disappointment” and that he would “continue to fight for traditional marriage.”[6]  Bridenstine has also been a guest on 16 separate occasions and twice co-hosted Washington Watch with Tony Perkins, a daily radio show published by the Family Research Council (FRC), which has been designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as a hate group for its anti-LGBTQ remarks.  FRC has stated, “homosexual conduct is harmful to the persons who engage in it and to society at large, and can never be affirmed. It is by definition unnatural, and as such is associated with negative physical and psychological health effects.”[7]  Tony Perkins, FRC’s President, has declared that gay activists are “intolerant, hateful, vile, spiteful pawns of the Devil.”[8]

Rep. Bridenstine has a history of supporting anti-Muslim groups and has consistently defended a number of President Trump’s discriminatory and unconstitutional policies on immigration, including the thrice-struck down Muslim Travel Ban.[9]  On seven separate occasions, Bridenstine has appeared on Secure Freedom Radio with Frank Gaffney, the founder of the Center for Security Policy (CSP), a far-right think tank that advocates anti-Muslim views.  SPLC considers Gaffney “one of America’s most notorious Islamaophobes.”[10]  CSP has promoted conspiracy theories related to Islam, including suggesting that Representative Andre Carson and Huma Abedin and her family have ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.  Bridenstine has also spoken at conferences at the David Horowitz Freedom Center (DHFC), a far-right, anti-Islam group that, in their own words, “combats the efforts of the radical left and its Islamist allies to destroy American values and disarm this country as it attempts to defend itself in a time of terror.”[11]

In 2013, Rep. Bridenstine voted against the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), while claiming that VAWA and its key anti-domestic violence programs “[misallocate] scarce federal resources.”[12] Additionally, after then-candidate Donald Trump’s comments about sexual assault became public in October 2016, Rep. Bridenstine actively downplayed the comments and criticized individuals who condemned them.[13] On multiple occasions when provided with the opportunity to reject President Trump’s comments, Rep. Bridenstine instead said they amounted to nothing more than “locker room talk.”[14]

Since its creation, NASA has played a singular role in American life. The agency has inspired countless young people to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math, and has stirred curiosity in billions of individuals across the world. Rep. Bridenstine’s denial of fundamental scientific facts and long record of bigoted and hateful statements run counter to this legacy. I urge you and your colleagues on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation to oppose his nomination.

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#2 2017-11-01 12:24:42

EdwardHeisler
Member
Registered: 2017-09-20
Posts: 313

Re: Senators Nelson and Murray: Bridenstein Is Not Fit To Be NASA Head

I think that Robert Zubrin and all members of our organization will keep a close eye on Bridenstein's activity as NASA administrator. 
Unless some new scandalous information is revealed I believe Bridenstein will be easily confirmed by the full Senate.

Here's an excerpt from my recently submitted Mars paper regarding Mr. Bridenstein:

WILL JAMES BRIDENSTEIN CONTINUE NASA’S DETOUR AWAY FROM MARS?

"Trump has picked a far-right politician from Oklahoma to become the NASA Administrator.  I believe Bridenstein is the first anti-science politician to be nominated to head up NASA.   He doesn’t agree with the findings of NASA scientists on global warming and voted to slash funding for climate change studies conducted by the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration.

I don’t know if Bridenstein agrees with Trump that climate change is fake news and a giant Chinese government hoax designed to cut coal production and hurt coal miners in America.

I have a disagreement with our President, Robert Zubrin, on what course Bridenstein will likely follow as NASA’s leader.   Zubrin is probably hoping the new administrator will do some progressive things such as spending more money to implement a serious Mars human expedition plan.  Zubrin and most of us were encouraged to learn that Bridenstein,  unlike President Trump, reads books!   And Bridenstein told Robert that he actually read Zubrin’s book “The Case for Mars”!   Perhaps Bridenstein will pass along his copy to Donald Trump.   

I’m very skeptical about Bridenstein’s intentions regarding Mars.   It’s especially hard to determine what he really thinks about the priority of Mars and other significant issues such as the Chinese exclusion ban.  He recently deleted all of his Facebook, Twitter and YouTube posts which might have shed more light on these issues.

Bridenstein appears to be primarily interested in having NASA help fund various Moon business ventures rather than conduct a big human scientific exploration of Mars.   Bridenstein told an excited audience of rich investors “this is our Sputnik moment!   America must forever be the preeminent spacefaring nation and the Moon is our path to being so.”

John Holdren, a scientist who was the Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology for 8 years wrote:   “Bridenstein’s stance on climate change reveals him to be a fact-adverse, scientifically illiterate ideologue and a danger to NASA’s leadership in space science and Earth science alike.”    Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio declared:   “I just think his nomination could be devastating for the space program.”

In a year we will have another Mars Society convention and at the convention we can make an intelligent and informed assessment of Mr. Bidenstein’s NASA activity assuming he is confirmed as the new NASA administrator."

So let's wait and see what actually happens!

Last edited by EdwardHeisler (2017-11-01 12:28:29)

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#3 2017-11-02 11:53:35

GW Johnson
Member
From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 4,103
Website

Re: Senators Nelson and Murray: Bridenstein Is Not Fit To Be NASA Head

All persons holding any sort of public office do both good and bad.  The "trick" is picking persons who will do more good than bad. 

Bridenstine is well acquainted with,  and well-connected,  in the space business,  especially "old space".  He is rather tainted with the right wing belief system's worst tenet:  that there is no such thing as anthropogenic climate change. 

If confirmed,  look for him to do 2 things: 

(1) NASA returns to the moon,  favoring "old space" over "new space",  but not locking out "new space" entirely.  This displaces NASA ever going to Mars with people for the rest of our lives. 

(2) NASA gets out of projects and programs associated with climate change,  and pretty much drives those researchers out of its ranks.  While doing this,  he will do his best to upgrade weather forecasting and similar studies. 

You judge for yourself what's good and bad about either of these two things.

GW


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"

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#4 2020-10-14 04:11:06

JMartin
Member
Registered: 2020-10-14
Posts: 15

Re: Senators Nelson and Murray: Bridenstein Is Not Fit To Be NASA Head

I skimmed over Bill Nelson's comments about Bridenstein, and a lot of it seems to have little relevance to the space program.  Bridenstein's personal opinions on social issues like LGBT issues seem like they have no relationship with the space program, so I don't really see why Bill Nelson thinks that's a reason to oppose Bridenstein's confirmation.

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#5 2020-10-14 17:04:23

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 19,923

Re: Senators Nelson and Murray: Bridenstein Is Not Fit To Be NASA Head

Sort of an obscure topic with little more than he said she said to argue the point of selection.
If they should be capable of the job this sort of stuff needs to not be considered.

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