Conscious Choice cover

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

 
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.

 

“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.

 

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


Congressman questions Northrop Grumman-Air Force ICBM deal

The head of the House Armed Services committee yesterday questioned the appropriateness of the Air Force awarding Northrop Grumman an ICBM contract without any competition.

[House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-Washington.)] said he is troubled that only one company, Northrop Grumman, will be bidding for the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent, a program to replace the Minuteman 3 ICBMs that make up the ground-based portion of the nation’s nuclear forces.

Northrop Grumman and Boeing were expected to compete head to head to be GBSD prime contractors but Boeing decided in July it would not submit a proposal because of Northrop’s overwhelming advantage as the nation’s largest manufacturer of solid rocket motors.

Northrop Grumman’s advantage here comes from its purchase of Orbital ATK last year, which provided the company this solid rocket launch capability that apparently no one else has.

Smith’s complaints here also extend to the Air Force’s plans to pick only two companies in the next year to launch all of its satellites for the next half decade, rather than leave the bidding open to all. As Smith noted,

“I have worked with them [the Air Force] on launch and other things and it strikes me that they are way too close to the contractors that they’re working with,” he said. “They seem to show bias,” Smith added. “It could be incompetence. But I think it is more likely that they like their historical partners. This is really, really bad because competition is a good thing.”

Smith appears generally correct. The Air Force made a sweet non-competitive launch deal with ULA back in the early 2000s that cost the taxpayer billions. Now it seems it is doing the same with its ICBM replacement contractor, and also wants to do the same with its satellite launch contracts. I hope Smith is successful in changing the Air Force approach.

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3 comments

  • Dick Eagleson

    NorGrum, via its acquisition of Orbital-ATK, does have more solid motor construction capability than any other U.S. company. But much of that capability is for the manufacture of very large-diameter SRB’s of the type used on Shuttle and slated for use on SLS, not the much smaller motors needed for ICBM’s. A typical ICBM is a much closer match, in both physical dimensions and mass, to the sort of smaller SRB’s long used as adjuncts to boost the launch mass capability of rockets like the Delta II, Delta IV and Atlas V.

    NGIS, as the former Orbital-ATK is now known as part of NorGrum, is not the only U.S. manufacturer of this smaller class of solid-fueled motor. AJR used to make the Atlas V SRB’s and was only recently beaten out by what is now NGIS based on the latter offering a lower price for near-identical motors.

    It’s difficult to understand why Boeing didn’t choose to partner with AJR unless it decided AJR simply wasn’t capable of developing a competitive proposal for the new ICBM anent NGIS. A similar self-assessment on AJR’s part may explain why it didn’t try to assemble a proposal of its own despite much of the rest of its current business being either in phase-out mode (Atlas V SRB’s, Delta IV RS-68A main engines) or with a problematical future (AR-1, RS-25E for SLS).

    In either case, it does not reflect well on the nation’s legacy defense contractors that their growing enfeeblement and inability to perform now seem to have advanced to a state of presumptive irreversibility.

  • Edward

    If Northrup Grumman had not bought Orbital ATK, would NG still have the capability to compete or would it have been Orbital vs Boeing, and would Boeing still have dropped out?

    From the article: “Smith said he takes Boeing’s account of events ‘at face value’ but also blamed the Air Force for mismanagement of the competition. ‘It is actually documented that the Air Force at one point accidentally shared proprietary Boeing information with Northrop’

    Is this a factor in the reason that NG had an ‘overwhelming advantage’ over Boeing?

    If the Air Force is that sloppy with information, what are the Russians and Chinese doing to us?

    Oh, wait …

  • Robert Floyd

    Formerly of Rep. Smith’s district, I doubt he has anything but self-serving motives. Before redistricting, Joint Base Lewis McChord was in his district. He bragged that he managed to ensure no Department of Army civilians, having union jobs, were cut, although 5,000 soldiers were cut from the post. Why do you need the same number of civilians when there are less soldiers? So you can cash in on those sweet union dues come fundraising time.

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