The Intercept reports that the Senate is preparing a $10 billion bailout fund for Jeff Bezos’s vanity spaceflight company Blue Origin.
Meanwhile, the State Department approves a $735 million arms deal to Israel, while sending only a paltry 5 million to Palestinian reconstruction efforts.
And lastly, Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema try to leverage their conservative clout to beg Republicans to support a commission to investigate the January 6 insurrection.
THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:
The hottest luxury for billionaires right now is a private space company. Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are both in on the trend, but the former’s big rocket adventure isn’t going so well. But don’t worry! Our government is preparing to save him.
The Intercept reported that Bezos’s company Blue Origin recently lost out on a massive, multi-billion dollar government contract to Elon Musk’s SpaceX. But now, Congress is trying to slip in an amendment to a bill that would make sure Blue Origin still gets a big chunk of taxpayer money.
According to the Intercept, the slush money was added in as an amendment to the Endless Frontier Act by Washington Senator Maria Cantwell. It would go to NASA first, which would then use it for a Blue Origin contract. And quick: you’ve got one guess as to where Blue Origin’s headquarters are. That’s right, Washington.
The amendment might face some opposition, however. Bernie Sanders quickly slid in an amendment of his own to cut out the $10 billion, telling the Intercept quote:
“It does not make a lot of sense to me that we would provide billions of dollars to a company owned by the wealthiest guy in America.”
That’s a great point, Bernie!
It’s worth placing some of this information in the wider context, which is that spaceflight in general is becoming more and more privatized. Instead of NASA building the ships that carry our astronauts and satellites to the ISS and beyond, those contracts are now going to people like Musk and Bezos. The specific contract Blue Origin lost was to put astronauts on the moon, something we haven’t done since 1972.
The difference is back then, we could truly say we the people put someone on the moon. Now, we can only say we paid for a private company to do it.
White House OK's Israel Arms Deal
On Tuesday, the Biden Administration officially committed to sending $5 million in relief funds to rebuild Palestine’s bombed-out Gaza strip. But days before that, it also agreed to send an order of magnitude more in deadly weapons to Israel.
Jewish Currents magazine reports that on May 21, the Biden State department granted the U.S. based company Boeing an export license to sell $735 million worth of laser guided munitions to Israel.
If you remember, this is the arms deal that progressives in the House and Senate were trying to stop.
Jewish Currents reports that Bernie Sanders office learned that the sale had been greenlit on Friday, and immediately used his leverage to place a hold on all new State Department nominations, stopping them from being approved by the Senate. Sanders only lifted that hold when the Biden administration committed to some humanitarian relief for Gaza.
But the dollar amounts at play tell the whole story. The government is letting Israel buy $735 million in U.S. bombs, which makes its 5 million in relief to Gazans seem like pennies.
As Jewish Currents notes, that’s a pretty good indication that the Biden Administration’s policy toward Israel’s violence in Palestine is going to look like much more of the same.
Manchin and Sinema Cash in Conservative Clout
Democrats Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema have spent the first months of the Biden Presidency building clout with their colleagues across the aisle, largely by stopping their own party from getting anything done.
Now, they’re finally cashing that in, in a last-ditch attempt to get several GOP Senators to support the creation of a January 6 commission.
The proposed commission would be modeled after the one that investigated the 9/11 attacks, and represents basically the only shot at getting a formal government breakdown of who did what during the Capitol Insurrection.
The GOP, of course, largely does not want this to happen, probably because several of their colleagues were directly involved or implicated. The proposal was somewhat bipartisan, and won 35 votes in the House. But in the Senate, it’s in trouble, because Mitch McConnell unsurprisingly does not want to play ball, calling the commission a quote “purely political exercise” endquote.
Instead Manchin and Synema are reportedly working the same little cadre of moderate Republicans like Mitt Romney and Susan Collins, some of whom want tweaks to the commission to give the GOP more power over how it works.
We’ll see if all that boot-licking and bill-sabotaging pays off for them!
AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:
The New York Times reports that the Navy has finally dropped its opposition to parts of the California coast being used for wind farms, clearing the way for the Biden Administration to push forward on a long-sought clean energy goal.
One more note about the Democratic spoiler crew mentioned in our third story tonight: the Washington Post reports that the bipartisan centrist lobby is now privately designing a new and not-improved version of Biden’s ambitious infrastructure bill in case the first one falls apart. That’s progress, baby! Moving steadily backwards.
Daniella Frazier, the 17-year-old girl who filmed Derek Chauvin’s murdering George Floyd last year, spoke publicly for the first time in a Facebook post. Here’s a quote:
“It changed me. It changed how I viewed life. It made me realize how dangerous it is to be Black in America. We shouldn’t have to walk on eggshells around police officers, the same people that are supposed to protect and serve.”
And finally, the CDC says it will stop investigating mild COVID infections in vaccinated adults, indicating that they’re confident that the vast majority of these breakthrough cases will not be life-threatening. The vaccines, it seems, are doing their jobs, though the Washington Post reports that some scientists are lamenting the loss of potential data.
AM QUICKIE - MAY 26, 2021
HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner
WRITER - Jack Crosbie
PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn