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Trump Promised to Return Americans to the Moon by 2024. The Man Hired to Make it Happen Just Up and Quit.

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Once again, a Trump project has failed because he did not lay the proper groundwork, made no attempt to get support from Congress, and because he is not, in fact, a great dealmaker.

Since 2017 President Donald Trump has said he wanted to return Americans to the moon. He promised he would make an American astronaut the first woman to walk on the moon. He promised to do it by 2024 – four years ahead of NASA’s planned schedule. And he sent Vice President Mike Pence out repeatedly to deliver his message.

“Some will say it’s too hard, it’s too risky, it’s too expensive, but the same was said back in 1962,” Pence, trying to echo President John F. Kennedy, said in March. “Now as then, the United States has a president who is a dreamer, who understands that this is a challenge that once again we are unwilling to postpone and one we intend to win again.”

NASA appropriately christened the project Artemis, named for the Greek goddess of the moon – who is Apollo’s twin sister.

Early last week Trump even tweeted about it:

On April 9 NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine brought in Mark Sirangelo to make it all happen. Thursday, Sirangelo up and quit – six weeks after he was hired.

Reuters chalked it up to “the culmination of internal strife and dwindling congressional support for the lunar initiative.”

Once again, a Trump project – this time a rare worthwhile one – has failed because he did not lay the proper groundwork, made no attempt to get support from Congress, and because he is not, in fact, a great dealmaker.

Sirangelo’s “departure came after lawmakers rejected NASA’s proposal to create a separate directorate within the space agency to oversee future lunar missions and ultimately develop human exploration of Mars,” Reuters’ reporter Joey Roulette notes.

“The proposal was not accepted at this time, so we will move forward under our current organizational structure,” Bridenstine said in a statement. “Given NASA is no longer pursuing the new mission directorate, Mark has opted to pursue other opportunities.”

But hours earlier Bridenstine was delivering a speech to students at Florida Tech.

“This is the Artemis generation,” he told them, as Roulette tweeted:

One day after Trump’s tweet, NASA pinned this tweet to the top of its Twitter page, where it currently remains:

 

 

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COMMENTARY

Sinema ‘Weighing’ Senate Speech Against Changing Filibuster for Voting Rights as Biden Visits Hill to Meet With Dems

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President Joe Biden Thursday afternoon will make a rare trip to Capitol Hill, where he will attend a regular Democratic luncheon with the singular purpose of shaking hands and twisting arms, hoping to convince the lawmakers to pass his voting rights legislation: the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.

Conspicuous in her absence likely will be U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema who may be on the Senate floor when the President of the United States comes to meet with members of her own party.

The Arizona Democrat is “weighing” delivering a speech “against changing the rules for voting rights, per two Senate sources,” Politico’s Tara Palmieri reports.

One of those sources, Palmieri adds, says “Sinema is having Joe Biden for lunch.”

President Biden served as a U.S. Senator for 36 years before being elected Vice President, and subsequently President. Sinema served six years in the House and is a freshman Senator, first elected in 2018.

Sen. Sinema’s top donors, according to Open Secrets include a Texas-based tax software firm, a private equity firm, and Goldman Sachs, the multi-national investment giant.

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COMMENTARY

‘Hideous Coward’: Critics Blast ‘Disgusting Fraud’ Lindsey Graham for Accusing Biden of Politicizing the Insurrection

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After President Joe Biden delivered what some are calling his best speech ever, commemorating the one-year anniversary of Trump supporters’ attack on the U.S. Capitol – an insurrection and attempted coup – Senator Lindsey Graham served up a horrific attack on the American President, and is being highly criticized for it.

“What brazen politicization of January 6 by President Biden,” Sen. Graham tweeted. “I wonder if the Taliban who now rule Afghanistan with al-Qaeda elements present, contrary to President Biden’s beliefs, are allowing this speech to be carried?”

Tom Nichols, a U.S. Naval War College professor and expert with a lengthy résumé on Russia, national security, and nuclear weapons, slammed the Republican from South Carolina as a “hideous coward.”

Amy Siskind, whose work documenting the fascism of the Trump presidency gained national attention, likewise labeled Graham as an “unpatriotic coward.”

“Trying to prevent the certification of the election was done by ONE side and it wasn’t the left,” The Atlantic’s Molly Jong-Fast replied to Graham. “Also Watching Republicans turn against democracy instead of disavowing trumpism is pretty depressing.”

Political commentator Keith Olbermann minced no words: “So your party’s attempt to overthrow democracy was a non-partisan event? Once you were a Senator, grudgingly respected by your opponents. Now you are a Trump Whore. Flee the country.”

Related –
‘He Can’t Accept He Lost’: Biden Blasts ‘Defeated’ Donald Trump’s ‘Web of Lies’ and ‘Bruised Ego’ in Fiery Jan. 6 Speech

Slate’s Will Saletan:

“Yes, the Taliban loves broadcasting speeches by American presidents, that’s a terrific point,” wrote historian Kevin Kruse, mocking Graham, who’s supposedly an expert on foreign affairs.

Some other responses:

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COMMENTARY

Garland Speech Satisfies Some, Disappoints Others Who Say It Focused on Violence and Not Those Behind the Insurrection

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Attorney General Merrick Garland finally delivered a speech on the January 6 insurrection, 364 days after the attack on American democracy. Some experts appeared to be satisfied, but many more casual observers and critics continue to be frustrated at his focus on prioritizing investigating and indicting those who perpetrated violence that day while continuing to, apparently, ignore those responsible for inciting the insurrection and creating and disseminating “the big lie” that the 2020 election was stolen.

One popular social media commentator seemed to sum up the feelings of many watching and responding via social media, calling Garland’s remarks “a July 2021 speech not a ‘One Year After a Coup Attempt’ speech.”

“The Justice Dept. remains committed to holding all January 6 perpetrators, at any level, accountable under law — whether they were present that day or otherwise criminally responsible,” Garland said in his speech (full video via C-SPAN), addressing DOJ employees. “There are questions about how long the investigation will take, and about what exactly we are doing. Our answer is — whatever it takes for justice to be done.”

But critics point out that Garland’s speech was largely focused on “statistics,” including how many arrests have been made. None of those arrests include Trump administration officials, or those who were behind the attack on American democracy.

“So, one thing you should notice about Garland’s framing of Jan 6 is that he *starts* at storming of the Capitol, *not* at the rally before,” wrote The Nation’s Justice Correspondent Elie Mystal, as Garland was speaking. “This goes to his general way of framing this as individual bad actors instead of a wider criminal conspiracy.”

MSNBC legal analyst and former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance responded to Mystal, saying: “This is a fair criticism. One of the things I’m looking for in this speech is whether he will suggest that Jan 6 was the culmination of an effort to overturn the election, or whether he views the events that took place at the Capitol in a vacuum.”

Vance appeared less concerned, adding:

Well-known, retired FBI Assistant Director Frank Figliuzzi, now an NBC News National Security Contributor appeared more hopeful:

And the highly-respected President and Director-Counsel of NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF), Sherrilyn Ifill, also seemed satisfied:

So was Daniel Goldman, the former Lead Counsel of the House Impeachment Inquiry,a nd a former Asst. U.S. Attorney at SDNY:

The Guardian’s congressional reporter Hugo Lowell observes Garland “effectively left open the possibility of a criminal investigation into the Trump WH over the Capitol attack, vowing to hold accountable the perpetrators — at any level — of the Jan. 6 insurrection.”

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