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  • June 18, 2021: Supreme Court Upholds Obamacare; Recordings Expose Bolivia Coup Plot; US Funds Anti-covid Pill Research
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    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by justcoffee.coop

    TODAY'S HEADLINES:

    The Supreme Court yesterday struck down another challenge to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. But it also said American companies can benefit from child slavery in Africa, so, you know, hold your applause for the honorable Justices.

    Meanwhile, audio recordings reveal that Bolivia’s right-wing coup leaders were organizing yet another plot against the pro-democracy politician who won last year’s election. And this time they planned to go big, and bring in hundreds of mercenaries from the United States.

    And lastly, US health officials announced a $3 billion program to speed up research on a pill to fight the coronavirus in people who’ve already been infected. The research could also help stop future pandemics in their tracks, which, after all we’ve been through, is an obvious win.

    THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:

    This legal news comes from the Washington Post. The Supreme Court yesterday said US chocolate companies cannot be sued for child slavery on the African farms from which they buy most of their cocoa. But the court stopped short of saying such a lawsuit could never go forward. Six African men sought damages from Nestlé USA and Cargill, alleging that as children they were trafficked out of Mali, forced to work long hours on Ivory Coast cocoa farms and kept at night in locked shacks. Their attorneys argued the companies should have better monitored their cocoa suppliers in West Africa, where two-thirds of the world’s cocoa is grown and child labor is widespread. The companies asked the Supreme Court to toss the lawsuit, arguing that courts in the United States are the wrong forum and that the applicable law permits such cases against individuals but not corporations. The court’s splintered decision was written by Justice Clarence Thomas.

    Also yesterday, the Post reports, the Court dismissed the latest challenge to the Affordable Care Act, saying Republican-led states do not have the legal standing to try to upend the law. Justice Stephen Breyer wrote the court’s seven-to-two decision, which preserves the law that provides millions of Americans with health coverage. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra called the court’s decision, "a victory for all Americans, especially people with a preexisting condition." It’s a bittersweet victory, though, because I can’t stop thinking about those child slaves.

    Recordings Expose Bolivia Coup Plot

    Here’s some retro Reagan-era intrigue! The Intercept reports that a top official in the outgoing Bolivian government plotted to deploy hundreds of mercenaries from the United States to overturn the results of the South American country’s October 2020 election. The aim of the mercenary recruitment was to forcibly block Luis Arce from taking up the presidency for MAS, the party of former Bolivian President Evo Morales. The plot continued even though Arce, a protégé of Morales, trounced a crowded field, winning fifty five percent of first-round votes. Disagreements between ministers and divisions within the armed forces appear to have undermined the plan. It was never executed.

    According to the Intercept, Arce’s eventual victory last fall was a stunning rejection of the right-wing shift overseen by coup leader Jeanine Áñez. The Bolivian right wing, however, was not ready to relinquish power. A recorded call with Áñez’s defense minister sketches a coup plot even more flagrant than the one in October 2019. Several of the plotters discussed flying hundreds of foreign mercenaries into Bolivia from a US military base outside Miami. These would join forces with elite Bolivian military units, renegade police squadrons, and vigilante mobs in a desperate bid to keep MAS from returning to power. Two US military sources confirmed that Special Operations had gotten wind of the Bolivia coup plot. But nothing ever came of it, they said. All those out-of-work Yankee mercenaries will just have to wait until the next time a leftist wins a Latin American election.

    US Funds Anti-covid Pill Research

    This promising health news comes from the New York Times. The US government spent more than $18 billion last year funding drugmakers to make a Covid vaccine, an effort that led to at least five highly effective shots in record time. Now it’s pouring more than $3 billion on a neglected area of research: developing pills to fight the virus early in the course of infection, potentially saving many lives in the years to come. The new program, announced yesterday by the Department of Health and Human Services, will speed up the clinical trials of a few promising drug candidates. If all goes well, some of those first pills could be ready by

    the end of the year. The Antiviral Program for Pandemics will also support research on entirely new drugs – not just for the coronavirus, but for viruses that could cause future pandemics.

    According to the Times, Doctor Anthony Fauci, a key backer of the program, said he looked forward to a time when Covid-19 patients could pick up antiviral pills from a pharmacy as soon as they develop Covid-19 symptoms. Fauci’s support for research on antiviral pills stems from his own experience fighting AIDS three decades ago. In the 1990s, his institute conducted research that led to some of the first antiviral pills for HIV. Even if the next generation of pills doesn’t arrive for a few years, scientists say the research will be a good investment. Imagine a future where Covid is no big deal. It’s nice!

    AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:

    CBS News reports that the House yesterday approved a bill to repeal the 2002 authorization for use of military force in Iraq, a measure which has the backing of the White House. The bill now goes to the Senate, where Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said he will bring it to the floor for a vote this year. Next we need a bill to make everyone who supported that stupid war publicly apologize.

    The Washington Post says today will be a holiday for federal employees following President Joe Biden’s signing yesterday of legislation making Juneteenth a federal holiday. Juneteenth marks the end of slavery in Texas. Employers who don’t honor this holiday are now officially on notice.

    Speaking of Texas: The Associated Press reports that Texas will now let people carry handguns without first getting a background check and training, becoming the latest and largest on a growing list of states to roll back permitting requirements for carrying guns in public. Republican Governor Greg Abbott called it a measure of freedom and self-defense. It’s more like self-harm.

    Politico reports that a little-known GOP candidate in Florida was secretly recorded threatening to send a Russian and Ukrainian hit squad to a fellow Republican opponent to make her QUOTE disappear ENDQUOTE. During the call, William Braddock repeatedly warned a conservative activist to not support Anna Paulina Luna in the Republican primary for a Tampa Bay-area congressional seat because he had access to assassins. Look out, Texas – here comes Florida!

    AM QUICKIE - JUNE 18, 2021

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Corey Pein

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

  • June 17, 2021: 8 Million Face Eviction; Richest Families Gained $136B During Pandemic; Proud Boys In Poor Shape
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    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by justcoffee.coop

    TODAY'S HEADLINES:

    A new report says eight million Americans are at imminent risk of getting thrown out of their homes. President Joe Biden could spare them with the stroke of a pen, but he hasn’t yet made a move to do so.

    Meanwhile, research shows the country’s richest families have done spectacularly well during the pandemic. That’s in part because they still aren’t paying their fair share of taxes.

    And lastly, months after the Capitol insurrection, the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers are strapped for cash and bleeding members. Where’s Daddy Trump when you really need him?

    THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:

    More Americans will be homeless very soon, this report from CBS News suggests. Even as the nation rebounds from the pandemic, more than two million homeowners are behind on their mortgages and risk being forced out of their homes in a matter of weeks, a new Harvard University report warns. Most of the homeowners at risk are either low-income or families of color, said researchers behind the 2021 State of the Nation's Housing report. Congress has dedicated $10 billion to help homeowners get caught up on payments, but it’s unclear if that funding will make it to families before foreclosure notices arrive. Separately, millions more renters are on the brink of eviction, the researchers found. Census data show that six million households are still behind on rent and could face eviction at the end of June, when federal eviction protections expire. The Center for Disease Control order halting some evictions, and federal liminations on foreclosures for federally backed housing, both expire on June 30. Advocates have pushed for the Biden administration to extend both, but there is no indication an extension will happen.

    CBS reports that more than seven million homeowners took advantage of the foreclosure moratorium passed as part of the Cares Act last spring. The provision was extended by the Biden White House. As of March 2021, most of those homeowners have started repaying lenders. But that leaves about two point one million still behind on their mortgages. Biden must act now to keep these families, including renters, housed.

    Richest Families Gained $136B During Pandemic

    This status check on the rich and useless comes from the Guardian. Ten of the US’s richest families, including the Walmart family and the dynasties behind industries including candy and cosmetics, saw their assets balloon over the pandemic, with a shared increase in their combined net worth of over $136 billion in fourteen months. That’s according to a report by the Institute for Policy Studies published yesterday. The report details how these families have not only increased their wealth by billions in the last year, but have also worked to ensure the system supports this exponential growth over decades. In 1983 the Walton family, who founded Walmart, were worth $2.15 billion. By the end of 2020, the Waltons had a combined net worth of over $247 billion, an inflation-adjusted increase of four thousand three hundred percent. The wealth of the Mars candy dynasty increased by three thousand five hundred percent over the same period.

    According to the Guardian, Chuck Collins, a co-author of the report, said these families weren’t just making more money, they were also getting better at putting it out of reach of taxation. The report outlined several proposals to curb this wealth accumulation, including the Make Billionaires Pay Act, a proposal introduced in 2020 to institute a one-time sixty percent pandemic wealth tax on billionaires. But more must be done, Collins said, to stamp out tax loopholes, offshore tax havens and certain trusts that allow families to hide their wealth. Or we could simply eat the rich.

    Proud Boys In Poor Shape

    This delicious update on Donald Trump’s loyal foot soldiers comes from the Wall Street Journal. The far-right group the Oath Keepers is splintering after board members accused the founder of spending its money on hair dye, steaks and guns. The leader of the Proud Boys, choked off from the financial system, is printing Black Lives Matter T-shirts to make money. The finances of the two most visible groups with members involved in the January 6th riot at the US Capitol are sputtering. Leaders are low on cash, struggling with defections and arguing over the future. The Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys have seen more than three dozen of their members arrested in connection with January 6th. Within both groups, an escalating crackdown and the departure of Trump from office has spurred new levels of disarray.

    The Journal reports that Oath Keepers membership has dropped eighty percent from its peak. The organization had less than $10,000 in its bank account as of April. Bank records show thousands of dollars of Oath Keepers funds spent on goods and services in Montana, where founder Stewart Rhodes lived until recently. That includes $12,000 at an auto-repair shop, $886 at a bar, and $229 at a lingerie shop called Alley Katz Nighties ’N‘ Naughties. The Proud Boys aren’t faring much better. Members have turned to cryptocurrency, local credit unions and alternative payment brokers to replace a mainstream financial system that has largely cut them off. There’s a lesson here, folks: anti-fascist organizing gets results!

    AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:

    Politico reports that the US and Russia will return their ambassadors to Moscow and Washington, DC, respectively, following President Joe Biden’s summit with Vladimir Putin yesterday. They concluded their summit, which Putin called constructive, earlier than expected, after about four hours with breaks. Coulda been a Zoom call!

    The AP reports that Israeli aircraft carried out a series of airstrikes in the Gaza Strip yesterday. There were no immediate reports of casualties. They were the first such raids since a shaky cease-fire ended the war with Hamas last month. The new Israeli government is not off to a great start.

    NBC News reports that Minnesota authorities charged the driver of an SUV that plowed into a protester-filled intersection with second degree murder. The Sunday crash killed one woman and injured another person. Nicholas D. Kraus, thirty five, is jailed on $1 million bail and is scheduled to appear in court today. He has a lot to answer for.

    The Associated Press reports that the US Education Department yesterday expanded its interpretation of federal Title Nine sex protections to include transgender and gay students. The move reverses Trump-era policy and stands against anti-transgender proposals in many states. Here’s hoping this new directive holds back the tide of discrimination in those Republican states that are trying their hardest to persecute transgender students.

    AM QUCKIE - JUNE 17, 2021

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Corey Pein

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

  • June 16, 2021: Biden And Putin Talk Nukes; Trump Pressured Rosen On Election; NY CA Lift Restrictions
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    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by justcoffee.coop

    TODAY'S HEADLINES:

    Nuclear weapons are high up on the agenda as the presidents of the United States and Russia meet today. Former top military commanders and diplomats from both countries have been urging the leaders to cooperate to reduce the size of nuclear arsenals.

    Meanwhile, emails just released by House Democrats investigating the January 6th Capitol insurrection show how Donald Trump tried to get the Justice Department to help overturn last November’s election. The details are as loopy as you might imagine.

    And lastly, two of the biggest states, New York and California, have lifted many pandemic restrictions thanks to progress in their vaccination campaigns. Covid will be with us for a long time, but public health measures are working, and the return to normalcy is happening just about on schedule.

    THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:

    This read on the day’s big diplomatic news comes from Politico. Expectations are low that Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin can reach any significant accommodation during their first presidential summit today in Geneva – with one possible exception: nuclear arms control. Washington and Moscow have publicly expressed a desire to use the summit to reestablish formal talks on the issue. In the days leading up to the tense meeting, ex-defense chiefs, foreign ministers and retired nuclear commanders from both nations also proposed a series of steps the two leaders could take to help constrain the world’s deadliest arsenals. Those steps range from a simple pledge to resume regular negotiations, to a more ambitious public commitment to reduce current arsenals as a goodwill gesture.

    Politico says no one is banking on detailed agreements to emerge from Geneva. The definition of strategic threats has only grown more complex now that cyber attacks, political warfare and other forms of mischief can destabilize entire nations. But both governments have been striking a similar tone in recent days on the nuclear front, at least rhetorically. National security adviser Jake Sullivan expressed the administration’s desire to get back to a regular dialogue with Moscow on nuclear matters. Sullivan’s comments came a day after

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also hinted at a desire to reach common ground on nuclear issues. The two countries may never agree on some things, but if Biden and Putin can agree to keep a lid on the nukes, that’s no small victory.

    Trump Pressured Rosen On Election

    This deep dive into Donald Trump’s outbox comes from the Washington Post. Trump’s staff began sending emails to Jeffrey Rosen, the Number Two at the Justice Department, asking him to embrace Trump’s claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election at least ten days before Rosen assumed the role of acting attorney general. That’s according to new emails disclosed by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. On the same day as the electoral college met to certify the election results, Trump’s assistant sent Rosen an email with a list of complaints concerning the way the election had been carried out in Antrim County, Michigan. The file included a so-called forensic analysis of the Dominion Voting Systems machines the county employed, alleging they were calibrated to create fraudulent results. The claims were false.

    According to the Post, the email sheds light on the type of pressure Trump was putting on the Justice Department to take up his crusade against Joe Biden’s 2020 victory. The campaign swiftly accelerated once Rosen was appointed acting attorney general. On January 1st, former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows forwarded Rosen a YouTube link. The subject line suggested it was a video in which a retired CIA station chief argued that the 2020 election totals were altered by the Italians. Rosen forwarded the email to his acting deputy, Richard Donoghue, who responded simply: QUOTE Pure insanity ENDQUOTE. So Trump’s flunkies knew his election lies were crazy, but said nothing. More like pure cowardice!

    New York, California Lift Restrictions

    It’s a mixed bag on the pandemic front. The Associated Press reports that the US death toll from Covid-19 topped six hundred thousand yesterday. That’s the bad news. But the good news is that the vaccination drive has drastically brought down daily cases and fatalities and allowed the country to emerge from the gloom and look forward to summer. The milestone came the same day that California and New York lifted most of their remaining restrictions, joining other states in opening the way, step by step, for what could be a fun and close-to- normal summer for many Americans.

    The AP says that with the overall picture improving rapidly, California – the most populous state and the first to impose a coronavirus lockdown – dropped state rules on social distancing and limits on capacity at restaurants, bars, supermarkets, gyms, stadiums and other places. They’re billing it as California’s Grand Reopening, just in time for summer. Disneyland is throwing open its gates. Fans will be able to sit elbow-to-elbow and cheer without masks at Dodgers and Giants games. In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo said yesterday that seventy percent of adults in the state have received at least one dose of the vaccine. And he announced that the immediate easing of many restrictions will be celebrated with fireworks. Massachusetts and Kansas yesterday lifted their states of emergency. And Maryland’s governor announced that the emergency there will end on July 1, with the state no longer requiring masks. It’s time for slightly socially anxious barbecues!

    AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:

    According to the Washington Post, more than forty million Americans are in the crosshairs of triple-digit heat this week, with some spots soaring over one hundred and twenty degrees. The heat in many areas is dangerous, prompting excessive-heat warnings in seven Western states. So there you go, homebodies: an excuse to stay inside post-vaccination.

    Stars and Stripes reports that Connecticut Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal yesterday called on US Army leaders to investigate a QUOTE blood curdling ENDQUOTE news report that found nearly two thousand military firearms went missing during the last decade. An Associated Press investigation found that some of the lost or stolen firearms turned up at the scene of violent crimes. Whoops!

    The Los Angeles Times reports that Harvey Weinstein will soon be extradited to California to stand trial on charges that he sexually assaulted five women in LA and Beverly Hills. A New York judge’s ruling yesterday sets the stage for a second trial focused on the mogul’s alleged pattern of sexually abusing actresses and models. That’d make two trials and, let’s see... eighty victims. Sounds like Harvey’s still ahead!

    NBC News reports that the manager of a New York City Shake Shack said he was unlawfully detained and taunted by police after he was falsely accused last year of poisoning three officers' milkshakes. The manager, Marcus Gilliam, is now suing members of the New York Police Department, seeking damages for defamation and deprivation. Thank you for your service, Mister Shake Shack Manager, sir.

    The New York Times reports that President Biden has named Lina Khan, a prominent critic of Big Tech, as the chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission. Her appointment was a victory for progressive activists who want Biden to take a hard line against big companies. Let's hope she makes Mark Zuckerberg sweat -- I mean, even more than usual.

    AM QUICKIE - JUNE 16, 2021

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Corey Pein

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

  • June 15, 2021: McConnell Promises to Keep Being Awful; Biden Wants to Kill 2002 AUMF; Texas Braces for Second Power Crisis
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    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by justcoffee.coop

    TODAY'S HEADLINES:

    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Monday that he wouldn’t even consider letting Biden seat a new Supreme Court Justice if the GOP takes back the Senate in 2022.

    Meanwhile, the Biden Administration said that it supports a new resolution to end the 2002 Authorization of Use of Military force.

    And lastly, Texas may be headed for another major power crisis as the state’s fragile power grid expects record use in June.

    THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:

    Mitch McConnell has thrown down the gauntlet, and the Democrats are, well, sort of just standing there looking at it.

    In an interview on conservative talk radio, McConnell said that if Republicans take back the Senate, he would block any prospective Supreme Court nominee that Biden sent him.

    This is not exactly a surprise. McConnell pretended that his resistance to a new nominee would be from his typical election year nonsense, saying that he’d block a nominee in 2024 just like he did in 2016 at the end of the Obama years. But we all know what the score is.

    McConnell’s life’s work is the judiciary and he’s done a very good job of securing it for the business-friendly, person-hostile policies of conservatives for generations to come.

    But what it does indicate is just how futile any Democratic expectations of bipartisanship have become. It also means that the party has to be looking for 82-year-old Stephen Breyer to retire while there’s still a chance of getting a liberal replacement confirmed.

    There’s a permanent solution to all this, of course: packing the court. But McConnell knows that Democrats and liberal justices on the bench already don’t really have the guts. He said this about Justice Breyer, quote:

    “I do want to give him a shout-out, though, because he joined what Justice Ginsburg said in 2019 that nine is the right number for the Supreme Court. And I admire him for that. I think even the liberal justices on the Supreme Court have made it clear that court packing is a terrible idea.”

    Glad everyone’s on the same page!

    Biden Wants to Kill 2002 AUMF

    The Biden Administration made a huge announcement on Monday: it formally supports a push by Rep. Barbara Lee to end the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force.

    The 2002 AUMF, as it’s called, is the legal document we used to justify invading Iraq. In the years since, it’s been trotted out as evidence that the U.S. can legally engage in all kinds of military activities in the country. It’s a disgrace that it was ever passed, of course, but it’s an even bigger disgrace that it hasn’t been repealed yet, so the fact that it may finally get tossed is a good thing.

    However, it doesn’t mean a whole lot as far as U.S. wars overseas go. The Biden Administration’s statement itself notes that quote:

    “the United States has no ongoing military activities that rely solely on the 2002 AUMF as a domestic legal basis, and repeal of the 2002 AUMF would likely have minimal impact on current military operations.”

    In other words, all of our bombing and killing overseas is going to be just fine.

    That’s because the 2002 order isn’t the only AUMF -- there was another one in 2001 after 9/11 that’s even more broad. And in recent years, presidents haven’t even needed the AUMF’s to do what they want -- they’ve been able to pursue narrower military actions at their own discretion thanks to the steady increase in executive power since Bush was elected.

    Biden’s statement notes that the administration wants to work with Congress to replace these so-called outdated orders, but it’s pretty clear that its ability to wage war isn’t going to be affected all that much.

    Texas Braces for Second Power Crisis

    Another power crisis is shaping up in Texas, this time due to the massive summer heatwave rolling through the state.

    ERCOT, the state’s energy grid operator, asked customers on Monday to conserve as much energy as possible through, as many of its generators were down for repairs. On top of that, ERCOT estimated that June could see record-breaking demand for power.

    This is a very similar situation to the disastrous, deadly outages in Texas this winter, when millions went without power during a brutal cold snap. Now, ERCOT’s customers are once again facing the prospect of blackouts, this time as temperatures spike to over 90 degrees in much of the state. ERCOT is asking Texans to Set thermostats to 78 degrees or higher, turn off lights, and avoid using large appliances until the end of the week.

    Those steps might help, but it’s not really the everyday consumer’s job to fix Texas’s hugely unstable energy grid. Austin’s local NPR affiliate reports that experts have warned power problems like this will keep happening unless the state moves away from coal and gas generators and overhauls its wildly deregulated system. Until then, the government is basically forcing regular Texans to bear the heat.

    AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:

    Meanwhile, a driver plowed into protesters in Minneapolis late on Sunday night, killing one and injuring several others, in a similar attack to the ones that menaced protests last summer. The crowd was protesting the death of Winston Boogie Smith Jr., a 33-year-old Black man, who was killed by U.S. Marshalls on June 3.

    President Biden gave his first speech to NATO on Monday. The key issues looming over the Cold War era alliance are Ukraine’s possible entry into the group, especially ahead of Biden’s upcoming summit with Russia’s Vladimir Putin. In his speech, Biden stressed that he wasn’t looking for a confrontation with Putin. We’ll see how that goes!

    Reality Winner is out of prison! The former intelligence contractor who was prosecuted for leaking state secrets to the Intercept was released to a halfway house on Monday, her lawyer announced.

    A Washington Post analysis found that coronavirus infections are dropping where most people have been vaccinated, and rising where they are not. That may seem obvious, but it underscores just how far some states and communities have to go to keep their constituents safe.

    AM QUICKIE - JUNE 15, 2021

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Jack Crosbie

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

  • June 14, 2021: Israel Dumps Netanyahu; AOC vs. Centrist Cronies; DOJ's Privacy Boogaloo
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    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by justcoffee.coop

    TODAY'S HEADLINES:

    Israel’s far-right, heavily corrupt prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is finally out. He’s been replaced by another far-right tech entrepreneur.

    Meanwhile, the normally tight-lipped Apple said it turned over data about Trump’s former White House Counsel Don McGahn.

    And lastly, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez went on CNN and dared to point out the biggest flaw in her party’s plans to enact any sort of agenda.

    THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:

    It finally happened. After 12 years, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is out, replaced by a strange government coalition of basically everyone outside of his party in the Israeli government.

    But before we get too excited, let’s meet the new Prime Minister. Taking over for Bibi is Naftali Bennett, a former tech entrepreneur whose politics may be just as right wing and reactionary as his predecessor’s.

    Bennett has only been in politics about 8 years, and before that made millions in the tech sector. He’s also a former Israeli Commando whose latest post in government was as Minister of Defense, and he’s reportedly bragged about killing Arab people, saying quote: “I’ve killed lots of Arabs in my life – and there’s no problem with that.” endquote.

    Yeah, sounds like this guy isn’t exactly a step up from Netanyahu. He’s also vehemently supportive of Israel’s colonialist settlers.

    Bennett took over thanks to a razor-close vote in Parlaiment authorizing a new government by just one vote, 60 to 59, with one abstention. Bennett’s party itself only holds 7 seats in Parlaiment, and managed to take the top slot by creating an eight-party monster coalition aimed at taking Bibi down.

    In other words, none of this is particularly stable, and none of it looks particularly good for the Palestinians still suffering after Netanyahu’s final acts of war against them.

    AOC Calls Out Centrist Cronies

    The Democrats have a problem -- they all know it, but almost none of them will come out and say it. It’s pretty simple: the Republican-friendly coalition of Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema are essentially stonewalling any bill that Biden wants to pass.

    Naturally, most inter-party criticism falls on the left. Which is why Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez was on CNN on Sunday defending progressive’s decision to pre-emptivly reject the centrist infrastructure compromise plan that Manchin and co are putting together.

    CNN’s Dana Bash tried to corner Ocasio-Cortez into saying whether or not she’d vote for such a marginal compromise bill, to which Ocasio-Cortez responded; “The thing is, is that this isn't the best that we can get."

    Then she launched into one of the few open declarations of what’s actually going on;

    "I do think that we need to talk about the elephant in the room which is Senate Democrats blocking crucial items in a Democratic agenda for reasons that I don't think hold a lot of water."

    The key point that Manchin and his block are trying to make is that there are ten Republicans who can be convinced to play ball, and that Biden and every Democrat to the left of him should place their policy ambitions in those centrist hands. But as we all know, that’s a myth. AOC knows it too, and said as much: “That doesn't really hold water, particularly when we can't even get 10 senators to support a January 6 commission."

    We covered this back when it happened. If Manchin couldn’t get Romney and some of the less-Trumpy GOP to back an inquiry into an attempted coup earlier this year, then only a massive idiot would assume that they’re going to get the GOP’s help passing an infrastructure bill. The Democratic party leadership has to know this too which makes the real question clear: what are they going to do about it?

    DOJ's New Privacy Boogaloo

    The Trump Administration continues to deliver weird news gifts, even from beyond its political grave. This one comes from the New York Times, which reports that in 2018, the Justice Department subpoenaed data from Apple so it could look into White House Counsel Don McGahn.

    The exact reasons behind this decision aren’t clear, and probably have something to do with the complicated mess left behind by Trump’s nebulous associations with Russia. But what’s weird about this case is that the Justice Department kept it secret for over two years, and forbade Apple from telling McGahn about it.

    And it fits in to the larger context of what’s been going on in the privacy space in the past few months. We’ve recently learned that Trump’s Justice Department aggressively hunted for leakers, going as far as to try to obtain phone records and other data from reporters for the Times, CNN, and Washington Post.

    This is all stuff that Biden’s new Attorney General Merrick Garland is going to have to untangle. And right now it’s not quite clear what side he’s going to come down on. The Biden Administration ordered the DOJ to stop seizing reporter’s email, calling it quote “simply wrong.”

    But the New York Times notes that there are still a ton of variables as to what the new rules will look like, as far as who’s protected and who’s considered a journalist. If you remember, The Obama administration was particularly zealous at rooting out leaks, so that doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence.

    AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:

    Joe Biden met with the Queen of England on Sunday and managed to not commit any real social faux pas, only telling her that she reminded him of his mother. Isn’t that nice! What a difference from Trump. At least our good president Biden loves and respects a Monarch, which is really what America is all about if you think about it.

    CNN reports that GOP Governors are pushing to end mask mandates in schools, once again blaming government overreach for the policy. Kids under 12 won’t be eligible for the vaccine till about Thanksgiving, so the masks make sense, but of course you can’t tell that to the GOP.

    A mysterious auction winner paid more than $28 million to ride to space with Jeff Bezos on July 20, becoming one of the first private space tourists to get ripped off by a billionaire’s vanity project. Congrats to whoever that person is! Have a nice flight!

    A bipartisan group of lawmakers released two bills on Friday that could completely overhaul the competition and anti-trust system that let big tech establish world-spanning monopolies. We’ll see how well they fare against the tech giant’s inevitable onslaught of lobbying.

    AM QUICKIE - JUNE 14, 2021

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Jack Crosbie

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

  • June 11, 2021: Child Labor Increasing Worldwide; California Fights Gun Control Ruling; US Image Rebounds Under Biden
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    07:44

    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by justcoffee.coop

    TODAY'S HEADLINES:

    Child labor is on the rise, and the pandemic is making it worse. A new report by the United Nations puts numbers on a problem that is pervasive, yet hidden to many Americans.

    Meanwhile, California’s Democratic leadership gears up for a major courtroom fight over gun control. And Gavin Newsom has nothing at all nice to say about the federal judge who struck down the state’s assault weapons ban.

    And lastly, new opinion polling reveals that the world feels way better about the United States now that Donald Trump is no longer in the picture. Can Joe Biden leverage these warm fuzzies for diplomatic advantage on his big international trip?

    THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:

    This concerning update on one of the most shameful practices in global capitalism comes from CBS News. The world has marked the first rise in child labor in two decades, the United Nations said yesterday. And the coronavirus crisis threatens to push millions more youngsters into the same fate. In a joint report, the UN’s International Labor Organization and the UN children’s agency UNICEF said there were one hundred and sixty million children laborers at the start of 2020 – an increase of eight point four million in four years. The rise began before the pandemic hit. It marks a dramatic reversal of a trend that had seen child labor numbers shrink by ninety four million between 2000 and 2016, the report said. Children and teens between five and seventeen years old who are forced out of school and into working are considered child laborers.

    CBS reports that just as the Covid-19 crisis was beginning to pick up steam, nearly one in ten children globally were stuck in child labor, with sub-Saharan Africa affected most. Even in regions where there has been some headway since 2016, such as Asia and the Pacific, and Latin America and the Caribbean, Covid-19 is endangering that progress, the report said. The agencies warned that unless urgent action is taken to help ballooning numbers of families falling into poverty, nearly fifty million more kids could be forced into child labor over the next two years. Sometimes it feels like we’re racing back to the nineteenth century.

    California Fights Gun Control Ruling

    This report on the struggle for safety from gun violence comes from the Los Angeles Times. California Attorney General Rob Bonta yesterday filed an appeal to a federal court decision that overturned the state’s ban on assault weapons, arguing that the law is needed to protect the safety of Californians. The appeal seeks to reverse last Friday’s decision by US District Judge Roger Benitez, who said the state’s three-decade ban on assault weapons is an unconstitutional infringement on the rights of California gun owners. Newsom, who was elected on a platform that included expanding gun control laws, said, "California’s assault weapons ban has saved lives, and we refuse to let these weapons of war back onto our streets." Newsom criticized Benitez, calling his decision shameful. He said Benitez was a stone-cold ideologue and "a wholly owned subsidiary of the gun lobby."

    The Times says the case has implications for gun laws beyond California. Six other states and the District of Columbia followed California in adopting their own assault weapons bans, and Congress enacted a ban in 1994, although it expired ten years later. Though other courts have upheld assault weapon bans, supporters of the gun law worry Benitez’s decision is part of a strategy by the gun lobby to get cases to the US Supreme Court, where appointments by Donald Trump are seen as more sympathetic to Second Amendment arguments. In the meantime, there was another deadly shooting yesterday – three dead in a Florida Publix.

    US Image Rebounds Under Biden

    This check-up on the national image comes from the Washington Post. President Joe Biden has promised the world that America is back. As he takes his first trip abroad as president, a Pew Research Center global survey released yesterday shows that many believe it. Trust in the US president fell to historic lows in most countries surveyed during Donald Trump’s presidency. Under Biden, it has soared. In the twelve countries surveyed both this year and last, a median of seventy five percent of respondents expressed confidence in Biden to do the right thing regarding world affairs. That’s compared with seventeen percent for Trump last year. Sixty-two percent of respondents now have a favorable view of the United States, versus thirty four percent at the end of Trump’s presidency.

    The Post notes that the findings come a day after Biden touched down in England on the first leg of a trip through Europe. On his agenda: a meeting of the Group of Seven nations in Cornwall, a NATO summit in Brussels, and meetings with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Pew findings suggest that he will encounter leaders whose publics are confident in his leadership. But skepticism about the United States’ dependability remains. Among the sixteen publics Pew surveyed in 2021, the proportion of respondents who said the US is very reliable was below twenty percent in every place. Good vibes are always contingent on the outcome of the next elections.

    AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:

    German state broadcaster Deutsche Welle reports that police in Frankfurt have decided to disband the city's Special Task Force, or SEK, following the discovery of far-right extremist messages in group chats. Seventeen officers were suspected of spreading hatred-inciting texts and symbols of former Nazi organizations. Hey, maybe they can find jobs in America?

    The New York Times reports that famine has afflicted at least three hundred and fifty thousand people in northern Ethiopia’s conflict-ravaged Tigray region. It is a starvation calamity bigger at the moment than anywhere else in the world, the UN and international aid groups said yesterday. And it’s not at all clear whether help is on the way.

    CNN reports that the Senate yesterday voted to confirm Zahid Quraishi to be a US District Judge for the District of New Jersey, making him the first Muslim American federal judge in US history. Prior to his confirmation, Quraishi has been serving as a United States magistrate judge in New Jersey. How telling that it took this long to mark such a first.

    The Washington Post reports that the Labor Department released a workplace safety standard for risks posed by the coronavirus yesterday after more than a year of debate. The emergency temporary standard will apply only to health-care facilities – a much narrower purview than many advocates, labor unions and Democrats had pushed for. This is a bust for the Biden administration. Every worker deserves protection.

    AM QUICKIE - JUNE 11, 2021

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Corey Pein

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

  • June 10, 2021: US Will Donate 500m Pfizer Doses; Idaho Lt Governor Meets Militia Leader; Biden Plans Guantanamo Bay Closure
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    07:48

    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by justcoffee.coop

    TODAY'S HEADLINES:

    You can’t stop a worldwide pandemic without an international effort, and the US is about to go big in that regard. The country will be donating not millions, but hundreds of millions of vaccine doses to countries that desperately need them.

    Meanwhile, Idaho’s lieutenant governor, who is seeking higher office, is caught on video palling around with a militia leader. It’s just another day for the Republican Party!

    And lastly, Joe Biden wants to close Guantanamo Bay by the end of his first term. And he’s taking an approach that’s a little bit different than Barack Obama’s – basically hoping that if they don’t make a fuss about it, maybe the opposition in Congress won’t notice.

    THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:

    Finally we’re talking serious numbers. The Washington Post reports that the Biden administration is buying five hundred million doses of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine to donate to the world, as the United States dramatically increases its efforts to help vaccinate the global population. The first two hundred million doses will be distributed this year, with the rest shared in the first half of next year. The doses will be distributed by Covax, the World Health Organization-backed initiative, and they will be targeted at low- and middle-income countries. Pfizer is selling the doses to the US at a not-for-profit price. President Joe Biden is slated to announce the plan at the Group of Seven meeting in Britain this week amid growing calls for rich countries to do more to boost the global supply of coronavirus vaccine.

    According to the Post, the question of how to end the pandemic is expected to be front and center at the G-7 summit this week. In the lead-up to the meeting, Biden’s vaccine-sharing strategy has been under intense scrutiny. Questions about how to proceed have intensified in recent weeks as cases in the United States have receded, and infections have surged in some developing countries, leading to charges of vaccine apartheid. More than half the populations in the US and Britain have had at least one dose, compared with fewer than two percent of people in Africa. It’s a disparity that can only prolong the global pandemic but, fortunately, some powerful people seem to realize that.

    Idaho Lt Governor Meets Militia Leader

    This snapshot of the far right’s rise comes from the Guardian. Idaho’s Republican lieutenant governor and gubernatorial candidate, Janice McGeachin, attended a gathering where she was endorsed in a glowing speech by a rightwing militia leader. A video shows Eric Parker, who was charged over his role in the standoff in 2014 at Bundy Ranch in New Mexico, reminding McGeachin that she previously told him, "if I get in, you’re going to have a friend in the governor’s office.". In the same speech, Parker says that when he sought McGeachin’s assistance in the case of Todd Engel – another Bundy Ranch attendee who was sentenced to fourteen years in prison – he showed her sealed evidence from the trial. He recalled saying to her, I’m not sure this is legal, and that she replied, I want to see it. Afterward, she started writing letters to the Justice Department and rallying support on behalf of the imprisoned man.

    According to the Guardian, Parker posted the speech video on his Telegram channel on May 19, the same day that McGeachin announced her candidacy for governor, where she may be up against the incumbent, fellow Republican Brad Little. McGeachin has encountered previous controversies involving links with extremist groups. In 2018 she refused to answer questions as to whether she was using Three Percenters as security during her gubernatorial run. She has also offered support to anti-mask protesters in the state. For the new model Republican, there’s no such thing as too extreme.

    Biden Plans Guantanamo Bay Closure

    Can Joe Biden succeed where Barack Obama failed? NBC News reports that President Biden has quietly begun efforts to close the US military prison camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. He is using an under-the-radar approach to minimize political blowback and to make progress in resolving a long-standing legal and human rights morass before the twentieth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. After initial plans for a more aggressive push to close the facility, the White House changed course. The administration has opted to wait before it reaches out to Congress, which has thwarted previous efforts to close the camp, because of fears that political outcry might interfere with the rest of Biden's agenda. The administration hopes to transfer a handful of the remaining terrorism suspects to

    foreign countries, and then persuade Congress to permit the transfer of the rest – including 9/11 suspects – to detention on the US mainland. Biden hopes to close the facility by the end of his first term.

    According to NBC, the low-key strategy is a response to miscalculations that Biden administration officials believe Obama made. The administration is leaning against the option of transferring detainees to US military installations, another shift from the Obama administration's approach. The Biden administration may, instead, propose that any detainees who are not eligible for transfer to foreign countries be moved to so-called Supermax security prisons on the US mainland, notably the one in Florence, Colorado. It’s not justice, but it’s probably better than the status quo.

    AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:

    CNN reports that the Trump administration battled with the network to obtain the email records of a reporter. The pursuit – which started in July 2020 with a demand for two months’ of Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr’s email logs – continued even after a federal judge told the Justice Department its argument was, 'unanchored in any facts." We’re only finding out now because the government demanded secrecy. Sketchy!

    The Washington Post reports that the Biden administration will toss out Donald Trump’s efforts to scale back the number of wetlands that fall under federal protection. Michael Regan, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, said Trump’s rollback is leading to significant environmental degradation. Guess he drained the wrong swamps.

    NBC reports that the wife of El Chapo has agreed to plead guilty to helping him run his Mexican drug cartel. Emma Coronel Aispuro, a former beauty queen, will appear by video to enter her plea this morning. So that’s a wrap for the war on drugs, right?

    The Associated Press says a Moscow court last night outlawed the organizations founded by Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny by labeling them extremist. The label carries lengthy prison terms for activists who worked with the organizations, anyone who donated to them, and even those who simply shared the groups’ materials. Maybe Biden can sort this out when he meets with Vladimir Putin in Geneva next week, ya think?

    AM QUICKIE - JUNE 10, 2021

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Corey Pein

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

  • June 9, 2021: Report Shows Rich Don't Pay Taxes; Peruvian Leftist In Lead for Presidency; Warrior Met Workers Weather Attacks on Strike
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    06:39

    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by justcoffee.coop

    TODAY'S HEADLINES:

    A groundbreaking report from ProPublica shines a light on how the worlds’ richest people are avoiding paying taxes.

    Meanwhile, leftist teacher Pedro Castillo has a narrow lead in Peru’s presidential election, while his right-wing opponent is making wild claims of fraud.

    And lastly, the United Mine Workers strike is in its third month, and workers on the picket line have weathered physical attacks while the media and Biden Administration stays silent.

    THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:

    Nonprofit investigative outlet Propublica got its hands on the scoop of the year so far, showing us the dirty details of how billionaires hide their wealth and avoid paying taxes.

    That may sound like a familiar refrain, but the data involved is stuff we’ve never seen before. Propublica says the massive trove of IRS data was provided to them in a raw, unedited form, and the story out on Tuesday is the product of weeks of careful editing and reporting.

    The data shows that Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Michael Bloomberg and many other billionaires often pay precisely zero dollars in federal income taxes, despite their massive net worth.

    Propublica reports that they gleaned this through the massive dump of data, which shows not just tax records but investments, stock trades, gambling winnings and even the results of audits.

    Put together, it tells a story that we all know: that these people are not paying their fair share. For years, though, that’s been an easy truth for many in government to avoid, which is why reporting like this is so vital. Already, it’s reignited calls from Elizabeth Warren and other prominent politicians to institute a wealth tax, which would put a tax on any person’s total net worth, not just their income.

    It’s almost a given that these billionaires would seek ways to get out of that too. But the fact is right now, they don’t even have to try.

    Peruvian Leftist In Lead for Presidency

    A huge presidential election is underway in Peru. Voting ended on Sunday, but the margin is razor thin as results continue to filter in.

    Right now, though, there’s good news: the leftist candidate, a teacher named Pedro Castillo, is up by roughly 70,000 votes.

    His opponent, of course, is crying fraud. Her name is Keiko Fujimori, and she’s the daughter of Peru’s last right-wing dictator, who is currently serving a 25-year prison sentence for his role in civilian massacres. You can see how this race is shaping up already.

    Analysts told the Guardian that Fujimori’s fraud claims were an act of desperation. International observers did not report any irregularities in the election. It’s worth noting that Fujimori has been accused of various counts of campaign corruption, similar to her father.

    Castillo, meanwhile, is the former leader of Peru’s teachers union. He’s currently the top candidate in the Peru Libre party, which has pretty strong marxist policies that favor widespread resource nationalisation, higher taxes, and import substitution, according to the Guardian. Castillo has also pledged to rewrite the Peruvian constitution in a more equitable way, which the Guardian reports has terrified the country’s elite.

    All these themes should sound familiar by now -- so fingers crossed Castillo becomes the latest big winner for the global left wing.

    Warrior Met Workers Weather Attacks on Strike

    We touched on this yesterday, but there’s a story in Alabama that deserves a closer look. For the past two months and change, 1100 workers at two coal mines owned by a company called Warrior Met have been on strike, as their union battles a management force that seems prepared to do anything to break them down.

    The miners are represented by the United Mine Workers, which was forced to make huge concessions when mining companies started to go bankrupt a few years back. But now, as the coal industry has recovered some post pandemic, the workers are still living on a razor’s edge.

    So they did what organized labor has done for centuries: they stopped working. But now the UMA says that Warrior Met is pulling out the stops to break the strike, including in at least three instances hitting striking workers with vehicles driven by people associated with the company’s management.

    In the Week magazine on Tuesday, writer Ryan Cooper made a great point: where is Joe Biden on this? When Amazon was brutally suppressing a Union campaign in the same state, Biden released at least some acknowledgement of labor’s right to organize there. But when it comes to coal, the Biden Administration is silent, even though the barest mention of the Warrior Met workers could drive a huge amount of attention to their plight.

    Keep an eye on this story this week -- with any luck, it’ll start getting some traction in the wider media.

    AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:

    The confusion we’re all feeling with the Democratic party isn’t unique to the left. NBC News reports that a survey of new democratic focus groups found that many voters quote "have trouble describing a clear positive vision of what the Democratic Party stands for.” endquote. That’s on the party leadership, and they’re running out of excuses fast.

    French President Emmanuel Macron got slapped -- yes, slapped in the face -- by a protester during a public appearance on Tuesday morning. Heads of state feeling the heat! Imagine that.

    We’ve got a very odd tidbit in the New York City Mayoral Race today: it’s unclear to anyone where Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams actually lives, and Politico reports that he’s often seen arriving at his office at midnight or in the early morning. He said he was living in his office earlier in the year to combat COVID-19, and may have just... continued to do so while campaigning. Bit strange, but ok!

    And finally, a small point of well, not hope, but who knows. The Intercept reports that Republican Senators aren’t sure that Joe Manchin’s infuriating defense of the filibuster will hold, meaning that if his GOP overlords are nervous, there might be a chance that someone in the Democratic party can get through to him. We’ll see!

    AM QUICKIE - JUNE 9, 2021

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Jack Crosbie

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

  • June 8, 2021: Pipeline Protests Close Construction Site; Kamala the Cop Goes Abroad; Amazon Forces Drivers to Build Furniture
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    06:32

    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by justcoffee.coop

    TODAY'S HEADLINES:

    Pipeline protesters seized a key construction site and carried out numerous acts of civil disobedience on Monday in an attempt to slow down the construction of the Line 3 pipeline route across Minnesota.

    Meanwhile, Kamala Harris gets back in touch with her roots as a cop, delivering a staunch warning in Guatemala to any people there who would dare to try to make a better life for themselves in the United States.

    And lastly a new report from Motherboard shows that Amazon’s furniture delivery service is causing chaos for the company’s already under-paid and over-worked drivers.

    THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:

    A new major pipeline protest is underway in Minnesota, where native-led activists are trying to halt the construction of the Line 3 project between that state and Canada.

    The project is owned by a Canadian oil company called Enbridge. On Monday, the Washington Post reports that dozens of cars filled with activists had descended on a construction site operated by the company.

    They were led by a group of native american activists, and were joined by celebrities like Jane Fonda and Catherine Keener, who rallied the crowd as some protesters strapped themselves to bulldozers and other equipment.

    Fonda said quote: “Biden has taken a very clear and very beautiful position on the climate crisis. But we are really facing a potential catastrophe, and the science is very clear: it’s not enough to do something good here ——like shutdown Keystone XL, shut down drilling on the Arctic national refuge ——and then allow Line 3 to go through.” endquote.

    And in practice, the Biden administration’s point was a whole lot less beautiful. Reporters on the ground caught video of a Department of Homeland Security Helicopter dangerously buzzing another group of protesters on the ground at a pumping station, trying to use the backwash from its rotors to scare off activists.

    According to the Post, the indigenous activists leading the campaign see two threats from the pipeline: the existential risk of climate change, and the direct risk of the pipeline polluting tribal lands in the headwaters of the Mississippi River.

    If Monday’s demonstrations are any indication, they’re willing to fight to keep it from happening.

    Kamala the Cop Goes Abroad

    Kamala the cop is back. The Vice President is down on her first international trip, playing enforcer for Joe Biden’s new immigration policies in Guatemala.

    She came with a carrot before the stick, of course. Harris was acting as the ambassador of a four year plan to send more than $4 billion dollars to Central America and Mexico in an attempt to improve the economic hardships that drive mass immigration to the U.S.

    According to the New York Times, this money will go toward things like investing in young women entrepreneurs and creating an anti-corruption task force for the region.

    That’s all well and good, but Kamala was equally clear when she laid out what will happen to those people who don’t place their faith in nebulous U.S. aid, and instead seek refuge in the country by any means necessary.

    Harris said: "Do not come. Do not come. The United States will continue to enforce our laws and secure our border.” Later, she added quote: “I believe if you come to our border, you will be turned back.”

    While there are some differences between how that kind of policy will play out under Biden, the core message that VP Harris is delivering sounds pretty familiar: it’s the same one we’ve been hearing for the past four years.

    Amazon Forces Drivers to Build Furniture

    Another day, another scoop by Motherboard on the dystopian Amazon beat. Today, the website reports that Amazon has made an unexpected foray into furniture assembly in order to crowd out other retailers that offer similar services.

    Motherboard reports that as a result, untrained delivery drivers are being made to lug bulky items into customers houses and then assemble them, all on a timeframe that they say is wildly unrealistic for what’s expected.

    To make matters all the more absurd, Motherboard also obtained the training video for this service, which is a strange cartoon narrated by a monotonous robot featuring robotic workers who deliver lines like quote: “Thanks so much for choosing us! Could you confirm you are satisfied with this delivery and service?” endquote.

    Meanwhile, here’s what an actual human driver told Motherboard QUOTE:

    "It has been an [EFFING] challenge. It always takes much longer than they allow for. The times they give feel completely random and way off. And there's been absolutely no training whatsoever. They just said you're going to do this."

    And as we well know by now, it’s almost impossible to argue with Amazon.

    AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:

    While his workers are suffering, Jeff Bezos announced that he’s going to space. The billionaire plans to be one of the crew on the first manned flight of a Blue Origin spacecraft in mid July. Good luck up there, Jeff! We’ll all be very interested to see how that flight goes.

    Scientists from Scripps and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said on Monday that atmospheric CO2 levels peaked in May, despite the slowdown in fossil fuel use during the pandemic. Not even that respite was enough to stem the constant buildup of CO2.

    Something to watch later this week: the New York Times reports that the Senate is preparing to pass a massive package of industrial policy legislation with bipartisan support, aimed at keeping the U.S. competitive with China. It’s amazing what handouts to corporate interests and xenophobic jingoism can do to break the Washington gridlock!

    The United Mine Workers say that the bosses at Warrior Met Coal have stepped up their physical attacks on striking workers at coal mines in Alabama, on three separate instances hitting picketers with vehicles, in a shocking display of aggression against organized labor.

    AM QUICKIE - JUNE 8, 2021

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Jack Crosbie

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

  • June 7, 2021: Manchin Tanks Voting Rights; Israel Arrests Palestinian Journalists; Vaccination Rates Take a Dive
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    06:31

    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by justcoffee.coop

    TODAY'S HEADLINES:

    Senator Joe Manchin announced on Sunday that he would vote against the For the People Act, the Democrats’ landmark voting rights legislation, because it was too partisan.

    Meanwhile, Israeli police detain two Palestinian journalists who had been documenting the ongoing aggressive takeover of the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.

    And lastly, vaccination rates in the U.S. are declining again, forcing a massive outreach program to meet President Biden’s goal of 70% vaccinated by July 4.

    THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:

    Joe Manchin has abandoned all pretense of working for the Democratic party. On Sunday, in an op-ed for the Charleston Gazette, the supposedly Democratic Senator said he would vote against his party’s landmark voting rights legislation, effectively dooming its chances of becoming a law.

    Manchin’s reasoning was as absurd as you’d expect. He called the bill, known as the For the People Act, too partisan. His evidence for this was that it had failed to attract a single Republican vote of support. It’s obvious why this was: Republicans know that they won’t win elections if the For the People Act is passed, because voter suppression is the only play they have.

    On some level, Manchin must know this. But in the same op-ed, he also vowed to never vote against the filibuster, which makes his stance perfectly clear: he wants to hold his own party hostage to his own misguided agenda.

    Manchin indicated that he would support another voting rights bill, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement act, that doesn’t go as far as the For the People Act. But without an end to the filibuster, Manchin knows that bill doesn’t have much of a chance of passing either. It’s enough to make you wonder which party he’s really working for.

    Israel Arrests Palestinian Journalists

    Israeli police on Sunday detained two Palestinian journalists who have been documenting the forced colonization of their homes since they were children.

    Mohammed and Muna El-Kurd are twin siblings who live in Sheikh Jarrah, the neighborhood at the center of last month’s initial conflict between Israeli settlers and Palestinian residents. Their family home is one of those targeted for eviction by Israeli court orders, and the El-Kurd twins have been documenting the case and their lives under Israeli occupation since they were kids, amassing a considerable following on social media.

    On Sunday, Israeli officers arrested and handcuffed Muna at her home, while Mohammed turned himself in after receiving a summons. The police claimed Muna had participated in a riot in the community recently, which is as thin and nebulous of an accusation as it sounds.

    They were released hours later. Muna El-Kurd said in a statement on the Sheikh Jarrah Instagram page quote: "It's clear that these are policies to silence people, policies to pressure and scare people.” endquote.

    The El-Kurds aren’t the first journalists targeted in recent days. On Saturday, Israeli police violently arrested Al Jazeera correspondent Givara Budeiri as she covered a sit-in marking the 54th anniversary of Israel's 1967 occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip. She was later released but with an absurd condition: that she not report on the situation in Sheikh Jarrah for at least 15 days. If that’s not direct suppression of the press, I don’t know what is.

    Vaccination Rates Take a Dive

    Finally, the Washington Post reports that Joe Biden’s vaccination blitz is not looking very blitz-like at the moment.

    The United States is averaging fewer than 1 million shots per day, a decline of more than two-thirds from the peak of 3.4 million in April, the Post reports. Biden wanted to have 70 percent of all adults vaccinated by July 4th, but that’s looking less and less likely by the day.

    In response, the Post reports that the government and local health clinics are deploying small armies of health workers and volunteers at vaccination sites, often out-numbering the people who come to get the shot.

    Vaccination rates are falling across the South and Midwest, despite good numbers from the big cities on the East and West Coast. The Post reports that this steep decline began in mid-April, right when the government temporarily suspended the Johnson & Johnson vaccine while they probed rare blood-clotting reactions.

    The group that still needs the vaccine is, predictably, the people who are most resistant to it or the worst educated about it. That puts the burden of public health on the government to reach these people, but based on the current numbers, Biden’s campaign is falling way short.

    AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:

    Did you miss him? Donald Trump held one of his first public speeches in months in North Carolina on Saturday. You’ll never guess what he talked about: conspiracies, voter fraud, and far-right talking points. That’s what we have to look forward to for a long time to come.

    The White House says that 31 million Americans now have healthcare coverage through the Affordable Care Act. That’s nice and all, but there are almost 330 million people in this country, and all of them deserve healthcare.

    The New York Times reports that the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan is predictably hindering the country’s other efforts to wage war in the region, like impeding CIA efforts to continue carrying out clandestine operations. It’s a good reminder that troop withdrawals are only the tip of our country’s monumental iceberg of war.

    Global leaders agreed to the Biden administration’s proposed tax plan over the weekend, giving the green light to a mandatory 15 percent minimum tax rate on corporate profits, regardless of where those companies base their headquarters.

    JUN 7, 2021 - AM QUCKIE

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Jack Crosbie

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn