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  • Jan 19, 2021: Army Cracks Down on Extremists At Last
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    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by justcoffee.coop

    TODAY'S HEADLINES:

    Joe Biden’s Inauguration is tomorrow, and just in time, the nation’s authorities are beginning to address the threat posed by right wing extremists, both inside and out of the government.

    Meanwhile, the Democrats have regained the Senate for the first time in over five years, and are already finding ways to give some of their power away, agreeing to a split-power structure with Mitch McConnell even though they have the deciding vote with VP-elect Kamala Harris.

    And lastly, in more depressing news from the Administration that takes over tomorrow, Joe Biden’s potential picks for extremely important anti-trust positions are already alarming Big Tech critics due to their numerous conflicts of interest.

    THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:

    The New York Times reported on Monday that the Pentagon has recently accelerated its efforts to root out white nationalists within the armed forces. That’s nice of them! Perhaps a little late, however, considering the notable presence of current and former military members at the January 6 Capitol riots.

    This also comes on the heels of an Associated Press report that the FBI was vetting national guard troops sent to DC to protect Joe Biden’s Inauguration over fears of an insider attack. I wish they’d thought of doing that vetting, you know, before the guys were sent to the capital and issued guns, but sure. Better late than never.

    The vetting is something that’s been done in the past -- they did it for Donald Trump’s 2017 inauguration as well, according to the Times, and will only apply to troops who will be near Biden himself on the day of. That certainly still leaves a lot of wiggle room!

    The FBI is also reportedly setting its sights on the hardcore militias and right wing extremist groups that helped lead the attack on the Capitol. These are the guys who extremism researchers said to worry about days and days before the attack, so once again, the government is a step behind. The general militia types also prize military experience and knowledge, of course, so the two trends are linked. Glad to see that someone in charge is finally figuring things out.

    Schumer And McConnell, Sitting In A Tree

    Meanwhile, we’re about to have a new Senate, which could look a lot like the old Senate. Democrats have the majority. Yes, the actual makeup of the Senate is a dead heat at 50-50. But with the VP’s deciding vote, the Democrats are in control, provided they can get their basically-republican members like Joe Manchin to go along with things.

    And yet, Chuck Schumer seems to be taking a very lenient line with former Majority leader Mitch McConnell, otherwise known as the chief architect of basically everything horrible that Congress did in the past four years.

    CNN reports that Schumer and McConnell are close to ironing out a power-sharing agreement that would govern how some of the procedural workings of the body go down once things kick off after Biden takes over. The rules are being modeled on the last 50-50 split of the senate in 2001, and largely govern how bills get out of committee and who holds the power in those committees.

    These are agreements that Schumer and McConnell have to make, of course, but it’s a bad sign for progressives to see the status quo reassert itself so quickly.

    McConnell has for years been playing a different game than his Democratic peers, using every possible procedural trick and inch of power than he can take to screw over the Democrats as much as possible.

    That’s his prerogative, of course, but it’s incredibly frustrating that the Democrats don’t seem to be willing to play as rough as he does. Here’s hoping that once Congress starts deliberating with Kamala Harris in the tiebreaking seat, the Democrats don’t give McConnel any more inches to extend into miles.

    Biden's Picks To Break Up Big Tech Used To Work For Big Tech

    Well here we are again: it’s time for the weekly update into the Biden Administration’s staffing. Today the forecast is: not great!

    The Department of Justice has an extremely important division that covers federal anti-trust cases: the big legal decisions that govern how major companies can form and wield monopolies against the American public. The biggest anti-trust cases of this generation, of course, are two active cases against Google and Facebook, and activists hope a case against Amazon will soon follow.

    The Assistant Attorney General who leads this division is a federal appointee. Right now, the Intercept reports that Biden’s leading candidate is a woman named Renata Hesse, a former Justice Department official in the Obama Administration. But take onee quick guess where else Hesse has worked.

    If you guessed Google or Amazon, well, they’re both correct! A decade ago, the Intercept reports, Hesse worked with Ted Cruz -- yes, that Ted Cruz -- to defend Google in an antitrust case. She was also involved in the merger between Amazon and Whole Foods, rounding out her experience in companies that she’d be dealing with directly if she got her new job.

    So let’s take a quick look at the next guy rumored to be in the running for the spot. His name is Juan Arteaga, and he also worked for the Obama Justice department! What are his other credentials? Well, according to the Intercept, he defended JPMorgan Chase and several other financial firms in fraud cases and also represented AT&T in its merger with Time Warner.

    As you can see, this is painting a pretty grim picture when it comes to what the Biden administration is going to do to break up the big tech companies. Right now, it looks like both candidates for the job will have to recuse themselves left and right. Not exactly the most productive strategy.

    AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:

    Florida’s state authorities are still throwing the book at Rebekah Jones, a former public servant who was fired and then persecuted for trying to keep an accurate tally of the state’s coronavirus deaths. She’s now been arrested on counts of downloading a state computer file without authorization.

    A bill to abolish the death penalty passed Virginia’s state senate’s judiciary committee, where it had failed just a year ago, sending a clear signal that the state may outlaw capital punishment in the near future.

    Trump’s Census Director, Stephen Dilliam, resigned from his post on Monday, finally crumbling under the scrutiny that he had let Trump’s racist and xenophobic politics interfere with his job at the supposedly nonpartisan agency. His term was supposed to end in December of 2021, but it seems like he saw the writing on the wall.

    And finally, as Trump enters the last few hours of his presidency, the Times reports that he’s planning a wave of pardons for Tuesday, which involve both disgraced politicians like NY politico Sheldon Silver and celebrities like Rapper Lil Wayne. He’s expected to release that list today, his last full day in office.

    That’s it for the majority report’s AM quickie! The full show, as always, will bring Sam to you live at noon eastern.

    JAN 19, 2021 - AM QUICKIE

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Jack Crosbie

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

  • Jan 15, 2021: Biden Promises 'American Rescue'
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    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by justcoffee.coop

    TODAY'S HEADLINES:

    Joe Biden to the rescue? The President-elect last night previewed his first major policy package, targeting the pandemic and the economic crisis that has come with it.

    Meanwhile, dozens of white supremacist on a federal terrorism watch list were present for the storming of the Capitol last week. Investigators are looking into possible foreign financing behind the insurrection.

    And lastly, Donald Trump is having a hard time finding lawyers to defend him in his second impeachment trial. I guess Rudy can fail, after all.

    THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:

    They’re calling it the American Rescue Plan. President-elect Joe Biden, who will take over the pandemic response in five days, gave a speech last night on his plans to combat the coronavirus and address its economic consequences, the Washington Post reports. His remarks came as more than four thousand Covid-19 deaths were reported in the United States for the second day in a row.

    The plan is divided into three major areas, according to the Post: $400 billion for provisions to fight the coronavirus, while reopening schools; more than $1 trillion in direct relief to families, including through stimulus payments and increased unemployment benefits; and $440 billion for aid to communities and businesses. The legislation includes a number of priorities sought by top congressional Democrats, from increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour to adding billions in funding for childcare. Biden said QUOTE We need more action, more bipartisanship, and we need to move fast ENDQUOTE.

    The measures are narrowly tailored in an effort to garner GOP support, Biden’s team told the Post. The overall price tag is below $2 trillion. It will be followed by a broader recovery plan with more expansive Democratic priorities. But after campaigning as a bipartisan dealmaker, Biden wants to give Republicans the opportunity to get behind his first legislative effort as president. You might say he’s offering them an off-ramp from the road to insurrection. That part sounds like a longshot, frankly, but this is Joe Biden we’re talking about.

    Foreign Insurrection Financing Investigated

    Don’t call them patriots. The Washington Post reports that dozens of people on a terrorist watch list were in Washington for pro-Trump events on January 6th, when a violent mob stormed the US Capitol. The majority of the watchlisted individuals in Washington that day are suspected white supremacists. Their past conduct so alarmed investigators that their names had been previously entered into the national Terrorist Screening Database, a massive set of names flagged as potential security risks, the Post’s sources said. The watch list is larger and separate from the no-fly list the government maintains, and those listed are not automatically barred from any public or commercial spaces.

    While the FBI is hunting hundreds of rioting suspects who have dispersed back to their hometowns, the Post reports, federal agents are increasingly focused on the Proud Boys. Privately, some federal law enforcement officials have described the group as roughly equivalent to a nascent street gang. But other officials have expressed concern that the group may be growing rapidly into something more dangerous and directed.

    Separately, Yahoo News reports that law enforcement is investigating whether a series of large Bitcoin donations were linked to the assault on the Capitol. On December 8th, someone made a simultaneous transfer of Bitcoins worth more than $500,000 to twenty-two different virtual wallets, most of them belonging to prominent right-wing organizations and personalities. Right-wing figures and websites, including VDARE, the Daily Stormer and Nick Fuentes, received generous donations from a bitcoin account linked to a French cryptocurrency exchange. The suspicious December transaction, along with other intelligence, has prompted law enforcement and intelligence agencies to investigate the sources of funding for individuals who participated in the Capitol insurrection. The government is hoping to prevent future attacks but also to uncover potential foreign involvement in or support of right-wing activities, Yahoo’s source said. The plot thickens!

    Trump Lacks Impeachment Defense

    Donald Trump, on the eve of facing a second impeachment trial, is having trouble finding a legal team to defend him, Bloomberg News reports. Allies of the outgoing president have been looking for representation but so far are coming up short. Lawyers who defended

    him in the previous impeachment trial, including Jay Sekulow, have said no this time. Other lawyers who have defended Trump, including Pam Bondi, aren’t interested. Some of the lawyers have privately said what Trump did was indefensible.

    Alan Dershowitz also defended Trump the first time around. He isn’t planning to represent the president now, Bloomberg reports. Rudy Giuliani is also unlikely to be on the president’s defense team, an administration official said. His conduct at the rally preceding the Capitol raid could be examined during an impeachment trial.

    Separately, ABC News reports that the Trump family is pulling up stakes. Donald and Melania Trump have made no secret of their impending move to Florida after January 20, but they won't be alone. The president's eldest son, Donald Trump Junior, and his girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle have been house-hunting in the Palm Beach area. Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, also plan to relocate to the Sunshine State in the coming weeks, having recently purchased a plot of land in the Miami area.

    In related real estate news, the Washington Post reports that the Secret Service detail assigned to Jared and Ivanka spent months searching for a restroom to use on the job. After resorting to a porta-potty, the agents finally found a toilet to call their own. But it came at a cost to US taxpayers. Since September 2017, the federal government has been spending $3,000 a month – more than $100,000 to date – to rent a basement studio, with a bathroom, from a neighbor of the Kushners. All this because agents were banned from using any the six point five bathrooms in Javanka’s mansion. Charming.

    AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:

    The New York State attorney general sued the New York City Police Department yesterday over widespread abuses in how officers handled Black Lives Matter protests last summer, the New York Times reports. The AG, Letitia James, wants a federal monitor to oversee the department’s policing tactics at future protests. She also wants a court to declare that the practices the department used during the protests were unlawful. Get ’em Letitia!

    Rick Snyder, the former governor of Michigan, was arraigned on misdemeanor charges yesterday in connection with his role in the Flint water crisis. The Times reports thatnhe was charged with two counts of willful neglect of duty. If he is convicted, he faces imprisonment of up to one year or a maximum fine of $1,000. It ain’t much but it’s something.

    Joe Biden plans to name Jaime Harrison as his pick to lead the Democratic National Committee, the Washington Post reports. A former chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party, Harrison last year raised $130 million in his losing race against Senator Lindsey Graham. Harrison is not expected to face a challenger, and his candidacy was promoted by Congressman James Clyburn, a close Biden ally.

    Puerto Rican police are investigating the death of a transgender man found with multiple gunshot wounds, NBC News reports. Samuel Edmund Damián Valentín, shot January 9, is the seventh known transgender person to die by violence in Puerto Rico since last February. Advocates say the police aren’t doing enough. Hopefully more awareness on the case will cause them to pick up the pace.

    JAN 15, 2021 - AM QUICKIE

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Corey Pein

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

  • Jan 14, 2021: Most Bipartisan Impeachment Ever
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    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by justcoffee.coop

    TODAY'S HEADLINES:

    Donald Trump yesterday became the first United States president to be impeached twice. Congratulations, sir!

    Meanwhile, new details continue to surface about cooperation between last week’s Capitol mob and elected Republican officials. Not to mention the corporate money that backs them.

    And lastly, the United States government has announced a trade ban on certain products from China made with forced labor. A fifth of the global cotton supply is at stake, and major clothing brands are implicated.

    THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:

    It’s done. History has been made. Again. And hopefully not for a third time, because one insurrection was exciting enough. The House voted yesterday to impeach Donald Trump on a charge of inciting violence against the US government. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell left open the possibility of voting to convict at a trial, which would occur after Trump leaves office next week, the Washington Post reports. The Senate could vote on barring Trump from future elective office if he is convicted.

    The final vote in the House yesterday was two hundred and thirty-two to one hundred and ninety-seven, with ten Republicans voting with Democrats for impeachment. It was reportedly the most bipartisan impeachment ever.

    During debate on the House floor, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Trump bears responsibility for last week’s violent takeover of the Capitol but proposed he be censured rather than impeached. Holding Trump accountable, McCarthy said, would only fan the flames of partisan division. Congressman Jaime Raskin of Maryland, the lead impeachment manager, had a concise response to that argument. He said QUOTE It’s a bit much to be hearing that these people would not be trying to destroy our government and kill us if we just weren’t so mean to them ENDQUOTE. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Trump must go, calling him a clear and present danger. Representative Hakeem Jeffires of New York went farther, calling Trump QUOTE a living, breathing impeachable offense ENDQUOTE.

    Trump released a video statement disavowing political violence. He reportedly spent the day furious, watching television.

    Republicans Ignore Capitol Security

    The number of National Guard troops deployed to Washington, DC ahead of Joe Biden’s inauguration has reportedly swelled to twenty thousand, double what was initially pledged. News photos showed service members resting on the floors of the Capitol. Not everyone is happy about the increased security. A dozen or more Republicans in the House, including gun-toting Colorado Representative Lauren Boebert, have refused to comply with newly installed metal detectors outside the chamber. Some are concerned that these Republicans may be showing future armed insurrectionists how to circumvent security.

    And there is new information about how GOP elected officials may have coordinated with the mob that took the Capitol last week. The Washington Post reports that weeks before the siege, right-wing activist Ali Alexander told his followers he was planning something big for January 6th. Alexander, who organized the Stop the Steal movement, said he hatched the plan alongside three GOP lawmakers: Representatives Andy Biggs and Paul Gosar of Arizona, and Mo Brooks of Alabama. All are hard-line Trump supporters. And Politico reports that Democratic Representative Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey witnessed colleagues escorting people through the Capitol on January 5th for what she described as reconnaissance ahead of the next day’s violent insurrection. Sherrill did not identify the lawmakers, but has referred her information to authorities. Democrats are also investigating. Finally, two Capitol Police officers told BuzzFeed News they wouldn’t be surprised if lawmakers helped plan the attack.

    Beyond Washington, Politico reports that the Capitol riot was fueled by a deep network of GOP statehouse support. Lawmakers from more than a dozen states attended the January 6th rally, while scores more cheered on the mob from afar. Meanwhile, corporations and industry groups have donated at least $170 million in recent years to Congressional Republicans who rejected Joe Biden’s victory over Trump, according to Public Citizen, an advocacy group. So the insurrectionists have money, they have numbers, and they have outrage. But pretty soon, at least, they won’t have Congress – or the White House.

    US Bans Chinese Cotton

    This news of global trade and diplomacy comes via the Associated Press. The US government announced yesterday that it will halt imports of cotton and tomatoes from the Uighur region of China. The AP is calling it the most sweeping action yet to pressure the Communist Party over its campaign against ethnic minorities. Officials said Customs and Border Protection will use its authority to block products suspected of being produced with forced labor to keep out cotton, tomatoes and related products from the Xinjiang region of northwest China. The region is a major global supplier of cotton, so the order could have significant effects on international commerce.

    According to the AP, the order will put economic pressure not just on China but major global retailers who import goods produced by people under conditions that are akin to modern-day slavery. Scott Nova, executive director of the Worker Rights Consortium, said QUOTE Any global apparel brand that is not either out of Xinjiang already, or plotting a very swift exit, is courting legal and reputational disaster. The days when any major apparel brand can safely profit from Xinjiang cotton are over ENDQUOTE. The consortium estimates the US ban affects about twenty percent of the global cotton supply.

    China has imprisoned more than one million people, including Uighurs and other mostly Muslim ethnic groups, in a vast network of concentration camps, the AP reports. People have been subjected to torture, sterilization and political indoctrination in addition to forced labor as part of an assimilation campaign. China denies allegations of rights abuses and forced labor, saying it aims only to promote economic and social development in the region and stamp out radicalism. It also rejects criticism of what it considers its internal affairs. Well, we’ll stop criticizing when they stop abusing people.

    AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:

    The US recorded an all-time, one-day high of four thousand, three hundred and twenty-seven Covid-19 deaths on Tuesday, according to the Associated Press. The nation’s overall death toll from the pandemic has topped three hundred and eighty thousand, closing in fast on the number of Americans killed in World War II. I think we’ve set enough records here, please, that’s enough.

    Wildfire smoke now accounts for up to half of all fine-particle pollution in the Western US, according to the Los Angeles Times. A new study by researchers at Stanford University and UC San Diego blames climate change for worsening air quality and health risks in both urban and rural communities in recent years. Excuse me, I’m choking up a bit at this news.

    Italy opened a huge trial yesterday of three hundred and twenty-five defendants linked to a powerful mafia syndicate in the southern region of Calabria. According to the New York Times, the charges include murder, extortion, usury, money laundering, drug trafficking, corruption, and more. Prosecutors hope to prove collusion among mobsters and public officials, politicians, businessmen and members of secret lodges, and we can’t wait for the movie.

    Joe Biden yesterday named Samantha Power, the former US Ambassador to the United Nations, as his choice to lead the US Agency for International Development. It’s another Biden appointment that will thrill the center and annoy the left, as he is wont to do.

    JAN 14, 2021 - AM QUICKIE

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Corey Pein

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

  • Jan 13, 2021: House Votes On Trump Impeachment
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    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by justcoffee.coop

    TODAY'S HEADLINES:

    For the second time, and with one week until Joe Biden’s inauguration as president, Congress is impeaching Donald Trump. Security is ramping up and members of Congress are concerned about further assaults on the government.

    Meanwhile, it turns out the Federal Bureau of Investigation did produce a report that a violent mob was bound for the Capitol last week. But it remains unclear why law enforcement acted like it was no big deal.

    And lastly, the federal government issued new guidelines in hopes of dispensing the coronavirus vaccine faster. Now everyone over sixty five should be eligible for a shot.

    THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:

    The US House of Representatives is set to vote this morning on articles of impeachment against Donald Trump. Several top House Republicans have said they will vote to impeach. Last night, House Democrats passed a resolution calling on Vice President Mike Pence to remove Trump using the Twenty-Fifth Amendment to the Constitution. However, in a letter Pence confirmed he would not cooperate in the effort. The White House does not expect to mount a forceful impeachment defense, Politico reports, knowing that Trump is unlikely to be convicted in the Senate. But just how unlikely remains a moving target. According to the New York Times, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is pleased that Democrats are impeaching Trump, believing that it will make it easier to purge him from the Republican party.

    Trump spoke yesterday in Alamo, Texas, where he visited the border wall. Earlier in the day he disclaimed all responsibility for last week’s mob and said efforts to remove him from office were QUOTE causing tremendous anger ENDQUOTE. In other words: you made us do it.

    The Huffington Post reports that Capitol Police briefed Democrats on Monday night about three more potentially gruesome demonstrations planned in the coming days. The first is being billed as the largest armed protest ever to take place on American soil. Another is a protest in honor of Ashli Babbitt, the woman killed while trying to climb into the Speaker’s Lobby during last Wednesday’s siege of the Capitol. And another demonstration, by far the

    most concerning to members of Congress, would involve insurrectionists forming a perimeter around the Capitol, the White House and the Supreme Court. The mob would then block Democrats from entering the Capitol – perhaps even killing them – so that Republicans could take control of the government. These threats may not materialize. But according to the Associated Press, fifteen thousand National Guard members are deploying to Washington, DC, to help provide security. Military officials are working with the Secret Service to determine which Guard members may need additional background screening. The Joint Chiefs of Staff issued a memo to the entire US military yesterday condemning the Capitol riot and confirming Joe Biden will become commander in chief of the armed forces on January 20th. Meanwhile, the FBI is warning about armed protests at all fifty state capitols leading up to Biden’s inauguration. It’s tense, folks. Tense!

    FBI Warned Of Violence

    We’re learning more about intelligence failures at the Capitol. A day before rioters stormed Congress, an FBI office in Virginia issued an explicit internal warning that extremists were preparing to travel to Washington to commit violence and QUOTE war ENDQUOTE. This news comes from an internal document reviewed by The Washington Post. It contradicts a senior official’s declaration the bureau had no intelligence indicating anyone at last week’s pro-Trump protest planned to do harm.

    The document says FBI Norfolk received information about calls for violence to begin on January 6 in Washington, DC. It cites an online thread that discussed specific calls for violence, including this one: QUOTE Be ready to fight. Congress needs to hear glass breaking, doors being kicked in, and blood from their BLM and Pantifa slave soldiers being spilled. Get violent. Stop calling this a march, or rally, or a protest. Go there ready for war. We get our President or we die. Nothing else will achieve this goal ENDQUOTE.

    An FBI official familiar with the document told the Post that within forty-five minutes of learning about the alarming online conversation, the Norfolk FBI office wrote the report and shared it with others within the bureau. It was not immediately clear how many law enforcement agencies outside the FBI were told. Multiple law enforcement officials have said privately in recent days that the level of violence exhibited at the Capitol has led to difficult discussions within the FBI and other agencies about race and terrorism. There is concern that

    investigators failed to register the degree of danger because the overwhelming majority of the participants at the rally were white conservatives fiercely loyal to Donald Trump. Go figure.

    Government Expands Vaccine Eligibility

    Health authorities are changing tack on the coronavirus. Barely a month into a mass vaccination campaign, the Associated Press reports, the Trump administration unexpectedly shifted gears yesterday to speed the delivery of shots. Health and Human Services Alex Azar has announced two major changes. First, the government will no longer hold back required second doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, practically doubling supply. Second, states should immediately start vaccinating other groups lower down the priority scale, including people age sixty-five and older, and younger people with certain health problems.

    Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that scientists are envisioning what a post-vaccine world might look like – and what they see is comforting. The coronavirus is here to stay, but once most adults are immune – following natural infection or vaccination – the virus will be no more of a threat than the common cold. That’s according to a study published in the journal Science yesterday.

    The virus is a menace now because it is an unfamiliar pathogen that can overwhelm the adult immune system, which has not been trained to fight it, the Times says. That will no longer be the case once everyone has been exposed to either the virus or vaccine. Children, on the other hand, are constantly challenged by pathogens that are new to their bodies, and that is one reason they are more adept than adults at fending off the coronavirus. Eventually, the study suggests, the virus will be of concern only in children younger than five, subjecting even them to mere sniffles – or no symptoms at all. In other words, the coronavirus will become endemic, a pathogen that circulates at low levels and only rarely causes serious illness.

    AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:

    Sheldon Adelson, a billionaire casino tycoon, newspaper owner, and Republican megadonor, died on Monday in Malibu, California. The cause was complications related to treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, according to the Washington Post. He was eighty- seven.

    At least five members of Congress have now tested positive for Covid-19 after sheltering in place with lawmakers who refused to wear masks during the assault on the US Capitol last week. They include Democrat Pramila Jayapal of Washington State, who assailed Republicans for QUOTE creating a superspreader event on top of a domestic terrorist attack ENDQUOTE. Gosh, it’s almost like they’re trying to do harm.

    Deutsche Bank, which has been Donald Trump’s primary lender for two decades, has decided not to do business with Trump or his company in the future, according to the New York Times. Trump currently owes Deutsche Bank more than $300 million, which is due in the next few years. Surely he’s good for it.

    India’s supreme court has suspended a series of controversial new agriculture laws that had prompted hundreds of thousands of farmers to stage a months-long protest in Delhi, the Guardian reports. Farmers argued that the new laws put them at greater risk of poverty and losing their land to large corporations. Protest gets results!

    JAN 13, 2021 - AM QUICKIE

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Corey Pein

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

  • Jan 12, 2021: Rats Flee Trump's Sinking Ship
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    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by justcoffee.coop

    TODAY'S HEADLINES:

    The assorted rats in the Trump administration continue to flee his sinking ship. Today, it was Acting Homeland Security head Chad Wolf, while business leaders and other institutions cut ties en masse.

    Meanwhile, the right wing hints at further violence for the days leading up to Joe Biden’s inauguration, while DC authorities scramble to contain the crazies in their midst.

    And lastly, the ACLU is pressuring the Department of Justice to postpone three federal executions scheduled for this week, citing coronavirus risks. Even a short stay could be enough to give death row inmates a chance to live if Trump leaves office.

    THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:

    The Trump administration has been toxic since the start, but in recent days even the assorted scum that have hung on this long have started to jump ship. The list of resignations at this point is too long to count: Betsy DeVos, Elaine Chao, Mick Mulvaney, and so many more from the West Wing and various departments in the Executive Branch.

    The latest is acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf, who led the department through Trump’s use of it as his private police force to beat, harass, and kidnap protesters across the country during the widespread movement for black lives this summer.

    Wolf will remain in the DHS at a lower position, but is clearly seeking some distance from the big man in office, for obvious reasons. Will it be enough to save his career as an authoritarian ghoul? Time will tell.

    Meanwhile, business are finally deciding that any profits they may still glean from associating with Trump probably aren’t worth it in the long run. In recent days ecommerce giant Shopify terminated Trump-linked stores and hotel chain Marriott dropped their PAC donations.

    But perhaps one of the funniest and most cutting betrayals was by Trump’s beloved Professional Golfers Association voted to terminate a contract to play the PGA championship at Trump’s Bedminster resort in 2022. Even the golfers are ditching him! It’s just too good.

    Right Wing Plans More Violence

    Even as Trump’s star wanes faster than one of those cheap glow-in-the-dark stickers you put on kids ceilings, the right wing isn’t done with their violent fantasies about taking over the nation.

    Authorities and extremism reporters now warn that various right wing groups and militias may be coalescing around demonstrations at various state capitols in the days leading up to Biden’s inauguration next Wednesday.

    Security in DC is expected to be massively beefed up: at least 10,000 national guard troops will be deployed to the city for inauguration, and it seems pretty unlikely that DC authorities will let themselves get clowned on again.

    To add more chaos to the mix, Capitol Police and the Secret Service also have to deal with traitors in their own midst. Capitol Police said Monday that they had suspended two officers and placed more than a dozen under investigation for their roles in aiding or abetting the rioters last week. Meanwhile, the Secret Service said that it had placed one officer under investigation after she allegedly posted comments on Facebook supporting the rioters and accusing lawmakers who supported Biden’s victory of treason.

    But even if DC gets its house in order, the right wing is also allegedly planning mass armed demonstrations outside of various state capitols, which have already seen similar events and attacks over the past few months. It’s going to be a dicey last few days.

    Activists Oppose Lame Duck Executions

    And finally, legal activists are seeking to block one of the Trump administration’s final acts of barbarism, asking for a temporary stay in three federal executions that are scheduled for this week.

    A group of former corrections officers from Indiana on Monday petitioned acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen to temporarily postpone three federal executions planned for this week at the government’s Terre Haut prison.

    The officers cited the coronavirus pandemic as their main reasoning for foregoing the executions, as vaccination of prisoners and staff has already begun but isn’t finished yet. But if they’re successful in getting a temporary stay, it could change everything for the prisoners on death row, as Biden has indicated that he’s open to abolishing the federal death penalty.

    That makes it all the more evil that the Trump administration has pushed an almost unprecedented rush of federal executions in recent days.

    Propublica reported on Monday that quote "Justice Department officials scheduled executions in defiance of court orders, flouted pandemic safety measures and lied about it, and demanded that judges yield to the administration's self-imposed deadline of January 20” endquote.

    Seems like things are pretty clear: Trump wants these three prisoners dead, and he doesn’t care who else he endangers to make that happen. We can only hope someone in a position of power comes down on the side of mercy.

    AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:

    Bill Bellicheck, the notoriously antagonistic coach of the New England Patriots, refused President Trump’s offer of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Man, if even Bellicheck refuses to go near you, you know things must be bad, and we all know this one’s going to get Trump where it hurts.

    Meanwhile, Conservative commentator Dan Bongino, last seen vowing to go bankrupt before allowing big Tech to censor the conservative platform Parler, has now announced that he is bankrupt, after big tech censored the conservative platform Parler. Who could possibly have seen this coming!

    Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, who was barricaded inside the Capitol during the siege last week, said that she had tested positive for coronavirus today. She believes she was infected by maskless Republican members who were in the room with her.

    And finally, Buzzfeed News reports that a disgruntled State Department employee briefly changed the official web pages for the department to say that Donald Trump and Mike Pence’s terms in office were ending on Monday night. This prediction did not, unfortunately, come true.

    That’s it for the Majority Report’s AM Quickie! Stay tuned for the full show this afternoon.

    JAN 12, 2021 - AM QUICKIE

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Jack Crosbie

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

  • Jan 11, 2021: House Will Vote To Impeach Trump Again
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    06:25

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

    TODAY'S HEADLINES:

    The House of Representatives could vote as early as Tuesday on new articles of Impeachment against the President, charging him with inciting the riot that briefly took over the Capitol building last week.

    Meanwhile, the widespread social media crackdown on far right-wing apps, pages, and organizing spaces continues as big tech firms finally decide to purge some outspoken fascists from their services.

    And lastly, the coronavirus vaccine rollout is still a mess, and contrasting stories from Florida and New York show that state governments have a delicate needle to thread in the absence of Federal leadership.

    THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:

    The House of Representatives could vote as early as Tuesday to impeach President Donald Trump for the second time.

    The new article of impeachment was introduced by Representatives David Cicilline of Rhode Island, Jamie Raskin of Maryland and Ted Lieu of California. It charges Trump with quote . “willfully inciting violence against the government of the United States.” endquote.

    So far, 210 of 222 Democrats in the House have signed on. Meanwhile, more and more reps from either side of the aisle are calling for Trump’s immediate resignation, including two Republicans. Of course, there’s absolutely no way that will happen, but still.

    If the House does vote to impeach, though, there’s almost no way that Trump will actually be removed from office. And it’s also unlikely that we’ll see action on that front for weeks, if not months.

    Nancy Pelosi has indicated that she would wait to forward the impeachment on from the House to a Senate trial until after Biden’s first 100 days in office.

    There’s two reasons for that: she says she doesn’t want to distract from his first days in office with a big Senate trial, which, sure, whatever, but it also means that Trump could face an actual Senate trial on charges of inciting violence with a Democrat-controlled Senate.

    Knowing our Democrats, chances still seem low that Trump will actually pay for his crimes, but we’ll see how things shake out over the next few weeks.

    Silicon Valley Finds its Spine

    Our great tech overlords have finally discovered their spine -- or perhaps the recent bloodshed at the U.S. Capitol has finally made doing the right thing the safer choice.

    Over the weekend, Apple removed right-wing social media app Parler from its service, as did Amazon and Google. This follows the end-of-week purge of both Donald Trump’s personal accounts on Twitter and Facebook, as well as those of thousands of right wing agitators and overt fascists. Even Parler had to take down some posts when people like Trump-linked lawyer L. Lin Wood started calling for Mike Pence to face a firing squad.

    It’s worth noting that all of these platforms had literally years to make these moves. The far right has been organizing widely on all of these apps and services since before Trump was elected, often by the algorithms of tech giants like Facebook.

    Conservatives’ response to this has been the familiar refrain: tears and whining about how they’re being censored.

    It’s especially dumb when it comes from elected officials like Trump himself, who literally has the biggest media platform in the world at his disposal regardless of whether or not he can send tweets from his gilded bathroom.

    Vaccine Rollout Still Varied

    The coronavirus vaccine rollout is still a slow, uneven process across America, as states struggle to figure out best practices in the absence of clear federal leadership.

    It appears that we’re seeing two big mistakes. In New York, for instance, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s harsh penalties and strict guidelines meant that many doses of the vaccine languished on shelves because healthcare professionals couldn’t find enough eligible people to give them to.

    In light of widespread criticism, Cuomo has finally relaxed some of these restrictions, widening the pool of people eligible to get the vaccine so that more doses can be administered as soon as possible.

    But in Florida, the opposite problem is happening. The New York Times reports that the state’s distribution system is disorganized, and its eligible population is huge: everyone over the age of 65 is eligible for the vaccine, and thanks to the state’s huge elderly population, demand is way over supply.

    Vaccines distributed on a first-come-first-serve basis to those groups draw massive lines and often result in people being turned away.

    The hope is that the Biden administration will seek to immediately sort out this situation with some kind of clear federal program. It’s wild to think, of course, how much easier all this would be if the U.S. had some kind of consistent, universal health care system administered by the Federal Government. Maybe we’ll have it in time for the next pandemic.

    AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:

    St. Louis’s Board of Alderman’s public safety committee voted 6-1 last week to endorse a contract with an Ohio-based company that does aerial surveillance of cities, meaning the city’s residents will be subjected to low-altitude planes surveilling them at any time and passing information to authorities.

    In Barcelona, city officials are taking a hard line against landlords with vacant rental units, saying that unless they’re filled, the government will take over their properties for half their market value and rent them out to low-income tenants. Sounds like a great plan for places like New York City, where luxury apartments sit unused and thousands of families struggle to find homes.

    JP Morgan Chase, perhaps belatedly realizing that its massive donations to political candidates are not the best look right now, has said it will pause PAC donations to both Republicans and Democrats for the next six months, as if a brief break from destroying the political system with dark money will make things better for everyone.

    An early sign of hope from President-elect Biden, who on Saturday called to set aside deficit concerns and embark on a massive federal spending campaign to prop up the economy. We’ll see if he makes good on that, but if he does he’ll have one key ally in the Senate: Bernie Sanders, who will likely be the new Budget chairman.

    That’s it for the Majority Report’s AM Quickie today! Sam will be with you in a few short hours.

    JAN 11, 2021 - AM QUICKIE

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Jack Crosbie

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

  • Jan 8, 2020: Trump Admits Biden Victory
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    10:16

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

    TODAY'S HEADLINES:

    Donald Trump pledges a peaceful transfer of power when Joe Biden is inaugurated on January 20th. It’s a little late now, doncha think?

    Meanwhile, Democrats in Congress call for Trump’s immediate removal from office, through impeachment if necessary. But they’d need to cut short their current vacation.

    And lastly, California looks to extend eviction protections for renters – and to send $600 state stimulus checks to many residents. Now there’s an idea worth stealing.

    THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:

    Here’s the state of play following Wednesday’s insurrectionist raid on the Capitol.

    After resuming its joint session Wednesday night, Congress voted to certify Joe Biden’s presidential election victory in the wee hours of yesterday morning. When all was said and done, one hundred and forty seven Republican members of Congress – including eight Senators – voted to overrule the Electoral College results. There are now calls that they should face consequences for supporting an anti-democratic putsch, but more on that later. After certifying Biden’s win, the House and Senate adjourned for most of the next two weeks.

    In a statements released yesterday, Trump offered the closest thing to a concession we will likely hear from him. In a morning statement, one day after vowing to never concede, he said QUOTE there will be an orderly transition on January 20th ENDQUOTE. In a later video, he called for calm and reconciliation in an apparent effort to appease Democrats calling for his removal. This could be how we hear from Trump going forward, in canned statements and videos from the bunker. Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg yesterday announced that Trump would be suspended from the platform indefinitely, or at least until Biden’s inauguration. There were reports that Trump has made plans to pardon family members as well as himself. No shock there. More surprising: the Trump campaign yesterday dropped all of its election challenges in Georgia.

    More details emerged about the mob that took the Capitol. It reportedly included a former officer of the Oakland, California Police Department, and a current sheriff’s lieutenant from Bexar County, Texas, who is now under investigation. According to Politico, more off-duty police officers and members of the military may have also participated in the mob. A West Virginia state delegate joined in and livestreamed himself pushing past police officers. A Pennsylvania Republican state senator, Doug Mastriano, also organized buses for the mob. A man who was photographed inside House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office, and stealing her mail, was identified as Richard Barnett, an avowed white supremacist. Finally, the woman who was shot and killed by Capitol Police was identified. Her name was Ashli Babbitt and she was an Air Force veteran from California, as well as a Q-Anon believer. Law enforcement sources said a Capitol Police officer was either dead or on life support last night, potentially becoming the fifth fatality related to the mob takeover. A rioter reportedly hit him in the head with a fire extinguisher. It’s all pretty grim, isn’t it?

    Democrats Demand Immediate Impeachment

    Many news organizations took the day to survey the fallout of Wednesday’s events. Reactions were many and varied.

    Speaking by telephone to the winter meeting of the Republican National Committee yesterday morning, Donald Trump was greeted with cheers. According to the Washington Post, some shouted we love you when Trump was put on speakerphone.

    Democrats were in no such lovey-dovey mood. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Trump should be immediately removed from office by way of the 25th Amendment, which is a long shot because it would require action by members of Trump’s own cabinet as well as his Vice President, Mike Pence. (Pence advisers told Business Insider he won’t support such plans.) Failing the 25th Amendment remedy, Schumer said, Trump should be impeached for his role in instigating the assault on Congress. The call for removal was taken up by a wide range of Democrats including Nancy Pelosi and Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, who stressed the need to move quickly. According to the Daily Beast, members of the House Judiciary Committee began drawing up articles of impeachment Wednesday evening. Omar sponsored them yesterday. House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler said he supported the articles being brought directly to the House floor. Separately, Missouri Congresswoman Cori

    Bush circulated a petition calling for the expulsion of those Republican members who QUOTE incited the attempted coup and white supremacist attack ENDQUOTE.

    Some Republicans did pipe up, for what it’s worth. Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf released a statement imploring Trump to condemn the mob violence. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, who is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, announced her resignation. Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen said the Justice Department is committed to ensuring that those responsible for the attack face the full legal consequences. Former AG Bill Barr clearly blamed Trump for the violence, saying QUOTE orchestrating a mob to pressure Congress is inexcusable ENDQUOTE.

    The top federal prosecutor in Washington DC, Michael Sherwin, said Trump was not off limits in his investigation. The conduct of the police was heavily scrutinized. The chief of the Capitol Police resigned, and Schumer said he plans to fire the Senate sergeant-at-arms when he takes over as Majority Leader. The Wall Street Journal reported that managers of a DHS unit called Intelligence and Analysis knew of the looming mob but didn’t view it as posing a significant threat. Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser called for an investigation, noting federal cops came down harder on peaceful civil rights protesters over the summer than on violent insurrectionists this week. I wonder why.

    California Plans Stimulus Checks

    A state law protecting California tenants from pandemic-related evictions expires at the end of this month. So it’s good news, as the Los Angeles Times reports, that Governor Gavin Newsom is proposing to extend protections for renters and expedite distribution of $2.6 billion in federal rental assistance. Newsom said the budget he will release today would include the rental assistance money and a $600 state stimulus check to low-income residents. Under the proposals, Newsom said that Californians who have been impacted by this pandemic will get help to provide for their families and keep a roof over their heads.

    Millions of Californians lost income when the COVID-19 pandemic began in March, per the Times. Last summer, Newsom and the Legislature approved a bill that protected many tenants from evictions through January 31. Speaking Wednesday, Newsom did not say how long an extension he would support. A representative said that the plan is subject to negotiations with legislators.

    The governor also proposed to provide a Golden State Stimulus that would refund $600 to taxpayers who received a California earned income tax credit, the Times reports. Residents may be eligible for the tax credit if they have annual incomes of $30,000 or less. Last year, nearly four million eligible tax returns were filed. The stimulus payments would be sent out in February and March. Why don’t more states do this?

    AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:

    NBC News reports that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is no longer the richest man in the world, after Tesla CEO Elon Musk's fortune rose to $188.5 billion. That’s $1.5 billion more than Bezos. Congratulations to the insufferable plutocrat.

    Joe Biden has picked Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, a former union leader, to serve as his Labor secretary, according to Politico. It’s a blow to Asian American activists who’d lobbied for California Labor Secretary Julie Su to take that position. But Walsh apparently had the support of both the American Federation of Teachers and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees – or at least their leadership.

    People with no symptoms transmit more than half of all cases of the novel coronavirus, the Washington Post reports. The new statistic comes from a model developed by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. I’ll say it again: stay home or stay distant, wear a mask, and wash your hands.

    The Guardian reports that an Iraqi court has issued a warrant for the arrest of Donald Trump. The warrant is part of the court’s investigation into the killing of a paramilitary commander who died in the same US drone strike that killed Iranian general Qassem Suleimani at Baghdad Airport last year. I know where Trump might be – is there a tip line?

    That’s all for the AM Quickie. Join us this afternoon on the Majority Report.

    JAN 8, 2020 - AM QUICKIE

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Corey Pein

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

  • Jan 7, 2021: Trump Putsch Derails Congress
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    09:12

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

    TODAY'S HEADLINES:

    Donald Trump’s minions stormed the United States Capitol in a violent attack on democracy yesterday – many are calling it an attempted coup. The Trumpistas delayed Congressional certification of Joe Biden’s election victory – and directly undermined the peaceful transfer of power.

    Meanwhile, Biden will name Merrick Garland to serve as his Attorney General. It’s not a Supreme Court seat, but hey, it’s something.

    And lastly, state and local politicians across the country are taking steps to speed up the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine. As the latest numbers show, they’ve got a long way to go.

    THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:

    Well this is something. Congress went into sudden recess, the US Capitol went into lockdown, and several buildings nearby were evacuated after a large pro-Trump mob swarmed and breached the Capitol yesterday afternoon. News videos showed people banging on the Capitol doors, roaming the halls, waving Trump 2020 and Confederate flags, and fighting with Capitol Police as officers fired pepper spray. The mob erected a gallows and a cross outside. Some wore T-shirts saying MAGA civil war, and a few were identified by experts as known neo-Nazis. Some attacked journalists and trashed TV cameras. Police advised members to wear gas masks and used tear gas inside the Capitol rotunda. Police also drew guns inside the House chamber. Capitol Police shot a woman in the chest; she later died, but further details were not forthcoming. The law enforcement response, reportedly led by the Justice Department and Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, was criticized as exceedingly generous to the mob. Virginia, Maryland and DC National Guard eventually deployed to the Capitol. The DC Mayor imposed a 6pm citywide curfew. Shortly before that time, after four tense and murky hours, Capitol Police declared the building secure. Congress resumed its business in the evening and many Republicans resumed their objections to Biden’s certification. But it was unclear through much of the day who was in charge of the situation not to mention the government.

    So far, the MAGA mob succeeded only in delaying Congressional certification of the Electoral College votes making Joe Biden the next president. But make no mistake: These were anti- democracy thugs attempting to undo the will of the people by force. A man stood on the dais in the House chamber and shouted that Trump won the election. Another man wearing a horned helm and called the Q-Anon Shaman took over the Senate chamber. There were thefts from Congressional offices. All this marked the latest and hopefully final phase of Trump’s subversion of democracy. The NATO Secretary-General, Jens Stoltenberg, yesterday said QUOTE the outcome of this democratic election must be respected ENDQUOTE. Foreign governments expressed concern and sypmathy. The Venezuelan government said it hoped for stability for the American people.

    Speaking to supporters early in the day, Donald Trump vowed QUOTE we will never concede ENDQUOTE. At the same time, his vice president, Mike Pence, was preparing a statement, well, conceding. Pence, along with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, declined to join the Republican faction seeking to reject the election. McConnell warned of democracy entering QUOTE a death spiral ENDQUOTE. Of course, that right before Pence and members of Congress evacuated. Joe Biden called on Trump to go on television and QUOTE demand an end to this siege ENDQUOTE. Biden said the mob’s actions bordered on sedition. Indeed. Isolated with his loyalists, Trump last night was suspended by Twitter for twelve hours. PBS reported that he had QUOTE lost it ENDQUOTE. He faced new calls for impeachment and the invocation of the 25th Amendment to remove him from office. And for his prosecution. Earlier, Trump released a prerecorded message saying the election was stolen but calling for calm. Again, he lies.

    Biden Names Garland AG

    : In other political news, President-elect Joe Biden has selected Judge Merrick Garland to serve as his attorney general. Garland is the chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals in DC. Biden was expected to officially announce Garland’s appointment today, the AP reports. Biden will also name other senior leaders of the department, including former homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco as deputy attorney general and former Justice Department civil rights chief Vanita Gupta as associate attorney general. He will also name Kristen Clarke, the president of Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, as assistant attorney general for civil rights. Some defense lawyers and criminal justice reform advocates

    have said they worry Garland’s record on the bench shows he is too deferential to the government and law enforcement, the Washington Post reports. But, according to the AP, the selection of Gupta and Clarke, two women with significant experience in civil rights, appeared designed to blunt those concerns and offered as a signal that progressive causes will be prioritized in the new administration. Which frankly can’t come soon enough.

    Politicians Push Faster Vaccinations

    Have you got the shot yet? Of course you haven’t. With frustration rising over the slow rollout of the coronavirus vaccine, politicians around the US are turning up the pressure to get shots in arms more quickly, the AP reports. New York’s governor is threatening to fine hospitals that don’t use their allotment of Covid-19 vaccine fast enough. His South Carolina counterpart says health care workers have until January 15 to get a shot or move to the back of the line. California’s governor wants to use dentists to vaccinate people.

    More than three weeks into the vaccination campaign, just four point eight million people in the US had gotten their first shot, the AP reports. That’s out of seventeen million doses distributed as of yesterday morning. The US has an estimated twenty-one million health care workers and three million nursing home residents. The Centers for Disease Control reported just four hundred and twenty-nine thousand people in nursing homes have been vaccinated.

    The slow rollout has been blamed on a multitude of problems, the AP reports. Politicians are getting aggressive in trying to accelerate the campaign. The governors of California, Maryland and North Carolina said they will use the National Guard to speed things up. State and local officials are also moving to expand availability of the vaccine to other groups. Anything’s better than letting doses expire after going unused.

    AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:

    When he campaigned in Georgia, Joe Biden promised $2,000 survival checks if the Democratic Senate candidates won there. And yesterday, before all the craziness, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said delivering the checks is one of the first things he wants to do after Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff are seated in the Senate. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders said the checks must be followed by QUOTE an aggressive agenda that recognizes the economic desperation facing so many Americans ENDQUOTE. Hear, hear.

    The Louisville Metro Police Department has formally fired two of the officers involved in the March police raid that killed emergency medical worker Breonna Taylor, CBS News reports. The department last week sent pre-termination letters to Detective Myles Cosgrove, who an FBI analysis determined fired the shot that killed Taylor, and Detective Josh Jaynes, who applied for the search warrant at Taylor's Louisville home. Enjoy the job market, fellas.

    A British judge yesterday refused to grant bail and release WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the Washington Post reports. He will remain in a prison cell on the outskirts of London while the US government pursues its case against him. Meanwhile, the change of administrations in Washington might alter the course of the case, as the lead prosecutor, G. Zachary Terwilliger, announced his resignation on Tuesday. He’s a Trump appointee.

    More than fifty people, including pro-democracy politicians and campaigners, were arrested in raids across Hong Kong yesterday, the Guardian reports. Some of the targets livestreamed their own arrests. Antony Blinken, Joe Biden’s pick for secretary of state, labelled the arrests QUOTE an assault on those bravely advocating for universal rights ENDQUOTE. He also said the incoming administration would stand with Hong Kong people against Beijing’s crackdown on democracy. Or what’s left of it.

    That’s all for the AM Quickie. Join us this afternoon on the Majority Report.

    JAN 7, 2021 - AM QUICKIE

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Corey Pein

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

  • Jan 6, 2021: Warnock Wins, Ossoff Too Close To Call
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    06:50

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

    TODAY'S HEADLINES:

    The Democrats just might have pulled off two massive wins and taken the Senate, as Rafael Warnock appears to have won his race in the Georgia Runoffs and Jon Ossoff is also a heavy favorite to win as we’re recording this.

    Meanwhile, Nebraska governor Pete Ricketts declares that undocumented workers at the state’s meat processing plants will not receive the coronavirus vaccine, despite their already-despicable working conditions on the front line of the pandemic.

    And lastly, Kenosha’s District Attorney announced on Tuesday that no charges would be filed against Rusten Sheskey, the Kenosha police officer who shot Jacob Blake seven times in the back, delivering another disappointing, disgusting, and unfortunately predictable ruling.

    THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:

    The Democrats appear to have done it, taking the Senate back for the first time since losing it in 2014. Reverend Rafael Warnock successfully unseated Senator Kelly Loeffler, one of the most openly-corrupt appointed officials we’ve seen in the past few years. Jon Ossoff’s race against David Perdue came down to the wire, but as of midnight or so Tuesday night he was heavily favored to win.

    Warnock and Ossoff rode a wave of massive voter turnout, out-performing even Joe Biden’s performance in the state.

    Warnock won a bit more comfortably, with the race called by some pollsters around 10 p.m. last night, while Ossoff’s race was quite a bit closer.

    David Wasserman, a pollster who has been extremely consistent this election cycle, called the race for Ossoff a few minutes before midnight, although he noted that it’s possible Ossoff’s victory could be less than the .05% margin necessar for an automatic recount. So there’s still a bit of uncertainty there, but things look good.

    Warnock’s win would make him the first Black Democratic Senator from the Deep South. And indeed, it looks like it was massive black voter turnout and proactive early voting that tipped the scales on election day.

    This means the Democrats now have the Senate, thanks to VP Kamala Harris’s tiebreaker vote. That’s a far slimmer margin than any ruling party wants for a new administration, but it’s one that can actually produce results, provided that so-called Democrats like Joe Manchin get on board with what the party is doing. But that’s a battle for further down the line. Today, everything looks pretty good for the Democratic party.

    Nebraska Dooms Undocumented Workers

    Nebraska’s governor Pete Ricketts has taken one of the most explicitly brutal and inhumane positions of the pandemic, announcing on Tuesday that undocumented workers in the state’s meat processing plants will not be eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccine alongside their documented colleagues.

    Ricketts, who is the son of billionaire Joe Ricketts, claimed that meat packing plants weren’t legally allowed to hire undocumented workers, so they naturally wouldn’t get the vaccine. Quote:

    “Again you’re supposed to be a legal resident of the country to be able to be working at those plants, so I do not expect that illegal immigrants will be part of the vaccine with that program.”

    Endquote.

    But in reality, undocumented workers make up roughly 14% of the industry’s workforce, according to the Migration Policy institutue. Meat processing workers are some of the front-line employees hit hardest by the disease, as many facilities have weathered severe outbreaks among staff, even prompting a lawsuit by the ACLU.

    If 14 percent of that workforce isn’t eligible for the vaccine, it might as well be crippling the industry as well as prolonging the disease. But that’s exactly the kind of smart policy you’d expect from a soulless politician working for an overtly fascist party!

    No Charges In Jacob Blake Shooting

    Kenosha, Wisconsin’s District Attorney Michael Graveley has finally made his decision in the shooting of Jacob Blake. There will be no charges filed.

    That means that Rusten Shesky, the Kenosha Police Officer who shot Blake seven times in the back, will face no criminal penalties for his actions.

    Businesses around Kenosha had boarded up their windows again in anticipation of protests, which started soon after the DA’s decision came down. Livestreams on Tuesday night showed protesters marching on the frigid, snow-lined streets, while large numbers of National Guard troops surrounded the courthouse and other federal buildings.

    DA Graveley’s decision was based on a review of over forty hours of video and hundreds of pages of police reports. Wild how in all those police reports he didn’t find enough evidence to

    bring charges. The New York Times reported that prosecutors thought the case against Shesky would be too hard to win, as the ironclad argument that the cop was just protecting himself would somehow apply. Again, Blake was shot seven times in the back.

    Graveley, who is a white guy, admitted his own inadequacy in dealing with the case, saying quote:

    “I feel in many ways completely inadequate for this moment. I have never in my life had a moment where I had to contend with explicit or implicit bias based on my race.”

    Endquote.

    And that, taken together, is all it took to let a cop off the hook for seven bullets that nearly ended a man’s life.

    AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:

    The GOP mounted a dangerous power-grab in Pennsylvania, forcing Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman from presiding over the State Senate when he opposed a Republican motion to block an incoming State Senator from taking his seat. The actual situation is a bit complicated procedure-wise, but sets a scarily chaotic tone for how the post-Trump GOP is going to conduct themselves in state governments across the country.

    As a short follow-up to yesterday’s story about the Proud Boys -- a judge banned their leader, Enrique Tarrio, from the District of Columbia, in an order released Tuesday shortly after his release from jail. He’s allowed to re-enter the city to meet with his lawyer or appear in court, but definitely not to attend any more of his little rallies.

    Californian workers are already feeling the effects of the state’s devastating passage of Prop 22. Earlier this week, Vons and Albertsons’ grocery stores fired all of their on-staff delivery drivers except the unionized ones in the Bay Area, shifting their jobs instead to third-party gig workers at Instacart and other companies.

    In more positive news: Google has a union! A group of more than 200 employees at the tech behemoth’s parent company, Alphabet, announced that they had formed a union under the Communication Workers of America, providing a wide umbrella for more of the company’s thousands of employees to join going forward.

    JAN 6, 2021 - AM QUICKIE

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Jack Crosbie

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

  • Jan 5, 2021: Democrats Lead Georgia Polls
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    06:32

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

    TODAY'S HEADLINES:

    The Georgia Runoff elections for Senate are today, giving the Democrats a big chance to tie up the Senate at 50-50 with VP Kamala Harris as the deciding vote. Here’s where things stand as polls open.

    Meanwhile, the UK re-enters widespread lockdown as a more contagious version of the virus spreads -- and New York City detects its first case of the same strain.

    And lastly, the Proud Boys are introduced to the consequences of their actions, as the historic black church they vandalized in DC files a lawsuit and their founder is arrested on the same night.

    THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:

    Today is the day: Democrats Rafael Warnock and Jon Ossoff will face incumbent Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue in the Georgia runoff elections. This is basically winner-take-all for both parties, although all the Republicans have to do to preserve their majority in the Senate is win one seat.

    Still! There is hope. Going into election day, both Warnock and Ossoff have a slight lead over their respective opponents, according to the latest polls on 538. So for whatever that’s worth, we’re looking pretty good!

    Keep in mind, of course, that neither candidate is expected to be a progressive trailblazer. But if the Biden administration wants to be able to accomplish basically anything in the next four years the Democrats are going to need the Senate to swing their way.

    The other good news is that the GOP is in absolute disarray after Trump’s idiotic, chaotic call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. Half of the party, including Georgia’s own Qanon Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, is doubling down on Trump’s wildly dumb conspiracy theories about the election, while the marginally smarter half is frantically trying to move on and face the reality of the runoff election.

    Trump flew down to Georgia on Monday night for one of his typical rallies to try to juice up his crowd. But early voting numbers are promising for Democrats too -- turnout in the solid-blue Atlanta area has been particularly high, which is an encouraging sign for both candidates trying to flip the seats.

    We’ll be tracking this one all day, to be sure -- Sam and the gang will have more updates for you in the full show later.

    UK Goes Back to Lockdown

    Meanwhile, as the U.S. botches its vaccine rollout, a more infectious strain of the coronavirus is spreading in the United Kingdom.

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson has put both England and Scotland on similar national lockdowns in the past few days as cases continue to spike, closing schools and instructing residents to stay home for all but essential trips and errands.

    Remember: this is the same strain we discussed before the holidays, which has a higher transmission rate but fortunately isn’t resistant to the vaccine.

    Britain is essentially in a race right now to get their population vaccinated and break the spread of this new strain before their healthcare systems get too overloaded.

    The bad news is the U.S. may be in for a similar situation. Our health networks are already stretched thin, and on Monday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo confirmed that his state had detected its first case of the more infections strain. Other cases have already cropped up in California and Florida, whose hospital systems are under particular stress.

    The CDC guidelines for this strain are the same as the normal coronavirus, of course: keep wearing your masks and washing your hands.

    Proud Boys Reap What They Sowed

    The racist, fascist militia called the Proud Boys may finally be facing some real consequences for its actions.

    Back in December, the Proud Boys gathered in DC for a rally in support of Donald Trump’s ludicrous election conspiracies. During the inevitable chaos that followed, members of the group tore down and burned a Black Lives Matter banner hanging on a historically black church in the area. The Church, Metropolitan AME, is now suing the organization.

    To top things off, the Proud Boys current leader Enrique Tarrio was arrested on criminal charges on Monday evening, largely because he was dumb enough to claim responsibility for burning the banner on a podcast days after the event. He said on the podcast quote:

    “In the burning of the BLM sign, I was the one that lit it on fire. I was the person that went ahead and put the lighter to it and engulfed it in flames, and I am damn proud that I did.”

    Endquote.

    Tarrio can now be damn proud about his actions from inside a jail cell, as the Washington Post reported that he was arrested and charged by DC police on Monday night for destruction of property as well as two felony firearms charges for high capacity gun magazines the cops found in his car when they pulled him over.

    Tarrio lives in Florida, but was in DC for a similar rally in support of the President. Looks like he might not make this one! What a drag.

    AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:

    A British judge rejected the United States’ request to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on espionage charges, openly citing the fact that harsh prison conditions in the U.S. could cause Assange to commit suicide. The judge did not, however, agree with Assange’s defense that he was being politically persecuted by the U.S. government, meaning the ruling is a bit of a mixed bag for Assange’s supporters.

    Haven, the dystopian venture started by Amazon, JP Morgan Chase, and Berkshire Hathaway in order to disrupt the healthcare industry, announced that it would be shutting down after just three years of doing.. Well... not a whole lot. It’s almost as if putting billionaires in charge of the nation’s healthcare isn’t the best system!

    In incredibly stupid incoming Congressperson news, DC police are in contact with newly minted GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert, who has vowed to carry her Glock handgun in DC and into Congress. In fact, bringing a gun to Capitol Hill was one of her core campaign promises.

    And finally, Arizona teachers are resigning at an alarming rate. One thousand and seventy two have quit their jobs since the beginning of this school year, which is a sharp spike from the 758 that had resigned by this point in the 2019-2020 school year.

    That’s it for the majority report’s Am Quickie today! Stay tuned for the full show with Sam this afternoon.

    JAN 5, 2021 - AM QUICKIE

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Jack Crosbie

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn