The political stories and election updates you need to know to start your day- all in five minutes or less. Co Hosted by Sam Seder and Lucie Steiner. Powered by Majority.FM

  • Sept 28, 2020: Trump Pays No Taxes

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    The New York Times has Donald Trump’s tax returns, and you’ll never guess what they show. Oh, you guess that they show he’s barely paid any taxes through nefarious means? Well. You’re right. You guessed it.

    Meanwhile, President Trump has officially nominated Seventh Circuit Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court, and the GOP is full steam ahead to get her on the bench before he has the chance to get voted out of office.

    And lastly, Portland Oregon weathers another contentious weekend, even as a far-right rally fizzled. Police continued to crack down hard on protesters, catching journalists and some bystanders in the crossfire.


    Trump Pays No Taxes

    Want to know how much Donald Trump paid in taxes in 2016? $750. He paid about that much in 2017 as well, taking full advantage of a broken system set up to help the rich get richer and greasing the wheels with some underhanded deals along the way.

    The New York Times published a massive report on Sunday evening based on more than two decades of tax return data for President Trump and his companies. For 11 of the 18 years the Times examined, Trump paid nothing in federal income taxes.

    He did this, in a large part, by reporting massive amounts of losses every year. Basically all of his signature businesses report losing huge amounts of money. By reporting gigantic losses, he’s been able to keep his tax burden extremely low -- which also helped him get a questionable $72.9 million ​_refund_​ from the government. That transaction is under audit by the IRS.

    But he’s kept up the billionaire charade by writing off basically all his personal expenses, taking tax deductions on everything from $70,000 in TV hairstyling to aircraft and private residences.

    The full report is absurd -- there are just so many ludicrously crooked details. The full picture it paints is of a man under a massive amount of debt staying afloat, and in luxury, through loopholes that exist just to protect the super rich. It remains to be seen if it will actually affect voters, but one thing is for sure: the system that enabled Trump isn’t anything new. It’s just that one of its worst abusers managed to get elected president.

    ACB Nominated to Succeed RBG

    President Donald Trump nominated Amy Coney Barett to the Supreme Court on Sunday, offering up the Seventh Circuit Judge as his pick to replace Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

    We talked a little bit about Coney Barrett last week, so we’ll spare some of the details. Suffice to say, she’ll be gunning for Roe V Wade, Obamacare, and a whole host of other social and economic landmarks right after that.

    A recent poll by the New York Times and Siena College showed that 56 percent of likely voters would prefer to have whoever wins the election nominate the next justice, but that probably isn’t what’s going to happen.

    That’s because as expected, Mitch McConnell and the Senate Republicans have set up a lightning-fast timeline to get Coney Barrett confirmed, and they most likely have the votes to do it. What the Democrats can do to stop them is still up in the air, but activists are turning up the pressure on leadership to pull out all the stops.

    Protesters gathered outside of Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer’s home on Saturday to urge the leading Democrat to publicly and vocally refuse to hold hearings to confirm a new justice, use every procedural block they can to gum up the works, and fully commit to ending the filibuster and packing the court the next time Democrats take back the Senate.

    Hopefully, that’ll be this year. If it’s not, we may see a far grimmer country by the time the Democrats can take back the court again.

    Portland Cops Plaster Protesters

    Violence on the streets, much of it perpetrated by the police, rocked the city of Portland again this weekend, as rival demonstrations gave way to street protests that were brutally broken up by Portland authorities.

    Police presence was aggressive over the weekend because of a large rally organized by the far-right Proud Boys group. But fortunately, a last minute location change for the rally kept it isolated from most counterprotests. Still, there were some skirmishes and assaults when Proud Boys attacked people they suspected of being antifa activists.

    After the right wingers had gone home, though, the cops returned to their regularly scheduled crackdowns on protesters, arresting more than two dozen according to the Oregonian.

    In one video captured online by journalist Sergio Olmos, police smashed a cyclist off his bike in the street and arrested him while he screamed that he was an UberEats delivery rider just trying to do his job.

    In another instance, Portland police knocked 73-year-old photographer John Rudoff to the ground while aggressively arresting and striking protesters with their baton.

    According to Gregory McKelvey, Rudoff’s friend and the vice Chair of the Oregon Democrats Black Caucus, Rudoff said quote: “I shot the Syrian Refugee Crisis, I shot Paris Protests, I shot Bangladesh, I shot Hong Kong, and it was Portland Police who beat the shit out of me.”


    Clashes broke out on Sunday between Azerbaijan and Armenia, who have been in conflict over the breakaway province of Nagorno-Karabakh [NA GOR NO, KAR AH BACH] for years. Wire reports describe the recent fighting as much more severe than typical border skirmishes, with both sides reporting civilians dead or wounded.

    ABC reports that Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Brad nwas taken into custody on Sunday night by Fort Lauderdale Police after allegedly threatening to harm himself and briefly barricading himself in his home.

    Meanwhile, the Covid pandemic churns on. The World Health Organization warned on Friday that the global death toll from the virus could top two million if world governments don’t take collective action.

    And finally, zoomers rejoice! A U.S. judge temporarily blocked Trump’s ban on the TikTok app just hours before it was scheduled to go into effect, ruling that TikTok could have a temporary injunction against the ban on downloading the app that was supposed to go through on Sunday night.

    Sept 28, 2020 - AM Quickie

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Jack Crosbie

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw


  • Sept 25, 2020: RBG Mourners Boo Trump

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    Donald Trump couldn’t hide from the jeering crowd at public services for the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg yesterday. Plus, we round up the reactions to his statement refusing to commit to a peaceful transfer of power.

    Meanwhile, palm oil is in just about everything these days. A major investigation finds it’s not just bad for the environment – it’s produced in conditions tantamount to slavery.

    And lastly, nearly five hundred former top military officers sign a letter pledging to vote for Joe Biden. It’s another sign that Trump is losing the support of many who are sworn to defend the US Constitution.


    RBG mourners boo Trump

    A crowd of mourners booed Donald Trump outside the Supreme Court yesterday as he and Melania made an appearance during remembrance services for the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Trump reportedly plans to name her replacement on the court this weekend. People at the court chanted Vote Him Out. But will that be enough?

    Reactions came in swift after Trump said Wednesday night that he would not commit to a peaceful transfer of power following the November election. Asked directly at a White House press conference if he would peacefully relinquish power, Trump said that we’re going to have to see what happens. He also said QUOTE the ballots are a disaster... Get rid of the ballots and...there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There will be a continuation ENDQUOTE.

    The remarks put Democrats on edge. Delaware Senator Chris Coons said QUOTE When a leader with authoritarian tendencies tells you they intend to do something outrageous, like not accept a peaceful transition after an election, as President Trump said, you should believe them ENDQUOTE. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders said too many people have fought and died to defend American democracy for Trump to destroy it. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters it wasn’t worth the trouble to formally censure Trump. She said QUOTE he’s trying to have the Constitution of the United States swallow Clorox ENDQUOTE. Trump’s Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, asked facetiously, What country are we in? Biden added

    that Trump says the most irrational things, and concluded, QUOTE I don’t know what to say ENDQUOTE.

    Even some of Trump’s fellow Republicans seemed a little put off by his threat to ignore the election results. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wrote on Twitter that there will be an orderly transition just as there has been every four years since 1792. When asked if Republicans would stand up to Trump if he resists leaving the White House, Senator John Thune of South Dakota said he believed they would. Forgive me for feeling skeptical. If Republicans haven’t stood up to Trump yet, why would they start in November?

    Palm oil slavery expose

    A new Associated Press investigation offers the most comprehensive look yet at labor abuses in the palm oil industry. The AP interviewed more than one hundred and thirty workers from two dozen palm oil companies who labored on plantations in Malaysia and Indonesia. Those two countries produce most of the world’s palm oil. Workers spoke of child labor, outright slavery and rape. Fishermen who escaped years of slavery on boats described coming ashore in search of help, but instead being trafficked onto plantations -- sometimes with police involvement.

    Palm oil is virtually impossible to avoid. Often hidden amid a list of scientific names on labels, it can be found in roughly half the products on supermarket shelves. It’s in paints, plywood, pesticides and pills. It’s also present in animal feed, biofuels and even hand sanitizer. It’s used in baby formula and non-dairy creamers, and is listed on the labels of everything from Jif Natural peanut butter to Kit Kat candy bars. It’s equally useful in a host of cleansers and makeup products, as well as toothpaste and lipstick. One Burmese worker told the AP that when Americans see palm oil is listed as an ingredient in their snacks, they should know QUOTE it’s the same as consuming our sweat and blood ENDQUOTE.

    The AP traced the exploited laborers’ palm oil to the supply chains of top Western companies like the makers of Oreo cookies, Lysol cleaners and Hershey’s chocolate treats. Giant financial institutions like Deutsche Bank, BNY Mellon, Citigroup, HSBC and the Vanguard Group have invested in the crop, which has soared from just five million tons in 1999 to seventy two million today. The US alone has seen a nine hundred percent spike in demand during that same time. Gemma Tillack of the Rainforest Action Network told the AP QUOTE

    The buck stops with the banks. It is their funding that makes this system of exploitation possible ENDQUOTE. So: It’s time for a new divestment campaign.

    Military veterans endorse Biden

    Donald Trump’s support within the military ranks is slipping. The Washington Post reports that nearly five hundred retired senior military officers have signed an open letter in support of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. The letter says the former vice president has QUOTE the character, principles, wisdom and leadership necessary to address a world on fire ENDQUOTE.

    The letter was published yesterday morning by National Security Leaders for Biden. It has been signed by four hundred and eighty-nine people, who also include former Cabinet secretaries, service chiefs and other officials. Most have not previously spoken out.

    Retired Air Force General Charles G. Boyd recorded a video for the group’s Twitter account. He spent thirty six years in the United States Air Force, almost seven of those as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. Since his return, he’s been a Republican, but quietly. In the video, Boyd said QUOTE I fervently believe that military officers should not be involved in presidential politics, even when retired. But this year is different. Donald Trump’s assault on the rule of law that makes a democracy possible has been so egregious I’ve decided to speak out... We need to vote for Joe Biden this year. I’m going to vote for him. I hope you do, too ENDQUOTE.

    A poll of active-duty service members conducted last month by Military Times found a drop in military support for Trump. It showed Biden with a forty one percent to thirty seven percent advantage over Trump. The remaining twenty two percent of active-duty service members said they were planning either not to vote, or to support a third-party candidate. A similarly timed survey by the Military Times in 2016 gave Trump a two-to-one advantage over Hillary Clinton. However things shake out over the next few months, it’s good to know more people in uniform have gotten clued in to the real threats to American democracy.


    At least one hundred and twenty seven people were arrested in Louisville on the first night of protests following the announcement of a charging decision in the police killing of Breonna Taylor. Additionally, charges were brought against a twenty-six year old man, Larynzo Johnson, in connection to the shooting of two Louisville police officers, neither of whom suffered life-threatening injuries. Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported that at least one thousand and ten Americans have been shot and killed by police in the past year.

    Missouri Governor Mike Parson was among those Republicans who resisted calls for a mask mandate to fight the pandemic. Now Parson and his wife Teresa have both tested positive for the coronavirus. He is, by his own account, asymptomatic and in quarantine. According to the Washington Post, Missouri has recorded almost one hundred and seventeen thousand coronavirus cases, and nearly two thousand deaths.

    China has built nearly four hundred internment camps in the Xinjiang (ZIN-JANG) region, according to a study of satellite imagery by an Australian think tank reported in the Guardian. The Australian Strategic Policy Institute found that fourteen of three hundred and eighty camps in the region are still under construction. They range from low-security reeducation camps to fortified prisons, and survivors say they are primarily designed for Muslim minorities targeted by the central government in Beijing.

    An asteroid the size of a school bus missed the earth by thirteen thousand miles yesterday, the AP reported. That’s closer than many of the communications satellites in orbit. Scientists say it was not big enough to have destroyed human civilization if it had entered the atmosphere. And its path won’t cross ours again until 2041. Better luck next time, perhaps.

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

    Sept 25, 2020 - AM Quickie

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Corey Pein

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw


  • Sept 24, 2020: Outrage Over Breonna Taylor decision

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    Protests continue after a Kentucky grand jury reached a decision on whether to charge police in the killing of Breonna Taylor. Critics call it a victory for police impunity.

    Meanwhile, indigenous protesters in Arizona get roughed up by federal authorities after shutting down construction on Donald Trump’s border wall. They say work crews are damaging a sacred freshwater spring in the area.

    And lastly, teachers’ union leaders say the science worked in school districts that implemented social distancing and mask requirements. Preliminary data suggests the coronavirus is not spreading like wildfire through schools that took precautions.


    Outrage over Taylor decision

    There is still no justice for Breonna Taylor. A grand jury in Jefferson County, Kentucky yesterday indicted one of three Louisville police officers involved in the fatal shooting of the twenty-six year old on March 13. Former detective Brett Hankison was indicted on three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment, per the Louisville Courier-Journal. Sergeant Jonathan Mattingly was not indicted, nor was detective Myles Cosgrove.

    The charge against Hankinson does not stem from killing Taylor, but for shooting into other apartments in the neighborhood. Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said officers Mattingly and Cosgrove were justified in their actions. They also fired their weapons at Taylor’s apartment that night – for a total of thirty-two shots. It remains unclear which officers fired the six shots that killed Taylor. Attorneys for Taylor’s family called the charging decision outrageous and offensive. Others joined that chorus. Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris said she hadn’t yet read the decision but QUOTE Taylor and her family deserve justice yesterday, today and tomorrow ENDQUOTE. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders called the result a disgrace and an abdication of justice, adding QUOTE Our criminal justice system is racist. The time for fundamental change is now ENDQUOTE. Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar called the charges an absolute disgrace. And the American Civil

    Liberties Union of Kentucky said QUOTE Once again, the state has denied that Black lives matter by failing to hold law enforcement accountable ENDQUOTE.

    Protests that have been ongoing in Louisville picked up again after yesterday’s announcement, despite a preemptive declaration of emergency by the mayor. Online video showed white men carrying guns and wearing military-style uniforms patroling the streets. The vigilantes moved apparently unimpeded by police. The National Guard was also deployed. Many businesses and government offices were boarded up and a twenty-five block perimeter of the city was closed to traffic. Before night fell, police deployed a chemical agent into a crowd of protesters and made several arrests. Black Lives Matter solidarity marches also took place in a number of other cities last night, including Chicago, which also saw an armored National Guard vehicles take to the streets.

    Activists impede border wall

    For five hours on Monday, indigenous protesters halted construction of Trump’s wall on the Arizona-Mexico border. The protest ended with federal authorities inflicting violence on the peaceful protesters. According to the Arizona Republic and Arizona Pubic Media, the protest began in the morning against a stretch of fencing in the Quitobaquito (KEY-TOH BAH- KEY-TOH) region of the Organ Pipe National Forest in southwestern Arizona. It is an area with a spring that the O'odham (OH-UH-DAHM) people consider sacred.

    After a blessing and a prayer, organizers with the O’odham Anti Border Collective led a group of about twenty-five protesters to the construction site at the border. The concrete for the barrier installation uses nearby groundwater from the sacred spring. As one speaker said, QUOTE that water aquifer that you're draining helped us survive, and helped every traveler that came through survive. That water didn't discriminate ENDQUOTE.

    The temperature was one hundred and six degrees by the afternoon, when National Park Service officers arrived and warned the group to move. Some began to sing O’odham prayer songs as sage was burnt. At 2 p.m., a caravan of twenty-five Border Patrol agents arrived. Some carried paintball guns; others AR-15s. Within the hour, the Border Patrol agents and two park rangers rushed the protesters, knocking people to the ground. No arrests were made, but protesters were left with scrapes and bruises as they were dragged away. One told the agents QUOTE You don’t control the border, you terrorize everyone here from Texas to California and everywhere in between ENDQUOTE.

    Coronavirus: Schools faring okay

    There’s some encouraging news about the coronavirus pandemic, at least as it relates to America’s K-through-twelve schools. The Washington Post reports that although thousands of students and teachers have become sick with the coronavirus since schools began opening last month, public health experts have found little evidence that the virus is spreading inside buildings. Moreover, the rates of infection are far below what is found in the surrounding communities. Experts told the Post this early evidence suggests that opening schools may not be as risky as many have feared_._

    Brown University researchers yesterday released their first set of data from a new project tracking coronavirus cases in schools. It found low levels of infection among students and teachers. Tracking infections over a two-week period beginning August 31st, it found that zero point two-three percent of students had a confirmed or suspected case of the coronavirus. Among teachers, it was zero point four-nine percent.

    Some experts, including teacher’s union officials, say it appears that coronavirus rates are lower in school districts where face coverings are required and polices are enforced to keep distance between students in the building. Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said the science worked in districts that took adequate precautions.


    The Senate Republicans’ inquiry into Joe and Hunter Biden’s activities in Ukraine wrapped up yesterday. It found no evidence of wrongdoing by the Democratic presidential nominee or his son. It also found no evidence that Hunter Biden’s business in Ukraine caused any change in policy under the Obama adminisration. Oregon Democratic Senator Ron Wyden, the ranking member of the Finance Committee, called the Republican report a sham investigation that served to push Russian disinformation. Much ado about... not much.

    Trump administration officials are reportedly frustrated that Russia is mum about whether it will agree to an arms control deal in time for Trump to brag about it on the campaign trail. The 2010 New Start treaty expires next February. Russia wants to extend it and the White House wants to replace it with a new treaty that includes China. But Russia has been mum on a proposal US negotiators released two weeks ago. I guess Trump isn’t as friendly with Vladimir Putin as he seems to imagine.

    A new paper in the journal Nature says that even if the terms of the Paris climate agreement are met – which is a long shot – the unstoppable melting of Antarctica’s ice will cause sea levels to rise by more than eight feet. Anders Levermann, one of the paper’s co- authors, told the Guardian that the more scientists learn about Antarctica, the more dire their predictions become. He added QUOTE We will be renowned in future as the people who flooded New York City ENDQUOTE. Sounds pretty bad!

    After at least three boats were damaged by orcas, Spanish authorities have restricted small yachts from a stretch of water off the country’s northwest coast, the Guardian reports. According to Bruno Diaz, a biologist at the local Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute, the orcas that damaged the boats probably did not mistake them for prey. Rather, he said, they were just immature teenagers out having fun. Hey, sailors: leave those whales alone.

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

    Sept 24, 2020 - AM Quickie

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Corey Pein

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw


  • Sept 23, 2020: Biden Addresses Court Packing

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    World leaders came together, sort of, but not really, at this year’s United Nations general assembly. Donald Trump treated the occasion like another campaign rally.

    Meanwhile, will Democrats pack the Supreme Court if they win power? Joe Biden is keeping his cards close to his chest.

    And lastly, we know there are loud and obnoxious ones, but are there any shy Trump voters out there? A new survey says not so much.


    China pledges "green revolution"

    The UN general assembly was in session yesterday – virtually, on account of the pandemic. Only one diplomat from each of the one-hundred and ninety three member nations was allowed in the chamber. Each, of course, wore a mask. The socially distanced diplomats heard UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres describe the state of the world as pretty darn grim. Guterres said the epochal crisis of the coronavirus pandemic was but a dress rehearsal for the challenges to come. He called for a global cease fire amid ongoing conflicts in the Middle East and Africa, and, addressing the intensifying rivalry between the United States and China, said a new Cold War must be avoided. Guterres said QUOTE Populism and nationalism have failed. Those approaches to contain the virus have often made things manifestly worse... We are moving in a very dangerous direction. Our world cannot afford a future where the two largest economies split the globe in a great fracture – each with its own trade and financial rules and internet and artificial intelligence capacities ENDQUOTE.

    Donald Trump spent most of his prerecorded speech railing against China, blaming it for the coronavirus. Nothing new there. China’s representative called Trump’s accusations baseless, and Chinese President Xi Jinping said it would seek to resolve differences through dialogue and negotiation. Xi also called for a green revolution and said his country would go carbon- neutral by 2060, while aiming to see its carbon dioxide emissions peak by 2030.

    In other speeches: Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro attacked critics of his environmental policies, which are causing the rapid destruction of the Amazon rainforest; Russia’s Vladimir

    Putin said he wanted to discuss global cooperation on vaccines; Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for dialogue to resolve his country’s standoff with Greece over energy resources in the Mediterranean Sea; and Cuba’s president Miguel Díaz Canel Bermúdez accused Trump of promoting trade wars, adding that the US has QUOTE an abundance of practically uncontrolled expressions of hatred, racism and police brutality ENDQUOTE. Please, tell us something we don’t know.

    Biden addresses court packing

    Utah Senator Mitt Romney was the only Republican to vote to impeach Trump. But when it comes to filling the Supreme Court vacancy left by the recently deceased Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Romney is just another Republican. Yesterday he said he believes that Trump should get to appoint a justice to Ginsburg’s seat whether or not he wins reelection in November. As the Washington Post noted, this means the next conservative judicial appointment to the nation’s highest court becomes a matter of when, not if, as decided by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

    There are signs of growing unity among Democrats preparing to fight the Republican nomination, even if their options are limited. New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez made a joint appearance with New York Senator Chuck Schumer on Sunday in Brooklyn, and they urged supporters to mobilize over this issue. In a prior speech posted to her Instagram account, AOC said QUOTE this moment is not the time for despair, it is not the time for cynicism. It is not the time to give up... The actual balance of our democracy rests in the actions that we choose to make – that I choose to make, that you choose to make, that every single individual – chooses to make between now and election day ENDQUOTE.

    Meanwhile, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden faced questions about the court vacancy during a campaign stop in Wisconsin on Monday. Asked if he would support a strategy of packing the court with additional justices should Democrats take control of the White House and Congress next year, Biden punted. He told a local TV news reporter QUOTE It’s a legitimate question. But let me tell you why I'm not going to answer that question: because it will shift all the focus. That’s what [Trump] wants... The discussion should be about why he is moving in a direction that’s totally inconsistent with what [the] Founders

    wanted ENDQUOTE. Because Biden has previously opposed court-packing, some are interpreting this answer as a signal that he might now be open to the idea. We’ll see, I guess.

    Few "shy" Trump voters

    Via the New York Times, there’s an encouraging new poll result for progressives. Many political wonks have put forward the theory that Trump’s support is under-represented in surveys because his fans may be embarrassed to own up to their preferences. But the polling outfit Morning Consult designed an experiment to test this theory, and found it false. Morning Consult selected a group of voters online, then surveyed half of the respondents over the phone and the other half online. The thinking was that so-called shy Trump voters would be more likely to answer the survey truthfully online as opposed to speaking to a stranger over the phone. And when it came to certain embarrassing questions, such as inquiries about personal finances or attitudes about discrimination, the online respondents did answer differently than the phone respondents. But there was no meaningful difference between the two groups on the question of supporting Trump. What this means is that there is not likely a large group of secret Trump voters waiting to cast their ballots come election day. And it supports the Times’ conclusion that the race is fairly stable, with Biden maintaining a significant percentage point lead over Trump both nationally and in many state polls.


    An investigation by BBC News and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists found that gold from a refinery used by organized criminal networks also made its way into the supply chains for smartphones and cars. Investigators concluded that the Dubai- based trader Kaloti was buying gold from criminal networks. The US Treasury was aware of the problem but never took action. And so tons of illegal gold wound up in components made by Apple, Amazon, and General Motors. More business as usual.

    The Cares Act, which Congress passed earlier this year, gave the Pentagon one billion dollars to QUOTE prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus ENDQUOTE. But that’s not what happened. According to the Washington Post, the medical equipment fund was

    instead diverted to defense contractors and used to make things such as jet engine parts, body armor and dress uniforms. So here you have another reason why hospitals didn’t have enough personal protective equipment on hand. Rolls-Royce got the money instead!

    Louisville, Kentucky mayor Greg Fischer yesterday declared a state of emergency, giving him the power to set curfews and other restrictions. It’s all on account of the potential for unrest following an announcement in the Breonna Taylor case, which is expected soon. To be clear, no announcement had been made at the time of the emergency declaration. But city leaders apparently expect big protests when Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announces whether police will face charges for Taylor’s killing. I guess city leaders assume no charges will be filed – otherwise, why would they expect unrest? It smells like a fix.

    Shoutouts to Berlin, Bristol, Cape Town, Durban, London, Los Angeles, Milan, New Orleans, New York, Oslo, Pittsburgh and Vancouver. Those are the twelve cities that yesterday pledged to divest from fossil fuel companies in an effort to fight climate change. They’re hoping other major investors will follow suit. Hey, it’s worth a shot.

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

    Sept 23, 2020 - AM Quickie

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Corey Pein

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw


  • Sept 22, 2020: Feds Tapped Portland Phones

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    A new report by the nation alleges that Federal authorities used a sophisticated cloning system to tap protesters phones during unrest in Portland, Oregon this summer.

    Meanwhile, Immigrant detainees are receiving incredibly poor medical and dental care while in government custody -- and a new report by the Democratic House Homeland Security Committee shows that they often face penalties for speaking out.

    And lastly, the gig economy has truly outdone itself, as a new startup called Civvl (that’s the word Civil, with two V’s for some reason), promises to hire gig workers to carry out evictions, capitalizing on every aspect of the country’s economic recession at once to do basically the most amoral thing possible. Very cool!


    Feds Tapped Portland Phones

    A new report in the Nation cites two former intelligence officials making a pretty stunning allegation: that Federal agents sent to quell protests in Portland Oregon also engaged in a classified cell phone cloning operation that aimed to lift information off of protesters phones.

    According to the Nation, the DHS has not come clean about this. Details of the operation are still classified, but the Nation reports that it included interceptions of protesters phone calls by either the DHS or other federal agencies involved, like the Department of Justice.

    While this would be a shocking weaponization of unwarranted surveillance against citizens exercising first amendment rights, it’s not exactly hard to believe. The Washington Post previously reported that the DHS’s intelligence division was building out dossiers on prominent journalists covering the protests in Portland, and then refused to answer congressional inquiries about them.

    Another key piece of evidence the Nation cites is an anonymous former official saying that when the DHS’s intelligence wing asked for volunteers to go to Portland, very few hands got raised. The former official said quote: “The fact that they asked for volunteers shows that it was outside the scope of their only do that if you don’t have the ability to order someone to go, probably because it’s illegal.” endquote.

    It’s unclear when, or if we’ll get an understanding of the full scope of the federal government’s actions in Portland. It’s even more unclear whether there will be any consequences for the people responsible.

    ICE Detainees Punished for Speaking Out

    Democrats on the House Homeland Security Committee on Monday issued a devastating report on the conditions for immigrants in ICE detention.

    The core complaints that detainees are getting insufficient medical and dental care are something we’ve heard for years about ICE.

    But what the Democrats new findings show is that the fascist agency may have started internally punishing detainees who speak out and ask for better treatment.

    The report cites eight separate inspections of ICE facilities in multiple states, saying quote.

    “Conditions at ICE facilities also revealed ongoing problems with cleanliness, use of segregation, and access to legal and language services.” Endquote.

    What that looks like in practice is distressing. The Washington post notes that the report tells of one detainee in Louisiana who went into anaphylactic shock four times in four months before anyone thought to do a blood test and discover his peanut allergy.

    And when detainees spoke out, they were threatened. In some cases, the report said guards threatened to lock detainees in solitary confinement if they complained too much or made too many medical requests.

    ICE claims it’s taking the report seriously, just as it claimed it was taking last week’s allegations of mass hysterectomies being performed on women under its care seriously. We’ll believe it when we see some proof of change. I doubt that’s coming anytime soon.

    New App is Uber for Evictions

    Has the gig economy gone too far? Well, yes. Many years ago. But would you believe that it continues, now, to get even worse?

    A startup called CIVVL launched recently, flying under the radar until a VICE report today explained what it was all about. The company is basically UBER for landlords, but instead of a driver you hire someone to evict your tenants for you.

    This is brutal, soul-crushing stuff for everyone involved, except the landlords throwing people out on the street of course. The company has been advertising widely on craigslist, according to VICE, with ads that promise steady work due to just how messed up the economy is.

    Per VICE, one of the ads reads quote:

    "Unemployment is at a record high and many cannot or simply are not paying rent and mortgages. We are being contracted by frustrated property owners and banks to secure foreclosed residential properties."

    In other words, CIVVL is taking unemployed people desperate for any paying work and using them to evict other probably unemployed people from their homes, all while taking a cut of what must be some of the dirtiest money imaginable. They’re also spelling the name of their company C I V V L, which somehow makes the whole thing even more depraved because they couldn’t even bother to give their company a name that didn’t sound overtly evil and stupid.

    VICE reports that CIVVL is actually connected to a larger gig-economy company called OnQuall, that’s CALL spelled with a Q for some reason, which runs a portfolio of similarly misspelled apps like LawnFixr and MoveQwik. To put icing on top, the app charges you a $35 enrollment fee to sign up to be an eviction-deliverer.

    It’s clear that this company is scraping the bottom of the absolute barrel, but the fact that there are no regulatory protections making something like this illegal is just a testament to how broken this country is. As Chicago’s Autonomous Tenant’s Union put it, the company’s existence is quote: "a frank admission that our housing system is predicated on violence." endquote.


    The Daily Beast exposed an anonymous right-wing troll who’s been going on anti-mask rants on the ultra-conservative RedState site: and it turns out he’s a PR guy for Dr. Fauci’s infectious disease agency. Probably not for much longer though!

    The Manhattan District Attorney’s office suggested in a filing Monday that it had grounds to investigate President Trump and his businesses for criminal fraud. So, we’ll see where that one goes! Could be promising, but we’ve heard that before.

    The CDC on Monday mysteriously withdrew advice that it had published just days before on its website about the dangers of COVID-19 spreading through aerosolized droplets. Just wiped it right off the site, despite the fact that independent scientists confirm that method of transmission is a risk, right as we’re all about to head inside for the winter.

    And finally, Louisville, Kentucky’s Interim Chief of Police declared a state of emergency for the police department Monday, cancelling all days off and vacation requests for officers ahead of a big Attorney General announcement in the Breonna Taylor case. The announcement should come some time this week, and it looks like the cops are gearing up for some major backlash.

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

    Sept 22, 2020 - AM Quickie

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Jack Crosbie

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw


  • Sept 21, 2020: RBG Replacement Race

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


    Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg died on Friday at the age of 87, immediately kicking off a nasty political dogfight over her successor on the Supreme Court. Trump and Mitch McConnell want to get a new justice on the bench as soon as possible, but do they have the votes?

    Meanwhile, a new, expansive BuzzFeed investigation dives deep into the disturbing web of dark money funneled between criminal organizations and big banks. Corruption isn’t really a new trend, but some of the details here are shocking.

    And lastly, Coronavirus cases near 200,000 in the U.S., as Trump makes outlandish promises about a vaccine that aren’t backed up by health officials.


    RBG Replacement Race

    Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg died on Friday at the age of 87. Ginsberg was a legend on the Supreme Court, setting a high standard for razor sharp dissents against her conservative peers’ repressive interpretations of the law.

    But her passing had been written on the wall for years, and Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump have wasted no time in exploiting it.

    In statement released to NPR after her death, Ginsburg said: “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”

    The Republicans have turned hypocrite as fast as they possibly can, abandoning 2016 promises to let a late-term Supreme Court vacancy be filled by the next president in a heartbeat as they rush to get the most conservative person possible into Bader Ginsberg’s seat.

    Trump says he’ll announce his nominee this week, and promises it will be a woman. So far, the most likely candidates are federal appeals judge Amy Coney Barrett, a hard-line Catholic who would likely vote against abortion and to rule against the Affordable Care Act, and the very-slightly more moderate Florida Supreme Court Justice Barbara Lagoa. Lagoa is a bit less likely to dismantle Roe v Wade, but Trump could go with her in the hopes that she’d help lock in Florida’s electoral votes in November.

    The big question is when the Senate confirmation vote gets held, and whether or not McConnell has the votes. Both Senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins have said they won’t vote on a

    Justice before the election, but after that, especially in the lame duck period, who knows. And thus the exhausting fight over the Senate’s mythical moderates begins all over again.

    Massive Leak Proves: Corruption? It's real!

    An explosive leak of documents to BuzzFeed news has kicked off a massive, sprawling financial investigation into deep corners of the criminal underworld and financial elite. The leak and resulting stories are being referred to as the FinCEN Files.

    The files themselves are a collection of 2,657 documents, most of which are suspicious activity reports, or SARs.

    As BBC reported, SARs are not evidence of wrongdoing - banks send them to the authorities if they suspect customers could be up to no good. But what they do show is a massive paper trail between the biggest banks in the world and international organized crime.

    One of the SARs, for instance, shows how HSBC was slow to act and shut down a known scammers accounts as he orchestrated an $80 million ponzi scheme. And that’s a relatively tame one. BuzzFeed’s reporting found SARs tracking billions of dollars flowing through the world’s largest banks that was used to launder money for drug cartels, organized crime rings, and fund terrorism across the globe.

    When Banks do flag these operations, they’re sent as SARs to the U.S. Treasury department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FINCEN. But the core of BuzzFeed’s reporting shows that FINCEN often does little more with these documents than pass them on to other law enforcement agencies, and apply fines. It doesn’t shut the banks down, nor does it arrest the people at them laundering the dirty money.

    This is a huge story and the ramifications of it are going to be echoing around politics and business for years. It might get lost in the news cycle as we go through the election, but for now, it’s a window in to the ways that negligent governments like ours enable the biggest thieves and criminals on the planet -- some of whom work out of corner offices in Manhattan.

    200,000 Coronavirus Deaths

    The Coronavirus pandemic didn’t go away over the summer. And it’s not going away in the fall. The U.S. is rapidly approaching 200,000 total deaths, as the world ticks closer to 1 million.

    What it is becoming, though, is a political axis that could swing the 2020 election. Trump’s plan, as it has been for months, is to promise a vaccine and an end to the pandemic that he helped enflame before the election.

    At a news conference on Friday, Trump said quote: “We will have manufactured at least 100 million vaccine doses before the end of the year. And likely much more than that. Hundreds of

    millions of doses will be available every month, and we expect to have enough vaccines for every American by April.”

    What he’s doing is basically promising that right around election time, that vaccine is going to hit the streets. U.S. health officials aren’t quite so confident, putting the actual timeline at widespread vaccine availability in the U.S. a few months later, in mid 2021.

    Meanwhile, we have no idea how bad any resurgence of cases is going to be. Madrid is Spain is about to go under a second lockdown due to a surge in cases, and colleges across the U.S. have emerged as hotspots of the disease after re-opening in the fall. The New York Times reports that there have been at least 88,000 new cases and 60 deaths of coronavirus linked to college campuses thus far, and the nation’s daily count of new cases is starting to climb again after declining for over a month.

    In short, we have no idea where we’re at on this thing, and the president can’t be trusted.


    Remember the strange hullabaloo over TikTok? President Trump approved the app’s strange sale to Oracle and Walmart after a weird pissing war with China. Along the way, he extracted his take: a promise that the company would give $5 billion in new taxes to the government to create some kind of nebulous education initiative. That sound like a slush fund to anyone else?

    And in everyday corrupt, dangerous news, the Trump administration’s Environmental Protection Agency reauthorized the use of atrazine, an herbicide common in the United States but banned or being phased out in dozens of countries due to concerns about risks such as birth defects and cancer.

    The Miami Herald’s Spanish-language sister paper was forced to apologize, and blamed quote “internal failures” after it published a paid insert that was a pages-long anti-semitic and racist tirade. Sounds like someone should have uh... checked that one out before sending it to the printer!

    Mike Pompeo is once again stoking the flames of war with Iran, saying on Saturday night that UN sanctions on the country had been snapped back on. The U.N., meanwhile, said that they had not been. We’re gonna trust the UN on this one.

    That’s it for the Majority Report’s AM Quickie today. Stay tuned for the full show with Sam in a bit!

    Sept 21, 2020 - AM Quickie

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Jack Crosbie

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw


  • Sept 18, 2020: Another Trump Assault Claim

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


    Donald Trump faces yet another claim that he sexually assaulted a woman. His accuser says she wants her daughters to know that it’s not okay to treat women the way Trump does.

    Meanwhile, it turns out the United States Postal Service had a plan to send free masks to every home address in the country. But guess who put the kibosh on that idea.

    And lastly, is Attorney General Bill Barr climbing down into the bunker with Trump? He’s now openly at odds with Justice Department prosecutors and the head of the FBI


    Another Trump assault claim

    Another woman has come forward with an allegation of sexual assault by Donald Trump. Amy Dorris told the Guardian that Trump assaulted her when she was twenty four years old and he fifty one, and married to his second wife, Marla Maples. The assault allegedly took place outside the bathroom in Trump’s VIP box at the US Open tournament in New York. It was September 5th, 1997.

    Dorris had been invited there by her boyfriend at the time, who was in real estate and friendly with Trump. When she went to the bathroom to adjust her contact lenses, Trump followed her and waited outside. She told the Guardian that Trump QUOTE shoved his tongue down my throat and I was pushing him off. And then that’s when his grip became tighter and his hands were very gropey and all over my butt, my breasts, my back, everything. I was in his grip, and I couldn’t get out of it ENDQUOTE. She added that she pushed Trump’s tongue out of her mouth with her teeth, and may have hurt his tongue.

    Dorris provided the Guardian with evidence to support her account, including her ticket to the US Open and six photos showing her with Trump over several days in New York. The newspaper says her account was also corroborated by several people she confided in... They include a friend in New York and Dorris’s mother, both of whom she called immediately after the alleged incident, as well as a therapist and friends she spoke to in the years since.

    Dorris now lives in Florida. She is 48 and a mother to twin daughters. It was for their benefit she said she decided to come forward now. Trump denied the assault through his lawyers.

    USPS abandoned mask program

    A huge trove of US Postal Service documents obtained by the Washington Post shows that the agency was ready to help fight the coronavirus pandemic in a big way – but then didn’t. In April, the documents show, USPS leaders prepared a news release announcing plans to distribute six hundred and fifty million facemasks. That’s five masks for every household in the country. For free. And the plan would have ensured they got sent to the hardest-hit areas first. But Trump’s White House nixed that helpful idea, as it is wont to do.

    The internal documents came to light thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request by a watchdog group called American Oversight, which shared them with the Post. The info-haul comprised nearly ten thousand pages of emails, legal memos, presentations and other documents. The papers mostly span March and April, before Trump’s flunkie Louis DeJoy took over the Postal Service.

    The documents also show tense negotiations with Amazon; internal appeals by mail carriers who were fearful of exposure to the coronavirus; and attempts at partisan subterfuge by the Republican Party. But the abortive plan to distribute masks by mail took all the headlines yesterday. One administration official told the Post that there was concern from the White House Domestic Policy Council and vice president Mike Pence’s office that mailing out masks might create a panic. These absolute schmucks!

    "God-awful" Barr remarks

    There are some signs lately that Trump’s key allies and enablers, among them Attorney General Bill Barr, are increasingly isolated. For instance, Federal Bureau of Investigation director Chris Wray testified to the House Homeland Security Committee yesterday, and directly contradicted Barr on a matter of fact. Barr has portrayed Antifa as a dangerous extremist group. But when asked about it under oath, Wray said Antifa was QUOTE not a group or an organization — it’s a movement or an ideology ENDQUOTE. He added that racially and ethnically motivated violent extremists were responsible for the most lethal

    attacks in recent years, with white supremacists making up the largest portion of those killings, NBC News reported.

    Barr was under fire yesterday for his comments equating pandemic mask mandates to slavery. House Majority Whip James Clyburn yesterday said Barr’s comparison was QUOTE the most ridiculous, tone-deaf, God-awful thing I've ever heard ENDQUOTE. And Barr lashed out at his own staff this week, comparing some to preschoolers and likening his own Justice Department to a trade association for federal prosecutors. He made those comments in a speech at Hillsdale College in Michigan on Wednesday.

    Another sign of White House allies adopting a bunker mentality: Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf was a no-show at yesterday’s House hearings. Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, a Democrat from Michigan, said Wolf’s decision to ignore a subpoena should appall every member of Congress.


    Graduate students at the University of Michigan voted to end their nine-day strike and returned to classes yesterday. University administrators this week sued the Graduate Employees’ Organization over the strike; the union represents about two thousands students who teach classes or assist faculty. Per the Associated Press, the union says it achieved critical progress on childcare options, coronavirus testing and concerns about campus police.

    The Pennsylvania Supreme Court yesterday knocked the Green Party presidential ticket off the ballot, on the grounds that the candidates did not submit signed filing papers in person, as required by state rules. The decision means election officials can resume preparing ballots for delivery to voters. In separate rulings favoring Democrats, the court allowed for voters to submit ballots via a drop box in addition to the Postal Service, and partially blocked a Republican plan for partisan poll watchers.

    During anti-Trump protests in Washington, DC, in early June, the military considered deploying an experimental heat ray against peaceful crowds. The news emerged via the Washington Post yesterday thanks to a whistleblower in the DC National Guard, Major Adam

    DeMarco, who testified to Congress in July. The weapon, called the Active Denial System, was reportedly not used in Iraq or Afghanistan on account of ethical and safety concerns.

    The Financial Times reported this week that the king of Thailand has built up a large fleet of thirty-eight helicopters and airplanes, including four fighter jets. The king is a billionaire who spends a lot of time at his estate in Germany. The revelation comes as student protesters and opposition politicians grow bolder about challenging the increasingly unpopular monarchy, which is protected by lese majeste (LESS MAJ-ESS-TAY) laws banning criticism. It’s unclear why the king of Thailand needs his own private air force. Maybe, like Elon Musk, he just really hates traffic.

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

    Sept 18, 2020 - AM Quickie

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Corey Pein

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw


  • Sept 17, 2020: Democrats Demand Hysterectomies Investigation

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


    More details emerged about forced hysterectomies at a prison for immigrants in Georgia. At least seventeen women may have been subjected to the procedures by one doctor, though the full scope is yet to be revealed.

    Meanwhile, low-income students are giving up on college as a result of the pandemic. Experts fear a new lost generation in higher education.

    And lastly, there were some big wins for progressive candidates in Delaware this week. A social worker won an upset victory over a forty-year incumbent in the state senate.


    Democrats demand hysterectomies investigation

    New information emerged yesterday regarding the unsettling account of forced hysterectomies at a for-profit immigration detention center in Ocilla, Georgia. Washington State Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal released a statement after meeting attorneys for the women who were subjected to the sterilization procedure.

    Jayapal said QUOTE It has become clear that the initial reports are likely part of a horrific pattern of conduct. There may be, at minimum, seventeen women who were subjected to unnecessary procedures from just one doctor, often without appropriate consent or knowledge, and with the clear intention of sterilization ENDQUOTE. Jayapal added that it's possible there are similar cases for individuals who were already deported.

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also demanded an investigation yesterday, calling upon the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General to inquire into what she called QUOTE a staggering abuse of human rights ENDQUOTE. More than one hundred and sixty Democrats signed a letter demanding that the I.G. investigation begin immediately.

    In the meantime, other details about what has been happening at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility emerged from Jayapal’s preliminary Congressional investigation, which she pledged to continue. As Jayapal said:

    One woman, who was nearly deported, consulted the doctor simply about her menstrual cycle. She was put under for what she was told would be a simple procedure, only to wake up and find that the doctor had removed part of her reproductive organs without her knowledge or consent.

    Another woman, already deported, apparently went in to see the doctor for a simple condition related to diabetes and ended up having gynecological surgery. Two additional women apparently were shackled to the bed, reported to have had surgical procedures including a hysterectomy.

    The new details add substance to the whistleblower account we told you about yesterday. All information has so far come through attorneys for the women who have been victimized, but the public hasn’t yet heard from those women directly. Nor have we seen any documents or other evidence about the nature and scope of the procedures. It will take time to get all the answers, but we haven’t heard the last on this story, that’s for sure.

    Poorer students dropping college

    Across the country, low-income students are dropping out of college. Others are making the decision not to enroll at all. According to the Washington Post, some one hundred thousand fewer high school seniors completed financial aid applications this year.

    What’s more, an August survey by the US Census found that students from families annual with incomes under seventy five thousand dollars are nearly twice as likely to cancel all their plans to take classes this fall, compared to students from families with incomes over one hundred thousand dollars. And tuition deposits are down down eight point four percent among families making less than sixty thousand dollars a year. Enrollment trends so far show especially steep drops among Black students and rural white students. While some students are adapting to the situation by applying to lower-cost colleges, enrollment at community colleges seems to be hard hit.

    The drop in enrollment is unique to the pandemic, the Post says. During the 2008 Great Recession, college enrollment grew, as is typical during economic downturns. Bill DeBaun, data director for the National College Attainment Network, said the ultimate fear is this could be a lost generation of low-income students. A number of students told the Post they couldn’t justify the expense of full tuition in order to take online classes, without the benefits of college attendance such as access to a library and other facilities.

    Progressive upset in Delaware

    Political primary season is over. And there were some stunning results this week in Delaware’s state primary, which concluded on Tuesday.

    In the thirteenth district, social worker Marie Pinkney, a political newcomer running on a progressive platform, defeated the powerful and long-serving Senate President Pro Tem David McBride. According to the Associated Press, McBridge joined the Delaware state senate in 1980 and hadn’t faced a primary challenger since 1986. Pinkney advances to face Republican Alexander Homich in the general election. Pinkney was one of four Delaware candidates endorsed by the Working Families Party to win seats this week. The others were Larry Lambert in House District Seven, Eric Morrison in House District Twenty-Seven, Madinah Wilson-Anton in House District Twenty-Six, and Shané (SHAW-NEIGH) Darby for Wilmington City Council district two. All minus Morrison are people of color.

    There was another result worth mentioning: Lauren Witzke, another Q-Anon kook, won the US Senate Republican primary, and will challenge incumbent Democrat Chris Coons in November. According to the Daily Beast, Witzke has also endorsed the idea of Trump becoming a lifelong king of the United States, and said she believes that the earth is flat. Fortunately, Coons is favored.


    Hurricane Sally, a storm that meterologists said seemed to come out of nowhere, slammed Florida and Alabama yesterday. It was downgraded to a tropical storm after making landfall, but it still brought massive and destructive flooding. Georgia and South Carolina are in line to be hit by the center of the storm today. Batten your hatches, folks.

    Attorney General Bill Barr last week suggested to federal prosecutors that they might charge some protesters with sedition – that is, the crime of conspiring to overthrow the US

    government. The Wall Street Journal first reported the news yesterday, as well as the fact that some federal prosecutors were taken aback by Barr’s suggestion. As well they should be!

    Michael Caputo, the Health and Human Services spokesman who posted an unhinged Facebook Live rant about left-wing insurrectioninsts in his department and called upon Trump supporters to stock up on ammunition, will be taking a leave of absence. According to the New York Times, Centers for Disease Control director Robert Redfield told a Senate panel yesterday that he was deeply saddened by Caputo’s comments and said his remarks about government scientists committing sedition were false and offensive. To say the least.

    Decolonization news: the country of Barbados announced it would remove England’s Queen Elizabeth the Second as its head of state. The move toward full sovereignty will take effect next November, when Barbados celebrates fifty-five years of independence. Per CBS News, both Buckingham Palace and the British Foreign Office said the matter is up to Barbados, which, historically speaking, is a big step forward for the Brits.

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

    Sept 1, 2020 - AM Quickie

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Corey Pein

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw


  • Sept 16, 2020: Breonna Taylor's Family Wins Settlement

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


    A shocking whistleblower complaint reveals that an ICE detention facility has been performing a staggering number of hysterectomies on immigrant women, effectively practicing eugenics on a vulnerable population in the government’s care.

    Meanwhile, the city of Louisville, Kentucky settles with the family of Breonna Taylor, who will receive $12 million. But there’s not dollar price on death, and her killers have yet to face justice.

    And lastly, Israel signs two landmark agreements to normalize relations with Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. But the newfound cooperation will do little to change the suffering of the Palestinian people.


    Eugenics at ICE Facility

    A new whistleblower complaint filed Monday reveals one of the most depraved practices normalized by this country’s barbaric immigration system.

    The complaint specifically names the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia, which houses ICE detainees but is run by a private prison company. It was filed on behalf of several detained immigrants as well as a nurse, named Dawn Wooten, and has multiple women alleging that hysterectomies were overly frequent among detainees. One woman said she’d met five other women who had hysterectomies while being detained in a two-month period between October and December in 2019.

    What’s worse, the woman told a Georgia nonprofit that the inmates were often sent to see one particular gynecologist outside of the prison.

    She said quote: “When I met all these women who had had surgeries, I thought this was like an experimental concentration camp. It was like they’re experimenting with their bodies.” endquote.

    The complaint phrases these incidents as quote “jarring medical neglect.” But what it easily sounds like to a layperson is straight-up eugenics. A hysterectomie is major, life altering surgery that permanently removes a woman’s ability to have children -- and in some cases, the complaint alleges that women weren’t even sure why they were having the procedure, according to Wooten, the Irwin nurse who helped file the complaint. She said quote:

    “We’ve questioned among ourselves, like, goodness, he’s taking everybody’s stuff out. That’s his specialty, he’s the uterus collector. Everybody he sees, he’s taking all their uteruses out or he’s taken their tubes out.” Endquote.

    The shocking reproductive violence in the complaint makes its other abuses seem almost mundane. According to Wooten, the inmates’ protections from coronavirus are woefully lacking as well. In a statement to Vice News, ICE deferred questions to the Office of the Inspector General, but said that quote “anonymous, unproven allegations” endquote should be treated with skepticism. It’s probably best to take that statement with a healthy dose of skepticism as well.

    Breonna Taylor's Family Wins Settlement

    The city of Louisville will pay a $12 million settlement to the family of Breonna Taylor, who was murdered in her bed by police officers.

    Money does not buy justice, but some kind of remuneration for the shocking crimes committed by the Louisville Police Department is the least the city can do.

    The agreement was reached quickly, at least in relative terms for this sort of wrongful death suit, coming six months after Taylor was killed, and after over three months of sustained protests throughout the city and country.

    The city was not required to acknowledge wrongdoing in the settlement. That says about all of it.

    If you needed more evidence that there’s no real justice here, take this: the New York Times reports that legal experts don’t think there will be any legal charges brought against the officers who killed Taylor. That decision comes from the fact that Taylor’s boyfriend fired a weapon at officers first, believing them to be home intruders, as they burst into the apartment in the dead of night.

    Lexington’s leadership has agreed to a series of police reforms, many of which are procedural fixes as to how warrants are approved and served. It’s pretty apparent that these are all just a bandaid, like the $12 million in blood money paid out to wash away the crime of another black life lost at the hands of police.

    Bahrain, UAE, Leave Palestinians High and Dry

    The Arab world is slowly normalizing its relationships with Israel. On Tuesday, representatives from Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates signed agreements with Israel to establish diplomatic relations and other economic ties. These are the first such agreements Arab countries have made with Israel since Jordan in 1984, but what unites the two groups isn’t exactly an altruistic desire for peace.

    You can tell that immediately by the fact that the Palestinian people have been almost completely left out of the equation. The agreements only mention the long running apartheid system in Israel in brief, saying they wish for a quote “just, comprehensive and enduring resolution of the Israeli- Palestinian conflict.” endquote.

    In response to the news, Palestinians and their supporters held a hundreds-strong rally outside of the White House. One demonstrator told Al Jazeera that the new accords were a quote “stab in the back” for the Palestinian people.

    The Trump administration is hailing this as a tremendous victory, of course. Given the relationships in the region, Saudi Arabia could eventually take similar steps, which would be a huge development. But what’s clear is that the wealthy rules of these Gulf states have decided that the economic gains of working with Israel far outweigh their desire to advocate for a just future for Palestinians.


    Donald Trump’s Justice Department is coming for John Bolton, and while it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy, it still sets a dangerous precedent. The Justice Department is pursuing a criminal investigation as to whether Bolton’s recent book disclosed classified material.

    As his poll numbers with Latino Voter continue to slip, Joe Biden pulled out his cell phone and played a snippet of Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s “Despacito” during a campaign event in Florida. That’s sure to get ‘em, Joe!

    The New York Times reports that the U.S. Military is pressing for new authority to drone strike terrorists in portions of eastern Kenya, which would mark a new expansion of the forever-growing, forever-lasting war zone we’re fighting in across the globe.

    The Delaware primary was Tuesday night, and though votes are still being counted as of script time, it looks like Sarah McBride will win the Democratic nomination for a State Senate seat in a safely-blue district, making her the country’s highest ranking openly transgender politician. McBride said quote: “My hope is that this result can help reinforce for a young kid trying to find their place in this world, here in Delaware or anywhere else in this country, that this democracy is big enough for them, too.”

    That’s it for the Majority Report’s AM quickie today. Stay tuned for the full show.

    Sept 16, 2020 - AM Quickie

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Jack Crosbie

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw


  • Sept 15 2020: 'Blood on My Hands' Says Facebook Whistleblower

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


    An explosive internal memo obtained by Buzzfeed News shows the massive, destructive influence Facebook has had over politics and violent conflict in dozens of countries.

    Meanwhile, Donald Trump and Joe Biden trade barbs over the climate catastrophe, while the president Tweets that he wants to do a four-hour debate with his challenger on Joe Rogan’s podcast. Yep, it’s going to be a stupid kind of day, folks.

    And lastly, on that note, the stupidest man alive has struck again. A Daily Beast report shows that mega-moron provocateur Jacob Wohl hired an actor to play an FBI agent and pretend to raid his frequent co-conspirator Jack Burkman’s office.


    Buzzfeed Catches Huge Facebook Scoop

    “I know that I have blood on my hands by now.” That’s what Facebook data scientist Sophie Zhang wrote in her last-ever post on Facebook’s internal messageboard before she was fired.

    Zhang’s post was leaked to BuzzFeed news. The information it revealed is both horrifying and in the public interest.

    The main gist of the post deals with what Facebook calls “inauthentic activity” around politics and elections. Zhang wrote that her team detected widespread disinformation campaigns and fake account networks at work for various political causes in Honduras, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Bolivia, Ecuador, India, Spain, the United States and others.

    These cases influenced everything from elections to bloody revolutions and governmental responses to the coronavirus pandemic. Some of them Facebook took action on, some of them they did not, because Zhang said her team was often forced to de-prioritize certain cases due to their own workload.

    Basically, the people in charge of making sure Facebook doesn’t ruin elections are overworked, and things are slipping through the cracks. Zhang wrote that Facebook leadership often didn’t care much about the democratic process in smaller companies, and only acted when she repeatedly raised the issue internally.

    All of this led to her leaving the company, and allegedly turning down a $64,000 severance package so that she wouldn’t have to sign a non-disparagment agreement, and could criticize the company publicly. Still, she specifically wrote that she didn’t want it to go public in the event that it undermined Facebook’s attempts to keep the 2020 election safe. But it’s pretty clear that the public deserves to know, largely because Facebook hasn’t been transparent at all about the stuff that it does catch.

    Biden, Trump... and Joe Rogan?

    The Trump and Biden campaigns continued their spat over the future of America in the dumbest possible way today: with verbal barbs and promises to go on the Joe Rogan podcast. That’s right everyone we’ve got an update from the dumbest timeline today.

    Here’s the scene. Trump once again has said quote “I don’t think science knows” endquote, in relation to the causes of the massive wildfires sweeping the west coast. This is stupid, because science does know: it’s decades of negligent policy that has enabled corporate interests to create a rapidly warming, drastically flammable ecosystem that bursts into flame at every possible opportunity.

    In response, Biden called Trump a quote “climate arsonist,” which means. Well. I’m not completely sure what it means. That Trump is responsible for climate change? Yes, true. That Trump is actively trying to enable the forces who have changed the climate? Also true. Ok, we figured out what it means.

    You’d almost be forgiven after all that for forgetting that Biden himself has been dragging his feet on climate change for years. Since winning the primary, he’s released a slightly more promising climate plan, but still has obstinately refused to outright denounce harmful practices like fracking.

    Anyway, all of this culminated in one of the dumbest toplines of the day. Podcaster extraordianer and or sentient stack of hardboiled eggs Joe Rogan offered to moderate a four-hour debate between Trump and Biden. Even better, Trump said he’d be in on Twitter. That means we could have a situation where the Biden campaign, who went after Bernie Sanders for agreeing to go on Rogan’s sometimes incoherent, occasionally bigoted podcast, agrees to do the exact thing to debate the always incoherent, always racist president.

    Personally I can think of much better podcasts to host a presidential debate.

    Worlds Stupidest Man At it Again

    In slightly lighter, somehow even dumber news, we have a new report on the activities of the stupidest grifters alive. We’re talking about Jacob Wohl, of course.

    Wohl, the famous boy-wonder behind such schemes as “Elizabeth Warren slept with a buff Marine” and “Robert Mueller did sexual assault while also appearing in court in a different state, defying the laws of space and time” is back with another scheme. This time, he staged a fake FBI raid on his scam-partner Jack Burkman’s apartment.

    The Daily Beast spoke to an actor who says he responded to a Craigslist ad and was paid $400 to wear an FBI windbreaker or shirt and act out a series of scenes inside Burkman’s apartment.

    Pictures and videos were then sent by a Twitter account under the name of Bev Donahue to various reporters. Donahue is suspected to be an alias for Wohl, who has used fake accounts on basically every social media service thus far.

    The most embarrassing part is that the Washington Post fell for it, reporting on the raid as if it was real. According to the Beast, Burkman was insinuating that high-level government officials were retaliating against him for his efforts to root out corruption in Washington. Right.

    The actions of Wohl and Burkman are usually so stupid that they’re harmless, and this case is no exception. But they’re noteworthy if only for the reason that it’s often incredibly hard to distinguish dangerous conspiracy theories from utterly farcical ones, which means that dreck like this often filters into real life politics through major movements like Qanon. One of Wohl’s frequent associates, Laura Loomer, recently won the GOP primary for a Florida cong


    One more dispatch for WTF-World. Akon, the famous R&B singer, announced today that he is backing a $6 billion smart city in Senegal, called Akon City. Residents inside will use a cryptocurrency called Akoin. You could not make this up, unless you were Akon or his shadowy investor, who may very well be making this up.

    In slightly darker news, September 14 marked the 19th birthday of the War on Terror. Peace talks between the Taliban and Afghani government are currently underway in Qatar, proving that we’ve accomplished almost nothing but an enormous amount of pain.

    Astronomers announced something weird on Monday: they’d found potential signs of life on Venus, not Mars. Contrary to the dated cliche about gender binaries, the researchers did not find women hanging out on the inhospitable planet. Instead, they found traces of a gas called phosphine that indicates microbes may be present. Never thought much of that cliche anyway.

    And finally, a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled that Governor Tom Wolfe’s coronavirus lockdown orders were unconstitutional, saying that quote “even in an emergency, the authority

    of government is not unfettered.” endquote It’s not too likely that this will have national implications, as the Supreme Court has upheld California restrictions on religious gatherings and many other courts have upheld similar rulings.

    That’s all for the Majority Report’s AM Quickie today! Stay tuned for the full show later with Sam.

    Sept 15, 2020 - AM Quickie

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Jack Crosbie

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw