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  • Feb 8, 2021: Mean Democrats Test Own Bill

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    Democrats in Congress are doing their best to weaken their own Coronavirus relief bill, considering a last-minute plan to further narrow down the list of people who will receive direct stimulus payments.

    Meanwhile, a new study finds that the more infectious UK variant of the coronavirus is spreading through the U.S. at an alarming rate.

    And lastly, the pandemic has destroyed housing stability for millions of Americans, and new reporting shows that even eviction moratoriums aren’t enough to offset the cost on working families.


    Last week, it looked like we had a pretty good thing going. Democrats seemed determined to forge ahead with a coronavirus stimulus bill that was ambitious, at least by their standards, despite Republican opposition.

    But after a few days, it’s looking more and more like Joe Biden and the centrist core of the party will start to eat away at their own bill with their habit of “means testing.” That’s a term that gets slung around a lot in political reporting, but it basically just means the bureaucratic tinkering that is the difference between “Medicare for All,” and “Medicare for all people who qualify in a certain income bracket, live in three specific zip codes and go to precisely 2 professional sports games per year.” That’s not a real situation but you get the idea.

    What this looks like for stimulus bills, however, is a bit grim. Biden and Democratic leadership are reportedly considering a proposal to narrow down the eligibility requirements for Americans to get a second stimulus payment of $1400. Remember, this is the same check that was supposed to be $2000, but is now $1400, and now may be, well, nothing for a whole lot of people.

    According to the Washington Post, the proposal could phase out stimulus checks for people making as little as $50,000 a year in its strictest form. As politicians like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez also pointed out, if Democrats use income estimates from the 2019 tax year to make the cutoff, it could mean that, say, anyone who lost their job in 2020 would miss out on a check because they made too much money before the world as we know it ended.

    The solution, as progressives like AOC and Bernie are pointing out, is to do away with the stupid thresholds, and just give everyone the cash. It’s basically the only way to make sure everyone who needs something gets at least a little.

    UK Virus Spreading in US

    The more-infections strain of Coronavirus first detected in the United Kingdom is spreading quickly across the United States, according to a brand-new study.

    The study is still awaiting peer-review, but the Washington Post reports that it appears to confirm the CDC’s forecast from a few weeks ago, when the agency warned that the new strain would become the dominant form of the virus by late March.

    There’s good news and bad news there. The bad news is right up top: this strain is more infectious and spreads faster. The good news is that the typical ways of combating the virus like masks, social distancing, and crucially, vaccines, all still work.

    And while the UK version is more dangerous than what we’ve dealt with so far, it’s not the South African variant, which is resisting the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine. South Africa has suspended its rollout of that particular vaccine, which, fortunately, is just one of many. If that variant makes its way to widespread prevalence in the U.S., we’ll still be able to fight it, but it’s certainly not ideal.

    What the presence of these new strains means is that we need to get as many people vaccinated as fast as possible.

    Report Shows Housing Crisis Growing

    Throughout the pandemic, one of the most devastating trends has been people losing their homes in the widespread economic recession.

    A new report by the New York Times found that millions of Americans are still struggling with housing insecurity, and that the government’s haphazard eviction moratoriums are woefully inadequate to deal with the fallout.

    The data is grim: one study the Times surveyed showed that renters who lost their jobs in the pandemic have incurred $53 billion in back rent, utilities, and late fees.

    The question now becomes what the Biden administration will do to fix this. Because eviction moratoriums, one of the most prominent treatments for the problem, aren’t enough. The Times reports that millions more families move out of apartments due to financial instability before they’re even evicted.

    Davin Reed, an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia told the Times quote:

    “What happens in housing court will miss most of the people who need help. Endquote.

    And for those in other situations: behind on rent, bills, or struggling to find a place to stay, a mere moratorium won’t get them back on their feet.

    It’s going to take drastic, sweeping overhauls and relief to end a new recession wave of homelessness and insecurity, and it remains to be seen whether our government is up to the task.


    Florida, the state that hosted the fan-packed SuperBowl on Sunday night, leads the nation in reported cases of the UK virus. Local news crews captured crowds of largely unmasked partiers all over downtown Tampa Bay and Ybor (EE-BOAR) city before the big game.

    Protesters have taken to the streets in Myanmar to oppose the country’s recent military coup, when the armed forces took elected leaders into custody and re-established their control of the country. One protester told the New York Times quote: “I don’t care if they shoot because under the military, our lives will be dead anyway. Before we die completely, we have to protest.”

    In 2021 alone, Republicans across the country in state legislatures have released over 100 voter suppression bills in 28 states, Common Dreams reports. That puts pressure on Democrats at a national level to pass sweeping bills like the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the For the People Act while they have control of the House and Senate.

    A former Trump campaign aid told the UK’s Sunday Times that the former President is quote “happier” since leaving the White House, mostly because he’s off social media. He may be glad to not have to do any work anymore, but we know the second part of that is a lie -- I’d bet big money that his Twitter ban still keeps him up at night.

    FEB 8, 2021 - AM QUICKIE

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Jack Crosbie

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw


  • Feb 5, 2021: Biden Ends Yemen Intervention

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    Joe Biden is ending US involvement with Saudi Arabia’s devastating war in Yemen. It’s bad news for arms merchants but a hopeful sign for humanitarians.

    Meanwhile, an investigation into the people charged in connection to last month’s Capitol insurrection finds some came trained and ready for battle. Seditious conspiracy charges could still be in the cards.

    And lastly, another voting machine company is suing Fox News for spreading lies about voting fraud in the presidential election. It’s one of the largest libel complaints in history, with damages of $2.7 billion at stake.


    It’s about time. The US has announced an end to its support for Saudi-led offensive operations in Yemen, the Guardian reports. Officials cited the role the bombing campaign has had in creating the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. The announcement was made by Joe Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, in a preview of a speech Biden delivered at the State Department yesterday. The distancing of Washington from Riyadh is one of the most conspicuous reversals of Donald Trump’s agenda. But it also marks a break with the policies pursued by Barack Obama, who had backed the Saudi offensive in Yemen, although he later sought to impose constraints on its air war.

    A bipartisan majority in Congress has previously voted to cut off support to the Saudi campaign, according to the Guardian. But Trump used his veto to block the move. The US will also freeze arms sales to Saudi Arabia, and name a special envoy to Yemen, to put more pressure on the Saudis, Emiratis and the Houthi forces they are fighting, to make a lasting peace agreement.

    A spokesperson for Campaign Against the Arms Trade described the move to the Guardian as a long overdue step towards ending the catastrophic and brutal war in Yemen. The group said QUOTE With the US ending this support, the onus is now firmly on the UK government to follow suit, or face international isolation. For the UK to continue to sustain a war that its

    closest ally is trying to end would be an untenable and shameful position ENDQUOTE. For the first time in years it’s possible to foresee an end to this catastrophe.

    Impeachment: Trump Won't Testify

    House Democrats yesterday asked Donald Trump to testify under oath for his Senate impeachment trial, the Associated Press reports. The request from House impeachment managers warns that any refusal to testify could be used to support a conviction. A Trump spokesman said Trump will not testify. The Senate impeachment trial starts next Tuesday, February 9th. Trump is charged with inciting an insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6th.

    And we are learning more about that insurrection all the time. The New York Times investigated the backgrounds of one hundred and seventy five people who have been charged in connection to the assault on the Capitol. At least twenty one of those charged so far had ties to militant groups. At least twenty two were current or former members of the military. More than a dozen were clear supporters of the conspiracy theory QAnon. But a majority expressed few organizing principles, outside a fervent belief in the false assertion that Trump had won re-election. The Times review suggests that many of those in the horde were likely disorganized, but some groups and individuals came to the Capitol trained and prepared for battle.

    Prosecutors have said some of the people involved in the riot could face charges of seditious conspiracy, according to the Times. No such charges have yet been filed. A majority of charges so far are for violations like trespassing or disorderly conduct, or for obstruction of a congressional proceeding. Many of these are misdemeanors. The stakes are certain to increase, as investigators put pressure on people already in custody, and as they determine who killed a Capitol Police officer, and who placed pipe bombs at nearby buildings. We’ll keep you posted.

    Voting Firm Sues Fox

    The bills are coming due. The Associated Press reports that a voting technology company is suing Fox News, three of its hosts and two former lawyers for Donald Trump – Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell – for $2.7 billion. The company charges that the defendants

    conspired to spread false claims that the company helped steal the US presidential election. The 285-page complaint filed yesterday in New York state court by Florida-based Smartmatic USA is one of the largest libel suits ever undertaken. On January 25th, a rival election- technology company – Dominion Voting Systems – sued Guiliani and Powell for $1.3 billion.

    Unlike Dominion, whose technology was used in twenty four states, Smartmatic’s participation in the 2020 election was restricted to Los Angeles County, the AP reports. Smartmatic’s limited role notwithstanding, Fox aired at least thirteen reports falsely stating or implying the company had stolen the 2020 vote in cahoots with Venezuela’s socialist government. This alleged disinformation campaign continued even after then-Attorney General William Barr said the Department of Justice could find no evidence of widespread voter fraud. For Smartmatic, the effects of the negative publicity were swift and devastating, the complaint alleges. Death threats, including against an executive’s fourteen-year-old son, poured in as Internet searches for the company surged, Smartmatic claims.

    According to the AP, the complaint also alleges that Fox hosts Lou Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo and Jeanine Pirro also directly benefitted from their involvement in the conspiracy. The lawsuit alleges that Fox went along with the well-orchestrated dance due to pressure from newcomer outlets such as Newsmax and One America News, which were stealing away conservative, pro-Trump viewers. Once again, it all comes down to ratings.


    The House voted along party lines last night to remove the conspiracy theorist Georgia Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene from her two committee posts. Only eleven Republicans joined with Democrats in the vote, which came about in response to Greene’s long record of frankly insane comments and posts, some of which condoned threats of violence against Democrats. As disturbing as Greene’s beliefs are, it’s even worse to see the GOP close ranks to defend her.

    Ingredients in many baby foods are contaminated with heavy metals like arsenic, lead and cadmium, congressional investigators said yesterday, according to the New York Times. Investigators reserved their harshest criticism for three companies that did not provide requested information to the the House Committee on Oversight and Reform: Walmart, which sells Parents’ Choice and Parent’s Choice Organic products; Sprout Organic Foods; and Campbell Soup Company, maker of Plum Organics baby foods. Consider yourself advised.

    Prosecutors on Wednesday sought a new arrest warrant and higher bond for Kyle Rittenhouse, who is charged with fatally shooting two people amid protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last summer, the Washington Post reports. They allege that the 18-year-old failed to notify authorities of a change in address. They also say Rittenhouse had minimal incentive to comply with his bond conditions because his $2 million bond had been paid by a QUOTE dubious Internet fundraising campaign ENDQUOTE. GoFundMe-a-killer. How creepy is that?

    The Biden administration is reviewing whether it can provide student debt relief through executive action, the AP reports. Biden previously said he supports erasing up to $10,000 in student debt through legislation. His position changed yesterday with a tweet from White House press secretary Jen Psaki. The tweet came hours after a group of Congressional Democrats, including Senators Chuck Schumer and Elizabeth Warren, urged Biden to use executive action to forgive $50,000 in federal student debt for all borrowers. Just do it, Joe.

    FEB 5, 2021 - AM QUICKIE

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Corey Pein

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw


  • Feb 4, 2021: Biden Vows 'Big' Relief

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    Joe Biden signals that he’s willing to be flexible with the numbers in his pandemic relief package – but not so flexible as to go along with the paltry Republican plan. Democrats in Congress are preparing to move forward with, or more likely without, the GOP.

    Meanwhile, Biden’s agenda is meeting resistance inside the Department of Homeland Security. There’s a lot of sad-sack ICE agents out there right now, folks.

    And lastly, why have some states done better than others when it comes to vaccinating people against the coronavirus? A new report suggests simplicity is key.


    Can we count on Joe? We’ll find out soon. President Biden told Democratic lawmakers yesterday he’s not married to an absolute number on his $1.9 trillion Covid rescue plan, according to the Associated Press. But he said Congress needs to act fast on relief for the pandemic and the economic crisis. Biden also said he doesn’t want to budge from his proposed $1,400 in direct payments promised to Americans. But he said he is willing to target the aid, which would mean lowering the income threshold to qualify for the money. Biden said QUOTE I’m not going to start my administration by breaking a promise to the American people ENDQUOTE. We should hope not.

    He spoke with House Democrats and followed with a meeting at the White House with top Senate Democrats, the AP reports. While Biden is trying to build bipartisan support from Republicans, he is also prepared to rely on the Democratic majority in Congress to push his top agenda item into law. Republicans proposed a $618 billion alternative with slimmer $1,000 direct payments and zero aid for states and cities. But Biden panned this as insufficient.

    The goal is to have Covid-19 relief approved by March, when extra unemployment assistance and other pandemic aid measures expire, the AP reports. Money for vaccine distributions, direct payments to households, school reopenings and business aid are at stake. Biden told the Democrats QUOTE We have to go big, not small ENDQUOTE. Democrats have launched a lengthy budget process for approving Biden’s bill with or without Republican support. Voting

    started Tuesday in the Senate and was set for yesterday and today in the House. In the end, people won’t care about bipartisanship – they’ll care about results.

    ICE Morale In 'Toilet'

    Donald Trump’s most ardent loyalists are holding strong inside the federal bureaucracy. Trump often complained about what he called a deep state inside the government working to thwart his agenda. But Biden and his secretary of homeland security, Alejandro Mayorkas, are already encountering their own pockets of internal resistance, the New York Times reports. It’s especially bad at the agencies charged with enforcing the nation’s immigration laws.

    Mayorkas was confirmed on Tuesday after a nearly two-week delay by Republicans, according to the Times. Liberal activists and former Trump officials say he will struggle to get buy-in for Biden’s agenda from the thousands of border and immigration agents in his department. Videos celebrating Trump’s big, beautiful border wall are still featured on the Customs and Border Protection website. A fictionalized video by the agency that shows Trump’s depiction of migrants as feared criminals is still on the Border Patrol’s official social media channels. And the union representing ICE agents – whose leaders were enthusiastic supporters of Trump – has signaled that it does not intend to accept all of the new administration’s reversals of his policies. The day before Biden’s inauguration, union leaders signed a labor agreement that requires ICE’s political leadership to consult with the union on policy decisions. We told you about this on Tuesday. Mayorkas now has less than thirty days to cancel this agreement. If it stands, it could undercut Biden’s directives, including guidance that took effect on Monday requiring ICE officers to focus arrests on violent offenders.

    Tom Homan, who was ICE director under Trump, told the Times that morale at the agency had been QUOTE flushed down the toilet ENDQUOTE since Biden took over. But should we pity these poor, pouty ICE agents? Suck it up and fall in line, soldiers.

    State Vaccination Successes Studied

    SAM: States are racing to deliver potentially lifesaving coronavirus vaccines to millions of arms. But some are having far more success than others, the Washington Post reports. In the

    states moving fastest, up to one in seven people had received their first injection as of Tuesday. At the other end of the rankings, it was one in eighteen.

    If there’s one thing the states moving most quickly have in common, the Post says, it is that they brought order and simplicity to a process otherwise marked by chaos and complexity. In South Dakota, distribution has been limited to a small number of health-care providers who meet via phone twice a week and can make decisions on the fly. Connecticut has teamed with a well-established partnership network, while using community ambassadors to advocate for the vaccine among hesitant populations. And West Virginia has tightly coordinated its rollout, using the National Guard to speed supplies to where they are needed while streamlining the rules for who can get immunized. Officials in all three states told the Post they want to minimize confusion. West Virginia Governor Jim Justice said QUOTE If you want to know how many cows are in a field, just count the egg-sucking cows. Don’t count the legs and divide by four ENDQUOTE. Makes sense, I guess.

    In many states, governors delegated the process to a web of underfunded county health departments, along with hospitals, pharmacies, HMOs and doctor’s offices, the Post reports. West Virginia instead created a uniform statewide process. It is the only state to opt out of a federal program to vaccinate workers and residents at nursing homes, instead relying on local drugstores. It managed to wrap up the work before most states had even started. Kudos. Biden deputies have already been in touch about lessons learned.


    The Canadian government designated the Proud Boys group as a terrorist entity yesterday, the AP reports. The decision was informed by the group’s role in the US Capitol insurrection on January 6th. Proud Boys leader and confirmed police informant Enrique Tarrio estimates the group has one thousand members in Canada. All terrorist hosers, eh.

    Gun-toting Congresswoman Lauren Boebert paid herself more than $22,000 in mileage reimbursements from her campaign account last year, the Denver Post reports. To justify those reimbursements, Boebert would have had to drive thirty-eight thousand, seven hundred and twelve miles while campaigning, despite having no publicly advertised campaign events in March, April or July, and only one in May. Her schedule is simply incredible.

    The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has opened an investigation into Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon, NBC News reports. The investigation concerns Bannon’s role in a charity that was supposed to use private funds to build the US-Mexico border wall. Trump pardoned Bannon for his role in the fraud before leaving office, but the pardon only extends to federal cases, not to state ones. Gotcha!

    The Oakland, California City Council voted Tuesday to require large grocery stores to pay their employees an additional $5 per hour. Small independent stores are exempt. The pay raise is meant to compensate grocery store workers for the increased risks they have faced during the pandemic. Local action gets the goods again.

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

    FEB 4, 2021 - AM QUICKIE

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Corey Pein

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw


  • Feb 3, 2021: Rich Whites Poaching Vaccine From Poor Neighborhoods

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    A new report shows that even in the poorest parts of America, wealthy white people are still more likely to get the vaccine, as the privileged few often travel to other neighborhoods to claim an outsize share of the available doses.

    Meanwhile, Politico reports that the Democrats have chosen their plan of attack for the 2022 midterms. Is it anything substantive about helping the American people? Listen on to find out!

    And lastly, Jeff Bezos is stepping down as CEO of Amazon, in order to take on a new role as “executive chairman,” and focus on philanthropy and personal projects, like his dreams of privatizing spaceflight and the newspaper he runs.:


    The vaccine rollout across America has been a mess for pretty much everyone. But a new report by the New York Times shows that where the shots are going out, the familiar forces of institutional racism and privilege are once again asserting themselves.

    Listen to this short passage:

    As soon as this city began offering Covid vaccines to residents 65 and older, George Jones, whose nonprofit agency runs a medical clinic, noticed something striking.

    “Suddenly our clinic was full of white people,” said Mr. Jones. “We’d never had that before. We serve people who are disproportionately African-American.”

    What Jones was seeing, the Times found, was a growing trend in American cities, where health officials say wealthier, whiter neighborhoods have been flooding vaccination sites in lower-income neighborhoods with far more people of color.

    The worst part is that these same lower-income neighborhoods have been the ones hit hardest by the virus. The Times notes the obvious as well: the many hurdles for getting vaccinated are far easier to clear for whiter and wealthier people. A poor person of color may not have safe transportation or simply the time off work to go wait in line for a vaccine appointment.

    In Philly, for instance, only 12 percent of the people who have been vaccinated so far are black. The city’s population is 44 percent black, so that figure is wildly low. The same pattern is playing

    out in New York, DC, and other major cities. It’s up to the local governments there to figure out how to fix this as soon as possible -- because right now, the people who need the vaccine most simply aren’t getting it.

    Democrats Promo 2022 Message

    Ah, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Just when you thought we might get a break from tearing our hair out at their various snafus, they drag us back in with a new one.

    This time, it’s the party’s official line of attack for early 2022 midterms messaging. The DCCC, which controls much of the party’s messaging and overall campaigning, released its first ad on Tuesday, which explicitly focuses on the GOP’s links to QAnon and the far right.

    Look: all this is true, and it’s a good attack line. The GOPs future does look a lot more like Marjorie Taylor Green than it does Mitt Romney, and it’s good to remind people of that. But this strategy is also one we’ve seen before, in 2016 and 2020, where some of the best material the DCCC could muster was portraying their candidates as the so called “adults in the room” compared to Trump’s immaturity and volatility.

    As we well know, this had pretty mixed results. Leftist commentators have long been pushing for the Democrats to re-center a progressive, ambitious economic and social message at the core of their campaigns, seeing how well it often does at driving turnout and convincing voters that the party stands for something.

    Leaning into attacks that the GOP is the party of crazy fascists gives people something to vote against -- but the DCCC also needs to make sure they give people something to vote for.

    Bezos Out As Amazon CEO

    Jeff Bezos, formerly the richest man in the world before the equally evil and far more embarrassing Elon Musk took that title from him, is stepping down as CEO of Amazon.

    Where will he go? Well, he’s now Executive Chairman of the company. Big changes afoot, clearly!

    In his place as CEO will be Andy Jassy, the head of Amazon’s cloud computing division.

    Bezos said that he’s making the change so he can focus on philanthropy and personal projects, which include his quest to make money off of space with Blue Origin, and also to make money off of journalism with the Washington Post. That last one may be a bit more of a philanthropic project, but I digress.

    What does this mean for Amazon in general? Not a whole lot, its own executives say. Bezos has largely been absent from the company’s daily operations for a few years, although he has stepped back up when his pesky employees do things like try to unionize.

    As executive chairman, it’s probably still a safe bet that you can summon him for a highly public warehouse tour if you whisper the words “RWDSU Local” into the mirror three times while on your timed bathroom break. Best of luck to Bezos with all his space greed, and even better luck to his employees about to vote on a union in Bessemer, Alabama.


    Lin Wood, the comically bad lawyer who briefly took a leading role in Donald Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election, is now under investigation for, would you believe it -- voter fraud. Per Atlanta’s WSB-TV, Wood is under investigation by the Georgia Secretary of State, which thinks he might have voted illegally in Georgia while living in South Carolina. Whoops!

    Meanwhile, Amazon’s aggressive union busting in Bessemer, Alabama, is running into an unexpected snag: usually, the company blasts unions with accusations of their dues taking money out of workers’ pockets, but in Alabama, a right-to-work state, employees who don’t want to be part of the union aren’t forced to pay dues. In other words, Alabama is so hostile to unions, it might swing all the way back around and actually help the union win a crucial election this month.

    In somewhat encouraging news, Elizabeth Warren is being added to the Senate Finance Committee, giving her an even bigger role in shaping Congress’s oversight of taxes, spending, healthcare policy and more. Let’s see what she does with it!

    And finally, a new report by the Atlantic shows that a whopping 40 percent of the Capitol insurrection were either business owners or worked white-collar jobs, throwing some water on the notion that Trump’s modern extremism is something to be blamed on the working poor. The report also found that the vast majority of those arrested in the riot had no connection to organized militia groups, suggesting that the mob mentality has spread far beyond the openly hostile fringes of the far-right.

    FEB 3, 2021 - AM QUICKIE

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Jack Crosbie

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw


  • Feb 2, 2021: Democrats Snub Republicans on Stimulus

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    The Democrats have done it: managed to introduce a stimulus package that doesn’t capitulate to Republican demands. But will it fall apart due to an unforeseen procedural snag? We’ll see!

    Meanwhile, a whistleblower alleges that a top Trump administration official entered into a sketchy, secret agreement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s union leaders that could cripple Biden’s attempts to change Trump’s barbaric immigration policies.

    And lastly, the New York Times reports that a string of high-ranking public health officials have resigned in hard-hit New York State since the summer, all citing Governor Andrew Cuomo’s chaotic rollout of vaccines and handling of the pandemic.


    Yesterday, we talked about the big worry of the next few weeks: that Democrats would capitulate to the Republican minority and weaken their own stimulus bill.

    Well, today we’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is the Democrats don’t appear to be doing that. On Monday evening, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer introduced a budget bill that included a $1.9 trillion stimulus package, indicating that they appear to want to use a process known as “reconciliation” to get an aid package through without Republican support.

    This is good, and represents the best shot we’ve got right now of getting an even halfway decent stimulus bill out to the American people quickly.

    But here’s the bad news. NBC news reports that the reconciliation process could have an unintended side-effect: automatically triggering a cut to medicare. The how and why of this is also a massive own-goal.

    The cuts would be triggered by the PAYGO ​act of 2010, which Democrats introduced and pushed for. PAYGO, in short, means that any time you pass a bill raising the national debt, you have to automatically cut federal funds elsewhere -- so bye bye to Medicare, farm subsidies, that sort of thing.

    The kicker is that avoiding the automatic cuts requires 60 votes in the Senate, which basically puts the Democrats right where they started.

    And the other fear, of course, is that Biden will still succumb to his Republican-loving side. The Republicans who we mentioned yesterday met with Biden today to plead for a smaller bill, and said the discussion was excellent, according to the New York Times. But the official word from the Biden administration is still that they plan to push the $1.9 trillion bill, so we just have to keep hoping they stick to their guns.

    REPORT: Trump Using ICE to Sabotage Biden

    The Trump administration is done, but we’re only now discovering the amount of damage they did on the way out.

    BuzzFeed News reported on a government whistleblower who alleges that former DHS second-in-command Ken Cuccinelli signed a set of agreements with the union that represents ICE. These guys endorsed Trump in 2016, so don’t be fooled into thinking they’re a nonpartisan force.

    The Government Accountability Office is representing the whistleblower, and said in a letter: “The agreements grant [the union] extraordinary power and benefits — far more than what DHS agreed upon with its other employee unions which did not endorse President Trump. The agreements confer on the union the ability to indefinitely delay changes to immigration enforcement policies and practices as well.”

    What this means in practice is that ICE’s union, which is apparently still loyal to Trump, can stonewall the Biden administration’s attempts to roll back the former president’s barbaric policies against immigrants, and stop him from enacting things like a deportation moratorium.

    According to the GAO, the whistleblower, “possesses information concerning significant acts of misconduct committed” by Cuccinelli. Cuccinelli denies abusing his power, of course -- we’d expect no less from a former Trump stooge.

    Cuomo's Public Health Execs Keep Quitting

    There’s a lot to say about New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s handling of the pandemic, which hit his state harder than most others.

    Cuomo has racked up accolades and book deals for his appearance of leadership during the crisis, but continued reporting suggests that he may have done more harm than good. According to the New York Times, nine of Cuomo’s top public health officials have resigned during the pandemic, citing Cuomo’s unrestrained war with his own scientific experts.

    Look at what they’ve had to deal with: Cuomo has micro-managed and over-controlled nearly every step of the process. Take the vaccine rollout for instance: The Times reports that Cuomo threw out his own Department of Health’s carefully constructed plan that worked with local health authorities in favor of one that relied far more on big hospitals. New York’s rollout has, of

    course, been a huge mess, and officials said that Cuomo often changes health policy abruptly at his emmy-winning press conferences, without asking or notifying them first.

    And Cuomo’s not even hiding the fact that he thinks he knows better than every doctor in the State. At a news conference last Friday, he said,

    “When I say ‘experts’ in air quotes, it sounds like I’m saying I don’t really trust the experts. Because I don’t. Because I don’t.”


    In a livestream about the Capitol attacks, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez revealed that she was a survivor of sexual assault. She compared the GOP’s relentless insistence that she just get over the attempted insurrection during which her life was threatened to the similar language that abusers often use toward their victims.

    The leadership of Myanmar was deposed by a military coup on Monday, as the country’s armed forces detained its elected president Aung San Suu Kyi and set up blockades throughout the nation’s capitol city.

    The New York Daily News reports that the warden at NYC’s Rikers Island jail who presided over a dramatic drop in assaults, fights, and officer use of force incidents has been removed from his post after clashing with a powerful cop union over a mentorship program he set up for young inmates. One step forward, two steps back, always.

    And finally, the Biden Administration plans to quickly release $1.3 billion in federal funding meant for Hurricane Maria relief to Puerto Rico, and remove restrictions on another $4.9 billion. It’s far too late, but at least does something to rectify some of the Trump administration’s cruelty

    FEB 2, 2021 - AM QUICKIE

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Jack Crosbie

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw


  • Feb 1, 2021: Republicans Want Weaker Stimulus Bill

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


    A group of so-called moderate Republicans has filed a pitiful appeal for a measly compromise bill in place of the sweeping aid package Democrats have planned. Will Joe Biden listen to them? We’ll see.

    Meanwhile, just before his second impeachment trial, former President Donald Trump’s legal team is crumbling, as five attorneys abruptly quit this weekend, saying the President’s focus on unproven conspiracies made their jobs impossible.

    And lastly, John Weaver, a former Republican strategist and co-founder of centrist spin-shop the Lincoln Project, is accused by 21 different men of sexual impropriety and harassment in an extensive New York Times article.


    Here’s the deal. The Democrats control the House, the Senate and the Presidency. But what one group of Republicans wonder is... what if they could have a little power too?

    A group of moderate Republicans including Lisa Murkowski and Mitt Romney sent a letter to President Joe Biden on Sunday pleading him for a compromise stimulus bill that would pass the Senate without any procedural maneuvers, fearing that Democrats would, you know, competently use their power and bypass the filibuster to pass a sweeping stimulus bill and actually help people.

    To be clear here: the Democrats are in control. They do ​not have to listen to the groveling moderate Republicans, who are asking Biden to simply slash unemployment aid and further tweak direct stimulus payments to serve even fewer people. They don’t have to do that!

    And yet, here we are. Biden has previously indicated that he was open to further means-testing on the direct payments, and we’ve already seen how fast the Democrats moved the goalposts on $1400 payments instead of $2000 ones.

    So what the question now becomes is: is an actually somewhat-helpful stimulus bill more important to the Biden administration, or do they think that curing the elusive moderate Republican consensus is a better strategy going forward. I certainly know what sounds to me like a better strategy, but then again, I’m not Joe Biden.

    Impeachment Lawyers Ditch Trump

    Were you enjoying the AM Quickie relatively free of Trump Administration depravity and shenanigans? We were too, but we’re going to hit you with one little blast from the past today.

    That’s because Trump’s legal team is absolutely imploding in advance of his second impeachment trial. The Washington Post reports that five, count em, five lawyers quit Trump’s defense team over the weekend.

    According to the post, the lawyers quit because Trump was insistent that they structure his case around the argument that he actually won the election. In other words, the big man himself wanted to lean hard into the baseless, pathetic conspiracies, while his legal team wanted him to instead argue that impeaching a President who has left office is unconstitutional. The second argument is probably a lock to make sure Trump gets off the hook. The first one, who knows?

    Trump replaced the departing lawyers with two more chumps assumedly willing to play out his intensely dumb strategy in front of the Seante. The devastating thing about all this is it’ll probably still work. The Democrats probably aren’t going to get the 17 Republican votes they’d need to actually convict Trump no matter how bad his legal case is, because the Republican party does not care in any way about things like “crimes” or “laws.” But still, it’s nice to know that Trump hasn’t gotten any smarter once he left the Oval Office.

    Lincoln Project Cofounder Accused

    A new report by the New York Times alleges that John Weaver, a longtime Republican strategist and co-founder of the centrist-conservative PR shop the Lincoln Project acted inappropriately sexually harassed 21 young men throughout his career in politics.

    The article contends that Weaver, “exploited his power,” in the words of one victim to groom men as young as 14, often pursuing them aggressively through text and DM conversations, asking about intimate physical details and hinting at sexual acts.

    The harassment and grooming did not lead to actual physical encounters, fortunately, except for one case that the Times reported was consensual. None of the men involved allege that Weaver did anything criminal, fortunately, but the sheer number of accusers does suggest his behavior was part of a dangerous, predatory pattern. Remember, this is a guy who was at the time a big name in Republican politics: a top advisor to McCain in 2000 and 2008 and to John Kasich in 2016.

    Weaver issued a statement on the allegations in Mid-January acknowledging inappropriate messages and apologizing if he had made anyone uncomfortable -- the standard response, in other words.

    The rest of the Lincoln Project’s leadership for their part, is throwing their co-founder under the biggest bus possible, releasing a statement claiming that they were not aware of Weaver’s behavior until just a few months ago, and calling him “a predator, a liar and an abuser.”

    That all may be true, but it’s highly unlikely that any of Weaver’s cronies at the organization were blissfully unaware of his predatory double life.


    What will it take to get Marjorie Taylor Greene out of Congress? Repesentative. Cori Bush, a new progressive legislator, has moved her office location with Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s permission and support after a disturbing altercation with the conspiracy-obsessed congresswoman.

    In Russia, government police forces cracked down on protests in support of opposition leader Alexi Navalny, who was jailed by Vladimir Putin’s regime after surviving an assassination attempt. Thousands of protesters were arrested after facing brutal assaults on the streets -- something many Americans are pretty familiar with at this point.

    Don’t lose sight of the GameStop stock story this week, as we could see with markets opening on Monday how likely the day-trading Reddit army is to successfully put a squeeze on hedge-fund short-sellers. Democratizing the stock market isn’t going to really change the status quo in America, but it sure is nice to see the suits get a bit sweaty every once in a while.

    And finally, after the start of the pandemic recession last year, the heads of Exxon and Chevron discussed a merger, which would bring the two biggest descendent companies of John D. Rockefeller’s famous Standard Oil monopoly back together into... well, not a monopoly this time, we swear. Federal regulators broke up Standard Oil the first time, so we can only hope that they won’t be excited to let it reform.

    FEB 1, 2021 - AM QUICKIE

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Jack Crosbie

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw


  • Jan 29, 2021: Worrisome Coronavirus Variant Spreading

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


    Scientists have found a troublesome new variant of the coronavirus in the wild in the United States. We’ll share what it means for you and yours.

    Meanwhile, Congressional Democrats are outraged at the elevation by Republicans of a conspiracy-theory spouting wingnut. Meet Sandy Hook truther Marjorie Taylor Greene, who Donald Trump called a rising star of the GOP.

    And lastly, Joe Biden’s Housing secretary nominee, Marcia Fudge, takes heat from Republicans for her own past comments about them. But what she’s got to say about keeping people housed during the pandemic is spot-on.


    It’s here. A highly transmissible variant of the coronavirus first identified in South Africa has infected two people in South Carolina with no travel history, the Washington Post reports. These are the first cases in the United States involving the B-One-Three-Five-One variant. The patients’ lack of travel or a connection to one another suggests that the variant is spreading in the community following an undetected introduction.

    The B-One-Three-Five-One variant was first identified in South Africa in December, the Post reports. It is considered by scientists to be even more worrisome than the more widely publicized B-One-One-Seven variant first seen in the United Kingdom. The latter has been detected in more than two dozen US states. Three so-called variants of concern are spreading across the planet, and all three have been identified in the US. A variant known to scientists as P-One has been spreading in Brazil and is linked to a disastrous surge in cases.

    According to the Post, there is no evidence that the B-One-Three-Five-One variant is deadlier for individuals than more common strains of the virus. But if it is more transmissible, as scientists suspect, the resulting boost to the infection rate would increase hospitalizations and deaths. At least one antibody therapy will not work against the new variants. Scientists are scrambling to create a new antibody that can block the mutation. The vaccines, scientists think, will still work as planned in the short term. The most important step the public can take

    is to try to stop the spread. Vaccinations are critical, but vaccines remain in short supply. In the meantime, people should practice social distancing and wear masks. In fact, some experts now suggest wearing a fabric mask on top of a surgical mask. So there’s a crafting project for you, folks.

    Pelosi Slams 'Appalling' Taylor Greene

    The crank is inside the House. Speaker Nancy Pelosi yesterday unloaded on House GOP leaders for elevating freshman Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene to a key panel, escalating pressure on Republicans to punish her for a long record of extremist comments, Politico reports. Pelosi said Greene should not be seated on the House Education Committee after peddling a false conspiracy theory that the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012 was a hoax. Pelosi yesterday called the GOP’s decision to seat Greene on that committee QUOTE absolutely appalling ENDQUOTE.

    The freshman Republican from Georgia has drawn fury from across the House Democratic Caucus even before she was elected in November, Politico says. But that anger grew far more intense in recent days, after CNN and Media Matters uncovered Facebook posts in which Greene spread lies that deadly school shootings were staged. Another post showed Greene repeatedly endorsed executing top Democrats in 2018 and 2019.

    According to Politico, Pelosi is putting the onus directly on House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to act. But so far, there are no signs that the California Republican has any intentions of stripping her of newly-awarded committee seats. Greene’s office said she has no plans to resign, citing strong support from her constituents back home. Some Democrats aren’t waiting around for GOP leaders to act. California Representative Jimmy Gomez is introducing a resolution to expel Greene from Congress. While expulsion is unlikely, Democrats aren't ruling out additional measures against Greene. Representative Ted Deutch, who represents Parkland, Florida, and chairs the Ethics Committee, said Greene QUOTE shouldn’t have a public platform to further spread dangerous lies ENDQUOTE. Greene was also seen on video harassing a survivor of the Parkland shooting. A real charmer, she is.

    Fudge Advances Through Senate

    President Joe Biden’s Cabinet nominees continue to face Congressional scrutiny. The Associated Press reports that Housing secretary nominee Marcia Fudge told senators yesterday she would take extraordinary actions to prevent people from losing their homes due to the pandemic. Fudge championed homeownership as a classically American ticket to the middle class and endorsed federal financial assistance to expand the ranks of minority homeowners. But during her appearance before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, the long-serving Ohio congresswoman said her most immediate priority, if confirmed for Biden’s Cabinet, would be protecting the millions of people who have fallen behind on rent or mortgages due to loss of income during the pandemic.

    Speaking remotely from Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, Fudge said QUOTE Whatever it takes, we cannot afford to allow people in the midst of a pandemic to be put in the streets ENDQUOTE. Fudge also endorsed direct federal financial assistance to help prospective minority homeowners with the down payment on a mortgage, the AP reports. She said that simply ending racially biased lending or housing practices wasn’t enough. There needs to be direct assistance to make up the wealth gap created by generations of redlining and other systemic racial inequities, she said.

    The hearing progressed in a largely collegial tone, according to the AP. Some of the most pointed criticism from Republicans focused not on Fudge’s policies but on the harsh things she has said about Republicans. Louisiana Senator John Kennedy challenged Fudge, a former leader of the Congressional Black Caucus, on statements she made that Republicans don’t care about people of color. When Kennedy asked her directly whether she believed Republicans cared about Black Americans, Fudge tersely answered, QUOTE I do, some, yes ENDQUOTE. Now that’s true bipartisanship!


    Thousands more New York state nursing home residents may have died of Covid-19 than Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration has publicly acknowledged, ProPublica reports. A report released yesterday by Attorney General Letitia James found an undercount of as much as fifty percent. Cuomo’s office ignored a request for comment. It’s a scandal, is what it is.

    The US economy shrank by three point five percent last year, making 2020 the worst year for economic growth since 1946, according to the Washington Post. But one bright spot in 2020 was that the personal saving rate hit the highest on record. A Depression will do that.

    At least six people died and nine others were injured in a liquid nitrogen leak at a poultry plant in Georgia yesterday, the New York Times reports. Firefighters responded to the Foundation Food Group plant in Gainesville, Georgia, and found a large contingent of employees that had evacuated, along with multiple victims in the crowd. I wonder when was the last time this place had a real safety inspection?

    A German neo-Nazi has been jailed for life for the 2019 murder of Walter Lübcke, a pro-immigration politician with Angela Merkel’s CDU, the Guardian reports. Stephan Ernst admitted to the shooting last year. Yesterday a judge handed Ernst, age forty-seven, a life sentence and acknowledged the special gravity of his crime, meaning he is unlikely to be considered for parole for at least twenty-two years.

    Auf Wiedersehen!

    JAN 29, 2021 - AM QUICKIE

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Corey Pein

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw


  • Jan 28, 2021: Senate Democrat Wavers on Impeachment

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


    Some Democrats in the Senate are wavering over Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial. Is it really a distraction, or a necessary showing of accountability?

    Meanwhile, the Homeland Security Department issues a rare warning over domestic terrorism. Surprise, surprise, the threat relates to Trump’s January 6th insurrection.

    And lastly, we all saw the Bernie Sanders in mittens memes. Now wait until you hear how much he’s raised for charity by selling merch based on the memes – it’s a lot!


    The prospect of likely acquittal for Donald Trump at his Senate trial has some Democrats contemplating an off-ramp, the Washington Post reports. This option would condemn the former president but stop short of impeachment and a ban from future office. Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia said yesterday that he has been exploring a bipartisan censure of Trump that would short-circuit a potentially lengthy trial. He told reporters he wanted the Senate to focus on responding to the coronavirus pandemic and confirming President Joe Biden’s Cabinet. Kaine added, "To do a trial knowing you’ll get fifty-five votes at the max seems to me to be not the right prioritization of our time."

    As we said yesterday, forty-five of fifty Republican senators voted to back Trump in a test vote on Tuesday. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, who pushed the vote, said it showed that impeachment was, "dead on arrival," the Post reports. Convicting Trump would require the support of sixty-seven senators. But top Democratic leaders said yesterday they intended to proceed with Trump’s trial for incitement of insurrection. A team of nine House managers is preparing to begin arguments for Trump’s removal on February 9th. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said, "Make no mistake, there will be a trial, and the evidence against the former president will be presented in living color... And in turn, we will all be judged on how we respond."

    The format of the trial, however, remains in flux, according to the Post. As Schumer’s comments suggested, House managers are expected to use video to draw a connection

    between the president’s words and the violence of January 6th. But some Democrats argue that the House managers should call witnesses to further enliven the proceedings. Let’s just not downplay what happened, okay?

    Insurrectionists Prompt Terrorism Warning

    It’s hard to believe some still want to let Trump off the hook. The Department of Homeland Security released a rare national terrorism warning yesterday, according to the New York Times. The warning says that the United States will face heightened threats from violent extremists emboldened by the assault on the Capitol for weeks to come. The terrorism bulletin said, "some ideologically motivated violent extremists with objections to the exercise of governmental authority and the presidential transition, as well as other perceived grievances fueled by false narratives, could continue to mobilize to incite or commit violence." That’s a mouthful, but I guess they can’t just come out and say the threat is coming from crazed Trump supporters.

    The Capitol breach may have encouraged domestic extremists to target elected officials and government facilities, the Times reports, citing the advisory. The extremists are motivated by issues including coronavirus restrictions, the results of the 2020 election, and a strong opposition to immigration, according to the agency. The advisory was issued by the acting secretary of homeland security, David Pekoske. President Biden’s nominee for secretary of homeland security, Alejandro Mayorkas, has yet to be confirmed by the Senate.

    The Homeland Security Department will periodically release bulletins to the public to warn of potential threats to national security, the Times says. But the decision to release a warning about the threat of domestic terrorism is a pivot from the Trump administration. A former homeland security intelligence chief said in a whistleblower complaint filed in September that Trump’s Homeland Security Department directed analysts to downplay the threat of white supremacy. A threat report eventually singled out white supremacy as a lethal threat after the whistleblower complaint prompted backlash from Congress. And now here we are.

    Bernie Sanders Raises Charity Windfall

    Here is an entirely wholesome story from the Associated Press. About those wooly mittens that Senator Bernie Sanders wore to the presidential inauguration, sparking endless quirky memes across social media? They've helped to raise $1.8 million in the last five days for charitable organizations in Sanders' home state of Vermont, the independent senator announced yesterday. The sum comes from the sale of merchandise with the image of him sitting with his arms and legs crossed, clad in his brown parka and recycled wool mittens.

    Sanders put the first of the so-called Chairman Sanders merchandise, including T-shirts, sweatshirts and stickers, on his website last Thursday night, according to the AP. The first run sold out in less than thirty minutes. More merchandise was added over the weekend and sold out by Monday morning. Sanders said, "Jane and I were amazed by all the creativity shown by so many people over the last week, and we’re glad we can use my internet fame to help Vermonters in need. But even this amount of money is no substitute for action by Congress, and I will be doing everything I can in Washington to make sure working people in Vermont and across the country get the relief they need in the middle of the worst crisis we’ve faced since the Great Depression."

    Sanders’ mittens were made by Jen Ellis, a Vermont elementary school teacher who has a side business making mittens out of recycled wool, the AP reports. The groups that will benefit from the proceeds of the Chairman Sanders items include Meals on Wheels, Vermont community action agencies, Vermont Parent Child Network, The Chill Foundation, senior centers in Vermont and dental care improvements in the state. It warms the heart, as well as the hands.


    Federal spending on the country’s largest nutrition assistance program – food stamps – increased by nearly fifty percent in 2020 amid the economic shock of the pandemic. That’s according to newly released data from the Agriculture Department, as reported by Politico. There are now nearly forty-four million individuals on the program, up more than twenty percent from 2019. It’s a good program. No one should go hungry.

    President Biden yesterday signed a series of executive actions aimed at combating climate change, CBS News reports. In addition to restricting new oil and gas leases on public lands, Biden set a goal of conserving at least thirty percent of land and water by 2030. We told you yesterday how advocates were pushing for that goal. Now ban fracking already!

    Russian President Vladimir Putin took aim yesterday at the power of social media companies, the Washington Post reports. In a video address to the World Economic Forum, Putin said, "These are no longer just economic giants — in some areas they are already de facto competing with states." What, is Twitter issuing passports now?

    Reuters reports that Enrique Tarrio, the leader of the Proud Boys, has a past as an informer for federal and local law enforcement, repeatedly working undercover for investigators after he was arrested in 2012. A federal prosecutor, a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent and Tarrio’s own lawyer described his undercover work and said he had helped authorities prosecute more than a dozen people. The bootlicker is a narc, go figure!

    JAN 28, 2021 - AM QUICKIE

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Corey Pein

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw


  • Jan 27, 2021: Biden Will Reopen

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


    Joe Biden plans to reopen the Obamacare insurance marketplace,, to help with the pandemic. But to finally institute a public option, he’ll need support from Congress.

    Meanwhile, the acting chief of the Capitol Police admits to a massive screw-up that allowed a mob to take control of the halls of Congress earlier this month. The threat hasn’t yet passed.

    And lastly, state and local officials are pressuring the new administration to make a serious commitment to fighting climate change and mass extinction. Will Biden keep his campaign promise?


    On healthcare, the new White House is aiming for the bronze. The Washington Post reports that President Biden will take executive actions as early as Thursday to reopen federal marketplaces selling Affordable Care Act health plans and to lower recent barriers to joining Medicaid. The orders will be Biden’s first steps since taking office to help Americans gain health insurance, a goal that has taken on added significance as the pandemic has deprived millions of Americans coverage as they have lost jobs in the economic fallout.

    Under one order, the Post reports, the online insurance marketplace will swiftly reopen for at least a few months. Ordinarily, signing up for coverage there is tightly restricted outside a six-week period late each year. Another part of Biden’s scheduled actions, the individuals said, is intended to reverse Trump-era changes to Medicaid that damaged Americans’ access to the safety-net insurance. The most ambitious parts of Biden’s campaign health-care platform would require Congress to provide consent and money. Those include creating a government insurance option alongside the ACA health plans sold by private insurers. They also include helping poor residents afford ACA coverage if they live in about a dozen states that have not expanded their Medicaid programs.

    Federal rules already allow people to qualify for a special enrollment period to buy ACA health plans if their circumstances change in important ways, according to the Post. That includes losing a job. But such exceptions require people to seek permission individually, and many are unaware they can do so. Trump health officials also tightened the rules for qualifying for special enrollment. In contrast, Biden is expected to open enrollment without anyone needing to seek permission. It’s a long way from Medicare for All, but it’s better than nothing.

    Capitol Police Chief Apologizes

    The search for answers and accountability continues. The acting chief of the Capitol Police apologized to Congress yesterday for the agency’s massive security failures on January 6th, the New York Times reports. She acknowledged during a closed-door briefing that the department knew there was a strong potential for violence, but failed to take adequate steps to prevent what she described as a terrorist attack. Yogananda Pittman, the acting chief of police, also confirmed that the Capitol Police Board, an obscure panel made up of three voting members, had initially declined a request two days earlier for National Guard troops. The board then delayed for more than an hour as the violence unfolded on January 6th before finally agreeing to a plea from the Capitol Police for National Guard troops. Chief Pittman was not the acting chief at the time of the siege. Her predecessor, Steven Sund, resigned after the riot.

    Chief Pittman said that her department knew January 6th would be unlike previous protests, according to the Times. She said her department knew that militia groups and white supremacists would descend on Washington. She said they knew some participants were intending to bring firearms and other weapons. She added QUOTE We knew that there was a strong potential for violence and that Congress was the target. The department prepared in order to meet these challenges, but we did not do enough ENDQUOTE.

    Separately, the deployment for the entire Washington, DC National Guard has been extended until March 31st in anticipation of civil disturbance, according to Politico. The timeframe coincides with Donald Trump’s impeachment trial. And his supporters are still issuing threats to lawmakers. What did you expect? They aren’t the type to send flowers.

    Officials Demand Climate Action

    What about climate action? Hundreds of state and local elected officials are calling on President Biden to lead a speedy, aggressive national effort to combat the climate and extinction crises, HuffPost reports. They want him to protect thirty percent of America’s lands and thirty percent of its waters by 2030. An open letter to the administration from four hundred and fifty officials representing forty-three states comes as Biden’s team works to dismantle Donald Trump’s legacy of rolling back environmental regulations and weakening protections for federal lands and wildlife. Biden also made a campaign promise to establish the thirty percent by 2030 target, which is in line with the United Nations’ plan for protecting biodiversity. The president is expected to issue an executive order on it any day now.

    According to HuffPost, the letter, organized by the left-leaning League of Conservation Voters, includes six specific actions that the signatories say should accompany the Thirty by Thirty goal. They include upholding Native American tribal sovereignty and supporting local and private landowner conservation efforts.

    New Mexico Congresswoman Deb Haaland, Biden’s pick to lead the Interior Department, last year led a coalition to set Thirty by Thirty as a national goal, HuffPost reports. At the time, she noted how the the loss of nature – accelerated by climate change – is putting up to one million species on the path to extinction. The Thirty by Thirty initiative has gained momentum at the local level. California Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order in October making his state the first to pledge to the goal. Lawmakers in other states, including New York and South Carolina, have introduced legislation to establish similar goals. Let’s make it national.


    Antony Blinken was confirmed by the Senate as secretary of state yesterday. He is a longtime foreign policy aide to Joe Biden who got his start as a State Department employee. Also yesterday, Janet Yellen was sworn in by Vice President Kamala Harris as Treasury secretary. She is the first woman to hold the office.

    Tens of thousands of farmers marched, rode horses and drove tractors into India’s capital yesterday, breaking through police barricades to storm the historic Red Fort, the Associated Press reports. Riot police fired tear gas and water cannons and set up barricades. But protesters, some carrying ceremonial swords, ropes and sticks, overwhelmed police. All this is bad news for the prime minister, Narendra Modi, and his corporate giveaway farm law.

    President Biden yesterday ordered the Department of Justice to end its reliance on private prisons, the AP reports. It’s basically a reversion to Obama administration policy. However, the American Civil Liberties Union noted that the order does not end the government’s reliance on privately-run immigration detention centers. Come on, Joe – now’s not the time for half measures.

    All but five Republican senators backed Donald Trump yesterday in a key test vote ahead of his forthcoming impeachment trial, the Washington Post reports. Trump’s trial is not scheduled to begin until February 9th, but senators were sworn in for the proceedings yesterday and immediately voted on an objection raised by Kentucky Republican Rand Paul questioning the constitutional basis for the proceedings. Because Trump’s defenders care so much about constitutional norms, right? Sure.

    JAN 27, 2021 - AM QUICKIE

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Corey Pein

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw


  • Jan 26, 2021: Amazon Union in Alabama

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


    You’ve heard the words before, but this time is a big one: Amazon Union. A new effort at a warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama is sweeping up support and is preparing for an NLRB vote in February.

    Meanwhile, remember when hospitals discovered typical Pfizer vaccine vials contained extra doses of the COVID vaccine? Well, Pfizer isn’t content to let that lie, and are now shipping less vials so they can charge for every last dose.

    And lastly, the Senate is once again floundering on the filibuster, as Democrats in Name Only Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema announce they won’t be persuaded to end it. Predictable, but still frustrating!


    Remember this city: Bessemer, Alabama.

    In a few months, it could take a permanent place in the history of organized labor, as warehouse workers at an Amazon Fulfillment Center there gear up for a full NLRB election to unionize close to 6,000 employees at the location.

    The fight for unionization at Amazon’s notoriously brutal warehouse facilities has been ongoing across the country for years, but the Bessemer group is about as close as anyone’s come thus far. That’s in the face of an avalanche of corporate union busting, as is Amazon’s custom. Still, this week the workers got a big boost: the official endorsement of the NFL Player’s Association.

    The workers are attempting to join the Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union, which worked with them clandestinely out of a Fairfield Inn so that the Amazon bosses wouldn’t catch on back in the summer.

    Here’s where things are at now. The prospective union got over 2,000 of the warehouse’s 5,800 or so workers to sign cards saying they wanted to vote on a union, which was enough to the the NLRB involved, even in late December when Trump’s anti-worker goons were in charge. If you remember, one of Biden’s first acts as president was to fire the NLRB’s head lawyer, because the guy was a Trump flunky who sided with Uber in a big worker classification case.

    So now the Amazon crew in Bessemer has a more sympathetic team at the top of the NLRB. That’s good, because the election is coming up. The NLRB announced that voting will begin

    next month and continue through March, mostly by mail. It’ll be the first vote for an Amazon union since 2014, when a small group of tech workers in Delaware voted against one. And since Alabama is a right-to-work state that’s pretty hostile to unions in the first place, if the RWDSU and the brave employees putting it all on the line pull this off, it could touch off a wave of similar actions around the country.

    Pfizer Gouges Government

    One of the best small miracles to come out of the largely dysfunctional rollout of the Coronavirus vaccine was the discovery that Pfizer’s vials of the substance actually contained more doses than scientists thought.

    That let doctors usually get more doses in arms faster, although they were often slowed down by overzealous restrictions as to who they could give it to.

    But big pharma is always gonna big pharma, so you can guess what happens next. Pfizer is going to wring every last dollar from American taxpayers for this thing, making sure it’s paid by the dose.

    How they did it will piss you off even more. For weeks, Pfizer lobbied the government to change the language of its original order for the vaccines, to note that the vials contained six doses, not five. Doing so could have a positive impact -- in that doctors knowingly can provide more doses faster. But since the sixth dose often requires a specialized syringe to extract, Pfizer is clearly playing the refs to make sure it gets every last penny possible. Its contract states that it gets paid by the dose, after all.

    And since there’s more doses per vial, the company is now saying it’s required to provide fewer vials. The end result is most important, of couse -- the more jabs we get in arms the better -- but there’s no end to the lengths big pharma will go to maximize profits, no matter the situation.

    Dems Forfeit Filibuster

    And finally, you’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again: Democrats are floundering a little in the Senate.

    On Monday, Democrats Joe Manchin and Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema both stuck by their previous statements that they had no interest in ending the legislative filibuster, a key provision that Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was fighting for in exchange for letting the Democrats take their committee chairship in the Senate.

    In reality, this is a pretty thin win for McConnell, who didn’t get much besides Sinema and Manchin proving once again that they’re only sort of Democrats. When push comes to shove the Democrats are still clearly counting on Sinema and Manchin’s votes for unrelated bills, which filibuster or not still have a chance to get through.

    McConnell also backed off on his hard-line demand that Democrats promise to preserve the filibuster, which means they could still take what’s known as the nuclear option and vote to end it with a simple majority at some point this year, provided they can finally convince Manchin and Sinema that there’s no other way to get stuff done.

    They could of course have done that and just broken a promise to McConnell, but that’s not the kind of hard ball the Democrats usually play.

    Regardless, the debate for now is done, and McConnell and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer can hammer out the rest of the terms for their power-sharing agreement going forward, in which Democrats still have that prized tiebreaker vote. We’ll see what they do with it.


    A new study by University of Chicago and Notre Dame Economists found that 8 million people have been pushed into poverty in between June and December as federal pandemic aid programs expired. In related news, Joe Biden indicated today that he was open to putting income thresholds on the next stimulus check that gets sent out. More arbitrary cutoffs for relief, just what we need!

    But hey, there’s more: Biden did say that he was moving forward to replace notorious racist Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill with Harriet Tubman. As many progressives pointed out, the best possible situation would be sending every American about 100 of those bills each month.

    The Oregon GOP took the wild but also incredibly predictable step today of officially putting a rubber stamp on Capitol storming conspiracy theories, passing a formal resolution calling the attack a so called “false flag,” perpetrated by leftists in order to impeach Donald Trump. Surprising that they’re the first ones to do it, but we’ll certainly get more of the same!

    And finally, Joe Biden reversed Donald Trumps discriminatory ban on transgender people serving in the U.S. military, making sure that people of all identities can serve the country however they choose.

    JAN 26, 2021 - AM QUICKIE

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Jack Crosbie

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw