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  • Sept 2, 2020: Trump CDC Orders Eviction Moratorium
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    06:42

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

    TODAY'S HEADLINES:

    The Trump administration, desperate for political goodwill, is using the Center for Disease Control’s authority to hand down a temporary eviction moratorium for anyone making less than $99,000 per year, but it comes with some other pretty strict qualifications.

    Meanwhile, Amazon is cracking down on labor organizing and spying on its own employees in unprecedented ways, Motherboard reports, while delivery drivers are leaving smartphones hanging from trees to try to eke out a living from the company’s algorithm.

    And lastly, Incumbent Senator Ed Markey appears to have fended off Rep. Joe Kennedy III in the Democratic primary. We’ll chat about that and break down some of the other races to watch in the State’s primary.

    THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:

    The Trump administration passed down a temporary federal eviction moratorium on Tuesday night, using the CDC’s quarantine authority to bar evictions for individuals making less than $99,000 a year.

    There’s a pretty easy way to read this: the looming eviction crisis is so bad that even Trump’s advisors have recognized that if it hits before the election, he’s screwed. Sure enough, the CDC’s moratorium only lasts until December 31.

    It also requires people to self-identify, basically making an official claim that they can’t pay rent but they’re trying to, and that they meet the required income bracket. And, crucially, it doesn’t convert that rent debt into consumer debt, meaning that you could get evicted right after the moratorium expires in January 2021.

    In other words, it’s a stopgap measure aimed at preserving some of Trump’s flagging support. Don’t get me wrong, it will still be a major lifeline to families living on the edge, giving them a few more crucial months to figure out a better situation, and it’s a far stronger provision than the original moratorium in the CARES act. But that doesn’t mean it’s the end of the crisis -- similar to the payroll tax deferrals we talked about earlier in the week, it basically postpones some of the pain of this recession, rather than alleviating it entirely.

    Amazon Doing Evil Again

    Amazon had a huge day yesterday, and by huge day I mean got exposed for doing a whole bunch of evil stuff. So basically a normal Tuesday for them.

    Let’s take a look at the evil in particular though. Item one: the company is hiring two quote “intelligence analysts” for its security division to track a whole host of threats including protests, crises, and geopolitical conflicts that could affect the company’s operations. So a corporate spy, essentially. But one bit of the job description stands out: according to Motherboard, the job listing mentions “labor organizing” three times. Essentially, the company is hiring private spooks to spy on labor organizers.

    Which brings us to item two, another scoop by Motherboard: an internal report shows that Amazon is quietly surveilling its Flex drivers and other employees in dozens of private facebook groups. Like many gig-work behemoths, Flex drivers have private facebook groups where they chat about the job and blow off steam, but now it’s on the record that Amazon has plants in pretty much all of those groups making sure none of the pesky working people get any ideas about organizing, protesting, or calling a strike.

    Bear in mind what these people’s jobs are like. Item three: Bloomberg reports that savvy drivers are literally hanging smartphones from trees near Amazon warehouses in an attempt to get the jump on their competitors. Amazon feeds off of this lowest-possible-fee, dog-eat-dog competitive atmosphere for workers who have been mistreated and underpaid for years, so this shouldn’t come as a surprise.

    We’ll have to wait and see how Obama’s old press secretary Jay Carney, who’s now an Amazon spokesman, wriggles out of this jam!

    A Kennedy Falls in Massachusetts

    It finally happened: a candidate with the last name Kennedy lost an election in Massachusetts. Senator Ed Markey appears to have struck down the youngest rising star of the dark Kennedy Dynasty, Joe Kennedy III, in the Massachusetts senate primary.

    Most networks called the race for Markey on Tuesday night, and as we were scripting this, it wasn’t even close. Markey was up by double digits, giving the much younger and much more nakedly ambitious Kennedy the thrashing his power-hungry family deserves.

    Unfortunately, the other big progressive race in the state appears to have gone the opposite way. House Ways and Means chairman Richard Neal appears to have beaten progressive challenger Alex Morse, after a contentious, borderline corrupt primary that saw a devastating smear campaign against Morse. Morse bounced back when the Intercept’s reporting exposed the smears against him as fake, but he wasn’t able to oust the incumbent Neal.

    Other races to watch: Jesse Mermell, a progressive, is in the lead in the open primary to fill Kennedy’s House seat that he left to challenge Markey. Mermell ran a pretty left-focused campaign, but one of her challengers, Ihssane Leckey, looked very promising as well. Keep an eye on that race, as it hasn’t been called as of script time, and the closest rival candidate to Mermell is a big money-funded centrist.

    AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:

    Joe Biden’s campaign is launching new yard signs... in a video game. In the popular Animal Crossing: New Horizons, you can now proclaim yourself team Joe. And now all I can think about is how Hillary Clinton said Pokemon Go to the Polls.

    According to a new book, Melania Trump used multiple private email addresses, iMessage, and the encrypted messaging app Signal while in the White House. Remember when this was a huge national security story when Hillary Clinton did it? Neither do I, because I had a voluntary lobotomy after the 2016 election.

    In slightly brighter Republican primary news, the Massachusetts congressional candidate who was openly linked to Qanon did NOT win his primary election. So that’s one thing the GOP’s got going for it, I guess.

    Trump’s personal physician denied that the President experienced a stroke last year during a sudden medical emergency, and denied that Pence had been put on standby if the President had gone into surgery. The allegations were made in, would you guess, a new book about the Trump administration by a New York Times reporter. So that clears all that up, it’s clear the big man is in perfect health!

    That’s all for the Majority Report’s AM quickie today. Sam’s got you in the afternoon.

    Sept 2, 2020 - AM Quickie

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Jack Crosbie

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

  • Sept 1, 2020: Trump Defends Teen Shooter
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    06:44

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

    TODAY'S HEADLINES:

    President Trump defended militia member Kyle Rittenhouse, refusing to condemn the two killings the 17-year-old Trump supporter committed in Kenosha, Wisconsin last week.

    Meanwhile, New York City’s teacher are preparing to strike if Mayor Bill de Blasio doesn’t meet their demands for mandatory testing, which would be one of the largest actions in the ongoing nationwide battle over reopening schools.

    And lastly, a whistleblower report alleges that the L.A. Sheriff’s Deputy who shot 18-year-old Andres Guardado was quote “chasing ink,” or attempting to join one of the violent gangs that exist inside the Sheriff's department.

    THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:

    At this point, nobody should be expecting Donald Trump to condemn the things his supporters do, but after last week’s shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the president appears to have thrown his lot entirely behind the right-wing defense of Kyle Rittenhouse.

    Rittenhouse shot three protesters, killing two, during a chaotic incident in the middle of protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin after the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

    When asked about the shooting at a press conference on Saturday, Trump leaned into the right-wing narrative that Rittenhouse’s shootings were committed in self-defense, saying quote: “I guess he was in very big trouble. He probably would have been killed,” endquote.

    Trump also refused to condem the widespread violence perpetrated by his supporters in Portland over the weekend, where a truck convoy of Trump supporters sprayed protesters with mace and shot them with paintballs. Trump referred to his supporters as quote “Peaceful,” and added quote “paint is not bullets.” Those confrontations also ended in violence, when one right-wing militia member was shot and killed in the city on Saturday.

    The Trump campaign and other conservative voices have sought to blame the increasing violence at protests around the country on Joe Biden, alleging that Biden is somehow supportive of incidents of violence, looting or rioting. But in a speech on Monday, Biden wasted no time in decrying all such behavior. He said quote:

    “I urge the President to join me in saying that while peaceful protest is a right — a necessity — violence is wrong, period. No matter who does it, no matter what political affiliation they have. Period.

    “If Donald Trump can’t say that, then he is unfit to be president, and his preference for more violence — not less — is clear.”

    Trump plans to visit Kenosha on today, so look out for even more dangerous rhetoric from him then.

    NYC Teachers Prepare to Strike

    The battle over returning to school is coming to a head in New York City, as the city’s powerful Teachers Union says a strike is still on the table if mayor Bill de Blasio doesn’t meet their demands.

    The sticking point right now is a mandatory testing program for students and staff returning to school. United Federation of Teachers president Michael Mulgrew said quote:

    “I cannot and I will not back off the fact that I said we would not go back unless independent medical experts gave us a stamp of approval. So it’s not like the mayor is going to convince me not to have a mandated testing program. It’s not happening.”

    If that wrinkle isn’t ironed out, Mulgrew left the door open for a major labor action, including a strike.

    The UFT is also pushing for a delayed start to the year, which is supposed to begin on September 10.

    While many teachers across the country have already been pushed back into classrooms, this battle in one of the largest school systems in the country could set a precedent for other unions fighting for mandatory testing as well.

    Earlier in the year, Chicago’s powerful teachers’ union, which has gone on strike just last year over contract negotiations, threatened another strike in July if the city did not meet their demands to hold remote classes -- and hours later, got what they wanted.

    Now, New York is laying the same threat on the table. We’ll see how de Blasio responds.

    Killer LA Sheriff Was Chasing Gang Ink

    A new whistleblower complaint claims that the L.A. Country Sheriff’s Deputy who shot 18-year-old Andres Guardado was in fact “chasing ink,” or trying to join an organized police gang that rewards its members for brutality.

    The fact that there are active, violent gangs inside the LA Sheriffs Department is nothing short of absurd.

    But Guardado’s killing came after knowledge of the gangs was widespread, which means that the forces inside the department weren’t cowed by external pressure or an FBI investigation.

    According to the new complaint, Deputy Miguel Vega was trying to get into an exclusive clique inside the Sheriffs Office known as the Executioners.

    Another deputy, Art Gonzalez, alleged in a sworn whistleblower statement that the Executioners have more than a dozen members with matching tattoos, who often host parties after an officer has shot someone in which they may be inked.

    In other words, Guardado’s death may have come at the hands of a cop looking to kill someone to buy his way into a gang. Gonzalez, the whistleblower, testified for nearly six hours under oath, according to Spectrum News 1 in LA.

    AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:

    Trump’s environmental protection agency is quietly relaxing another key anti-pollution measure, this time weakening Obama-era regulations on coal waste. The new rules drastically increase the daily thresholds for amounts of toxic elements that plants can release into the water supply.

    Spain is officially going through a true “second wave” of coronavirus infections, as its rate of infections has been higher than the U.S., France, Germany and most of the rest of Europe in the past week. Spain had a brutal first wave of infections which were only broken by a strict lockdown -- but after a rapid reopening program, the virus is creeping back in.

    Airlines are making one major change in the attempt to coax customers into flying again: they’re permanently dropping change fees for most domestic flights. Delta, United and American are all following this plan, which will certainly give travelers who have to fly a bit more peace of mind, as it’s clear the actual process isn’t and won’t be safe for a while.

    In slightly terrifying news, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg officiated a wedding and was pictured not wearing a mask just weeks after being hospitalized for liver cancer. The bride claimed that quote “we tested negative,” but still. Probably not a great risk to take.

    Sept 1, 2020 - AM Quickie

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Jack Crosbie

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

  • Aug 31, 2020: One Shot at Portland Protest
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    07:19

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

    TODAY'S HEADLINES:

    Protesters in Portland clashed with a pro-Trump truck caravan in a night of violence that left one right-wing militia member dead.

    Meanwhile, The U.S. passes 6 million coronavirus cases, and California becomes the first U.S. State to hit 700,000. California’s infection rates are falling, though, but other states with smaller populations continue to spike.

    And lastly, President Trump has made a big deal about his payroll tax deferrals, but new data shows that when the tax man does come knocking in 2021, workers are going to get slammed.

    THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:

    One person was shot dead during a chaotic night of protests in Portland, Oregon on Saturday.

    The circumstances around the shooting are still unclear -- it happened near a parking garage away from the main protests. The victim was wearing a hat with the logo of Patriot Prayer, a far-right militia that has squared off with Black Lives Matter protesters and other anti-fascists in Portland.

    Portland Police say they’re trying to find out who was responsible for the shooting but released no information yet.

    Earlier in the night, a huge convoy of Trump supporters drove into the city, largely in pickup trucks, streaming Trump 2020 and thin blue line flags. They then proceeded to antagonize Black Lives Matter protesters in the city, spraying mace and shooting them with paintballs. Far-right counter-protesters have attacked protesters in Portland repeatedly in the past weeks, brandishing or firing guns on multiple occasions.

    Any of that nuance is sure to be stripped from the conversation, particularly after the politically-charged shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin last week.

    President Trump has used the incident to double down on his fascist rhetoric and enable more far-right escalation, saying that quote “the people of Portland won’t put up with no safety any longer.” endquote, and criticizing Portland’s embattled mayor Ted Wheeler.

    Some far-right groups have already jumped to conclusions over the shooting, saying the loss of one of their own means civil war with the left. It’s hard to say what the next week has in store, but more violence could well be on the way.

    US Hits 6 Mil COVID Cases

    The United States passed 6 million confirmed coronavirus cases on Sunday, according to the New York Times.

    California now rules the bleak coronavirus charts with 700,000 confirmed cases in the state. However, that number belies a slightly more positive story for the state: the infection rate is falling, and of course California’s massive population always means it’s going to have more cases than most.

    Other states are still struggling, however. Louisiana has the highest number of cases per 100,000 people in the country, with over 3,100, according to the Times.

    Outbreaks continue to spread, especially in schools and universities that have resumed in-person classes. But recent data shows that the rate of infections might be slowing slightly -- new daily cases have been going down since the end of July.

    The next worry is how quickly -- and how safely -- we’ll be able to get a vaccine. The FDA commissioner recently said his agency might be willing to approve a vaccine before phase 3 human trials had been completed, which is obviously a risk. It’s one that could save lives if the vaccine works, but is also being pushed for heavily by the Trump administration, which is desperate to get some kind of solution on the table before the election. And as we know from Trump’s handling of the pandemic, human life matters far less than political capital.

    Payroll Tax Payback Looks Grim

    President Trump made a big deal about suspending payroll taxes during the height of the pandemic, meaning that workers got to skip at least one regular subtraction from their take-home wage. But instead of abolishing the tax, Trump just deferred it, and new data confirms that when we have to pay that tax back retroactively, things are going to be bleak.

    The Treasury department on friday indicated that employers would be on the hook to pay back the postponed payroll taxes in 2021, meaning that they’d be taking even more out of workers’ paychecks then than they would have normally.

    What Trump’s cuts are doing then is giving a short-term boost to paychecks, which will certainly be appreciated by some, at least until it’s all owed in a year. After the election, of course.

    To make matters worse, guess what payroll taxes usually fund: Social Security and Medicare. So in one move, Trump is putting stress on the budgets of essential services for just a temporary relief to workers. If Trump eventually decides to cut the tax whatsoever, it will give most workers a bit of a bump in take-home pay -- but at the cost of those same essential services. Since Republicans have been looking to gut those programs for years, this seems like the perfect plan to add a whole lot more uncertainty to the mix.

    AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:

    Rep. Steve Scalise sank to a new low on Sunday, publishing a doctored video that manipulated the words said by ALS-afflicted healthcare advocate Ady Barkhan. In the footage, Barkhan appears to ask Biden to redirect funding for police to healthcare. In reality, Barkhan, who uses a digital voicebox, didn’t say the words “for police” -- Scalise just added them in to fit his twisted narrative.

    Arizona State University’s College Republicans have become one of the first formal political groups to throw their lot all-in behind Kenosha murderer Kyle Rittenhouse, holding a fundraiser for him and telling a newspaper journalist who called that they quote “do not speak to journalists with pronouns on their Twitter page,” endquote. Classy group of people, clearly.

    A small number of U.S. troops doing... something??... in Syria this week were injured in a skirmish with Russian forces, allegedly after the two groups crashed their vehicles into one another. U.S. officials said there wasn’t any actual shooting, but still. Yikes.

    And finally, the Director of National Intelligence’s office informed the Senate and House that it would no longer be doing in-person briefings relating to election security, limiting Congress’s ability to ask hard questions of the people running security for the November election and striking yet another blow to transparency overall. Not a great sign!

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

    Aug 31, 2020 - AM Quickie

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Jack Crosbie

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

  • Aug 28, 2020: Trump Calls Biden... Extreme?
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    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by justcoffee.coop

    TODAY'S HEADLINES:

    Protests and vigils continue in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and beyond, calling for justice for Jacob Blake, shot seven times in the back by police. And new details have emerged about a teenage vigilante shooter who killed two and injured a third at one of those protests this week.

    Meanwhile, Donald Trump speaks on the final night of the Republican National Convention. And a new report details how much money his companies have skimmed from the US government during his time in office.

    And lastly, the Christchurch mosque killer receives New Zealand’s maximum criminal penalty. Hear how a victim’s son delivered a righteous speech before the sentencing.

    THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:

    Our apologies: Yesterday we said Jacob Blake, the man shot seven times in the back by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, had been killed. He is in fact still alive, though paralyzed from the waist down. Yesterday the Chicago Sun-Times reported that Blake was handcuffed to his hospital bed when his father came to visit. It’s unclear what charges he faces, because police haven’t said. Blake’s father, also named Jacob, is scheduled to speak at the March on Washington today.

    Meanwhile, more details have emerged about Kyle Rittenhouse, the seventeen-year-old shooter who attacked a crowd of protesters in Kenosha before fleeing to his home across the state line in Antioch, Illinois. Students at a high school Rittenhouse attended told Vice News he was shy but also aggressive, and some had him pegged for a future school shooter. He was active in a police cadet training program and reportedly idolized the police. And in addition to making common cause with a local right-wing militia, he was a big fan of Donald Trump. Buzzfeed News found a photo of Rittenhouse in the front row at a Trump rally in Des Moines, Iowa, in late January. Since his shooting, which killed two and wounded another, much of the Republican right has rallied around Rittenhouse, casting him as a hero who fought to protect property from rioters. The survivors of his victims have disputed that characterization in the strongest terms.

    Those shot dead were victims Anthony Huber, age twenty-six, of Silver Lake; and Joseph “Jojo” Rosenbaum, thirty-six, of Kenosha. Gaige Grosskreutz, twenty-six, of West Allis, was shot in the arm and is expected to recover, according to the Sun-Times. Per the Chicago Tribune, Huber had confronted Rittenhouse, who was carrying an assault rifle, using only his skateboard. A GoFundMe created by his family said QUOTE He was fighting for a cause, and he wasn’t a rioter – he was a protester and a defender ENDQUOTE. Law enforcement and National Guard were out in an attempt to enforce curfews again last night, not only in Kenosha but also in Minneapolis, where protests are ongoing.

    Finally, police in Kenosha named the officer who shot Jacob Blake seven times in the back while holding his shirt as Rusten Sheskey, a seven-year veteran of the department. The local district attorney will decide whether to file charges against the officer next month after the state Justice Department releases its report.

    Trump calls Biden... extreme?

    Yesterday the New York Times reported that for the second time in thirty days, the Trump campaign pulled all its broadcast ads from circulation. The campaign has no new ads scheduled until September 8. That’s two weeks with no ads on television and fewer than seventy days until the election. Something isn’t quite clicking for the Republicans. On night three of the Republican National Convention, headliner Mike Pence brought the lowest ratings yet. And last night, Donald Trump himself delivered the convention keynote from the White House. According to prepared remarks obtained by the Associated Press, Trump cast his super-centrist opponent, Joe Biden, as some kind of flaming radical. And he blamed the violence in Kenosha and elsewhere on the local Democratic leadership.

    Separately, the Washington Post reported that the Trump Organization has bilked taxpayers for at least nine hundred thousand dollars since he took office, much of it through booking feels at Trump hotels and resorts. The Secret Service is obliged to follow Trump wherever he goes, which means that when he stays at a Trump hotel, agents must book rooms there. Trump has now visited his own hotels two hundred and seventy-one times as president. Sometimes the charges to the Secret Service seemed not only exorbitant but straight-up bogus, such as a bill for furniture removal from a room totaling thirteen hundred dollars plus tax. In response to the Post’s reporting, a White House spokesman warned that they were

    building up a very large dossier on the reporter, David Farenthold. We’re sure he’s quaking in his shoes.

    Christchurch mosque shooter sentenced

    A judge in New Zealand yesterday sentenced Brenton Harrison Tarrant, who killed fifty-one people at two mosques in a terrorist attack last year, to life in prison without the possibility of parole. It was the maximum sentence allowed by law and the first time it has been imposed in the country’s history. According to the Associated Press, Judge Cameron Mander said Tarrant's crimes were so wicked that a lifetime in jail could not begin to atone for them. Tarrant, twenty-nine, is an Austrailian citizen.

    Ahad Nabi, the son of a shooting victim, also had words for the killer. In an appeal to the judge shared widely on social media, Nabi endorsed the sentence of life without parole. He called the killer a maggot who had inadvertently made his father a martyr. Nabi said, in part, QUOTE You shot at defenseless people that were not aware of what was going on until they knew it was too late. Your actions were gutless... You deserve to be buried in a landfill. This world was created with color. A peasant like you will never change the human race. Your wish is to make this world a racist cult of one color. But you will never succeed... I would like to say that my seventy-one year old dad would have broke you in half if you challenged him to a fight. But you are weak. A sheep with a wolf’s jacket on, for only ten minutes of your whole life. I am strong, and you made me even stronger ENDQUOTE. And with that, Nabi flipped the killer off with both hands.

    And now for some Quicker Quickies.

    AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:

    Hurricane Laura flattened buildings and trees along the Gulf Coast and kicked off a large chemical fire over Lake Charles, Louisiana, when it made landfall. Laura continues to move north toward Arkansas and has been downgraded to a tropical storm. Four deaths were reported in Louisiana and none in Texas. The verdict from Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards: it could have been a lot worse. Indeed, the storm also knocked over a Confederate statue in Lake Charles, only days after parish officials voted to leave it standing.

    A new analysis in the British Medical Journal found that six feet of social distancing may be insufficient protection against the coronavirus, especially in poorly ventilated indoor settings. Public health experts quoted by the Washington Post say six feet of social distance should be regarded as a starting point, not a strict guidance. The only thing close to a silver bullet, researchers say, is a distanced gathering outdoors where everyone is wearing well- fitted masks. Got that? Mask up and be mindful of how the air is flowing.

    Russia’s Vladimir Putin has said he is willing to provide military or police assistance to help the ruler of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko (LUKE-UH-SHEN-KOH), remain in power. Lukashenko, recently seen carrying an assault rifle after deboarding a helicopter, has ordered amid mass arrests of protesters after elections the European Union refuses to recognize as legitimate. Poland’s prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki (MAT-EH-USH MORA-VESHKY), urged Russia to cease any plans for military intervention in Belarus, calling it a hostile act in violation of international law.

    The British artist Banksy has used some of his wealth to finance a boat that is patrolling the Mediterranean to rescue refugees lost at sea. The Guardian reports that the boat, named Louise Michel after a French feminist anarchist, rescued eighty-nine people in distress yesterday, including fourteen women and four children. At last report the Louise Michel was looking for a safe port to let the refugees disembark.

    Aug 28, 2020 - AM Quickie

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Corey Pein

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

  • Aug 27, 2020: Wisconsin Activates National Guard
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    08:16

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

    TODAY'S HEADLINES:

    A teenage wannabe cop and militia member was arrested for shooting and killing two people at a protest against police violence in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The Milwaukee Bucks then launched a solidarity strike with protesters, leading to the postponement of the basketball playoffs, which will definitely get the attention of people who might not have noticed or cared.

    Meanwhile, Texas and Lousiana braced for a massive Category Four hurricane that was set to make landfall last night. And thousands more homes are at risk of burning in California.

    And lastly, there was a courtroom a victory for transgender equity in Virginia yesterday. A federal appeals court upheld the right of a transgender male student to use the boy’s bathroom at school, regardless of how many bigoted adults may feel about it.

    THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:

    Police in Lake County, Illinois arrested a seventeen-year-old boy for shooting three people and killing two at ongoing protests in nearby Kenosha, Wisconsin. According to Vice News, the young man, Kyle Rittenhouse is an aspiring police officer, and online videos showed him milling about with local police, as well as with right-wing militia members, and carrying an assault rifle. The militia claimed to be on the scene to protect businesses and property from rioters and QUOTE evil thugs ENDQUOTE. An event page set up by the militia was removed from Facebook, but not before the event was promoted by Alex Jones’ Infowars.

    Prosecutors in Illinois called Rittenhouse a fugitive who fled Wisconsin to avoid accountability for the shooting. He is being charged with first-degree murder. Videos show Wisconsin police allowed Rittenhouse to leave the scene with his rifle. Photographer Brent Ford witnessed the entire scene and told Vice News QUOTE He had his hands up and they told him to get out of there, even though everyone was yelling that he was the shooter. The police didn’t seem to hear or care what the crowd was saying ENDQUOTE. Yesterday the Kenosha police chief told reporters that if everyone involved had respected the curfew that was in place, QUOTE perhaps the situation that unfolded would not have happened ENDQUOTE.

    The shooting took place just before midnight on Tuesday, which was the third night of protests in Kenosha following the police shooting of an unarmed black man, Jacob Blake. Yesterday, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers said he was calling up five hundred members of the National Guard to support police in Kenosha County. A curfew was set for seven P.M. Donald Trump was also tweeting about the situation yesterday, which is sure to help. More importantly, players with the Milaukee Bucks decided to go on strike in solidarity with the protests over Jacob Blake’s shooting, prompting the National Basketball Association to postpone all of yesterday’s playoffs games.

    *Editor's Note: A previous version of this report said that police killed Jacob Blake. Blake was not killed but he was shot by police seven times and as a result has been paralyzed from the waist down

    Hurricane hits Gulf states

    National Guard were also deployed in Texas and Louisiana, which are in the way of Hurricane Laura. The storm yesterday was upgraded to a Category Four, with peak winds reaching one-hundred and forty-five miles per hour. It could be the strongest storm to hit Louisiana in one-hundred and sixty years, according to Bloomberg News. The National Hurricane Center said an unsurvivable storm surge with large and destructive waves could penetrate thirty miles inland, causing catastrophic damage from Sea Rim State Park, Texas, to Intracoastal City, Louisiana, including Calcasieu and Sabine Lakes. The American Red Cross is putting emergency evacuation protocols in place for both states. In all more than a half a million people have been ordered to evacuate the coastal areas.

    Meanwhile, firefighters in California, aided by cooler weather, have made some progress containing the wildfires that are ravaging the state. Nearly two thousand buildings have already burned, according to the Los Angeles Times. Officials say that number could double before the fires are finally extinguished. Since August 15, when the state was first hit with a so-called lightning siege that sparked the flames, more than seven hundred wildfires have burned one point three million acres around the north and central parts of the state. While progress is being made, crews are still busy responding to new fires. Another four hundred and twenty three lightning strikes hit the state in the twenty-four hour period ending yesterday afternoon, causing fifty new fires. More than one hundred and thirty-six thousand Californians have been evacuated, and Governor Gavin Newsom has warned everyone in the state that they may need to flee their homes at some point on account of the fires. At least seven people have died so far in the fires.

    Transgender bathroom rights upheld

    A federal appeals court in Virginia yesterday sided with a transgender student in a bathroom-access case. The Fourth US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the Gloucester County School Board and said the transgender student was protected both by a federal law preventing sex discrimination in education, as well as by the US Constitution’s equal protection clause. The lawsuit dates to 2015, according to NBC News. It was filed by Gavin Grimm, who is now a college student. Grimm was assigned female at birth but identifies as male. School officials had forbidden him from using the boy’s restroom.

    Writing for the court, which sided with Grimm in a two-to-one vote, Judge Henry Floyd wrote that school officials were guilty of a special kind of discrimination against a child, based in the fantastical fears and unfounded prejudices of adults. Floyd wrote QUOTE the proudest moments of the federal judiciary have been when we affirm the burgeoning values of our bright youth, rather than preserve the prejudices of the past ENDQUOTE.

    Grimm’s case was originally going to be heard by the US Supreme Court in 2017, but it was removed from the calendar after Donald Trump rescinded a federal rule on transgender bathroom access put into place by Barack Obama. It’s possible, even likely, that the question of transgender rights will come before the high court again.

    Grimm was represented by the American Civil Liberties Union. In a statement following the verdict, he said QUOTE all transgender students should have what I was denied: the opportunity to be seen for who we are by our schools and our government ENDQUOTE.

    AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:

    Mike Pence was the marquee name last night at the Republican National Convention. Separately, a Politico story blamed Pence for doing his part to slow down the nation’s coronavirus response. Donald Trump spent part of the day at his namesake hotel in Washington, DC, meeting with donors. According to the Washington Post, among the sundry events scheduled for the Trump International Hotel yesterday was a panel on Defeating the Deep State, featuring, among other panelists, Sebastian Gorka. There was also a bourbon tasting with Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. Boy howdy.

    Four US service members suffered concussion-like symptoms after an altercation with Russian forces in Syria this week. Video of the incident emerged yesterday, and it showed a Russian helicopter flying low over US armored vehicles, which were then rammed by a Russian vehicle on the ground. A draft statement written by US Central Command and cited by Politico blamed the Russians for unsafely pursuing then intentionally ramming the American forces. The Pentagon offered no comment.

    The ACLU of Oregon filed a lawsuit yesterday in federal court on behalf of Portland protesters who say they were beaten by federal agents or snatched into unmarked rental vans, Portland’s Willamette (WILL-AM-ET) Week newspaper reported. Donald Trump, the Department of Homeland Security and the US Marshals Service are named as defendants. One of the plaintiffs, Mark Mark Pettibone, was snatched up by federal agents and tossed into an unmarked van. He said QUOTE I still haven't fully come to terms with what it means that I was kidnapped by my government ENDQUOTE. Same here buddy.

    The US Centers for Disease Control revised its guidance for COVID-19 testing this week, saying people who were exposed to the virus but are not showing symptoms should not be tested. Public health experts expressed concern over the revision, saying all who were exposed should be tested. After word got out about the changes, the New York Times reported that CDC officials were pressured to make the change by higher-ups in the Trump administration. Apparently Trump officials took advantage of the absence of Doctor Anthony Fauci, who was undergoing surgery for polyp on his vocal cords, to ram through the change. I don’t know about you, folks, but this is all the nonsense I can take today.

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

    Aug 27, 2020 - AM Quickie

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Corey Pein

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

  • Aug 26, 2020: Peaceful Pennsylvania March Attacked
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    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by justcoffee.coop

    TODAY'S HEADLINES:

    A man shot into a group of civil rights marchers in rural Pennsylvania. Which is pretty emblematic of how this year has been going.

    Meanwhile, night two of the Republican National Convention featured Melania Trump and Mike Pompeo. Can you guess which one was criticized for breaking federal rules, and which was being secretly recorded by a former friend?

    And lastly, more states are fighting back as the Trump administration monkeywrenches the United States Postal Service. Now New York, New Jersey, and Hawaii have filed a lawsuit in federal court.

    THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:

    An old white man shot into a mixed-race crowd of some fifty civil rights marchers in rural Pennsylvania late on Monday night, though the incident wasn’t reported by local media until yesterday. Police did not release the shooter’s name but said in a press release that two men were being questioned at a state police barracks in small-town Bedford.

    The marchers are on a pilgrimage from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Washington, DC – a journey of nearly eight hundred miles, on foot. Before the shooting the marchers had taken a break and were preparing to climb a hill. Witness Tory Lowe said marchers caught sight of the man looking out a door, but had no time to react before he began shooting at them from behind. Lowe said in a Facebook Live stream that the man fired at least seven shots from a long gun. “He just came out shooting. There was nothing we could do,” Lowe said.

    One marcher was hit in the face. He was reportedly in stable condition yesterday at a nearby hospital. Police said an argument preceded the shooting, but witnesses disputed that account. According to Lowe, QUOTE it was no argument. The video is proof ENDQUOTE.

    The marchers set out from Milwaukee on August 4. At least two were arrested on charges of blocking traffic earlier along the route, in Indiana. They hope to arrive at the Lincoln

    Monument in DC by Friday, which marks the fifty-seventh anniversary of Martin Luther King Junior’s “I Have a Dream” speech. How little has changed.

    Pompeo speech called illegal

    Breaking form, Donald Trump yesterday praised CNN for running the opening night of the Republican National Convention more or less uninterrupted. But what he didn’t mention was that ratings were down twenty-eight percent for the RNC as compared to 2016. That’s according to the Los Angeles Times reported. And about three million fewer people watched it than watched the Democratic National Convention last week.

    Last night was the second of four nights of planned programming by the Republicans. There was no coverage of how Trump has moved more than two million dollars in contributions to his campaign from those accounts to his private companies, as Forbes reported yesterday. There were, in contrast to the Democratic convention, no past presidents speaking on Trump’s behalf. But there was scandal aplenty. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke to the convention from the US Embassy in Jerusalem. Career diplomats were appalled by the decision, according to CBS News. The Foreign Service has strict guidelines about political activity, which Pompeo ignored. We couldn’t put it better than Democratic Congressman Ilhan Omar, who said QUOTE if there's one thing this administration has shown us, it's a willingness to break the law in broad daylight. Mike Pompeo's participation at the RNC as Secretary of State – from foreign soil, no less – isn't just inappropriate. It's illegal. ENDQUOTE.

    Trump’s wife Melania also spoke, from the recently renovated White House Rose Garden. But what’s more interesting is that Melania is reportedly on tape dissing various Trumpworld figures. The tapes were surreptitiously recorded by her former friend and adviser, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, who has a book coming out soon. Titled Melania and Me, it’s billed as a tell- all. We’ll let you know the dirt as soon as it’s available.

    More states sue USPS

    New York state Attorney General Letitia James, joined by the states of New Jersey and Hawaii, and the cities of New York and San Francisco, are suing Donald Trump and his

    crony, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, over their sabotage of Postal Service operations leading up to the November election.

    It’s the third lawsuit over DeJoy’s disruptions to postal operations. Pennsylvania and Washington State led two multistate lawsuits that were filed last week. All three lawsuits allege DeJoy made the changes without getting them cleared by the postal regulator or seeking public comment as required by Congress, Bloomberg News reported.

    In addition to Trump and DeJoy, the new lawsuit led by New York Attorney General James also names the Postal Service itself as a defendant. In a statement yesterday, James said QUOTE this USPS slowdown is nothing more than a voter suppression tactic. Yet, this time, these authoritarian actions are not only jeopardizing our democracy and fundamental right to vote, but the immediate health and financial well-being of Americans across the nation ENDQUOTE.

    The lawsuits seek court orders to prevent further changes, in addition to undoing the changes DeJoy already made. Meanwhile, more videos emerged from around the country showing discarded mail sorting machines and postal drop boxes being removed. They’re not even really trying to hide this election interference. It’s all so damned brazen.

    AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:

    More than half a million people were told to evacuate the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana ahead of Hurricane Laura, a category three storm that is expected to make landfall late tonight or early tomorrow. Winds are forecast to be in excess of one hundred miles per hour and there is a risk of flash flooding, as well. Stay safe, stay dry, and if you’re planning on using one of the official shelters, the authorities ask that you bring two masks for each person, plus hand sanitizer, along with the rest of your emergency kit.

    The Kremlin yesterday rejected claims by German doctors that Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny was poisoned with a nerve agent. Navalny fell ill last Thursday while on a flight from Siberia to Moscow. His allies are calling for a criminal inquiry and say they don’t trust results from a Russian hospital that found no basis for the poisoning claim.

    The New York Times reports that American colleges and universities are cracking down hard on students who hold parties in violation of coronavirus restrictions. Suspensions of individual students, as well as entire fraternities and sororities, are already in the hundreds. Outbreaks stemming from parties are a real problem. The Times has counted twenty-three thousand COVID cases on seven-hundred and fifty campuses since the pandemic kicked off last winter.

    Jerry Falwell Junior formally resigned the presidency of Liberty University yesterday, amid a sex scandal. Falwell accidentally copied university leadership on an email with pictures of his wife having sex with a pool boy, reportedly an activity the right-wing Christian leader enjoyed observing several times per year. After the pool boy confirmed the relationship, Falwell said he was resigning, then changed his mind, then changed his mind again, and here we are.

    Aug 26, 2020 - AM Quickie

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Corey Pein

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

  • Aug 25, 2020: RNC Night One
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    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by justcoffee.coop

    TODAY'S HEADLINES:

    The RNC kicked off tonight with, who would have guessed, a controversy, as Trump narrowly decided against holding an illegal gathering in DC and went forward with plans to accept his party’s nomination from the White House, rather than a politically neutral site.

    Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, protests erupt after police shot Jacob Blake, a black man, seven times in the back while he was attempting to get back in his car. Blake survived, but the outrage over his clearly unjust treatment caught on video has rocked the city of Kenosha.

    And lastly, California is once again burning, as exhausted firefighters battle 625 active blazes across the state.

    THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:

    Here we go everyone, it’s the RNC. After last week’s Republican-lite convention put on by Joe Biden and the Democrats, it’s time to watch the full-fascist party put on their show.

    Night one did not disappoint: Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the St. Louis couple who pointed guns at Black Lives Matter protesters outside of their mansion, leaned hard into false rhetoric that the Democrats would hand over citizens to criminals.

    RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel praised Trump’s support of housewives and moms, and diaper-boy Charlie Kirk leaned in to his alt-right roots by making a pitch for Trump that included the words “Western Civilization.” You can see where that one’s going.

    But all of this gabbling is mostly just window dressing. The more interesting story of the convention, like we mentioned yesterday, is the GOP’s full-throated endorsement of Trump without any concrete policy goals.

    Late Sunday night, the Trump administration released a list of “goals” for a second term, which include everything from moon bases to intensely repressive immigration lists. The Republican party is on board with this till the bitter end.

    The other theme is that the normal rules will not apply to this party or this President. On Monday, the White House constructed a stage in the Rose Garden, preparing for a big event on Thursday when the president will formally accept the nomination. It’s technically against ethics rules for the president to do partisan activities like campaigning on federal property, but Trump has decided that, like so many other laws and norms, doesn’t apply to him.

    It’s all just part of him testing his limits to see just how far he can go. We’ll see on November 5th whether or not that’ll extend to free and fair elections, and we’ll see what other buttons Trump tries to press at the RNC the rest of this week.

    Jacob Blake Shooting Fractures Kenosha

    In Wisconsin, a new shocking incident of police violence has thrown a small city into turmoil, as massive protests and civil unrest erupted after police in Kenosha shot an unarmed black man seven times in the back.

    The victim, Jacob Blake, was shot as he was attempting to get back into his car, which his three children were inside. He’s in stable condition in the hospital, miraculously.

    But his shooting was captured on video, and within hours the city was on fire, as angry residents torched garbage trucks, parked cars, and looted businesses downtown. On Monday, the state deployed 100 national guard members and set an 8 p.m. curfew for the city to crack down on protests.

    Blake was allegedly trying to break up a fight between two women when police arrived on scene, and appears to attempt to leave the situation as police yelled and pointed their weapons at him. As he attempted to get back into his car, an officer grabbed his shirt and shots rang out.

    The city is still on edge, and while the police immediately opened an investigation, it doesn’t look like there will be an easy resolution anytime soon.

    California Fights Over 600 Fires

    California is on fire, as it is every year around this time. But due to the drastic effects of global climate change, every year seems worse than the last.

    Right now, firefighters in the state are battling upwards of 625 active fires, including two of the biggest fires the state has ever seen. Together, over 1.4 million acres of land in the state have burned.

    Many of the fires are sparked by lightning strikes, as dry fuel loads go up like matches during dry summer thunderstorms.

    And of course, vulture capitalists have found a way to use the catastrophe to get richer: Common Dreams dot com reports that one hedge fund has added $3 billion to their coffers by buying up insurance claims.

    Thanks to the megafires nearby, Oakland and much of the Bay Area is choked by smoke, closing state parks and schools already plagued by the pandemic.

    Another thing weakened by the pandemic: the prison labor California and other states often use to fight wildfires. Thanks to early release programs aimed at releasing prisoners from the COVID-traps of the prison system, much of the state’s captive wildfire labor force is home, and not behind bars.

    The prison labor system is an abusive form of modern slavery, which the most recent fires have exposed as an integral part of California’s response to wildfires. Clearly, the state needs a better system, because this is only going to get worse.

    AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:

    Kellyanne Conway announced she would leave the White House at the end of August, citing the need to focus on her family. It’s probably no coincidence that her daughter, who has promoted leftist causes on social media, has been publicly seeking emancipation from her parents, claiming that she’s disgusted with her mother’s job.

    Researchers in Hong Kong confirmed the first case of coronavirus re-infection, raising concerns that having the virus will only make you resistant to it for a limited period of time, not indefinitely. The patient is asymptomatic and doing fine, but definitely appears to have caught two different strains of the virus months apart.

    Hamas leadership in the Gaza strip reported the first cases of community spread of coronavirus, raising fears that the disease could rip through the blockaded, mostly captive populations there, who are underserved by healthcare networks.

    Trump’s National Labor Relations Board announced last Friday that criticizing an employer’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic was not protected speech in the workplace, meaning companies could fire workers for speaking out. That means that under Trump, brave organizers like Amazon warehouse worker Chris Smalls can be axed with no government backup, just for trying to keep their coworkers safe.

    That’s all for the Majority Report’s AM Quickie today! We’ll have more pre-recorded content for you this afternoon, as Sam and the Team are still on a well-deserved break.

    Aug 25, 2020 - AM Quickie

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Jack Crosbie

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

  • Aug 24, 2020: RNC's Trumpapalooza Kicks Off
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    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by justcoffee.coop

    TODAY'S HEADLINES:

    It’s night one of the Republican National Convention, featuring an even more deranged lineup of GOP stooges than the DNC had last week! Trump will be speaking every night. Here’s what to look out for.

    Meanwhile, the Trump administration pushed the FDA to authorize blood plasma treatments from recovered COVID patients to treat active cases of the disease, despite warnings from some scientists that the process needed more study.

    And lastly, as federal aid expires, millions of Americans are sinking deeper into debt, hunger, and evictions, according to a new report in the Washington Post.

    THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:

    The RNC starts today, and here’s what you’re in for: Trump, Trump, and more Trump.

    The speakers lineup includes almost every Trump you can think of: Don Jr., Eric Trump, Lara Trump, Ivanka Trump, Tiffany Trump, Melania Trump, and of course Donald himself, not once but every single night.

    Other hits include, we’re not kidding: the Covington Catholic kid who went viral during an altercation with a Native American protester, the St. Louis lawyer couple who pointed guns at Black Lives Matter Protesters, Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk, one of the few pro-gun parents of a child who died in the Parkland massacre, and the Republicans’ only black Senator, Tim Scott.

    The interesting thing about the convention this year as well is that the RNC is just not adopting an official platform in any way, basically signaling that whatever Trump wants to do is fine with them.

    This isn’t exactly unexpected, but it’s telling that the GOP as a whole has decided against any sort of concrete policy goals, trusting that Trump will basically just do his thing and accomplish most of what they want anyway.

    So much for the myth of the reasonable Republican. The convention starts Monday night and will run through Thursday.

    COVID Plasma Treatment Pushed Through FDA

    For weeks, the Trump administration has been hammering the FDA to get some kind of coronavirus treatment approved, seeking to get the good PR by floating one miracle cure or another right before the election. Now, it appears they’ve found their in: blood plasma from recovering patients used to cure those still suffering from the disease.

    The treatment, known as convalescent plasma, got emergency FDA approval on Sunday, after days of pressure from the administration. Previously, top federal scientists had delayed FDA approval because they thought it needed further study, according to the New York Times. They’re probably not wrong: the Times reports that randomized clinical trials have not proven that convalescent plasma works.

    That didn’t stop Trump from touting the treatment as quote “very effective”endquote at a press conference on Sunday, and saying quote: “This is a powerful therapy that transfuses very, very strong antibodies from the blood of recovered patients to help treat patients battling a current infection.” endquote.

    And unlike other treatments that focus on medications, convalescent plasma treatments obviously depend on blood donations, which can’t exactly be mass produced.

    The next step in this is the Trump administration pushing forward a vaccine before the election, which it has openly said it wants to do, perhaps as early as September. Of course, the earlier we can get a vaccine the better, but do we really trust the Trump administration not to rush something potentially unsafe or ineffective through the process for political gain? Sure sounds like the kind of thing he’d want to do.

    Report Shows Economic Ruin Ahead

    For a few months, the federal government kept most Americans’ heads above water -- but the life rafts are gone, and now we’re starting to sink.

    According to the Washington Post, 29 million adults reported not having enough to eat in late July, as expanded unemployment benefits started to end. During the same period, 15 million renters reported being behind on rent payments. Trump’s new $300 per week unemployment expansion will only last a few weeks, and when it’s gone, the Post reports that poverty levels could rise to above Great Recession levels if the government doesn’t do more to help.

    Another thing the Post story shows is that the additional $600 a week that Bernie Sanders and other Democratic leaders fought for had a huge effect on keeping people afloat. Zach Parolin, a researcher at Columbia University, told the Post that 17 million people would have dropped below the poverty line without direct intervention from the Government.

    Progressives wanted an even bigger investment, of course, but it goes to show that even what we were able to get from the Trump administration and Republican Senate had a huge impact.

    As all that phases out, we’re looking at dark times for a lot of Americans, unless Congress can get its act together and find a way to push forward more aid.

    AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:

    Tennessee’s right-wing Governor Bill Lee quietly signed off on a bill that makes camping on state property a Class E felony, directly targeting the Black Lives Matter protesters who have been camping outside of the Tennessee Capitol Building. And with a felony charge, those protesters could lose their right to vote.

    Protests in Belarus against dictator Alexander Lukashenko are only growing, as massive crowds gathered in Minsk on Sunday in defiance of the leader’s violent crackdowns. Lukashenko, meanwhile, was pictured while arriving in the capital by helicopter wearing a bulletproof vest and carrying a rifle, so it’s pretty clear what kind of signal he’s sending to his people.

    Remember the whole mess over TikTok a few weeks back? A new report by the Wall Street Journal alleges that Facebook ManBoy Mark Zuckerberg led a lobbying campaign highlighting the dangers of Chinese-backed tech companies like TikTok, which may have helped prompt the Trump administration’s weird crusade against the app. And guess what? Facebook-owned Instagram is now trying to make waves with a TikTok competitor.

    California’s massive wildfires could worsen this week as the state prepares for lightning and wind storms over the next week, which could spark new blazes. 1.3 million acres have burned across the state in the last month.

    That’s all for the AM Quickie today. Sam and the Majority Report crew are out this week, but we’ll have plenty of pre-recorded content to keep you going.

    Aug 24, 2020 - AM Quickie

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Jack Crosbie

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

  • Aug 21, 2020: Biden Accepts Democratic Nomination
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    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by justcoffee.coop

    TODAY'S HEADLINES:

    Bad news for the global ecosystem that keeps us all alive: the Greenland ice sheet is melting faster than ever. Record tons of fresh meltwater are diluting the seas.

    Meanwhile, Joe Biden accepted the Democratic Party nomination to the presidency last night. His campaign tried to set expectations that he would reassure more than inspire.

    And lastly, Steve Bannon, the strategist behind Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, was arrested yesterday on fraud charges. Could Don Junior be next?

    THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:

    Record melting in Greenland

    A study published yesterday says the Greenland ice sheet lost a record amount of mass last year, all due to climate change. The ice melted at an astonishing rate of a million tons per minute, for a total of five-hundred and thirty-two billion tons. Greenland’s fast-melting ice sheet is reportedly the largest single contributor to sea level rise.

    The study was published in the journal Nature Communications: Earth and Environment. Researchers based their estimates on data from advanced satellites belonging to NASA. Because the meltwater is freshwater, it dilutes the surrounding seawater, which has an additional effect on global weather patterns. For example, there are two simultaneous tropical cyclones forecast to hit the Gulf of Mexico next week.

    The record ice loss amounts to more than one-hundred and forty trillion gallons of water. It’s more than double the average annual ice loss recorded by the NASA satellites since 2003. And it added more than half an inch to global sea levels – a shocking amount for the seas to rise in a single year.

    Before global warming began to spiral out of control, there were some years in the last century when the Greenland sheet actually gained ice. No more. The preceding two years before the study period were unusually cold in Greenland, but even then, the sheet still lost ice. Researchers told the Guardian that cold years no longer compensate for hot ones in terms of ice loss, as was the pattern in the past. Among other things, the research means the

    ice sheet has grown unstable. And without a major drop in carbon emissions, coastal cities will be in greater danger than ever.

    Biden accepts Democratic nomination

    The fourth and final night of the virtual Democratic National Convention concluded with the nomination of Joe Biden to the party’s presidential ticket.

    Prior to the night’s speeches, Vermont Senator and former candidate Bernie Sanders told PBS Newshour that he believed Biden understood what needed to be done in regards to climate change, public health, the economic crisis and mass evictions. Sanders said QUOTE He’s going to face an American people who are hurting today. He’s going to face young people [who] want action ENDQUOTE. Later, in a taped endorsement, Sanders said Biden would keep his word and listen to others’ views. Former candidates Pete Buttigieg and Mike Bloomberg also spoke last night.

    As it has for much of the week, the prepared programming focused on Biden’s family story. Videos filled with testimonials cast him as a familiar and reassuring figure – as well as a hard worker, in contrast to Donald Trump. Biden’s daughter Ashley and embattled son Hunter vouched for their dad in a prerecorded video, before Biden the elder took his turn on stage at Chase Center in Delaware. Biden said Trump has QUOTE cloaked America in darkness for too long ENDQUOTE. He said his first step as president would be to get the coronavirus under control, in part, with a national mandate to wear a mask. Biden called attention to the recent third anniversary of the Charlottesville, Virginia neo-Nazi rally, and said QUOTE at that moment I knew I had to run... Silence was complicity... In this dark moment, I believe we’re poised to make great progress again, that we can find the light once more ENDQUOTE.

    Bannon arrested over fraud

    Donald Trump’s former adviser Steve Bannon was arrested yesterday by US Postal Inspectors aboard a one-hundred and fifty million-dollar yacht off the coast of Connecticut. The charges? Mail fraud. The US Coast Guard assisted USPS officers with Bannon’s arrest at sea, where he has been for several weeks. During his arraignment in New York, Bannon pleaded not guilty. His bail was reportedly set at one point seven-five million dollars in cash or

    property, and his bond conditions ban him from travel on private airplanes or boats. Per the New York Times The yacht Bannon had been living on belonged to an exiled Chinese businessman.

    According to a federal indictment, Bannon conspired with three other men, also charged, to defraud donors of a GoFundMe campaign called We Build The Wall. The money was supposed to be used to build a section of Trump’s promised wall on the Mexico border. Instead, Bannon used the money for at least one million dollars worth of personal expenses. Those included, in addition to a Range Rover, a small pleasure boat named Warfighter.

    Bannon, who formerly ran Breitbart News, is the third person who led Trump’s 2016 campaign to face criminal charges. Trump’s son Don Junior promoted Bannon’s fraudulent GoFundMe campaign, calling it, as the Times reported, QUOTE private enterprise at its finest ENDQUOTE. Hear hear!

    The Trump Organization attempted to distance Don Junior from Bannon’s scheme in a statement yesterday. Trump himself, asked about Bannon’s arrest, at first said he knew nothing of Bannon’s fundraising effort. Then he said he didn’t like the project, calling it inappropriate. Apparently Trump didn’t know about Bannon’s arrest ahead of time. Sad.

    AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:

    A study published yesterday in the Journal of Pediatrics suggests children play a larger role in spreading the coronavirus than was previously understood. Researchers found that some children have high levels of the virus in their airways during the early days of infection, though they may show no symptoms. One of the authors, Alessio Fasano, told the Washington Post that children may be as susceptible as adults to the coronavirus, but not as visibly so. Another reason not to rush back to in-person classes this fall!

    Another one point one million workers filed for unemployement last week, according to the latest numbers from the US Labor Department. On top of that, more than half a million freelancers and part-time workers filed for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. Last week’s new unemployment numbers were slightly better, but this week shows that ain’t so. How arepeople supposed to survive during a pandemic with a few hundred dollars in state benefits and little hope for finding work? As Steve Bannon proved, GoFundMe is no solution.

    A federal judge yesterday threw out a lawsuit from Donald Trump that sought to deny a subpoena for his tax records. The decision by US District Judge Victor Marrero follows a Supreme Court ruling last month that found Trump is not immune from criminal investigation during his tenure as president. It’s now more likely than ever that Trump will actually be forced to deliver some eight years of tax records to Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Junior, who is investigating Trump’s hush money payments as well as possible bank fraud.

    At least two people have died so far in California’s all-out firefighting effort. Fires in the northern and central parts of the state continued to spread, merge, and grow yesterday, consuming three-hundred and fifty thousand acres at last count. Homes on the edge of San Jose were evacuated. People in areas where the air is full of smoke and ash are advised to stay indoors – and definitely don’t go outside to exercise. Firefighters say they are having better luck when the winds die down at night. Hang tight out there, folks.

    That’s all for the AM Quickie. Join us this afternoon on the Majority Report. Nomiki Konst is guest hosting and her first guest is Noam Chomsky! Check it out.

    Aug 21, 2020 - AM Quickie

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Corey Pein

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

  • Aug 20, 2020: Thousands Flee California Fires
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    07:56

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

    TODAY'S HEADLINES:

    Many thousands of Californians are fleeing their homes to avoid massive wildfires that are tearing through it and other western states. Governor Gavin Newsom has declared an emergency and warned that more could face urgent evacuation.

    Meanwhile, Kamala Harris officially accepted the Democratic Party’s nomination for the office of vice-president. She joined former President Barack Obama last night in calling out the dire threat of a second term for Donald Trump.

    And lastly, do you have too much toxic positivity in your life? Because apparently that’s a real thing!

    THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:

    More than three hundred and sixty-seven wildfires are raging across Northern California, forcing tens of thousands of people to evacuate their homes during a pandemic. Lighting is to blame for most of the blazes. Nearly eleven thousand lighting strikes were recorded over the previous three days. Most were not accompanied by rain. Scientists say increased lightning activity in various places around the world can be attributed to climate change resulting from the burning of fossil fuels by humans. A group of fires outside Vacaville, near Sacramento, covers more land area than Washington, DC, and has destroyed more than fifty homes. Thousands more homes are threatened around the state. Other large groups of wildfires threaten the outskirts of the San Francisco Bay Area and Santa Cruz County, southwest of Silicon Valley.

    Smoke from the fires has caused terrible air quality across the state. California’s firefighting resources are already stretched to their limit. Officials have called in three-hundred and seventy-five additional fire engines and crews from neighboring states. But neighboring states including Nevada and Oregon are dealing with their own fires. Colorado’s ongoing Pine Gulch Fire has grown into the second-largest fire in state history. Most of the California wildfires remain uncontained at the time of this recording. In the hardest-hit areas, firefighters are focused on helping people evacuate rather than containment.

    The weather isn’t helping. An intense heat wave beginning last week brought rolling blackouts to the Bay Area. Some two million homes and businesses were warned they could lose power. And on Sunday, a world record high temperature of one hundred and twenty-nine point nine degrees Farenheit was recorded in Death Valley. This is the new normal, folks.

    Some evacuees in California say they got no warning to evacuate until neighbors began pounding on their doors. If you are being evacuated, call the Red Cross hotline at one, eight six six, two seven two, twenty-two thirty seven. That’s one, eight six six, two seven two, two two three seven. They will help you figure out where to go to get a temporary roof over your head.

    Harris accepts VP nomination

    Night three of the Democratic National Convention brought out a bevy of woman leaders to welcome Kamala Harris as the party’s the vice presidential nominee. Seven women governors spoke on the theme of women’s leadership, which is simply not something that could be replicated by the Republicans. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton also enjoyed speaking slots.

    Harris, the former prosecutor and Senator from California, last night formally became the first woman of color to be nominated for the White House by a major party. She attacked Donald Trump, saying he turned tragedies into political weapons. Harris said we must elect QUOTE a president who will bring all of us together — Black, White, Latino, Asian, Indigenous — to achieve the future we collectively want. We must elect Joe Biden ENDQUOTE.

    Former President Barack Obama delivered a powerful speech comparing Black Lives Matter to the civil rights movement. Haddressed Republican attempts to undermine ballot access and election integrity. Obama also, at long last, spoke of the threat to democracy posed by Trump. Obama said QUOTE I did hope, for the sake of our country, that Donald Trump might show some interest in taking the job seriously; that he might come to feel the weight of the office and discover some reverence for the democracy that had been placed in his care. But he never did ENDQUOTE. Still a master of understatement!

    Psychologists: beware "toxic positivity"

    The Washington Post interviewed a number of psychologists and mental health experts to draw attention to an American scourge. It’s called toxic positivity.

    Recently we reported that record numbers of Americans are experiencing anxiety and depression, due in no small part to the pandemic and... everything else. Toxic positivity is a habit some people have developed that can actually make it harder for themselves and others to process negative emotions. The problem isn’t to do with people who are genuinely effusive or upbeat. Rather, it’s about the way some people are always saying it’s fine, or it will be fine, no matter what the facts of the situation actually are. That kind of thing can prevent people from working through serious issues in a healthy way, according to the Post. Natalie Dattilo, a clinical psychologist in Boston, compares toxic positivity to shoving ice cream into somebody’s face when they don’t feel like having ice cream. Unhelpful! Dattilo says QUOTE ‘Looking on the bright side’ in the face of tragedy of dire situations like illness, homelessness, food insecurity, unemployment or racial injustice is a privilege that not all of us have. So promulgating messages of positivity denies a very real sense of despair and hopelessness, and they only serve to alienate and isolate those who are already struggling ENDQUOTE.

    Another psychologist, Stephanie Preston, says people who engage in toxic positivity may seem more well-adjusted, but they’re really holding themselves and people around them back. Experts quoted by the Post say people should feel how they feel, rather than get caught up in how they think they should feel. One thing is sure, you won’t get any of that toxic positivity from us. That’s the AM Quickie promise!

    AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:

    At least ten Mexican states plus Mexico City are considering bills that would ban children from buying junk food. Under the proposals, sugar-sweetened drinks and highly processed foods would be restricted much like alcohol and tobacco, and prohibited for purchase by anyone under age eighteen. Several United Nations agencies including the World Health Organization have expressed support for the new laws. Soft drink lobbyists say their products are being unfairly demonized. They would, though.

    After an emergency session, the European Union has decided not to certify the results of the election in Belarus, and will refuse to recognize Alexander Lukashenko (LUKE-UH-SHENK-OH) as president. Meanwhile, the Guardian reported, riot police have returned the streets of the capitol, Minsk. And the Belarusian defence ministry has ordered an increased military presence along the borders with Poland and Lithuania. EU sanctions against Lukashenko and his aides at this point seem likely.

    The leaders of a military coup in Mali say they plan to hold new elections, one day after arresting the president and the prime minister. Five colonels appeared in a video message broadcast yesterday morning. But according to the New York Times a general in the military also led the coup. That general, Cheick Fanta Mady Dembele, is reportedly staying in the shadows because he was trained in France, and the coup leaders do not want to be associated with the former colonial power.

    On the same day his White House press secretary repeated his threat to reject the result of the election, Donald Trump endorsed the Q-Anon movement. Asked twice in a press conference about conspiracy theorists who believe he is saving the world from satanic pedophiles and cannibals, Trump asked, rhetorically, is that supposed to be a bad thing or a good thing? Then he said QUOTE if I can help save the world from problems, I will do it. And we are, actually. We are saving the world from a radical left philosophy ENDQUOTE. Trump cast Q-Anon believers as patriots. He also repeated his threat to deploy federal troops to Democratic Party strongholds such as Portland, New York, and Chicago.

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

    Aug 20, 2020 - AM Quickie

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Corey Pein

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn