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

  • Oct 2, 2020: ACB's Abortion Views Exposed

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


    House Democrats are doing their level best to push a vote on a new 2.2 trillion dollar coronavirus stimulus bill, but are getting lowballed by the GOP and Trump administration, which claimed it had offered Democrats a $1.8 trillion bill that they then turned down.

    Meanwhile, mail-in and early voting is off to a rocky start, thanks to GOP efforts to continue sabotaging it in Texas and beyond. There are some bright points, but this is going to be a rough ride.

    And lastly, Amy Coney Barrett’s record on abortion may be even worse than we feared, as a new report shows she participated in a 2006 campaign that stated that Roe V Wade had to be overturned immediately.


    Stimulus Bill Still Stalled

    Once again, we have a partisan battle over aid to the American people still suffering from a world-altering pandemic. You’ve heard this one before, but here’s where we’re at now.

    Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats are mobilized to vote on a $2.2 trillion dollar stimulus bill, which is pretty much the least they could be doing. Such a bill stands no chance of making it through the Senate without getting chopped up, of course, but at least it’s something. Republicans, however, don’t want anywhere near that number to go through, and are proposing tiny crumbs as opposed to the Democrats scraps. Remember, the HEROES act in May was $3.4 trillion and even that wasn’t nearly enough.

    The president, however, ever a wildcard, offered Democrats a $1.8 trillion bill. The Washington Post reports that number was too big for some of the more fiscally insane Republicans in Congress, but what’re they gonna do, cross the president? And of course, it’s still a cool 400 billion lower than what the Democrats want.

    Trump’s proposed bill, according to the Post, includes $300 billion for a new round of direct stimulus checks and another $300 billion for expanded unemployment at $400 per week. Still less than the $600 keeping people afloat, but better than nothing.

    That bill also includes allowances for COVID testing, rental protections, and more. But in almost every category, it’s still undercutting what the Democrats want, which is something along the lines of new 1200 checks, 600 a week unemployment, and more than the paltry 250 billion for state-level relief that the GOP is offering. And while they haggle all this out, more and more Americans are getting pushed over their personal financial cliffs.

    Texas Gov Locks Down Ballot Boxes

    There’s good news and bad news about the beginning of early mail in voting. Let’s start with the good.

    According to NBC news, the North Carolina Board of Elections says 300,000 people have voted by mail already, shattering records for the state. Many states are overcoming some early blips to get off to a roaring start with early voting and mail-in ballots.

    However. There is bad news, and you probably know what’s coming. Republicans are doing everything they can to limit voting access, and the latest example is particularly egregious.

    In Texas, Governor Greg Abbot issued a proclamation, as of today, closing ballot-drop off stations across the state and limiting them to one per county. That means in Texas, one of the biggest states in the country, each county will have only one ballot drop-off point. For reference, before the proclamation, some counties had as many as a dozen.

    Abbot claims this is for quote “security” purposes, but the only thing it’s securing is Trump’s fading chances of winning the election. Texas is rapidly becoming a contestable state for Democrats, and Abbot knows it, as does the local Democratic party.

    Gilberto Hinojosa, the chairman of the Texas Democratic Party, said quote:

    “Republicans are on the verge of losing, so Governor Abbott is trying to adjust the rules last minute. Governor Abbott and Texas Republicans are scared. We are creating a movement that will beat them at the ballot box on Nov. 3, and there’s nothing these cheaters can do about it.”

    ACB's Abortion Views Exposed

    Amy Coney Barrett is clearly virulently anti abortion like several Supreme Court Justices, but until now, most of them have had the acumen to couch those opinions in conservative legalese. Barret, however, may be the first one to just say screw it and go all out.

    That’s because a new report by NBC news shows that in 2006, Barrett participated in a two-page ad in the South Bend Times calling for Roe v. Wade to be overturned and ending the “barbaric legacy” of the decision. Doesn’t get more clear-cut than that! And this comes in the wake of Trump, at the debate with Biden, claiming quote “you don’t know her view on Roe v. Wade.” endquote. Well, looks like we do now.

    What’s more, Barrett did not disclose this fact to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is currently doing its background digging on her before her confirmation hearings. The worst thing is that she’ll probably get away with it entirely -- all of the dirt in the world can’t stop the GOP if they have the votes.

    Right now, it looks like Barrett’s unsavory optics have put off Mitch McConnell from calling for a vote before the election. But if Trump loses, you better believe the gloves are going to come off and they’ll make a lame duck push to get her on the court.

    After all, Kavanaugh had multiple women accusing him of violent sexual assault and he’s currently sitting right on that bench. But when or if ACB gets there, it’s good to know what she is right off the bat.


    After the absolute mess of a debate on Tuesday, the Trump campaign is crying foul, accusing the Commission on Presidential Debates of bias and insisting that no rule changes be made to stop the President shouting over his opponent whenever he wants. In other words, more pain and suffering await any brave fools who decide to tune in to the next one.

    Sound the klaxon: we’ve got an update on the dumbest men alive. The Michigan Attorney General charged right wing scammers Jacob Wohl and Jack Burman with four felony counts, including voter intimidation, stemming from their idiotic scam to set up a robocall to discourage urban voters from casting a ballot in the general election.

    Several GOP Senators, Including Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Joni Ernst flipped sides and voted with Democrats in a procedural vote on the Trump-backed lawsuit against the affordable Care Act. What this means for the upcoming Supreme Court hearings that could decide the fate of the ACA lawsuit after election day, we’ll see.

    Donald Trump tried one more mundane little attempt at voter manipulation: including a signed letter in food assistance boxes given out to needy families. Food banks, thankfully, are taking the letters out, as they clearly violate the Hatch Act and are just in incredibly poor taste regardless.

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

    Oct 2, 2020 - AM Quickie

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Jack Crosbie

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw


  • Oct 1, 2020: SCOTUS Nominee's Records Scrubbed

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    A religious group linked to Amy Coney Barrett, the Supreme Court nominee, has been deleting records of her involvement. Is there something they don’t want people to know about her?

    Meanwhile, the world reacts with horror at the first debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. And one of Trump’s beloved Proud Boys catches charges for, among other things, pointing a gun at a crowd of people.

    And lastly, the United States government takes action against a Malaysian palm oil producer tied to slave labor. Awareness is growing about widespread abuses in the industry.

    THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:SCOTUS nominee's records scrubbed

    People of Praise, a far-right Christian sect tied to Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, has been caught deleting information about her from its website. An analysis by the Associated Press shows that People of Praise erased numerous records from its website during the summer of 2017 that referred to Barrett, as well as photos. At the time, Barrett was on Trump’s short list for the high court seat that eventually went to Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

    Last week, when Barrett again emerged as a front-runner for the court, more articles, blog posts and photos disappeared. And still more records were deleted after an AP reporter emailed the group’s spokesman yesterday. All issues of the organization’s magazine, Vine and Branches, were removed, including a 2006 story about Barrett’s parents that referred to her mother as a handmaid.

    The AP reports that People of Praise’s belief system is rooted in charismatic Catholicism, a movement that grew out of the influence of Pentecostalism, which can include speaking in tongues. Founded in 1971, the group’s twenty two branches organize and meet outside the purview of the Roman Catholic Church. Former female members told AP that wives were expected to obey their husband’s wishes in all matters, including providing sex on demand. One of the women also said she was forbidden from getting birth control.

    In her speech accepting Trump’s nomination on Saturday, Amy Barrett said she expected from the start that she and her husband would run their household together. One wonders if he gets a vote in other matters, as well.

    Proud Boy catches charges

    Members of the Proud Boys were celebrating yesterday after Trump name-checked them in Tuesday night’s presidential debate with Joe Biden. After refusing to condemn white supremacy, Trump called on the Proud Boys to QUOTE stand back and stand by ENDQUOTE. Yesterday Trump tried to walk back his comments, claiming he has no idea who the Proud Boys are. He said QUOTE Whoever they are, they need to stand down [and] let law enforcement do their work ENDQUOTE. Sorry – who’s doing whose work, now?

    Biden also had words yesterday for Trump’s favorite violent street gangs. He said QUOTE My message to the Proud Boys and every other white supremacist group is cease and desist... This is not who we are as Americans ENDQUOTE.

    In Portland, Oregon, the morning after Trump’s comments, police arrested a fifty-year-old Proud Boys associate named Alan James Swinney. He was photographed in late August pointing a handgun at a crowd of protesters. Swinney faces mutliple assault charges, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting, including pointing a firearm at another, unlawful use of a weapon and unlawful use of tear gas, stun gun or mace. Also in Portland, Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese sought to correct the record after Trump claimed to have won the support of Portland’s sheriff after months of non-stop protests. Reese said on Twitter QUOTE I have never supported Donald Trump and will never support him ENDQUOTE. Reese has also reportedly donated one thousand dollars to the Biden campaign.

    Meanwhile, the international reaction to Tuesday’s debate was... well, it was not kind. China’s Global Times said the debate showed the world a divided and chaotic US. The French newspaper Le Monde said it revealed how four years of Trumpism have weakened one of the greatest democracies in the world. Kenyan commentator Patrick Gathara called the debate QUOTE a pitiful and tragic advertisement for US dysfunction ENDQUOTE. It was also quite unbearably long as advertisements go. At this rate we’ll be lucky to find a buyer at any price.

    Palm oil shipments halted

    Following a yearlong investigation, and coming a week after an AP investigation into widespread and shocking labor abuses in the industry, the US is blocking shipments of palm oil from a major producer in Malaysia.

    The so-called withhold release order against FGV Holdings Berhad goes into effect immediately, according to the AP. Brenda Smith, executive assistant commissioner at the US Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Trade, called on importers to conduct their due diligence. Smith also said QUOTE We would also encourage U.S. consumers to ask questions about where their products come from ENDQUOTE.

    FGV is one of the world’s largest palm oil companies and is closely connected to another company, Felda, which is owned by the Malaysian government. The AP’s investigation, which we covered here last week, found ample evidence of physical and sexual violence and forced child labor on palm oil plantations. Some of the labor abuses occurred on plantations operated by Felda. The tainted palm oil was traced to the supply chains of the planet’s most iconic food and cosmetics companies like Unilever, L’Oreal, Nestle and Procter and Gamble. Palm oil is found in roughly half the products on supermarket shelves, as demand has exploded over the past two decades. Read those labels, folks, and shop accordingly.


    The Vatican said yesterday it had denied a request from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for an audience with Pope Francis. According to Reuters, Pompeo accused the Church this month of putting its moral authority at risk by renewing an agreement with China over the appointment of bishops. Note to Pompeo, the master diplomat: you’re supposed to catch flies with honey, not vinegar. Honey. And the same goes for popes.

    US intelligence services considered poisoning or kidnapping Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange, according to a report in the Guardian. It seems the plans were never put into practice. The claims were entered into evidence in a London courtroom by a former employee of a Spanish security company, UC Global, who worked in the Ecuadorian embassy, where Assange had taken refuge. The court is considering whether to extradite Assange to the US.

    The European Commission spent months auditing the rule of law in all twenty-seven member nations. Its report, just released, says democracy is suffering in several European countries, primarily Hungary and Poland. Concerns about corruption and judicial independence were also raised regarding Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Malta, Romania and Slovakia. This will go down... on their permanent... records...

    The Los Angeles Times reports that California has become the first state in the country to adopt a law to develop proposals for reparations to the descendants of slaves. The law was signed by Governor Gavin Newsom yesterday. The task force it creates will examine slavery in California and the US, and the lasting consequences of discrimination against freed slaves and their descendants. Whatever recommendations for reparations the task force comes up with will also need to be approved by the legislature. Hey, it’s a start.

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

    Oct 1, 2020 - AM Quickie

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Corey Pein

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw


  • Sept 30, 2020: Biden to Trump: "Shut Up, Man"

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    Joe Biden faced Donald Trump last night in the first of three presidential debates. Trump tried to make it Wrestlemania, but Biden gave as good as he got.

    Meanwhile, internal company documents show that Amazon has effectively covered up a major safety crisis at its warehouses. It got worse after they brought in robots.

    And lastly, a group of scientists have presented evidence that they have a new technique to produce a compact nuclear fusion reactor. If it works, that could be great news on the climate change front.


    Biden: "Shut up, man"

    The presidential candidates faced off onstage for the first time last night at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. Hours before the debate, Joe Biden released his tax returns and called on Trump to do the same. For what it’s worth, via Reuters: Biden’s taxes showed that he and his wife Jill paid more than $346,000 in federal taxes and other payments for 2019 on an income of nearly $985,000_._ Trump, as is now widely known despite his refusal to share his tax returns, has paid next to nothing for most of the past decade.

    Prior to the debate, Trump accused Biden of refusing to agree to an inspection for hidden earpieces. Biden countered by revealing Trump had demanded that the debate moderator refrain from mentioning the number of people in the US who have died from Covid-19. And all that was before the debate actually started. Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace was the moderator. He opened the debate with a question about the Supreme Court vacancy, which the candidates used as an opportunity to argue about the Affordable Care Act.

    Trump, tacking left, pretended to be an enemy of Big Pharma and an apologist for Bernie Sanders. As expected, he played the bully toward both Biden and Wallace. Biden called Trump the wrong guy at the wrong time and, after one extended back-and-forth sniping session, said QUOTE will you shut up, man? ENDQUOTE. Because Wallace declined to offer fact-checking, Trump was allowed to lie with impunity. But Biden spoke at times directly to the audience, appealing to the head and heartstrings over grave matters such as the pandemic.

    The next debate takes place on October 15.

    In other campaign news, a new poll by the Washington Post and ABC News showed Biden leading Trump in Pennsylvania by fifty four to forty five percent among likely voters.

    Amazon worker injuries growing

    There is a growing safety crisis at Amazon. A new report by the website Reveal news, based on company records obtained by the Center for Investigative Reporting, sheds light on the problem. The documents consist of weekly data from 2016 through 2019 from more than one hundred and fifty Amazon warehouses. They show that the company has profoundly misled lawmakers and the public about its mounting injury crisis.

    Amazon often points to the tens of millions of dollars it has invested to enhance safety practices. Yet Amazon’s injury rates have gone up each of the past four years. In 2019, Amazon fulfillment centers recorded fourteen thousand serious injuries. The overall rate of injuries was thirty three percent higher than in 2016 and nearly double the most recent industry standard, Reveal reports.

    The data back up the accounts of Amazon workers who say the company has used the robots to ratchet up production quotas. Now humans can’t keep up without hurting themselves. Injury rates are significantly higher at Amazon’s robotic warehouses than at its traditional sites. The robots bring items so quickly that the productivity expectations for workers have more than doubled. Workers called pickers previously had to grab and scan about one hundred items an hour. At robotic fulfillment centers, they were expected to handle up to four hundred an hour.

    And for years, injury rates have spiked during the weeks of Prime Day and Cyber Monday, contrary to Amazon’s public claims. Those two weeks had the highest rate of serious injuries for all of 2019. In May, Amazon chairman Jeff Bezos said QUOTE Nothing is more important than the health and well-being of our employees ENDQUOTE. Well, Jeff: prove it.

    Fusion energy breakthrough reported

    Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology say they are on track to develop a compact nuclear fusion reactor – which, if true, could be a major breakthrough in the fight against climate change. The New York Times reports that the MIT scientists, through

    a spinoff company called Commonwealth Fusion Systems, expect to begin development of the reactor, called Sparc, next spring. They expect to finish construction in three or four years. If successful, they could build a power plant that uses fusion to generate electricity in the next decade.

    A fusion reactor would work differently than existing nuclear fission reactors, and mimic the process whereby the sun produces energy. The MIT announcement was accompanied by the publication yesterday of seven peer-reviewed papers in The Journal of Plasma Physics, in which researchers laid out the evidence that the Sparc reactor would succeed and produce as much as ten times the energy it consumes.

    The research QUOTE confirms that the design we’re working on is very likely to work ENDQUOTE, said Martin Greenwald, deputy director of MIT’s Plasma Science and Fusion Center and one of the project’s lead scientists. According to Greenwald, Sparc takes advantage of a newer technology that uses so-called high temperature superconductors that can produce a much higher magnetic field. Commonwealth Fusion said it would announce a location for Sparc in a few months.


    A juror in the Breonna Taylor case claims that Kentucky’s Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron misrepresented the grand jury’s deliberations and may not have presented all of the evidence they needed to see. The unidentified juror also said, through an attorney, that the panel was never presented with the option to indict two of the three police officers involved in Taylor’s killing. Cameron has said he will release a recording of the grand jury proceedings today on a judge’s order, the Washington Post reports. Let’s hear it!

    Amnesty International announced yesterday that government reprisals, including a freeze on its bank accounts, had forced the human rights group to abandon its work in India. Citing an incessant witch-hunt based on unfounded allegations, Amnesty India’s executive director, Avinash Kumar, said the government crackdown reeks of fear and repression. More than one hundred staff members will be laid off and the group’s work on such issues as police brutality will cease.

    Military clashes broke out Sunday in Nagorno-Karabakh, a separatist region within Azerbaijan that has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces since 1994. Fighting continued yesterday, with each side blaming the other and each contradicting the other’s claims regarding casualties. Armenian officials claim Turkey has deployed fighter jets to aid Azerbaijan. A European Commission spokesman urged everyone to QUOTE do everything they can in order to prevent an all-out war from breaking out, because this is the last thing the region needs ENDQUOTE.

    Italian scientists reported Monday in the journal Nature Astronomy that they have found a network of salty ponds beneath the south pole of Mars, alongside a large underground lake. The lake is estimated to be twelve to eighteen miles across and buried one mile beneath the surface. The salt content keeps the water from freezing, and has scientists excited about the possibility for finding microbial life there. They say future expeditions should target this area of Mars. Let’s see them aliens!

    Sept 30, 2020 - AM Quickie

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Corey Pein

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw


  • Sept 29, 2020: Trump Used Facebook to Quash Black Votes in 2016

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    A new report shows that Donald Trump used Facebook for a massive voter deterrence operation in 2016, targeting up to 3.5 million black voters in swing states with negative ads about Hillary Clinton in an attempt to quote “cultivate hopelessness,” and suppress their votes.

    Meanwhile, the Joe Biden campaign adds Cindy McCain, widow of late Republican John McCain, to its advisory board. Says about all you need to know about who they’re trying to persuade, doesn’t it?

    And lastly, new evacuations were ordered on Monday in California’s wine country as two new wildfires set the northern part of the state ablaze.


    Trump Used Facebook to Quash Black Votes in 2016

    A report by Britain’s Channel Four News alleges that Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign used specifically targeted Facebook advertisements to dissuade up to 3.5 million black people in swing states from voting.

    The report, which is based on a massive data leak of Trump campaign advertising data, shows that the campaign compiled files on 198 million American voters and then used an algorithm to sort them into categories based on their economic and domestic statuses and other data.

    One of these categories was called “deterrence,” which effectively meant voters who could be persuaded to stay at home if hit with the right ads. 3.5 million of those voters were black, and many of them lived in swing states like Florida.

    The Trump campaign then aggressively targeted those voters with negative ads about Hillary Clinton, relentlessly pointing to her admittedly terrible record on race and criminal justice in an effort to, in the words of Dr. Cornell West, quote “cultivate hopelessness” among black voters.

    What’s more, then-campaign manager Brad Parscale testified under oath that the campaign did not target based specifically on race in its persuasion efforts.

    The story here is not so much that the Trump campaign did something racist and disenfranchising to black people, as that has been part of the GOP playbook for years. It’s that Facebook gave them the very specific and powerful tools to do so, and they took full advantage of it while denying it to the public.

    We know already that they’re going to try something similar in 2020, this time perhaps by leaning in to myths about voter fraud and conspiracies about vote by mail in order to cultivate that same hopelessness and confusion among people who just want to make a change.

    Joe Biden Announces New Advisor

    The Biden campaign added Cindy McCain, the widow of late Senator and presidential candidate John McCain to its advisory board on Monday, sending an extremely clear signal to the centrists and moderate Republicans that they are welcome in Biden’s Democratic party.

    McCain had previously endorsed Biden, even going so far as to speak at the Democratic convention. Her husband, for the record, voted with Trump 83 percent of the time while in the Senate.

    Just listen to what the campaign’s saying about it. Transition co-chair and former Sen. Ted Kaufman said that the campaign was drawn to quote “Mrs. McCain’s experience as a business woman, philanthropist, and longtime advocate for issues impacting women and children,” endquote. Great, we got a businesswoman and philanthropist on board. Never had one of those in the Democratic party before.

    Look, the move isn’t exactly a surprise. Biden has made it clear for months that he thinks his best chance at winning and preserving the power of his wing of the party is to lean hard into the notion that center-independents and some Republicans will switch sides and vote for him.

    What that means in practice, however, is that the left is going to have a doubly hard job at convincing the Biden administration to make any real progress while in office. Voting for him will stop some of the acute injustices that Trump has pushed for, but it’s not going to do very much to change the systemic issues that gave rise to the Donald.

    Wildfires Break Out in CA Again

    Two new wildfires have ignited northern California’s wine country, forcing new evacuations in a state that has already seen a devastating start to the long fire season.

    The Zogg Fire in Shasta County and the Glass Fire in Napa and Sonoma Counties have already burned more than 26,000 acres according to the New York Times, and forced new evacuation orders for thousands of people who already suffered a devastating fire in the region three years ago.

    The state overall has barely begun to recover from the fallout earlier this month, when the majority of the state was blanketed by smoke from dozens of massive fires. Thus far, the fire season across the west coast has left more than 25 people dead, 7,000 structures burned and scorched more than five million acres across three states.

    It’s important to recognize exactly what’s making these disasters so bad: decades of corporate predation and runaway climate change.

    And often it’s the most vulnerable who suffer: the latest fires consumed a small community of tiny homes built for formerly homeless people and those suffering from substance abuse disorders, while a nearby senior assisted living center was also forced to evacuate.


    The first presidential debate is tonight! At 9 pm Eastern, Trump and Biden will face off for the first time on stage, with the specter of Trump’s new tax scandal possibly giving Biden more ammunition to work with. Who are we kidding, he’s just going to yell that the whole thing is fake and hurl insults. Should be a real good time.

    CDC Director Robert Redfield got caught blowing off some steam while on a flight from Atlanta to D.C. on Friday, and letting a colleague know what he really thinks of Trump’s taskforce member Dr. Scott Atlas. Redfield said quote "Everything he says is false,” endquote, which would make sense as Atlas is a neuroradiologist with no expertise in infectious diseases or epidemiology, but lots of experience going on Fox News.

    Global coronavirus deaths passed one million, and so much of it is our government’s fault. Here’s Tom Inglesby, the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security: Quote: “This is a very serious global event, and a lot of people were going to get sick and many of them were going to die, but it did not need to be nearly this bad.”

    A new study in the journal Nature Climate Change showing that human-caused global heating is making the world's oceans more "stable” -- which largely means that temperatures toward the surface stay warmer, creating fertile grounds for more mega storms that gain power over warm water.

    That’s all for the majority report’s AM quickie today! Stay tuned for the show with Sam later and all our debate coverage.

    Sept 29, 2020 - AM Quickie

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Jack Crosbie

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw


  • Sept 28, 2020: Trump Pays No Taxes

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

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

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


    Trump Pays No Taxes

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

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

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

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

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

    ACB Nominated to Succeed RBG

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Portland Cops Plaster Protesters

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

    Sept 28, 2020 - AM Quickie

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Jack Crosbie

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw


  • Sept 25, 2020: RBG Mourners Boo Trump

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


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

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

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


    RBG mourners boo Trump

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

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

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

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

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

    Palm oil slavery expose

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

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

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

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

    Military veterans endorse Biden

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

    Sept 25, 2020 - AM Quickie

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Corey Pein

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw


  • Sept 24, 2020: Outrage Over Breonna Taylor decision

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

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

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


    Outrage over Taylor decision

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

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

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

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

    Activists impede border wall

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

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

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

    Coronavirus: Schools faring okay

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

    Sept 24, 2020 - AM Quickie

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Corey Pein

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw


  • Sept 23, 2020: Biden Addresses Court Packing

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


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

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

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


    China pledges "green revolution"

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

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

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

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

    Biden addresses court packing

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

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

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

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

    Few "shy" Trump voters

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

    Sept 23, 2020 - AM Quickie

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Corey Pein

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw


  • Sept 22, 2020: Feds Tapped Portland Phones

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


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

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

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


    Feds Tapped Portland Phones

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

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

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

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

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

    ICE Detainees Punished for Speaking Out

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    New App is Uber for Evictions

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

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

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

    Per VICE, one of the ads reads quote:

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

    Sept 22, 2020 - AM Quickie

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Jack Crosbie

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw


  • Sept 21, 2020: RBG Replacement Race

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


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

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

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


    RBG Replacement Race

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Massive Leak Proves: Corruption? It's real!

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

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

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

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

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

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

    200,000 Coronavirus Deaths

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

    Sept 21, 2020 - AM Quickie

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Jack Crosbie

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw