The political stories and impeachment 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

search
  • May 8, 2020: Trump's Valet Has Coronavirus
    play_circle_outlinepause_circle_outline
    00:00
    07:58

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

    TODAY'S HEADLINES:

    Donald Trump loses it after the person who feeds him tests positive for coronavirus. And once again, the White House has been busted censoring public health information.

    Meanwhile, the Justice Department drops its case against Trump’s favorite spy, Mike Flynn – even though Flynn already pleaded guilty. It’s a great week for public corruption, all around.

    And lastly, a civic coalition in Toronto succeeds in stopping a corporate takeover downtown. Instead of a private neighborhood for Google, now they might build public housing.

    THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:

    One of Donald Trump’s personal White House valets has tested positive for the coronavirus, CNN reported yesterday. This person serves in the US Navy, and their duties include serving Trump meals, and shining his shoes. When Trump found out, he didn’t offer sympathy. Instead, staff claim, he got QUOTE lava-level mad ENDQUOTE. Apparently Trump expects staff to protect his health at the same time they’re stuffing his face with cheeseburgers. He and Vice President Mike Pence are still said to be ’rona-free. But Trump told reporters he will now be getting tested daily, instead of weekly. This is the same guy who just said it’s not important for us to get tested. May he gag on a swab.

    Also, the Associated Press reported the White House is preventing federal experts from telling the public how to stay healthy. Trump’s lackeys suppressed a seventeen-page the Centers for Disease Control report that contained step-by-step guidance for schools, bars, churches, and so on, about reopening safely. But the White House doesn’t want people to be too safe, you see. The document said restaurants that reopen should make sure diners are seated six feet apart. That advice was removed, along with many other specifics. The CDC document was supposed to be published today. The new advice is... I don’t know, work hard and pray?

    Trump isn’t the only one who’s taken to blaming the help. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told members of Congress that dirty, filty workers were to blame for spreading coronavirus in meat packing plants across the country. According to Politico, Azar blamed unsanitary working-class homes -- rather than, say, factory conditions – for major

    workplace outbreaks in the food industry. At least two dozen meatpacking plants have closed and supermarkets are facing some shortages. Instead of improving conditions at factories, Azar suggested sending more police into workers’ communities to enforce social distancing. Does he really think putting more people in jail will slow the spread of COVID-19? Or is just the classist garbage it seems to be? These people running the country are truly twisted.

    DOJ Drops Flynn Case

    Crime does pay if your name is Mike Flynn and you are the former National Security Adviser to Donald Trump. Twice, he admitted guilt in lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. But yesterday the Justice Department said it was dropping all charges against Flynn. Again, he’d already pleaded guilty. And, typically, prosecutors, including Attorney General Bill Barr, prefer to secure convictions. Instead of, you know, letting criminals free after they admit guilt. Let’s just say it very, very rarely happens that they up and drop a case like this. The new DOJ filings basically say Flynn did nothing wrong and echo Trump’s own view of the case. Prosecutors didn’t try to argue that Flynn actually told the truth, simply that he never should have been interviewed. Imagine if Flynn stole a forty-ouncer from the corner store. If every defendant got this treatment, America’s jails would be empty. Responding to the news, Trump ranted about punishing those responsible for a treasonous conspiracy.

    Elsewhere in justiceland, the Supreme Court, in a rare unanimous decision, overturned the convictions of two Chris Christie associates involved in the 2013 Bridge-gate scandal. One, Bridget Anne Kelly, wrote the infamous email telling saying it was QUOTE time for some traffic problems ENDQUOTE, before closing the world’s busiest bridge as political payback. The other lucky wire fraud convict, Bill Baroni, worked at the Port Authority. The Supreme Court did not say Kelly and Baroni weren’t corrupt -- only that it wasn’t the kind of corruption the court was concerned with. See? Crime does pay sometimes. The former New Jersey Governor got to brag he was vindicated. Whatever you say, man -- you’re still Chris Christie.

    Toronto Defeats Google Takeover

    Google is pulling the plug on what was supposed to be showcase for its effort to take over urban planning, city by city, around the world. The company is blaming coronavirus for its decision. But locals in Toronto are crediting two years of political pressure by a broad coalition

    of local interests_._ Toronto is where Google’s Trojan Horse subsidiary, Sidewalk Labs, had hoped to build a private neighborhood called Quayside on the downtown lakeshore. The project was at one point supposed to encompass over one-hundred and ninety acres. That’s well over one-hundred city blocks. This proved controversial. Especially since planners approved a more modest, twelve-acre project -- before Google came back with this crazy plan to take over the city. Some of the company’s ideas weren’t even legal. It wasn’t even critics saying that, it was Waterfront Toronto, the quasi-public agency that was Google’s partner in the deal.

    In addition to the expanding size of the project, many locals were concerned about digital spying. Naturally, Google’s idea of a smart city is one that’s totally covered in cameras and sensors. Others warned that Google wanted to claim an ownership interest in the work done by small businesses in the neighborhood. According to the Globe and Mail newspaper, it was activism around these kind of issues, as much as the real estate downturn, that made Google give up. Now Waterfront Toronto says it might build more public housing at the site. Wait, the real estate people want to do something helpful? And necessary? Are they feeling okay?

    AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:

    A California newspaper obtained what it says is the first known public record confirming sexual assault allegations by Tara Reade against her former employer, Joe Biden. A court declaration from 1996 found by the San Luis Obispo Tribune shows Reade told her ex-husband about the alleged assault in 1993. It doesn’t prove Biden assaulted Reade – but it does show Democrats were not smart to base their defense of Biden on a lack of records. Separately, Fox News released part of its interview with Reade. She says it’s too late for an apology and Biden should end his presidential campaign.

    If you live on the East Coast, or the West Coast, expect a spell of intense weather starting today. But as some forecasters are saying, it’s like the coasts will be entering different seasons. Out West, there will be record heat. Back East, record cold. On Saturday, Anchorage, Alaska, will be fifteen degrees warmer than Washington, DC. The weather folks say it’s not normal for so much arctic air to head south at this time in the spring. As you may have noticed, climate change is making extreme weather more common.

    Two white men in Georgia were finally charged for the murder of a young black man jogging through the suburbs. The arrests took place yesterday, more than two months after the killing but only days after a graphic video emerged. Gregory and Travis McMichael, sixty- four and thirty-four years old, chased down twenty-five-year-old Ahmaud Arbery in their truck and shot him unprovoked. Prosecutors in two counties initially declined to pursue the case. State police made yesterday’s arrests only after public outcry.

    Former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he believes in extraterrestrials. Reid, now eighty, retired from the Senate in 2017. In Congress, he was responsible for funding at least two formerly secret programs to investigate UFOs. But his Vice News interview published yesterday was the first time he linked that subject to a search for alien life. He said his former colleagues in Congress should pursue the subject even if their staff try to convince them otherwise. Anything else you want to tell us, Harry?

    That’s all for the AM Quickie. Join us this afternoon on the Majority Report. And remember, this Sunday is Mother’s Day.

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Corey Pein

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

  • May 7, 2020: More Americans Skipping Meals
    play_circle_outlinepause_circle_outline
    00:00
    08:11

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

    TODAY'S HEADLINES:

    Desperation is growing in the failed states of America. Reports show millions of families in the richest country in the world aren’t getting enough food and clean water.

    Meanwhile, as hospitals were scrambling for supplies, the Transportation Security Administration hoarded well over a million N-95 masks. And TSA officials still won’t explain why they aren’t sharing their stockpile where it’s needed – which is not at the airport.

    And lastly, I guess we’re lucky that rich people also use the US Postal Service. A few companies with a lot of money on the line have joined the fight to save the Constitutionally protected US Mail from Donald Trump’s plan to destroy it.

    THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:

    The European Union’s top economists are predicting the worst economic recession there since the end of the Second World War. The worst effects will be felt in countries that depend on tourism – Europe, Spain, Greece, and Italy. But even though many EU countries will fare worse than the United States on paper, economists say they will still do better in terms of saving jobs. The US unemployment rate is already worse than what’s predicted for the EU. Most European governments have chosen to cover the cost of people’s salaries during the pandemic. America is now the place where rulers say let them eat cake.

    A new survey by the Brookings Institution shows that childhood hunger in the US has tripled from its worst point during the 2008 recession. One in five American mothers today say their children aren’t getting enough to eat. Families are skipping meals and reducing portions. Democrats in Congress want to increase food stamp benefits by fifteen percent, as they did in that prior recession. Republicans say nah.

    Access to clean water is also an urgent problem for more and more people. More than two million Americans lack indoor plumbing. Millions more don’t trust their water. The Washington Post says stores are restricting purchases for rural people who rely on bottled water for cooking and drinking – not to mention hand-washing. Prices are going up, and some say the rationed amount isn’t enough. It’s a real bad scene out there.

    As always, some are facing greater risks. New research by the Associated Press confirms that people of color are faring worse, not only from COVID-19 but from the economic fallout. Black and Hispanic Americans were twice as likely as whites to have lost work, or to report trouble making rent and paying bills, since the pandemic. All of this is fixable, but we need people in power who care.

    TSA hoarding deprives hospitals

    Air travel is down ninety-five percent at US airports since the pandemic. So it doesn’t make a lot of sense why the Transportation Security Administration has decided to hoard more than 1.3 million N-95 respirator masks. This is at a time when doctors around the country were literally begging for donations of that exact piece of equipment. ProPublica broke this story yesterday, but there aren’t good answers as to how and why it happened.

    A TSA attorney, Charles Kielkopf (KYLE-COUGH), filed a whistleblower complaint over the stockpiling this week. Kielkopf first raised the matter last month after TSA got the masks from Customs and Border Patrol, which found them in a warehouse in Indiana. The whistleblower and other officials repeatedly told higher-ups that the masks should be given to hospitals, where they were – and are – desperately needed. Instead, management decided to hold on to their hoard, even as it cut the schedules for most of its workers – because, remember, the airports are like ghost towns. Then TSA field offices started getting thousands of masks for workers who weren’t there. As state governors started pleading for donations, TSA management refused suggestions to give the masks to hospitals. Bad call!

    Separately, the Department of Justice has opened an investigation into a fake medical supply company founded by two Republican political operatives that conned its way into hundreds of millions of dollars in public contracts. The company, called Blue Flame Medical, was founded just six weeks ago. But as the Washington Post reported, its founders used their connections with former federal officials to land government contracts – including a $457 million contract with California for 100 million masks. The consultants, Michael Gula and John Thomas, claimed to have a solid connection with a Chinese government supplier. Guess who they blamed when they couldn’t deliver? China, of course.

    Retailers demand USPS rescue

    A few big corporations are doing something useful with their money for a change, and asking the government to save the US Postal Service. Last night a group of online retailers including Amazon and CVS launched a multimillion-dollar ad campaign to pressure Republican lawmakers to reject Donald Trump’s plan to jack up postal rates. Democrats have a different proposal to make up for stretched budgets at the Postal Service as a result of the pandemic: give it more money in the budget.

    According to the New York Times, Democrats want to allocate $25 billion to make up the Postal Service shortfall. No, no. Definitely not. That would be too simple. Trump is reportedly refusing to sign off on any USPS funding that doesn’t quadruple rates for packages. So wherever you see Shipping and Handling charges, multiply that by four. The retailers hired a former Army secretary, John McHugh, to make the case for the Democrats’ plan. McHugh says Trump’s plan is dangerous, especially with people relying more and more on deliveries.

    The pressure ads by the retail lobby started airing last night on Sean Hannity’s show on Fox News – so Trump definitely saw it. They’re calling themselves the Package Coalition. And they say Trump’s plan is QUOTE a massive package tax ENDQUOTE. Listen. They’re spending $2 million on this ad campaign. You’d think they could come up a way to avoid making everyone say the word package so much_._

    AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:

    Guess what, some of the people at the pro-Trump “re-opening” rallies have been stockpiling explosives as well as guns. In at least one case, a white supremacist involved in recent open-carry rallies prompted Homeland Security to issue an alert over threats to law enforcement. The subject, Bradley Bunn of Loveland, Colorado, was arrested before a May 1 lockdown protest. Bunn bragged to an undercover about killing FBI agents with the pipe bombs he’d built. At least they are stupid terrorists...

    One in seven humans live in a place that will endure unbearable, Sahara-like temperatures within fifty years. That’s the most optimistic scenario in a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The authors examined migration patterns and found that 1.2 billion people live outside the so-called climate niche of our species. The pessimistic scenario has one in three people dealing with unbearable heat in the pretty-near future. Either way, these scientists say we should expect more change in the next fifty years than in the previous six thousand. Fingers crossed!

    The ignorant billionaire Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, laid out new rules yesterday for how schools deal with allegations of sexual assault and harassment. The new rules narrow the definition of harrassment, and require that it be severe and pervasive. They also give abusers the right to cross-examine accusers in campus hearings. DeVos claimed it’s about due process, but feminist critics said the changes are really about silencing survivors.

    US military recruiters say the coronavirus is changing the way they do business. Instead of stalking campuses and high school hangouts, the main focus of their efforts is moving to online games like Call of Duty and Fortnite. The McClatchy news service says the Army and Navy are sponsoring gaming tournaments and e-sports teams to engage in what they call prospecting activity. We call it getting paid to play video games with high school kids.

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

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Corey Pein

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

  • May 6, 2020: Lobbyists Claim Lobbying is Essential
    play_circle_outlinepause_circle_outline
    00:00
    08:15

    TODAY'S HEADLINES:

    There’s been some progress in the Republican position on public health versus the right of business owners to make a profit. They’ve progressed from denying there would be a problem, to pretending to take it seriously -- and now, to acting like nothing needs to be done while admitting they know this means people will die.

    Meanwhile, business interests from Bill Gates on down to the Wisconsin Restaurant Association are taking advantage of the pandemic to push their agendas. Some, it seems, are going so far as to say lobbying itself should be considered an essential service.

    And lastly, California takes Uber and Lyft to court and asks them to pay up. A new lawsuit by the state says the companies exploited hundreds of thousands of workers.

    THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:

    What’s a scandal in the morning becomes conventional wisdom by afternoon. Yesterday, the scandal was leaked audio from a private call with Texas Governor Rick Abbott. On the call, Abbott makes he understands that lifting business restrictions too soon will cause more people to die from coronavirus. But he did it anyway. So you can see why it scandalized people. Then along came Trump to make it seem normal. In a series of interviews and events, Trump rolled out the new signature Republican policy: You are going back to work now, and we don’t care if it kills you. Asked if people should have access to COVID-19 tests before going back to work, Trump told a reporter they should have no problem. The word should is doing a lot of work there. Separately, Vice President Mike Pence said his coronavirus task would be winding down by the end of the month. That’s it, folks: Mission accomplished! Seventy thousand deaths as of yesterday, officially, in the US. Expect another two or three thousand today. And tomorrow and the day after.

    The Republicans aren’t doing this to win a popularity contest. They’re doing it to please big business. A new poll commissioned by the Washington Post found sizable majorities of Americans against the reopening of business as usual at this point in the pandemic. Roughly eighty percent of people said they’d be uncomfortable eating at a restaurant, working out in a gym, or watching a movie in a theater. Crucially, the poll found that people’s discomfort did not significantly change in states with looser restrictions compared to more strict ones. Republicans were generally more supportive of reopening businesses, but even so, sixty percent of Republicans said restaurants should not be reopened yet.

    We’re talking, this morning, about a small ruling elite that wants to feed everyone else into a meat grinder. Which, again, should be conventional wisdom by this afternoon.

    Lobbyists claim lobbying essential

    As the pandemic drags on, many in the political world are using the crisis to press their agendas. Trump once again explicitly said the emergency aid states receive is contingent on doing what he wants with tax cuts and immigration policy. Basically, he’s enacted sanctions on Democratic states, and is asking governors to bargain over people’s lives. And he may produce the most obscene examples of it, but Trump isn’t the only one using his leverage in this situation. The National Enquirer, for instance, is asking the government for an emergency small-business loan. How could Trump say no? This is the company that was the conduit for his hush money to Stormy Daniels. But Democrats are not above exploiting the pandemic. In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a partnership with Bill Gates to QUOTE re- imagine ENDQUOTE the state’s education system. The Gates Foundation made itself an enemy of teacher’s unions around the country by meddling in schools, with programs that failed even by the Foundation’s own estimation. But Cuomo seems to think the pandemic gives him a mandate to turn over kids’ minds and futures to an oligarch? Why?

    Here’s how out of hand America’s corruption problem has gotten: lobbyists in Washington, DC are asking lawmakers to bail out... the lobbying industry. They say it’s in the national interest that they continue to lavish members of Congress with corporate cash to advance a narrow set of interests, all of whom are incredibly selfish. Well, that’s not exactly how they put it. This was all reported by The Intercept. The American Society of Association Executives – that is, the lobbyists’ lobby – claimed in its gimme letter that Congress already relies on lobbyists to decide how to spend money during this pandemic. Therefore, when you think about it, lobbyists are basically first responders. And that is why they make the big bucks.

    California sues Uber, Lyft

    California’s Attorney General, Xavier Becerra, filed a lawsuit yesterday against Uber and Lyft. The AG claims the two companies have exploited hundreds of thousands of workers – and violated state law -- by claiming their workers were independent contractors. City attorneys from San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego joined the state’s lawsuit, so it’s basically a signal that some California Democrats are getting serious about pushing back on the tech industry’s abuses. While the stand for worker’s rights may be long overdue, the state’s lawsuit hinges on a new law known as A-B Five. The law seeks to force companies to afford proper benefits to freelancers and contractors when they are in fact more like employees. The state’s complaint says the time has come for Uber’s and Lyft’s massive, unlawful employee mis-classification scheme to end.

    The sooner the better for California: it’s full of companies like Uber and Lyft that have not been paying what they owe in to the state unemployment fund. This kind of mis-classification rips off workers, sure. It also rips off everyone who needs help from the state when they lose their job. And that’s a lot more people that it was a few weeks ago. Which means you might see more cases like this in the future. Better late than never!

    AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:

    Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was hospitalized yesterday. According to a statement by the court, Ginsburg had nonsurgical treatment for a benign gallbladder condition at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. Reportedly, she had a gallstone that caused an infection. Ginsburg, eighty-seven, plans to participate in oral arguments via teleconference today.

    Many still remember Elizabeth Warren’s big moment in the Democratic presidential primary debates, when she took Mike Bloomberg apart over misogyny in the workplace. So many took note this week when the Massachusetts Senator said she thought Joe Biden’s denial of sexual assault allegations was credible and convincing. When asked, Warren did not endorse an independent investigation into the claims made by former Biden aide Tara Reade.

    Horrific video emerged from Georgia of two white men in a pickup truck shooting and killing a young black man who was simply out jogging. Twenty-five-year old Ahmaud Arbery lived in Glynn County, Georgia. He played football in high school and liked to run to stay in shape. He was shot running through a suburb on February 23. Three white men thought he looked like a criminal, drove him down, and shot him. Two prosecutors recused themselves before a third in another county brought charges.

    Donald Trump said yesterday he had absolutely nothing to do with an apparent bungled operation by American mercenaries in Venezuela. More details about Silvercorp, the Florida outfit with members now in Venezuelan custody, including Tweets from the company to the president bragging about the operation. Vice reported that one of the mercenaries, Airan Berry, was really into Q-Anon. And that Silvercorp did security for Trump events. It’s a curious story, that keeps getting curioser.

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

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Corey Pein

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

  • May 5, 2020: States Reopen to Welcome in Death
    play_circle_outlinepause_circle_outline
    00:00
    07:17

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

    TODAY'S HEADLINES:

    As more and more states begin to open for business, scientific models clearly show U.S. deaths from the coronavirus continuing to rise.

    Meanwhile, the Venezuelan government says it has captured two Americans allegedly involved in a strange, clumsy attempt to infiltrate the country and capture its leaders.

    And lastly, an Amazon Vice President Tim Bray resigned from the company today, in protest of the online shopping empires’ treatment of warehouse workers and white-collar dissenters alike, several of whom have been fired in recent weeks.

    THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:

    The coronavirus is still spreading throughout the country, but you wouldn’t know it by the widespread plans to begin opening states. According to a report by the New York Times, the president’s own administration is predicting a rise in the country’s death rate as a result.

    By June 1, 3000 people a day will be dying from the disease, according to new government modeling. FEMA also predicts that by the end of May, there will be 200,000 new cases every day. For reference, right now there are about 25,000 new cases per day.

    That hasn’t stopped many governors from beginning to open up businesses in their states. Missouri Governor Mike Parson has even given the green light for concerts and other large gatherings to resume, with some social distancing rules in place. But really -- social distancing at a concert?

    Meanwhile, the White House has barred members of its hand-picked coronavirus task force, and their aides, from appearing before Congress, unless they get the express approval of the White House chief of staff. Clearly, Trump doesn’t want anyone talking to the lawmakers tasked with keeping him accountable. Nor does he want to help the world: the U.S. contributed precisely zero dollars to a recent international fundraising event to support research into a vaccine.

    And beyond the deaths, it’s also clear that the Federal relief meant to bail out small businesses is woefully inadequate. Congress’s last $310 billion expansion of the Paycheck Protection Plan is already half-committed, just one week after it was released. This is an institutional failure on every level, and the people responsible will likely escape the consequences.

    To be fair, they’re not even trying to hide their evil anymore. Take it from Chris Christie, who said QUOTE “There are going to be deaths no matter what,” ENDQUOTE which is apparently fine by him.

    Mercs Fail to Invade Venezuela

    There was once a time when the United States was relatively proficient at overthrowing Latin American leaders, but it appears to have passed. Now, who knows what we’re doing.

    On Monday, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced that he had captured two American citizens who were allegedly part of an armed operation to infiltrate the country, incite a rebellion and capture its leaders.

    The two men appear to be affiliated with a Florida-based mercenary company called Silvercorp, according to the company’s owner, a former Green Beret named Jordan Goudreau. Gourdreau wasn’t exactly subtle, claiming that he was launching quote “Operation Gideon” on Sunday with the stated goal of toppling Maduro.

    They then allegedly attempted to invade Venezuela in speedboats, but were stopped off the coast in a gunbattle with Venezuelan forces, who knew they were coming.

    For what it’s worth, both the state department and the Venezuelan opposition under Juan Guidao want nothing to do with these guys. Goudreau says he’s got a lawyer in Venezuela and is currently begging the State department for help getting his men out.

    Obviously, the facts around this are murky to say the least and it’s already a pretty wild story, but stay tuned for what the Trump Administration’s response will be: at this point, it could be pretty much anything.

    Amazon VP Quits in Style

    Cracks are beginning to show at Amazon. On Monday, Tim Bray, a Vice President and distinguished engineer at the company quit, torching the company on his way out for its firings of several white collar and warehouse employees who protested its response to the coronavirus pandemic.

    Over the past few weeks, the company has fired multiple warehouse workers who spoke up about their working conditions and at least two white-collar tech employees who tried to organize their colleagues to support warehouse workers.

    Bray did not mince words when placing the blame directly on the company, calling Amazon cowards in polite and impolite terms, and noting that all of the fired employees were either people of color, women, or both.

    "At the end of the day, it's all about power balances. The warehouse workers are weak and getting weaker, what with mass unemployment and (in the U.S.) job-linked health insurance. So they're gonna get treated like crap, because capitalism. Any plausible solution has to start with increasing their collective strength."

    Sounds like Bray has a pretty good grasp of what’s going on at Amazon and across the country as well. Pity they couldn’t keep him around, but it’s clear he’s going to move on to better things.

    AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:

    The NRA is being forced to lay off dozens of staffers, cut pay, and scale back its fundraising after the coronavirus exacerbated the organizations already-chaotic financial situation. Couldn’t have happened to nicer folks.

    Shortly after Trump made meat processing plants “critical infrastructure,” 373 workers at a Triumph foods plant in Missouri tested positive for the disease. Almost all of them were asymptomatic, meaning they could have shown up to work just find and continued to spread it.

    The Senate claimed that it could not legally turn over records requested by the Biden Campaign that could pertain to Tara Reade’s allegations against him. The campaign requested them as an attempt to be transparent, so now they can throw up their hands and shift the blame to the Senate. Clever.

    And finally, after San Diego County made it mandatory for citizens to have face coverings in public, a man was photographed wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood while shopping in a Vons supermarket. He was asked to remove the hood, but refused to do so until he was in the checkout line.

    That’s all for the Majority Report’s AM Quickie today. Catch the full show with Sam later on.

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Jack Crosbie

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

  • May 4, 2020: Trump's Coronavirus Plan: Fascism and Failure
    play_circle_outlinepause_circle_outline
    00:00
    05:53

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

    TODAY'S HEADLINES:

    Donald Trump is forced to admit that the coronavirus death toll will be higher than he first predicted, while new reports show his administration was just waiting for a pandemic to enact fascist policies.

    Meanwhile, after a horrific mass shooting, Canada acts swiftly to ban semi-automatic firearms and other assault weapons.

    And lastly, the Senate will reconvene today, but will they get anything done? Here’s what to look for out of Congress this week.

    THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:

    Donald Trump predicted on Sunday night that the U.S. death toll of the novel coronavirus would reach 100,000, finally acknowledging that the pandemic is far more devastating than he thought.

    While it’s nice that the President now appears to inhabit a similar reality to the country he leads Trump’s now-accurate predictions do absolutely zilch to help the millions of people affected by the virus thus far.

    Trump changed his predictions during a Fox News town hall on Sunday night, while still claiming credit for responding to the diseases when he did. Meanwhile, a New York Times report shows that his Administration was just waiting for something like this to happen: not so they could respond swiftly, but so they could make things a little bit more fascist toward immigrants.

    The Times reports that Stephen Miller, perhaps the most comically racist of Trump’s stacked lineup of racists, had been looking for a way to use public health powers to shut down immigration for years. Miller’s idea was essentially to find any way to seal the borders for public health reasons -- he tried it twice in 2019 but was talked down by other officials.

    With the coronavirus, it seems like Miller’s wish came true.

    Canada Bans Assault Weapons

    Canada moved swiftly to ban assault weapons across the country this weekend, responding to the horrific Nova Scotia mass shooting with swift legislative action.

    Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a blanket ban on the the sale, transport, and use of about 1,500 different kinds of “assault style” semi-automatic weapons, effective immediately. Canadians who already own such weapons have two years to dispose of them, and Trudeau said his government is working with the legislature to figure out a way to compensate them for the loss of property.

    The Nova Scotia shooting on April 18 and 19 was one of the deadliest mass-murders in Canada’s history. The shooter, who was armed with multiple weapons he purchased in both the U.S. and Canada, shot and killed 13 people, and killed 9 more in fires he set as the rampage continued. He was not licensed to own a gun in Canada, yet still obtained many, at least one of which came from a U.S. source, according to Canadian authorities.

    The ban isn’t perfect: trying to draw distinctions between what is and is not an assault weapon is often a nearly impossible task, and one that would surely meet widespread resistance in the U.S. But it also shows what’s possible with quick, unilateral executive action.

    Senate Reconvenes, But Will They Help?

    The Senate is going back to work today, largely because Mitch McConnell has an interest in making Trump look good by getting one House of Congress back to work. It remains to be seen if any of that work will help American people, but here’s what we’re looking for.

    Progressives are currently calling for the next coronavirus relief bill to finally address the needs of working people, largely by stopping mass layoffs, direct financial relief and expansion of financial relief programs like food aid, health coverage for frontline workers, and national vote-by-mail for the November elections.

    While those goals are a long shot with McConnell in charge, this is the best time for Democrats in both the Senate and House to start pushing back in a more meaningful way against whatever bogus bill the Republicans put forward next.

    Things will move slowly, of course. Nancy Pelosi says the House won’t return to D.C. until May 11.

    When it does, however, there’s some good bills: Rep. Pramila Jayapaul, for one, announced legislation that would expand Medicare and Medicaid to millions of Americans during the crisis and force private companies to pay for patients stricken with the disease.

    It’s not quite full single-payer, but it’s a good start -- now we wait to see if the Democrats decide find the courage to support it.

    AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:

    On top of everything else the U.S. is dealing with at the moment, we now have murder hornets, an invasive predator from Asia that wreaks havoc on already-fragile honeybee hives, by decapitating the little pollinators with their gigantic jaws. Did we mention they can grow up to two inches long and have a sting that kills up to 50 people a year in Japan?

    Betsy DeVos, determined to make the most of her potential for evil as Secretary of Education, has decided to garnish the wages of nearly 300,000 people who have student loans, in the middle of the pandemic.

    In other news that should surprise no one, the notoriously dumb anti-vaccine movement has started to glom on to the equally stupid anti-social-distancing protest movement. The New York Times reports that prominent anti-vaxx organizations have been spotted at protests in at least three states.

    And finally, on Friday, Trump announced his intentions to replace HHS Inspector General Christi A. Grimm. This may sound like small-fry personnel changes inside the Administration, if Grimm weren’t the one who blew the whistle on the dire shortage of protective equipment and virus tests in U.S. hospitals just a month earlier. To use a golf metaphor Trump would surely understand: cheap retaliation is par for the course at this point.

    That’s all for the Majority Report’s AM Quickie today. Check out the full show this afternoon, wherever you get your podcasts.

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Jack Crosbie

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

  • May 1, 2020: Trumpist Militia Storms Lansing
    play_circle_outlinepause_circle_outline
    00:00
    08:40

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

    TODAY'S HEADLINES:

    The Trump administration is playing with fire at home and overseas as it gets more desperate to distract from Republican failures. Between the spectacle of warships in the South China Sea and an armed militia takeover at the Michigan state house, you could almost forget Trump has already caused thousands of deaths through negligence in a pandemic.

    Meanwhile, Joe Biden picks a white male former Republican Congressman, Joe Scarborough, to question him about sexual allegations by a woman who used to be on his staff. Nancy Pelosi says Joe Biden is just, you know, Joe Biden.

    And lastly, thousands of workers are going on strike today over conditions that are placing them and their families at risk. Which means there are picket lines – real, virtual, and socially distant – at some major retailers.

    THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:

    The White House is putting pressure on intelligence agencies to cook up reports that serve its warmongering agenda, as well as the private financial interests of the president and his family. It’s a headline that could come from 2003, but it’s about Donald Trump and China, not Bush and Iraq. Multiple news outlets reported intelligence analysts are concerned about increased from the White House to produce reports that fill in the gaps of Trump’s China Virus rhetoric and conspiracy theories. The White House has reportedly discussed suing the Chinese government (despite sovereign immunity), canceling America’s massive debt to China, and other, even more destabilizing measures. This week the US conducted two naval exercises in the South China Sea. The Chinese military called the US a troublemaker and a top regional security threat. So the GOP is adding a diplomatic crisis to this pandemic. In much the same way, it is encouraging antigovernment terrorism at home.

    You may have seen the pictures from Michigan, a swing state that now has a Democratic governor: Yesterday armed milita members took over the state capitol and demanded and end to the pandemic lockdown. Legislators shared pictures and spoke of their fear as dozens of white men carrying rifles and wearing fatigues stormed the building. Police kept them from

    the house floor but their response was more muted than one might’ve expected if, say, the Black Panthers tried the same thing. Kathleen Belew, a University of Chicago historian and expert on white supremacist terrorism, said QUOTE heavily armed people storming a government building is an attack, not a protest ENDQUOTE. At least one group present was Michigan Liberty Militia, whose leaders have openly called for violent insurrection. Last week, they coordinated with local Proud Boys to try and shut down a hospital there in Lansing. Journalists on the scene yesterday noted that the Michigan State Capitol allows the public to bring firearms on the premises but forbids politcial signs, the stated reason being that they might scuff the _décor ._Priorities!

    Texas lifts pandemic restrictions today, despite yesterday being one its worst so far in terms of COVID-19 deaths. And Maryland’s Republican governor, Larry Hogan, admitted that he has put thousands of coronavirus tests under protection by the state National Guard – because he is afraid the feds will seize the tests. Something’s very wrong right in DC now.

    Biden Addresses Reade Allegations

    Joe Biden is set to appear on MSNBC’s Morning Joe today and for the first time publicly address claims by former staffer Tara Reade that he sexually assaulted her in 1993. Reade will appear on Fox News in the next week to tell her story. According to the New York Times, CNN and MSNBC have refused to put her on air, even though they have covered the stories on their websites. The reasons are mysterious.

    Yesterday a reporter asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi why Democrats were treating the claims against Biden differently than similar allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. She responded by saying she didn’t need a lecture. And while she found it endearing that her children were excited about the MeToo movement, QUOTE Joe Biden is Joe Biden ENDQUOTE. Trump was also asked about the matter. He, too, defended Biden, saying he knows all about false accusations.

    Biden has refused all access to his archives, but Business Insider still managed to track down a neighbor of Reade’s who says she heard the story in the 1990s – the latest person to corroborate her account.

    Separately, Biden reminisced on Instagram about the good old days of the Senate with his buddy Teddy Kennedy. He said Republicans would go back to normal after Trump was gone.

    And he announced his vice presidential selection committee, which includes former Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd, who narrowly avoided ethics charges stemming from his time overseeing bank regulation. Dodd was also a notorious womanizer.

    May Day Worker Strikes

    Another batch of unemployment statistics brought the official nationwide total of jobs lost over the past six weeks to thirty million. But a new study by the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute, a union-backed think tank, says that’s probably fifty percent too low. The numbers don’t count those unable to apply because of problems with state unemployment systems, or who didn’t even try because the process was too daunting. And even this new study doesn’t figure in all the undocumented workers who’ve lost jobs.

    So that’s the bad news. The good news is, today is not only Friday, it’s May Day, and a number of major strikes to stand up for essential workers who lack protective gear. Unions have singled out Amazon, Whole Foods, Instacart, Walmart, Target, and FexEx in actions this year. At all these companies, workers will walk off the job today. They’re demanding hazard pay, sick leave, protective gear and cleaning supplies – in addition to compensation for time they’ve been forced to take off. They are demanding things their employers should already be providing. Solidarity to striking workers -- they’re off the job for all of us today.

    AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:

    Seventy percent of federal prison inmates who’ve been tested have been positive for COVID-19. Those are official figures from the Bureau of Prisons, as reported by the Associated Press, which says they indicate the scale of the problem is even worse than the numbers suggest. People who are in custody awaiting trial or sentencing say they feel they’ve been given a death sentence. Staff are concerned as well. This was preventable.

    Donald Trump said he is considering bringing the convicted former Defense Intelligence Agency director Mike Flynn back into government. Several reports yesterday suggested the White House was laying the groundwork for Trump to pardon Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia. New Republican talking points says Flynn was framed by an out-of-control FBI, and Vice President Mike Pence was on message as well.

    Russia’s new prime minister, Mikhail Mishustin, disclosed he has corona and is self- isolating. President Vladimir Putin put Mishutin in charge of the country’s pandemic response. The diagnosis was disclosed on live television. Putin reportedly said Mishutin would be taken to the hospital and should call him when he gets out.

    Scientists found a deadly toxic blob loosely comprised of microplastic waste at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea. They say currents brought the toxic garbage there. These scientists say we need to stop making disposable plastic. And there are no doubt many more. And these blobs are preventing deepwater organisms that are crucial to the ecosystem from getting enough oxygen. Oh, and contaminating seafood. I guess, try the veal?

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

  • April 30, 2020: Biden Faces Growing Pressure
    play_circle_outlinepause_circle_outline
    00:00
    08:11

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

    TODAY'S HEADLINES:

    Donald Trump’s Justice Department flaunts its collusion with Republican donors. A memo from Bill Barr signals support for corporate lawsuits over state pandemic restrictions.

    Meanwhile, Joe Biden’s campaign said it expects the sexual assault allegations against him to go away. But there was a new report showing his campaign interfered in a MeToo effort to call him to account.

    And lastly: What you’re telling me is, the president can tell people to inject cleaning solutions, but I can’t pretend to be a doctor? Prosecutors crack down on coronavirus snake oil scammers – at least, some of the dumber ones.

    THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:

    Attorney General Bill Barr is arguing that state efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus may be unconstitutional. He says as much in a memo for all US Attorneys and other Justice Department officials. It was dated April 27 and reported on yesterday. The New York Times said Barr’s memo is a signal to conservative business and religious groups that the Trump administration will have their back in any legal challenges to public health measures.

    Barr has ordered two deputies to monitor state and local policies related to the pandemic and QUOTE if necessary, take action to correct them ENDQUOTE. Barr has put the department’s civil rights division on point for this job. Which is pretty twisted when you think about it. In Georgia, for instance, it was reported that eighty percent of COVID-19 patients are African- American. Once upon a time, the DOJ Civil Rights division might see it as a problem that Republican governors were opening their economies prematurely and putting minorities at risk of dying. But that was before this Trump gang took over the US government.

    With oil tycoons and religious charlatans setting public health policy, this administration is basically a sequel to There Will Be Blood. None of the twelve energy advisers on Trump’s so- called Opening the Country council represent renewable industries. Eight of them are oil and gas executives who have personally donated millions of dollars to Trump’s reelection effort, according to the Huffington Post. These are the people setting public health policy during the pandemic, while Donald Trump watches himself on TV: Republican donors.

    Biden Faces Growing Pressure

    The Joe Biden campaign told the New York Times yesterday it expects the sexual assault allegations against him to blow over. Not long after those ill-advised remarks, the Washington Post editorial board showed why this would not be the case. The Post (owned by Trump’s adversary, Jeff Bezos) called on Biden to respond directly to sexual assault allegations by former Biden staffer Tara Reade. So far he has not done this. Also yesterday, the New York Times reported that several feminist organizations had drafted a letter calling on Biden to take the allegation more seriously. They wanted him to model good behavior. But after the campaign caught wind of the letter, they ensured it was never sent.

    All this on a day when the campaign said the allegations were not QUOTE resonating politically ENDQUOTE. They also said Reade’s account will be met with great skepticism by voters. Voters may in fact greet Biden with skepticism, however. After many weeks of speculation that he would pick a black woman as his vice presidential nominee, there’s been a shift. A key Biden supporter, senior House Democrat Jim Clyburn, said a black woman as VP was not a must for the campaign. Biden himself said as much in a recent local news interview. As NBC reported, the campaign is debating how diverse the ticket really needs to be. I guess we’ll see. An announcement on the VP pick is expected soon, maybe this week.

    Also yesterday, Biden said that if elected he would keep the US Embassy in Jerusalem. Remember, Trump moved it to make some donors happy. So nothing will fundamentally change, except to the extent that it already has under Trump.

    Prosecutors Bust Coronavirus Quacks

    Some people see a disaster like the coronavirus pandemic and don’t think, how can I help? They can only think of how to profit. Well, it might just be the small-timers, but at least some scam artists are getting their comeuppance. A federal court in Utah slapped an injunction on an unlicensed quack doctor who was selling ingestible silver over the internet, claiming it would cure COVID-19.

    Federal prosecutors have charged Gordon Pederson of Cedar Hills, Utah, with defrauding consumers by hawking his silver cure-all to people afraid of contracting coronavirus.

    Pedersen’s publicist – I guess it was a profitable scam, if he could hire a publicist -- told the Daily Beast that the fake doctor was QUOTE shocked, as all the statements he has made are supported by scientific documents ENDQUOTE. Shocked, ladies and gentlemen. This is a guy who was reportedly cited by the state two years ago for unauthorized practice of medicine. And who was charging people $299.95 per gallon for a mix of water, baking soda, and a substance extracted from silver wire. Pedersen had bragged about going on a cruise to Europe with his proceeds from ripping off people who were sick and frightened.

    More than eight criminal and civil cases like this have been brought in the last two weeks against COVID-19 scammers. They should really think bigger. Like insurance executives. If this guy in Utah is smart, he’ll aim for a presidential pardon. Never hurts to ask.

    AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:

    Cities and counties around the country are closing libraries, laying off garbage collectors, police, firefighters, and emergency responders, the Washington Post reported. The economic crisis that’s closing businesses also means budget cuts for local government. Up to one million public sector workers could soon be out of a job, according to the National League of Cities. Trump wants to make federal aid contingent on things like going along with his racist immigration policies.

    As of yesterday, children in Washington, DC, with COVID-19 have been admitted to hospitals also experiencing symptoms similar to a inflammatory condition called Kawasaki disease. This has also been happening in Europe, particularly Italy and Britain, and doctors are investigating a possible link. Kawasaki disease symptoms include fever, rash, eye irritation, swollen lymph nodes and swelling in the hands and feet. It can be a serious condition, and though COVID-19 has been said to be mild in most children, there’s much about this public health crisis that has yet to be learned.

    Elon Musk, who yesterday Tweeted in support of the Republican plan to reopen America and sacrifice the working poor for the sake of corporate profit, has more legal problems. At least his company does. Tesla is being sued in California by the family of a man in Japan who standing on the street when he was hit by a car was running on what Tesla called QUOTE autopilot ENDQUOTE. Bloomberg News said it is the first pedestrian fatality linked to Musk’s software.

    Amazon is censoring internal emails to prevent workers from organizing. That’s according to a new report by Recode, which said IT administrators at the company this week warned anyone who managed large lists of employees that managers needed to pre-approve any messages sent to the group. Employees had used the company listservs to organize a recent sick-out over working conditions and environmental policies.

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

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Corey Pein

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

  • April 29, 2020: Trump Demands More Meat
    play_circle_outlinepause_circle_outline
    00:00
    06:14

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

    TODAY'S HEADLINES:

    Donald Trump ordered U.S. meat processing facilities to stay open, forcing workers to relive Upton Sinclair’s novel The Jungle in order to prevent shortages of chicken, pork and other products.

    Meanwhile, new data from the CDC suggests that the death toll from coronavirus could be much higher than expected, just as Republican governors start to open up their states for business.

    And lastly, at least some of our elected representatives are paying attention to what’s going on. during the crisis to stop big companies profiting off of the economic chaos to the people’s detriment.

    THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:

    Welcome to Meatcast, the podcast that’s all about meat and the meat industry, at least for the next 90 seconds or so.

    America’s collective thirst for flesh has grown so rampant that Donald Trump today classified meat packing facilities as quote “critical infrastructure,” hoping that it would give companies leeway to prevent any shortages of chicken, pork and other animal products.

    The problem, of course, is that giving companies leeway to prevent shortages at nearly any cost is always, always going to blow back on the workers. And meat is no different.

    Reporting by Facing South and other outlets found that meatpacking plants have become hotspots for coronavirus outbreaks, and new demands on workers already struggling to get adequate protection on the job will only make things worse.

    Tyson Foods, one of the largest offenders in the new deadly practice of forcing underprepared and underpaid workers to labor through a pandemic, may have ignited the story when it claimed that millions of pounds of meat would disappear from the supply chain if plants were forced to close.

    But reporting by The Counter, a nonprofit newsroom focused on America’s food infrastructure, shows that the system isn’t likely to break down if plants are forced to shut down for a period of time to protect their employees. In other words, Tyson is playing up the pandemic to a sympathetic president in order to stop itself from losing any money. That sound you hear is Upton Sinclair rolling in his grave.

    Corona Death Count Off By Thousands

    The coronavirus’s devastating death toll may be worse than we thought. Per new data from the CDC, there may be 9,000 more total deaths spread across seven particularly hard-hit states than previously counted.

    What the data shows is that there’s still a big gap between the normal deathrate in many places -- how many people die of ordinary causes over a given period of time -- and the reported deathrate during the crisis, even when you factor in the recorded deaths from coronavirus. Most likely that means we’re dramatically understating the number of deaths from the disease.

    Experts also think there’s another wrinkle: fear of the virus and stress on America’s already pitiful healthcare system have caused more Americans to die from other causes that they didn’t get help for.

    We’re starting to get this information right as a contingent of loyal governors are pushing to re-open states for business, which is obviously a terrible idea.

    Warren and AOC Take on Corporate Greed

    Let’s face it, at this point, Congress has almost entirely failed the American people when it comes to the coronavirus. But there are some factions of the Democratic party who are still trying to get things done, despite the fact that the full House won’t be in session at all until sometime after May.

    On Tuesday, Senator Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Alexadria Ocasio-Cortez introduced a joint bill to prevent corporate mergers for the duration of the coronavirus crisis, basically hoping to stop predatory corporations from forming monopolies while the entire economy is in chaos.

    Since Congress is barely functioning at the moment, it’s highly unlikely the bill has a chance of passing anytime soon. But with big corporations in a feeding frenzy over that sweet Federal slush money, it’s pretty clear that something has to be done.

    The bill, called the Pandemic Anti-Monopoly Act would put a moratorium on corporate mergers until the FTC says that small businesses and workers nationwide are no longer under quote “severe financial distress.”

    In the last great recession, big banks climbed all over each other, merging and trading assets like crazy to try to shift the pain of the financial catastrophe away from themselves.

    The idea of AOC and Warren’s bill is to put a stop to all that happening again. It’s not like the big corporations are in dire straits, either, when so many of them cashed in on the first stimulus package’s small business loan program.

    That mistake was so egregious that even the Trump administration is trying to smooth things over a bit: Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin recently announced that he would be auditing any company that got over $2 million from the program.

    AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:

    At least 40 people who either voted in-person or worked at polls in Wisconsin’s primary last month have now tested positive for COVID-19. And yet, the Republican death cult still widely opposes vote-by-mail!

    Vice President Mike Pence visited the world-renowened Mayo Clinic on Tuesday to thank its doctors for their hard work on combatting the coronavirus, and promptly became the only person in the building to mess up the clinic’s strict mask rule, refusing to don a face covering yet again. Great leadership from the VP there, you love to see it.

    Justin Amash, the perennial wet blanket currently about to lose his seat in Congress, is moving on to greener and dumber pastures, this time by running for President as a member of the Libertarian Party. We should all welcome any shred of votes he manages to bleed from Trump, although given his general reputation as a giant twerp, it probably won’t be many.

    And finally, don’t count on getting any more money from the federal government: the Trump administration says that it favors payroll tax cuts instead of any future direct funding. You know who payroll tax cuts don’t help? People who aren’t on a payroll, like, say, the 26 million plus Americans who are out of work.

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

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Jack Crosbie

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

  • April 28, 2020: Bernie Bumped From Ballot
    play_circle_outlinepause_circle_outline
    00:00
    06:05

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

    TODAY'S HEADLINES:

    Bernie Sanders will not appear on the ballot in the New York primary thanks to a vote by the state’s board of elections.

    Meanwhile, two more women have come forward to corroborate Tara Reade’s account of sexual assault at the hands of Joe Biden. The evidence is mounting, and the Biden campaign is once again mostly silent.

    And lastly, scientists at Oxford university claim to have made significant progress on a coronavirus vaccine. If it works, and that’s a big if, it could be ready for widespread use as early as September.

    THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:

    Bernie Sanders will not appear on the ballot in the major New York State primary election in June, if Monday’s vote by the board of elections stands.

    The Sanders campaign, even in its dormant state, is not pleased. Here’s Senior advisor Jeff Weaver, who said in a statement quote:

    "No one asked New York to cancel the election. The DNC didn't request it. The Biden campaign didn't request it. And our campaign communicated that we wanted to remain on the ballot."

    Endquote.

    Obviously, Bernie has already suspended his campaign and endorsed Biden, so the primary is more of a formality.

    But despite that, the Sanders campaign wanted to remain on the ballot for a couple of reasons: first, any delegates Sanders picked up could help him influence events at what will surely be an interesting Democratic Convention.

    Second, a Sanders ballot could lend support to progressive candidates downballot like Lindsey Boylan, who’s running to unseat Jerry Nadler in New York’s 10th Congressional district.

    With this in mind, it’s pretty clear what the New York State Democratic Party wants: to shut out and alienate Sanders’ wing of the party from their state politics as much as possible, and make sure that another AOC never happens on their watch.

    Biden Allegations Mount

    Two more women have come forward to corroborate Tara Reade’s account of sexual harassment while working for Joe Biden in the early 1990s.

    Over the weekend, Reade’s story gained credibility after reporters discovered audio of her mother referring to the incident during a call-in to Larry King’s show on CNN. But now, two more sources tell Business Insider that Reade told them consistent information about the assault around the time that it happened.

    The two new sources are Lynda LaCasse, Reade’s neighbor in the mid 90s, who described herself as a Biden supporter to Business Insider, and Lorraine Sanchez, who worked with Reade in a California State Senator’s office in the mid 90s.

    LaCasse said that Reade had described the assault in detail to her in 1995 or 1996, just 2 or 3 years after the alleged assault. LaCasse said quote: "This happened, and I know it did because I remember talking about it.” Endquote.

    Sanchez, Reade’s coworker, said she remembers Reade saying that her former boss had sexually harassed her, and that she had been fired for raising those concerns.

    LaCasse’s quotes, in particular, corroborate specific details of the assault Reade claimed she suffered at Biden’s hands in a Senate hallway in 1993.

    The Biden campaign refused to speak to Business Insider on the record, pointing them instead to an earlier denial -- but it’s obvious that these allegations are not going away, and that Biden is massively vulnerable, not to mention disgraceful, as a candidate because of them.

    There’s still a long time until November. We’ll see if the Democratic party has the courage to act.

    Coronavirus Vaccine Shows Promise

    A team of scientists at Oxford University say they may have a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, and it could be ready as early as September.

    While that may sound like fantastic news, it comes with a lot of caveats. Chief among them is the fact that we don’t know for sure whether or not if it works.

    That said, there are promising signs. The scientists’ vaccine is far ahead of other efforts in part because the team was working on similar projects dealing with different coronaviruses last year.

    That means it’s already almost ready for human trials, which could start at the end of next month. With emergency approval from Federal regulators around the world, the first few million units could be ready by September.

    Scientists at the National Institute of Health’s lab in Montana have already tried the vaccine on monkeys, and after more than 28 days, all six subjects were still healthy.

    But that doesn’t mean it’s a cure-all: researchers expect we’ll need several different vaccines to ensure that we find the most effective one for the lowest cost. Still, if the Oxford vaccine pans out, September is a whole lot quicker than the year to 18 months we were hearing before.

    AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:

    The IRS called back thousands of employees to work this week, but neglected to call in the proper protective equipment for them. Instead, thousands of federal employees are being asked to bring their own face coverings and gloves to perform quote “mission critical functions.”

    World Military spending once again surpassed $1.9 trillion. And guess who led the pack by so large of a margin it’s not even funny? That’s right baby, it’s us. Experts think this is the peak, though: it’s the largest spending has been since the 2008 financial crisis, and with another recession around the corner, we may be able to afford, say, one or two fewer guns?

    Republican governors are still pushing ahead to reopen businesses in their states. Texas will allow stores, restaurants, movie theaters and malls to reopen on Friday in limited capacity, and many other states have stay at home orders that will expire on Thursday.

    Argentina, meanwhile, is taking no chances, announcing the toughest travel ban in North or South America. The country will ban all domestic flights as well as any flights to or from the country until September 1.

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

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Jack Crosbie

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

  • April 27, 2020: Corporations Leech Off Bailout
    play_circle_outlinepause_circle_outline
    00:00
    07:18

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

    TODAY'S HEADLINES:

    A new report shows that massive corporations received millions in federal aid meant for small businesses under the first miserly coronavirus bailout.

    Meanwhile, new evidence supports Tara Reade’s allegations of sexual assault against Joe Biden, bringing fresh attention to the presumptive Democratic nominee’s history and fitness for office.

    And lastly, Trump’s conduct in office and declining poll numbers have the GOP running scared that he may drag the whole party down with him. Sure, we’ve heard this one before, but there are some signs that battleground states could be slipping away.

    THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:

    Surprise -- the meager loan program intended to keep small businesses afloat during the coronavirus recession has instead funnelled millions of dollars into big corporations.

    The Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, ran out of money almost immediately, so we knew that businesses would be left in the lurch -- especially when big chains like Shake Shack and Ruth Chris’s Steakhouse got a piece of the pie.

    But the New York Times found that dozens of other companies with millionaire executives, some of which were even under financial investigation, managed to secure loans.

    A few examples: Autoweb, a digital marketing firm, scored a $1.4 million loan. It’s CEO made $1.7 million in salary last year. MiMedX, a biopharma company in Georgia that the Times didn’t name but we tracked down easily enough on Google, paid the Justice Department a $6.5 million settlement after allegedly illegally inflating its prices to the department of Veterans Affairs. Guess what happened next? It got a $10 million loan.

    This program was meant to save mom-and-pop companies like the restaurants, bars, barbershops, and stores run as small businesses across the country.

    Instead, it’s pretty clear that publicly-traded corporations have been descending on it like flies while worthy companies wither and die.

    And since the Trump administration isn’t being transparent about where all this money is going, it’s almost certain that there are even bigger offenders out there. Sure sounds like the American dream to me.

    New Evidence for Biden Allegations

    New details arose this weekend that support Tara Reade’s allegations that Joe Biden sexually assaulted her in the early 1990s.

    Reade, who alleges that Biden sexually assaulted her while she was a Senate aide in 1993, told the Intercept that she informed her Mother, brother, and a close friend about the event at the time. Both the brother and the friend have confirmed that Reade told them about Biden’s abuse at the time, but Reade’s mother died in 2010.

    However, Reade also told the Intercept that her mother called in to Larry King Live on CNN, and referenced the event -- and on Friday, the specific audio from the show surfaced, almost 27 years later.

    In the recording, a caller from San Luis Obispo, CA, where Reade’s mother was living at the time, references her daughter working for a prominent senator with whom she had quote “problems,” but chose not to go to the press out of respect for his office. Reade confirmed that the caller’s voice is her mother.

    The call audio is yet more evidence that Reade’s allegations against Biden are credible. Biden is now the presumptive Democratice nominee for president, and while his campaign has thus far managed to push the allegations aside with a denial, it’s unlikely that they will stay out of the front pages for long. In other words, the Democrats have a real problem on their hands, and it’s very possible that Biden has a victim who deserves justice.

    As many people have noted, it’s not too late to replace him with someone else: between now and November, almost anything could happen.

    Trump in Trouble? We'll See

    Meanwhile, the Republicans forsee some serious problems of their own. Trump’s more ludicrous than normal conduct at press conferences and sinking poll numbers have some GOP strategists worried that he may lose both the White House and the Senate.

    The Times reports that one Republican pollster said quote: “we have the foundation of the campaign yanked out from underneath us.” Endquote, as the economy is tanking and everyone but the most die-hard supporters seems to be angry at the president.

    Trump is now behind in the polls in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Florida.

    Clearly, Biden has his own issues. But Trump losing popularity can only be a good thing regardless of who the Democrats put up against him in November, because it could create opportunities for Democrats to take back key senate seats.

    In tight races, the Republicans’ hopes are tightly linked to the President: if he doesn’t win big and turn out his base, the Democrats may be able to swipe a seat or two.

    His administration is obviously doing damage control: just look at the press briefings, which have been pared back significantly since Trump suggested that people perhaps inject cleaning supplies to cure the disease.

    To be sure, we’ve heard the whole “Trump is doomed” song and dance plenty of times before, and it’s not wise to get comfortable. But if the pillars of Trump’s electoral hold over the country look shaky, that can only be a good thing.

    AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:

    Bernie Sanders is currently fighting to stay on the primary ballot in New York, and to keep his delegates from the California primary. While Sanders’ campaign may be suspended, the amount of influence he has over the Biden campaign -- or eventual nominee -- could depend on his delegate pull at the convention.

    Donald Trump is still waging war on the post office, threatening on Friday to withhold future coronavirus relief it the agency does not raise its prices four or five times over, which is just wildly unrealistic.

    North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is either alive or dead, depending on which rumors or TMZ report you believe. The South Korean government, for its part, once again claimed over the weekend that it does not think there is anything out of the ordinary going on, so perhaps rumors of the Supreme Leader’s death have been greatly exaggerated.

    The Congressional Budget Office predicts that the country will hit 16 percent unemployment by the third quarter of 2020, an absolutely devastating number. During the 2008 recession, the highest it ever got was 10 percent.

    That’s all for the Majority Report’s AM Quickie today. We’ll be back this afternoon.

    HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

    WRITER - Jack Crosbie

    PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn