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Aug 24, 2020: RNC's Trumpapalooza Kicks Off
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TODAY'S HEADLINES:

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

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

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

THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:

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

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

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

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

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

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

COVID Plasma Treatment Pushed Through FDA

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

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

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

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

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

Report Shows Economic Ruin Ahead

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

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

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

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

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

AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:

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

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

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

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

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

Aug 24, 2020 - AM Quickie

HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

WRITER - Jack Crosbie

PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn