The vice presidential debate is done and dusted. Kamala Harris made for a clear positive contrast in terms of knowledge and competence to Mike Pence.
Meanwhile, two of the largest union organizations in the United States say Donald Trump and the coronavirus have pushed many into forced labor. They’ve filed a complaint with the United Nations to that effect.
And lastly, the streets in Athens filled with joyful crowds after a Greek court ruled that the Golden Dawn party is a criminal organization. All you fascists are bound to lose.
THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Harris slams Trump record
Vice President Mike Pence and California Senator Kamala Harris faced each other – maybe a little too closely – last night in the only vice presidential debate of this election cycle. The venue was the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, and the moderator was Susan Page, the Washington, DC bureau chief for USA Today. Ahead of the debate, health experts told the New York Times that the plexiglass barriers installed onstage between the candidates would do nothing to protect Harris if Pence is infected with coronavirus from the White House cluster. Oh well.
Donald Trump himself said yesterday that catching Covid-19 was like a blessing from god. Pence, his Number Two, did not go quite that far last night. But he defended the administration’s handling of the pandemic, against all the evidence, even as he disowned responsibility. He said QUOTE The American people deserve credit ENDQUOTE for how they’ve handled the crisis. Pence routinely spoke over his alloted time without interference from the moderator. He also appeared to some viewers to have one swollen eye.
Harris was clear from the outset in outlining Trump and Pence’s many failures. She said QUOTE The American people have had to sacrifice far too much because of the incompetence of the administration ENDQUOTE. Asked if she would take a vaccine promoted by the administration, Harris responded that she would take it if public health experts
suggested it, but not on the word of Donald Trump. And, on many other issues, she made the case that Joe Biden, in contrast to Trump, at least has a plan.
Unions decry forced labor
American trade union leaders yesterday filed a formal complaint with the International Labor Organization, a UN agency. The complaint says that under Donald Trump, the US has violated international labor standards. It also says that many essential workers have been pushed into a system of forced labor during the coronavirus pandemic.
The complaint was filed by the Service Employees International Union and the AFL-CIO at the Geneva, Switzerland headquarters of the ILO, according to the Washington Post. Richard Trumka, the president of the AFL-CIO, told the Post QUOTE Covid has laid bare what we already knew. It has demonstrated that not only is the U.S. violating workers’ rights, but those violations are resulting in people dying ENDQUOTE.
The complaint singled out Trump’s orders declaring industries such as meatpacking essential, compelling them to stay open despite the pandemic even as federal agencies declined to enforce safety regulations. The complaint said QUOTE These executive orders gave a green light for employers to force workers to report for work and risk their lives or lose their jobs. This is tantamount to forced labor ENDQUOTE. The complaint also highlighted the racial implications of these orders, noting that the vast majority of meatpacking workers who contracted coronavirus were Black or Hispanic. The ILO has no enforcement powers, which is a shame, because it sure sounds like we’re backsliding toward slavery.
Greeks celebrate antifascist victory
In what the Guardian newspaper calls the biggest trial of fascists since the Nuremburg Tribunal following World War Two, a court in Greece has ruled that the Golden Dawn party is a criminal organization in disguise.
Following a five-year trial, a three-member tribunal in Athens found the far-right group guilty of operating a gang of hit squads. The court concluded that seven of Golden Dawn’s eighteen former members of parliament – including the party founder, Nikolaos Michaloliakos (MIK- HAIL-OLYAKOS) – led the criminal organization. Like many of his followers, Michaloliakos is a
Holocaust denier and admirer of Adolf Hitler. The remaining eleven former parliamentarians were found culpable as members of the gang. None have yet been sentenced. According to the Washington Post, the court also laid down specific guilty findings for attacks on immigrants and the murder of an anti-fascist rapper.
Thousands of Greeks outside the courthouse cheered the ruling yesterday. Greece’s president, Katerina Sakellaropoulou (SAH-KAY-LARO-PULO), said the judgment was an important day for democracy, and evidence that Greek institutions were able to fend off any attempt to undermine them. Experts in extremism say Golden Dawn at its peak was an inspiration to neo-Nazi movements around the world. But no more. As Alexis Tsipras (SIP- RASS), the leftist former Greek prime minister, put it – Golden Dawn will now go QUOTE where they deserve go, in the trash can of history ENDQUOTE. So long, chumps!
AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:
Following a surge in Covid-19 cases, Wisconsin health officials plan to open a field hospital next week at the state fairgrounds near Milwaukee. The Associated Press reports that only sixteen percent of the state’s eleven thousand-plus hospital beds were available as of Tuesday afternoon. Experts blame the spike in cases on school reopenings as well as general fatigue over wearing masks and socially distancing. Just mask up, already!
The House of Representatives subcommittee on antitrust released a scathing report on Big Tech this week, following a sixteen-month investigation into Silicon Valley’s business practices. Only Democratic lawmakers endorsed the more than four-hundred page report, which found multiple clear examples of anticompetitive behavior by Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google. And the Democrats who led the investigation, including Jerrold Nadler of New York, are now saying those companies should be broken up, and new laws passed to prevent them from favoring their own products in search results. With luck, maybe next year.
BuzzFeed News reports that Immigration and Customs Enforcement has a new policy allowing officers to arrest and rapidly deport undocumented immigrants who have been in the US for less than two years, without granting them a hearing before a judge. ICE’s previous policy only allowed officials to use expedited removal within one hundred miles of the border and for those who have been in the country for up to two weeks. Stay safe, everybody.
At least one federal investigation into serial sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein is ongoing. NBC News reports that federal prosecutors in the case of Epstein’s associate Ghislaine Maxwell have asked a judge to let them delay handing over evidence because of that ongoing investigation. Prosecutors believe disclosing the evidence could interfere with the investigation. And what is that evidence? Forty documents and forty photographs of victims who were allegedly abused by Epstein after 1997. Dossiers, perhaps?
That’s all for the AM Quickie. Join us this afternoon on the Majority Report.
Oct 8, 2020 - AM Quickie
HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner
WRITER - Corey Pein
PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn