The Trump administration, desperate for political goodwill, is using the Center for Disease Control’s authority to hand down a temporary eviction moratorium for anyone making less than $99,000 per year, but it comes with some other pretty strict qualifications.
Meanwhile, Amazon is cracking down on labor organizing and spying on its own employees in unprecedented ways, Motherboard reports, while delivery drivers are leaving smartphones hanging from trees to try to eke out a living from the company’s algorithm.
And lastly, Incumbent Senator Ed Markey appears to have fended off Rep. Joe Kennedy III in the Democratic primary. We’ll chat about that and break down some of the other races to watch in the State’s primary.
THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:
The Trump administration passed down a temporary federal eviction moratorium on Tuesday night, using the CDC’s quarantine authority to bar evictions for individuals making less than $99,000 a year.
There’s a pretty easy way to read this: the looming eviction crisis is so bad that even Trump’s advisors have recognized that if it hits before the election, he’s screwed. Sure enough, the CDC’s moratorium only lasts until December 31.
It also requires people to self-identify, basically making an official claim that they can’t pay rent but they’re trying to, and that they meet the required income bracket. And, crucially, it doesn’t convert that rent debt into consumer debt, meaning that you could get evicted right after the moratorium expires in January 2021.
In other words, it’s a stopgap measure aimed at preserving some of Trump’s flagging support. Don’t get me wrong, it will still be a major lifeline to families living on the edge, giving them a few more crucial months to figure out a better situation, and it’s a far stronger provision than the original moratorium in the CARES act. But that doesn’t mean it’s the end of the crisis -- similar to the payroll tax deferrals we talked about earlier in the week, it basically postpones some of the pain of this recession, rather than alleviating it entirely.
Amazon Doing Evil Again
Amazon had a huge day yesterday, and by huge day I mean got exposed for doing a whole bunch of evil stuff. So basically a normal Tuesday for them.
Let’s take a look at the evil in particular though. Item one: the company is hiring two quote “intelligence analysts” for its security division to track a whole host of threats including protests, crises, and geopolitical conflicts that could affect the company’s operations. So a corporate spy, essentially. But one bit of the job description stands out: according to Motherboard, the job listing mentions “labor organizing” three times. Essentially, the company is hiring private spooks to spy on labor organizers.
Which brings us to item two, another scoop by Motherboard: an internal report shows that Amazon is quietly surveilling its Flex drivers and other employees in dozens of private facebook groups. Like many gig-work behemoths, Flex drivers have private facebook groups where they chat about the job and blow off steam, but now it’s on the record that Amazon has plants in pretty much all of those groups making sure none of the pesky working people get any ideas about organizing, protesting, or calling a strike.
Bear in mind what these people’s jobs are like. Item three: Bloomberg reports that savvy drivers are literally hanging smartphones from trees near Amazon warehouses in an attempt to get the jump on their competitors. Amazon feeds off of this lowest-possible-fee, dog-eat-dog competitive atmosphere for workers who have been mistreated and underpaid for years, so this shouldn’t come as a surprise.
We’ll have to wait and see how Obama’s old press secretary Jay Carney, who’s now an Amazon spokesman, wriggles out of this jam!
A Kennedy Falls in Massachusetts
It finally happened: a candidate with the last name Kennedy lost an election in Massachusetts. Senator Ed Markey appears to have struck down the youngest rising star of the dark Kennedy Dynasty, Joe Kennedy III, in the Massachusetts senate primary.
Most networks called the race for Markey on Tuesday night, and as we were scripting this, it wasn’t even close. Markey was up by double digits, giving the much younger and much more nakedly ambitious Kennedy the thrashing his power-hungry family deserves.
Unfortunately, the other big progressive race in the state appears to have gone the opposite way. House Ways and Means chairman Richard Neal appears to have beaten progressive challenger Alex Morse, after a contentious, borderline corrupt primary that saw a devastating smear campaign against Morse. Morse bounced back when the Intercept’s reporting exposed the smears against him as fake, but he wasn’t able to oust the incumbent Neal.
Other races to watch: Jesse Mermell, a progressive, is in the lead in the open primary to fill Kennedy’s House seat that he left to challenge Markey. Mermell ran a pretty left-focused campaign, but one of her challengers, Ihssane Leckey, looked very promising as well. Keep an eye on that race, as it hasn’t been called as of script time, and the closest rival candidate to Mermell is a big money-funded centrist.
AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:
Joe Biden’s campaign is launching new yard signs... in a video game. In the popular Animal Crossing: New Horizons, you can now proclaim yourself team Joe. And now all I can think about is how Hillary Clinton said Pokemon Go to the Polls.
According to a new book, Melania Trump used multiple private email addresses, iMessage, and the encrypted messaging app Signal while in the White House. Remember when this was a huge national security story when Hillary Clinton did it? Neither do I, because I had a voluntary lobotomy after the 2016 election.
In slightly brighter Republican primary news, the Massachusetts congressional candidate who was openly linked to Qanon did NOT win his primary election. So that’s one thing the GOP’s got going for it, I guess.
Trump’s personal physician denied that the President experienced a stroke last year during a sudden medical emergency, and denied that Pence had been put on standby if the President had gone into surgery. The allegations were made in, would you guess, a new book about the Trump administration by a New York Times reporter. So that clears all that up, it’s clear the big man is in perfect health!
That’s all for the Majority Report’s AM quickie today. Sam’s got you in the afternoon.
Sept 2, 2020 - AM Quickie
HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner
WRITER - Jack Crosbie
PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn