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May 11, 2020: Corona Spreads Through West Wing
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TODAY'S HEADLINES:

Coronavirus has taken hold in the White House, after Vice President Mike Pence’s spokeswoman -- who is also Stephen Miller’s wife -- became the latest person working in West Wing to test positive. Fear is understandably spreading through the halls, per recent reports.

Meanwhile, Joe Biden is reportedly putting together a coalition of quote “Republicans for Biden,” which he says includes “major officeholders.” On the bright side there’s no way any of that could go wrong and he’s sure to open the same door to progressives any day now. Let’s stay optimistic!

And lastly, a huge win for the budding labor union at Hearst magazines. Hearst’s fully unhinged leadership has done everything they could to fight their employee’s union drive with the Writers’ Guild, but the NLRB shot down their complaints on Friday, setting the stage for a long-awaited vote on the union

THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:

The White House has coronavirus, and there’s a very good chance it has spread to Donald Trump’s inner circle.

Here’s what we know so far: one of Donald Trump’s personal valets tested positive for the virus. So did Katie Miller, Vice President Pence’s spokeswoman and wife of Stephen Miller. We knew the valet was positive last week, but Miller’s positive test only came out late on Friday.

On Sunday, the New York Times reported that other West Wing staffers are now scared to go to work, but are still reporting for duty. And isolation protocols aren’t exactly being followed -- many staffers who came in contact with Miller or the valet are still showing up to meetings.

Pence is not quarantining, even though he was almost certainly exposed. Maybe he thinks he can pray it away, but regardless, he’s putting the rest of his staff at risk.

Per the Times, Trump is still refusing to wear a mask, but is starting to get cranky when people get too near him. And everyone realizes the hypocrisy of telling states to ditch social distancing guidelines while the White House frantically tests and contact-traces.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, however, is at least doing his best to not catch the virus. Fauci will enter a modified quarantine after coming into contact with one of the infected staffers; he’s set to appear before a Senate committee on Tuesday, but will do it over video conference. Fauci has long been the only rational adult in the room, but now hopefully he’s in a very different room, by himself, and not anywhere near the West Wing plague den.

Biden Goes Republican

Joe Biden is reportedly assembling a crack team of Republicans, including some quote “major officeholders” endquote, to help him get elected.

Biden let slip that this Republicans for Biden movement was growing in an Instagram Live video at the end of April, but the Daily Beast tracked down some high-profile NeverTrump Republicans who confirmed that the campaign had something up its sleeve.

The Beast reports that this might look like either an external PAC or an internal operation where a couple Republicans join the campaign publicly. Either way, the whole thing seems half-formed and ineffective -- in other words, perfect for the Biden campaign!

What this tells us, of course, is that Biden would rather play Charlie Brown with the Republicans’ football make any sort of actual overtures to the progressive wing of the party. He’ll spend millions of dollars to get what probably won’t amount to anything more than a boilerplate endorsement from a dweeb like Jeff Flake, but can’t even pretend he’d consider the idea of passing Medicare for All if Democrats took back the Senate during his Administration.

The whole thing is a joke. And meanwhile, Democrats in the House aren’t doing much better. Per an Axios report, Nancy Pelosi is currently rolling up her sleeves to get down to the absolutely ludicrous business of “means testing,” relief packages and unemployment expansions to prevent people quote “abusing the system.” Officials are now predicting that the unemployment rate will surpass 20 percent next month, and this is what the Democrats in power are worrying about?

Hearst Bosses Fall to Labor Law

The National Labor Relations Board just smacked down the greedy, money-grubbing bosses in charge of Hearst Media, handing a major victory to the magazine chain’s union movement.

Hearst employees have been working to unionize with the Writers’ Guild of America, East, for more than six months, and the company bosses have pulled out all the stops to break them down.

We’re talking cartoon-villain stuff here: the Hearst bosses tried to classify six union employees as management, and made up new meaningless categories for its portfolio of magazines to try to split up the union into six different bargaining units. They also tried one of the dirtiest tricks in the anti-union handbook -- claiming that their employees already had a union, based on a potentially illegal “company union” set up by bosses.

The Trump-led NLRB hasn’t exactly been a friend of organized labor. But even it was forced to admit that the Hearst management’s tactics weren’t going to fly. The NLRB threw out all three of Hearst’s main arguments and is now ordering that a union election go forward with an in-person OR by-mail vote. Seeing as there’s no better way to build support for a union among employees than trying and failing to break it up in a comically evil fashion, the road forward looks pretty good for Hearst’s battle-hardened workers.

AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:

A new whistleblower report shows that the federal government passed up on an offer from an American company to manufacture up to 7 million N95 masks per month all the way back in January, a move which could have saved countless lives which were endangered during the country’s dire shortage of protective equipment.

Georgia’s Attorney General is seeking a federal probe into local law enforcement’s handling of the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, after two local prosecutors recused themselves from the investigation in what quickly became a farcial miscarriage of justice.

A new report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation predicts that up to 43 million Americans may lose their health insurance as a result of the pandemic recession. At this point every day in an employer-provided insurance system is an utter travesty.

More than 70 people in Wisconsin who said they had attended a “large gathering” have now tested positive for the coronavirus. Coincidentally, a recent protest against stay-at-home laws at the Wisconsin capitol recently attracted 1500 people, though state officials can’t confirm that all of the 70 plus cases originated there. This would be an extremely funny example of karmic justice, except that each of the morons who caught it there could have spread the disease to untold numbers of innocent people.

That’s all for the AM Quickie today, stay tuned for Sam and the full Majority Report this afternoon.

HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

WRITER - Jack Crosbie

PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn