Donald Trump couldn’t hide from the jeering crowd at public services for the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg yesterday. Plus, we round up the reactions to his statement refusing to commit to a peaceful transfer of power.
Meanwhile, palm oil is in just about everything these days. A major investigation finds it’s not just bad for the environment – it’s produced in conditions tantamount to slavery.
And lastly, nearly five hundred former top military officers sign a letter pledging to vote for Joe Biden. It’s another sign that Trump is losing the support of many who are sworn to defend the US Constitution.
THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:
RBG mourners boo Trump
A crowd of mourners booed Donald Trump outside the Supreme Court yesterday as he and Melania made an appearance during remembrance services for the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Trump reportedly plans to name her replacement on the court this weekend. People at the court chanted Vote Him Out. But will that be enough?
Reactions came in swift after Trump said Wednesday night that he would not commit to a peaceful transfer of power following the November election. Asked directly at a White House press conference if he would peacefully relinquish power, Trump said that we’re going to have to see what happens. He also said QUOTE the ballots are a disaster... Get rid of the ballots and...there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There will be a continuation ENDQUOTE.
The remarks put Democrats on edge. Delaware Senator Chris Coons said QUOTE When a leader with authoritarian tendencies tells you they intend to do something outrageous, like not accept a peaceful transition after an election, as President Trump said, you should believe them ENDQUOTE. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders said too many people have fought and died to defend American democracy for Trump to destroy it. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters it wasn’t worth the trouble to formally censure Trump. She said QUOTE he’s trying to have the Constitution of the United States swallow Clorox ENDQUOTE. Trump’s Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, asked facetiously, What country are we in? Biden added
that Trump says the most irrational things, and concluded, QUOTE I don’t know what to say ENDQUOTE.
Even some of Trump’s fellow Republicans seemed a little put off by his threat to ignore the election results. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wrote on Twitter that there will be an orderly transition just as there has been every four years since 1792. When asked if Republicans would stand up to Trump if he resists leaving the White House, Senator John Thune of South Dakota said he believed they would. Forgive me for feeling skeptical. If Republicans haven’t stood up to Trump yet, why would they start in November?
Palm oil slavery expose
A new Associated Press investigation offers the most comprehensive look yet at labor abuses in the palm oil industry. The AP interviewed more than one hundred and thirty workers from two dozen palm oil companies who labored on plantations in Malaysia and Indonesia. Those two countries produce most of the world’s palm oil. Workers spoke of child labor, outright slavery and rape. Fishermen who escaped years of slavery on boats described coming ashore in search of help, but instead being trafficked onto plantations -- sometimes with police involvement.
Palm oil is virtually impossible to avoid. Often hidden amid a list of scientific names on labels, it can be found in roughly half the products on supermarket shelves. It’s in paints, plywood, pesticides and pills. It’s also present in animal feed, biofuels and even hand sanitizer. It’s used in baby formula and non-dairy creamers, and is listed on the labels of everything from Jif Natural peanut butter to Kit Kat candy bars. It’s equally useful in a host of cleansers and makeup products, as well as toothpaste and lipstick. One Burmese worker told the AP that when Americans see palm oil is listed as an ingredient in their snacks, they should know QUOTE it’s the same as consuming our sweat and blood ENDQUOTE.
The AP traced the exploited laborers’ palm oil to the supply chains of top Western companies like the makers of Oreo cookies, Lysol cleaners and Hershey’s chocolate treats. Giant financial institutions like Deutsche Bank, BNY Mellon, Citigroup, HSBC and the Vanguard Group have invested in the crop, which has soared from just five million tons in 1999 to seventy two million today. The US alone has seen a nine hundred percent spike in demand during that same time. Gemma Tillack of the Rainforest Action Network told the AP QUOTE
The buck stops with the banks. It is their funding that makes this system of exploitation possible ENDQUOTE. So: It’s time for a new divestment campaign.
Military veterans endorse Biden
Donald Trump’s support within the military ranks is slipping. The Washington Post reports that nearly five hundred retired senior military officers have signed an open letter in support of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. The letter says the former vice president has QUOTE the character, principles, wisdom and leadership necessary to address a world on fire ENDQUOTE.
The letter was published yesterday morning by National Security Leaders for Biden. It has been signed by four hundred and eighty-nine people, who also include former Cabinet secretaries, service chiefs and other officials. Most have not previously spoken out.
Retired Air Force General Charles G. Boyd recorded a video for the group’s Twitter account. He spent thirty six years in the United States Air Force, almost seven of those as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. Since his return, he’s been a Republican, but quietly. In the video, Boyd said QUOTE I fervently believe that military officers should not be involved in presidential politics, even when retired. But this year is different. Donald Trump’s assault on the rule of law that makes a democracy possible has been so egregious I’ve decided to speak out... We need to vote for Joe Biden this year. I’m going to vote for him. I hope you do, too ENDQUOTE.
A poll of active-duty service members conducted last month by Military Times found a drop in military support for Trump. It showed Biden with a forty one percent to thirty seven percent advantage over Trump. The remaining twenty two percent of active-duty service members said they were planning either not to vote, or to support a third-party candidate. A similarly timed survey by the Military Times in 2016 gave Trump a two-to-one advantage over Hillary Clinton. However things shake out over the next few months, it’s good to know more people in uniform have gotten clued in to the real threats to American democracy.
AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:
At least one hundred and twenty seven people were arrested in Louisville on the first night of protests following the announcement of a charging decision in the police killing of Breonna Taylor. Additionally, charges were brought against a twenty-six year old man, Larynzo Johnson, in connection to the shooting of two Louisville police officers, neither of whom suffered life-threatening injuries. Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported that at least one thousand and ten Americans have been shot and killed by police in the past year.
Missouri Governor Mike Parson was among those Republicans who resisted calls for a mask mandate to fight the pandemic. Now Parson and his wife Teresa have both tested positive for the coronavirus. He is, by his own account, asymptomatic and in quarantine. According to the Washington Post, Missouri has recorded almost one hundred and seventeen thousand coronavirus cases, and nearly two thousand deaths.
China has built nearly four hundred internment camps in the Xinjiang (ZIN-JANG) region, according to a study of satellite imagery by an Australian think tank reported in the Guardian. The Australian Strategic Policy Institute found that fourteen of three hundred and eighty camps in the region are still under construction. They range from low-security reeducation camps to fortified prisons, and survivors say they are primarily designed for Muslim minorities targeted by the central government in Beijing.
An asteroid the size of a school bus missed the earth by thirteen thousand miles yesterday, the AP reported. That’s closer than many of the communications satellites in orbit. Scientists say it was not big enough to have destroyed human civilization if it had entered the atmosphere. And its path won’t cross ours again until 2041. Better luck next time, perhaps.
That’s all for the AM Quickie. Join us this afternoon on the Majority Report.
Sept 25, 2020 - AM Quickie
HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner
WRITER - Corey Pein
PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn