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Sept 11, 2020: Republicans Disrupt Ballot Reparations

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A new survey shows most Americans want to vote by mail this year, but even more aren’t confident that their ballot will be counted. And Republican lawyers are working overtime to prevent states from mailing out voting packets in a timely fashion.

Meanwhile, a witness to a deadly police shooting in Washington State fears for his safety after speaking out. The victim in this case had already confessed to shooting a right-wing demonstrator last month – but, before his death, told reporters he acted in self-defense.

And lastly, labor power scores a victory for Burmese sailors trapped aboard a ship docked at port. Stay tuned for high drama involving the Finnish Seafarers' Union.


Republicans disrupt ballot preparations

Both Joe Biden and Donald Trump are expected to visit Shanksville, Pennsylvania today, for an event commemorating the 9/11 anniversary near the scene of the crash of United Airlines Flight 93.

A poll commissioned by the Washington Post shows that six in ten registered voters nationwide want to cast their ballots before Election Day. However, only three in ten say they are very confident that their mail-in ballots will be counted accurately. Seven in ten remain very confident in in-person voting. But just under half of those surveyed say they are uncomfortable going to a polling place this fall, and a majority are worried about their family being infected by the coronavirus.

Apart from Trump’s fear-mongering, there are signs that voting may be complicated in battleground states. The conservative-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court yesterday ordered a halt in the mailing of absentee ballots, until further notice. Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell told the Associated Press the decision is QUOTE potentially a huge disaster... [it’s] deeply irresponsible and jeopardizes the integrity of our election ENDQUOTE. The city of Madison alone already has one hundred thousand requests for absentee ballots on file.

In Nevada, attorneys for Trump’s campaign are also asking a federal judge to block the distribution of mail-in ballots. The campaign argues argues that the state’s plan to send out ballots to some one point seven million active voters will impede Republicans’ ability to elect candidates QUOTE because the law will ‘confuse’ their voters and ‘create incentive’ to stay away from the polls ENDQUOTE. The state disagrees and says the Trump campaign doesn’t have a leg to stand on.

Separately, Microsoft said that hackers from Russia, China, and Iran are still seeking to disrupt hundreds of people and institutions involved in the upcoming election. And Twitter said that it would label or remove any posts – from a certain White House occupant, say – that prematurely sought to claim victory. Specifically, per Politico, Twitter said it will flag posts claiming victory before election results have been certified or seeking to prevent a peaceful transfer of power. It will do the same with disputed claims about the electoral process, including unverified information about election rigging, ballot tampering, vote tallying, or certification of election results. It’s gonna be an unholy mess, isn’t it?

Shooting witness fears retaliation

A witness to the police killing last week of an anti-fascist suspected of shooting a far- right militant in Portland, Oregon, say the man was carrying a cell phone and eating a gummy worm when police started shooting. The witness, Nate Dinguss, told the Washington Post that police did not announce themselves or try to arrest the suspect, Michael Forest Reinoehl. The series of events has some observers calling the law enforcement action akin to an extrajudicial killing. Attorney General Bill Barr called Reinoehl’s shooting by police a QUOTE significant accomplishment ENDQUOTE.

Prior to his death last week, Reinoehl confessed on camera to Vice News that he shot Trump supporter Aaron J. Danielson at a protest on August 29 – but said he did so in self-defense. A multi-agency team of police tracked Reinoehl down at an apartment complex in Lacey, Washington, some ninety minutes’ drive north of Portland.

Official details have been scarce on what exactly happened next. Previous accounts by neighbors said only that people heard many shots fired. But it was never clear whether Reinoehl was armed. Dinguss, the witness who shared his account with the Post, says he saw two unmarked police vehicles converge on Reinoehl as he walked to his car.

He says officers they immediately began firing, prompting Reinoehl to duck behind his car, which was blocked in by police vehicles. Dinguss says he never saw Reinoehl try to get inside his car or reach for a weapon. Police paused once to shout “Stop!” before resuming their fire, according to the witness.

Dinguss is reportedly an ordained minister. Per his attorneys, he fears retaliation by both the far right and law enforcement for speaking out now. Local police and the US Marshals declined comment to the Post on the new witness account.

Seafarers' solidarity action victorious

You may have heard one of the horror stories involving crews stuck at sea during the coronavirus pandemic. The following comes from the public broadcaster in Finland, YLE.

The Finnish Seafarers' Union has imposed a blockade on a merchant ship in the port of Rauma, taking the action in support of seamen on board who are claiming an estimated [eighty three thousand dollars] in unpaid wages.

The Panamanian-flagged ES Venus is believed to be Chinese-owned and docked in Rauma to load recycling materials for shipment to Turkey. Half of the crew [of twenty-one] are [from Myanmar] and the other half are Chinese. According to the Finnish Seamen's Union, the [Burmese] workers have been oppressed on board.

[Police were called at one point because the ship's captain did not want to let six seamen off the ship to meet with union officials.] The union's aim is to repatriate the men after they have received their wages.

[A union official] told YLE that the situation is one of the worst he has encountered in his career. "Seamen were practically held captive on board," he said.

The blockade has not so far interfered with other normal operations at the port. And as of yesterday, a lawyer for the shipping company based in Singapore, confirmed to YLE that a settlement has been reached with the union.

Ya hear? That’s a win for international labor solidarity.


Democrats yesterday blocked a paltry and pathetic Republican coronavirus relief bill from passing through the US Senate. The GOP bill would have afforded three hundred dollars per month in additional unemployment benefits, down from six hundred in the bill that passed last spring. Meanwhile, new jobless claims continued to exceed eight hundred thousand. According to the Washington Post, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s message to Democrats before yesterday’s vote was QUOTE we don’t want to go home without a bill, but don’t be a cheap date ENDQUOTE.

The US is ending enhanced coronavirus screening for many international passengers. The Centers for Disease control says the procedures have limited effectiveness for catching sick people, because many cases are asymptomatic. A CDC spokesperson told the Washington Post that six hundred and seventy five thousand people underwent the screenings, but fewer than fifteen were identified as having COVID-19. Yeah, I’d say that’s a sign of limited effectiveness.

A Brazilian government expert on isolated Amazon peoples was shot and killed by an arrow as he attempted to make contact with members of a previously uncontacted tribe. According to the Guardian, the official, Rieli Franciscato, had spent his career trying to establish reservations for the tribes. A policeman who accompanied the expedition said Franciscato cried out, pulled the arrow from his chest, ran fifty metres and collapsed, lifeless. Expert noted that the tribespeople have no way to tell friend from foe and are under increasing threat from illegal land grabbers.

The latest toll in California’s wildfires has twelve people dead and more than three thousand nine hundred strucutures burned. The fire situation remains dangerous not only in California but in other western states. Here, via the Los Angeles Times, is what experts say to keep in your Go Bag in case you’re called on to evacuate: Water and nonperishable food; a flashlight; a first aid kit; batteries and chargers for your devices; several days’ worth of clothing; moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties; a battery- or crank-operated radio; a whistle to signal for help; and local maps in case GPS isn’t working. Stay safe out there!

That’s all for the AM Quickie. Join us this afternoon on the Majority Report.

Sept 11, 2020 - AM Quickie

HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

WRITER - Corey Pein

PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw