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Sept 23, 2020: Biden Addresses Court Packing

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World leaders came together, sort of, but not really, at this year’s United Nations general assembly. Donald Trump treated the occasion like another campaign rally.

Meanwhile, will Democrats pack the Supreme Court if they win power? Joe Biden is keeping his cards close to his chest.

And lastly, we know there are loud and obnoxious ones, but are there any shy Trump voters out there? A new survey says not so much.


China pledges "green revolution"

The UN general assembly was in session yesterday – virtually, on account of the pandemic. Only one diplomat from each of the one-hundred and ninety three member nations was allowed in the chamber. Each, of course, wore a mask. The socially distanced diplomats heard UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres describe the state of the world as pretty darn grim. Guterres said the epochal crisis of the coronavirus pandemic was but a dress rehearsal for the challenges to come. He called for a global cease fire amid ongoing conflicts in the Middle East and Africa, and, addressing the intensifying rivalry between the United States and China, said a new Cold War must be avoided. Guterres said QUOTE Populism and nationalism have failed. Those approaches to contain the virus have often made things manifestly worse... We are moving in a very dangerous direction. Our world cannot afford a future where the two largest economies split the globe in a great fracture – each with its own trade and financial rules and internet and artificial intelligence capacities ENDQUOTE.

Donald Trump spent most of his prerecorded speech railing against China, blaming it for the coronavirus. Nothing new there. China’s representative called Trump’s accusations baseless, and Chinese President Xi Jinping said it would seek to resolve differences through dialogue and negotiation. Xi also called for a green revolution and said his country would go carbon- neutral by 2060, while aiming to see its carbon dioxide emissions peak by 2030.

In other speeches: Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro attacked critics of his environmental policies, which are causing the rapid destruction of the Amazon rainforest; Russia’s Vladimir

Putin said he wanted to discuss global cooperation on vaccines; Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for dialogue to resolve his country’s standoff with Greece over energy resources in the Mediterranean Sea; and Cuba’s president Miguel Díaz Canel Bermúdez accused Trump of promoting trade wars, adding that the US has QUOTE an abundance of practically uncontrolled expressions of hatred, racism and police brutality ENDQUOTE. Please, tell us something we don’t know.

Biden addresses court packing

Utah Senator Mitt Romney was the only Republican to vote to impeach Trump. But when it comes to filling the Supreme Court vacancy left by the recently deceased Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Romney is just another Republican. Yesterday he said he believes that Trump should get to appoint a justice to Ginsburg’s seat whether or not he wins reelection in November. As the Washington Post noted, this means the next conservative judicial appointment to the nation’s highest court becomes a matter of when, not if, as decided by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

There are signs of growing unity among Democrats preparing to fight the Republican nomination, even if their options are limited. New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez made a joint appearance with New York Senator Chuck Schumer on Sunday in Brooklyn, and they urged supporters to mobilize over this issue. In a prior speech posted to her Instagram account, AOC said QUOTE this moment is not the time for despair, it is not the time for cynicism. It is not the time to give up... The actual balance of our democracy rests in the actions that we choose to make – that I choose to make, that you choose to make, that every single individual – chooses to make between now and election day ENDQUOTE.

Meanwhile, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden faced questions about the court vacancy during a campaign stop in Wisconsin on Monday. Asked if he would support a strategy of packing the court with additional justices should Democrats take control of the White House and Congress next year, Biden punted. He told a local TV news reporter QUOTE It’s a legitimate question. But let me tell you why I'm not going to answer that question: because it will shift all the focus. That’s what [Trump] wants... The discussion should be about why he is moving in a direction that’s totally inconsistent with what [the] Founders

wanted ENDQUOTE. Because Biden has previously opposed court-packing, some are interpreting this answer as a signal that he might now be open to the idea. We’ll see, I guess.

Few "shy" Trump voters

Via the New York Times, there’s an encouraging new poll result for progressives. Many political wonks have put forward the theory that Trump’s support is under-represented in surveys because his fans may be embarrassed to own up to their preferences. But the polling outfit Morning Consult designed an experiment to test this theory, and found it false. Morning Consult selected a group of voters online, then surveyed half of the respondents over the phone and the other half online. The thinking was that so-called shy Trump voters would be more likely to answer the survey truthfully online as opposed to speaking to a stranger over the phone. And when it came to certain embarrassing questions, such as inquiries about personal finances or attitudes about discrimination, the online respondents did answer differently than the phone respondents. But there was no meaningful difference between the two groups on the question of supporting Trump. What this means is that there is not likely a large group of secret Trump voters waiting to cast their ballots come election day. And it supports the Times’ conclusion that the race is fairly stable, with Biden maintaining a significant percentage point lead over Trump both nationally and in many state polls.


An investigation by BBC News and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists found that gold from a refinery used by organized criminal networks also made its way into the supply chains for smartphones and cars. Investigators concluded that the Dubai- based trader Kaloti was buying gold from criminal networks. The US Treasury was aware of the problem but never took action. And so tons of illegal gold wound up in components made by Apple, Amazon, and General Motors. More business as usual.

The Cares Act, which Congress passed earlier this year, gave the Pentagon one billion dollars to QUOTE prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus ENDQUOTE. But that’s not what happened. According to the Washington Post, the medical equipment fund was

instead diverted to defense contractors and used to make things such as jet engine parts, body armor and dress uniforms. So here you have another reason why hospitals didn’t have enough personal protective equipment on hand. Rolls-Royce got the money instead!

Louisville, Kentucky mayor Greg Fischer yesterday declared a state of emergency, giving him the power to set curfews and other restrictions. It’s all on account of the potential for unrest following an announcement in the Breonna Taylor case, which is expected soon. To be clear, no announcement had been made at the time of the emergency declaration. But city leaders apparently expect big protests when Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announces whether police will face charges for Taylor’s killing. I guess city leaders assume no charges will be filed – otherwise, why would they expect unrest? It smells like a fix.

Shoutouts to Berlin, Bristol, Cape Town, Durban, London, Los Angeles, Milan, New Orleans, New York, Oslo, Pittsburgh and Vancouver. Those are the twelve cities that yesterday pledged to divest from fossil fuel companies in an effort to fight climate change. They’re hoping other major investors will follow suit. Hey, it’s worth a shot.

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

Sept 23, 2020 - AM Quickie

HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

WRITER - Corey Pein

PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw