Supporters of Donald Trump are already running amok at early voting locations around the United States. And the Secret Service busted a man who wrote a letter threatening to kill Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, as well as their supporters in his city.
Meanwhile, labor unions and allied organizations are forming their own volunteer force to counter Trump’s QUOTE army ENDQUOTE of poll-watchers. Everybody in labor is getting the message that the election isn’t over on November 3rd.
And lastly, for the first time, a pope of the Catholic church comes out in favor of legal recognition for same-sex unions. Tradcaths are mad as hell about it.
THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:
A 42-year-old man from Frederick, Marlyand, was charged yesterday with threatening the lives of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, the Washington Post reports. Secret Service investigators and federal prosecutors say James Dale Reed left a handwritten letter on the doorstep of a Frederick residence, threatening to severely beat Biden and rape Harris with his rifle barrel before executing both candidates on national television. The letter also warned supporters of the Biden-Harris campaign that they would be targeted.
Separately, the Post reports, tensions are high at early-voting sites around the country. The first days of early voting have unfolded with dozens of accusations of inappropriate campaigning and possible voter intimidation in at least fourteen states. A wide array of complaints have been reported, many involving Trump supporters.
In Nevada City, California, as many as three hundred raucous Trump supporters in cars and trucks crowded into the parking lot of the county government center, where early voting was underway. At one polling place at a church in Hendersonville, Tennessee, last week, a Trump supporter drove by repeatedly in a large truck-and-trailer rig with Trump flags and music blaring from speakers, creating havoc. In Albuquerque, New Mexico, a convoy of vehicles, some with Trump flags, honked and yelled near a voting site on Saturday. And so on. There are also concerns about the presence of police and armed security at some polling places.
Finally, from the campaign trail: Barack Obama made his first live speech for Biden yesterday in Philadelphia. Voting doesn’t make everything perfect, Obama said, but it can make things better. Which, after a year like this one, has gotta be worth something.
Labor prepares election defenders
America’s largest labor unions are getting ready for anything come election day and its aftermath. NBC News reports that AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka will convene an emergency meeting of major union leaders on Friday to map out election contingency plans.
Donald Trump’s campaign is recruiting what it calls an army of volunteers to monitor polls. Labor officials say they are preparing to counter any attempt by Trump supporters to interfere with the casting or counting of ballots. In his invitation to other union presidents, Trumka said QUOTE Trump's threats pose a clear and present danger to the election, our democracy and the future of the country ENDQUOTE. The group he’s assembled includes the leaders of the Service Employees International Union, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the National Education Association, all of which have endorsed Joe Biden.
Tefere Gebre, executive vice president of the AFL-CIO, told NBC that labor groups plan to push back not only on any ballot interference but also against any resistance to the peaceful transfer of power should Biden win. Meanwhile, the Working Families Party, a progressive group founded and backed in part by labor unions, is supporting a new initiative called Election Defenders, which is training thousands of people across the country to work the polls. The Election Defenders will provide, among other things, election and voter defense, de-escalating white supremacist intimidation tactics and signaling to a network of groups and lawyers if and where trouble breaks out. Solidarity with all defenders of democracy!
Pope endorses gay unions
Pope Francis became the first pontiff to endorse same-sex civil unions in comments for a documentary that premiered yesterday, the Associated Press reports.
The pope’s comments come midway through the feature-length documentary “Francesco,” which premiered at the Rome Film Festival. The film delves into issues Francis cares about most, including the environment, poverty, migration, racial and income inequality, and the
people most affected by discrimination. According to the Catholic News Agency, Francis was speaking in the context of providing pastoral care to people who identify as LGBT.
In the film, Francis says QUOTE Homosexual people have the right to be in a family. They are children of God. You can’t kick someone out of a family, nor make their life miserable for this. What we have to have is a civil union law; that way they are legally covered ENDQUOTE.
It’s not full marriage equality, but by Catholic church standards, it’s definitely something. Conservative Catholics are already freaking out. Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island, called for clarification from the pope, saying QUOTE the church cannot support the acceptance of objectively immoral relationships ENDQUOTE. Oh please, get over yourself.
AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:
A court filing this week by the American Civil Liberties Union revealed that lawyers have been unable to track down the parents of five hundred and forty five children who were separated from their families by the Trump administration. Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project, said the people responsible for this horrific practice must be held accountable. He added QUOTE We will not stop looking until we have found every one of the families, no matter how long it takes ENDQUOTE. Godspeed.
The Justice Department announced a record $8.3 billion settlement yesterday with Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin. As part of the deal, the company agreed to plead guilty to three felonies, but the Washington Post reports that state authorities and families who have lost loved ones to opioid addiction complain that the DOJ’s terms go easy on the Sacklers, the billionaire family that once ran the firm. Who could blame them?
Donald Trump has a mysterious bank account in China, the New York Times reports as part of its ongoing investigation of his taxes. It’s unclear which bank holds the account or how much money may have passed through it. But it does explain why Republicans are so desperate to make an issue of the Biden family’s international business deals, which are piddling by comparison.
As you may have heard by now, for his new Borat movie, Sacha Baron Cohen lured Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, into a compromising position in a hotel room. Those privy to
the advance footage report that Giuliani is seen stuffing his left hand down his pants on a hotel bed in the presence of a woman presented as Borat’s fifteen-year-old daughter, Tutar, who is played by twenty-four-year-old actress Maria Bakalova. Very nice. Giuliani insisted in a radio interview yesterday that he was just tucking his shirt in. Sure thing, Rudy.
That’s all for the AM Quickie. Join us this afternoon on the Majority Report.
OCT 22, 2020 - AM QUICKIE
HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner
WRITER - Corey Pein
PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn