You can’t stop a worldwide pandemic without an international effort, and the US is about to go big in that regard. The country will be donating not millions, but hundreds of millions of vaccine doses to countries that desperately need them.
Meanwhile, Idaho’s lieutenant governor, who is seeking higher office, is caught on video palling around with a militia leader. It’s just another day for the Republican Party!
And lastly, Joe Biden wants to close Guantanamo Bay by the end of his first term. And he’s taking an approach that’s a little bit different than Barack Obama’s – basically hoping that if they don’t make a fuss about it, maybe the opposition in Congress won’t notice.
THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Finally we’re talking serious numbers. The Washington Post reports that the Biden administration is buying five hundred million doses of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine to donate to the world, as the United States dramatically increases its efforts to help vaccinate the global population. The first two hundred million doses will be distributed this year, with the rest shared in the first half of next year. The doses will be distributed by Covax, the World Health Organization-backed initiative, and they will be targeted at low- and middle-income countries. Pfizer is selling the doses to the US at a not-for-profit price. President Joe Biden is slated to announce the plan at the Group of Seven meeting in Britain this week amid growing calls for rich countries to do more to boost the global supply of coronavirus vaccine.
According to the Post, the question of how to end the pandemic is expected to be front and center at the G-7 summit this week. In the lead-up to the meeting, Biden’s vaccine-sharing strategy has been under intense scrutiny. Questions about how to proceed have intensified in recent weeks as cases in the United States have receded, and infections have surged in some developing countries, leading to charges of vaccine apartheid. More than half the populations in the US and Britain have had at least one dose, compared with fewer than two percent of people in Africa. It’s a disparity that can only prolong the global pandemic but, fortunately, some powerful people seem to realize that.
Idaho Lt Governor Meets Militia Leader
This snapshot of the far right’s rise comes from the Guardian. Idaho’s Republican lieutenant governor and gubernatorial candidate, Janice McGeachin, attended a gathering where she was endorsed in a glowing speech by a rightwing militia leader. A video shows Eric Parker, who was charged over his role in the standoff in 2014 at Bundy Ranch in New Mexico, reminding McGeachin that she previously told him, "if I get in, you’re going to have a friend in the governor’s office.". In the same speech, Parker says that when he sought McGeachin’s assistance in the case of Todd Engel – another Bundy Ranch attendee who was sentenced to fourteen years in prison – he showed her sealed evidence from the trial. He recalled saying to her, I’m not sure this is legal, and that she replied, I want to see it. Afterward, she started writing letters to the Justice Department and rallying support on behalf of the imprisoned man.
According to the Guardian, Parker posted the speech video on his Telegram channel on May 19, the same day that McGeachin announced her candidacy for governor, where she may be up against the incumbent, fellow Republican Brad Little. McGeachin has encountered previous controversies involving links with extremist groups. In 2018 she refused to answer questions as to whether she was using Three Percenters as security during her gubernatorial run. She has also offered support to anti-mask protesters in the state. For the new model Republican, there’s no such thing as too extreme.
Biden Plans Guantanamo Bay Closure
Can Joe Biden succeed where Barack Obama failed? NBC News reports that President Biden has quietly begun efforts to close the US military prison camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. He is using an under-the-radar approach to minimize political blowback and to make progress in resolving a long-standing legal and human rights morass before the twentieth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. After initial plans for a more aggressive push to close the facility, the White House changed course. The administration has opted to wait before it reaches out to Congress, which has thwarted previous efforts to close the camp, because of fears that political outcry might interfere with the rest of Biden's agenda. The administration hopes to transfer a handful of the remaining terrorism suspects to
foreign countries, and then persuade Congress to permit the transfer of the rest – including 9/11 suspects – to detention on the US mainland. Biden hopes to close the facility by the end of his first term.
According to NBC, the low-key strategy is a response to miscalculations that Biden administration officials believe Obama made. The administration is leaning against the option of transferring detainees to US military installations, another shift from the Obama administration's approach. The Biden administration may, instead, propose that any detainees who are not eligible for transfer to foreign countries be moved to so-called Supermax security prisons on the US mainland, notably the one in Florence, Colorado. It’s not justice, but it’s probably better than the status quo.
AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:
CNN reports that the Trump administration battled with the network to obtain the email records of a reporter. The pursuit – which started in July 2020 with a demand for two months’ of Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr’s email logs – continued even after a federal judge told the Justice Department its argument was, 'unanchored in any facts." We’re only finding out now because the government demanded secrecy. Sketchy!
The Washington Post reports that the Biden administration will toss out Donald Trump’s efforts to scale back the number of wetlands that fall under federal protection. Michael Regan, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, said Trump’s rollback is leading to significant environmental degradation. Guess he drained the wrong swamps.
NBC reports that the wife of El Chapo has agreed to plead guilty to helping him run his Mexican drug cartel. Emma Coronel Aispuro, a former beauty queen, will appear by video to enter her plea this morning. So that’s a wrap for the war on drugs, right?
The Associated Press says a Moscow court last night outlawed the organizations founded by Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny by labeling them extremist. The label carries lengthy prison terms for activists who worked with the organizations, anyone who donated to them, and even those who simply shared the groups’ materials. Maybe Biden can sort this out when he meets with Vladimir Putin in Geneva next week, ya think?
AM QUICKIE - JUNE 10, 2021
HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner
WRITER - Corey Pein
PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn