The Federal Bureau of Investigation busted a plot by right-wing militia members to kidnap a Democratic governor. Who ever could have inspired them? Any guesses?
Meanwhile, medical workers around the country are at their wits’ end with coronavirus conspiracy theorists. Again, I ask you, where are people getting such crazy ideas?
And lastly, Donald Trump – you remember him – says he won’t participate in any online debates. As a result, Joe Biden is all set to get some free network airtime.
THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:
They wanted to ignite a civil war and bring about societal collapse. Instead, they’re headed to federal prison, possibly for the rest of their lives. Federal agents yesterday charged six men in an outrageous plot to kidnap Michigan’s Democratic Governor, Gretchen Whitmer, and put her on trial for treason. Seven more men – members of a right-wing militia called the Wolverine Watchmen – caught state charges in a related conspiracy.
Federal agents allege the conspirators twice conducted surveillance at Whitmer's personal vacation home in northern Michigan. The Detroit News reports that through confidential sources, undercover agents and clandestine recordings, federal agents tracked the six men during their planning to kidnap Whitmer as they communicated over encrypted messaging platforms using code words and phrases in an attempt to avoid detection by law enforcement. The group also allegedly participated in field exercises that included detonating an improvised explosive wrapped in shrapnel to test its capabilities.
The FBI and state police arrested several of the conspirators when they were meeting on the east side of the state to pool funds for explosives and exchange tactical gear, the News reports. The federal investigation dates to early 2020 when the FBI learned through social media that individuals were discussing the violent overthrow of several state governments. According to the FBI, the group talked about creating a society that followed the US Bill of Rights where they could be self-sufficient.
Addressing the foiled plot, Whitmer said QUOTE I knew this job would be hard. But I’ll be honest, I never could have imagined anything like this ENDQUOTE. She also suggested Trump’s rhetoric made him effectively complicit. Joe Biden echoed that idea, asking QUOTE Why can’t the president just say stop, stop, stop, stop? ENDQUOTE. Trump campaign official Jason Miller on Fox News yesterday attacked Whitmer, saying she wakes up everyday with hatred in her heart towards Trump. Back in April, when armed right-wing militia took over the state capitol of Lansing, Trump tweeted liberate Michigan. I guess people were listening.
Coronavirus disinformation frustrates doctors
Doctors and nurses across the country are frustrated and overwhelmed by members of the public who’ve swallowed various conspiracy theories about the coronavirus. It’s a problem that many worry will get even worse now that Trump is promoting the experimental treatment he received at Walter Reed hospital as another miracle cure, and telling people not to be afraid of the virus.
Nurse Amelia Montgomery of Springfield, Missouri, shared her frustrations with the Associated Press. She complained that some people demand the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine and think the only patients who get really sick have underlying health problems. To be clear: that isn’t true. Doctor Jay W. Lee, a family physician in Orange County, California, recalled a patient who demanded QUOTE the largest hydroxychloroquine prescription you can give me ENDQUOTE.
The problem is pronounced in red states, the AP reports. In Iowa, home health nurse Lisa Dockery was fired from her job caring for a boy with severe disabilities after arguing with his parents, who said Covid-19 is a hoax. The argument started because the parents refused to wear masks, even though she told them their son’s life was in danger because he has respiratory problems, relies on tube feedings and cannot walk. The case ended with a judge ordering her former employer to pay her unemployment.
In Georgia, at Augusta University Medical Center, visitors have tried to get around the mask requirement by wearing face coverings made of fishnet and other material with visible holes. The hospital calls this malicious compliance. People also have shown up with video cameras in an attempt to collect proof the virus is a hoax. Doctor Phillip Coule, chief medical officer at the Augusta health system, contracted the virus in July and has seen two staff members die.
He said he fears people may draw the wrong lesson about the seriousness of the disease from what happened to Trump, and may extrapolate that the risk for a seventy four-year-old is low when the opposite is true. As another doctor put it, per the AP, it’s an info-demic as well as a pandemic. And, as with his rhetoric encouraging violent right-wing extremism, it’s a problem Trump could put a stop to, if only he wanted to.
Biden gains free airtime
The next presidential debate was scheduled for next Thursday, October 15th, in Miami, Florida. Now it’s not clear whether the debate will be happening at all. The Commission on Presidential Debates, which organizes the events, said it would change course and hold the second debate remotely in order to protect the health and safety of all involved. In response, Trump yesterday morning told Fox News QUOTE I'm not going to waste my time on a virtual debate... they cut you off whenever they want ENDQUOTE. Someone is cranky about being asked to follow the rules!
In turn, Joe Biden’s campaign said the event should be pushed back to October 22nd, so that the president is not able to evade accountability. The Trump campaign seemed open to that idea, but then wanted to schedule a third debate for October 29th – five days before the election – which the Biden campaign rejected.
With all this back-and-forth going on, ABC News scheduled a town hall with Biden, moderated by the anchor George Stephanopoulos, on October 15th, the night the second debate was set to take place. Producers at ABC News reportedly finalized plans for the Biden town hall yesterday after Trump withdrew from the debate. So as of now, Trump’s refusal to play by the rules has resulted in significant free airtime for Biden. The Democratic candidate observed yesterday that Trump QUOTE changes his mind every second ENDQUOTE. Yup, and at this stage of the presidential race, Trump’s indecision clearly works to Biden’s advantage.
AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:
Police in Portland, Oregon, targeted street medics with teargas and projectiles during summer protests, in what a new report by Physicians for Human Rights calls indiscriminate attacks. The Guardian says the human rights group found a pattern of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment from Portland police and federal agents, violating several international compacts on the use of force, and arguably constituting torture. The police offered no substantive reponse. Actions speak louder, anyway.
Hurricane Delta is set to make landfall in Louisiana today not far from where Hurricane Laura hit in late August. Delta is the tenth named storm of the season – that’s a new record for a single year. More than a dozen Louisiana cities and parishes called on residents to evacuate. Take care out there.
Prominent Republican fundraiser Elliott Broidy has been charged in an illegal lobbying campaign aimed at getting the Trump administration to drop an investigation into the multibillion-dollar looting of a Malaysian state investment fund, the AP reports. He was working on behalf of a fugitive Malaysian financier, Jho Low, and sought to arrange meetings with both Trump and former Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Broidy faces a single conspiracy charge related to his failure to register as a foreign agent. Oopsie!
NBC News reports that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi plans to introduce legislation today that would create a Commission on Presidential Capacity, which would be involved in presidential transfer of power procedures under the 25th Amendment to the Constitution. Pelosi will hold a news conference on the bill with Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland this morning. Intriguing...
That’s all for the AM Quickie. Join us this afternoon on the Majority Report.
Oct 9, 2020 - AM Quickie
HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner
WRITER - Corey Pein
PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn