The political stories and impeachment updates you need to know to start your day- all in five minutes or less. Co Hosted by Sam Seder and Lucie Steiner. Powered by Majority.FM

May 5, 2020: States Reopen to Welcome in Death
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TODAY'S HEADLINES:

As more and more states begin to open for business, scientific models clearly show U.S. deaths from the coronavirus continuing to rise.

Meanwhile, the Venezuelan government says it has captured two Americans allegedly involved in a strange, clumsy attempt to infiltrate the country and capture its leaders.

And lastly, an Amazon Vice President Tim Bray resigned from the company today, in protest of the online shopping empires’ treatment of warehouse workers and white-collar dissenters alike, several of whom have been fired in recent weeks.

THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:

The coronavirus is still spreading throughout the country, but you wouldn’t know it by the widespread plans to begin opening states. According to a report by the New York Times, the president’s own administration is predicting a rise in the country’s death rate as a result.

By June 1, 3000 people a day will be dying from the disease, according to new government modeling. FEMA also predicts that by the end of May, there will be 200,000 new cases every day. For reference, right now there are about 25,000 new cases per day.

That hasn’t stopped many governors from beginning to open up businesses in their states. Missouri Governor Mike Parson has even given the green light for concerts and other large gatherings to resume, with some social distancing rules in place. But really -- social distancing at a concert?

Meanwhile, the White House has barred members of its hand-picked coronavirus task force, and their aides, from appearing before Congress, unless they get the express approval of the White House chief of staff. Clearly, Trump doesn’t want anyone talking to the lawmakers tasked with keeping him accountable. Nor does he want to help the world: the U.S. contributed precisely zero dollars to a recent international fundraising event to support research into a vaccine.

And beyond the deaths, it’s also clear that the Federal relief meant to bail out small businesses is woefully inadequate. Congress’s last $310 billion expansion of the Paycheck Protection Plan is already half-committed, just one week after it was released. This is an institutional failure on every level, and the people responsible will likely escape the consequences.

To be fair, they’re not even trying to hide their evil anymore. Take it from Chris Christie, who said QUOTE “There are going to be deaths no matter what,” ENDQUOTE which is apparently fine by him.

Mercs Fail to Invade Venezuela

There was once a time when the United States was relatively proficient at overthrowing Latin American leaders, but it appears to have passed. Now, who knows what we’re doing.

On Monday, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced that he had captured two American citizens who were allegedly part of an armed operation to infiltrate the country, incite a rebellion and capture its leaders.

The two men appear to be affiliated with a Florida-based mercenary company called Silvercorp, according to the company’s owner, a former Green Beret named Jordan Goudreau. Gourdreau wasn’t exactly subtle, claiming that he was launching quote “Operation Gideon” on Sunday with the stated goal of toppling Maduro.

They then allegedly attempted to invade Venezuela in speedboats, but were stopped off the coast in a gunbattle with Venezuelan forces, who knew they were coming.

For what it’s worth, both the state department and the Venezuelan opposition under Juan Guidao want nothing to do with these guys. Goudreau says he’s got a lawyer in Venezuela and is currently begging the State department for help getting his men out.

Obviously, the facts around this are murky to say the least and it’s already a pretty wild story, but stay tuned for what the Trump Administration’s response will be: at this point, it could be pretty much anything.

Amazon VP Quits in Style

Cracks are beginning to show at Amazon. On Monday, Tim Bray, a Vice President and distinguished engineer at the company quit, torching the company on his way out for its firings of several white collar and warehouse employees who protested its response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Over the past few weeks, the company has fired multiple warehouse workers who spoke up about their working conditions and at least two white-collar tech employees who tried to organize their colleagues to support warehouse workers.

Bray did not mince words when placing the blame directly on the company, calling Amazon cowards in polite and impolite terms, and noting that all of the fired employees were either people of color, women, or both.

"At the end of the day, it's all about power balances. The warehouse workers are weak and getting weaker, what with mass unemployment and (in the U.S.) job-linked health insurance. So they're gonna get treated like crap, because capitalism. Any plausible solution has to start with increasing their collective strength."

Sounds like Bray has a pretty good grasp of what’s going on at Amazon and across the country as well. Pity they couldn’t keep him around, but it’s clear he’s going to move on to better things.

AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:

The NRA is being forced to lay off dozens of staffers, cut pay, and scale back its fundraising after the coronavirus exacerbated the organizations already-chaotic financial situation. Couldn’t have happened to nicer folks.

Shortly after Trump made meat processing plants “critical infrastructure,” 373 workers at a Triumph foods plant in Missouri tested positive for the disease. Almost all of them were asymptomatic, meaning they could have shown up to work just find and continued to spread it.

The Senate claimed that it could not legally turn over records requested by the Biden Campaign that could pertain to Tara Reade’s allegations against him. The campaign requested them as an attempt to be transparent, so now they can throw up their hands and shift the blame to the Senate. Clever.

And finally, after San Diego County made it mandatory for citizens to have face coverings in public, a man was photographed wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood while shopping in a Vons supermarket. He was asked to remove the hood, but refused to do so until he was in the checkout line.

That’s all for the Majority Report’s AM Quickie today. Catch the full show with Sam later on.

HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

WRITER - Jack Crosbie

PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn