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Oct 1, 2020: SCOTUS Nominee's Records Scrubbed

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A religious group linked to Amy Coney Barrett, the Supreme Court nominee, has been deleting records of her involvement. Is there something they don’t want people to know about her?

Meanwhile, the world reacts with horror at the first debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. And one of Trump’s beloved Proud Boys catches charges for, among other things, pointing a gun at a crowd of people.

And lastly, the United States government takes action against a Malaysian palm oil producer tied to slave labor. Awareness is growing about widespread abuses in the industry.


People of Praise, a far-right Christian sect tied to Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, has been caught deleting information about her from its website. An analysis by the Associated Press shows that People of Praise erased numerous records from its website during the summer of 2017 that referred to Barrett, as well as photos. At the time, Barrett was on Trump’s short list for the high court seat that eventually went to Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Last week, when Barrett again emerged as a front-runner for the court, more articles, blog posts and photos disappeared. And still more records were deleted after an AP reporter emailed the group’s spokesman yesterday. All issues of the organization’s magazine, Vine and Branches, were removed, including a 2006 story about Barrett’s parents that referred to her mother as a handmaid.

The AP reports that People of Praise’s belief system is rooted in charismatic Catholicism, a movement that grew out of the influence of Pentecostalism, which can include speaking in tongues. Founded in 1971, the group’s twenty two branches organize and meet outside the purview of the Roman Catholic Church. Former female members told AP that wives were expected to obey their husband’s wishes in all matters, including providing sex on demand. One of the women also said she was forbidden from getting birth control.

In her speech accepting Trump’s nomination on Saturday, Amy Barrett said she expected from the start that she and her husband would run their household together. One wonders if he gets a vote in other matters, as well.

Proud Boy catches charges

Members of the Proud Boys were celebrating yesterday after Trump name-checked them in Tuesday night’s presidential debate with Joe Biden. After refusing to condemn white supremacy, Trump called on the Proud Boys to QUOTE stand back and stand by ENDQUOTE. Yesterday Trump tried to walk back his comments, claiming he has no idea who the Proud Boys are. He said QUOTE Whoever they are, they need to stand down [and] let law enforcement do their work ENDQUOTE. Sorry – who’s doing whose work, now?

Biden also had words yesterday for Trump’s favorite violent street gangs. He said QUOTE My message to the Proud Boys and every other white supremacist group is cease and desist... This is not who we are as Americans ENDQUOTE.

In Portland, Oregon, the morning after Trump’s comments, police arrested a fifty-year-old Proud Boys associate named Alan James Swinney. He was photographed in late August pointing a handgun at a crowd of protesters. Swinney faces mutliple assault charges, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting, including pointing a firearm at another, unlawful use of a weapon and unlawful use of tear gas, stun gun or mace. Also in Portland, Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese sought to correct the record after Trump claimed to have won the support of Portland’s sheriff after months of non-stop protests. Reese said on Twitter QUOTE I have never supported Donald Trump and will never support him ENDQUOTE. Reese has also reportedly donated one thousand dollars to the Biden campaign.

Meanwhile, the international reaction to Tuesday’s debate was... well, it was not kind. China’s Global Times said the debate showed the world a divided and chaotic US. The French newspaper Le Monde said it revealed how four years of Trumpism have weakened one of the greatest democracies in the world. Kenyan commentator Patrick Gathara called the debate QUOTE a pitiful and tragic advertisement for US dysfunction ENDQUOTE. It was also quite unbearably long as advertisements go. At this rate we’ll be lucky to find a buyer at any price.

Palm oil shipments halted

Following a yearlong investigation, and coming a week after an AP investigation into widespread and shocking labor abuses in the industry, the US is blocking shipments of palm oil from a major producer in Malaysia.

The so-called withhold release order against FGV Holdings Berhad goes into effect immediately, according to the AP. Brenda Smith, executive assistant commissioner at the US Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Trade, called on importers to conduct their due diligence. Smith also said QUOTE We would also encourage U.S. consumers to ask questions about where their products come from ENDQUOTE.

FGV is one of the world’s largest palm oil companies and is closely connected to another company, Felda, which is owned by the Malaysian government. The AP’s investigation, which we covered here last week, found ample evidence of physical and sexual violence and forced child labor on palm oil plantations. Some of the labor abuses occurred on plantations operated by Felda. The tainted palm oil was traced to the supply chains of the planet’s most iconic food and cosmetics companies like Unilever, L’Oreal, Nestle and Procter and Gamble. Palm oil is found in roughly half the products on supermarket shelves, as demand has exploded over the past two decades. Read those labels, folks, and shop accordingly.


The Vatican said yesterday it had denied a request from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for an audience with Pope Francis. According to Reuters, Pompeo accused the Church this month of putting its moral authority at risk by renewing an agreement with China over the appointment of bishops. Note to Pompeo, the master diplomat: you’re supposed to catch flies with honey, not vinegar. Honey. And the same goes for popes.

US intelligence services considered poisoning or kidnapping Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange, according to a report in the Guardian. It seems the plans were never put into practice. The claims were entered into evidence in a London courtroom by a former employee of a Spanish security company, UC Global, who worked in the Ecuadorian embassy, where Assange had taken refuge. The court is considering whether to extradite Assange to the US.

The European Commission spent months auditing the rule of law in all twenty-seven member nations. Its report, just released, says democracy is suffering in several European countries, primarily Hungary and Poland. Concerns about corruption and judicial independence were also raised regarding Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Malta, Romania and Slovakia. This will go down... on their permanent... records...

The Los Angeles Times reports that California has become the first state in the country to adopt a law to develop proposals for reparations to the descendants of slaves. The law was signed by Governor Gavin Newsom yesterday. The task force it creates will examine slavery in California and the US, and the lasting consequences of discrimination against freed slaves and their descendants. Whatever recommendations for reparations the task force comes up with will also need to be approved by the legislature. Hey, it’s a start.

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

Oct 1, 2020 - AM Quickie

HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner

WRITER - Corey Pein

PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw