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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


    • Jun 28, 2021 LATEST EPISODE
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    June 28, 2021: AM Quickie On Hiatus

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 28, 2021 4:24

    Folks! The AM Quickie podcast is taking a break. Take a listen for some important updates from Sam and Lucie about what the AMQ team will be doing to bring you the news in the meantime. Thanks so much for listening and for all your support! #leftisbest AM QUICKIE HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner WRITERS - Jack Crosbie & Cory Pein PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

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    June 25, 2021: Biden Strikes Infrastructure Deal; Cause Unknown In Florida Condo Collapse; Vaccines Drive Down Covid Fatalities

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 25, 2021 8:30

    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by TODAY'S HEADLINES: The Biden administration strikes its first significant deal with Republican members of Congress, and it's for an infrastructure package. But progressive Democrats say the deal doesn't offer enough to win their support. Meanwhile, the search for answers begins after a terrifying and sudden residential building collapse in Surfside, Florida. The death toll is uncertain but as many as ninety nine people are missing. And lastly, a new analysis of government data shows that almost everyone who's dying of the coronavirus in the United States now is unvaccinated. Which means those deaths don't need to happen at all. THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW: This report from the political sausage factory comes from the Washington Post. President Joe Biden signed off yesterday on a bipartisan agreement crafted by ten senators that would pump hundreds of billions of dollars in new spending into infrastructure projects across the country. We have a deal, Biden said alongside the five Democrats and five Republicans who had negotiated for weeks on a package to revitalize the nation's road and transit systems, while upgrading broadband and investing in other public-works projects. The proposal was crafted by Senators Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio; Kyrsten Sinema, Democrat of Arizona; and eight others in the Senate. The new agreement is nowhere near as expansive as the $2.2 trillion American Jobs Plan, Biden's own infrastructure measure that he detailed in April. But Democratic leaders have made it clear that they hope to push through a separate package encompassing priorities such as climate initiatives, paid leave and expanded education. The Post says the bipartisan agreement will spend $973 billion over five years, with $579 billion of that being new spending. That includes $312 billion for transportation projects, $55 billion for water infrastructure and $65 billion for broadband. The Congressional Progressive Caucus polled its ninety five members on the infrastructure package and found a strong majority prepared to vote against the bill without a separate package that moves simultaneously and includes key priorities, such as funding for eldercare, expanding Medicare, and affordable housing. Because bipartisanship for bipartisanship's sake helps no one – except a few politicians. Cause Unknown In Florida Condo Collapse This report of crumbling infrastructure comes from the Miami Herald. Lightning streaked the skies yesterday afternoon as search-and-rescue teams picked their way through a pile of rubble nearly two stories high – the remains of a collapsed twelve-story condo – hoping to hear the cries of survivors. As many as ninety nine people are reported missing. The oceanfront Champlain Towers South Condo crumpled with a bang a little after 1:30 am, trapping an unknown number of sleeping residents inside the wreckage. Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava called it, "a terrible, terrible nightmare." Footage of the sudden collapse looked eerily similar to a demolition, minus the flash of explosives. The cause is unknown, with one expert deeming it "an oddity of biblical proportions." According to the Herald, nearly twelve hours after the collapse, the death toll was uncertain. Officials confirmed at least one death, and said thirty five people were pulled from the wreckage, with ten injured people treated at the scene and two sent to a hospital. Officials estimated that fifty five units were involved in the collapse. Surfside Commissioner Eliana Salzhauer said the building was undergoing a required forty-year recertification to ensure its structural integrity, and that the building's roof was being redone. It is unknown if any construction activity contributed to the disaster. President Biden said it's up to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to declare a state of emergency so federal resources, including FEMA help, can be deployed. Here's hoping they find more survivors. Vaccines Drive Down Covid Fatalities We're in a new phase. The Associated Press reports that nearly all Covid-19 deaths in the US now are in people who weren't vaccinated. It is a staggering demonstration of how effective the shots have been. It's also an indication that deaths per day – now down to under three hundred – could be practically zero if everyone eligible got the vaccine. An AP analysis of government data from May shows that breakthrough infections in fully vaccinated people accounted for fewer than twelve hundred of more than eight hundred and fifty three thousand Covid-19 hospitalizations. That's about zero point one percent. The AP analyzed figures provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC Director Doctor Rochelle Walensky said on Tuesday that the vaccine is so effective that nearly every death, especially among adults, is, at this point, entirely preventable. She called such deaths particularly tragic. About sixty three percent of all vaccine-eligible Americans – those twelve and older – have received at least one dose, and fifty three percent are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC. Experts predict the preventable deaths will continue, with unvaccinated pockets of the nation experiencing outbreaks in the fall and winter. In Arkansas, which has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the nation – with only thirty three percent of the population fully protected – hospitalizations and deaths are rising. To the extent that people aren't getting vaccinated because they can't get paid time off, that must be addressed, so we can beat Covid once and for all. AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES: The Guardian reports that a First Nation in Canada's Saskatchewan province is treating a defunct residential school as a crime scene following the discovery of seven hundred and fifty one unmarked graves. The total of unmarked graves discovered in the past month is about one thousand, with experts predicting more will come as provincial governments announce funding to help Indigenous communities conduct their own searches. This reckoning is long overdue. Politico reports that the Biden administration unveiled a raft of measures to prevent people who lost income during the pandemic from losing their homes yesterday, including by extending nationwide eviction and foreclosure bans until July 31st. Maybe it's time to commit to keeping everyone in their homes permanently – sound good? According to the Washington Post, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced yesterday that the House will form a select committee to investigate the January 6th attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob, one month after Senate Republicans blocked an effort to form a bipartisan commission. The panel will provide recommendations to prevent similar attacks in the future. Keeping Donald Trump's movement far from power should help. The New York Times reports that Rudy Giuliani faces the possibility of disbarment after a court ruled yesterday that he made demonstrably false statements while fighting the results of the 2020 election on behalf of Trump. The New York State appellate court suspended Giuliani's law license after finding he had sought to mislead judges, lawmakers and the public. Better late than never! AM QUICKIE - JUNE 25, 2021 HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner WRITER - Corey Pein PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

    June 24, 2021: Insurrectionist Takes Plea Deal; U.S. Will Probe Native Schools Abuses; Socialist Victorious In NY

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 24, 2021 7:43

    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by TODAY'S HEADLINES: The wheels of justice keep turning for those charged in the January 6th assault on the US Capitol. An Indiana woman has become the first to be sentenced, and a member of the Oath Keepers pleads guilty while agreeing to cooperate with prosecutors. Meanwhile, following the grim discovery of hundreds of buried Indigenous children at residential schools in Canada, the United States government will investigate what happened to Native American children in this country. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced the historical probe this week. And lastly, a socialist nurse has defeated an entrenched Democratic machine candidate in the race for mayor in Buffalo, New York. Don't call it a miracle – it's a sign of the times. THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW: This courtroom update comes from the Associated Press. An Indiana woman yesterday became the first of nearly five hundred defendants to be sentenced for the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol – and she avoided time behind bars. Anna Morgan Lloyd of Indiana was ordered by a federal judge to serve three years of probation, perform one hundred and twenty hours of community service and pay $500 in restitution after admitting to entering the Capitol. She pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor charge under a deal with prosecutors. Lloyd, forty nine, apologized to the court, the American people, and her family. At her sentencing, Lloyd said she was ashamed the day became "a savage display of violence." In seeking probation for Lloyd, prosecutors noted that she was not involved in any violence and destruction. Lloyd was invited by her hairdresser to drive to Washington to hear Donald Trump speak. US District Court Judge Royce Lamberth said he was giving her a break, but didn't want others to think that probation – and not a stiffer sentence – would be the norm. Also yesterday, the AP reports, Graydon Young, a member of the Oath Keepers extremist group, pleaded guilty to charges in the insurrection and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in a major step forward for the massive investigation into the insurrection. It was also the first guilty plea in the major conspiracy case brought against members of the Oath Keepers. Something tells me their sentences will be a bit stiffer. U.S. Will Probe Native Schools Abuses This look at our national traumas comes from the New York Times. The United States will search federal boarding schools for possible burial sites of Native American children, hundreds of thousands of whom were forcibly taken from their communities to be culturally assimilated in the schools for more than a century, the interior secretary announced on Tuesday. The initiative is likely to resemble a recent effort in Canada, where the discovery of the remains of two hundred and fifteen children at the site of a defunct boarding school rekindled discussion of the traumatic history and treatment of Native populations. Addressing a virtual conference of the National Congress of American Indians, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland said the program would "shed light on the unspoken traumas of the past, no matter how hard it will be." The forced removals were a result of the Civilization Fund Act of 1819. In the years after the law was enacted, residential boarding schools were established across the nation and used to house relocated Indigenous children, suppressing American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian cultures. The Times says the new program, called the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative, will identify the facilities and sites where there may have been student burials. It will also mine records that were kept by the department, which had oversight of the facilities. A final report will be sent to Secretary Haaland by April 1. And there's no question it will make for painful but necessary reading. Socialist Victorious In New York Amazing news here, in case you missed it on the Majority Report. NBC News reports that a socialist candidate in Buffalo, New York, defeated the city's four-term mayor in a major upset in Tuesday's Democratic primary. India Walton beat Mayor Byron Brown, fifty two percent to forty five percent, with one hundred percent of precincts reporting. The Associated Press called the race late yesterday morning. Walton told MSNBC yesterday, "I believe we won because we organized. We have a message of care love and hope that is resonant with working class Buffalo." If Walton, thirty nine, wins the general election in November, she will become the first socialist mayor of a large American city since 1960, when Frank Zeidler left office in Milwaukee. Her chances of winning are high since Buffalo hasn't had a Republican mayor since 1965. According to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, Walton is a a nurse and community organizer. She had the backing of the Democratic Socialists of America as well as the Working Families Party. She campaigned on a platform of boosting affordable housing in the city and reforming the criminal-justice system. Brown, a former state senator, had been entrenched as Buffalo's mayor since he was first elected in 2005. A longtime ally of Governor Andrew Cuomo, Brown served a stint as the chairman of the state Democratic Party before relinquishing the post in 2019. Now that's one hell of an upset – and a big win for the American left! AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES: The Guardian reports that the antivirus software entrepreneur John McAfee has been found dead in his cell in Spain, hours after the country's national court approved his extradition to the United States. He was wanted on tax-related criminal charges that carry a prison sentence of up to thirty years. The Spanish authorities say it was suicide. The Tampa Bay Times reports that Governor Ron DeSantis on Tuesday signed legislation that will require public universities to survey students, faculty and staff about their beliefs. The measure does not specify what will be done with the survey results. But DeSantis suggested budget cuts could be looming if universities are found to be "indoctrinating" students. As if he needed an excuse to make cuts! NBC News reports that the US Supreme Court yesterday limited the ability of union organizers to enter the private property of growers in order to reach farmworkers in California. In a six-three decision, the court said unions violate the Constitution when they enter a grower's private property without paying. Which is outrageous, because California enacted its rules on this because farmworkers often live on their employer's property. According to CBS News, dozens of cows escaped a slaughterhouse in Southern California and roamed free for over an hour on Tuesday, injuring four people. One of the animals was fatally shot by deputies after authorities said it charged at a family. That ending is sad and somehow predictable, but at least those cows went down fighting. AM QUICKIE - JUNE 24, 2021 HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner WRITER - Corey Pein PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

    June 23, 2021: Military Calls Socialists Terrorists; Teamsters Take Aim at Amazon; U.S. Seizes Iranian Websites

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 23, 2021 6:49

    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by TODAY'S HEADLINES: A leaked U.S. military document describes socialists as terrorists and lists them alongside neo-Nazis and the far right, according to a report by the Intercept. Meanwhile, Motherboard reports that the Teamsters union is about to announce a coordinated nationwide effort to organize Amazon workers. And lastly, the U.S. appears to have seized Iranian news sites under suspicious circumstances THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW: The Intercept has a shocking, yet somehow predictable report from the U.S. military today. According to a leaked document, soldiers are being told that anarchism and socialism both represent so called terrorist ideologies. The document, according to military sources interviewed by the Intercept, is part of a longer training manual designed for the Navy's internal police. It's part of the military's wider internal push against extremism inside its ranks. The Intercept reports that a section of the training document subtitled “Study Questions” includes the following question: “Anarchists, socialists and Neo-Nazis represent which terrorist ideological category? A source told the Intercept that the correct answer was quote “political terrorists.” endquote. This is basically the what we all worried about when the military announced it would crack down on domestic extremists in its own ranks. Puting socialists, and even anarchists, on the same level as neo-Nazis and far-right groups who actively wish harm against other Americans doesn't make any sense. But it does help push resources and the power of the status quo into suppressing leftist thought. As one anonymous military official told the Intercept:: “It's just ineffective training because whoever is directing the Navy anti-terror curriculum would rather vilify the left than actually protect anything. Despite the fact that the most prominent threat is domestic, right-wing terror.” Teamsters Take Aim at Amazon Motherboard reports that the Teamsters union, one of the largest and most powerful forces in organized labor, is about to get serious with Amazon. The Teamsters are expected to announce publicly today that they'll be embarking on a coordinated, nationwide effort to unionize workers at Amazon. Randy Korgan, the Teamster's National Amazon Director, said in a video obtained by Motherboard that the union would quote “build the types of worker and community power necessary to take on one of the most powerful corporations in the world and win. That video was set to play at the Teamsters convention on Tuesday, and on Thursday, delegates from Teamsters local unions will vote on a similar resolution, which Motherboard reports should pass comfortably. That resolution will create and fund a specially designed Amazon Division within the Teamsters, to aid Amazon workers in unionizing and defend standards in the logistics industry. But unlike the massive NLRB election in Bessemer, the Teamsters plan to take on Amazon with a more guerilla warfare strategy. Motherboard reports that the union is going to try to apply direct pressure wherever possible, with work stoppages, petitions, and other collective action. The hope is that it also cuts down the opportunities Amazon has to throw its massive pocketbook into anti-union campaigns, like it did in Bessemer. Details on the rest of the program are still scarce, but Motherboard reports that the union says it has committed “tremendous resources” to the effort. U.S. Seizes Iranian Websites The U.S. government seized dozens of American website domains connected to the government of Iran on Tuesday, saying that they were connected to disinformation campaigns. The AP reports that the domains of a handful of sites, including Iran state television's English-language arm Press TV, redirected to a federal notice saying the sites had been seized by the U.S. Bureau of Industry and Security, Office of Export Enforcement and the FBI. A U.S. official anonymously told the AP that these sites were linked to disinformation campaigns, but otherwise the reasons for their seizure is unclear. Iran tightly controls much of its state media, as do many other countries. And though it's not a perfect comparison, there's plenty of disinformation coming out of our own news sources as well. What that means is this action is most likely a shot in a broader conflict with the Iranian government. Actions like this don't usually happen in a vacuum, especially considering the ongoing international talks about Iran's nuclear program and the country's new hard-line president. This story was still developing as of script time on Tuesday evening, but we may have a clearer picture of what this means for Iran's relationship to the U.S. in the coming days. AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES: The Daily Beast reports that back in 2019, Donald Trump asked his advisors and lawyers what the FCC, courts, and the DOJ could do to mess with or mitigate SNL, Jimmy Kimmel and other TV hosts, proving that once again that he was the thinnest skinned president we've ever had. The LA Times reports that a top aide to LA's mayor Eric Garcetti mocked labor icon Dolores Huerta in a private facebook group, and has been placed on administrative leave -- just in case you're wondering what people in the halls of power think of activists and social justice leaders. BuzzFeed News reports that The Biden administration will let immigrants sent or deported to Mexico without a court appearance under a Trump-era policy seek entry into the U.S., a major change for some families stuck in immigration limbo for months if not years. Joe Manchin said on Tuesday that he would vote to open debate on the Democrats Voting Rights bill, which he previously said he didn't support. This isn't an endorsement of the bill, just a vote to move procedure along, however, so we're really not far from where we were last week. AM QUICKIE - JUNE, 23, 2021 HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner WRITER - Jack Crosbie PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

    June 18, 2021: Supreme Court Upholds Obamacare; Recordings Expose Bolivia Coup Plot; US Funds Anti-covid Pill Research

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 18, 2021 7:39

    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by TODAY'S HEADLINES: The Supreme Court yesterday struck down another challenge to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. But it also said American companies can benefit from child slavery in Africa, so, you know, hold your applause for the honorable Justices. Meanwhile, audio recordings reveal that Bolivia's right-wing coup leaders were organizing yet another plot against the pro-democracy politician who won last year's election. And this time they planned to go big, and bring in hundreds of mercenaries from the United States. And lastly, US health officials announced a $3 billion program to speed up research on a pill to fight the coronavirus in people who've already been infected. The research could also help stop future pandemics in their tracks, which, after all we've been through, is an obvious win. THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW: This legal news comes from the Washington Post. The Supreme Court yesterday said US chocolate companies cannot be sued for child slavery on the African farms from which they buy most of their cocoa. But the court stopped short of saying such a lawsuit could never go forward. Six African men sought damages from Nestlé USA and Cargill, alleging that as children they were trafficked out of Mali, forced to work long hours on Ivory Coast cocoa farms and kept at night in locked shacks. Their attorneys argued the companies should have better monitored their cocoa suppliers in West Africa, where two-thirds of the world's cocoa is grown and child labor is widespread. The companies asked the Supreme Court to toss the lawsuit, arguing that courts in the United States are the wrong forum and that the applicable law permits such cases against individuals but not corporations. The court's splintered decision was written by Justice Clarence Thomas. Also yesterday, the Post reports, the Court dismissed the latest challenge to the Affordable Care Act, saying Republican-led states do not have the legal standing to try to upend the law. Justice Stephen Breyer wrote the court's seven-to-two decision, which preserves the law that provides millions of Americans with health coverage. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra called the court's decision, "a victory for all Americans, especially people with a preexisting condition." It's a bittersweet victory, though, because I can't stop thinking about those child slaves. Recordings Expose Bolivia Coup Plot Here's some retro Reagan-era intrigue! The Intercept reports that a top official in the outgoing Bolivian government plotted to deploy hundreds of mercenaries from the United States to overturn the results of the South American country's October 2020 election. The aim of the mercenary recruitment was to forcibly block Luis Arce from taking up the presidency for MAS, the party of former Bolivian President Evo Morales. The plot continued even though Arce, a protégé of Morales, trounced a crowded field, winning fifty five percent of first-round votes. Disagreements between ministers and divisions within the armed forces appear to have undermined the plan. It was never executed. According to the Intercept, Arce's eventual victory last fall was a stunning rejection of the right-wing shift overseen by coup leader Jeanine Áñez. The Bolivian right wing, however, was not ready to relinquish power. A recorded call with Áñez's defense minister sketches a coup plot even more flagrant than the one in October 2019. Several of the plotters discussed flying hundreds of foreign mercenaries into Bolivia from a US military base outside Miami. These would join forces with elite Bolivian military units, renegade police squadrons, and vigilante mobs in a desperate bid to keep MAS from returning to power. Two US military sources confirmed that Special Operations had gotten wind of the Bolivia coup plot. But nothing ever came of it, they said. All those out-of-work Yankee mercenaries will just have to wait until the next time a leftist wins a Latin American election. US Funds Anti-covid Pill Research This promising health news comes from the New York Times. The US government spent more than $18 billion last year funding drugmakers to make a Covid vaccine, an effort that led to at least five highly effective shots in record time. Now it's pouring more than $3 billion on a neglected area of research: developing pills to fight the virus early in the course of infection, potentially saving many lives in the years to come. The new program, announced yesterday by the Department of Health and Human Services, will speed up the clinical trials of a few promising drug candidates. If all goes well, some of those first pills could be ready by the end of the year. The Antiviral Program for Pandemics will also support research on entirely new drugs – not just for the coronavirus, but for viruses that could cause future pandemics. According to the Times, Doctor Anthony Fauci, a key backer of the program, said he looked forward to a time when Covid-19 patients could pick up antiviral pills from a pharmacy as soon as they develop Covid-19 symptoms. Fauci's support for research on antiviral pills stems from his own experience fighting AIDS three decades ago. In the 1990s, his institute conducted research that led to some of the first antiviral pills for HIV. Even if the next generation of pills doesn't arrive for a few years, scientists say the research will be a good investment. Imagine a future where Covid is no big deal. It's nice! AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES: CBS News reports that the House yesterday approved a bill to repeal the 2002 authorization for use of military force in Iraq, a measure which has the backing of the White House. The bill now goes to the Senate, where Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said he will bring it to the floor for a vote this year. Next we need a bill to make everyone who supported that stupid war publicly apologize. The Washington Post says today will be a holiday for federal employees following President Joe Biden's signing yesterday of legislation making Juneteenth a federal holiday. Juneteenth marks the end of slavery in Texas. Employers who don't honor this holiday are now officially on notice. Speaking of Texas: The Associated Press reports that Texas will now let people carry handguns without first getting a background check and training, becoming the latest and largest on a growing list of states to roll back permitting requirements for carrying guns in public. Republican Governor Greg Abbott called it a measure of freedom and self-defense. It's more like self-harm. Politico reports that a little-known GOP candidate in Florida was secretly recorded threatening to send a Russian and Ukrainian hit squad to a fellow Republican opponent to make her QUOTE disappear ENDQUOTE. During the call, William Braddock repeatedly warned a conservative activist to not support Anna Paulina Luna in the Republican primary for a Tampa Bay-area congressional seat because he had access to assassins. Look out, Texas – here comes Florida! AM QUICKIE - JUNE 18, 2021 HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner WRITER - Corey Pein PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

    June 17, 2021: 8 Million Face Eviction; Richest Families Gained $136B During Pandemic; Proud Boys In Poor Shape

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 17, 2021 7:04

    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by TODAY'S HEADLINES: A new report says eight million Americans are at imminent risk of getting thrown out of their homes. President Joe Biden could spare them with the stroke of a pen, but he hasn't yet made a move to do so. Meanwhile, research shows the country's richest families have done spectacularly well during the pandemic. That's in part because they still aren't paying their fair share of taxes. And lastly, months after the Capitol insurrection, the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers are strapped for cash and bleeding members. Where's Daddy Trump when you really need him? THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW: More Americans will be homeless very soon, this report from CBS News suggests. Even as the nation rebounds from the pandemic, more than two million homeowners are behind on their mortgages and risk being forced out of their homes in a matter of weeks, a new Harvard University report warns. Most of the homeowners at risk are either low-income or families of color, said researchers behind the 2021 State of the Nation's Housing report. Congress has dedicated $10 billion to help homeowners get caught up on payments, but it's unclear if that funding will make it to families before foreclosure notices arrive. Separately, millions more renters are on the brink of eviction, the researchers found. Census data show that six million households are still behind on rent and could face eviction at the end of June, when federal eviction protections expire. The Center for Disease Control order halting some evictions, and federal liminations on foreclosures for federally backed housing, both expire on June 30. Advocates have pushed for the Biden administration to extend both, but there is no indication an extension will happen. CBS reports that more than seven million homeowners took advantage of the foreclosure moratorium passed as part of the Cares Act last spring. The provision was extended by the Biden White House. As of March 2021, most of those homeowners have started repaying lenders. But that leaves about two point one million still behind on their mortgages. Biden must act now to keep these families, including renters, housed. Richest Families Gained $136B During Pandemic This status check on the rich and useless comes from the Guardian. Ten of the US's richest families, including the Walmart family and the dynasties behind industries including candy and cosmetics, saw their assets balloon over the pandemic, with a shared increase in their combined net worth of over $136 billion in fourteen months. That's according to a report by the Institute for Policy Studies published yesterday. The report details how these families have not only increased their wealth by billions in the last year, but have also worked to ensure the system supports this exponential growth over decades. In 1983 the Walton family, who founded Walmart, were worth $2.15 billion. By the end of 2020, the Waltons had a combined net worth of over $247 billion, an inflation-adjusted increase of four thousand three hundred percent. The wealth of the Mars candy dynasty increased by three thousand five hundred percent over the same period. According to the Guardian, Chuck Collins, a co-author of the report, said these families weren't just making more money, they were also getting better at putting it out of reach of taxation. The report outlined several proposals to curb this wealth accumulation, including the Make Billionaires Pay Act, a proposal introduced in 2020 to institute a one-time sixty percent pandemic wealth tax on billionaires. But more must be done, Collins said, to stamp out tax loopholes, offshore tax havens and certain trusts that allow families to hide their wealth. Or we could simply eat the rich. Proud Boys In Poor Shape This delicious update on Donald Trump's loyal foot soldiers comes from the Wall Street Journal. The far-right group the Oath Keepers is splintering after board members accused the founder of spending its money on hair dye, steaks and guns. The leader of the Proud Boys, choked off from the financial system, is printing Black Lives Matter T-shirts to make money. The finances of the two most visible groups with members involved in the January 6th riot at the US Capitol are sputtering. Leaders are low on cash, struggling with defections and arguing over the future. The Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys have seen more than three dozen of their members arrested in connection with January 6th. Within both groups, an escalating crackdown and the departure of Trump from office has spurred new levels of disarray. The Journal reports that Oath Keepers membership has dropped eighty percent from its peak. The organization had less than $10,000 in its bank account as of April. Bank records show thousands of dollars of Oath Keepers funds spent on goods and services in Montana, where founder Stewart Rhodes lived until recently. That includes $12,000 at an auto-repair shop, $886 at a bar, and $229 at a lingerie shop called Alley Katz Nighties 'N‘ Naughties. The Proud Boys aren't faring much better. Members have turned to cryptocurrency, local credit unions and alternative payment brokers to replace a mainstream financial system that has largely cut them off. There's a lesson here, folks: anti-fascist organizing gets results! AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES: Politico reports that the US and Russia will return their ambassadors to Moscow and Washington, DC, respectively, following President Joe Biden's summit with Vladimir Putin yesterday. They concluded their summit, which Putin called constructive, earlier than expected, after about four hours with breaks. Coulda been a Zoom call! The AP reports that Israeli aircraft carried out a series of airstrikes in the Gaza Strip yesterday. There were no immediate reports of casualties. They were the first such raids since a shaky cease-fire ended the war with Hamas last month. The new Israeli government is not off to a great start. NBC News reports that Minnesota authorities charged the driver of an SUV that plowed into a protester-filled intersection with second degree murder. The Sunday crash killed one woman and injured another person. Nicholas D. Kraus, thirty five, is jailed on $1 million bail and is scheduled to appear in court today. He has a lot to answer for. The Associated Press reports that the US Education Department yesterday expanded its interpretation of federal Title Nine sex protections to include transgender and gay students. The move reverses Trump-era policy and stands against anti-transgender proposals in many states. Here's hoping this new directive holds back the tide of discrimination in those Republican states that are trying their hardest to persecute transgender students. AM QUCKIE - JUNE 17, 2021 HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner WRITER - Corey Pein PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

    June 16, 2021: Biden And Putin Talk Nukes; Trump Pressured Rosen On Election; NY CA Lift Restrictions

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 16, 2021 8:16

    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by TODAY'S HEADLINES: Nuclear weapons are high up on the agenda as the presidents of the United States and Russia meet today. Former top military commanders and diplomats from both countries have been urging the leaders to cooperate to reduce the size of nuclear arsenals. Meanwhile, emails just released by House Democrats investigating the January 6th Capitol insurrection show how Donald Trump tried to get the Justice Department to help overturn last November's election. The details are as loopy as you might imagine. And lastly, two of the biggest states, New York and California, have lifted many pandemic restrictions thanks to progress in their vaccination campaigns. Covid will be with us for a long time, but public health measures are working, and the return to normalcy is happening just about on schedule. THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW: This read on the day's big diplomatic news comes from Politico. Expectations are low that Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin can reach any significant accommodation during their first presidential summit today in Geneva – with one possible exception: nuclear arms control. Washington and Moscow have publicly expressed a desire to use the summit to reestablish formal talks on the issue. In the days leading up to the tense meeting, ex-defense chiefs, foreign ministers and retired nuclear commanders from both nations also proposed a series of steps the two leaders could take to help constrain the world's deadliest arsenals. Those steps range from a simple pledge to resume regular negotiations, to a more ambitious public commitment to reduce current arsenals as a goodwill gesture. Politico says no one is banking on detailed agreements to emerge from Geneva. The definition of strategic threats has only grown more complex now that cyber attacks, political warfare and other forms of mischief can destabilize entire nations. But both governments have been striking a similar tone in recent days on the nuclear front, at least rhetorically. National security adviser Jake Sullivan expressed the administration's desire to get back to a regular dialogue with Moscow on nuclear matters. Sullivan's comments came a day after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also hinted at a desire to reach common ground on nuclear issues. The two countries may never agree on some things, but if Biden and Putin can agree to keep a lid on the nukes, that's no small victory. Trump Pressured Rosen On Election This deep dive into Donald Trump's outbox comes from the Washington Post. Trump's staff began sending emails to Jeffrey Rosen, the Number Two at the Justice Department, asking him to embrace Trump's claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election at least ten days before Rosen assumed the role of acting attorney general. That's according to new emails disclosed by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. On the same day as the electoral college met to certify the election results, Trump's assistant sent Rosen an email with a list of complaints concerning the way the election had been carried out in Antrim County, Michigan. The file included a so-called forensic analysis of the Dominion Voting Systems machines the county employed, alleging they were calibrated to create fraudulent results. The claims were false. According to the Post, the email sheds light on the type of pressure Trump was putting on the Justice Department to take up his crusade against Joe Biden's 2020 victory. The campaign swiftly accelerated once Rosen was appointed acting attorney general. On January 1st, former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows forwarded Rosen a YouTube link. The subject line suggested it was a video in which a retired CIA station chief argued that the 2020 election totals were altered by the Italians. Rosen forwarded the email to his acting deputy, Richard Donoghue, who responded simply: QUOTE Pure insanity ENDQUOTE. So Trump's flunkies knew his election lies were crazy, but said nothing. More like pure cowardice! New York, California Lift Restrictions It's a mixed bag on the pandemic front. The Associated Press reports that the US death toll from Covid-19 topped six hundred thousand yesterday. That's the bad news. But the good news is that the vaccination drive has drastically brought down daily cases and fatalities and allowed the country to emerge from the gloom and look forward to summer. The milestone came the same day that California and New York lifted most of their remaining restrictions, joining other states in opening the way, step by step, for what could be a fun and close-to- normal summer for many Americans. The AP says that with the overall picture improving rapidly, California – the most populous state and the first to impose a coronavirus lockdown – dropped state rules on social distancing and limits on capacity at restaurants, bars, supermarkets, gyms, stadiums and other places. They're billing it as California's Grand Reopening, just in time for summer. Disneyland is throwing open its gates. Fans will be able to sit elbow-to-elbow and cheer without masks at Dodgers and Giants games. In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo said yesterday that seventy percent of adults in the state have received at least one dose of the vaccine. And he announced that the immediate easing of many restrictions will be celebrated with fireworks. Massachusetts and Kansas yesterday lifted their states of emergency. And Maryland's governor announced that the emergency there will end on July 1, with the state no longer requiring masks. It's time for slightly socially anxious barbecues! AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES: According to the Washington Post, more than forty million Americans are in the crosshairs of triple-digit heat this week, with some spots soaring over one hundred and twenty degrees. The heat in many areas is dangerous, prompting excessive-heat warnings in seven Western states. So there you go, homebodies: an excuse to stay inside post-vaccination. Stars and Stripes reports that Connecticut Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal yesterday called on US Army leaders to investigate a QUOTE blood curdling ENDQUOTE news report that found nearly two thousand military firearms went missing during the last decade. An Associated Press investigation found that some of the lost or stolen firearms turned up at the scene of violent crimes. Whoops! The Los Angeles Times reports that Harvey Weinstein will soon be extradited to California to stand trial on charges that he sexually assaulted five women in LA and Beverly Hills. A New York judge's ruling yesterday sets the stage for a second trial focused on the mogul's alleged pattern of sexually abusing actresses and models. That'd make two trials and, let's see... eighty victims. Sounds like Harvey's still ahead! NBC News reports that the manager of a New York City Shake Shack said he was unlawfully detained and taunted by police after he was falsely accused last year of poisoning three officers' milkshakes. The manager, Marcus Gilliam, is now suing members of the New York Police Department, seeking damages for defamation and deprivation. Thank you for your service, Mister Shake Shack Manager, sir. The New York Times reports that President Biden has named Lina Khan, a prominent critic of Big Tech, as the chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission. Her appointment was a victory for progressive activists who want Biden to take a hard line against big companies. Let's hope she makes Mark Zuckerberg sweat -- I mean, even more than usual. AM QUICKIE - JUNE 16, 2021 HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner WRITER - Corey Pein PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

    June 15, 2021: McConnell Promises to Keep Being Awful; Biden Wants to Kill 2002 AUMF; Texas Braces for Second Power Crisis

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 15, 2021 6:56

    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by TODAY'S HEADLINES: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Monday that he wouldn't even consider letting Biden seat a new Supreme Court Justice if the GOP takes back the Senate in 2022. Meanwhile, the Biden Administration said that it supports a new resolution to end the 2002 Authorization of Use of Military force. And lastly, Texas may be headed for another major power crisis as the state's fragile power grid expects record use in June. THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW: Mitch McConnell has thrown down the gauntlet, and the Democrats are, well, sort of just standing there looking at it. In an interview on conservative talk radio, McConnell said that if Republicans take back the Senate, he would block any prospective Supreme Court nominee that Biden sent him. This is not exactly a surprise. McConnell pretended that his resistance to a new nominee would be from his typical election year nonsense, saying that he'd block a nominee in 2024 just like he did in 2016 at the end of the Obama years. But we all know what the score is. McConnell's life's work is the judiciary and he's done a very good job of securing it for the business-friendly, person-hostile policies of conservatives for generations to come. But what it does indicate is just how futile any Democratic expectations of bipartisanship have become. It also means that the party has to be looking for 82-year-old Stephen Breyer to retire while there's still a chance of getting a liberal replacement confirmed. There's a permanent solution to all this, of course: packing the court. But McConnell knows that Democrats and liberal justices on the bench already don't really have the guts. He said this about Justice Breyer, quote: “I do want to give him a shout-out, though, because he joined what Justice Ginsburg said in 2019 that nine is the right number for the Supreme Court. And I admire him for that. I think even the liberal justices on the Supreme Court have made it clear that court packing is a terrible idea.” Glad everyone's on the same page! Biden Wants to Kill 2002 AUMF The Biden Administration made a huge announcement on Monday: it formally supports a push by Rep. Barbara Lee to end the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force. The 2002 AUMF, as it's called, is the legal document we used to justify invading Iraq. In the years since, it's been trotted out as evidence that the U.S. can legally engage in all kinds of military activities in the country. It's a disgrace that it was ever passed, of course, but it's an even bigger disgrace that it hasn't been repealed yet, so the fact that it may finally get tossed is a good thing. However, it doesn't mean a whole lot as far as U.S. wars overseas go. The Biden Administration's statement itself notes that quote: “the United States has no ongoing military activities that rely solely on the 2002 AUMF as a domestic legal basis, and repeal of the 2002 AUMF would likely have minimal impact on current military operations.” In other words, all of our bombing and killing overseas is going to be just fine. That's because the 2002 order isn't the only AUMF -- there was another one in 2001 after 9/11 that's even more broad. And in recent years, presidents haven't even needed the AUMF's to do what they want -- they've been able to pursue narrower military actions at their own discretion thanks to the steady increase in executive power since Bush was elected. Biden's statement notes that the administration wants to work with Congress to replace these so-called outdated orders, but it's pretty clear that its ability to wage war isn't going to be affected all that much. Texas Braces for Second Power Crisis Another power crisis is shaping up in Texas, this time due to the massive summer heatwave rolling through the state. ERCOT, the state's energy grid operator, asked customers on Monday to conserve as much energy as possible through, as many of its generators were down for repairs. On top of that, ERCOT estimated that June could see record-breaking demand for power. This is a very similar situation to the disastrous, deadly outages in Texas this winter, when millions went without power during a brutal cold snap. Now, ERCOT's customers are once again facing the prospect of blackouts, this time as temperatures spike to over 90 degrees in much of the state. ERCOT is asking Texans to Set thermostats to 78 degrees or higher, turn off lights, and avoid using large appliances until the end of the week. Those steps might help, but it's not really the everyday consumer's job to fix Texas's hugely unstable energy grid. Austin's local NPR affiliate reports that experts have warned power problems like this will keep happening unless the state moves away from coal and gas generators and overhauls its wildly deregulated system. Until then, the government is basically forcing regular Texans to bear the heat. AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES: Meanwhile, a driver plowed into protesters in Minneapolis late on Sunday night, killing one and injuring several others, in a similar attack to the ones that menaced protests last summer. The crowd was protesting the death of Winston Boogie Smith Jr., a 33-year-old Black man, who was killed by U.S. Marshalls on June 3. President Biden gave his first speech to NATO on Monday. The key issues looming over the Cold War era alliance are Ukraine's possible entry into the group, especially ahead of Biden's upcoming summit with Russia's Vladimir Putin. In his speech, Biden stressed that he wasn't looking for a confrontation with Putin. We'll see how that goes! Reality Winner is out of prison! The former intelligence contractor who was prosecuted for leaking state secrets to the Intercept was released to a halfway house on Monday, her lawyer announced. A Washington Post analysis found that coronavirus infections are dropping where most people have been vaccinated, and rising where they are not. That may seem obvious, but it underscores just how far some states and communities have to go to keep their constituents safe. AM QUICKIE - JUNE 15, 2021 HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner WRITER - Jack Crosbie PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

    June 14, 2021: Israel Dumps Netanyahu; AOC vs. Centrist Cronies; DOJ's Privacy Boogaloo

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 14, 2021 6:58

    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by TODAY'S HEADLINES: Israel's far-right, heavily corrupt prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is finally out. He's been replaced by another far-right tech entrepreneur. Meanwhile, the normally tight-lipped Apple said it turned over data about Trump's former White House Counsel Don McGahn. And lastly, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez went on CNN and dared to point out the biggest flaw in her party's plans to enact any sort of agenda. THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW: It finally happened. After 12 years, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is out, replaced by a strange government coalition of basically everyone outside of his party in the Israeli government. But before we get too excited, let's meet the new Prime Minister. Taking over for Bibi is Naftali Bennett, a former tech entrepreneur whose politics may be just as right wing and reactionary as his predecessor's. Bennett has only been in politics about 8 years, and before that made millions in the tech sector. He's also a former Israeli Commando whose latest post in government was as Minister of Defense, and he's reportedly bragged about killing Arab people, saying quote: “I've killed lots of Arabs in my life – and there's no problem with that.” endquote. Yeah, sounds like this guy isn't exactly a step up from Netanyahu. He's also vehemently supportive of Israel's colonialist settlers. Bennett took over thanks to a razor-close vote in Parlaiment authorizing a new government by just one vote, 60 to 59, with one abstention. Bennett's party itself only holds 7 seats in Parlaiment, and managed to take the top slot by creating an eight-party monster coalition aimed at taking Bibi down. In other words, none of this is particularly stable, and none of it looks particularly good for the Palestinians still suffering after Netanyahu's final acts of war against them. AOC Calls Out Centrist Cronies The Democrats have a problem -- they all know it, but almost none of them will come out and say it. It's pretty simple: the Republican-friendly coalition of Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema are essentially stonewalling any bill that Biden wants to pass. Naturally, most inter-party criticism falls on the left. Which is why Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez was on CNN on Sunday defending progressive's decision to pre-emptivly reject the centrist infrastructure compromise plan that Manchin and co are putting together. CNN's Dana Bash tried to corner Ocasio-Cortez into saying whether or not she'd vote for such a marginal compromise bill, to which Ocasio-Cortez responded; “The thing is, is that this isn't the best that we can get." Then she launched into one of the few open declarations of what's actually going on; "I do think that we need to talk about the elephant in the room which is Senate Democrats blocking crucial items in a Democratic agenda for reasons that I don't think hold a lot of water." The key point that Manchin and his block are trying to make is that there are ten Republicans who can be convinced to play ball, and that Biden and every Democrat to the left of him should place their policy ambitions in those centrist hands. But as we all know, that's a myth. AOC knows it too, and said as much: “That doesn't really hold water, particularly when we can't even get 10 senators to support a January 6 commission." We covered this back when it happened. If Manchin couldn't get Romney and some of the less-Trumpy GOP to back an inquiry into an attempted coup earlier this year, then only a massive idiot would assume that they're going to get the GOP's help passing an infrastructure bill. The Democratic party leadership has to know this too which makes the real question clear: what are they going to do about it? DOJ's New Privacy Boogaloo The Trump Administration continues to deliver weird news gifts, even from beyond its political grave. This one comes from the New York Times, which reports that in 2018, the Justice Department subpoenaed data from Apple so it could look into White House Counsel Don McGahn. The exact reasons behind this decision aren't clear, and probably have something to do with the complicated mess left behind by Trump's nebulous associations with Russia. But what's weird about this case is that the Justice Department kept it secret for over two years, and forbade Apple from telling McGahn about it. And it fits in to the larger context of what's been going on in the privacy space in the past few months. We've recently learned that Trump's Justice Department aggressively hunted for leakers, going as far as to try to obtain phone records and other data from reporters for the Times, CNN, and Washington Post. This is all stuff that Biden's new Attorney General Merrick Garland is going to have to untangle. And right now it's not quite clear what side he's going to come down on. The Biden Administration ordered the DOJ to stop seizing reporter's email, calling it quote “simply wrong.” But the New York Times notes that there are still a ton of variables as to what the new rules will look like, as far as who's protected and who's considered a journalist. If you remember, The Obama administration was particularly zealous at rooting out leaks, so that doesn't inspire a lot of confidence. AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES: Joe Biden met with the Queen of England on Sunday and managed to not commit any real social faux pas, only telling her that she reminded him of his mother. Isn't that nice! What a difference from Trump. At least our good president Biden loves and respects a Monarch, which is really what America is all about if you think about it. CNN reports that GOP Governors are pushing to end mask mandates in schools, once again blaming government overreach for the policy. Kids under 12 won't be eligible for the vaccine till about Thanksgiving, so the masks make sense, but of course you can't tell that to the GOP. A mysterious auction winner paid more than $28 million to ride to space with Jeff Bezos on July 20, becoming one of the first private space tourists to get ripped off by a billionaire's vanity project. Congrats to whoever that person is! Have a nice flight! A bipartisan group of lawmakers released two bills on Friday that could completely overhaul the competition and anti-trust system that let big tech establish world-spanning monopolies. We'll see how well they fare against the tech giant's inevitable onslaught of lobbying. AM QUICKIE - JUNE 14, 2021 HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner WRITER - Jack Crosbie PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

    June 11, 2021: Child Labor Increasing Worldwide; California Fights Gun Control Ruling; US Image Rebounds Under Biden

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 11, 2021 7:44

    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by TODAY'S HEADLINES: Child labor is on the rise, and the pandemic is making it worse. A new report by the United Nations puts numbers on a problem that is pervasive, yet hidden to many Americans. Meanwhile, California's Democratic leadership gears up for a major courtroom fight over gun control. And Gavin Newsom has nothing at all nice to say about the federal judge who struck down the state's assault weapons ban. And lastly, new opinion polling reveals that the world feels way better about the United States now that Donald Trump is no longer in the picture. Can Joe Biden leverage these warm fuzzies for diplomatic advantage on his big international trip? THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW: This concerning update on one of the most shameful practices in global capitalism comes from CBS News. The world has marked the first rise in child labor in two decades, the United Nations said yesterday. And the coronavirus crisis threatens to push millions more youngsters into the same fate. In a joint report, the UN's International Labor Organization and the UN children's agency UNICEF said there were one hundred and sixty million children laborers at the start of 2020 – an increase of eight point four million in four years. The rise began before the pandemic hit. It marks a dramatic reversal of a trend that had seen child labor numbers shrink by ninety four million between 2000 and 2016, the report said. Children and teens between five and seventeen years old who are forced out of school and into working are considered child laborers. CBS reports that just as the Covid-19 crisis was beginning to pick up steam, nearly one in ten children globally were stuck in child labor, with sub-Saharan Africa affected most. Even in regions where there has been some headway since 2016, such as Asia and the Pacific, and Latin America and the Caribbean, Covid-19 is endangering that progress, the report said. The agencies warned that unless urgent action is taken to help ballooning numbers of families falling into poverty, nearly fifty million more kids could be forced into child labor over the next two years. Sometimes it feels like we're racing back to the nineteenth century. California Fights Gun Control Ruling This report on the struggle for safety from gun violence comes from the Los Angeles Times. California Attorney General Rob Bonta yesterday filed an appeal to a federal court decision that overturned the state's ban on assault weapons, arguing that the law is needed to protect the safety of Californians. The appeal seeks to reverse last Friday's decision by US District Judge Roger Benitez, who said the state's three-decade ban on assault weapons is an unconstitutional infringement on the rights of California gun owners. Newsom, who was elected on a platform that included expanding gun control laws, said, "California's assault weapons ban has saved lives, and we refuse to let these weapons of war back onto our streets." Newsom criticized Benitez, calling his decision shameful. He said Benitez was a stone-cold ideologue and "a wholly owned subsidiary of the gun lobby." The Times says the case has implications for gun laws beyond California. Six other states and the District of Columbia followed California in adopting their own assault weapons bans, and Congress enacted a ban in 1994, although it expired ten years later. Though other courts have upheld assault weapon bans, supporters of the gun law worry Benitez's decision is part of a strategy by the gun lobby to get cases to the US Supreme Court, where appointments by Donald Trump are seen as more sympathetic to Second Amendment arguments. In the meantime, there was another deadly shooting yesterday – three dead in a Florida Publix. US Image Rebounds Under Biden This check-up on the national image comes from the Washington Post. President Joe Biden has promised the world that America is back. As he takes his first trip abroad as president, a Pew Research Center global survey released yesterday shows that many believe it. Trust in the US president fell to historic lows in most countries surveyed during Donald Trump's presidency. Under Biden, it has soared. In the twelve countries surveyed both this year and last, a median of seventy five percent of respondents expressed confidence in Biden to do the right thing regarding world affairs. That's compared with seventeen percent for Trump last year. Sixty-two percent of respondents now have a favorable view of the United States, versus thirty four percent at the end of Trump's presidency. The Post notes that the findings come a day after Biden touched down in England on the first leg of a trip through Europe. On his agenda: a meeting of the Group of Seven nations in Cornwall, a NATO summit in Brussels, and meetings with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Pew findings suggest that he will encounter leaders whose publics are confident in his leadership. But skepticism about the United States' dependability remains. Among the sixteen publics Pew surveyed in 2021, the proportion of respondents who said the US is very reliable was below twenty percent in every place. Good vibes are always contingent on the outcome of the next elections. AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES: German state broadcaster Deutsche Welle reports that police in Frankfurt have decided to disband the city's Special Task Force, or SEK, following the discovery of far-right extremist messages in group chats. Seventeen officers were suspected of spreading hatred-inciting texts and symbols of former Nazi organizations. Hey, maybe they can find jobs in America? The New York Times reports that famine has afflicted at least three hundred and fifty thousand people in northern Ethiopia's conflict-ravaged Tigray region. It is a starvation calamity bigger at the moment than anywhere else in the world, the UN and international aid groups said yesterday. And it's not at all clear whether help is on the way. CNN reports that the Senate yesterday voted to confirm Zahid Quraishi to be a US District Judge for the District of New Jersey, making him the first Muslim American federal judge in US history. Prior to his confirmation, Quraishi has been serving as a United States magistrate judge in New Jersey. How telling that it took this long to mark such a first. The Washington Post reports that the Labor Department released a workplace safety standard for risks posed by the coronavirus yesterday after more than a year of debate. The emergency temporary standard will apply only to health-care facilities – a much narrower purview than many advocates, labor unions and Democrats had pushed for. This is a bust for the Biden administration. Every worker deserves protection. AM QUICKIE - JUNE 11, 2021 HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner WRITER - Corey Pein PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

    June 10, 2021: US Will Donate 500m Pfizer Doses; Idaho Lt Governor Meets Militia Leader; Biden Plans Guantanamo Bay Closure

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 10, 2021 7:48

    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by TODAY'S HEADLINES: 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

    June 9, 2021: Report Shows Rich Don't Pay Taxes; Peruvian Leftist In Lead for Presidency; Warrior Met Workers Weather Attacks on Strike

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 9, 2021 6:39

    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by TODAY'S HEADLINES: A groundbreaking report from ProPublica shines a light on how the worlds' richest people are avoiding paying taxes. Meanwhile, leftist teacher Pedro Castillo has a narrow lead in Peru's presidential election, while his right-wing opponent is making wild claims of fraud. And lastly, the United Mine Workers strike is in its third month, and workers on the picket line have weathered physical attacks while the media and Biden Administration stays silent. THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW: Nonprofit investigative outlet Propublica got its hands on the scoop of the year so far, showing us the dirty details of how billionaires hide their wealth and avoid paying taxes. That may sound like a familiar refrain, but the data involved is stuff we've never seen before. Propublica says the massive trove of IRS data was provided to them in a raw, unedited form, and the story out on Tuesday is the product of weeks of careful editing and reporting. The data shows that Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Michael Bloomberg and many other billionaires often pay precisely zero dollars in federal income taxes, despite their massive net worth. Propublica reports that they gleaned this through the massive dump of data, which shows not just tax records but investments, stock trades, gambling winnings and even the results of audits. Put together, it tells a story that we all know: that these people are not paying their fair share. For years, though, that's been an easy truth for many in government to avoid, which is why reporting like this is so vital. Already, it's reignited calls from Elizabeth Warren and other prominent politicians to institute a wealth tax, which would put a tax on any person's total net worth, not just their income. It's almost a given that these billionaires would seek ways to get out of that too. But the fact is right now, they don't even have to try. Peruvian Leftist In Lead for Presidency A huge presidential election is underway in Peru. Voting ended on Sunday, but the margin is razor thin as results continue to filter in. Right now, though, there's good news: the leftist candidate, a teacher named Pedro Castillo, is up by roughly 70,000 votes. His opponent, of course, is crying fraud. Her name is Keiko Fujimori, and she's the daughter of Peru's last right-wing dictator, who is currently serving a 25-year prison sentence for his role in civilian massacres. You can see how this race is shaping up already. Analysts told the Guardian that Fujimori's fraud claims were an act of desperation. International observers did not report any irregularities in the election. It's worth noting that Fujimori has been accused of various counts of campaign corruption, similar to her father. Castillo, meanwhile, is the former leader of Peru's teachers union. He's currently the top candidate in the Peru Libre party, which has pretty strong marxist policies that favor widespread resource nationalisation, higher taxes, and import substitution, according to the Guardian. Castillo has also pledged to rewrite the Peruvian constitution in a more equitable way, which the Guardian reports has terrified the country's elite. All these themes should sound familiar by now -- so fingers crossed Castillo becomes the latest big winner for the global left wing. Warrior Met Workers Weather Attacks on Strike We touched on this yesterday, but there's a story in Alabama that deserves a closer look. For the past two months and change, 1100 workers at two coal mines owned by a company called Warrior Met have been on strike, as their union battles a management force that seems prepared to do anything to break them down. The miners are represented by the United Mine Workers, which was forced to make huge concessions when mining companies started to go bankrupt a few years back. But now, as the coal industry has recovered some post pandemic, the workers are still living on a razor's edge. So they did what organized labor has done for centuries: they stopped working. But now the UMA says that Warrior Met is pulling out the stops to break the strike, including in at least three instances hitting striking workers with vehicles driven by people associated with the company's management. In the Week magazine on Tuesday, writer Ryan Cooper made a great point: where is Joe Biden on this? When Amazon was brutally suppressing a Union campaign in the same state, Biden released at least some acknowledgement of labor's right to organize there. But when it comes to coal, the Biden Administration is silent, even though the barest mention of the Warrior Met workers could drive a huge amount of attention to their plight. Keep an eye on this story this week -- with any luck, it'll start getting some traction in the wider media. AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES: The confusion we're all feeling with the Democratic party isn't unique to the left. NBC News reports that a survey of new democratic focus groups found that many voters quote "have trouble describing a clear positive vision of what the Democratic Party stands for.” endquote. That's on the party leadership, and they're running out of excuses fast. French President Emmanuel Macron got slapped -- yes, slapped in the face -- by a protester during a public appearance on Tuesday morning. Heads of state feeling the heat! Imagine that. We've got a very odd tidbit in the New York City Mayoral Race today: it's unclear to anyone where Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams actually lives, and Politico reports that he's often seen arriving at his office at midnight or in the early morning. He said he was living in his office earlier in the year to combat COVID-19, and may have just... continued to do so while campaigning. Bit strange, but ok! And finally, a small point of well, not hope, but who knows. The Intercept reports that Republican Senators aren't sure that Joe Manchin's infuriating defense of the filibuster will hold, meaning that if his GOP overlords are nervous, there might be a chance that someone in the Democratic party can get through to him. We'll see! AM QUICKIE - JUNE 9, 2021 HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner WRITER - Jack Crosbie PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

    June 8, 2021: Pipeline Protests Close Construction Site; Kamala the Cop Goes Abroad; Amazon Forces Drivers to Build Furniture

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 8, 2021 6:32

    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by TODAY'S HEADLINES: Pipeline protesters seized a key construction site and carried out numerous acts of civil disobedience on Monday in an attempt to slow down the construction of the Line 3 pipeline route across Minnesota. Meanwhile, Kamala Harris gets back in touch with her roots as a cop, delivering a staunch warning in Guatemala to any people there who would dare to try to make a better life for themselves in the United States. And lastly a new report from Motherboard shows that Amazon's furniture delivery service is causing chaos for the company's already under-paid and over-worked drivers. THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW: A new major pipeline protest is underway in Minnesota, where native-led activists are trying to halt the construction of the Line 3 project between that state and Canada. The project is owned by a Canadian oil company called Enbridge. On Monday, the Washington Post reports that dozens of cars filled with activists had descended on a construction site operated by the company. They were led by a group of native american activists, and were joined by celebrities like Jane Fonda and Catherine Keener, who rallied the crowd as some protesters strapped themselves to bulldozers and other equipment. Fonda said quote: “Biden has taken a very clear and very beautiful position on the climate crisis. But we are really facing a potential catastrophe, and the science is very clear: it's not enough to do something good here ——like shutdown Keystone XL, shut down drilling on the Arctic national refuge ——and then allow Line 3 to go through.” endquote. And in practice, the Biden administration's point was a whole lot less beautiful. Reporters on the ground caught video of a Department of Homeland Security Helicopter dangerously buzzing another group of protesters on the ground at a pumping station, trying to use the backwash from its rotors to scare off activists. According to the Post, the indigenous activists leading the campaign see two threats from the pipeline: the existential risk of climate change, and the direct risk of the pipeline polluting tribal lands in the headwaters of the Mississippi River. If Monday's demonstrations are any indication, they're willing to fight to keep it from happening. Kamala the Cop Goes Abroad Kamala the cop is back. The Vice President is down on her first international trip, playing enforcer for Joe Biden's new immigration policies in Guatemala. She came with a carrot before the stick, of course. Harris was acting as the ambassador of a four year plan to send more than $4 billion dollars to Central America and Mexico in an attempt to improve the economic hardships that drive mass immigration to the U.S. According to the New York Times, this money will go toward things like investing in young women entrepreneurs and creating an anti-corruption task force for the region. That's all well and good, but Kamala was equally clear when she laid out what will happen to those people who don't place their faith in nebulous U.S. aid, and instead seek refuge in the country by any means necessary. Harris said: "Do not come. Do not come. The United States will continue to enforce our laws and secure our border.” Later, she added quote: “I believe if you come to our border, you will be turned back.” While there are some differences between how that kind of policy will play out under Biden, the core message that VP Harris is delivering sounds pretty familiar: it's the same one we've been hearing for the past four years. Amazon Forces Drivers to Build Furniture Another day, another scoop by Motherboard on the dystopian Amazon beat. Today, the website reports that Amazon has made an unexpected foray into furniture assembly in order to crowd out other retailers that offer similar services. Motherboard reports that as a result, untrained delivery drivers are being made to lug bulky items into customers houses and then assemble them, all on a timeframe that they say is wildly unrealistic for what's expected. To make matters all the more absurd, Motherboard also obtained the training video for this service, which is a strange cartoon narrated by a monotonous robot featuring robotic workers who deliver lines like quote: “Thanks so much for choosing us! Could you confirm you are satisfied with this delivery and service?” endquote. Meanwhile, here's what an actual human driver told Motherboard QUOTE: "It has been an [EFFING] challenge. It always takes much longer than they allow for. The times they give feel completely random and way off. And there's been absolutely no training whatsoever. They just said you're going to do this." And as we well know by now, it's almost impossible to argue with Amazon. AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES: While his workers are suffering, Jeff Bezos announced that he's going to space. The billionaire plans to be one of the crew on the first manned flight of a Blue Origin spacecraft in mid July. Good luck up there, Jeff! We'll all be very interested to see how that flight goes. Scientists from Scripps and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said on Monday that atmospheric CO2 levels peaked in May, despite the slowdown in fossil fuel use during the pandemic. Not even that respite was enough to stem the constant buildup of CO2. Something to watch later this week: the New York Times reports that the Senate is preparing to pass a massive package of industrial policy legislation with bipartisan support, aimed at keeping the U.S. competitive with China. It's amazing what handouts to corporate interests and xenophobic jingoism can do to break the Washington gridlock! The United Mine Workers say that the bosses at Warrior Met Coal have stepped up their physical attacks on striking workers at coal mines in Alabama, on three separate instances hitting picketers with vehicles, in a shocking display of aggression against organized labor. AM QUICKIE - JUNE 8, 2021 HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner WRITER - Jack Crosbie PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

    June 7, 2021: Manchin Tanks Voting Rights; Israel Arrests Palestinian Journalists; Vaccination Rates Take a Dive

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 7, 2021 6:31

    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by TODAY'S HEADLINES: Senator Joe Manchin announced on Sunday that he would vote against the For the People Act, the Democrats' landmark voting rights legislation, because it was too partisan. Meanwhile, Israeli police detain two Palestinian journalists who had been documenting the ongoing aggressive takeover of the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. And lastly, vaccination rates in the U.S. are declining again, forcing a massive outreach program to meet President Biden's goal of 70% vaccinated by July 4. THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW: Joe Manchin has abandoned all pretense of working for the Democratic party. On Sunday, in an op-ed for the Charleston Gazette, the supposedly Democratic Senator said he would vote against his party's landmark voting rights legislation, effectively dooming its chances of becoming a law. Manchin's reasoning was as absurd as you'd expect. He called the bill, known as the For the People Act, too partisan. His evidence for this was that it had failed to attract a single Republican vote of support. It's obvious why this was: Republicans know that they won't win elections if the For the People Act is passed, because voter suppression is the only play they have. On some level, Manchin must know this. But in the same op-ed, he also vowed to never vote against the filibuster, which makes his stance perfectly clear: he wants to hold his own party hostage to his own misguided agenda. Manchin indicated that he would support another voting rights bill, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement act, that doesn't go as far as the For the People Act. But without an end to the filibuster, Manchin knows that bill doesn't have much of a chance of passing either. It's enough to make you wonder which party he's really working for. Israel Arrests Palestinian Journalists Israeli police on Sunday detained two Palestinian journalists who have been documenting the forced colonization of their homes since they were children. Mohammed and Muna El-Kurd are twin siblings who live in Sheikh Jarrah, the neighborhood at the center of last month's initial conflict between Israeli settlers and Palestinian residents. Their family home is one of those targeted for eviction by Israeli court orders, and the El-Kurd twins have been documenting the case and their lives under Israeli occupation since they were kids, amassing a considerable following on social media. On Sunday, Israeli officers arrested and handcuffed Muna at her home, while Mohammed turned himself in after receiving a summons. The police claimed Muna had participated in a riot in the community recently, which is as thin and nebulous of an accusation as it sounds. They were released hours later. Muna El-Kurd said in a statement on the Sheikh Jarrah Instagram page quote: "It's clear that these are policies to silence people, policies to pressure and scare people.” endquote. The El-Kurds aren't the first journalists targeted in recent days. On Saturday, Israeli police violently arrested Al Jazeera correspondent Givara Budeiri as she covered a sit-in marking the 54th anniversary of Israel's 1967 occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip. She was later released but with an absurd condition: that she not report on the situation in Sheikh Jarrah for at least 15 days. If that's not direct suppression of the press, I don't know what is. Vaccination Rates Take a Dive Finally, the Washington Post reports that Joe Biden's vaccination blitz is not looking very blitz-like at the moment. The United States is averaging fewer than 1 million shots per day, a decline of more than two-thirds from the peak of 3.4 million in April, the Post reports. Biden wanted to have 70 percent of all adults vaccinated by July 4th, but that's looking less and less likely by the day. In response, the Post reports that the government and local health clinics are deploying small armies of health workers and volunteers at vaccination sites, often out-numbering the people who come to get the shot. Vaccination rates are falling across the South and Midwest, despite good numbers from the big cities on the East and West Coast. The Post reports that this steep decline began in mid-April, right when the government temporarily suspended the Johnson & Johnson vaccine while they probed rare blood-clotting reactions. The group that still needs the vaccine is, predictably, the people who are most resistant to it or the worst educated about it. That puts the burden of public health on the government to reach these people, but based on the current numbers, Biden's campaign is falling way short. AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES: Did you miss him? Donald Trump held one of his first public speeches in months in North Carolina on Saturday. You'll never guess what he talked about: conspiracies, voter fraud, and far-right talking points. That's what we have to look forward to for a long time to come. The White House says that 31 million Americans now have healthcare coverage through the Affordable Care Act. That's nice and all, but there are almost 330 million people in this country, and all of them deserve healthcare. The New York Times reports that the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan is predictably hindering the country's other efforts to wage war in the region, like impeding CIA efforts to continue carrying out clandestine operations. It's a good reminder that troop withdrawals are only the tip of our country's monumental iceberg of war. Global leaders agreed to the Biden administration's proposed tax plan over the weekend, giving the green light to a mandatory 15 percent minimum tax rate on corporate profits, regardless of where those companies base their headquarters. JUN 7, 2021 - AM QUCKIE HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner WRITER - Jack Crosbie PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

    June 4, 2021: DeJoy Under FBI Investigation; UN Report: AI Drone Attacked Humans; Biden Boosts Overseas Vaccine Shipments

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 4, 2021 7:32

    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by TODAY'S HEADLINES: There's a new scandal nipping at the heels of Donald Trump's favorite Postal Service bureaucrat, Louis DeJoy. And – bad news for him – it involves the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Meanwhile, a United Nations report from Libya reveals that, possibly for the first time, a drone powered by artificial intelligence selected, pursued and attacked human targets – all on its own. That'll be enough about the wonders of technology, thanks. And lastly, the Biden administration is stepping up US shipments of coronavirus vaccines to foreign countries in a big way. It's an overdue but welcome measure to fight the virus in places where it's still spreading out of control. THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW: He's one of Trump's last holdovers, but maybe not for long. The Washington Post reports that the FBI is investigating Postmaster General Louis DeJoy in connection with campaign fundraising activity involving his former business. FBI agents in recent weeks interviewed current and former employees of DeJoy and the business, asking questions about political contributions and company activities. Prosecutors also issued a subpoena to DeJoy himself. A DeJoy spokesman confirmed the investigation but insisted DeJoy had not knowingly violated any laws. The inquiries could signal legal peril for the controversial head of the nation's mail service – though DeJoy has not been charged with any crimes. Asked yesterday whether President Joe Biden believed DeJoy should step down, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden would leave the process to the Department of Justice. The Post says DeJoy – who was appointed to run the Postal Service by its board of governors last May – has been dogged by controversy for almost his entire time in office. Soon after starting in the job, he imposed cost-cutting moves that mail carriers blamed for creating backlogs across the country. Democrats accused the prominent GOP fundraiser, who personally gave more than $1.1 million to Trump's reelection campaign and the Republican Party, of trying to undermine his own organization because of Trump's distrust of mail-in voting. And they were totally right about that. But it seems it'll be other, previously hidden misdeeds that bring down this dastardly saboteur. Hey, whatever does the trick. UN Report: AI Drone Attacked Humans This preview of the next Terminator movie comes from the New York Times. A military drone that attacked soldiers during a battle in Libya's civil war last year may have done so without human control, according to a recent report commissioned by the United Nations. The drone, which the report described as a lethal autonomous weapons systems, was powered by artificial intelligence. It was used by forces backed by the government based in Tripoli, the capital, against enemy militia fighters as they ran away from rocket attacks. The fighters were hunted down and remotely engaged by the drone, according to the report. It did not say whether there were any casualties or injuries. The weapons systems, it said, were "programmed to attack targets without requiring data connectivity between the operator and the munition: in effect a true fire, forget and find capability.: The Kargu-2 was built by STM, a defense company based in Turkey. The Times says the report has been sent to a UN sanctions committee for review. The drone, a Kargu-2, was used as soldiers tried to flee. Once in retreat, they were subject to continual harassment from the drone, according to the report, which was written by the UN Panel of Experts on Libya. Zachary Kallenborn, a researcher who studies drone warfare at the University of Maryland, said the report suggested that for the first time, a weapons systems with artificial intelligence capability operated autonomously to find and attack humans. What a landmark. Oh boy. Biden Boosts Overseas Vaccine Shipments This global pandemic update comes from the Associated Press. President Biden announced yesterday that the US will donate a first tranche of twenty five million doses of surplus vaccine overseas through the UN-backed Covax program. The donation promises infusions for South and Central America, Asia, Africa and others at a time of glaring shortages abroad and more than ample supplies at home. The doses mark a substantial – and immediate – boost to the lagging Covax effort, which to date has shared just seventy six million doses with needy countries. The announcement came just hours after World Health Organization officials in Africa made a new plea for vaccine sharing because of an alarming situation on the continent, where shipments have ground to a near halt while virus cases have spiked. The AP says that overall, the White House has announced plans to share eighty million doses globally by the end of June. Of the first nineteen million donated through Covax, approximately six million doses will go to South and Central America, seven million to Asia and five million to Africa. The remaining six million in the initial distribution will be directed to US allies and partners. In a statement, Biden said, "As long as this pandemic is raging anywhere in the world, the American people will still be vulnerable. And the United States is committed to bringing the same urgency to international vaccination efforts that we have demonstrated at home.". Remember, this isn't over until it's over everywhere. AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES: The Guardian reports that the Ethiopian government has brushed aside international calls for a ceasefire in the province of Tigray, saying its forces will soon eliminate all armed opposition. The UN said earlier this week that more than ninety percent of people in Tigray need emergency food aid. Between the starvation and the atrocities, it's a true horrorshow. ABC News reports that workers at a South Dakota meatpacking plant that became a coronavirus hotspot last year are considering a strike after contract negotiations between Smithfield Foods and the union have stalled. The Sioux Falls chapter of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union said workers have risked their health and lives throughout the pandemic, arguing the company should do more for its employees. Who can argue? According to Politico, federal prosecutors are examining whether Representative Matt Gaetz obstructed justice during a phone call he had with a witness in the sex-crimes investigation of the Florida congressman. The obstruction inquiry stems from a phone call the witness had with Gaetz's ex-girlfriend. At some point during the conversation, the ex-girlfriend patched Gaetz into the call. Awkward! The AP reports that George P. Bush this week launched his next political move: a run for Texas attorney general in 2022. Bush, who has served as Texas' land commissioner since 2015, is the son of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. He is the last of the Bush family still in public office. Now that's worth a good clap. AM QUICKIE - JUNE 4, 2021 HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner WRITER - Corey Pein PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

    June 3, 2021: Democrats Pressure Manchin On Voting Rights; Sri Lanka Faces Environmental Disaster; Stimulus Checks Reduced Hunger, Anxiety

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 3, 2021 7:32

    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by TODAY'S HEADLINES: Democrats including President Joe Biden are losing patience with Senator Joe Manchin. He's waffling on supporting a nationwide voting rights package that could be crucial to the party's electoral future. Meanwhile, cleanup and containment efforts are underway off the coast of Sri Lanka, where a sinking container ship threatens environmental disaster. The beaches are suffocated with tiny plastic pellets, and now there are worries about an oil spill, as well. And lastly, the evidence is in on the effects of the stimulus checks that went out to Americans earlier this year, and guess what – they really helped people! It looks like there's something to the old saying that the problem with poor people is that they don't have enough money. THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW: This spotlight on a weak link in the ruling Congressional coalition comes from the Washington Post. Democratic leaders and activists are stepping up pressure on Senator Joe Manchin to support legislation to fight Republican-led voting restrictions across the country. Party officials are concluding that the battle over voting rights could come down to what the centrist Democrat from West Virginia does. In a rare show of public frustration with his own party on Tuesday, President Biden appeared to lash out at Manchin when he accused a pair of unnamed senators of aligning too closely with Republicans and stalling efforts to pass sweeping voting standards. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer recently announced that his chamber would vote this month on a House-passed elections bill co-sponsored by every Democratic senator except Manchin – a move that would force Manchin to pick a side. Even some of Manchin's Democratic colleagues are beginning to prod him more aggressively to join their cause, while activists and civil rights leaders are loudly decrying his hesitation. According to the Post, Manchin has said his overriding concern is a lack of bipartisan support for the measure. But Democrats increasingly see an existential threat from Republican-led state governments determined to place new limits on voting, which critics say would disproportionately affect voters of color, a core part of the Democratic coalition. One Democratic congressional aide said panic is the right word to describe the mood in the party. By all rights, though, Manchin is the one who should be sweating. Sri Lanka Faces Environmental Disaster This is just tragic. NBC News reports that a cargo ship laden with chemicals sank yesterday after nearly two weeks ablaze off the west coast of Sri Lanka, worsening fears of a major environmental disaster. The vessel has already left the country's coastline covered in tons of plastic pellets and now threatens to spill oil into its rich fishing waters. The government has banned fishing, a crucial industry, along fifty miles of coast in the wake of the incident. Authorities have also deployed hundreds of soldiers to clean affected beaches and warned residents not to touch the debris because it could be contaminated with harmful chemicals. Where there was once gold sand and coconut trees, there is now a sea of plastic waste. A Sri Lankan Navy spokesman told NBC News yesterday that an effort to tow the ship into deeper waters was not successful and had to be abandoned halfway through. Silva said there was water inside the ship and their main concern was the possibility of an oil spill, although they had not yet observed any oil slicks. The fire-ravaged ship was transporting one thousand four hundred and eight six containers, including twenty five tons of nitric acid, along with other chemicals and cosmetics. As the fire was being extinguished, flaming containers laden with chemicals had fallen from the ship's deck or broken open on the deck, spilling their cargo into the sea. It shows how our economic system sometimes does damage that cannot be undone. Stimulus Checks Reduced Hunger, Anxiety This social science deep dive comes from the New York Times. In offering Americans two rounds of stimulus checks in the past six months, totaling $2,000 a person, the government effectively conducted a huge experiment in safety net policy. A new analysis of Census Bureau surveys argues that the two latest rounds of aid significantly improved Americans' ability to buy food and pay household bills and reduced anxiety and depression. The largest benefits went to the poorest households and those with children. The analysis offers the fullest look at hardship reduction under the stimulus aid. Among households with children, reports of food shortages fell forty two percent from January through April. A broader gauge of financial instability fell forty three percent. Among all households, frequent anxiety and depression fell by more than twenty percent. The largest declines in measures of hardship coincided with the $600 checks that reached most people in January and the $1,400 checks mostly distributed in April. According to the Times, the aggressive use of stimulus checks coincides with growing interest in broad cash payments as a tool in social policy. The evidence that they can have an immediate effect on the economic strains afflicting many households could influence that debate. Starting in July, the government will mail up to $300 a month per child to most families in a yearlong expansion of the child tax credit that Democrats want to make permanent. But this research raises another question: Why not two grand for everyone, every month? AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES: CNN reports that the US military has apologized after soldiers accidentally stormed a factory in Bulgaria during a training exercise last month. The factory produces machinery for making olive oil. Luckily, no weapons were fired. Bulgarian President Rumen Radev condemned the incident and said he expects there will be an investigation. It's like a Three Stooges routine about US imperialism. According to the Guardian, the climate crisis is causing a widespread fall in oxygen levels in lakes across the world, suffocating wildlife and threatening drinking water supplies. A study, published in the journal Nature, analysed data collected from nearly four hundred lakes worldwide. Humanity is really doing a number on marine life, maybe we should ease up. The Associated Press reports that the NFL yesterday pledged to halt the use of race- norming – which assumed Black players started out with lower cognitive function – in the $1 billion settlement of brain injury claims. The league will also review past scores for any potential race bias. More than two thousand NFL retirees have filed dementia claims, but fewer than six hundred have received awards. And this racist policy was one reason why. The Washington Post reports that Donald Trump's blog, celebrated by advisers as a beacon of freedom that would keep him relevant, is dead. It was twenty nine days old. Upset by reports highlighting its measly readership, Trump ordered his team Tuesday to put the blog out of its misery. My kingdom for a verified Twitter account! AM QUICKIE - JUNE 3, 2021 HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner WRITER - Corey Pein PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

    June 2, 2021: Cyberattack Closes Beef Plants; Trump Back to Rallies; Biden Pitches Global Tax Hike

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 2, 2021 7:55

    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by TODAY'S HEADLINES: Last time it was an oil pipeline, this time it's meat processors. Another cyberattack has thrown global commerce into chaos. Meanwhile, Donald Trump is getting ready to make his return to the rally circuit, on behalf of loyal Republican candidates in several states. We knew this day would come, but for decency's sake, we wish it could've waited a while longer. And lastly, President Joe Biden is on the diplomatic circuit trying to persuade other countries to raise taxes on multinational corporations. The basic idea is, if everyone does it at once, there will be nowhere for the tax dodgers to hide. THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW: Hold the beef. No, really. The beef is on hold until further notice. Bloomberg News reports that a cyberattack on JBS, the largest meat producer globally, has forced the shutdown of some of world's largest slaughterhouses. There are signs that the closures are spreading. JBS's five biggest beef plants in the US – which handle twenty three thousand cattle a day – have halted processing following a weekend attack on the company's networks. Those outages alone have wiped out nearly a fifth of America's production. Slaughter operations across Australia were also down. One of Canada's largest beef plants was idled. But it's unclear exactly how many plants globally have been affected by the attack. The prospect of more extensive shutdowns is already upending agricultural markets and raising concerns about food security as hackers increasingly target critical infrastructure. Bloomberg says the White House has offered assistance to JBS. The company notified the Biden administration on Sunday of a cyberattack from a criminal organization likely based in Russia. Biden has directed the administration to mitigate the impact on the meat supply. Any substantial disruption in meat processing would further stoke mounting political concerns about the concentration of the meat industry. Four giant companies control more than eighty percent of US beef processing. Rural lawmakers recently pressed the Justice Department for action on an anti-trust investigation of the beef industry launched last year. There's nothing like a massive ransomware attack to bring home the dangers of unchecked corporate consolidation! At least some cows are happy. Trump To Hold Rallies Again Did you miss him? Neither did we. NBC News reports that Donald Trump returns to the electoral battlefield Saturday as the marquee speaker at the North Carolina Republican Party's state convention. He plans to follow up with several more rallies in June and July to keep his base engaged in the 2022 midterms and give him the option of seeking the presidency again in 2024. While his schedule isn't set, his coming stops are likely to include efforts to help Ohio congressional candidate Max Miller, a former White House aide looking to win a primary against Representative Anthony Gonzales, who voted to impeach Trump; Jody Hice, who is trying to unseat fellow Republican Brad Raffensperger as Georgia secretary of state, after Raffensperger defied Trump; and Alabama Senate candidate Mo Brooks. Democrats are also looking ahead to the midterms. Politico reports that with their fragile House majority on the line, many Democrats are imploring their colleagues not to take the bait after last November's referendum on Trump ended up costing their party a dozen seats. Instead, those Democrats are eager to deploy a policy-heavy playbook to help stave off a potential midterm whipping. Some in the party are contending that their midterm strategy should resemble that of 2018 – when their party netted forty seats to wrest back the majority. That year, Democratic candidates pummeled their GOP opponents on health care, rather than Trump, and it worked. Besides, Donald Trump won't be the ballot – and Joe Biden's honeymoon will be long over. Biden Pitches Global Tax Hike This look at a possible global corporate tax crackdown comes from the Washington Post. Finance ministers from Group of Seven nations meeting in London on Friday are expected to back President Biden's call for a global minimum tax on corporate profits. The new minimum tax is designed to halt a cycle of corporate tax-cutting that has sapped government revenue around the globe. Biden catalyzed the debate in late May by proposing a worldwide minimum tax of at least fifteen percent, which was lower than many tax specialists had expected. If he can secure agreement from the world's leading democracies, it could produce the most significant global tax shift in decades. Putting a floor beneath multinationals' tax bills in other countries would help the president raise the corporate rate at home to twenty eight percent. The Post says that along with opposition from corporate lobbyists, additional obstacles loom, including objections from low-tax countries such as Ireland, as well as likely noncompliance from China and Russia. Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo said the goal is to make sure multinationals are paying their fair share. The president also aims to shrink the role that tax calculations play in corporate investment decisions. Even without action by other nations, the Biden administration expects to reap more than $533 billion over the next decade by reducing incentives for US corporations to shift assets abroad. Corporate taxes could always be higher, but it took generations for them to get so low. This is welcome news. AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES: The New York Times reports that the the Biden administration yesterday suspended oil drilling leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge that were issued in the waning days of the Trump administration. Arctic tribal leaders who have protested oil drilling praised the move. Let's hope the new rule sticks around longer than the next presidential election. Politico reports that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis yesterday signed into law a policy banning transgender athletes from playing girls and women's sports. Democrats disavow the policy, claiming it's unwarranted, fuels transphobia and discriminates against transgender students. Of course, for Republicans like DeSantis, those are the selling points. According to the Jerusalem Post, the state of Arizona is preparing to execute inmates on death row using Zyklon B, the same gas used by the Nazis in death camp gas chambers. The Arizona corrections department has spent more than $2,000 on the ingredients required to make the deadly gas. The Republican-controlled state has not carried out any executions since 2014, but they are now working towards reinstating capital punishment. Yikes. CNN reports that Nike and other major sponsors have come out in support of tennis star Naomi Osaka following her decision to withdraw from the French Open. Announcing her decision to withdraw, she revealed that she has suffered long bouts of depression since winning her first Grand Slam title in 2018. It's quite a moment of visibility and acceptance for everyone suffering from mental illness. Which, in pandemic times, is pretty much everyone. AM QUICKIE - JUNE 2, 2021 HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner WRITER - Corey Pein PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

    June 1, 2021: Texas Dems Walk Out to Block Bill; Biden Immigration Plans Leak; Colombia Protests Get Bloodier

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 1, 2021 7:07

    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by TODAY'S HEADLINES: Texas Democrats staged a late-night walkout in the state's capitol to briefly block the local GOP's sweeping voter suppression bill, but the fight is far from over. Meanwhile, the New York Times obtained documents showing how Joe Biden is attempting to overhaul the country's immigration system. And lastly, Colombia's government ramps up its attacks on protesters and deploys thousands of troops to combat a social movement against police brutality and income inequality, while the U.N. calls for an end to the violence. THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW: The battle for voting rights in America is boiling over in Texas. The GOP there has passed one of the most restrictive voting bills we've seen this far, and the state's minority Democratic caucus is doing everything in their power to stop it actually becoming a law. Texas's embattled Democrats did everything they could to slow down the bill in the State Senate, where it was eventually passed on Sunday. It then went to the House, with a looming legislative deadline attached. At around 10:35 on Sunday evening, the leader of the State House Democratic Caucus told all his members to just pick up and leave the building. This move deprived the Republicans of the minimum number of members needed to start a vote and forced the House Speaker to adjourn the session around 11 p.m. Even though the GOP would have won that vote on party lines, the Democrats realized they could run out the clock by simply refusing to play, and therefore throw a big wrench in the Republican's voter suppression plans. Now, Governor Gregg Abbott says he'll call a special legislative session, which will give the GOP another chance to pass a similar bill. They'll have to start over, but could just cannibalize the old bill or even make it worse. But still, the Texas Democrats fight this weekend is an example of how difficult the Democrats should be making this kind of thing across the country. There are similar voter suppression bills being voted on or already passed in over half a dozen other states around the country already, and it's going to take a lot more political hardball to shut them down, especially as federal efforts to ensure the right to vote are moving at a glacial pace. Biden Immigration Plans Leak The New York Times has obtained 46-page draft of President Biden's prospective plan to reform the United States' immigration system. According to the Times' the Clif notes version of this plan is pretty promising. Biden wants to make everything simpler, with shorter forms, fewer security hoops, and more chances for families to join one another and secure work visas. He wants to clear the Trump-era backlog of immigration applications and generally expand the legal immigration process in all the ways that Trump crushed it, particularly by letting in more asylum seekers and granting more work visas. The Times reports that most of Biden's plans can be put in place without going through Congress, which means they'll skip the chaotic gridlock that dominates our national legislature at the moment. The White House didn't comment on the Times story, but hopefully they'll have some public plans out soon. All of this is good, and should be expected after the utter barbarism of the Trump administration. But we've got to take it with a grain of salt: this is still just reform of a system that has failed so many needy people. The Times story at least doesn't mention some of the more progressive immigration policies advocates have been pushing for for years, like pathways to citizenship for currently undocumented people. For that, Biden will likely have to navigate the gauntlet on Capitol Hill. Colombia Protests Get Bloodier Protests in the Colombian city of Cali, and across the country, have intensified in recent days, after President Ivan Duque ordered 7,000 troops to the city. The resulting violence has killed 14 protesters since May 28, and injured 98, the majority of which were shot by the government's guns, according to the U.N. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights voiced “deep concern” over the situation and called for an end to the violence, which is about par for the course when a country starts shooting its own citizens in the street. The current protest movement in Colombia has been running for most of May, after tensions over pandemic-era tax reforms spiraled into mounting protests against police brutality. The New York Times reports that Colombia's police forces have been heavily militarized for decades due to their clashes with guerilla groups and drug cartels, but when domestic protests broke out, those guns were turned on ordinary people. At least 42 people have died since the protests began, including the 14 that were killed just this weekend. The country's leadership under Duque, meanwhile, has denied that police brutality is a widespread problem. The death tolls and grieving families there make that kind of talk pretty hard to swallow. AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES: Israel's always confusing, often corrupt government appears to be headed toward a parliamentary compromise that would oust Benjamin Netanyahu from power. There only problem is his likely successor would be either an ultra-nationalist who has boasted of killing Arabs or a centrist former TV host. Not the greatest options there. China announced on Sunday that it would allow its citizens to have up to three children, further relaxing the country's long standing restrictive child policies amid nationwide worries of population decline. But the New York Times reports that experts say the new policies don't do enough to actually help people raise families, noting the lack of child care and workplace protections for mothers. The Washington Post reports that finance ministers from each of the G-7 countries are expected to back Biden's push for a global minimum tax on corporate products during a meeting in London on Friday. This will be one to watch over the next few weeks, as Biden's facing an uphill fight to get corporations to pay even a shred of what they owe to the people who create their riches. And finally, the Biden administration announced on Monday that Biden's new direct cash payments for childcare benefits will start hitting parents' bank accounts as early as July 15, giving a much-needed boost for many families as we emerge from the pandemic. AM QUICKIE - June 1, 2021 HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner WRITER - Jack Crosbie PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

    May 28, 2021: Big Biden Budget Battle Brewing; UN Opens Gaza Inquiry; Sanders Rallies For College Athletes

    Play Episode Listen Later May 28, 2021 8:09

    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by TODAY'S HEADLINES: The Biden administration will today unveil its biggest and sure to be most controversial proposal yet – for a $6 trillion federal budget. And from child care to electric vehicles, there's a lot in there for Republicans to cry over. Meanwhile, the United Nations is launching an unprecedented, open-ended inquiry into the root causes of the latest violence in Gaza. War crimes may be found on both sides, but Israel has made clear it does not welcome the scrutiny. And lastly, hard-working college athletes could finally get what's due to them. Senators Bernie Sanders and Chris Murphy want to give them the right to form unions and bargain collectively with colleges. THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW: Why can't we have nice things? Politico reports that President Joe Biden continues to negotiate with Republicans on his big-ticket spending plans. But yesterday, when he left Washington for Ohio, he mocked them for voting against the coronavirus recovery package and then turning around and promoting the bill. In a speech at Cuyahoga Community College, Biden said his trillions of dollars in proposals are already igniting economic recovery and creating millions of jobs following the coronavirus pandemic. Back in Washington, Senate Republicans sent Biden their latest proposal, but the $928 billion infrastructure plan is still hundreds of billions less than the White House's last offer of $1.7 trillion. And there's an even bigger budget fight brewing. The New York Times reports Biden will propose a $6 trillion budget today that would take the United States to its highest levels of federal spending since World War Two. Biden is looking to fund a sweeping economic agenda that includes new investments in education, transportation and fighting climate change. The budget request includes money for roads, water pipes, broadband internet, electric vehicle charging stations and advanced manufacturing research. It also envisions funding for affordable child care, universal prekindergarten and a national paid leave program. Spending on national defense would also grow, though it would decline as a share of the economy. Biden plans to fund his agenda by raising taxes on corporations and high earners. The documents show budget deficits shrinking in the 2030s. So maybe we can have nice things after all. UN Opens Gaza Inquiry his diplomatic dispatch comes from the Guardian. The UN's main human rights body will launch an investigation into systematic discrimination and repression in Israel and Palestine, with the aim of identifying the root causes of recent Gaza bloodshed. The proposal, called at the request of Muslim states, was passed by the forty seven-member United Nations human rights council yesterday. Opening the session in Geneva, the UN rights chief, Michelle Bachelet (Ba-chuh-let), said Israel's attacks on Gaza this month could constitute war crimes if they were found to be disproportionate. She also accused Hamas of firing indiscriminate rockets on Israel. Bachelet, a former president of Chile, called the death and injury of children in the conflict "a source of shame for all." According to the Guardian, Bachelet said the Gaza violence was directly linked to protests in Jerusalem that began weeks beforehand, which she said were met with a heavy response from Israeli security forces. She said two factors led to the escalation – the imminent eviction of Palestinians under forced displacement in the neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah; and Israel's use of excessive force against Palestinian protesters, including at the al-Aqsa mosque. Yesterday's resolution received twenty four votes in favour, nine against and fourteen abstentions. The US didn't vote because it is not a member of the council. Israel and its allies, including the US, have accused the UN of anti-Israel bias. Criticize away, but is anyone better suited than UN investigators to establish the facts of the situation? Sanders Rallies For College Athletes College sports break! The Washington Post reports that a new bill from Congressional Democrats would allow college athletes to unionize, making it possible for students from across universities to band together to form unions within athletic conferences. The bill from Senators Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Chris Murphy of Connecticut would rewrite federal labor law to define all college athletes receiving scholarships and other pay as employees of both public and private universities. It would be a significant reimagining of the college sports landscape. And it would open a door to athletes receiving additional compensation from colleges by bargaining over wages, working conditions, revenue sharing agreements, and other rights afforded to employees. The Post says the bill, called the College Athlete Right to Organize Act, is unlikely to pass in the current Congress. A companion bill introduced by three House Democrats has also not found any Republican co-sponsors. But it has created substantial momentum in Congress to pass legislation that would set a single standard for how athletes can earn income, rather than a patchwork of conflicting state laws. In a statement yesterday, Sanders linked the right of athletes to form a union to the fight to earn money through their personal brands. He said, "College athletes are workers. ... We cannot wait for the NCAA to share its billions with the workers who create it.". The NCAA put out a statement condemning the bill. But of course they did – they don't want to share the wealth! AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES: The Associated Press reports that Senate Republicans are poised to deploy the filibuster to block a commission on the January 6th insurrection. The GOP maneuver may shatter chances for a bipartisan probe of the deadly assault on the US Capitol and revive pressure to do away with the procedural tactic. Indeed, why give the Republicans a veto? According to the Washington Post, Amazon and other retailers are opposing a bipartisan measure in Congress that would require online sellers to clearly state where their products are made. Current laws don't force online retailers to include this information. Sounds like a fine loophole if you sell tons of cheap junk made god-knows-where! The Seattle Times reports that three Tacoma, Washington police officers will face criminal charges in the March 2020 killing of Manuel Ellis, a thirty three-year-old Black man whose death sparked widespread calls for justice. State Attorney General Bob Ferguson said yesterday he will charge officers Christopher Burbank and Matthew Collins with second- degree murder, and Timothy Rankine with first-degree manslaughter. More consequences for violent cops – let's get it trending! The New York Times reports that the New York City Council voted overwhelmingly yesterday to expand a subsidy program that could make apartments affordable to tens of thousands of people who are homeless or threatened with eviction. The council voted to sharply increase the value of housing vouchers provided by the city. The value of the new vouchers would be in line with fair market rent. So they're actually useful? Imagine that. MAY 28, 2021 - AM QUICKIE HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner WRITER - Corey Pein PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

    May 27, 2021: Citizen Scraps Private Police App; Biden Orders Review Of Virus Origins; Exxon Shareholders Revolt Over Clean Energy

    Play Episode Listen Later May 27, 2021 7:45

    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by TODAY'S HEADLINES: One of the sketchiest libertarian venture capitalists in America planned to launch an app to summon a private police force by smartphone. Today we are pleased to report that, thanks to negative publicity, the rent-a-cop app is being scrapped. Meanwhile, President Joe Biden has given US intelligence agencies ninety days to figure out where the coronavirus came from. And he says they’ll be entertaining a theory favored by many Republicans, that the virus somehow escaped from a lab in China. And lastly, activist shareholders, with the support of public pension funds, won a vote forcing Exxon Mobil to hire directors who favor clean energy. It’s a massive defeat for Exxon management and a repudiation of the company’s old, planet-destroying ways. THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW: This dispatch from the dystopia comes from CBS News. The crowdsourcing crime- tracking app Citizen, whose earliest backers include the venture capitalist billionaire Peter Thiel, is ditching plans to develop a private police force that could be summoned by users via the smartphone app. The company began offering the service in Los Angeles last month as a pilot program. For the service, Citizen partnered with a private firm called Los Angeles Professional Security, which describes itself as a provider of subscription law enforcement. But on Tuesday, Citizen ended the program, stating it has no plans to launch a similar service elsewhere. The company's decision follows more than a week of negative publicity for the popular app, which uses cellphone-location data to alert users of potential safety hazards, emergencies and criminal activity in their area. CBS reports that as Citizen's popularity has grown, so, too, has its number of critics, who say the app raises privacy issues as well as racial bias. Matthew Guariglia, a policy analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, called the app "a digital superhighway for racial profiling," In mid-May, the app misidentified a homeless person as the source of a recent wildfire in Los Angeles. Citizen posted pictures of the man, and offered a $30,000 reward to anyone who could provide information leading to his arrest. A few days later, a different man was arrested for the crime. If you think the regular police are bad, wait until you see what Silicon Valley comes up with. Biden Orders Review Of Virus Origins This update on the politics of the pandemic comes from the Washington Post. President Biden said yesterday that he has asked the intelligence community to determine the origin of the coronavirus pandemic. It’s a major departure from the previous White House position that the World Health Organization should lead efforts to uncover the contagion’s origin. Biden has asked for a report within ninety days. The new message from the White House reflects the rapidly changing views about the origins of the virus. In recent weeks, a theory has gained more support that the source of the coronavirus may have emerged from the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China, though that is far from proved. Some Republicans pushed the idea early on, including Donald Trump. But the idea was dismissed by many influential scientists and Democrats. The Post says that in recent weeks, some prominent researchers have begun arguing that the lab theory should remain on the table until more is known. And a series of reports in the Wall Street Journal, including one that highlighted how several people who work at the Wuhan lab became sick in fall 2019 with Covid-like symptoms, has been part of a reexamination. Biden said one element of the US intelligence community leans toward the view that the novel coronavirus came from a laboratory accident. Two other components, on the other hand, believe the virus came from animal-to-human contact. But are American spies really well- suited to make this determination, especially without Chinese cooperation? Exxon Shareholders Revolt Over Clean Energy You love to see it. The New York Times says Big Oil was knocked down a peg yesterday. Shareholders of Exxon Mobil dealt the company’s management a stunning defeat by electing at least two board candidates who pledged to steer the company away from oil and gas and toward cleaner energy. The success of the campaign, led by a tiny hedge fund against the nation’s largest oil company, could force the energy industry to confront climate change. Analysts could not recall another time that Exxon management had lost a vote against company-picked directors. The vote reveals the growing power that giant Wall Street firms now have to press corporate managements to pursue social goals. According to the Times, the hedge fund leading this campaign, Engine Number One, was seeking to defeat four of the company’s twelve director candidates. Its victory is the culmination of years of efforts by activists to force the oil giant to change its environmental policies. Some big pension funds, including the New York State Common Retirement Fund and the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, had joined the effort. In another sign of change, shareholders of Chevron, the second largest US oil company, yesterday voted for a proposal to reduce emissions from the fuel the company makes and sells. And in the Netherlands, a court required Royal Dutch Shell to reduce its emissions by forty five percent by 2030. One day these companies will be only a memory, and the world will be better for it. AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES: The Los Angeles Times reports that nine people were killed, including the gunman, in a shooting yesterday morning at a San Jose rail yard. The suspect set his own house on fire, then drove to a Valley Transportation Authority union meeting and began shooting, law enforcement sources said. Sympathy and solidarity to all affected. The Washington Post reports that Amazon will buy MGM Holdings from its investment- group owners, paying $8.45 billion billion to put the historic studio in the hands of the retailing giant. The Post is also owned by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, but we aren’t, so we can say he has enough money, power and cultural influence, already. According to the Associated Press, President Biden is nominating former senior State Department official Nicholas Burns to serve as his ambassador to China, and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to be his ambassador to India. Prominent Democratic fundraisers Denise Bauer, Jane Hartley and David Cohen have also emerged as leading contenders for postings in France, Italy and Canada, respectively. Gotta love those patronage jobs! Good news! The New York Times reports that immunity to the coronavirus lasts at least a year, possibly a lifetime, improving over time – especially after vaccination. That’s according to two new studies, both in the journal Nature. The results suggest that people who have recovered from Covid-19 and later been vaccinated will continue to have high levels of protection against emerging variants, even without a vaccine booster. So there’s a silver lining for survivors. AM QUICKIE - MAY 27, 2021 HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner WRITER - Corey Pein PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

    May 26, 2021: Congress Prepping Bezos Bailout; Biden OK's Israel Arms Deal; Centrists Cash in Conservative Clout

    Play Episode Listen Later May 26, 2021 7:12

    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by TODAY'S HEADLINES: The Intercept reports that the Senate is preparing a $10 billion bailout fund for Jeff Bezos’s vanity spaceflight company Blue Origin. Meanwhile, the State Department approves a $735 million arms deal to Israel, while sending only a paltry 5 million to Palestinian reconstruction efforts. And lastly, Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema try to leverage their conservative clout to beg Republicans to support a commission to investigate the January 6 insurrection. THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW: The hottest luxury for billionaires right now is a private space company. Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are both in on the trend, but the former’s big rocket adventure isn’t going so well. But don’t worry! Our government is preparing to save him. The Intercept reported that Bezos’s company Blue Origin recently lost out on a massive, multi-billion dollar government contract to Elon Musk’s SpaceX. But now, Congress is trying to slip in an amendment to a bill that would make sure Blue Origin still gets a big chunk of taxpayer money. According to the Intercept, the slush money was added in as an amendment to the Endless Frontier Act by Washington Senator Maria Cantwell. It would go to NASA first, which would then use it for a Blue Origin contract. And quick: you’ve got one guess as to where Blue Origin’s headquarters are. That’s right, Washington. The amendment might face some opposition, however. Bernie Sanders quickly slid in an amendment of his own to cut out the $10 billion, telling the Intercept quote: “It does not make a lot of sense to me that we would provide billions of dollars to a company owned by the wealthiest guy in America.” That’s a great point, Bernie! It’s worth placing some of this information in the wider context, which is that spaceflight in general is becoming more and more privatized. Instead of NASA building the ships that carry our astronauts and satellites to the ISS and beyond, those contracts are now going to people like Musk and Bezos. The specific contract Blue Origin lost was to put astronauts on the moon, something we haven’t done since 1972. The difference is back then, we could truly say we the people put someone on the moon. Now, we can only say we paid for a private company to do it. White House OK's Israel Arms Deal On Tuesday, the Biden Administration officially committed to sending $5 million in relief funds to rebuild Palestine’s bombed-out Gaza strip. But days before that, it also agreed to send an order of magnitude more in deadly weapons to Israel. Jewish Currents magazine reports that on May 21, the Biden State department granted the U.S. based company Boeing an export license to sell $735 million worth of laser guided munitions to Israel. If you remember, this is the arms deal that progressives in the House and Senate were trying to stop. Jewish Currents reports that Bernie Sanders office learned that the sale had been greenlit on Friday, and immediately used his leverage to place a hold on all new State Department nominations, stopping them from being approved by the Senate. Sanders only lifted that hold when the Biden administration committed to some humanitarian relief for Gaza. But the dollar amounts at play tell the whole story. The government is letting Israel buy $735 million in U.S. bombs, which makes its 5 million in relief to Gazans seem like pennies. As Jewish Currents notes, that’s a pretty good indication that the Biden Administration’s policy toward Israel’s violence in Palestine is going to look like much more of the same. Manchin and Sinema Cash in Conservative Clout Democrats Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema have spent the first months of the Biden Presidency building clout with their colleagues across the aisle, largely by stopping their own party from getting anything done. Now, they’re finally cashing that in, in a last-ditch attempt to get several GOP Senators to support the creation of a January 6 commission. The proposed commission would be modeled after the one that investigated the 9/11 attacks, and represents basically the only shot at getting a formal government breakdown of who did what during the Capitol Insurrection. The GOP, of course, largely does not want this to happen, probably because several of their colleagues were directly involved or implicated. The proposal was somewhat bipartisan, and won 35 votes in the House. But in the Senate, it’s in trouble, because Mitch McConnell unsurprisingly does not want to play ball, calling the commission a quote “purely political exercise” endquote. Instead Manchin and Synema are reportedly working the same little cadre of moderate Republicans like Mitt Romney and Susan Collins, some of whom want tweaks to the commission to give the GOP more power over how it works. We’ll see if all that boot-licking and bill-sabotaging pays off for them! AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES: The New York Times reports that the Navy has finally dropped its opposition to parts of the California coast being used for wind farms, clearing the way for the Biden Administration to push forward on a long-sought clean energy goal. One more note about the Democratic spoiler crew mentioned in our third story tonight: the Washington Post reports that the bipartisan centrist lobby is now privately designing a new and not-improved version of Biden’s ambitious infrastructure bill in case the first one falls apart. That’s progress, baby! Moving steadily backwards. Daniella Frazier, the 17-year-old girl who filmed Derek Chauvin’s murdering George Floyd last year, spoke publicly for the first time in a Facebook post. Here’s a quote: “It changed me. It changed how I viewed life. It made me realize how dangerous it is to be Black in America. We shouldn’t have to walk on eggshells around police officers, the same people that are supposed to protect and serve.” And finally, the CDC says it will stop investigating mild COVID infections in vaccinated adults, indicating that they’re confident that the vast majority of these breakthrough cases will not be life-threatening. The vaccines, it seems, are doing their jobs, though the Washington Post reports that some scientists are lamenting the loss of potential data. AM QUICKIE - MAY 26, 2021 HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner WRITER - Jack Crosbie PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

    May 25, 2021: New COVID Variant Spreading; Supreme Court Turns Down Firing Squad Request; One Year Since George Floyd

    Play Episode Listen Later May 25, 2021 6:20

    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by TODAY'S HEADLINES: A new coronavirus variant that has been ravaging India is now spreading throughout the UK and other European countries, and could pose problems in communities that haven’t yet received a vaccine. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court turns down a request by a Mississippi inmate on death row who asked to be executed by a firing squad. And lastly, George Floyd died one year ago today, and while activists have won some victories in the struggle since, police department funding is rising again as the status quo re asserts itself. THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW: The new coronavirus variant that has been fueling India’s out of control epidemic has made its way to Europe, where researchers are starting to get a picture of what it represents for the future of the pandemic. First, some good news: existing vaccines still offer pretty high levels of protection against this variant. But like others before it, there is evidence that it is more infectious, according to a report by the New York Times. So far, the U.S. has only detected 800 cases of this specific variant, which is called B dot 1 dot 617 dot 2. You’d be forgiven for not keeping track of all these numbered variants -- there’s a simpler way to interpret this news. The newer variants of the virus are more infectious, which means they eventually slowly replace the older strains in places they make it to. What this means is that they’ll be particularly dangerous to unvaccinated communities, and as both America and the general global vaccination efforts slow down, this is what we’re going to be dealing with. The Times reports that people who have only gotten one shot of the vaccine should still be careful, as the more infectious strains are more resistant to the vaccine. In other words, like most of the scary news of new variants, the advice here is the same: keep track of your own risks and stay safe until you’re fully vaxxed. Supreme Court Turns Down Firing Squad Request The Supreme Court on Monday turned down a request from Mississippi death row inmate Ernest Johnson, who asked to be executed by firing squad. The Court’s conservative majority voted to not hear the case, despite strong dissent from the bench’s liberals. Johnson suffers from epilepsy, and was requesting a firing squad as he fears that lethal injection will cause incredibly painful seizures. The Court’s liberals fiercely argued for Johnson’s right to choose his death. While a firing squad may be unusual and barbaric, evidence suggests that it’s also a much quicker and less painful death than lethal injection or the electric chair. Stephen Breyer wrote in his dissent that Johnson’s petition was simple. Quote: “In other words, he asks that the courts decide between an execution that is ‘cruel’ and one that is ‘unusual.” Johnson had previously petitioned to be executed with nitrogen gas rather than lethal injection, and was turned down by a lower federal court. He then tried to amend this petition to request the firing squad, which was the decision the Supreme Court decided not to hear. One Year Since George Floyd George Floyd died one year ago today. After months of protests, activists won some key reforms, but now the status quo is creeping back in. The New York Times reports that major cities like Los Angeles are starting to funnel money back to their police departments after getting spooked by a rise in violent crime statistics. LA is hiring 250 more cops less than a year after city leaders promised to take $150 million away from the LAPD. The right wing has leaned into the narrative of crime surges, and placed the blame squarely on movements like defunding the police. Research shows, of course, that surges in crime are often linked to gaps in social services and economic hardship, which have swept the country during the pandemic. And some of the biggest changes activists seek do little to defund police, instead seeking to hold them accountable. New York City moved earlier this year to become the first city to end qualified immunity for its police forces, a major change that would let people file civil suits against cops who abuse their power. But on a national level, even those small changes have stalled. On Monday, for instance, the Supreme Court declined to take up a case that would have challenged qualified immunity on a broader scale. What this means is that this fight is far from over -- and we can only hope that elected officials feel just as much pressure from the people this summer as they did last. AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES: After Belarus’s shocking abduction of a journalist on a civilian airliner this weekend, European officials agreed to level sanctions against the dictator Aleksadr Lukashenko’s regime, also moving to stop E.U. airlines from flying into Belarus’s airspace, which would be a significant blow to the country’s economy. The Washington Post reports that the Biden administration is moving to let more government employees than ever to work from home even after the pandemic ends, continue the experiment in remote work that the federal government has been slow to adopt. Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey and other democrats reintroduced legislation on Monday to slash spending to the U.S.’s massive nuclear arsenal, dubbing it the Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures Act, or SANE. They promise that it will save $73 billion over the next decade, if it passes. And finally, New York City, once the epicenter of the U.S.’s coronavirus outbreak, has announced that it will not have any form of remote learning starting next school year, heralding that the city expects to be fully back open by that time. AM QUICKIE - MAY 25, 2021 HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner WRITER - Jack Crosbie PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

    May 24, 2021: Belarus Hijacks Airline to Abduct Journalist; Gaza Sees Rise in Covid Cases; Biden Gives Haitians Protected Status

    Play Episode Listen Later May 24, 2021 7:29

    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by TODAY'S HEADLINES: The far-right dictator of Belarus used a fighter jet and a fake bomb threat to force down a civilian airliner flying over his country, allowing him to arrest a journalist and dissident who was on board. Meanwhile, Israel’s violence against Gaza is still having ripple effects after a ceasefire, as health officials report hospitals overwhelmed with wounded civilians are now also facing a surge in coronavirus cases. And lastly, the Biden Administration finally granted Temporary Protected Status to thousands of Haitian immigrants living in the U.S., shielding them from deportation back to a country that is dealing with both a political crisis and a brutal COVID epidemic. THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW: Belarus’ dictator Aleksandr Lukashenko carried out a shocking abduction of a journalist on Sunday, using a fighter jet and a faked bomb plot to force down a civilian airliner carrying the dissident and then arresting him on the ground. On Sunday, dissident journalist Roman Protasevich was on a Ryanair flight from Greece to Vilnius, Poland, where he has been living in exile. Protasevich is the 26-year-old former editor of NEXTA, a channel on the Telegram app that has become one of Belarus’s largest opposition media companies. The flight passed through Belarussian airspace, at which point Belarussian air traffic control claimed that there was a bomb threat aboard. Lukashenko then used that as pretext to personally order Mig-29 fighter jet up to force the plane to land in Minsk, although it was by that time far closer to its destination of Vilnius, according to the BBC. After seven hours on the tarmac in Minsk, the flight eventually made it to Vilnius. But Protasevich was not aboard, as he had been abducted by Belarussian agents when the plane was forced to land. One passenger on the flight told AFP quote: “He was not screaming, but it was clear that he was very much afraid. It looked like if the window had been open, he would have jumped out of it.” Protasevich reportedly told other passengers that he was facing the death penalty. Lukashenko has, in recent months, brutally repressed protests against his authoritarian rule, but has been staunchly defended by the Russian government and faced little to no consequences for his policies. European governments and the U.S. have strongly denounced the shocking hijacking, but it’s unclear what concrete action they can or actually will take -- prior sanctions on the Lukashenko regime have clearly done little to dampen his brazen authoritarianism. Gaza Sees Rise in Covid Cases Israel agreed to stop its outright bombardment of the Gaza strip on Friday, but the aftershocks of its brutal campaign of violence are still shaking the captive population there. According to the Washington Post, Gaza’s hospitals are starting to experience a new wave of COVID cases, as Israel’s bombardment forced many residents into close-packed bomb shelters. Those cases are in addition to the 1,900 people who were injured directly by Israel’s bombing. To make matters worse, the Post reports that an airstrike destroyed the only lab in Gaza that was doing PCR tests for COVID. All of this is even more outrageous when you consider the disparities between Israel and Gaza’s access to the vaccine. Outside of the strip, Israel has conducted one of the most successful vaccination campaigns in the world. But inside Gaza, only 2 percent of the population has been vaccinated. Much of this shortage is in thanks in part to the Israeli blockade that stops medical supplies getting through to people there. Even before the recent bombardment, Gaza’s ICUs were completely swamped. The country has only 60 ICU beds for a population of almost 2 million. The International Red Cross said that damage inflicted by Israel during the conflict cut water supplies in Gaza by 40 percent and had cut power to 700,000 Gazans at one point or another. Lest we forget: all of this damage is intentional. Israel knows what will happen when it drops its bombs. And even though it claims to be targeting Hamas, it’s Gaza’s citizens who suffer the most. Biden Gives Haitians Protected Status Some good news from the Biden Administration. Biden’s head of the DHS announced on Saturday that Haitians living in the U.S. would be extended Temporary Protected Status, reversing Trump-era efforts to deport them or force them out of the country. Some 150,000 Haitians have been living in the U.S. since the devastating 2010 earthquake, and recent political crises and the pandemic there have only made their predicament more dire. Alejandro Mayorkas, the head of the DHS, acknowledged that the country’s recent plight has made it all the more important to offer these people shelter. The temporary protected status order will last for 18 months, and is a continuation of policies the Obama administration started for Haitians after the 2010 quake. The New York Times reports that it originally stems from a 1990 law that allowed foreigners who had to flee their homes because of natural disasters and conflict to work and live in the United States. This decision is far from fixing the disastrous trend of U.S. immigration policy, but it will certainly be a welcome relief for thousands of Haitians fearing for their lives and livelihoods. The U.S. was founded to offer refuge to the needy, and policies like this are the least we can do to live up to that ideal. AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES: Some more good news for the coronavirus watch in the U.S. Our cases are down to their lowest rate since last summer, with fewer than 30,000 new cases a day. That’s still a lot, but at least 50 percent of Americans have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine now, so we should see those continue to drop. The Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Jack Read, said on Sunday that he supports assigning independent prosecutors to sexual assault cases in the military, cutting out the role that unit commanders had played in investigating their own troops. Shareholders at Tribune Publishing, the company that owns the Chicago Tribune and many other newspapers, approved a sale of the company to Alden Global Capital, one of the most bloodthirsty vulture capital funds that has been destroying newspaper chains across the country, in another blow to the greater journalism industry. In news that should surprise no one, GOP Senator Rand Paul has announced he will not get the COVID vaccine. What can we say -- I guess the only thing Rand is afraid of is that neighbor who beat the crap out of him a few years back, and not a deadly pandemic. A smart guy, that Rand. AM QUICKIE - MAY 24, 2021 HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner WRITER - Jack Crosbie PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

    May 21, 2021: Republicans Ban History Education; FEMA Workers Are Exhausted; Gaza Ceasefire Takes Effect

    Play Episode Listen Later May 21, 2021 7:24

    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by TODAY'S HEADLINES: Republican state legislators across the country are passing laws to micromanage the history that gets taught in schools and make it seem like racism doesn’t exist. For some reason the party of bigoted white men is touchy about this particular subject. Meanwhile, forecasters are predicting another year of intense storms and wildfires. So it’s rather concerning that FEMA’s workforce is reportedly stretched to the breaking point. And lastly, after eleven days of fighting, Israel has agreed to a ceasefire in Gaza. The work of rebuilding is urgent, as Palestinian medical facilities are overwhelmed. THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW: The curriculum wars continue. CBS News reports that this month, Idaho Governor Brad Little became the first Republican governor to sign into law a bill that restricts educators from teaching a concept called critical race theory. And more could follow: Nearly a dozen states have introduced similar Republican-backed bills that would direct what students can and cannot be taught about slavery in American history and the ongoing effects of racism. But critics say the legislation isn’t aimed at what children are learning in the classroom. Idaho’s law prohibits teaching that individuals are responsible for actions committed in the past by other members of the same sex, race, religion, et cetera. A proposal in Rhode Island would prevent teaching that the United States is fundamentally racist or sexist. However, proponents of critical race theory say it does not teach that any race is inherently racist, but how race is ingrained in our history. Jazmyne Owens, of the think tank New America, told CBS that the wave of legislation is; "aimed at erasing and whitewashing American history." For example, Owens pointed to a Texas bill that just passed in the state's House that bans discussion of privilege and white supremacy. The state bills have similar goals as two executive orders Donald Trump introduced, one that called for patriotic education and a one that sought to ban diversity training for federal workers. President Joe Biden has revoked both. But at this rate, Republicans will soon be pushing to ban schools entirely. FEMA Workers Are Exhausted This report on essential worker burnout comes from the New York Times. Workers from the Federal Emergency Management Agency have been scouting shelters for migrant children. They’ve been running coronavirus vaccination sites in Colorado, Massachusetts and Washington. And they are still managing the recovery from a string of record disasters starting with Hurricane Harvey in 2017. On the cusp of a destructive season of hurricanes and wildfires, just thirty eight hundred of the agency’s nearly fourteen thousand emergency workers are available now to respond to a new disaster. That’s twenty nine percent fewer than were ready to deploy at the start of last year’s hurricane period. FEMA has seldom been in greater demand – becoming a kind of 911 hotline for some of President Biden’s most pressing challenges. And the men and women who have become the nation’s first responders are tired. Deanne Criswell, Biden’s pick to run the agency, identified employee burnout as a major issue during her first all-hands FEMA meeting, according to Steve Reaves, president of the union local that represents employees. According to the Times, the shortage is severe for some categories of workers. Among the agency’s senior leadership, just three out of fifty three are currently available to deploy. Other specialized personnel have less than fifteen percent of their workers available. In interviews, current and former FEMA employees described twelve-hour days, canceled vacations, and not enough time to recover between assignments. Sounds like they should hire and train more staff and create some good-paying government jobs. Gaza Ceasefire Takes Effect At last, a breather. Al-Jazeera reports that Israel and Hamas agreed to a ceasefire yesterday to halt eleven days of fighting in the Gaza Strip. A statement from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said the security cabinet had unanimously accepted an Egyptian initiative for an unconditional ceasefire. Palestinian groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad then confirmed the ceasefire in a statement. At least two hundred and thirty two Palestinians, including sixty five children, have been killed. On the Israeli side, twelve people, including two children, have been killed. Following the announcement of a ceasefire, Egypt’s representative at the United Nations announced to member states that it will fund efforts to rebuild Gaza. And there is much rebuilding to be done. According to the Associated Press, the Gaza Strip’s already feeble health system has been brought to its knees. Hospitals have been overwhelmed with waves of dead and wounded from Israel’s bombardment. Many vital medicines are rapidly running out in the tiny, blockaded coastal territory, as is fuel to keep electricity going. Two of Gaza’s most prominent doctors, including the Number Two in Gaza’s coronavirus task force, were killed when their homes were destroyed during barrages. Just as Gaza was climbing out of a second wave of coronavirus infections, its only virus testing lab was damaged by an airstrike and has been shut. Health officials fear further outbreaks among tens of thousands of displaced residents crowded into makeshift shelters after fleeing massive barrages. And absolutely none of this needed to happen. AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES: The Wall Street Journal reports that prosecutors in the case of three former Minneapolis police officers charged with abetting Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd told an appellate court yesterday they are considering adding a third-degree murder charge against the three men. Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane are expected to stand trial next March. They could have stopped Chauvin, but didn’t. According to the Houston Chronicle, Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Wednesday signed legislation that bans abortion as early as six weeks into pregnancy and, in a first, would give nearly any Texan the ability to sue providers who they believe have broken the law. It is one of the most restrictive abortion bans in the nation and is certain to face legal challenges. Strike it down on the double! The Intercept reports that the Department of Homeland Security will be shutting down the controversial immigration prison in Georgia where dozens of women were subjected to nonconsensual gynecological procedures, including hysterectomies. The Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia, run by LaSalle Corrections, was the focus of criticism last fall when a nurse alleged pervasive medical misconduct. Good riddance. The Guardian reports that relations between the US and Russia have taken a tentative step forward after the Kremlin welcomed a decision by the Biden administration not to impose sanctions on a Russian pipeline delivering gas to Germany. Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, also reacted positively. Let’s everybody just hug it out, okay? AM QUICKIE - MAY 21, 2021 HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner WRITER - Corey Pein PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

    May 19, 2021: Report Sees End To Fossil Fuels; Val Demings Takes On Marco Rubio; Biden Will Sign Hate Crimes Bill

    Play Episode Listen Later May 19, 2021 7:57

    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by TODAY'S HEADLINES: An international advisory body that’s long been seen as providing cover to the oil and gas industry made some jaws drop with a new report. The International Energy Agency now says new fossil fuels projects need to be put to a stop immediately. Meanwhile, a formidable Democratic challenger has emerged to take on Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio. Progressives can’t get too excited, however – she’s a former cop. And lastly, both chambers of Congress have now passed a bill designed to address the spike in anti-Asian hate crimes. Sixty three Republicans stood to oppose it, for reasons only they will ever truly understand. THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW: This agenda-setter comes from the Houston Chronicle. The International Energy Agency, the body that advises governments on energy and is widely respected among Republicans and Democrats, warned yesterday that nations need to halt oil and gas development this year if they are to meet their target of net zero emissions by 2050. In a new report the IEA advises nations to shift their economies to run largely on electricity, with ninety percent of that energy coming from renewables such as wind and solar. Such a shift in less than thirty years represents a daunting challenging for governments, who would need to overhaul their energy systems in a fraction of the time of past energy transitions, such as the move from wood to coal. Fatih Birol, the IEA Executive Director, calls this, "perhaps the greatest challenge humankind has ever faced." The Chronicle reports that to make it happen, the IEA is recommending several things. It says governments should end subsidies for fossil fuels and put a price on greenhouse gas emissions. It also says they should mandate the end of technologies including internal combustion cars, gas-powered furnaces and coal plants. Separately, the Washington Post reports that President Joe Biden yesterday cast the US as being in an urgent race with China to build electric vehicles. Biden was visiting a plant in Dearborn, Michigan, that is about to unveil the electric version of its popular F-150 pickup truck. Can we do this without the gratuitous nationalism, please? Val Demings Takes On Marco Rubio Here’s a battleground race to watch. The Washington Post reports that Democratic Representative Val Demings, who raised her national profile as one of the House managers prosecuting Donald Trump’s first impeachment, plans to run for the Senate in Florida in a bid to unseat Republican Senator Marco Rubio. Demings is now the most high-profile Democrat seeking to take on Rubio. If she wins the party primary, she will be a formidable opponent against the incumbent. The race will certainly receive national attention, but Rubio won’t be easy to beat. Trump won Florida in 2020, and Rubio has former president’s full support. Still, the former Orlando police chief-turned-politician has seen her star rise in her brief time in Washington, even making the shortlist of President Biden’s possible vice-presidential picks. The Post says Rubio is viewed favorably by more Florida voters than not, but his approval is under fifty percent, which suggests he has some vulnerability. A Democrat with knowledge of Demings’s strategy said the congresswoman is entering the race early in the hope of galvanizing support from key players to box out other potential candidates and avoid a messy primary. Key among them is Representative Stephanie Murphy, another rising star in Florida Democratic circles and the first Vietnamese American woman to be elected to Congress. Murphy has been on a listening tour across the state in anticipation of her Senate run. She’s also a moderate, so there’s still room for a strong progressive in the primary. Biden Will Sign Hate Crimes Bill The opposition here is puzzling. NBC News reports that the House yesterday passed a Senate bill to address the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes during the Covid-19 pandemic. Hawaii Senator Mazie Hirono introduced the bill in March alongside New York Representative Grace Meng, both Democrats. Last month the Senate passed it ninety four to one. Yesterday’s House vote was three hundred and sixty four to sixty two. All sixty two No votes were from Republicans. Texas Republican Representative Chip Roy said ahead of the vote that he didn’t support the measure because he didn’t think it would be effective. Suuuure. According to NBC, the legislation directs the Department of Justice to expedite the review of Covid-related hate crimes that were reported to law enforcement agencies, and help them establish ways to report such incidents online. The bill also directs the attorney general and the Department of Health and Human Services to issue guidance on how to mitigate racially discriminatory language in describing the pandemic. Ahead of the vote, House Democrats maintained the legislation will help prevent the spate of attacks against Asian Americans. Meng, who represents a district in Queens with a large Asian-American population, said her community has faced despicable and sickening acts of hate and violence over the last year and a half. The bill's passage in the House paves the way for it to head to President Biden’s desk. He’s expected to sign it later this week. Now we should ask, what more can be done? AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES: The Guardian reports that Chile’s elections resulted in resounding victories for leftist and independent candidates while rightwing politicians crashed to dismal electoral defeats. Across two days of voting, Chileans cast votes for the one hundred and fifty five delegates who will write a new constitution to replace Augusto Pinochet’s 1980 document and the neoliberal model it enshrined. It’s an inspiring moment of political optimism. The Associated Press says that with the war showing no sign of abating, Palestinians staged a general strike yesterday. One protester was killed and more than seventy wounded – including sixteen by live fire – in clashes with Israeli troops in Ramallah, Bethlehem, Hebron and other cities. Israel continued its airstrikes into Gaza. Optimism here is harder to find. CBS News reports that Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order yesterday that will bar public schools and most other government entities from requiring masks. The order bans any government entity from mandating masks, with fines of up to $1,000 for those who don’t comply. Talk about useless grandstanding. Axios reports that the FBI is investigating what it describes as a massive scheme to illegally finance Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins’ 2020 reelection bid. The FBI believes a Hawaii defense contractor then called Navatek illegally funneled $150,000 to a pro- Collins super PAC and reimbursed donations to Collins’ campaign. Collins helped the contractor secure an $8 million Navy contract before most of the donations took place. What a way to say you’re welcome! AM QUICKIE - MAY 19, 2021 HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner WRITER - Corey Pein PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

    May 18, 2021: US Shipping 20m COVID Vaccines; Supreme Court Takes Abortion Case; NLRB Finds Amazon Union Shenanigans

    Play Episode Listen Later May 18, 2021 6:53

    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by TODAY'S HEADLINES: The United States has agreed to send a further 20 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine abroad, in addition to the 60 million doses currently stuck in FDA limbo. Hopefully this batch will get out the door ASAP. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court says it will hear arguments in a case from Mississippi that could directly challenge Roe V. Wade and change the future of abortion rights in America. And lastly, new emails uncovered by the NLRB show the corrupt lengths Amazon went to to disrupt the union vote in Bessemer, Alabama. THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW: The United States is finally getting its act together and shipping some of our massive surplus of vaccines to the countries who need it most. On Monday, the Biden administration announced that it would send 20 million doses of the Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer, and Moderna vaccines to countries still struggling with the pandemic. That’s in addition to the 60 million doses of the Astra Zeneca vax that we’ve already pledged. The AZ doses, unfortunately, are still held up by FDA approval, so they haven’t gone out yet. Biden says the new doses should be shipped by the end of June. Biden said, “Just as in World War II America was the arsenal of democracy, in the battle against the Covid-19 pandemic our nation’s going to be the arsenal of vaccines for the rest of the world. We’ll share these vaccines in the service of ending the pandemic everywhere.” That might be getting ahead of things a little. While the U.S.’s contribution is large, it’s still a drop in the bucket of what the world needs. India, which is currently still in the throes of one of the worst outbreaks since the pandemic began, has only fully vaccinated 3 percent of its population. That means there are over a billion people who still need a shot in that country alone. As we reported yesterday, we also need Biden to stand firm on his promised patent waivers, so big pharma can’t swoop in to extract their price. Supreme Court Takes Abortion Case The big one that liberals have feared for years may be coming. The Supreme Court annonced on Monday that it would hear a case from Mississippi that could directly challenge the judicial protection of abortion outlined in Roe v Wade. According to the New York Times, the new case concerns a state law that seeks to ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. This won’t be a quick process: the Times reports that the court will hear arguments in the case during its next term, which starts in October, and probably make a decision in the spring or summer of 2022. But by now we all know the score. Conservatives have a 6-3 majority on the court, and Donald Trump’s hand-picked justices all seem poised to tear up Roe V Wade at their first opportunity. The Supreme Court last heard a major abortion case in 2020, when it struck down a restrictive Louisiana law. But that was before Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s death, and only went down because of centrist Chief Justice John Roberts tiebreaking vote. Now, liberals are outnumbered, which means the Biden administration has a choice: make changes to the structure of the court, or go down as the administration who sat and watched as Donald Trump’s legacy of bigotry and injustice came to pass. NLRB Finds Amazon Union Shenanigans It’s been a minute since we checked in with the union-busting activities of Amazon, but it feels like just yesterday. Today, new National Labor Relations Board documents show that Amazon specifically lobbied the U.S. Postal Service to install an illegal ballot dropbox in its Bessemer facility during its vote-by-mail election. In emails about the mailbox surfaced by the NLRB and reported by More Perfect Union, an Amazon executive writes: “This is of the utmost importance for our senior leadership. I am not joking at all when I say that I will drive to Alabama myself to install it if need be.” The order reportedly came from Dave Clark, Amazon’s SVP who oversees warehouse operations. What happened next was even more blatant. Not only did Amazon security guards have the key to the USPS mailbox, the company then installed a tent around the mailbox with anti-union messaging on the side. The postal service claimed it didn’t know about the tent, but it’s pretty easy to see the score here. The only question now is what the NLRB is prepared to do about it. AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES: President Biden had a phone conversation with Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin [BIN YA MIN] Netanyahu on Monday, and reportedly pushed for a ceasefire in the country’s assault on Gaza. Meanwhile, of course, he’s continuing to push for a new $735 millon weapons deal to Israel. Congress has the power to block that, but do they have the will? Andrew Cuomo’s disgustingly self-serving book about leadership during COVID fetched a whopping $5.12 million book deal, which is being paid out over the next few years. Of the 1.4 mil he got this year, Cuomo donated 500 thousand to United Way and put the rest in a trust for his daughters. Lucky them! Unlucky for the thousands of New Yorkers who died under his leadership. LiveScience reports that the reactors under the Chernobyl nuclear site have started to smolder again, like “the embers in a barbecue pit.” This isn’t cause for global panic, as any resulting accident would be on a far smaller scale than the original meltdown, but certainly sounds ominous! And finally, the Intercept reports that the Pentagon will begin monitoring the social media of military members for extremist content, as part of a wider attempt to crack down on extremism in the service. This attempt, however, raises some pretty severe privacy concerns, as such policies inevitably aren’t just used to root out Nazis. AM QUICKIE - MAY 18, 2021 HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner WRITER - Jack Crosbie PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

    May 17, 2021: Israel Says No End in Sight to Gaza Bombings; GOP Vs. Poll Workers; Big Pharma Lobbies Congress to Stop Patent Waivers

    Play Episode Listen Later May 17, 2021 7:09

    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by TODAY'S HEADLINES: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says there is no clear end in sight to the violence in Palestine, as the death toll from Israeli strikes continues to climb despite widespread international calls for a ceasefire. Meanwhile, the GOP has a new target in their war on voting rights: poll workers. They’re seeking to levy harsh penalties for anyone who makes a mistake while working on an election. And finally, the Intercept reports that Big Pharma is doing all it can to lobby lawmakers toward stopping Joe Biden’s support for worldwide access to generic COVID vaccines. THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW: Israeli forces killed dozens more Palestinians over the weekend and destroyed the building housing both the Associated Press and Al Jazeera’s offices in the Gaza strip in an airstrike, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says there is no end in sight to the violence. Palestinian authorities say Israeli strikes have killed at least 192 people, including 58 children. Rocket attacks launched from Gaza have killed at least 10 people in Israel. Those numbers show just the tip of the iceberg of violence unleashed on the Gaza strip in the past week. Israeli forces have destroyed apartment buildings, damaged medical facilities, and leveled family homes, all under the familiar auspices of “fighting terror.” That was their excuse yet again when on Saturday, airstrikes destroyed the building that housed both the Associated Press and Al Jazeera offices in Gaza. Israeli officials claimed that Hamas forces were also using the structure, and warned journalists to evacuate before leveling the building. Yet Netanyahu gave no clear evidence that Hamas was in the area. Meanwhile, international calls for a cease-fire are mounting. The Times reports that Biden spoke to both Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas in an attempt to broker a ceasefire, but to no avail. The U.N. Security Council met to discuss the issue, but took no concrete action. And all the while, the people of Palestine continue to suffer. GOP Takes Aim at Poll Workers The New York Times has a new story out about a disturbing aspect of the GOP’s push to kill democracy. New laws in Texas and several other states would specifically target poll workers and election officials, making any small mistake punishable by extreme fines and even in some cases jail time. The Times reports that poll workers say they’ve experienced a severe uptick in harassment by poll watchers and other partisan agents in recent elections. In addition to that, new voting laws across the country have started to crack down on these workers, as well as nonpartisan election officials. The Times reports that various laws are leveling the threat of felonies, jail time and fines as large as $25,000 over the heads of election officials who make innocent mistakes in the process. All of this is a direct result of the GOP’s embrace of election conspiracies and Donald Trump’s continued insistence that he won the 2020 election, of course. Listen to this quote from Chris Davis, the county election administrator in Williamson County, Texas: “These poll workers don’t ever, in our experience, intend to count invalid votes, or let somebody who’s not eligible vote, or prevent somebody who’s eligible from voting. Yet we’re seeing that as a baseline, kind of a fundamental principle in some of the bills that are being drafted. And I don’t know where it’s coming from, because it’s not based on reality.” Poll workers work extremely long hours for very little pay, often out of a sense of duty. But experts think these draconian penalties will start to scare some of the most experienced among them away. That’s bad for democracy -- or in other words, good for the GOP. Big Pharma Lobbies Congress to Stop Patent Waivers The Intercept reports that Big Pharma is up to its usual tricks: lobbying behind the scenes to make the world a more miserable place. Last week, the U.S. announced that it would support the World Trade Organizations’ proposal to temporarily waive enforcement of the patents on COVID vaccines, which would allow many struggling nations to develop their own generic vaccines and get them to their citizens without paying an arm and a leg to U.S. companies. According to new documents the Intercept obtained, Pharma lobbyists have been goading a core group of House Republicans into opposing this effort at all costs. Many lobbyists in question work for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, a trade group that represents Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca and other big firms -- in other words, exactly the people who will profit from keeping a tight lock on the patents. Their effort was enough to convince 29 House Republicans to sign on to an as-yet-unsent letter to Biden urging him to roll back his support for the WTO plan. The letter leans into the lobbyists talking points, also obtained by the Intercept, which claim that the waiver would cost American jobs and allow China to “profit from our innovation.” The play they’re making is simple: try to use Chinese and Russian fearmongering to get Biden to back down. With any luck, the President is going to see right through that -- but who knows how many corporate Democrats might be susceptible to the same kind of crap. One to keep an eye on, for sure. AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES: Neera Tanden finally made her way into the White House, after her humiliating failure to gain an actual confirmed seat at the OMB because of her awful Twitter feed, she will be joining the Biden Administration as a senior advisor. My guess is she probably won’t be giving social media advice! The Military Times reports that U.S. Space Force Lt. Colonel Matthew Lohmeier [LOW MEYER] was dismissed from his post after he went on a podcast to promote his new self-published book, titled “Irresistible Revolution: Marxism's Goal of Conquest & the Unmaking of the American Military." Sounds like the Space Force isn’t attracting America’s finest. There’s a new George Bush on the scene! Yep, you heard that right. George P. Bush, the large adult son of one Jeb Bush, is considering a run for Texas Attorney General. We will never be free from this family at this rate! The messy Matt Gaetz cycle continues. A new report by the Daily Beast alleges that Gaetz’s associates gave a kushy county government contract to an influencer, model, and escort that Gaetz frequently partied with, allowing her to collect thousands of dollars in taxpayer money for doing, well, not a whole lot. AM QUICKIE - MAY 17, 2021 HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner WRITER - Jack Crosbie PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

    May 14, 2021: Fully Vaccinated Americans May Go Maskless; Hidden Camera Sting Targeted FBI; GOP States Slash Jobless Benefits

    Play Episode Listen Later May 14, 2021 8:09

    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by TODAY'S HEADLINES: If you’re fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, the US government says you no longer need to wear a face mask in most places. That’s great news for about one-third of the population, but everyone else still needs to hurry up and get the shot. Meanwhile, a new investigation reveals that Project Veritas ran a secret campaign to discredit Donald Trump’s imagined enemies inside the government. With the help of a former British spy, it even targeted FBI agents for hidden camera sting operations. And lastly, nearly two million Americans in sixteen Republican-ruled states are facing imminent cuts to their jobless benefits. This is what they consider good government: making people suffer for no good reason. THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW: This cause for celebration comes from the Washington Post. Americans who are fully vaccinated can go without masks or physical distancing in most cases, even when they are indoors or in large groups, federal officials said yesterday. The announcement paves the way for a full reopening of society. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said, "We have all longed for this moment when we can get back to some sense of normalcy. Based on the continuing downward trajectory of cases, the scientific data on the performance of our vaccines and our understanding of how the virus spreads, that moment has come for those who are fully vaccinated." More than one hundred and fifty four million Americans have had at least one shot and one hundred and seventeen million are fully vaccinated, about thirty five percent of the population. The Post says Walensky cited a growing body of real-world evidence demonstrating the efficacy of the coronavirus vaccines. She noted the shots offer protection even against more contagious variants circulating in the United States. The relaxation of masking does not apply to airplanes, buses, trains and other public transportation, to healthcare settings, or where state or local restrictions still require them. Officials also noted that some business settings may require masks, especially since some workers remain unvaccinated. Walensky urged those who are immune-compromised to speak with their doctors before giving up their masks. For everyone else, enjoy feeling the air on your face. Hidden Camera Sting Targeted FBI This dive into conservative skullduggery comes from the New York Times. A network of conservative activists, aided by a British former spy, mounted a campaign during the Trump administration to discredit perceived enemies of Donald Trump inside the government, according to documents and people involved in the operations. The campaign included a planned sting operation against Trump’s national security adviser at the time, HR McMaster, and secret surveillance operations against FBI employees, aimed at exposing anti-Trump sentiment in the bureau’s ranks. The operations against the FBI, run by the conservative group Project Veritas, were conducted from a large home in the Georgetown section of Washington that rented for $10,000 per month. Female undercover operatives arranged dates with the FBI employees with the aim of secretly recording them making disparaging comments about Trump. Central to the effort, according to the Times, was Richard Seddon, a former undercover British spy. Seddon was recruited in 2016 by the security contractor Erik Prince to train Project Veritas operatives to infiltrate trade unions, Democratic congressional campaigns and other targets. The scheme against McMaster was one of the most brazen operations of the campaign. It involved a plan to hire a woman armed with a hidden camera to capture McMaster making inappropriate remarks that his opponents could use as leverage to get him ousted as national security adviser. He eventually resigned anyway to avoid being fired by Trump. Which suggests this Project Veritas campaign was yet another bottomless pit for conservative donors’ money. GOP States Slash Jobless Benefits Republican cruelty is also bottomless. The Washington Post reports that more than one point nine million Americans in Alabama, Mississippi and fourteen other Republican-led states are set to have their unemployment checks slashed starting in June, as GOP governors seek to restrict jobless assistance in an effort to force more people to return to work. The cuts are likely to fall hardest on roughly one point four million people who benefit from stimulus programs that Congress adopted at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, including one targeting those who either are self-employed or work on behalf of gig-economy companies such as Uber. Beginning next month, many of these workers are likely to receive no aid at all. According to the Post, the looming cliff reflects an emerging campaign on the part of GOP leaders to combat what they consider a national worker shortage. Arizona and Ohio became the latest states yesterday to announce plans to scale back benefits out of a belief that the federal payments have deterred people from returning to their old positions. The reality is more complicated. The slowdown in hiring may instead reflect workers’ concern about their safety and difficulty obtaining child care, or their trouble finding suitable positions in hard-hit industries on top of mounting frustration about wages they consider too low. That means the loss of unemployment benefits over the next month threatens to inflict new financial harm on those who say they’re already struggling. Our sympathy to all those affected in red states. AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES: The Associated Press reports that Hamas sent a barrage of rockets into Israel yesterday as Israel pounded Gaza with more airstrikes and shells and called up nine thousand reservists who could be used to stage a ground invasion. And Reuters reports that individuals involved in the new eruption of Israeli-Palestinian bloodshed may be targeted by an International Criminal Court investigation now under way. War criminals beware. According to Bloomberg News, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo this week set an audacious new benchmark in her campaign to reduce car use: a ban on most vehicle traffic crossing the city center. The plan would stop through traffic from a large zone covering Paris’ core, to cut pollution and noise and free up more space for trees, bicycles and pedestrians. Très magnifique! USA Today reports that a Marine Corps officer was arrested yesterday and charged with assaulting police officers at the January 6 attack on the Capitol. Major Christopher Warnagiris, forty, of Woodbridge, Virginia, is the first service member on active duty charged for his role in the deadly riot. Semper Fuggedaboutit! The Washington Post reports that Joel Greenberg, a Florida politician who is central to the investigation into Representative Matt Gaetz for possible sex trafficking of a minor, signaled yesterday that he will plead guilty in his own federal case. It’s a a troubling development for the congressman as it suggests prosecutors have secured a potentially important witness against him. Too bad for Gaetz that Trump pardon fell through. AM QUICKIE - MAY 14, 2021 HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner WRITER - Corey Pein PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

    May 13, 2021: Israel Vows More Gaza Attacks; US Acts On Worker Rights In Mexico; Sanders Lambastes Pentagon Contractors

    Play Episode Listen Later May 13, 2021 7:56

    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by TODAY'S HEADLINES: Israeli government officials vowed to continue their military attacks on Gaza as mob violence consumed the streets. As international leaders call for peace, the United States is sending a special envoy, for what it’s worth. Meanwhile, the Biden administration is trying to flip the script on free trade deals. It’s invoked a special provision to protect worker rights at a General Motors factory in Mexico. And lastly, Bernie Sanders is taking on the biggest wasters of taxpayer money in the country: US military contractors. And just to drive the message home, he’s quoting a Republican president while doing it. THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW: Here’s an ominous phrase, if there ever was one. The Guardian reports that Israel will not stop its military operation in Gaza until it achieves what the country’s defense minister called, "complete quiet.". Airstrikes and rocket fire continued throughout the day yesterday. Sirens sounded every few minutes in communities close to the border. The Israeli military said it had killed four senior Hamas commanders and a dozen more Hamas operatives in a series of strikes. Hamas’s armed wing later confirmed the death of a senior commander and a number of fighters. After the Israeli military operation, Hamas fired fifty rockets towards Ashdod, a city close to the Gaza border. A spokesperson for the Israeli army said he expected the fighting to intensify. Gaza’s death toll has risen to fifty three, including fourteen children. More than three hundred people have been wounded. Six Israeli civilians, including two children, have been killed by rocket fire and dozens wounded. According to Al-Jazeera, violence between Palestinian citizens of Israel and Israeli Jews has resumed. In Bat Yam, a Tel Aviv suburb, a group of black-clad Israelis smashed the windows of an Arab-owned ice cream shop. Israeli ultranationalists could be seen chanting Death to Arabs! on live television. Speaking to reporters, President Joe Biden said he spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday. Biden said he hopes and expects the violence to end soon, but also said Israel has a right to defend itself. Which means the violence will continue, as promised. US Acts On Worker Rights In Mexico Can trade agreements be used for good instead of mere greed? The Washington Post reports that, in the first action of its kind, the Biden administration has formally asked the Mexican government to investigate reports of serious violations of worker rights at a General Motors plant in central Mexico. The move marks the first use of an innovative labor rights provision in the US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, which took effect last year. It also represents the first time the US government has acted on its own to raise labor concerns under any trade agreement, though Washington has previously done so in response to complaints lodged by unions. Yesterday’s action showcased the administration’s aim to deliver a worker-centered trade policy, according to US Trade Representative Katherine Tai. At the issue is whether workers at the GM facility, which exports pickup trucks to the United States, are being denied their right to organize and to bargain collectively. The Post reports that under a 2019 Mexican labor law, workers must vote to reaffirm or reject existing contracts negotiated by company-controlled unions. Voting at the Silao plant began last month. But amid reports that the company-controlled union was tampering with ballots, the Mexican government intervened to halt the vote. The Labor Ministry now will organize a second vote without the union’s direct involvement. If the review finds that workers’ rights have been violated, Mexico and the US will discuss potential remedies. Here’s a suggestion: let the workers run the factory. Surely they know it best. Sanders Lambastes Pentagon Contractors This tale of a wholesome bipartisan effort to exercise fiscal responsibility comes from the Washington Post. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders says he will use his powerful new position atop the Senate Budget Committee to exercise tougher oversight over the United States’ national security establishment, including defense contracts. In an interview with the Post, Sanders criticized the Pentagon for failing to keep track of billions of dollars in taxpayer funds. Citing former president Dwight Eisenhower’s warnings about the military industrial complex, he excoriated defense agencies over hundreds of billions of dollars in cost overruns on programs. And he said defense conglomerates, as taxpayer-funded entities, should face the same standard of accountability as their government counterparts. Sanders said, "We have a very powerful military industrial complex, and I don’t think they get the scrutiny that they deserve." In letters signed jointly with Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa and obtained by the Post, Sanders asked executives from the top three defense contractors – Lockheed, Boeing and Raytheon – to attend a budget hearing yesterday focused on waste, fraud and abuse in the defense sector. All three companies declined to make their executives available. Lockheed Martin got $35.2 billion from taxpayers last year. That’s more than many federal agencies. Sanders has pointed to the soaring salaries of executives at defense firms and posited that spending far surpasses what the US needs to defend itself. Is it too much to ask these war profiteers to justify their existence before Congress? Apparently so! AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES: According to the Associated Press, US health advisers endorsed use of Pfizer’s Covid- 19 vaccine in kids as young as twelve yesterday. The American Academy of Pediatrics also urged that kids twelve and older get the Pfizer vaccine – and agreed with federal advisers that it’s fine to give more than one vaccine at the same time. Double ’em up, why not? CBS News reports that a judge in the Derek Chauvin case has found aggravating factors exist that would allow for a longer sentence than Minnesota sentencing guidelines suggest. In this case, that means longer than ten years. The fired officer will face sentencing next month for the murder of George Floyd. One aggravating factor: Chauvin acted with particular cruelty. We know, we saw. The New York Times reports that, in a display of loyalty to Donald Trump, Republicans moved to purge Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming from House leadership yesterday. The action came during a raucous closed-door meeting that lasted just fifteen minutes. Cheney made a defiant final speech, warning that Republicans would follow Trump to their destruction. She got booed. The AP reports that Americans can now apply for $50 off their monthly internet bill as part of an emergency government program to keep people connected. The $3.2 billion program is part of the $900 billion December pandemic-relief package. See Get Emergency Broadband Dot Org to find out if you qualify. You can get the discount even if you owe your cable company money. Win! AM QUICKIE - MAY 13, 2021 HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner WRITER - Corey Pein PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

    May 12, 2021: Israel Bombs Gaza Apartments; Judge Tosses NRA's Bankruptcy Filing; GA Prosecutors Call Atlanta Shooting Hate Crime

    Play Episode Listen Later May 12, 2021 6:12

    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by TODAY'S HEADLINES: Israeli forces continue to escalate violence against Palestinian civilians in Gaza, destroying a 13-story residential building with airstrikes, prompting a fresh wave of rocket fire from Hamas. Meanwhile, a federal judge dismissed the NRA’s bankruptcy plea in court, dealing another blow to the corrupt gun-rights lobbying group. And lastly, prosecutors rule that the Atlanta spa shootings in March were hate crimes, and that they will seek the death penalty for the perpetrator. THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW: The violence in Israel’s Gaza strip continued this week, as Israeli forces destroyed at least one 13-story residential apartment building in an airstrike. Widespread protests continued across the country, and Hamas launched a retaliatory wave of rocket attacks against the city of Tel Aviv. The country appears to be on the brink of war. With all the chaos, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that the power dynamics between the two sides have not changed. Hamas’s rocket attacks forced many Israeli residents into bomb shelters and killed at least three people. But the Palestinian residents of Gaza and the West Bank, by and large, don’t have the luxury of bomb shelters. Instead, they’ve been subjected to airstrike after airstrike, on top of the heavy police persecution at protests elsewhere in the country. The Palestinian Authority said Israel’s airstrikes had killed at least 30 people, including 10 children, and injured over 200 others. What this shows us is that the violence is very clearly not the same on both sides. The conflict began over a legal effort by Israeli settlers to evict Palestinians from their homes, inspiring protests at a holy mosque during the end of Ramadan. In response, Israeli police attacked the mosque, firing tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters and worshipers alike. But the status quo in Israel is backed by the most powerful government on Earth. Joe Biden’s press secretary Jen Psaki noted her “serious concern” for the situation on Tuesday, but mentioned that the U.S. thought Hamas’s rocket attacks were “unacceptable.” She didn’t have much to say about the airstrikes. And so it goes. Judge Tosses NRA's Bankruptcy Filing It’s always refreshing to hear bad news about the NRA, and the past few months have been bountiful on that front. On Tuesday, a federal judge threw out the gun rights organization’s petition for bankruptcy, which it filed in January in an attempt to circumvent a massive corruption investigation. New York AG Tish James is leading that investigation, which could essentially shut down the group due to a whole bunch of fishy spending and shadiness. NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre is at the center of most of that mess, and clearly thought that declaring bankruptcy would help him skate away from some of the things James is going to try to nail him on, and protect his ass from the group’s board of directors. In short, it didn’t work. Dallas federal court judge Harlin D. Hale, in his decision, agreed with James’s office that this wasn’t how bankruptcy courts were meant to be used. It looks likely that the NRA’s board of directors won’t be pleased either, considering LaPierre has spent $5 million on bankruptcy-related expenses and a whopping $72.6 million in outside legal fees over the past three years. But really, this all couldn’t have happened to a nicer group of bloodthirst amoral people. We wish LaPierre all the best in wriggling out of this jam. GA Prosecutors Call Atlanta Shooting Hate Crime Prosecutors will seek hate crime charges in the case against the Atlanta Spa shooter, who killed eight people, the majority of whom were Asian women. They will also seek the death penalty for the shooter’s crimes. The death penalty doesn’t bring justice, only more death, but the shooter’s case will still be a test of how Georgia’s new hate crime legislation will be applied. The Atlanta attacks came during a time of increased fear among the Asian-American community after many people of Asian descent were targeted with beatings and other violence across the country. Prosecutors on Tuesday said that the shooter, Robert Aaron Long, chose his victims because of their quote “actual or perceived race, national origin, sex, and gender.” endquote. Hate crime penalties would add to Long’s sentence if the jury convicts him of murder. At the time, there was fierce debate over the shooter’s motive, and his lawyers will surely try to argue that the crimes were not racially motivated. Still, it’s hard to make that case when so many of his victims came from the same demographic: women who came to this country to make a better life, and died to a uniquely American form of violence. AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES: Ghislane Maxwell, the former girlfriend of international pedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, will go on trial on November 29. Maxwell is charged with sex trafficking a minor, which carries a maximum sentence of 40 years. A group of hackers who infiltrated the Washington D.C. police department last week released more internal personnel files, in a continuing ransomware attack. The group is threatening to reveal more confidential information if it doesn’t get paid. Liz Cheney took to the House Floor to once again defiantly stand against Trumpism, ahead of her expected ouster from the GOP leadership tomorrow. Remember, Cheney really doesn’t like this new conservatism -- she only likes the old conservatism, which was basically the same thing but less rude. Arizona’s GOP hopped on the voter suppression bandwagon, passing a law on Tuesday that will strike people from the automatic list to receive an early voting mail-in ballot if they don’t vote every two years. AM QUICKIE - MAY 12, 2021 HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner WRITER - Jack Crosbie PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

    May 11, 2021: Israeli Violence Continues; Biden Moves to Restrict Unemployment; Trump-Era Trans Discrimination Lifted

    Play Episode Listen Later May 11, 2021 6:51

    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by TODAY'S HEADLINES: Israeli military and police forces continued their campaign of violence against Palestinians on Monday, killing somewhere around 20 people, including 9 children, after responding to sporadic rocket fire with several airstrikes. Meanwhile, Joe Biden announces some big changes to the country’s pandemic unemployment system, shifting the balance of power right back into the hands of the nation’s bosses. And lastly, some good news: the Biden administration rolls back a Trump era policy and ensures that health care providers cannot discriminate against transgender patients. THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW: Violence continues across Palestine and Israel as the Israeli military launched airstrikes on Monday, reportedly killing as many as 20 people, including nine children. Israel launched devastating airstrikes on the Gaza strip in retailiation for a flurry of ineffective rocket fire by Hamas forces, following days of police violence against Palestinian protesters. The airstrikes came after Hamas launched 7 rockets. They would eventually launch more than 150, lightly injuring one Israeli, according to government officials. In retaliation, Israel killed nine children and 11 other people, according to Palestinian officials. This lopsided violence is nothing new, and it’s worth noting that Hamas’s rocket attacks came after days of police violence on protesters and peaceful worshipers alike at one of Islam’s most holy sites. Israeli police have fired tear gas and rubber bullets inside the Al-Aqsa mosque, injuring hundreds of people since they first began cracking down on protests on Friday night. On Monday, right-wing Israelis contributed to the tensions by staging marches through Palestinian neighborhoods. The current violence stems from a legal effort by Israeli settlers to evict Palestinian families from their homes in Jerusalem’s Old city, but has ballooned into a country-wide campaign of violence. And as usual, only one side wields the vast majority of bombs, guns, and deadly force, while the other side is forced to mourn more deaths. Biden Moves to Restrict Unemployment On Monday, President Joe Biden directed the Department of labor to work with states to reinstate the work search requirements for unemployment benefits. In case you’re not familiar with how things were, during the pandemic the government was guaranteeing that people would receive some base level of unemployment benefits whether or not they were actively looking for a job. This was, of course, a massive boon to many families who simply couldn’t find work or couldn’t work, for all the reasons that should be evident in a massive global pandemic. It also gave lower-wage workers, particularly in service jobs, some leverage against employers who had underpaid and overworked them for years. Republicans hate this arrangement and blamed it for causing a so-called labor shortage, which of course could be solved simply by offering higher wages. But on Monday, Biden announced that the era of kinder government benefits was ending. He said, “We’re going to make it clear that anyone collecting unemployment who is offered a suitable job must take the job or lose their unemployment benefits.” That sounds somewhat reasonable on paper, but what it also means is that people will basically be forced into the first job they get offered or else lose their way to pay rent. That’s a gift to employers who are looking to reinstate the status quo. 29 states have already gone back to the job search requirements that Biden was talking about, but now the final 21 will have to join them. That means things are going to get that much harder for families who were depending on, or even, dare we say it, benefitting from the increased government assistance during the pandemic. Trump-Era Trans Discrimination Lifted However, things weren’t all bad on the Biden front today. Wherever you look, there’s always a barbaric Trump policy to overturn, and today was no different. The Biden Administration announced on Monday that the Department of Health and Human Services will once again prohibit federally-funded health care organizations from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender. This reversed a Trump-era policy that, well, said the opposite, specifically saying that the 2010 affordable care act’s anti-discrimination policies didn’t protect trans people. The Trump administration’s policies weren’t rooted in anything other than bigotry, so this is a pretty easy fix for the Biden administration -- it’s honestly surprising that it took this long. Still, there’s some work to go to fully untangle them. The New York Times reported that the Biden Administration is still working to hash out formal provisions and new rules, such as whether the provisions apply to health insurers as well as health care providers. This is all fine print, and of course that’s where a lot of people fall through the cracks. But with some luck and good legal work, the decision should improve some trans peoples’ access to healthcare. AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES: The FDA officially authorized the Pfizer covid vaccine for use in children aged 12 to 15, which means another key demographic of school-age kids can get the jab. Schools have lagged behind in reopening plans, mainly due to the massive hurdles of making sure everyone is safe, and this will be a major help in getting middle and high schoolers back in the classroom. NBC announced that it will not air the 2022 Golden Globes ceremony, after an L.A. Times investigation and other reports found that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association had a systemic lack of diversity and other questionable labor practices. The FBI blamed a new hacking group named DarkSide for the massive ransomware attack that took down the Colonial Pipeline on the East Coast this weekend, and vowed to quote “disrupt and prosecute” the group from making future attacks. The Texas GOP is preparing for an all-out onslaught on voting rights, pushing through a bill that severely restricts access that could get signed into law as early as this week. Texas’s monstrous governor Greg Abbott has already said he’s excited to sign it, which should make it pretty clear what it would do. AM QUICKIE - MAY 11, 2021 HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner WRITER - Jack Crosbie PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

    May 10, 2021: Israeli Police Crack Down on Protests; GOP Moves to Oust Cheney; Trump DOJ Snagged Reporter's Cell Records

    Play Episode Listen Later May 10, 2021 7:08

    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by TODAY'S HEADLINES: Israeli police brutally cracked down on protests over the weekend, further persecuting a Palestinian community already threatened by Israeli settlers trying to forcibly evict them from their homes. Meanwhile, the GOP is once again in turmoil, as House leaders move to bench Liz Cheney for criticizing her own party’s entertainment of Donald Trump’s idiotic election conspiracies. And lastly, a new report reveals that the Trump Justice Department secretly obtained Washington Post journalists’ phone records, and even sought to get their emails. THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW: Israeli police have been running rampant throughout the Palestinian neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, savaging protesters and bystanders alike on Friday and Saturday nights. The recent violence came in response to Palestinian protests over forced evictions sought by Israeli settlers. The first clash came on Friday, which Israeli police stormed a protest at the Al-Aqsa [AL-AKSA] Mosque, catching thousands of bystanders in the melee while they were at their evening prayers. The mosque is a huge complex. It’s the third most holy site in the world for Muslims, and thousands of people were inside worshipping the final Friday of Ramadan when police stormed in. At least 205 people were injured. On Saturday night, Police cracked down on protests across the city, injuring at least 90 protesters, including several children, according to Al Jazeera. Israeli police claim 17 of their officers have been injured. Sunday night was more subdued, but tensions are expected to rise again on Monday, which is known as Jerusalem Day to Israelis to celebrate occupation and later annexation of East Jerusalem in 1967. Al Jazeera reports that right-wing Israelis are expected to march through Palestinian neighborhoods, which will surely do the opposite of calm things down. GOP Moves to Oust Cheney House Republicans are once again squabbling amongst themselves, this time over -- you guessed it -- loyalty to former President Donald Trump. This time it’s Liz Cheney in the hot seat. Cheney has been openly critical of her party’s support of Trump’s stolen election theories, saying that they are quote “poisoning our democratic system.” endquote. In response, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told Fox News on Sunday that he supports removing Cheney from her post. She’s currently the number 3 republican in the House and the party’s highest-ranking woman. McCarthy wants to replace her with New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, who has been a staunch Trump loyalist. Listen, we’re not going to waste any tears over Cheney, the daughter of the most famous Dick to ever hold office, but it is telling that the House GOP still isn’t humoring any critiques of Trump. According to AP, McCarthy is generally betting that there’s no way the GOP can take back the house in 2022 without running on a strictly pro-Trump line. To be fair, he’s probably right: Trumpism is basically all the GOP has left, but it’s still a powerful ideology. And because Trump himself is such a sensitive little baby, McCarthy knows he’s got to shut down any criticism well before those midterms hit. After all, we know that Trump’s down there in Mar a Lago glued to the TV, just waiting for people to say his name. Trump DOJ Snagged Reporter's Cell Records phone records of some of their journalists while they were reporting on Trump’s connections with Russia in early 2017. According to the Post, the Justice department sent out letters to the reporters involved on May 3 of this year telling them that they’d had their phone records pulled. A Justice Department spokesperson, in some complicated legalese, effectively admitted that they were trying to figure out who had leaked to the Post during that reporting. The Justice Department got their hands on some combination of home, cell, and work phone records from three reporters who were involved in Trump Russia reporting. They also got a court order for non-content email records, but never got the actual records themselves. This isn’t a new thing for the Justice Department, but it is rare and troubling. According to the New York Times, the specific reporting the Justice Department was seeking had to deal with media leaks that infuriated Donald Trump. Bill Barr was in charge of the DOJ at the time, so you can imagine how quickly he sprang to do Trump’s bidding. Trump wasn’t the first president to aggressively pursue leakers, of course: Obama did it before him. It remains to be seen how hard Biden will crack down on reporters and their sources when these issues come before him. AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES: The longest gas pipeline in the U.S. was forced to shut down on Friday after a cyberattack. In a vaguely worded statement, the company that owns the 5500 mile Colonial Pipeline said that it had to shut down to contain the breach, which sounds ominous. Newest reports say it may be shut for days, which could impact the fuel supply on the East Coast. Afghanistan is still in mourning after a horrific triple bombing outside of a girls’ school in Kabul killed at least 50 people, painting an ominous picture of what the country’s future will look like after decades of U.S. occupation and a newly-resurgent Taliban. Bo, the Portugese Water Dog adopted by the Obamas in 2009, died at the age of 12. Barack Obama said in a statement on Twitter that Bo “had a big bark but no bite,” which could be interpreted as a dig at Joe Biden’s bitey German Shepherd Major. Who knows! New York Mayoral candidate Andrew Yang came out strongly against any notion of defunding the NYPD on Sunday, after a shooting in Times Square left three people, including a child, injured. The current number 2 in the polls, Eric Adams, is a former NYPD officer who also opposes that platform, so the nation’s biggest city probably won’t get much in the way of police reform anytime soon. AM QUICKIE - MAY 10, 2021 HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner WRITER - Jack Crosbie PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

    May 7, 2021: Florida Restricts Voting; Rio Police Commit Massacre; US Pandemic Case Numbers Falling

    Play Episode Listen Later May 7, 2021 7:42

    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by TODAY'S HEADLINES: Florida has become the latest state to pass Republican legislation making it harder for people to vote. Voter advocacy groups are already challenging the new law in court. Meanwhile, Brazilian police committed a massacre in one of Rio’s largest favelas. At least twenty five people were killed in what police described as a campaign to ensure public safety. And lastly, the United States is reportedly turning a corner in the pandemic. Public health experts are expressing cautious optimism about declining infection numbers, but they also warn against letting our guard down too soon. THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW: This dispatch from the Republican war on democracy comes from the Associated Press. Governor Ron DeSantis signed a major rewrite of Florida’s elections law yesterday, tightening rules around drop boxes and mail-in voting. Critics say the changes will make it harder for voters, particularly the elderly and people of color, to cast ballots. It’s the latest victory in the nationwide push by Republicans to restrict access to the polls. The campaign has been fueled by Donald Trump’s false claim that his reelection was stolen from him. Florida’s Republican legislators passed this law – without a single Democratic vote – even though they acknowledged there were no signs of fraud in the state. The AP reports that DeSantis, widely viewed as a potential presidential candidate, clearly saw the political advantage in fighting for what his party describes as election integrity. In an extraordinary move, he staged his bill-signing live on Fox and Friends, with no other media outlets allowed. Elections supervisors did not ask for the changes, warning that some of the new rules may prove cumbersome. Voter advocates assailed the law as a blatant attempt to impede access to the polls so Republicans might retain an advantage. Patricia Brigham, president of the League of Women Voters of Florida, called the law despicable, undemocratic, unconstitutional, and un-American. The league joined the Black Voters Matter Fund, the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans and others in assailing the new law in a federal lawsuit filed minutes after the signing. May the courts strike it down! Rio Police Commit Massacre The news from Brazil is ugly. The Guardian reports that at least twenty five people have been killed after heavily armed police stormed one of Rio de Janeiro’s largest favelas in pursuit of drug traffickers. Activists called it one of the deadliest raids in the city’s history. About two hundred members of Rio’s civil police launched their incursion into Jacarezinho (Haca-ray-zeenho) in the early hours yesterday, sprinting into the vast redbrick community as a bullet-proof helicopter circled overhead with snipers poised on each side. By lunchtime at least twenty five people were reported dead, including a drug squad officer who was shot in the head. Police and local media described the other victims as suspects but offered no immediate evidence for that claim. Photographs and videos taken by residents and shared with the Guardian showed bloodied corpses splayed out in the favela’s narrow alleyways and beside the heavily polluted river from which Jacarezinho takes its name. Police officials and their cheerleaders in Rio’s tabloid press celebrated the mission as an essential attack on the drug gangs who have for decades used the favelas as their bases. But there was outrage from human rights activists and public security specialists as the scale of the carnage became clear. Pedro Paulo Santos Silva, a researcher from Rio’s Centre for Studies on Public Security and Citizenship, said, " It’s extermination – there’s no other way to describe it. This was a massacre." The least we can do is bear witness. US Pandemic Case Numbers Falling Good news! The New York Times reports that after weeks of coronavirus patients flooding emergency rooms in Michigan, the worst Covid-19 hot spot in the nation, hospitalizations are finally falling. On some recent days, entire states, including Wisconsin and West Virginia, have reported zero new deaths. And in New York and Chicago, officials have vowed to fully reopen in the coming weeks. Americans have entered a new, hopeful phase of the pandemic. Local officials have joined in the newfound optimism, rapidly loosening restrictions. Public health experts remain cautious. But they said that while they still expect surges in the coming weeks, they do not think they will reach past peaks. The nation is recording about forty nine thousand new cases a day, the lowest number since October. Hospitalizations have plateaued at around forty thousand, a similar level as the early fall. Nationwide, deaths are hovering around seven hundred a day, down from a peak of more than three thousand in January. Meanwhile, the Washington Post says the pandemic could be at least temporarily throttled by July if the vast majority of people get vaccinated and continue with precautions. That’s according to a strikingly optimistic paper released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said she expects the current infection numbers to continue their recent decline. She also warned against complacency. She said, "If we’re not humble at this point, we have a problem." And remember, it’s not over until it’s over everywhere. AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES: The Washington Post reports that months after the Trump administration weakened the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, allowing industry and individuals to kill any number of birds, the Biden administration proposed a new rule that would revoke that change. The proposal announced by the Interior Department yesterday would restore protections that governed accidental killings of birds. Oil companies are mad, so you know it’s good. According to CBS News, refusing to wear a mask or other unruly behavior on an airplane has gotten more than four thousand people banned by US airlines over the past year. Airlines have referred more than thirteen hundred passengers to the Federal Aviation Administration for unruly behavior since February, after the agency announced a zero- tolerance policy. Is it really that hard to keep your mask on? The New York Times reports that New York City is launching a new program to provide funding to artists for public works. Officials said the city will spend $25 million on the program, called the City Artist Corps. It’s expected to create jobs for more than fifteen hundred artists. Color us excited. Gizmodo reports that informants working for the FBI committed more than nine thousand six hundred crimes under the bureau’s supervision during Donald Trump’s first two years in office. That’s according to unclassified government reports known as Otherwise Illegal Activity reports, which detail the number of crimes committed by what the bureau calls confidential human sources. Want to break the law? Get a cop’s permission first! MAY 7, 2021 - AM QUICKIE HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner WRITER - Corey Pein PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

    May 6, 2021: US Supports Vaccine Patent Waiver; DOJ Will Appeal Evictions Ruling; Republicans Seek Cheney’s Ouster

    Play Episode Listen Later May 6, 2021 8:12

    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by TODAY'S HEADLINES: In a boost for global health equity, the US changes its position on coronavirus vaccine patents. If all goes well, corporate property rights may soon come second to boosting vaccine production. Meanwhile, a federal judge strikes down a federal moratorium on evictions during the pandemic. That’s bad news, but, on the bright side, the Justice Department will appeal the ruling. And lastly, some high-ranking Republicans are determined to force Liz Cheney from her leadership post in the House of Representatives. The leading candidate for Cheney’s replacement is Elise Stefanik, a Trump loyalist. THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW: This encouraging news from the cutthroat global trade wars comes from the Associated Press. The Biden administration is throwing its support behind efforts to waive intellectual property protections for Covid-19 vaccines in an effort to speed the end of the pandemic. United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced the government’s position in a statement yesterday, amid World Trade Organization talks over easing global trade rules to enable more countries to produce more of the life-saving vaccines. Tai said, "This is a global health crisis, and the extraordinary circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic call for extraordinary measures." According to the AP, no consensus – which is required under WTO rules – was expected to emerge from the ambassadors’ meeting yesterday and today. But WTO spokesman Keith Rockwell pointed to a change in tone after months of wrangling. Authors of the proposal, which has faced resistance from countries with influential pharmaceutical industries, have been revising it in hopes of making it more palatable. The argument centers on lifting patents, copyrights and similar trade protections to help expand the production of vaccines during supply shortages. The issue has become more pressing with a surge in cases in India, the world’s second-most populous country and a key producer of vaccines. More than one hundred countries have come out in support of the proposal. And a group of one hundred and ten members of Congress – all Democrats – sent Biden a letter last month that called on him to support the waiver. I guess he listened. DOJ Will Appeal Evictions Ruling Consider it a temporary setback. Politico reports that the Justice Department will appeal a federal judge’s decision vacating a national eviction moratorium, and seek a stay of the ruling pending appeal. US District Judge for the District of Columbia Dabney Friedrich ruled yesterday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention exceeded its authority when it imposed a nationwide ban on evictions for nonpayment of rent in September. The order cited a 1944 public health law giving the Department of Health and Human Services certain powers to prevent communicable diseases from crossing state lines. Congress and the Biden administration have since extended the ban, which is slated to expire June 30. HHS Secretary Xavier (Ha-vee-err) Becerra said the administration would fight the ruling. He said, "I believe the president will want to try to correct this, or certainly continue to fight to make sure we don't see Americans dispossessed and out on the street." Landlords and real estate agents have challenged the ban in courts around the country, arguing that it is an unconstitutional power grab by the CDC. They say it has devastating consequences for landlords who now must subsidize struggling tenants’ housing under the threat of criminal penalties and hefty fines. Courts have issued conflicting rulings. The Alabama and Georgia chapters of the National Association of Realtors, one of the most powerful lobbying groups in Washington, brought the challenge decided yesterday. You may have won this round, landlords and lobbyists, but the fight’s not over yet. Republicans Seek Cheney’s Ouster This update on the Republican psyche comes from the New York Times. House Republicans moved decisively yesterday to expel Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming from their leadership ranks for rejecting Donald Trump’s election lies. Meanwhile, top party leaders and the former president endorsed a replacement who has styled herself as a Trump loyalist. Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the number two Republican in the chamber, became the highest-ranking figure to call for Cheney’s ouster and the elevation of Representative Elise Stefanik of New York in her place as chairwoman of the House Republican Conference. Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the minority leader, was also working the phones behind the scenes, urging colleagues to support Stefanik. Trump, who has seethed over Cheney’s criticism of him, piled on a short time later, deriding her as a "warmongering fool" and endorsing Stefanik. The Times reports that Stefanik wasted no time after Trump’s endorsement in declaring her intentions. In a post on Twitter, she thanked him and said Republicans were unified and focused on winning Congressional seats in 2022. A spokesman for Cheney signaled yesterday that she was gearing up for a messy fight. The turmoil could come to a head as early as next week, when House Republicans may call a vote to replace Cheney. Speaking at the White House yesterday, President Joe Biden expressed bewilderment at the leadership fight, saying Republicans are further away from figuring out what they stand for than he thought. It seems it’s still Trump’s party. AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES: According to the latest enforcement data, obtained by the Washington Post, the number of deportations carried out by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement last month fell to the lowest level on record. ICE deported two thousand nine hundred and sixty two immigrants in April. It’s the first time the monthly figure has dipped below three thousand. The less ICE does, the better, if you ask me. The Guardian reports that environmental groups have accused a European prince of killing the largest bear in Romania, in contravention of a ban on trophy hunting large carnivores. NGOs allege that the bear, who was called Arthur, was shot in March in a protected area of the Carpathian Mountains by Prince Emanuel Von Und Zu Liechtenstein. Rest in peace Arthur, we hardly knew ye. The AP reports that more than two hundred global organizations urged the UN Security Council yesterday to impose an arms embargo on Myanmar. The military there has killed at least seven hundred and sixty nine people since the February 1st coup, and detained several thousand activists, journalists, civil servants and politicians. Which is a good reason to stop selling them bullets. According to the New York Times, a Facebook-appointed panel yesterday upheld the social network’s ban of Donald Trump after the insurrection in Washington in January. Facebook’s Oversight Board ruled the social network was right to bar Trump, saying he created an environment where a serious risk of violence was possible. Not to mention his constant whining! MAY 6, 2021 - AM QUICKIE HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner WRITER - Corey Pein PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

    May 5, 2021: Workers Lose Big To Wage Theft; Bill Would Open COINTELPRO Records; Consumer Advocate Takes Over Student Loans

    Play Episode Listen Later May 5, 2021 8:05

    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by TODAY'S HEADLINES: It’s an economic scourge that costs workers at least $15 billion a year. It’s called wage theft, and a new report explains why corporations keep getting away with it. Meanwhile, did the US government kill a young Black Panther activist in 1969? A new bill by one of Fred Hampton’s former comrades, Congressman Bobby Rush, seeks to open up the FBI’s files on Hampton’s case and others. And lastly, the new federal official in charge of student loans has a record of taking on shady lenders. Hear why consumer advocates are praising the Biden administration’s appointment of Richard Cordray this week. THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW: This tale of everyday corporate crime from the Associated Press. Essential workers struggling through the pandemic are facing another hazard of hard times: employers who steal their wages. Companies that hire child care workers, gas station clerks, restaurant servers and security guards are among the businesses most likely to get caught cheating their employees. That’s according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of minimum wage and overtime violations from the US Department of Labor. In 2019 alone, the agency cited about eight thousand five hundred employers for taking about $287 million from workers. Some major US corporations were among the worst offenders. They include Halliburton, G4S Wackenhut and Circle-K stores. According to the AP, victims of wage theft toil on the lower rungs of the workforce. Danielle Wynne, a $10-an-hour convenience store clerk in Florida, said her boss ordered her to work off the clock. Ruth Palacios, a janitor from Mexico, earned less than minimum wage to disinfect a New York City hospital at the height of the pandemic. Companies have little incentive to follow the law. The Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division, which investigates federal wage-theft complaints, rarely penalizes repeat offenders. On top of that, the division often lets businesses avoid repaying employees all the money they’re owed. Jenn Round, a labor expert at Rutgers University, said some companies do a cost-benefit analysis and realize it’s cheaper to violate the law, even if they get caught. Sounds like a great reason to increase fines for wage theft! Bill Would Open COINTELPRO Records It’s time for some truth. The Washington Post reports that a Democratic lawmaker introduced new legislation yesterday that would force the government to reveal decades-old FBI files about domestic spying on civil rights and peace activists. Illinois Democratic Representative Bobby Rush is seeking answers about the killing of Fred Hampton, a Black Panther activist targeted by an FBI informant and shot by police in Chicago in 1969. The congressman, who helped found the Illinois Black Panther Party and blames the FBI for Hampton’s death, said the files should hold important details about the bureau’s activities. The FBI declined to comment. The Post says the FBI’s investigation of Hampton was part of a larger domestic intelligence gathering effort by the FBI called COINTELPRO, short for Counterintelligence Program. It entailed infiltrating, harassing, and sowing division among groups involved in constitutionally protected political activism. The restrictions imposed on the FBI in the wake of COINTELPRO have come under renewed scrutiny in recent months. Some have argued the FBI has interpreted the rules too narrowly, allowing the January 6th insurrection at the US Capitol to be planned in plain view. Rush said he would welcome any conservatives’ support if that helps provide answers about the domestic spying program. Rush’s bill would require all COINTELPRO files to be made public within six months of the law’s passage. It would also remove the J. Edgar Hoover name from the FBI headquarters building. Maybe they should call it the Fred Hampton Memorial FBI Building. Consumer Advocate Takes Over Student Loans Here’s some hopeful news on the personnel front. The Post reports that Richard Cordray, the first director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, has been named to head the federal aid office that oversees the government’s $1.5 trillion student loan portfolio. Cordray led the bureau’s crackdown on consumer abuses in debt collection, student loan servicing and for-profit colleges, garnering the respect of advocates and drawing the ire of those industries. His selection signals tougher oversight of the Education Department’s contractors and enforcement of the rules governing federal student aid. According to the Post, Cordray will arrive at the department as the Biden administration grapples with its authority to cancel a portion of federal student loans, a policy championed by one of Cordray’s chief supporters, Senator Elizabeth Warren. The Democratic senator from Massachusetts praised his appointment Monday, saying she is, "very glad he will get to apply his fearlessness and expertise to protecting student loan borrowers." During his six-year tenure at the CFPB, Cordray frequently clashed with the financial industry and conservatives over his aggressive regulation. His efforts to weed out poor servicing of student loans and predatory career training schools at times put him at odds with the Education Department. The CFPB under Cordray’s direction also brought some of the most high-profile student lending cases in recent years. Among them: a lawsuit against the for-profit giant Corinthian Colleges for steering students into private loans that had interest rates as high as fifteen percent. Parasites! Your time is up. AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES: The Guardian reports that the United Nations has condemned the violent repression of protests in Colombia, after police attacks left at least eighteen dead and eighty seven people missing. Riot police have rampaged across the smoke-filled streets, shooting protesters at point-blank range and charging at crowds with their motorcycles. Protests began peacefully with a nationwide general strike last Wednesday. Solidarity to all facing state violence. Officials told NBC News that the man who tried to drive into CIA headquarters in Virginia on Monday has died of his injuries after being shot by FBI agents who believed he had a bomb. The man, Roy Gordon Cole, was known to the CIA because he had tried to drive into its heavily guarded facility before. No explosives were found. The AP reports that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday failed to meet a midnight deadline to put together a new governing coalition. The news raises the possibility that his Likud party could be pushed into the opposition for the first time in twelve years. Feels like forever, though. According to the Washington Post, President Joe Biden yesterday set a goal of seventy percent of adult Americans having at least one coronavirus vaccine shot by the Fourth of July. The administration is also taking steps to make vaccine more accessible, including directing pharmacies to offer walk-in appointments, redirecting federal resources to support pop-up clinics and sending more doses to rural health clinics. Whatever it takes, we’re in! MAY 5, 2021 - AM QUICKIE HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner WRITER - Corey Pein PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

    May 4, 2021: Biden Boosts Refugee Cap; Scientists Say We Blew Our Shot at Herd Immunity; EPA Cracks Down on Gas

    Play Episode Listen Later May 4, 2021 6:23

    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by TODAY'S HEADLINES: The Biden Administration announced that it would increase the country’s refugee admissions cap after weeks of criticism for continuing Trump’s barbaric policies. Meanwhile, experts believe that thanks to vaccine skeptics and dangerous variants of the disease, the U.S. is unlikely to ever reach herd immunity from COVID-19. And lastly, the EPA makes a bold move to limit the use of toxic greenhouse gases in the Biden administrations first major step against climate change. THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW: After weeks of pressure, the Biden Administration is backing down from its horrible stance on immigration. The White House announced on Monday that it would raise the national cap on refugee admissions from just 15,000 to 62,500. For reference, 15,000 was the minuscule number of people the Trump administration allowed in. When Biden took office, he promised to change Trump’s brutal immigration policies, but for months still maintained the Trump quotas, despite widespread criticism. Now, Biden says he’s raising the cap, and will set it at an even higher number of 125,000 next fiscal year. But his administration also noted that he doesn’t think they’ll actually reach even the 62,500 cap this year, which is all the more embarrassing considering how many refugees other countries have taken in. What he didn’t mention, however, is that other key Trump policies are still in place, such as the freeze of the asylum system under a legally-shaky provision of U.S. law. It’s pretty obvious we’ve got a long way to go to care for less fortunate people looking to make a better life in this country. Scientists Say We Blew Our Shot at Herd Immunity Our response to coronavirus has been building toward one thing: the point when enough people are vaccinated that the disease can’t reliably spread. This is generally known as “herd immunity,” but unfortunately, scientists have bad news. With the way things are going, we may never get there. The biggest issues facing us right now are the prevalence of coronavirus variants and slipping vaccine rates. In other words, the disease is mutating and people aren’t getting vaccinated fast enough to wipe it out. Together, those are enough that scientists have a quote “widespread consensus” that we’re not going to make it to the herd immunity threshold, according to the New York Times. That means the virus is going to continue to spread through the country in the future, albeit at levels the scientists are calling a manageable threat. The new goal isn’t to completely wipe out the disease, but just mitigate its spread and protect people from whatever variants may crop up. The government has stayed away from herd immunity messaging for a while now because of these issues, and it didn’t help that the right wing anti-maskers coopted it into a theory that the disease would go away on its own. But without widespread immunity to the disease through vaccinations, we simply aren’t going to get there. COVID will be around for a long time to come. EPA Cracks Down on Gas The Environmental Protection Agency moved on Monday to take one of its boldest actions against greenhouse gases. The agency proposed strictly regulating hydrofluorocarbons [HYDRO FLURRO CARBONS], or HFCs as they’re called. HFCs are man made chemicals that are thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide when it comes to global warming. They’re commonly used in refrigeration and air conditioning. The EPA’s new plan would begin to take effect in 2022, and would seek to reduce the production and importation of HFCs by 85 percent over the following 15 years. The agency estimates that by 2050, that change will eliminate the equivalent of about 3 years worth of emissions from America’s power sector. Biden is clearly hoping that this aggressive policy will make a dent in his goal of cutting U.S. emissions in half by 2035. Of course, he won’t be president by then, and there’s no guarantee a more cut-throat capitalist won’t shove us right back into the arms of natural gas. And while a crackdown on dangerous refrigeration gases is certainly important, it’s far from the biggest driver of climate change. Still, if this is the kind of plan the EPA is going to lead with under Biden, it could be a sign of good things to come. AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES: Bill and Melinda Gates announced that they were getting divorced on Monday, in what would usually be a non-story but in this case could have profound repercussions for the future of scientific research and the entire nonprofit sector. Makes you think that maybe relying on the whims of billionaires to finance public goods isn’t the best system! The FDA is expected to authorize children as young as 12 to receive the Pfizer vaccine by early next week, letting another block of school-age kids get protected over the summer holidays before returning to the classroom in the fall. Facebook’s oversight board has finished deliberations as to what they’re going to do with Donald Trump’s account, which was banned four months ago. They’ll announce the decision at 9am on Wednesday. A new study showed that patients who received a combination of the drug MDMA and talking therapy reported a dramatic improvement in symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, which could be a major boon as advocates seek widespread medical approval for the drug. MAY 4 2021 - AM QUICKIE HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner WRITER - Jack Crosbie PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

    May 3, 2021: Biden Drops Trump's Secret Drone Rules; Vaccine The Only Shot Cops Won't Take; Austin Criminalizes Homelessness

    Play Episode Listen Later May 3, 2021 6:11

    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by TODAY'S HEADLINES: The Biden administration released the Trump administration’s secret set of rules for carrying out drone strikes, prompting new calls for him to end targeted killings once and for all. Meanwhile, police departments across the country are struggling to get their cops to take the coronavirus vaccine, despite plentiful access. And finally, Austin voters brought back the city’s controversial public tent law, which effectively criminalized homelessness and would further destabilize the lives of many unhoused people. THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW: The Biden administration released a set of confidential rules used by the Trump administration to authorize drone strikes, after the ACLU and New York Times filed suit to uncover the documents. Biden suspended Trump’s rules when it came into power, and began a widespread review of the government’s use of force policies in March. But it has not, of course, ended the general U.S. policy of killing whoever it wants with drone strikes. The documents show that under Trump, individual military commanders were given a broad latitude to authorize strikes, with plenty of wiggle room when it came to skirting guidelines meant to prevent civilians from being harmed. The Biden white house’s review found that Trump’s rules were even more lenient when commanders were certain women and children wouldn’t be injured, even if adult male civilians were nearby. Under Biden, strikes require direct White House approval. But approval or not, that still means that they happen. Vaccine The Only Shot Cops Won't Take America’s police officers were some of the very first people to become eligible for the Coronavirus vaccine, and yet guess what? They’re simply not getting it. The Washington Post reports that in many police departments across the nation, the vaccination rate is on par or even lower than the general public, despite easy access to the jab. For example, in Las Vegas, only 39 percent of cops are vaxxed. In Atlanta, it’s 36 percent. In Columbus, Ohio, it’s only 28. These are big departments! Police unions, meanwhile, are strongly against making the vaccination mandatory for their cops, repeating the “personal decision” line that we’re hearing all over. The Post reports that most cops are avoiding the vaccine for the same reasons the general public is struggling with: skepticism, paranoia, and the belief that since many of them had the disease already, they’re not going to catch it again. As the Post points out, this is a massive risk not only to the health of the cops, but to the health of every community member they interact with. Since they’re refusing to get the jab, they’re putting every person they speak with at a traffic stop or routine interaction at even more risk than they were before. Austin Criminalizes Homelessness Austin voters approved restoring the city’s controversial public camping ban, a brutal law that effectively criminalized homelessness in the city. The law specifically prohibits camping near downtown and UT Austin, areas where many unhoused people live. It also makes it a crime to ask for money or panhandle in certain areas. Austin had similar bans in effect till 2019, when the City Council overturned them, correctly realizing that they were just contributing to overpolicing of already vulnerable groups of people. Forcing homeless people off the streets and into jail for the crime of trying to find a place to sleep isn’t going to end the problem, just make people in a desperate situation that much worse off. Still, the public campaign to reinstate the bans was immensely successful, as the city passed the proposition by around 58 to 42 percent. They had pretty significant support from above, as Texas’s notorious GOP governor Gregg Abbott told the city that if it didn’t reinstate the bans, the state would do it for them. The PAC organized around the bill also raked in $1.2 million. Activists at the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition and other groups fought the bill to the end, noting that it would disproportionately affect black and brown people and force even more of them into the jail and prison system. The bans will go back in place on May 11, which will surely be a hard day for many people in the city. AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES: Crowds of Trump supporters booed and heckled Mitt Romney during his speech at the Utah State Republican Convention on Saturday, which should dispel any notion that Romney will have much luck in any future national GOP primary. Speaking of embarrassing public appearances, former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn apparently forgot the words to the pledge of allegiance while at a Bikers for Trump rally organized by crook lawyer Lin Wood. Sad! If there was any question as to where Mitch McConnell’s priorities are, Biden’s big infrastructure plan would almost certainly give the Republican Majority Leader the money to fix a massive, vitally important bridge in his home state. But despite trying to find a fix for it for years, McConnell’s partisanship will always come before his constituents, and he’s resolutely against the bill. Will Biden close Guantanamo Bay? Boy. I dunno. In an interview with 60 Minutes on Sunday, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said this noncommittal quote: We believe that it should be, that's certainly a goal, but it's something that we'll bring some focus to in the months ahead.” endquote. Whatever that means! MAY 3, 2021 - AM QUICKIE HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner WRITER - Jack Crosbie PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

    April 30, 2021: Labor Secretary Says Gig Workers Deserve Benefits; Study: Tear Gas Affects Menstruation; Dems Push Medicare Expansion

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 30, 2021 8:39

    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by TODAY'S HEADLINES: President Joe Biden’s Labor Secretary, Marty Walsh, has signaled his department may take a stand for gig workers’ rights. It would be long overdue and much welcomed by millions. Meanwhile, a new study confirms what many social justice protesters observed last summer: tear gas really messes with people’s bodies. So how do we get police to stop using it? And lastly, Democrats in Congress aren’t waiting around for the White House to act on one item on the progressive agenda. Bernie Sanders is among those leading the charge for a major Medicare expansion. THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW: Big Tech has been systematically cheating people, and not only customers. A lot of gig workers in the United States should be classified as employees who deserve work benefits, President Biden’s labor secretary said yesterday, according to Reuters. The comments suggest a shift in policy that is likely to raise costs for companies that depend on contractors such as Uber and Lyft. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, a son of Irish immigrants and a former union member, has been expected to boost the Biden Administration’s efforts to expand workers’ protections and deliver a win for the country’s organized labor movement. Walsh told Reuters that in a lot of cases gig workers should be classified as employees, and in some cases they are not treated respectfully. As many as fifty five million people in the United States were gig workers – or thirty four percent of the workforce – in 2017, according to the International Labor Organization. The total was projected to rise to forty three percent in 2020. Walsh’s views on the issue could usher in new rulings from the Labor Department, which sets legal guidelines for how employers treat workers. Walsh said the Department will have conversations with companies that employ gig labor in the coming months to make sure workers have access to consistent wages, sick time, health care and "all of the things that an average employee in America can access." Subsequently, Reuters reports, shares of Uber fell as much as eight percent while Lyft dived as much as twelve percent. Doordash fell nearly nine percent and Grubhub was down three percent. Boo-hoo. Treat your workers right or we’ll make you do it! Study: Tear Gas Affects Menstruation Expect lawsuits after this one, folks. The Guardian says that more than a thousand people reported lasting health effects after being exposed to teargas during protests in Portland, Oregon, last summer, according to a newly published scientific study. Nearly nine hundred people reported abnormal menstrual cycles, including intense cramping and increased bleeding, that began or persisted days after their initial exposure to the teargas. Hundreds of others complained of other negative health impacts, including severe headaches, nausea, diarrhea, and mental health concerns. The new research, based on an online survey of more than twenty two hundred people, challenges claims that the health consequences of being teargassed are minor and temporary. According to the Guardian, it is also the first published, peer-reviewed study to confirm a link between teargas and abnormal menstruation. The connection was widely discussed by American protesters on social media and in news reports last year. Participants in racial justice protests against police violence last summer in Portland, Seattle, Minneapolis, Rochester and other cities told media outlets that their exposure to teargas had been followed by unexpected bleeding, unusually painful cramps, and other disruptions of their typical menstrual cycles. Last July, Oregon Public Broadcast interviewed twenty six protesters, ages seventeen to forty three, who said that exposure to teargas had affected their periods. Some described large blood clots, others cramps that felt like sharp rocks. One twenty nine year old protester told OPB, "We’re not paranoid. This isn’t a coincidence. Something’s going on." It seems they were right. Democrats Push Medicare Expansion It’s not Medicare for All, but it’s Medicare for... More. The Washington Post reports that Congressional Democrats are planning to pursue a massive expansion of Medicare as part of President Biden’s new $1.8 trillion economic relief package, defying the White House after it opted against including a major health overhaul as part of its plan. The expansion push comes as Biden stressed in his first address to Congress on Wednesday that he is still committed to making health care more affordable. They specifically aim to lower the eligibility age for Medicare to either fifty five or sixty, expand the range of health services the entitlement covers and grant the government new powers to negotiate prescription drug prices. Party lawmakers say their approach could offer new, improved or cheaper coverage to millions of older Americans nationwide. The Post reports that roughly one hundred House and Senate Democrats, led by Representative Pramila Jayapal of Washington State and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, encouraged Biden to include the overhaul as part of his latest package, known as the American Families Plan. Yet Biden opted only to propose additional subsidies for Americans who purchase their health insurance, disappointing many lawmakers. Sanders said Wednesday he would absolutely pursue a Medicare expansion as lawmakers begin to translate Biden’s economic vision into legislation. But in an early sign of trouble, Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia told the Post he opposes expanding Medicare eligibility. Manchin said, "No, I’m not for it, period." Rethinking Medicare also risks touching off a fierce lobbying barrage on the part of health insurers and pharmaceutical giants. The corporate opposition could add to the political obstacles facing Biden’s economic agenda. But ultimately, Democrats are in the majority, people need healthcare, and voters will remember what was done – even if it’s nothing. AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES: The Senate yesterday overwhelmingly passed a $35 billion bill designed to bolster states’ water infrastructure, NBC News reports. Legislators pointed to the lead contamination crisis in Flint, Michigan, and water outages in Texas this past winter as evidence of the need for urgent action. So it boggles the mind why one of the two votes against the bill was from Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz. The three Georgia men charged with murder in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery are now facing federal hate crime charges as well, the Department of Justice announced Wednesday, according to BuzzFeed News. The federal charges came more than a year after the twenty five-year-old Black man was followed by the three white men while he was jogging in Brunswick, Georgia, told to stop at gunpoint, and shot. You may remember that, at first, no charges were filed at all in this case. Powered by consumers and fueled by government aid, the US economy is achieving a remarkably fast recovery from the recession that ripped through the nation last year, according to the Associated Press. The number of people seeking unemployment aid – a rough reflection of layoffs – last week reached its lowest point since the pandemic struck. The numbers may be encouraging, but they’re just numbers. Consider us cautiously optimistic. US flights carrying urgent coronavirus aid for India were en route yesterday, the Washington Post reports. The US government will deliver more than $100 million worth of supplies for overstretched hospitals and front-line health-care workers in India, including oxygen support, personal protective equipment, therapeutics and rapid diagnostic tests. Here’s hoping it gets where it’s needed quickly, and saves some lives. APRIL 30, 2021 - AM QUICKIE HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner WRITER - Corey Pein PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

    April 29, 2021: Biden Promises Jobs, Family Care; Air Pollution Disproportionately Harms POC; Feds Search Giuliani's Home, Office

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 29, 2021 8:50

    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by TODAY'S HEADLINES: For the first time last night, and just short of his hundredth day in office, President Joe Biden addressed a joint session of Congress. He said America is on the move again, and back to stay – got it, Jack? Meanwhile, three new studies reveal the plague of environmental racism. Lung-damaging air pollution harms Black Americans at rates more than twenty percent above the average. And lastly, the feds raided the home and office of Donald Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. The warrant was apparently held up until Merrick Garland became Attorney General. THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW: It’s a wonk’s delight. The Biden administration yesterday detailed a $1.8 trillion policy plan to expand access to education, reduce the cost of child care and support women in the work force, according to the New York Times. The American Families Plan, as the White House calls it, includes $1 trillion in new spending and $800 billion in tax credits, much of which is aimed at expanding access to education and child care. The package includes financing for universal prekindergarten, a federal paid leave program, efforts to make child care more affordable, free community college for all, aid for students at colleges that historically serve nonwhite communities, expanded subsidies under the Affordable Care Act and an extension of new federal efforts to fight poverty. It’s to be financed by additional taxes on high earners. Biden presented the details to a joint session of Congress last night. Biden spoke to a House chamber that was sparsely populated but fully masked. He listed some accomplishments from his first hundred days, including progress against the pandemic and campaigns against hunger, opioid addiction, and child poverty. He laid out what his plans could yet accomplish, such as creating jobs to replace hazardous lead pipes and providing child and elder care for hundreds of thousands of families. And he pushed back against skepticism that democracies can’t compete against autocracies in the twenty first century, by showing what government can do to meet people’s needs. He praised labor unions and criticized greedy CEOs. Biden said, "trickle down economics has never worked, and it’s time to grow the economy from the bottom and the middle out." Air Pollution Disproportionately Harms POC Racism is in the air we breathe. Nearly every source of the nation’s most pervasive and deadly air pollutant disproportionately affects Americans of color, regardless of their location or income level, the Washington Post reports. The news comes from a study published yesterday in the journal Science Advances, authored by researchers from five universities. The analysis of fine-particle matter, which includes soot, shows how decisions made decades ago about where to build highways and industrial plants continue to harm the health of Black, Latino and Asian Americans today. The particles studied have diameters of no more than two point five micrometers – one-thirtieth the width of a human hair – and can become embedded in the lungs. Known as Particulate Matter Two Point Five, they account for up to two hundred thousand premature US deaths each year. The Post says the new paper, coupled with two other analyses also released yesterday, bolsters the argument that environmental advocates have made for years that Black, Latino, Asian and Native Americans bear a heavier burden. And this growing body of research is showing the full scope of the problem. Joshua Apte, one of the authors, said, "The deck is stacked against people of color, for almost every emission source." The study found that Black people are exposed to twenty one percent more fine-particle pollution compared to average Americans, the Post reports. Exposure was eighteen percent greater for Asian Americans and eleven percent more for Hispanics. White Americans, by contrast, have eight percent less pollution exposure than the average. This is yet another urgent reason the country needs a Green New Deal. Feds Search Giuliani's Home, Office This isn’t how you want to wake up on a weekday. The New York Times reports that federal investigators in Manhattan executed search warrants early yesterday at the home and office of Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who became Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, stepping up a criminal investigation into Giuliani’s dealings in Ukraine. The investigators seized Giuliani’s electronic devices and searched his Madison Avenue apartment and his Park Avenue office at about 6 am.Giuliani’s lawyer, Robert Costello, called the searches unnecessary, according to the Times. Costello said, "What they did today was legal thuggery." FBI agents on yesterday morning also executed a search warrant at the Washington-area home of Victoria Toensing, a lawyer close to Giuliani who had dealings with several Ukrainians involved in seeking negative information on the Bidens. Toensing, a former federal prosecutor and senior Justice Department official, has also represented Dmitry Firtash, a Ukrainian oligarch under indictment in the United States whose help Giuliani sought. The federal authorities have focused on whether Giuliani illegally lobbied the Trump administration in 2019 on behalf of Ukrainian officials and oligarchs, who were helping Giuliani search for damaging information on Trump’s political rivals, including Joe Biden. The Times reports that the US attorney’s office in Manhattan and the FBI had sought for months to secure search warrants for Giuliani’s phones and electronic devices. Under Trump, political appointees in the Justice Department repeatedly sought to block such a warrant. After Merrick Garland was confirmed as Biden’s attorney general, the Justice Department lifted its objection to the search. Funny how that works. AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES: The city of Alameda, California yesterday identified three police officers who were placed on administrative leave in connection to the death of twenty six-year-old Mario Gonzalez, the San-Jose Mercury News reports. The officers are James Fisher, Cameron Leahy and Eric McKinley. Body camera footage shows officers pinned Gonzalez on the ground for about five minutes, attempting to arrest him. Gonzalez’s family says the footage shows the officers murdered him. After George Floyd, who can deny their outrage? The Guardian reports crematoriums in Delhi have become so overloaded by Covid-19 deaths that they are being forced to build makeshift funeral pyres on spare patches of land. And the BBC reports that police in India are prosecuting a man who used Twitter to try to find oxygen for his dying grandfather. Officers in Uttar Pradesh state charged Shashank Yadav with spreading a rumour over oxygen shortages. That’s one way to deal with the problem. Connecticut will no longer allow a religious exemption from childhood immunization requirements for schools, colleges and day care facilities, the Associated Press reports. It becomes the sixth state to end that policy, after California, New York, West Virginia, Mississippi and Maine. More than two thousand opponents rallied outside the state Capitol building, arguing the legislation infringes on their religious liberties and parental rights. Ah yes, the god-given right to let your children contract preventable illnesses, and infect others... Workers trying to block the sale of a Renault car parts factory held seven managers against their will for twelve hours in the latest boss-napping to hit French industry, the Guardian reports. A union rep said the union had decided to release the managers because, " they still didn’t want to have a dialogue." Well, at least they tried. APRIL 29, 2021 - AM QUICKIE HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner WRITER - Corey Pein PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

    April 27, 2021: U.S. Agrees to Share Vaccine; Pharma CEO Dumped Stock Before Vax Screwup; Republicans Make Census Gains

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 27, 2021 6:53

    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by TODAY'S HEADLINES: The United States announced it will share up to 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine with other countries -- but big pharma leaders still oppose opening up the patents so every country can make what it needs. Meanwhile, the CEO of the vaccine production company that screwed up 15 million doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine sold off $10 million in stock before the mistake was announced. And lastly, the new census numbers are in, and as we feared, Republicans are going to pick up a few key house seats in THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW: The United States has finally agreed to share. On Monday, the White House announced it would send up to 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine around the world. The AstraZeneca vaccine isn’t even approved for use in the U.S., so it’s not like we have anything better to do with it, meaning it’s kind of absurd we hadn’t done this already. Still, the FDA wants to clear the drug before we send it overseas, though dozens of other countries are already using it and could use more. We’re not even the first major power to do this. Russia and China have both already actively shared vaccines outside their borders. Prior to this announcement, we’d only committed to sharing a measly 4 million doses with Mexico and Canada. It’s clear the U.S. could be doing a whole lot more to help as our own vaccine rollout continues relatively smoothly. Perhaps the biggest impediment to global vaccination, though, is once again the capitalists in charge. U.S. drugmakers have jealously guarded their patented vaccine formulas, and thus far, Biden has let them, despite making a promise not to while on the campaign trail. The Guardian reported recently on Biolyse, a small Canadian drug manufacturer that said it was ready and willing to devote its facility to cranking out doses of the vaccine to send to developing nations, if only one of the pharma giants would give them the recipe. So far, they’ve gotten nothing. Biolyse’s head of production Claude Mercure said quote: “I don’t understand pharma’s stance on this. Everyone needs to make money, sure. But this is a very serious situation and there’s no reason to be this harsh.” Endquote. The bigwigs in charge know this, but as we know by now: money comes first. Pharma CEO Dumped Stock Before Vax Screwup With that in mind, let’s turn to another story of unabashed corporate greed. Back in February, the pharma company Emergent Biosolutions completely messed up a massive order for the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, ruining 15 million doses in a plant in Baltimore. A new report by the Washington Post shows that at least one person saw this coming: Emergent’s CEO. Emergent boss Robert G. Kramer sold more than $10 million worth of stock in his own company in early February, right before Emergent reported the mistake and its stock price took a nose dive. If Kramer were to sell those same shares now, he’d only get $5.5 million. It seems pretty cut and dry what happened here. The top leaders at Emergent knew something was going wrong, so they dumped their stock and hoped for the best. The Post reports that other execs at the company also sold off stocks. In Kramer’s case, he set up the trades back in November, apparently trying to ward off complaints of insider trading. But the Post’s investigation found that Emergent’s plant was already having production problems back in October, including one earlier issue with making the J&J vaccine. If you heard yesterday’s story on CEO pay, you’ll love this: Kramer’s total compensation went up 50 percent in 2020. To seal the deal, Kramer’s last sell-off of his own company’s stock was in 2016 -- and guess what happened: investors sued him, saying that he had dumped his stock after misleading them about a government contract. Sure sounds like he was playing his favorite trick once again. Republicans Make Census Gains The Census results are in, and they don’t look good for the Democrats. Thanks to Trump’s pandemic-addled, count-disrupted Census attempt, the 2020 Census reported significant population gains in red-leaning states, which means they’ll get a bigger share of House of Representatives seats. Texas, Florida and North Carolina are set to gain a combined four new Congressional seats after the 2022 midterms, while California, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania and New York — will each lose a single congressional seat. There are some other shifts, but those are the big ones The nuances of how this all works is a bit more tricky. It’s not as simple as handing seats directly to Republicans, as they’ll obviously have to win elections and the new districts will depend heavily on how the lines are drawn. But in Republican led states, the GOP will hold most of the power over that redistricting, so it follows that they’ll try to gerrymander as many new safely red seats as they can. Part of this is due to population shifts that are really happening, but the effects are likely more dramatic thanks to Trump’s efforts to disrupt the census project and add a citizenship question, likely suppressing the population of undocumented people who were accounted for. This matters for representation, but also for the share of federal tax dollars those communities receive, meaning in many cases they’ll be paying taxes to get very little in return. You can see who’s the clear winner in all this, and it’s not the Democrats or working people around the country. AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES: The population of the United States grew at the slowest rate since the 1930s, the new census showed, fueled by both declining birth rates and stagnant immigration. You can pin some of that blame on Trump, but not all. The Supreme Court announced on Monday that it will hear arguments in a new major gun control case challenging a New York law on carrying guns outside of the home. The NRA has backed the challenge, which it clearly hopes will set a dangerous precedent further eroding any attempts at gun reform across the country. A Republican-led drive to remove California Gov. Gavin Newsom from office got enough signatures to qualify for the ballot, state officials reported Monday. The LA Times reports that Newsome could see a statewide vote of confidence before the end of the year. And finally, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it will undergo an internal review aimed at rooting out extremists and white supremacists inside it’s own ranks. The key word in that sentence is “internal.” We’ll see what they find, but don’t hold your breath for real change. APRIL 27, 2021 - AM QUICKIE HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner WRITER - Jack Crosbie PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

    April 26, 2021: Sanders, Warren Want Medicare Bump; India Censors Covid Critics; CEOs Reap Pandemic Payouts

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 26, 2021 7:20

    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by TODAY'S HEADLINES: Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders send a bold letter to the White House on Sunday urging a major expansion to the country’s Medicare system as part of the President’s investment and tax reform plan. But will Joe Biden listen? Meanwhile, India’s COVID outbreak is spiraling out of control, but its hard-right government is more concerned with bullying big tech into taking down criticism on social media than actually helping. And lastly, a new report shows that CEO’s paychecks are skyrocketing, even as their companies suffer from the pandemic’s economic downturn. THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW: Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and a cadre of 14 other Democratic Senators sent a letter on Sunday urging Joe Biden to sign off on a massive expansion of Medicare benefits. The letter asks for several specific things, including lowering the eligibility age for Medicare, expanding benefits to include vision, dental, and hearing, a cap on out-of-pocket expenses, and lower drug prices. The senators want these chances included in Biden’s American Families Plan, an estimated $1.8 trillion tax and spending package that Biden is expected to showcase during his first address to Congress on Wednesday. There’s just one problem: Biden hasn’t committed to any of those things yet. Instead, the Washington Post reported that Biden wants to add a $200 billion expansion to the Affordable Care Act’s subsidy program, which helps people pay for private health insurance, but will not touch Medicare. When it comes down to it, both a limited expansion to Medicare and more ACA subsidies are woefully inadequate, with the latter plan particularly weak. It also appears like Biden is fully backing away from any kind of true public option for health insurance, instead offering up crumbs and stopgap measures. We’ll see what he has to say on Wednesday, but we’re not hoping for much. India Censors Covid Critics The coronavirus epidemic has spiraled to devastating heights in India. Oxygen supplies are dwindling across the country, and on Sunday alone, it recorded almost 350,000 new infections. And experts think even those staggering numbers are underselling things. Hospitals in New Delhi are out of oxygen and beds and mass cremations are occurring across the country. Part of the recent surge is due to India’s hard-right government, which under Narendra Modi loosened and sometimes flat out disregarded social distancing restrictions, especially at the President's large, Trump-like rallies across the country. Modi is now trying to get the outbreak under control and promising to, “give priority to experts and scientific advice.” But he’s also cracking down on any dissent and criticism as much as possible. According to the New York Times, Modhi has successfully petitioned several American social media platforms to delete or take down post critical of him or blaming him for the disastrous spike in cases. Modhi has often threatened to arrest local employees of tech giants like Twitter and Facebook if they refuse to take down the offending posts, which has worked on several occasions. But all of this reflects a disturbing brand of authoritarianism from India’s government. As one professor at the University of Delhi put it: “It’s easier to take down tweets than it is to ensure oxygen supplies.” CEOs Reap Pandemic Payouts To close us out today we’ve got a very simple story of American capitalism. As the pandemic ravaged businesses large and small alike, the biggest companies managed to keep one thing intact: absurdly large salaries for CEOs. Let’s just run some quick figures by you as reported in the New York Times. You won’t need a calculator or anything, these are pretty clear. Boeing: 30,000 workers laid off, $12 billion in losses. It’s CEO David Calhoun? 21.1 million in compensation. Let’s do Hilton. Nearly a quarter of its corporate employees laid off, $720 million in losses. CEO Chris Nassetta made $55.9 million in compensation. There are dozens more companies like this, where CEOs reaped the benefits of laying off their own employees directly. Others, like former T Mobile CEO John Legere [LEGER] raked in over millions after swallowing competitors whole or presiding over monopolistic mergers. And this doesn’t even touch on the tech billionaires like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk who rode the waves of fluctuating stock prices to add hundreds of billions to their net worth. It all adds up to the same thing: the rich are getting richer right in front of our eyes. And they’ve gotten so bloated and arrogant now that they don’t care who sees it. AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES: Joe Biden broke decades of official silence on Sunday and officially recognized the Armenian Genocide, a brutal campaign of repression during the first world war that killed an estimated 1.5 million Armenians, but has gone overlooked by many world governments for political reasons, namely the vocal opposition of NATO ally Turkey. The Democratic establishment pulled off another victory in Louisiana over the weekend, as centrist-favored, pro-oil candidate Troy Carter beat Green New Deal supporter Karen Peterson, partially by riding a wave of Republican money, to secure a vacant Democratic house seat. The top American commander in Afghanistan said on Sunday that the U.S. has officially begun its withdrawal from the country, transitioning bases and resources to the Afghan military. This won’t stop the U.S. from bombing whoever it wants, whenever it wants, of course, but it’s a nominal step toward the end of one chapter of the forever war. The European Union announced that it will let U.S. tourists who are vaccinated visit this summer, after more than a year of widespread travel restrictions, but did not give a definite timeline as to what documentation would be required or when specifically the restrictions would lift. APRIL 26, 2021 - AM QUICKIE HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner WRITER - Jack Crosbie PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

    April 23, 2021: Biden Pledges Big Emissions Cuts; Military Puzzled by Mystery Weapons; WH Weighs Taxing Investors More

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 23, 2021 8:48

    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by TODAY'S HEADLINES: The United States once again wants to be a world leader in the fight against climate change. But activists say the Biden administration’s new targets don’t go far enough. Meanwhile, the Pentagon thinks that mysterious symptoms afflicting some troops and diplomats might have been caused by directed-energy weapons. But if so, who made them? And lastly, the White House is considering a substantial increase to the capital gains tax to fund social programs. And Wall Street is not happy. THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW: This is how you’d hope a president would talk. Joe Biden has called upon the world to overcome the existential crisis of our time, as he unveiled an ambitious new pledge to slash US planet-heating emissions in half by the end of the decade, the Guardian reports. Addressing a virtual gathering of more than forty world leaders in an Earth Day climate summit yesterday, Biden warned that time is short to address dangerous global heating. Shortly before the start of the summit, the White House said the US will aim to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least fifty percent by 2030, based on 2005 levels. Biden said a shift to clean energy will create millions of good paying union jobs and that countries may reap the economic benefits of the clean energy boom that’s coming, the Guardian reports. The Biden administration also outlined a plan to double the amount of funding the US gives to developing countries to adapt to the ravages of drought, flooding and other climate impacts. Biden said, "This moment demands urgency – good ideas and good intentions aren’t good enough." Some activists have said Biden needs to do even more, however, according to the Guardian. Evan Weber, the political director of the Sunrise Movement, said, "While many will applaud the president’s commitment to cut US emissions by at least half by 2030, we have a responsibility to tell the truth – it is nowhere near enough." Biden’s climate envoy, John Kerry, acknowledged that more needs to be done, claiming that the new US emissions target was a way of building back American credibility that was destroyed under Donald Trump. Of course, the real test will be whether the whole of society can change to meet Biden’s targets. Count us as hopeful. Military Briefs Congress On Mystery Weapons Here’s a strange piece of intrigue. The Pentagon warned lawmakers this week about the growing threat of directed-energy attacks on US troops, four people briefed on the matter told Politico. Two Defense Department officials briefed members of the House Armed Service Committee about the phenomenon in a classified setting on Wednesday, the people said, and told lawmakers they are increasingly concerned about the vulnerability of US troops in places such as Syria, Afghanistan and various countries in South America. Briefers pointed to Russia as a likely culprit, the people told Politico, but didn’t have a smoking gun, citing difficulties in attributing the attacks. The Pentagon opened an investigation last year after suspected directed-energy attacks occurred on an unknown number of troops. Officials told lawmakers that the phenomenon of suspected directed-energy attacks on US personnel is growing across the world, Politico reports. The attacks may cause a mysterious illness similar to the Havana syndrome reported by American spies and diplomats starting in late 2016. The briefers also told lawmakers that the origin of the technology required in such attacks is "more likely than not in Russia." One person familiar with the briefing said the briefers also pointed to China as a possible culprit, and didn’t know for sure who was behind the attacks. Politico reports that people affected by attacks report symptoms including acute ringing and pressure in the ears, as well as loss of hearing and balance, fatigue and residual headaches. Some victims have suffered long-term brain damage. Close to fifty officials have reported such symptoms, known as Havana syndrome, among US diplomats posted in Cuba since late 2016. The CIA set up its own task force this year to look into the problem. It sounds like they’re still quite a ways away from solving this mystery. White House Weighs Taxing Investors More Soak the rich! President Biden will propose almost doubling the capital gains tax rate for wealthy individuals to help pay for a raft of social spending that addresses long-standing inequality, Bloomberg News reports. For those earning $1 million or more, the new top rate, coupled with an existing surtax on investment income, means that federal tax rates for wealthy investors could be as high as forty three point four percent. The new marginal thirty nine point six percent rate would be an increase from the current base rate of twenty percent, people familiar with the proposal said. A three point eight percent tax on investment income that funds Obamacare would be kept in place, pushing the tax rate on returns on financial assets higher than rates on some wage and salary income. The proposal could reverse a long-standing provision of the tax code that taxes returns on investment lower than on labor, Bloomberg reports. Biden campaigned on equalizing the capital gains and income tax rates for wealthy individuals, saying it’s unfair that many of them pay lower rates than middle-class workers. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, asked about the capital-gains plan yesterday, said, "we’re still finalizing what the pay-fors look like." Biden is expected to release the proposal next week in the forthcoming American Families Plan. Other measures that the administration has discussed in recent weeks include enhancing the estate tax for the wealthy, Bloomberg reports. Biden has warned that those earning over $400,000 can expect to pay more in taxes. The White House has already rolled out plans for corporate tax hikes, which go to fund the $2.25 trillion infrastructure-focused American Jobs Plan. Corporate America is going to scream about all this, but just remember, it’s working people who’ve given the wealthy the lifestyle they enjoy. AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES: The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that judges need not determine that juvenile offenders are beyond hope of rehabilitation before sentencing them to die in prison, the New York Times reports. The six-to-three decision, concerning a teenager who killed his grandfather, drew a caustic dissent from Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who noted that seventy percent of youths sentenced to die in prison are children of color. More everyday American barbarism. For the second time in history, the House passed legislation yesterday to make the District of Columbia the nation’s fifty first state, the Washington Post reports. Democrats unanimously approved Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton’s Washington, DC Admission Act. The bill, symbolically titled HR 51, now heads to the Senate. It will be amazing if this becomes law. The University of California and California State University announced yesterday that they intend to require Covid-19 vaccinations for all students, faculty and staff on campus properties this fall, according to the Los Angeles Times. The directive is the largest of its kind in US higher education, affecting more than one million members of the two public university systems. And it seems entirely reasonable, as there are already mandatory shots for measles, mumps, rubella and chicken pox. The Senate yesterday passed an anti-hate crimes bill aimed at addressing a surge in attacks on Asian Americans amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Politico reports. The measure would create a Justice Department position focusing on the issue and beef up state and local hate crime reporting. Missouri Republican Josh Hawley was the only vote against the bill. What a way to make your mark, being the anti-anti-hate crimes guy – but that’s Josh Hawley! APRIL 23, 2021 - AM QUICKIE HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner WRITER - Corey Pein PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

    April 22, 2021: DOJ Investigates Minneapolis Police; Republican Bills Punish Dissent; Manhattan Decriminalizes Sex Work

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 22, 2021 8:26

    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by TODAY'S HEADLINES: Police in Minneapolis, Minnesota just watched one of their own go down for murder. Now the federal government wants to throw open their books and make sure something like the George Floyd killing doesn’t happen again. Meanwhile, Republicans looked on in horror as racial justice protests swept the country. Their response is to push for bills that would criminalize free speech in thirty four states. And lastly, you may have heard the slogan sex work is work. Well, it’s a job that’s going to get a bit safer in New York, thanks to a policy change by the Manhattan District Attorney. THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW: Now the real work begins. The Justice Department is opening a sweeping investigation into policing practices in Minneapolis after a former officer was convicted in the killing of George Floyd there, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced yesterday, according to the Associated Press. The decision came a day after the former officer, Derek Chauvin, was found guilty of murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death last May, a verdict that set off a wave of relief across the country. Floyd’s death had led to months of mass protests against policing and the treatment of Black people in the United States. The Justice Department was already investigating whether Chauvin and the other officers involved in Floyd’s death violated his civil rights, the AP reports. But Garland said that Tuesday’s verdict does not address systemic policing issues in Minneapolis. The new investigation is known as a pattern or practice – examining whether there is a pattern or practice of unconstitutional or unlawful policing. It will be a more sweeping review of the entire police department. It may result in major changes to policing in the Minnesota city. It will examine the use of force by police officers, including force used during protests, and whether the department engages in discriminatory practices. It will also look into the department’s handling of misconduct allegations and its treatment of people with behavioral health issues and will assess the department’s current systems of accountability, Garland said. The AP says a public report will be issued if the department finds a pattern or practice of unconstitutional policing. The government also could bring a lawsuit against the police department, which in the past have typically ended in settlement agreements or consent decrees to force changes. Forcing changes? Gosh, what’s that squealing sound? Republican Bills Punish Dissent This disturbing update on the reactionary forces arrayed against change comes from the New York Times. Republican legislators in Oklahoma and Iowa have passed bills granting immunity to drivers whose vehicles strike and injure protesters. A Republican proposal in Indiana would bar anyone convicted of unlawful assembly from holding state employment, including elected office. A Minnesota bill would prohibit those convicted of unlawful protesting from receiving student loans, unemployment benefits or housing assistance. And in Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis signed legislation this week that created a harsh new level of infractions – a bill he’s called, "the strongest anti-looting, anti-rioting, pro-law- enforcement piece of legislation in the country." The Times calls the measures part of a wave of new anti-protest legislation, sponsored and supported by Republicans, in the eleven months since Black Lives Matter protests swept the country following the death of George Floyd. GOP lawmakers in thirty four states have introduced eighty one anti-protest bills during the 2021 legislative session – more than twice as many proposals as in any other year. The Florida law imposes harsher penalties for existing public disorder crimes, turning misdemeanor offenses into felonies, creating new felony offenses and preventing defendants from being released on bail until they have appeared before a judge. The law also increases penalties for taking down monuments, including Confederate ones, making it punishable by up to fifteen years in prison. State Senator Shevrin Jones, a Democrat from Broward County, calls the law, "racist at its core." So far, three bills aimed at limiting protests have been signed into law – Florida’s and new laws in Arkansas and Kansas that target protesters who seek to disrupt oil pipelines. Others are likely to come soon. Clearly Republicans only care about free speech when it suits them. Manhattan Decriminalizes Sex Work Here’s a welcome development. The Times reports that the Manhattan district attorney’s office announced yesterday that it would no longer prosecute prostitution and unlicensed massage, putting one of the most high-profile law enforcement offices in the country behind the growing movement to change the criminal justice system’s approach to sex work. The district attorney, Cyrus Vance Junior, asked a judge yesterday morning to dismiss nine hundred and fourteen open cases involving prostitution and unlicensed massage, along with five thousand and eighty cases in which the charge was loitering for the purposes of prostitution. The law that made the latter charge a crime, which had become known as the walking while trans law, was repealed by New York State in February. The announcement represents a substantive shift in the Manhattan DA’s approach to prostitution, according to the Times. Many of the cases Vance moved to dismiss dated to the 1970s and 1980s, when New York waged a war against prostitution in an effort to clean up its image as a center of iniquity and vice. In a statement, Vance said, "Criminally prosecuting prostitution does not make us safer, and too often, achieves the opposite result by further marginalizing vulnerable New Yorkers." The Times reports that the office will continue to prosecute other crimes related to prostitution, including patronizing sex workers, promoting prostitution and sex trafficking. The office said that its policy would not stop it from bringing other charges that stem from prostitution-related arrests. That means, in effect, that the office will continue to prosecute pimps and sex traffickers, as well as people who pay for sex, without punishing the people who for decades have borne the brunt of law enforcement’s attention. So, it’s not an anything-goes libertarian fantasy, but it’s still a victory for sex workers. AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES: President Joe Biden yesterday called on businesses and nonprofits to give employees paid time off for Covid vaccinations, the Washington Post reports. He also touted government funding to underwrite some of the costs of that time. Which is all as it should be. The Post reports that police yesterday identified the officer who fatally shot a Black teenager in Colombus, Ohio. Officer Nicholas Reardon fired the shots that killed sixteen-year- old Ma’Khia Bryant outside a residential home on Tuesday afternoon. The girl’s aunt told the Post that police body camera footage showing the girl holding a knife, "doesn’t show the truth of what occurred." We’ll keep an eye on this one. Colorado lawmakers are considering a bill that would add gender identity and gender expression to anti-discrimination statutes, the AP reports. The bill would prohibit discrimination in employment, housing, financial services, health care, funeral arrangements, access to public services, education, youth services, criminal justice and transportation. It is headed to the Senate floor for debate, then to the governor for consideration. Cheers to that. The Guardian reports that a public sector worker described as the king of absentees by the Italian press is said to have broken the national record by skipping work for fifteen years. The hospital employee allegedly collected a monthly salary totaling $647,000 despite not turning up to work since 2005. Now aged sixty seven, he faces charges of abuse of office, forgery and aggravated extortion. Alas, all good things must come to an end. APRIL 22, 2021 - AM QUICKIE HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner WRITER - Corey Pein PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

    April 21, 2021: Public Celebrates As Chauvin Found Guilty; Study Names Political Megadonors; AOC Reintroduces Green New Deal

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 21, 2021 8:37

    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by TODAY'S HEADLINES: Accountability, yes. Justice, not yet. A jury returned three guilty verdicts for George Floyd’s murderer, the ex-cop Derek Chauvin, and the public began celebrating with relief. Meanwhile, what do Mike Bloomberg and Sheldon Adelson’s corpse have in common? A new study finds they were two of the top political donors of the past decade. And lastly, AOC and her Senate ally have reintroduced the Green New Deal as a bill in Congress. And they’ve got support from the White House for some elements of the plan. THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW: Guilty, guilty, guilty. Former Minneapolis Officer Derek Chauvin was convicted yesterday of three counts of murder and manslaughter for pinning George Floyd to the pavement with his knee on the Black man’s neck, the Associated Press reports. The case touched off worldwide protests and a furious reexamination of racism and policing in the US. Chauvin, 45, could be sent to prison for decades. People elated by the verdict flooded the surrounding streets downtown upon hearing the news. Cars blared their horns, and people ran through traffic, waving banners. Floyd family members could be heard cheering from the next room as each verdict was read. The jury of six white people and six Black or multiracial people came back with its verdict after about ten hours of deliberations, according to the AP. Chauvin was found guilty on all charges: second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. His face was obscured by a Covid-19 mask, and little reaction could be seen beyond his eyes darting around the courtroom. His bail was revoked and he was led away with his hands cuffed behind his back. Sentencing will be in two months. At the intersection where Floyd was killed, a crowd chanted, One down, three to go! – a reference to the three other fired police officers facing trial in August on charges of aiding and abetting murder in Floyd’s death. Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, who oversaw Chauvin’s prosecution, told reporters the verdict represented accountability but not yet justice, which was now in the hands of the people. And he praised the people who attempted to intervene to save Floyd’s life, and who filmed his final moments under a the knee of a murderous cop. He said, "They knew it was wrong, and they were right." Study Names Political Megadonors It’s like buying yourself extra votes. A dozen megadonors and their spouses contributed a combined $3.4 billion to federal candidates and political groups since 2009, accounting for nearly one out of every thirteen dollars raised, according to the New York Times. A new report, produced by Issue One, a nonpartisan group that seeks to reduce the influence of money in politics, shows the top twelve donors split equally between six Democrats and six Republicans. The list includes multiple Wall Street billionaires and investors, a Facebook co- founder, a shipping magnate and the heir to a family fortune dating back to the Gilded Age. The study quantifies the increasing role of the super rich in American politics, the Times reports. The loosening of restrictions on political spending by the US Supreme Court more than a decade ago is to blame. The study found that the top one hundred ZIP codes for political giving in the United States, which hold less than one percent of the population, accounted for roughly twenty percent of the $45 billion that political groups raised between 2009 and 2020. Some of the top ZIP codes for giving weren’t even populated by any people at all; instead, they were primarily associated with skyscrapers and post office boxes that were used as business addresses by the wealthy. The Times reports that the single biggest spender on federal campaigns from 2009 to 2020 was Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City, who spent $1.4 billion. Of that, $1 billion went toward his own failed campaign for president in 2020. The largest Republican contributor was Sheldon Adelson, the late casino magnate. He and his wife Miriam contributed $523 million to Republican campaigns. Just think, if Bloomberg turns Republican again, he can be number one in both categories. AOC Reintroduces Green New Deal It’s ba-aack! Senator Edward Markey and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez reintroduced the Green New Deal yesterday, two years after it first became a progressive wish list for Democrats, CBS News reports. The original proposal called on the country to take a leading role in helping the planet reach net-zero emissions by the year 2050. To reach that lofty goal, the plan called for the US to wean itself off of fossil fuels and create high-paying green energy jobs. But the resolution was stopped with a cloture vote in the then GOP- controlled Senate before it could proceed. With Democratic control of Congress and the presidency, CBS reports, progressives on Monday broadened the Green New Deal to include a proposal geared toward addressing pollution in low-income communities and one focused on cities with lead in their water supply. Ocasio-Cortez and Markey also introduced yesterday the Civilian Climate Corps Act, a nod to the group created by the original New Deal, which President Joe Biden said should be brought back in an executive order he issued in January. Separately, the Washington Post reports that Biden this week will pledge to slash US greenhouse gas emissions at least in half by the end of the decade. It’s part of an aggressive push to combat climate change at home and convince other major economies around the world to follow suit. The move comes as Biden convenes a virtual summit of more than three dozen world leaders on Thursday, aimed at ratcheting up international climate ambitions and reestablishing the United States as a leader in the effort to slow the planet’s warming. The planned US pledge represents a near-doubling of the target that the nation committed to under the 2015 Paris climate agreement. Why stop there? The Green New Deal awaits your signature, Joe! AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES: President Idriss Déby of Chad died of wounds sustained in clashes between insurgents and government soldiers, the New York Times reports, one day after he had claimed victory in his re-election campaign. Déby brooked no dissent and was feared by his own people. Except, you know, by the insurgents. Reuters reports that hospitals in the Indian capital of Delhi will start running out of medical oxygen today as Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the country faced a coronavirus storm overwhelming its health system. India, the world's second most populous country and currently the hardest hit by Covid-19, reported its worst daily death toll yesterday. The Biden administration issued a policy position yesterday in support of DC statehood, forcefully backing legislation to make the District the 51st state ahead of a House vote scheduled for Thursday, the Washington Post reports. It is the strongest backing the statehood cause has ever received from the White House. Maybe this time will be different? A breeding herd of elephants in South Africa’s Kruger National Park trampled a suspected rhino poacher to death over the weekend, the Post reports. Gareth Coleman, the park’s managing executive, said that the weekend had brought fruitful anti-poaching operations, adding that several suspected rhino poachers had been arrested and one had died of injuries sustained in the trampling. It’s an occupational hazard. APRIL 21, 2021 - AM QUICKIE HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner WRITER - Corey Pein PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

    April 20, 2021: Chauvin Jury Deliberates; Warren Wants Accountability for Israel Aid; Coal Miners Union Signals Support for Green Future

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 20, 2021 7:14

    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by TODAY'S HEADLINES: The Derek Chauvin trial hears closing arguments, and the jury begins to deliberate on the legal case which will undoubtedly set the tone for protests throughout this summer. Meanwhile, Elizabeth Warren suggests that military aid to Israel should be restricted so it can’t be used against Palestinians. And lastly, the largest mine workers union in America said that it supports a switch to renewable energy, provided the Biden administration works with them to protect their jobs and ease the transition away from coal and natural gas. THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW: The trial of Derek Chauvin is almost over. Judge and jury heard closing arguments today from both Chauvin’s defense and the prosecution, which is seeking to hold the former Minneapolis cop responsible for killing George Floyd last May. Chauvin’s defense leaned heavily on their plan all along: to sow doubt that it was Chauvin’s knee that killed George Floyd by suffocating him to death. But prosecutors were relentless in showing just how cynical, cruel, and brutal Chauvin’s conduct at the scene was. Prosecutors final words to the jury were: “The reason George Floyd is dead is because Mr. Chauvin’s heart was too small.” The jury began deliberations on Monday evening. As they did, the defense lobbed a hail-mary attempt to get a mistrial by complaining that prosecutors suggested they were lying. Rep. Maxine Waters also caused a stir this week by telling protestors on the street in nearby Brooklyn Center that if the jury acquits Chauvin, quote: “We’ve got to stay on the street. And we’ve got to get more active.” The defense is also alleging Waters’ comments may have threatened or intimidated the jury. Per the New York Times, Judge Peter Cahill says Waters quote “may have given the defense something on appeal.” endquote. In other words, despite the upcoming verdict, we may be headed for more legal battles in an appeal. This may not be decided today, but one thing is for sure: protests and the police violence against them will continue. Warren Wants Accountability for Israel Aid At an insider’s conference in Washington D.C. on Monday, Elizabeth Warren had a surprising idea: maybe, it’s not a good thing that Israel uses the billions of dollars it gets in U.S. aid to oppress Palestinians. Warren’s quote was hedged a little, of course, such is politics. Here’s what she said in context: Quote. “I support military assistance to Israel. But if we’re serious about arresting settlement expansion and helping move the parties toward a two-state solution, then it would be irresponsible not to consider all of the tools we have at our disposal. One of those is restricting military aid from being used in the occupied territories. By continuing to provide military aid without restriction, we provide no incentive for Israel to adjust course.” This would be a pretty good start! Right now, the U.S. gives Israel a blank check to buy guns, planes, drones, bombs, and basically anything else you can think of, and asks very little questions as to how they use it. More often than not, it gets used on Palestinians. The problem with what Warren is suggesting is that it would be pretty hard to enforce. The end goal of course is maybe spending a little bit less on directly funding the military of an apartheid state. Warren’s record doesn’t suggest she’d go that far -- but at least she appears to be thinking about things from a slightly more progressive perspective than many of her peers. Coal Miners Union Signals Support for Green Future The largest coal-miners union in the country has made a shocking, and promising concession: they’re open to working with the Biden administration on new climate legislation and a gradual shift toward clean energy. Leadership for the United Mine Workers of America said in an interview on Monday that they were amenable to a shift towards a greener future provided the government made real steps to preserving their jobs in the short term. The decline of the coal industry has ravaged towns and work forces in states like Joe Manchin’s West Virginia, partially explaining some of the rogue Senator’s resistance to core Democratic party goals. To try to stem this blood flow, the UMWA has largely fought tooth and nail against vital climate legislation. But in comments today, the union signaled that it was looking for a better way to help the people connected to the industry move toward a greener future -- as long as the Government makes some concessions to them. In the short term, they’re asking for government help protecting jobs and collective bargaining agreements, but in the long term, the union said it would need support to help coal employees transition into careers in renewable energy. It’s not the coal miners fault that their industry is dying -- but for the good of all of us, it’s got to go. Now it’s the government’s job to make that transition as quick and as painless as possible. AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES: After the pandemic disrupted routine medical visits for a year, the Washington Post reports that doctors are now seeing the consequences, as patients suffered more damage from untreated heart disease, missed cancer screenings, and put off treatment for lingering illnesses. The White House proclaimed on Monday that every adult in the U.S. is now eligible to get the coronavirus vaccine. Some states are still struggling with distribution, but in others there are doses to spare and appointments ready for anyone who has yet to get a jab. Elon Musk’s futuristic car company is once again under investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration after one of its cars caused a fiery crash that killed two people. Musk claimed that the car was not equipped with his so-called “autopilot” feature, though police alleged that there was no one at the wheel when it crashed. The RWDSU on Monday formally filed 23 objections against Amazon alleging a range of illegal conduct during the fierce union battle in Bessemer, Alabama. While Amazon’s workers lost their vote to unionize, the RWDSU could strike some blows in legal challenges, as listeners of this program will know that Amazon’s conduct was truly reprehensible. APRIL 20, 2021 - AM QUICKIE HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner WRITER - Jack Crosbie PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

    April 19, 2021: Another Week, Another Shooting

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 19, 2021 6:47

    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by TODAY'S HEADLINES: Another week, another tragic mass shooting in America. This time, a gunman used two newly-purchased semi-automatic rifles to murder eight people at a Fed Ex facility in Indianapolis. Meanwhile, Dr. Anthony Fauci says the Johnson and Johnson vaccine will most likely be back in action on Friday, which is good news for the half of American adults who haven’t gotten a shot yet. And lastly, some of the worst Republican ghouls in the House tried to form a so-called Anglo Saxon Caucus, but scrapped their plans after being deluged in the valid criticism that they were acting like massive racists. THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW: This weekend, it was Indianapolis’s turn to grieve. A 19-year-old gunman murdered eight people at a Fed Ex facility in the city late on Thursday night, the latest mass shooting in an already-bloody spring. The shooter, whose name we don’t have to use, was a former employee of the facility. Records show that he was able to legally purchase the two guns used in the shooting even after police removed a shotgun from his possession last year. Let’s break that down for a minute. In May 2020, the shooter’s mother contacted the police over concerns for her son’s mental health, and police took a shotgun from him. They did not, however, appear to seek a court order under Indiana’s red flag law, which would have barred him from purchasing subsequent weapons. Before the deadly shooting last week, he did just that. Just months after cops took his shotgun, the shooter bought two semi-automatic rifles, both of which were used in the attack. He killed eight people and shot seven others, then took his own life. Four of the shooter’s victims were members of the local Sikh community, which has weathered frequent persecution and racism in this country for decades. Community leaders said they did not know whether the attack was targeted or was a coincidence. J&J Vax Coming Back Dr. Anthony Fauci said that the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is likely to be back in action on Friday, when the CDC and FDA are expected to have finished their research on its potential to increase the risk of blood clots. The J&J vaccine was paused nationwide after it was tentatively linked to blood clots in six women who had received it, a tiny number compared to the 7 million other Americans who got it without serious side effects. Fauci said the government agencies were unlikely to ban the vaccine outright, and would instead issue additional warnings or restrictions on it. But once again, we have to stress how small the risk appears to be. Fauci told NBC’s Meet the Press, “I think it’ll likely say, ‘Okay, we’re going to use it, but be careful under these certain circumstances.’” That seems pretty reasonable. A resumption in the J&J vaccine would also help boost the U.S.’s overall numbers, which are starting to look pretty good. The CDC reported on Sunday that half of all American adults have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Still, that doesn’t mean that the risk is gone. Cases rose by about five percent over the past two weeks, and 750 people are still dying of the disease every day. We’re not out of the woods, but we’re pretty damn close. GOP Tries, Fails to Create Anglo Saxon Caucus Have you ever looked at the United States Congress and thought: boy, I wish that white people had a little bit more representation here? If so, congratulations -- there’s a good chance you’re a racist. And even better, a group of the worst possible people in Congress would agree with you. We’re kidding of course -- AM Quickie knows its audience better than that. And apparently so do Marjorie Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz, Paul Gosar, and Louie Gohmertz. All four of those names were linked to the formation of a new America First Caucus, enthusiastically promoting the idea on Twitter on Friday. The draft proposal for the new caucus, obtained early by Punchbowl News, included this quote: “America is a nation with a border, and a culture, strengthened by a common respect for uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions.” This one in particular led to most people just referring to the America First caucus as the Anglo Saxon caucus. And if that quote didn’t make things clear enough, the document also included references to, “European architecture,” and other dogwhistles. You can see where this one is going! However, it appears that the Anglo caucus overplayed its hand a little. The backlash to the overtly racist announcement was so strong, including from other members of the Republican party, that Taylor-Greene scrapped the plan. She blamed the media for focusing on race, of course, so it’s clear that her actual views haven’t changed, but at least the white nationalist caucus in Congress won’t get official recognition for the time being. AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES: Closing arguments in the Derek Chauvin trial are expected on Monday, as ongoing protests for the killing of Daunte Wright can surely be expected to boil over if the jury does not return a guilty verdict. We’ll have more on that story tomorrow once we see those arguments and get a timeline on the jury’s deliberations. One COVID wrinkle that in hindsight we should have seen coming: the Washington Post reports that scammers are listing blank Coronavirus vaccination cards on Ebay, opening an avenue for vaccine skeptics to endanger others with bogus records. Land of the free, home of the scams, baby! Capitalism has struck a brutal blow in the already ravaged world of international sports, as 12 of Europe’s largest soccer teams agreed on Sunday to form an exclusive so-called Super League designed to make them even richer. What they’re leaving out is that such a move would destroy the sport for smaller teams in their home countries and throw players’ lives into chaos. But hey: money! Andrew Yang remains the frontrunner in the New York City mayoral race, leading a poll among Democrats aged 50 or older, a key voting demographic. Make of that what you will! If he wins, he’ll be confronted by an extremely low bar set by Bill De Blasio. APRIL 19, 2021 - AM QUICKIE HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner WRITER - Jack Crosbie PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

    April 16, 2021: Video Shows Chicago Cop Killing Boy

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 16, 2021 7:47

    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by TODAY'S HEADLINES: He had his hands up. Newly released body camera footage shows Chicago police gunning down a child who was not, as originally claimed, armed with a pistol. Meanwhile, tensions are rising between the US and Russia. Will a new round of sanctions help or hinder the cause of peace? And lastly, some Congressional Democrats are pushing to expand the Supreme Court ahead of the Biden administration’s timetable. They say leadership needs to take a stand over the two seats stolen by Republicans. THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW: It could’ve been any Black child in this country. A thirteen-year-old boy who was shot and killed in Chicago by a police officer had his hands up when the cop fired his weapon, new videos show, according to BuzzFeed News. The city's Civilian Office of Police Accountability posted the videos online yesterday along with police reports related to the shooting of Adam Toledo, following weeks of protest over the boy's killing and demands to release the body camera footage to the public. BuzzFeed reports that Mayor Lori Lightfoot described viewing the footage as "excruciating." She also urged Chicagoans to respond peacefully and cautioned that the videos should not be viewed by children. On March 29, a police officer shot the boy to death in an alley in Chicago's Little Village neighborhood after a foot pursuit. Officers were responding to a call of shots fired when they chased Toledo and twenty one-year-old Ruben Roman, who officials said fired the initial gunshots that brought police to the area. Body camera footage shows the cop running after the boy, yelling, "Stop, stop right fucking now." The boy is then seen with his hands raised as the officer fires one round, causing Toledo to fall backward to the ground. He was pronounced dead at the scene. A gun is not visible on the body. Prosecutors initially said the boy had a gun in his right hand. The officer who shot Toledo has been placed on administrative duties for thirty days, BuzzFeed reports. Toledo's death has sparked outrage across the city. He had a big imagination and curiosity and loved animals, riding his bike, and zombies, his mother, Elizabeth Toledo, said in a statement. Protests will continue through the weekend. Biden Sanctions Russia Here’s a clear departure from the foreign policy of the Trump era. The Washington Post reports that the Biden administration yesterday imposed the first significant sanctions targeting the Russian economy in several years in order to punish the Kremlin for a cyberespionage campaign against the United States and efforts to influence the presidential election. The administration also sanctioned six Russian companies that support Russian spy services’ cyberhacking operations and will expel ten intelligence officers working under diplomatic cover in the United States. It formally named the Russian intelligence service SVR as responsible for the hacking operation commonly known as SolarWinds. The measures were taken under a new executive order, the Post reports. They are an effort to make good on President Joe Biden’s vow to hold Moscow accountable for a series of operations, including the election influence and the cyberhacks, that compromised nine federal agencies and about one hundred private firms. Biden told Russian President Vladimir Putin in a call on Tuesday that Washington would be taking actions in the coming days to defend US national interests, without specifying the exact timing or measures. Biden also raised the possibility of a summit with Putin in the coming months in a third country. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said yesterday that Russia viewed any US sanctions as illegal and would retaliate in kind, according to the Post. Peskov said sanctions would not be helpful in the lead-up to the proposed summit. The SVR, Russia’s foreign intelligence ageency, dismissed the accusations it was involved in cyberattacks as "nonsense." It’s such a shame when people don’t take pride in their work. Democratic Bill Would Expand Supreme Court They should call it right-sizing, maybe. A group of congressional Democrats introduced legislation yesterday to add four seats to the Supreme Court, the Associated Press reports. It’s a long-shot bid designed to counter the court’s rightward tilt during the Trump administration. President Biden last week created a commission to spend the next six months examining the politically incendiary issues of expanding the court and instituting term limits for justices. But the bill’s introduction had an inauspicious start, according to the AP. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she might not bring it up for a vote if it advanced out of committee. Democratic Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was noncommittal as well. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden would wait for the commission’s work to play out, before taking a position on the matter. Democratic lawmakers and groups supporting the court expansion bill gathered on the steps of the Supreme Court to make their case, the AP reports. The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, New York Democratic Representative Jerrold Nadler, said "Some people say we’re packing the court. We’re not packing it. We’re unpacking it." He said the GOP had packed the court over the last couple of years and called the proposed expansion a necessary step in the evolution of the court. Senator Edward Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts, went right to the anger and frustration that so many Democrats have with the judicial conformation process under GOP stewardship. He said, "The Republicans stole two seats on the Supreme Court and now it is up to us to repair that damage." When you put it like that, doing nothing seems like the worst option. Joe Biden, are you listening? AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES: The AP reports that former officer Derek Chauvin chose not to take the stand as testimony at his murder trial ended yesterday, passing up the chance to explain to the jury and the public for the first time what he was thinking when he pressed his knee against George Floyd’s neck. Closing arguments are set to begin Monday in Minneapolis. To call the atmosphere tense would be an understatement. Former Vice President Mike Pence underwent surgery on Wednesday to implant a pacemaker in his chest after experiencing a slow heart rate, the New York Times reports. Maybe it’s a sign from God telling him to retire. House Democrats approved legislation yesterday that they say would help close the gap between what men and women are paid in the workplace, the AP reports. The bill would, among other things, make it easier to sue employers over pay discrimination. It would also ban employers from prohibiting employees from discussing their salaries. Overdue! The spring wave of the pandemic has driven hospitalizations above forty seven thousand, the highest since March 4, according to the Washington Post. Thirty-eight states have reported an increase during the past week in the number of people hospitalized with Covid-19. Take care on the way to your vaccination appointments, folks. The end is in sight. APRIL 16, 2021 - AM QUICKIE HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner WRITER - Corey Pein PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

    April 15, 2021: Safety Scare Emboldens Anti-Vaxxers

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 15, 2021 8:59

    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by TODAY'S HEADLINES: News about very rare issues with blood clots in two coronavirus vaccines has harmed public health efforts and emboldened anti-vaxxers in Africa. And stateside, vaccination efforts in Republican states is lagging behind Democratic states. Meanwhile, an unreleased inspector general’s report finds glaring problems throughout the Capitol Police operation that fueled its failures during the January 6th insurrection. The report’s author is supposed to appear before a Congressional committee today. And lastly, the Minnesota cop who resigned Tuesday was charged with manslaughter yesterday for the killing of young Daunte Wright. The family expects protests in Brooklyn Center to continue despite the charge. THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW: The blowback has begun. The New York Times reports that the safety scares engulfing the AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson vaccines have jeopardized campaigns to inoculate the world. With new infections surging on nearly every continent, signs that the vaccination drive is in peril are emerging, most disconcertingly in Africa. In Malawi, people are asking doctors how to expunge the AstraZeneca vaccine from their bodies. In South Africa, health officials have paused giving the Johnson and Johnson shot, the only one they have. And in the Democratic Republic of Congo, not a single person has been vaccinated. In those countries and others, the Times reports, Western colonialism has left a residue of mistrust in vaccines, which could harden if the perception takes hold that rich countries are dumping second-rate shots on the global south. Already, the recent pauses have vindicated vaccine skeptics and made many others feel duped. African health officials have reacted with fury at the breezy reassurances of American and European lawmakers that people denied the AstraZeneca or Johnson and Johnson shots could be given another vaccine. In much of the world, there are no other vaccines. Meanwhile, the Associated Press notes an emerging pattern: Americans in blue states are getting vaccinated at more robust rates, while those in red states seem more hesitant. Out in front is New Hampshire, where sixty five percent of the adult population has received at least one dose. Following behind are New Mexico, Connecticut, Maine and Massachusetts at fifty five percent or greater. All tend to vote Democratic. Meanwhile, at the bottom are five states where fewer than forty percent have rolled up their sleeves. Four of them – Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Tennessee – lean Republican. The fifth is Georgia, which is red leaning purple. So what’s their excuse? Western colonialism? Report Details Capitol Police Failures Every new detail is worse than the last. As Congress pushes for a return to normalcy months after the January 6th riot at the Capitol, the AP has obtained a damning internal report about the deadly siege. It includes missed intelligence in which future insurrectionists warned, "We get our president or we die." The report casts serious doubt on whether the police would be able to respond to another large-scale attack. The Capitol Police have refused to publicly release the report – prepared in March and marked law enforcement sensitive – despite congressional pressure. Democratic Representative Zoe Lofgren of California, who heads the House Administration Committee, said she found the report, " detailed and disturbing." The inspector general who prepared it, Michael Bolton, was scheduled to testify before Lofgren’s committee today. Bolton found that the department’s deficiencies were – and remain – widespread: Equipment was too old to use; officers didn’t complete required training; and there was a lack of direction at the Civil Disturbance Unit, which exists to ensure Congress is not disrupted by protests. The report also focuses on several pieces of missed intelligence, including an FBI memo sent the day before the insurrection. The memo warned of threatening online postings by Trump backers, including one comment that Congress needs to hear glass breaking, doors being kicked in and blood being spilled. Separately, the Washington Post reports that a Capitol Police officer has been cleared of criminal wrongdoing for fatally shooting Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt as she attempted to breach a set of doors deep in the Capitol during the January siege. Authorities determined that it was reasonable for the officer to believe he was firing in self-defense or in defense of members of Congress who were fleeing the House chamber. Prosecutors did not identify the officer. Ex-Cop Charged For Daunte Wright Killing The search for justice continues in the upper midwest. NBC News reports that the former Minnesota police officer who was captured on camera fatally shooting Daunte Wright during a traffic stop was arrested in connection with Wright's death. Kim Potter, a twenty six- year veteran of the Brooklyn Center Police Department, was taken into custody about 11:30 AM at the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension in Saint Paul. She will be charged with second- degree manslaughter in connection with Wright's death, Washington County Attorney Pete Orput announced. The charge carries a maximum penalty of ten years behind bars. Wright, who is Black, died of a gunshot wound to the chest, according to the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office, which classified the manner of death as a homicide. NBC reports that Ben Crump, a lawyer for the Wright family, received word about the charges while sitting on a panel discussion alongside the mothers of other young Black males killed by police. Crump told reporters, "the reason why we are getting due process so quickly in the state of Minnesota for the killing of Daunte Wright is because of the blood of their children." Without the attention paid to the slayings of Michael Brown, Stephon Clark, Trayvon Martin and Eric Garner, Crump speculated that charges in the Wright matter might not have been possible. Wright's older brother told NBC the family was hoping for a more serious charge to be filed against Potter. Meanwhile, in Minneapolis, the Washington Post reports that the trial of Derek Chauvin continued, with the defense’s medical expert testifying that the former officer kneeling on George Floyd’s neck did not play a critical role in the his death last May. During cross- examination, the defense expert acknowledged that Floyd might have survived if he got emergency help. If only. AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES: CBS News reports that two House committees took up measures long championed by progressives yesterday. One panel voted to advance a bill to admit Washington, DC, as a state, while the other took up a measure that would create a commission studying reparations for descendants of slaves. Let’s do this! More than eighty seven thousand Americans died of drug overdoses over the twelve- month period that ended in September, the New York Times reports, eclipsing the toll from any year since the opioid epidemic began in the 1990s. The biggest jump in overdose deaths took place in April and May, when fear and stress were rampant, job losses were multiplying and the strictest lockdown measures were in effect. Truly saddening statistics. According to City and State New York, Andrew Yang’s two campaign managers, his press secretary, his policy director and multiple senior advisers don’t actually work for his New York City mayoral campaign. They’re employed by Tusk Strategies, a lobbying firm. The arrangement raises concerns about what kind of access this lobbying firm – and the private clients that hire it – would have to the mayor if Yang were to win the election. Or, you might say, he’s just making government more efficient by cutting out the middlemen. The AP reports that the California Gold Rush town of Placerville will change its logo to remove a noose that stems from its mid-nineteenth century reputation as "Hangtown" following lynchings of criminal suspects by mobs of miners. The city council’s vote on Tuesday was unanimous. Sorry, Placerville, but Parks and Rec already did this bit. That’s all for the AM Quickie. Join us this afternoon on the Majority Report. APRIL 15, 2021 - AM QUICKIE HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner WRITER - Corey Pein PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

    April 14, 2021: Biden Will End Afghan War on 9/11

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 14, 2021 6:50

    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by TODAY'S HEADLINES: Joe Biden pledges to withdraw all American combat troops from Afghanistan by September 11, giving a concrete endpoint to America’s twenty year old war. Meanwhile, protests continue across the twin cities area as the officer who killed Daunte Wright and the Brooklyn Center police chief both resign. And lastly, the U.S. pauses rollout of the single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine after just six reported cases of blood clots. THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW We finally have an end date for America’s long, deadly, pointless war in Afghanistan: September 11, almost exactly 20 years after it began. Joe Biden announced on Tuesday that he would remove all U.S. combat troops from the country by then. That pushes back the deadline of May set by the Trump administration, but at least gives Americans and Afghans a tangible date to look towards. Biden appears to be unequivocally rejecting the military and foreign policy establishment that urged him to take a so called conditions-based approach to withdrawing. Military leaders fear that without a U.S. presence, the country will soon fall to the Taliban all over again. But the New York Times reported that Biden thought putting any conditions on withdrawal would mean our troops would never leave. The tragedy is both sides here are probably right. The Taliban have surged across the country in many years and will undoubtedly be part of Afghanistan’s future. But if the U.S. doesn’t get out for good now, when will we? It’s been 20 years, and we’ve wasted 2,400 American lives and over 2 trillion dollars. Intelligence officials say that the Taliban and other terrorist groups active in the country pose little risk to striking the U.S. Enough is enough -- now all that’s left is to make sure Biden sticks to his promise. Protests continued in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center and throughout the Twin Cities on Tuesday, as an angry, fed-up populace reacted to the death of 20-year-old Daunte Wright at the hands of police. Wright reportedly spent his last moments on the phone with his mother. He was stopped, he told her, because of the air fresheners hanging from his rear-view mirror. The officer who killed Wright, Kimberly Potter, resigned from the force on Tuesday, as did Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon. Potter, a 26-year-veteran of the force, was one of the first officers on the scene after another police shooting in 2019, and served as a police union leader. She advised the officers involved there to go into separate squad cars, turn off their body cameras, and not speak to one another. No charges were filed in that case. As protests continued after Wright’s death, the rest of the officers in the Twin Cities area have not yielded an inch to protestors, responding on Monday night with force, and as of script-time, were reportedly firing more flash bang munitious at crowds on Tuesday evening. City officials declared a 10pm curfew for Tuesday night. Meanwhile, just a few miles away, the trial for George Floyd’s killer Derek Chauvin continues. As yet, no charges have been filed against Potter. The U.S. has called for a pause in the rollout of Johnson and Johnson’s single-shot vaccine after federal health officials discovered a rare blood clot disorder in six people who had recieved it. For reference, that’s six people out of an estimated seven million who have gotten the J&J shot thus far. But authorities are clearly tightly wound after Europe’s struggles with the AstraZeneca vaccine, which was also tenuously linked to blood clots. But again, as sexual health advocates pointed out, the risk for blood clots is 1 in 1000 for some forms of birth control. That’s more than a thousand times more likely than the J&J shot, and those pills are considered extremely low-risk. FDA scientists said in a statement: “We are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution.” “Right now, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare.” That overabundance of caution has thrown the nine million or so doses of the J&J vaccine that were expected to go out to Americans in the coming weeks into limbo. The pause is supposed to last just a matter of days, but it depends what the FDA finds in that time. Let’s hope that the risks stay as low as they appear and we can get back to using that vaccine as soon as possible. AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES: A new internal report shows that Capitol Police were specifically told not to use aggressive tactics against the January 6 rioters, despite knowing that there was the potential for violence and that Congress itself was the target of the riots. The Senate will likely move ahead on a rare bipartisan measure today. The bill is designed to to help investigate and halt hate crimes against Asian Americans, and could be finalized by the end of the week if negotiators from both sides of the aisle can pull it off. Also in bipartisanship: a group of Representatives from both sides of the aisle sent a letter to Biden’s secretary of State Anthony Blinken on Tuesday, urging him to end U.S. support for the Saudi Blockade and military campaign in Yemen, which is drastically feuling the humanitarian crisis there. Nancy Pelosi has invited Joe Biden to address a joint session of Congress on April 28, the traditional meeting that isn’t officially a State of the Union address, but serves as one in a president’s first year. APRIL 14 , 2021 - AM QUICKIE HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner WRITER - Jack Crosbie PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

    April 13, 2021: Protests Erupt after New Police Killing

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 13, 2021 7:21

    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by TODAY'S HEADLINES: Protests erupted across the Twin Cities area in Minnesota yet again on Sunday and Monday after police officers shot and killed a black man at a traffic stop in the suburb of Brooklyn Center. Meanwhile, Texas lawmakers propose one of the most barbaric and inhumane anti-trans bills yet, which would seek to separate children who identify as trans from their parents. And lastly, New Mexico became the latest state to legalize recreational marijuana, as Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed a bill that included recreational use and key social justice provisions around marijuana use that advocates have been seeking for years. THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW On Sunday, a police officer in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota shot and killed 20-year-old Daunte Wright during a traffic stop, in a shocking incident that was capture on body camera video. Wright’s killing immediately sparked protests, and officials called for a strict 7 p.m. curfew. As of script time, large street protests after that curfew were being met with the now-familiar levels of brute force by several different police departments. The mayors of Minneapolis and St. Paul declared states of emergency, and professional sports games in the state were postponed. Remember, this is all happening in the middle of the Derek Chauvin trial, who is being charged with murder for the killing of George Floyd last spring. The Brooklyn Center police said that Wright was mistakenly killed, as the officer who shot him once in the chest believed she was reaching for her taser. Regardless of intent, Wright’s death was absurd. The police department’s immediate investigation will surely not satisfy a city and national already on edge. Speaking from the oval office, President Biden said: “We do know that the anger, pain and trauma amidst the Black community is real.” Endquote. But then he continued quote. “In the meantime, I want to make it clear again: There is absolutely no justification — none — for looting. No justification for violence. Peaceful protest? Understandable.” Minnesota Governor Tim Walsh was more direct, saying what Biden apparently wouldn’t: “Our time was made clear last May in Minnesota. Our time to get one shot at fixing it was there. And in the midst of this trial that the world’s watching, the situation repeated itself yesterday.” Texas lawmakers are attempting to outdo their bigoted colleagues in Georgia and other Republican-led states, proposing one of the most barbaric anti-trans bills yet. The bill, designated Senate Bill 1646, would separate trans children from their families for providing them with gender-affirming care, according to Insider. Specifically, the bill’s language criminalizes families who consent to allow their children to begin hormone therapy to match their preferred gender, naming such behavior so-called “child abuse.” In other words, simply by trying to care for their children as best they could, sympathetic parents would be named as abusers. Adri Perez, a policy and advocacy strategist for the ACLU of Texas said: “Gender-affirming care is essential and life-saving care. Make no mistake, restricting and even criminalizing access to healthcare for transgender people will cost lives." Arkansas’s state legislature passed the first similar bill regulating trans healthcare for minors on April 6, and it’s clear that Texas is eager to follow in its footsteps. Several other conservative-led states are considering similar bills, meaning that the GOP’s dominance over state houses is about to get even more dangerous for marginalized groups in the coming months. Things are about to get a little more mellow down in New Mexico. After years of work by advocates and months of specific interest by top leadership, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, signed legislation that legalized the adult recreational use of marijuana. Lujan Grisham made this issue one of her pet projects, at one point calling a special session of the state’s legislature in late March to reinvigorate legalization efforts. Advocates say the bill does a lot more than just legalize taking a toke or two, however. Crucially, it includes sentencing provisions that could release thousands of low-level cannabis offenders from jails and prisons across the state. Lujan Grisham said: “Legalized adult-use cannabis is going to change the way we think about New Mexico for the better—our workforce, our economy, our future. We're ready to break new ground. We're ready to invest in ourselves and the limitless potential of New Mexicans. And we're ready to get to work in making this industry a successful one." The Governor also mentioned that the adult-use cannabis industry could create more than 11,000 jobs over the next few years, and top $318 million in sales in the first year. That last point is what likely makes legal weed so attractive for progressive governors: in short, it’s going to make them money. And if it’s also the right thing to do, well, we aren’t complaining. AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES: Biden’s dog major is headed to the big house. He’s fine of course, but he is headed for a doggie re-education camp in the D.C. area to receive anti-biting training from the professionals. It should last a couple weeks -- if he doesn’t return after then, we’ll have an update on this very important national story. A high school student was shot and killed after exchanging gunfire with police officers on a school campus in Tennessee, just days after the state’s governor signed a bill allowing adults to carry handguns without a permit. Thanks to centrist Democratic spoilers like Joe Manchin, Biden is already being forced to find compromise on his ambitious infrastructure bill, meeting with a bipartisan group of congresspeople on Monday to discuss how to find some middle ground. Doesn’t bode well for the final project! Arkansas is poised to finally pass anti-hate crime legislation, and while the bill does enforce some penalties for crimes against certain groups of people, critics say that the bill’s omission of any mention of race, sexuality or gender renders it largely useless. APRIL 13 , 2021 - AM QUICKIE HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner WRITER - Jack Crosbie PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

    April 12, 2021: Biden War Budget Balloons

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 12, 2021 8:02

    Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by TODAY'S HEADLINES: In case you missed it, Joe Biden asked for a whopping $715 billion budget for America’s military on Friday, and progressives are already, well, up in arms. Meanwhile, informal talks between the U.S. and Iran may be in jeopardy after so-called sabotage wiped out power to Iran’s main nuclear enrichment site. And lastly, a key policy delay has as-yet rendered all of Biden’s promises to refugees empty, as a new report shows his administration is currently on pace to accept fewer refugees than any administration before him, including Trump. THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW We’ve got a new military budget, the first one under Joe Biden’s new peace-loving Democratic administration. Unfortunately, yep, it looks a whole lot like the old military budgets. Biden asked congress for a massive $715 billion for the Pentagon on Friday, as the main chunk of a total $753 billion in military spending. To compare, Trump’s biggest Pentagon budget was $704 billion. That change is slight when you account for inflation. And while Biden is crucially asking for the military to use that money in different ways from Trump, it still represents a massive prioritization of the nation’s death-dealing apparatus over domestic investments. One thing Biden got right, though: he’s eliminating the Overseas Contingency Operations accounts, which the military basically used as a slush fund for war for years. Progressives in the House like Pramilla Jayapal, Barbara Lee, Ilhan Omar and Ro Khanna were quick to point out both the good and the bad in Biden’s budget, but came back to the same point: it’s absurd that this country spends so much on war -- and however it’s earmarked, that’s over 700 billion taxpayer dollars that can’t go to other things. Wisconsin Rep. Mark Pocan summed it up, saying, "Increased spending on the Pentagon on fraud, waste, and zero accountability is still just that, and takes away from funding that could be spent on other people-centric policies like healthcare, education, and housing." An explosion in Iran rocked the country at a pretty dicey time for its talks with U.S. leadership as the two countries seek a way back into the Obama-era Iran nuclear deal that pleases all parties involved. But in the middle of these early notifications, a planned explosion that Iran called sabotage knocked out power to its main nuclear enrichment site, which has been a repeat target of attacks in the past. Iran blamed Israel immediately, and Israel denied -- the same old dance. The New York Times reported that American and Israeli intelligence officials said anonymously that the Israelis played a role in it. So you can see where that goes. But what it means for the future of Iran’s tenuous negotiations with the U.S. is still unclear. The hope is that Biden’s state department can massively decrease Trump-era tensions with Iran, coming to a new nuclear deal that lets both countries save face. The Times reports that sabotage at Iran’s nuclear plant decreases its leverage in talks for the U.S., but it’s unclear how much knowledge U.S. officials had of the strike, particularly as Israeli officials have made it clear that they don’t like the idea of going back to the original Iran deal. It’s silly that this kind of brinksmanship is what determines the fate of thousands of Iranians suffering under U.S. sanctions, but that’s where we are. The heavy gears of bureaucracy are once again throwing lives into chaos. Since taking office, Joe Biden has claimed that he will be a much kinder and gentler president toward refugees seeking shelter in the United States. But a new report shows that he’s dragging his feet on a key policy step that can make that talk a reality. In his first weeks in office, Biden signed executive orders to rebuild and enhance federal programs to resettle refugees, increase the harsh caps on the number of refugees the U.S. would take in, and lift bans on refugees from certain countries. These were some of Trump’s most brutal policies, and it’s imperative that Biden fixes them. But so far, despite the orders, he hasn’t. According to the Washington Post, Biden has yet to sign what’s called a presidential determination. Without that, Trump’s policies remain in effect. The Post reports that presidential determinations are usually signed immediately after a policy announcement, but as yet, it’s been nearly 8 weeks without a peep from the Administration, which didn’t respond to the Posts requests for comment. According to a report released Friday by the International Rescue Committee, without that determination the Biden administration is on track to let in fewer refugees than any modern administration before him, including Trump. Thus far he’s let in only 2,050 to date in the current fiscal year. Nazanin Ash, the IRC’s vice president for global policy and advocacy, said, “I don’t know the specific reason why [Biden] hasn’t signed, and it’s really unusual that he hasn’t signed. It is typically a standard, automatic last step in the process.” This seems like a massive oversight, and one that the Biden Administration needs to step up and correct, soon. AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES: The Times reports that Biden’s big infrastructure push has had the predictable result: hordes of lobbyists are already swarming to get their piece of the pie. And members of Congress are joining in, trying to cram their pet projects and district-pleasing contracts into any prospective bills. It’s almost like our system of government doesn’t work so well! State Coronavirus vaccine efforts are about to hit a major speedbump as the Johnson and Johnson vaccine’s supply is taking a nosedive. Deliveries are set to fall 86 percent until a Baltimore plant producing the vax gets key federal approval. Detroit-based anti-war activists weathered their 14th day of hunger strikes in protest of the U.S.’s ongoing support of the Saudi war in Yemen. The activists are calling for the Biden Administration to end all support for the Saudi’s blockade of the country, which is stopping food, medicine and other key supplies from entering war torn areas. Donald Trump tried to summon some of that old school bile on Saturday night, calling Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell a quote “dumb son of a bitch” during a speech to Republicans, again repeating his lies that he won the 2020 election. He’s wrong about that, and unfortunately for all of us, he’s wrong about McConnell being dumb. Alas. APRIL 12, 2021 - AM QUICKIE HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner WRITER - Jack Crosbie PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn

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