3 Senate Democrats Vote Against Unconditional Military Aid to Israel - The Wednesday AM Quickie 4/24/24

From what I recall, most of the authoritarian crackdowns on antiwar protests before and during the Iraq invasion took place away from university campuses; I don't remember university presidents inviting the cops to come arrest students for expressing their First Amendment rights. Perhaps my memory fails, or perhaps today's academic administrators are simply that much worse! - Corey

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Senate Passes Ukraine, Israel Aid; TikTok Ban Too

Well, the nicest thing you can say is that it's a mixed bag. In a victory for President Joe Biden, Budding Theocrat House Speaker Mike Johnson, lame duck Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and the hawkish U.S. foreign policy establishment – not to mention far-right Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy – Congress last night finally passed a $95.3 billion package of military assistance to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan. Fifteen "hard-right," pro-Putin Republican Senators voted against the legislation, arguing that Ukraine should effectively surrender and begin negotiations to cede territory to Russia, the New York Times reports. Meanwhile,

Three liberals, Democratic Senators Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Peter Welch of Vermont, as well as Bernie Sanders, independent of Vermont, also opposed the measure. They said they could not endorse sending more offensive weapons to Israel when the government’s campaign in Gaza has killed tens of thousands of people and created a hunger crisis there.
"We are now in the absurd situation where Israel is using U.S. military assistance to block the delivery of U.S. humanitarian aid to Palestinians," Mr. Sanders said. "If that is not crazy, I don’t know what is. But it is also a clear violation of U.S. law. Given that reality, we should not today even be having this debate. It is illegal to continue current military aid to Israel, let alone send another $9 billion with no strings attached."

As the Washington Post reports, the legislation prohibits U.S. humanitarian funding for the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, which is responsible for keeping Palestinian civilians alive. As expected, there are more dubious inclusions now awaiting Biden's signature. "This bill also has a TikTok provision that I think makes no sense, but right now we need to get this aid to Ukraine, and we don’t have the luxury in the Senate of voting on individual pieces," explained Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, per HuffPost.

The TikTok ban could take "several years" to come into effect, according to NBC News. On top of deadlines built into the bill, TikTok's owner ByteDance is expected to sue to block the legislation, and that case is expected to make its way to the Supreme Court.

New Biden Labor Rule Makes 4.3 Million Salaried Workers Eligible for Overtime

In what the Associated Press calls "the largest expansion in federal overtime eligibility seen in decades," the Biden administration's Labor Department will, starting in July, require employers to pay overtime to many salaried workers who make less than $43,888 a year, up from the current threshold of $35,568. "This rule will restore the promise to workers that if you work more than 40 hours in a week, you should be paid more for that time," acting Labor Secretary Julie Su says. Research suggests more than half of the beneficiaries of the new rule will be women, and one-quarter will be people of color. Meanwhile, the Federal Trade Commission issued its final rule banning noncompete clauses, benefiting 30 million workers directly and likely boosting wages across the labor market. Business groups are opposed, natch. Finally, the Supreme Court is expected to side with Starbucks against the National Labor Relations Board in a closely-watched case on union-busting.

Elections Roundup: Cornel West Pivots to Palestine

  • Summer Lee, Squad Member from Pennsylvania, Defeats 'Moderate' Democratic Primary Opponent Backed By GOP Megadonor "A lot of people wanted to convince us that we could not be pro-peace and win this district," Rep. Lee said in her victory speech, later writing that "opposing genocide is good politics and good policy." via the Washington Post and HuffPost.
  • 'I'll Be Back,' George Santos Promises After Abandoning His Independent House Campaign The fabulist, formerly fabulous, federally indicted, and finally expelled New York Republican Rep. says that despite his decision, "the future holds countless possibilities and I am ready willing and able to step up to the plate and go fight for my country at anytime [sic]." via Politico and HuffPost.
  • Don Jr. Fills in for Dad at Mar-a-Lago Fundraiser Held By Secretive New 'Anti-Koch' Network, Rockbridge Peter Thiel and other Silicon Valley creepozoids are involved, as are Trump sugar mama Rebekah Mercer and Federalist Society mastermind Leonard Leo. via NBC News.
  • Two Turning Point USA Employees Admit in Court to Harassing and Assaulting Queer Arizona Professor Arizona State University professor and co-founder of the local Drag Story Hour David Boyles says that he was disappointed that TPUSA's fake "reporters" got "the lightest possible slap on the wrist" but still gratified to see "the two hateful losers who stalked, harassed, and assaulted me at my place of work last October have admitted their guilt." via the Guardian and 12 News KPNX.


  • U.N. Demands Access to Mass Grave Sites Near Gaza Hospitals for 'Clear, Transparent and Credible Investigation' Meanwhile in New York, Budding Theocrat House Speaker Mike Johnson plans to meet with pro-Israel Columbia University students today to talk about the "troubling rise of virulent antisemitism on America's college campuses" (he should know?); the dangerously Rudy Giuliani made a cameo there yesterday. via BBC News, the Associated Press, and Politico.
  • Virus Fragments Found in Grocery Store Milk Samples Suggest Bird Flu Is More Widespread in U.S. Dairy Herds Than Previously Thought "To date, we have seen nothing that would change our assessment that the commercial milk supply is safe," the Food and Drug Administration said in a statement. via the Washington Post and NBC News.
  • World's Largest Election Marred By Anti-Muslim Hate Speech from Far-Right Incumbent India's Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi called his country's 172 million Muslims "infiltrators" at a campaign rally Sunday. via the AP and the Los Angeles Times.
  • Biggest Anti-Milei Protests Yet as Hundreds of Thousands of Argentines Hit the Streets to Defend Public Education The AnCap crackpot President "has kept university funding this year at the same level as in 2023, despite inflation having reduced the real value of the budget by as much as 80%." via Reuters and BBC News.


55 percent

That's how much Tesla's profits fell in the first quarter of this year; Wall Street has been unimpressed by white supremacist billionaire CEO Elon Musk's insistence that the electric car maker "should be thought of as an AI or robotics company," and analysts doubt that his promised fleet of "Robotaxis" will appear any time soon.


4/24: It's Hump Day! Emma speaks with Jeremy Gantz, contributing editor at In These Times, to discuss the recent unionization efforts at Trader Joe's. Then, she speaks with Leah Goodridge, Commissioner on the New York City Planning Commission and former member of the New York City Rent Guidelines Board, to discuss efforts to support rent stabilization in the city.


Why Is Iran Pulling Its Punches?

Sam and Emma speak to Matt Duss, executive vice president at the Center for International Policy.

Sotomayor TORCHES Oregon Town Trying to Ban Homeless People

American politicians love nothing more than to punish the victims of their own failed public policies.


"You've presented nothing. ... Mr. Blanche, you are losing all credibility. You're losing all credibility with the court."

-- New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan, scolding Trump lawyer Todd Blanche in a hearing yesterday at the criminal hush money trial about whether to find the Sick F*ck in contempt of court for gag order violations; prosecutors want Merchan to warn Trump that he could be jailed. Also at trial, former National Enquirer honcho David Pecker testified for the prosecution that he had pledged to be Trump's "eyes and ears" during the 2016 presidential campaign, suppressing damaging stories and attacking his enemies.

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