Biden 'Studiously Avoiding Any Interaction' with Arabs and Muslims in Michigan - The Friday AM Quickie 2/2/24

Turns out the Tesla shareholder who successfully sued to unravel Elon Musk's outrageous pay package owns just nine shares and is a former heavy metal drummer whose defunct thrash band played at CBGB's. Richard Tornetta may never be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, but "his name is now etched in the annals of corporate law." - Corey

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Riot Cops Keep Biden Far from Reality in Michigan

President Joe Biden appears to be banking his reelection in part on the expectation that Americans don't care about U.S. foreign policy or, really, at all what happens in other parts of the world. It's not necessarily a smart bet, as a new poll shows 46 percent of Democrats disapprove of Biden's approach to Israel's war in Gaza. The Washington Post reports:

"President Biden made his first campaign visit to Michigan on Thursday, meeting with members of the United Auto Workers union and visiting a Black-owned restaurant while studiously avoiding any interaction with the large Arab American community in this state, which has been outraged over U.S. support for Israel's war in Gaza.
"Top Michigan Democrats have pressed Biden for months to spend more time campaigning in their state, but officials have been worried about his visit being overshadowed or interrupted by demonstrators. On Thursday, Biden officials took steps to keep his visit more secretive than usual. They did not publicize the location of his events, and the president’s motorcade avoided protesters by using side streets.
"But the visit was not entirely free of confrontation. While Biden was holding a political meeting at a restaurant, a group of protesters chanted 'Shame on you,' 'Genocide Joe' and 'How many kids did you kill today?' The last phrase echoed chants that were aimed at President Lyndon B. Johnson during the Vietnam War."

The campaign "did not answer questions about why the president did not engage with members of the Arab American or Muslim communities," instead touting Biden's union endorsements. (Never mind that the big unionsmost recently the American Federation of Teachers – also support a cease-fire in Gaza.) As the Guardian notes, Arab Americans account for 5 percent of the vote in Michigan, where Biden beat Trump by less than 3 percentage points in 2020. "This community feels abandoned by the president," Democratic Wayne County Assad Turfe tells Politico – and the community's message in turn this year is "Abandon Biden." Per the Associated Press, dozens police in riot gear, backed by an armored vehicle, kept pro-Palestine protesters from approaching the union hall in Warren where Biden spoke yesterday. Not a great look, obviously.

Biden is aware he has a problem, but he seems unwilling to address the core issue. Yesterday he imposed sanctions on four Israeli West Bank settlers who attacked Palestinians, a move the New York Times says is intended to send "a message to Arab Americans...that he is serious about using the power of the United States on behalf of the Palestinians." One Arab member of the Israeli parliament responds: "4 settlers?! Pathetic." Per NBC News, since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel, there have been more than 494 recorded settler attacks against Palestinians.

"Palestinian lives should not be measured in poll numbers," Dearborn Mayor Abdullah Hammoud said yesterday, explaining why he declined to meet with Biden campaign staff, as opposed to senior administration policymakers. "What we're asking for is not just important to Arab Americans and Muslim Americans. The majority of Americans side with us in calling for and demanding a cease-fire."

Finally, a rare bit of welcome news from the U.S. intelligence apparatus, via Politico: "officials do not believe [Iran] is commanding the attacks" on American forces in the Middle East by militant proxy groups. That should reduce the pressure on Biden to further escalate the regional conflict.

Climate Watch: Young Activists Are Also Mad at Biden

  • Atmospheric River Storms This Week Pose 'a Significant Threat to the Safety of Californians' Widespread flooding and power outages are expected, with the strongest storm due Sunday; last winter's atmospheric rivers killed more than 20 people in the state. via the Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times.
  • Catalonia Declares Drought Emergency Today as Hundreds of Spanish Villages Resort to Having Drinking Water Delivered By Truck "I don't think we are aware of what is in store for all of us," one retiree observes while making his way to collect water at his village's last viable spring. "People don't want to hear about there being a lack of water." via the Associated Press.
  • New U.S. Climate Envoy John Podesta Expected to 'Tread Even More Cautiously' Than His Predecessor, John Kerry Podesta tells the New York Times he sees his new role as "'increasing ambition' and 'continuing the momentum'" of Kerry's diplomatic efforts; unlike Kerry, who worked from the State Department, Podesta will stay based in the White House. via the Guardian.
  • Greta Thunberg and 4 Other Activists Face Trial in London for Refusing to Comply with Police Orders at an Oil Industry Conference Last Year "The UK criminalizes peaceful climate activists like Greta whilst rolling out the red carpet for climate criminals in Mayfair hotels," an organizer with Fossil Free London notes. via the Guardian.

Trumpdate: Witch Hunts Delayed

The Republican Party's favorite "sick f*ck," as President Joe Biden privately calls him, hired his post-presidential body man, Walt Nauta, after U.S. Navy officials removed the White House aide from his posting on Donald Trump's support detail following "accusations of fraternization, adultery, harassment, and other inappropriate sexual conduct, including 'revenge porn,'" the Daily Beast reports. Nauta, you may recall, is Trump's co-defendant in the Justice Department's stolen documents case; the former Navy enlistee allegedly lied to the FBI about the classified documents Trump stashed in closets, desks, and a bathroom at Mar-a-Lago. Nauta would be wise to consider the price of loyalty to his fellow creep. According to the New York Times, longtime Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, who has already served 100 days in jail, is currently preparing to plead guilty to perjury and admit that he lied under oath in Trump's civil fraud trial in New York. A verdict in that case is now expected later this month. Meanwhile, the March trial date for the Justice Department's Jan. 6 case against Trump in Washington, D.C., has been removed from the court calendar pending Trump's appeal; it's unclear, per the Washington Post, whether "special counsel Jack Smith can bring Trump to trial before the November election." Finally, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on Trump's ballot eligibility next week; the sick f*ck's aides tell the Times he is not optimistic that they will rule his way if they decide to assess his ludicrous claims of absolute "presidential immunity."


  • European Union Approves Ukraine Military Aid After Hungary's Orbán Fails to Win a Free Pass on Corruption Through Veto Threat Meanwhile in the U.S., Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer plans a test vote next week on futher aid for Ukraine's defense, but Republican support is still far from guaranteed. via the New York Times and the Associated Press.
  • House Republicans Probably Don't Have the Votes to Impeach Mayorkas Over Nothing Next Week Colorado GOP Rep. Ken Buck says the Homeland Security Secretary's supposed "maladministration" is "not impeachable," and several other House Republicans who previously voiced opposition to impeachment haven't publicly changed their position. via HuffPost and NBC News.
  • Oregon Supreme Court Rules 10 GOP Lawmakers Who Sabotaged Last Session With 6-Week Walkout Can't Run for Reelection The state constitution forbids lawmakers who miss 10 or more legislative floor sessions without a valid excuse from holding office in the subsequent term. via the Oregonian and Willamette Week.
  • California Unions Rally Against Driverless Car Expansion Today The Teamsters and three other unions "want autonomous car services to have backup human drivers, and they're supporting a bill in the California Legislature that would grant cities and counties the authority to regulate or block services such as Waymo's" driverless taxi service. via NBC News.



That's how many donors to New York City Mayor-Cop Eric Adams' 2025 reelection campaign now admit they were secretly (and illegally) reimbursed for more than $10,000 in contributions by hotel and construction executives. The admissions came during a joint investigation by The City, Documented, and the Guardian into the mayor-cop's campaign practice of arranging illegal "straw" donations, which are also the subject of a federal criminal probe.


2/2: It's Casual Friday! Sam and Emma speak with Jeet Heer, national affairs correspondent for The Nation, to round up the week in news.


Nikki Haley Struggles to Blame Obama for Toxic Politics

A Black talk show is not her most comfortable environment.

History of Palestine: The Nakba Explained

Emma talks with historian Zachary Foster of Palestine Nexus about the historic influence of European nationalism in shaping the current catastrophe.


"This is how it's got to be, Krish."

-- California Republican Senate candidate and former Major League Baseball star "Mr. Clean" Steve Garvey, explaining to his oldest daughter, Krisha, why he was cutting off contact with her 15 years ago. The Los Angeles Times reports that the 75-year-old Garvey, a self-described "conservative moderate" who claims to be "a devoted family man," refuses to speak or meet with several of his seven children (two from his first marriage, two from two different women in 1989, and three from his current wife, who also brought two children into the marriage) and has made no attempt to have a relationship with his grandchildren.

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