THE BIG NEWS
UN Votes for Gaza Ceasefire as Biden Privately Criticizes Bibi
The United Nations General Assembly voted 153 in favor and 10 against (with 23 abstentions) in favor of a ceasefire in Gaza. The non-binding resolution followed last week's decision by the United States to veto a UN Security Council resolution also calling for a ceasefire. The vote is another reminder that the bulk of countries – indeed, of people around the world – support an immediate end to Israel's military campaign in Gaza. "I think most U.N. member states have lost patience with the U.S. stance on the war, even if many were initially repulsed by Hamas’s atrocities," one expert told The New York Times.
The IDF is dependent on US political support and military aid, but President Joe Biden has been relatively reticent to publicly criticize Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government. But deep-pocketed donors get the candid president, so on Tuesday, Biden said at a private fundraising event that Israel was employing "indiscriminate bombing" and that Netanyahu "has to change." While the comments were far from barbed, they reflect the growing frustration in a Biden White House that has provided essential political cover for a globally unpopular, and strategically unsuccessful, war.
Yet even as thousands of innocent Palestinians die and Israel demolishes UN schools in Gaza, the Biden administration seems unwilling to do much to change the deadly course of events.
MORE STORIES TO WATCH
Zelenskyy Warns that Ukraine's "Freedom Is on the Line"
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appeared at a press conference with President Joe Biden in Washington on Tuesday. Both presidents touted the need for more American military aid to stymie Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine. Claiming that the priority should be the US southern border with Mexico, Republican members of Congress have held up another military assistance package. Biden said that Republicans were "holding Ukraine's funding hostage" and doing the bidding of "Russian propagandists." Leading Democrats have warned that, without a new aid package, the money spigot would soon run dry, but it's unlikely that any deal can be reached before Congress leaves for its holiday recess.
Russia Has Suffered Major Casualties But Continues to Fight
According to new declassified US intelligence assessments, Russian forces have suffered catastrophic losses in Ukraine, including 87 percent of all of its total ground troops, with 315,000 men injured or killed. Russia has lost half of its tanks and about a third of its armored vehicles, but Putin has been able to fight on and replenish his forces by loosening conscription requirements and forcing men into service, including convicts fighting for Wagner, a private military company ultimately answerable to the Kremlin. They've also drawn on old Soviet weapons stockpiles. As the war in Ukraine nears its second official anniversary (to say nothing of the gray war taking place in eastern Ukraine for years prior), it's increasingly become a war of attrition, a brutal meatgrinder posing Putin's willingness to withstand heavy casualties against a determined but outnumbered Ukrainian army deeply dependent on western aid.
- George Santos Eyes a Plea Deal – and a Return to Congress Master grifter George Santos, who did a brief stint in Congress before being indicted by the feds on 23 charges and expelled by his colleagues, is thinking about his political comeback. But first, he's looking for a plea deal. via The Daily Beast and Associated Press.
- Argentina Begins Economic Shock Therapy Newly elected Argentine President Javier Milei announced that his government was devaluing its currency by 50 percent, firing government workers, and decreasing subsidies for energy and transportation. An IMF official praised the new policies, calling them "bold" and "decisive." via CBS News.
- Arctic Getting Warm, Very Warm The 2023 Arctic Report Card, a peer-reviewed climate study involving 82 scientists, found that last summer was the warmest on record for the Arctic region. The report cited "unambiguous, climate change-supercharged impacts to people and ecosystems," meaning things continue to be very bad. via Axios.
- New York Court Orders Congressional Redistricting The New York State Court of Appeals has ordered the state's redistricting commission to redraw New York's 26 congressional districts. The ruling is likely to benefit Democrats and potentially cut into the Republican House majority in 2024 elections. via CNN.
That's how many hours viewers spent watching The Night Agent, the most popular show on Netflix, between March and June of this year. The streaming service has released detailed viewing numbers for the first time – likely a result of recent labor negotiations, during which actors, directors, and showrunners demanded more specific information about who was watching their shows.
ON THE SHOW TODAY
12/13: It's Hump Day! Sam speaks with Ari Tolany, research consultant for Women for Weapons Trade Transparency, to discuss her recent piece that she co-authored in In These Times entitled "How Israel Got an Endless Supply of U.S.-Made Smart Bombs." Then, Sam speaks with Andi Dymond, member of the contract bargaining team for the Columbia College Chicago Faculty Union, to discuss the ongoing strike of adjunct professors, active since October 30th.
DON'T MISS MR CLIPS
Biden has a weird, troubling line he keeps trotting out.
The Republican impeachment inquiry has one problem: Republican Congressmen are running it.
"As far as the Court can tell, none of these cases exist."
-- SDNY Judge Jesse M. Furman, in a filing regarding David M. Schwartz, who represents former Trump consiglieri Michael Cohen. Schwartz apparently cited three fictional cases in a motion to end court supervision of Cohen's case. Schwartz now has 6 days to produce the decisions he mentioned in the motion – decisions that likely do not exist – or face sanction from the court.
Quickie Discount Code Corner
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