Biden Scolds Netanyahu, But Will He Change Policy? - The Friday AM Quickie 4/5/24

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Biden Scolds Netanyahu, But Will He Change Policy?

It turns out the US president has some power after all. In a phone call on Thursday, President Joe Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to do more to alleviate human suffering in Gaza, describing the situation as "unacceptable." If there were not significant changes, the administration would "reassess its policy toward the war in Gaza," according to the Washington Post. The Biden administration declined to say what changes in policy it might pursue.

The Israeli government responded by reopening the Erez crossing in northern Gaza, which had been closed since October 7. Using the port in Ashdod and trucks from Jordan, Israel plans to allow more humanitarian aid through to the desperate Palestinian population. The food situation has become catastrophic, with many Gazans subsisting on a few hundred calories per day – which is to say, starving. For those who do not succumb to starvation, especially children, their lives and their health will be marked by this period of malnutrition.

Israel's sudden willingness to open more crossings is just one indicator of President Biden's potential influence – should he want, or have the moral courage, to exercise it. For now, despite the verbal browbeating, the material reality remains little changed. On the day that Israel killed several World Central Kitchen aid workers, "the Biden administration approved the transfer of thousands more bombs to Israel," according to a WaPo report. More aid deliveries could help Gazans; so would stopping the bombing.

No Labels, No Candidate, No Problem

No Labels, the centrist political group who kept threatening to field an independent presidential candidate that no one wanted, said it will not enter the 2024 race. The group raised and spent millions of dollars hyping obscure lieutenant governors and milquetoast blue dog Democrats as potential candidates to break through the Democratic-Republican duopoly.

"No Labels has always said we would only offer our ballot line to a ticket if we could identify candidates with a credible path to winning the White House," said a No Labels spokesperson. "No such candidates emerged, so the responsible course of action is for us to stand down."

Given that No Labels seems to have no real constituency and no real shot at winning any kind of election – or even playing a viable spoiler role – they probably made the right decision.

US Making Huge Progress in Renewable Energy

The world may be on fire and headed toward ecological collapse, but the US has made impressive gains in solar and wind power in recent years. Almost a quarter of the US electricity generation now comes from renewable energy. Coal power is on the decline and small-scale solar operations – think panels on roofs of homes and office buildings – are starting to add up. Major government initiatives like the Inflation Reduction Act should push the ball further down the field. What's that weird feeling? Is it.. optimism?


  • An AI Chatbot Is Telling New Yorkers to Break the Law New York City recently rolled out a chatbot that is supposed to answer residents' questions about anything from tenants' rights to sanitation. Unfortunately, the bot is giving out wrong or even harmful information, including recommending illegal activity. Mayor Eric Adams said some kinks are still being worked out. via NBC New York and The Markup.
  • Muslim Americans Walk Out of Meeting With Biden Rather than host a meal for Ramadan, President Joe Biden met with a handful of Muslim Americans this week. One visitor, a Palestinian-American doctor who recently volunteered in a Gaza hospital, walked out of the meeting after five minutes. via NBC News and Democracy Now.
  • World's Rainforests Headed Toward Destruction All over the world, rainforests are being destroyed, despite conservation efforts. Last year, 9.1 million acres were razed, an area almost the size of Switzerland. Rainforests are essential for biodiversity and stemming the worst of climate change, but countries are far from fulfilling their goal of stopping forest loss by 2030. via New York Times and The Guardian.
  • Mexico Ravaged By Political Campaign Violence In June, Mexican voters will select candidates for thousands of positions, from president to local officials. There have already been 400 reported incidents of political violence since September. Recently, a group of Mexican Catholic bishops met with cartel leaders to ask for a stop to violence. via Bloomberg and WaPo.


$30 million

That's how much money a group of thieves got away with in a heist targeting a cash storage facility in Los Angeles on Easter. Unidentified burglars broke into the building without tripping any alarms and took the money from a safe. It's believed to be one of the largest thefts of cash in Los Angeles history.


4/5: It’s a Casual Friday all calls and all clips edition! Sam, Emma and the MR Crew break down the biggest stories of the week. 


GOP's Florida Abortion Ban Could Backfire Big Time

The Republican Party's anti-abortion zealotry may cause electoral trouble for them in Florida.

GOP Psychopath Calls For Nuclear Annihilation of Palestinians

Rep. Tim Walberg told some constituents that he would rather nuke Gaza than provide humanitarian aid.


"If the court compels the sale of the Florida condominium, then the debtor will be forced to incur expenses for alternative housing. Surely the committee does not intend the debtor to join the ranks of the homeless?"

-- Rudy Giuliani's lawyers, writing in a recent motion regarding the possible forced sale of his Florida condo to pay off legal judgments. Giuliani owes $148 million for defaming two election workers, and he has a laundry list of other debts that caused him to declare bankruptcy last December. A judge ruled this week that Giuliani will be allowed to stay in the condo for now.

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