Cowardly Dems Panic and Do Nothing - The Wednesday AM Quickie 7/10/24

State Dept spokesman Matt Miller's habitual smirk when he's dissembling about Israeli atrocities is pretty galling. Someone finally confronted him about it. -Jacob

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"I wish I was more brave": Cowardly Democrats Panic Over Biden While Doing Nothing

Two weeks after President Joe Biden's disastrous debate performance launched renewed skepticism of his physical fitness and mental acuity, the Democratic Party remains in shambles – panicked but impotent. Yesterday, House Democrats met to talk about the ongoing debacle that might lead to the apocalyptic specter of a second Donald Trump presidency. By most accounts, it didn't go very well.

"We're not even in the same book," said Rep. Steve Cohen when asked if he and his colleagues "were on the same page."

A number of prominent Democrats have endorsed Biden with the kind of grim inevitability that attends accepting a terminal cancer diagnosis. NBC News compared the mood to a "death march," with one unnamed Biden supporter saying, "No one is excited. Expectations are very low for Biden going forward."

Rep. Jerry Nadler, who had been one of at least seven Democratic members of the House to say that Biden should drop out of the race, has now made a u-turn. "Whether I have concerns or not is beside the point," said Nadler, reflecting a grin-and-bear-it consensus that seems to be taking shape among some party mandarins. "He's going to be our nominee."

"I wish I was more brave," a state Democratic party chair told NBC. They said they worried about retaliation if they put their name to their criticisms. Isn't democracy supposed to be in peril here?

The task of taking a stand fell to some Senate moderates and one embattled liberal lion, who may in fact know something about winning swing states. Sen. Michael Bennet said on CNN that he didn't think Biden could win. "The entire future of our country is at stake," said Bennet. In a private meeting with Senate colleagues, Bennet, Sen. Jon Tester, and Sen. Sherrod Brown reportedly expressed doubts about Biden's chances in November.

Rep. Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey released a statement saying that "the stakes are too high" and that Biden should help the party find a new nominee. Rep. Lori Trahan, a Massachusetts Democrat, said that her constituents "have real concerns about the President's ability to beat Donald Trump. I share those concerns."

It's not just the growing dissent within the party. The supposed expressions of support for Biden – when asked how he's feeling about Biden, Sen. Chuck Schumer simply said three times in a row, "I'm with Joe" – are not convincing. Is anyone going to do something about it?

It's Still Way, Way Too Hot

It's terribly hot across much of the country, as extreme heat season becomes the norm. In Washington DC, where there was recently a boil water advisory, the heat index reached 110. Houston, America's oil capital, is reeling from Hurricane Beryl, and a power outage potentially affecting millions of Texans could last for days. A woman died at a California prison where the temperature hit 110 degrees. Other heat-related deaths have been reported around the country.

Meanwhile, in what feels like a bad joke, the new GOP platform doesn't include a single word about climate change.

Hamas Leaders Claim Oct. 7 Attack Was Necessary to "Shatter the Status Quo"

Drop Site News, a new publication from The Intercept's Jeremy Scahill and Ryan Grim, interviewed Hamas officials and people close to the militant group's leadership to better understand its politics and decision-making around its deadly Oct. 7 attack on Israeli civilians. The resulting article offers insight into Hamas' belief that the surprise attack was necessary to reset the dynamic between Israel and Hamas and to bring the Palestinian issue once more to global attention. "The people in Gaza, they had one of two choices: Either to die because of siege and malnutrition and hunger and lacking of medicine and lacking of treatment abroad, or to die by a rocket," said a doctor close to Ismail Haniyeh. Other Hamas officials said that they were actually surprised by the Oct. 7 attack, which was planned by a "special group headed by [Yahya] Sinwar," Hamas' leader in Gaza.


  • Michael Bloomberg Means-Tests Mega Medical School Gift Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg recently gave $1 billion to cover student tuition at Johns Hopkins University Medical School. In classic neoliberal fashion, the massive subsidy isn't universal; it applies to people whose families earn less than $300,000 per year. via NYT.
  • US Finally Using More Wind Energy Than Coal For the last two months, the US generated more electricity from wind power than from burning coal. It's potentially a significant milestone for a country for which burning not-so-clean natural gas is by far the biggest source of electricity generation. But the rapid expansion of power-hungry data centers for artificial intelligence could eat into recent gains in the renewables sector. via Sherwood.
  • Tesla Shareholder Lawyers Want $7 Billion For Blocking Musk Windfall Lawyers representing the Tesla shareholder who successfully sued to block Elon Musk's insane $56 billion pay package are now asking for $7 billion in fees. Tesla's lawyer asked the court to award the opposing counsel a comparatively modest $13.6 million. via CNN.
  • Bitcoin Mine Sickens City Residents A large data center serving as a Bitcoin "mine" has apparently caused illnesses in dozens of residents of a small Texas town – migraines, hypertension, vertigo, and other debilitating conditions. The mine makes a lot of noise – all day, all night – creating a level of inescapable noise pollution that can actually make people sick. via Time Magazine.



That's how many years the EPA may allow the city of Chicago to replace the city's 400,000 lead water lines, according to Bloomberg. The depressingly long time frame – most cities are supposed to finish replacing their lead pipes by 2027 – drew outrage from residents. It points to both of the scope of Chicago's lead-pipe problem and the bureaucratic and logistical difficulties in doing much about it.


7/10: It’s Hump Day! Sam and Emma speak with political commentator Owen Jones to discuss the outcomes of the recent UK elections.


CNN's Hair Is On Fire Over Biden's Terrible Polling

The numbers ain't good. Are they accurate? Probably!

How the Early 90s Birthed An Authoritarian Movement

Author John Ganz joined the show to talk about his bestselling political history, "When the Clock Broke."


"There was total freedom of action. If there is [even] a feeling of threat, there is no need to explain — you just shoot... It’s permissible to shoot everyone, a young girl, an old woman.”

― An anonymous IDF soldier speaking to Oren Ziv of +972 Magazine, which has provided essential reporting on Israel's atrocities in Gaza. Soldiers described particularly lax rules of engagement, to the point where one soldier said that reckless acts of friendly fire by bored Israeli soldiers were "more dangerous than Hamas."

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