Dems Split Over Growing Campus Protests - The Monday AM Quickie 4/29/24

I don't know how they're still allowed to call this thing "autopilot." -Jacob

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How Will Democrats Handle Campus Gaza Protests?

The Democratic Party appears split over the growing protest movement on US college campuses against Israel's war in Gaza. Progressive politicians like Rep. Ilhan Omar have praised protesters for taking a stand against genocide and embodying a tradition of unruly free-speech activism. Sen. Bernie Sanders criticized Benjamin Netanyahu for claiming that "antisemitic mobs" were rampaging through US colleges: "Please, do not insult the intelligence of the American people by attempting to distract us from the immoral and illegal policies of your extremist and racist government," said Sanders.

President Biden and other prominent Democrats have focused on alleged incidents of antisemitic harassment, saying that Jewish students deserve to feel safe on campus without acknowledging the concerns of Palestinian and Muslim students. The internal division may become more acute as the House prepares to vote on an Antisemitism Awareness Act that essentially asks colleges to treat anti-Zionist protest as a form of discrimination.

Despite hundreds of arrests in recent days, the protests show little signs of letting up. While there have been provocative chants at Columbia and a "tussle" at UCLA, the protests and encampments have been largely peaceful. Violence has come from outside agitators, as university administrators feared, but the responsible parties turned out to be the police called by those deans and school presidents to crush student encampments.

The student protests have garnered thanks from children in Gaza and activists in Yemen who waved banners decorated with photos of arrested American college kids. They've also inspired many on the left exhausted by the Biden administration's stubborn refusal to make any substantive intervention to stop the ongoing atrocities.

While leaving the weapons and intelligence pipeline to Israel open, the administration has been pressuring Netanyahu not to follow through on his threatened invasion of Rafah. Netanyahu and other top Israeli officials reportedly fear that the International Criminal Court may issue warrants for their arrest. According to Reuters, State Department officials believe that Israel is likely violating international law and have reported their findings to Secretary Antony Blinken.

The moral stakes are pretty clear. According to a CNN poll, 71 percent of voters disapprove of Biden's handling of the war in Gaza. For potential voters under age 35, it's 81 percent. The horrors are so obvious that pampered 19-year-old college students are rising up en masse, at some risk to their educational and career prospects. Do Democrats understand what's going on right in front of them?

UAW Notches Another Win For Auto Workers

The United Auto Workers reached a "tentative agreement" with Daimler Truck Holding AG to avoid a strike and raise wages 25 percent over four years for 7,300 workers. The agreement, which needs to be approved by union members, applies to workers across plants and distribution facilities in North Carolina, Atlanta, and Memphis. Daimler Truck Holding is a former subsidiary of Daimer, the large auto company that makes Mercedes; it was spun out as its own company in 2021.

The UAW has been tallying up victories for auto workers across the country. A week ago, workers at a Volkswagen plant in Tennessee voted – against heavy pressure from southern governors – to join the union. Tough-talking UAW president Shawn Fain, who proudly engages in class war on behalf of workers, is now considered a rising Democratic Party star. The Democratic Party could certainly use him, but he may not need them to deliver more progress for workers.

Google Fires 50 Employees For Protesting Company's Israel Contract

After some livestreamed sit-ins and other acts of protest against Google's work for the Israeli government, Google fired fifty people. The tech giant has a $1.2 billion cloud computing contract with Israel known as Project Nimbus. The workers were fired by email for participating in "disruptive activity." In a statement to The Guardian, Google said that the Nimbus contract is for Israeli government ministries. "This work is not directed at highly sensitive, classified, or military workloads relevant to weapons or intelligence services," the company claimed, which doesn't seem to entirely rule out the possibility that Google provides technical assistance to Israel's military or to the vast system of surveillance and control that helps underwrite apartheid in the West Bank.


  • Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis Bury the Hatchet The presumptive Republican presidential nominee and one of his vanquished rivals met in Miami yesterday and agreed to work together on fundraising. The meeting was arranged by Steve Witkoff, a real estate investor who also testified on Trump's behalf in his massive civil fraud trial in New York. via WaPo.
  • Kristi Noem Killed a Dog, Would Do It Again South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, who reportedly is on Trump's short list for VP, defended herself after the revelation that her upcoming book describes her shooting a pet dog that she claimed was violent and "untrainable." Noem's defense boiled down to: that's just how rural people live. via The Guardian.
  • Arizona GOP Taps Election-Tampering Conspirators for Party Post The Arizona Republican Party has appointed Jake Hoffman, a state senator who was indicted last week for a fake-elector scheme after the 2020 election, to represent them on the Republican National Committee. The party also appointed his former colleague Liz Harris, who was kicked out of the state legislature – a difficult feat in Arizona! – after she invited a deliriously paranoid real-estate agent to testify about election fraud. via NBC News and Arizona Republic.
  • Military Families Sue the Government Over Tainted Water in Hawaii Seventeen relatives of U.S. service members are suing the government over health problems caused by water contaminated by jet fuel near Pearl Harbor. The trial could also influence the outcome of other lawsuits involving more than 7,500 people experiencing health issues. via Associated Press and CBS News.



That's how much of the revenue earned by Blade – an "Uber for helicopters" service known for ferrying people between Manhattan and JFK airport for a relatively modest $195 – comes from transporting human organs to medical facilities for transplant operations. It turns out that this bougie helicopter taxi service has become an important node in the medical logistics chain. "Blade is the largest dedicated air transporter of human organs in the US," writes Jack Raines in Sherwood, describing the company's business as "an ambulance in disguise."


4/29: Happy Monday! Sam is back from vacation! He and Emma speak with Ari Berman, national voting rights correspondent at Mother Jones, to discuss his recent book Minority Rule: The Right-Wing Attack on the Will of the People—and the Fight to Resist It.


'Free Speech Libertarian' Goes Full Fascist Over Student Protests

People who spend a lot of time touting their love of the Constitution seem particularly upset about the college protests against Israel's war in Gaza.

Can Tenants Rights Be Protected From Insane Rents?

Leah Goodridge, who sits on the New York City Planning Commission, dials in to discuss rent stabilization efforts in the city's out of control housing market.


"In the way we normally understand such concepts, Palestinian Gaza as a geographical-political-cultural-human complex no longer exists. Genocide is the deliberate annihilation of a collective or part of it — not all of its individuals. And that’s what’s happening in Gaza."

-- From an essay by Amos Goldberg, a Holocaust scholar at Hebrew University. In the piece, Goldberg examines the ways in which historical genocides may differ by context or horrific particulars but are driven by similar animosities and fear of annihilation. He finds that the ethnic cleansing, mass death, and wanton destruction of Gaza resemble past genocides in southwest Africa, Armenia, and elsewhere.

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