U.S. Senate Decides It's Best Not to Know What Israel Is Doing in Gaza - The Wednesday AM Quickie 1/17/24

If wonder what sort of hors d'oeuvres they're serving at Davos this year? You can't go wrong with cheese and crackers. - Corey

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11 U.S. Senators Vote in Support of Bernie Sanders' Measure on Israel's Human Rights Record

Back in December, Vermont Jewish socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced a resolution that would have required the State Department to quickly produce a report about any potential human rights abuses by Israel in its war in Gaza – something that's been in the news basically every day since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack – and about how Israel has used weapons supplied by the U.S. Per the Intercept, the resolution cited "the Foreign Assistance Act, which prohibits the American government from providing security assistance to any government 'which engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.'"

"If you believe that the [bombing] campaign has been indiscriminate, as I do, then we have a responsibility to ask this question," Sanders argued last week on the floor. "If you believe Israel has done nothing wrong, then this information should support that belief." Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren said ahead of yesterday's vote on the Sanders resolution that far-right Israeli "Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu needs to understand that he does not get a blank check from the United States Congress."

But apparently he does. In the end, most Senators showed they would rather not know the truth about the war they are funding, voting 72-11 to table Sanders' measure, meaning that it will go no further in this Congress. "We [were] trying to call attention to some unpleasant realities that I think a lot of people would prefer not to deal with," Sanders told the Washington Post. Proving the point, Maryland Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin, who chairs the Foreign Relations Committee, called the Sanders resolution "a gift to Hamas." White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby called it "unworkable." Oh really? Why?

"Meanwhile," the Associated Press reports, "Gaza's humanitarian crisis is worsening, with 85% of the territory's 2.3 million Palestinians having fled their homes and U.N. agencies warning of mass starvation and disease. The conflict threatens to widen after the U.S. and Israel traded strikes with Iranian-backed groups across the region." Better not to know the details, right?

Elections Roundup: DeSantis to Lose Solo Debate

  • Iowa Results: Trump 'Showed Striking Weakness' in Suburbs and Cities And contrary to some recent general elction polling, the caucus returns "showed no surge of young-voter interest in Trump when it came time to actually vote"; Republicans over 65 love him more than ever, however. via Politico.
  • ABC News Cancels GOP Debate After Nikki Haley Refuses to Participate Without Donald Trump "I won't snub New Hampshire voters like both Nikki Haley and Donald Trump, and plan to honor my commitments. I look forward to debating two empty podiums in the Granite State this week," floundering fascist Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis responds. via the Washington Post.
  • Abortion Rights Advocates Argue Over Language of Ballot Measures in States Where GOP Is Strong In Missouri and other closely divided states, some advocates want to include language about the "viability" of a pregnancy, while others argue that word "creates an arbitrary dividing line and stigmatizes abortions later in pregnancy, which are exceedingly rare and usually the result of serious complications, such as fetal anomalies." via the Associated Press.
  • Cornel West Says RFK Jr. Is Spreading 'Lies About a Great Black Freedom Tradition' Over the weekend, Kennedy defended his father and uncle's approval of an FBI wiretap on Martin Luther King Jr.; West says the other independent presidential candidate fails to understand how his family and J. Edgar Hoover "declared war on my people." via Politico.

OSHA Fines Chick-Fil-A Supplier $213,000 for Grisly Death of Teen Worker

NBC News and HuffPost report on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's grim announcement yesterday that it would fine a Georgia-based meat processor, Mar-Jac Poultry nearly $213,000 for 14 "serious violations" leading to the death of a 16-year-old worker, Duvan Robert Tomas Pérez. Originally from Guatemala, Pérez was cleaning the deboning area of the company's Hattiesburg, Mississippi plant "when his hand got caught and his body was pulled into the machinery." Not only are kids under 18 not supposed to work in slaughterhouses under federal law, this plant, which supplies Chick-fil-A restaurants, had an exceptionally poor safety record. Pérez, who would have entered ninth grade last fall, was the second person who died there after being sucked into a machine in a two-year period. OSHA is currently investigating more than 800 child labor violations in 47 states.


  • FBI and Capitol Police Are Investigating Roger Stone's Attempt to Order a Hit on Two House Democrats The shady Trump adviser, on tape, suggested killing Reps. Jerrold Nadler of New York and Eric Swalwell of California to former NYPD officer Salvatore Greco, who was fired over his ties to Stone and Trump's Jan. 6, 2021 coup attempt. via the New York Times.
  • 16 Million More Kids Would Benefit from Expanded Child Tax Credit in Congressional Spending Plan President Joe Biden has summoned House and Senate leaders from both parties to the White House today to talk about passing military aid to Israel and Ukraine. via the Associated Press and NBC News.
  • Four Billionaires Including Michael Bloomberg Have Donated to New York City Mayor-Cop Eric Adams' Legal Defense Meanwhile, with Adams boasting that he won't cut as much as he expected to from public services in the city budget, the leaders of the Working Families Party note that "setting your own house on fire and then putting it out doesn't make you a hero." via the Times.
  • Biden Scores Antitrust Win as Judge Blocks JetBlue-Spirit Merger Attorney General Merrick Garland called yesterday's ruling by U.S. District Judge William Young "a victory for tens of millions of travelers who would have faced higher fares and fewer choices" if the merger went through over the administration's opposition. via the Washington Post.


0.4 percent

That's how many of the world's 1,600 "largest and most influential companies" that have publicly committed to paying their workers a living wage, according to Oxfam International's new report on corporate power, Inequality Inc. Oxfam estimates that if current trends continue, the world will see its first trillionaire within 10 years, but poverty will persist for another 230 years.


1/17: It's Hump Day! They speak with Joseph Jewell, professor and department head of black studies at the University of Illinois Chicago, to discuss his recent book White Man's Work: Race and Middle-Class Mobility into the Progressive Era.


Should Biden Send Troops to Stop Texas Gov's Criminal Treatment of Migrants?

I'd argue for UN blue helmets, personally.

Republican Voters Are Out of Their Minds

David Bowie spoke for many of us.


"I don't believe Putin is capable of changing, only humans can do that."

-- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland yesterday. As the New York Times reports, Zelenskyy promoted a peace plan rejected by Russia that calls for the return of all occupied territories, including Crimea, reparations and war crimes prosecutions; unlike last year, he "made no direct appeals for weaponry for new offensives on the battlefield."

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