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Sunday, November 5, 2023
On Our "VIrtual Route 66" : On the Week That Was in Our World
It has been quite a week as November began as we launched our "Virtual Route 66" for November 2023.
Our team pulled together a snapshot of the week that was on the War Between Israel and Gaza, Mexico, And Turkey with thoughts courtesy of the Institute for Policy Studies, The Bulwark, France24, Mexico News, Le Monde Diplomatique, Crooked Media, The Washington Post and The Financial Times:
The administration is using semiconductor subsidies as a lever for discouraging CEO pay-inflating stock buybacks in that industry. All companies receiving federal funds should face the same restrictions.
In the United States and globally, our richest are still flourishing at everyone else’s expense.
IPS IN THE NEWS
Common Dreams highlights our National Priorities Project's statement urging the U.S. to call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, instead of sending further military aid to Israel.
The Spotlight team at the Boston Globe quotes Chuck Collins and cites our data on how luxury real estate can be taxed to support affordable housing. And the Globe’s editorial board joins our call for just such a tax.
Yahoo! Finance highlights IPS's latest research on the worker-retirement divide.
Public Citizen lists IPS among the signatories of a letter calling on President Biden to end extreme corporate power in existing trade pacts.
An article on anonymous private jet owners in Travel Tomorrowhighlights IPS's report on the costs of private jet travel.
European commission president’s shows support for Kyiv as doubt rises over EU and US funding
NOVEMBER 4, 2023by Henry Foy in Kyiv
As the US POlitical Season Heates up:
Former Trump White House senior advisor Steve Bannon after being sentenced to four months in prison after a federal jury found him guilty of two counts of contempt of Congress. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Former President Donald Trump opened his Texas rally in Houston Thursday night with a song by the Jan. 6, 2021 male prison choir featuring himself saying the pledge of allegiance as inmates sing the "The Star-Spangled Banner."
Following the song, called "Justice for All," Trump called those convicted and sentenced in the wake of the insurrection that included assaults on police officers “hostages not prisoners.”
Nota bene: If he wins next year, he’s going to pardon them all. He keeps telling us so. Over and over again.
But he keeps telling us other things as well. Perhaps attention ought to be paid, because his campaign gets no points for subtlety. This is, after all, not the first time he has performed the J6 prisoner anthem and praised the imprisoned Insurrectionists.
This wasn’t a gaffe — it has become a foundational theme in his bid to reclaim power.
Shortly after the rally was announced, I asked Steve Bannon, who had served as the CEO of Trump’s 2016 campaign and had once again emerged as one of Trump’s most important advisers, why the former president would go to Waco for his big campaign reboot. He wasn’t coy.
“We’re the Trump Davidians,” he told me with a laugh.
Even less subtle than the venue of the rally was how Trump kicked it off, standing silently onstage with his hand on his heart while he waited for “The Star‐Spangled Banner” to play. This wasn’t a traditional version of the national anthem. Trump’s campaign had queued up “Justice for All,” a rendition of the song recorded over a jailhouse phone by a group of about 20 inmates being held in Washington, D.C., for taking part in the assault on the U.S. Capitol. In the song, the so‐called J6 Prison Choir makes its way through Francis Scott Key’s lyrics while Trump’s voice interjects with stray lines from the Pledge of Allegiance, which he recorded at Mar‐a‐Lago. As the recording blared, video footage from the January 6 riot played on the massive screens flanking the stage.
“For seven years, you and I have been taking on the corrupt, rotten, and sinister forces trying to destroy America,” he told the crowd. “They’re not going to do it, but they do get closer and closer with rigged elections.”
“Twenty twenty-four,” Trump declared, “is the final battle.”
This wasn’t a campaign speech in any traditional sense. Trump echoed the themes of paranoia and foreboding that grew out of the Waco massacre. “As far as the eye can see, the abuses of power that we’re currently witnessing at all levels of government will go down as among the most shameful, corrupt, and depraved chapters in all of American history,” he said.
“They’re not coming after me,” he told the crowd. “They’re coming after you.”
The message seemed to resonate, but its brazenness was staggering. The folks cheering Trump had not taken boxes stuffed with classified documents out of the White House—and it’s safe to assume that none of them spent tens of thousands of dollars to cover up an affair with an adult‐film star.
There is also this extraordinary detail in Karl’s reporting:
When I spoke with Bannon a few days later, he wouldn’t stop touting Trump’s performance, referring to it as his “Come Retribution” speech.
What I didn’t realize was that “Come Retribution,” according to some Civil War historians, served as the code words for the Confederate Secret Service’s plot to take hostage—and eventually assassinate—President Abraham Lincoln.
“The use of the key phrase ‘Come Retribution’ suggests that the Confederate government had made a bitter decision to repay some of the misery that had been inflicted on the South,” William A. Tidwell, James O. Hall, and David Winfred Gaddy wrote in the 1988 book Come Retribution: The Confederate Secret Service and the Assassination of Lincoln. “Bitterness may well have been directed toward persons held to be particularly responsible for that misery, and Abraham Lincoln certainly headed the list.”
Bannon actually recommended that I read that book, erasing any doubt that he was intentionally using the Confederate code words to describe Trump’s speech.
Trump’s speech was not an overt call for the assassination of his political opponents, but it did advocate their destruction by other means. Success “is within our reach, but only if we have the courage to complete the job, gut the deep state, reclaim our democracy, and banish the tyrants and Marxists into political exile forever,” Trump said. “This is the turning point.”
- Disgraced former president Donald Trump, who added almost $8 trillion to the national debt during his single term
Neither the Gaza Health Ministry nor the IDF has yet estimated how many people were killed in the strike. The IDF said it planned to release evidence showing that Gaza ambulances were being used to transport militants and weapons. Reuters said it had verified two videos taken after the strike. One depicted people lying in blood next to an ambulance as onlookers rushed to help. Another showing three ambulances in a line with about a dozen people laying nearby in pools of blood.
The continued deterioration of humanitarian conditions served as a backdrop for Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s Friday visit to Israel.
After a day of meetings with Israeli leaders in Tel Aviv, Blinken declared, “We need to do more to protect Palestinian civilians” and “civilians should not suffer the consequences for [Hamas’] inhumanity and brutality.” He said that he and Israeli officials had discussed “concrete steps” to better protect civilians and to allow more aid into Gaza. “We’ve been clear that as Israel conducts its campaign to defeat Hamas, how it does so matters,” he said. “It matters because it’s the right and lawful thing to do. It matters because failure to do so plays into the hands of Hamas and other terror groups. There will be no partners for peace if they’re consumed by humanitarian catastrophe and alienated by any perceived indifference to their plight.” Blinken, though, emphasized that the Biden Administration supports Israel’s “right and obligation” to defend itself after the October 7 Hamas attacks. This is Blinken’s fourth visit since the attack and on Friday he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Isaac Herzog, and the country’s war cabinet.
Blinken also said that “humanitarian pauses” in the fighting would help in delivering aid to Gaza as well as securing the release of the 200-some hostages still thought to be held by Hamas. Netanyahu, though, continued to reject calls for a pause, saying, “I have made clear that we are continuing forcefully and that Israel refuses a temporary cease-fire that does not include the release of our hostages.” He also said that he would continue to block the entry of fuel into Gaza. Fighting between the IDF and Lebanese militant group Hezbollah escalated along Israel’s northern border. Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah gave a speech on Friday denouncing both Israel and the United States but did not call for an expansion to the Israel-Hamas war.
We're just days away from the 2023 Election, and there’s a lot going on behind the scenes here at Crooked, and on the Friends of the Pod Discord. On Election night, Tuesday November 7th from 4-9pm PT, join the Crooked team as we mainline vote count updates in our Election Night Support Group. Crooked hosts and staff will be jumping on Discord to comment on election results as they roll in and answer questions about what it all means. We’ll laugh, cry, and stream PBS.
Then on Wednesday November 8th, Crooked hosts and staff will be back on Discord for our GroupThread covering the third and blessedly final GOP Primary debate. While we won’t be streaming the debate, you can count on us to add live commentary and much needed comic relief to an otherwise unwatchable showdown of America’s most rizz-less goons. There’s never been a better time to join Friends of the Pod. To catch all this and more, head to Crooked.com/friends.
Just over a week has passed since Robert Card stormed into a bowling alley and a bar in Lewiston, ME and opened fire, killing 18 people in the deadliest mass shooting of the year so far. Grieving Mainers are slowly beginning to return to normal activities, but many are angry, and want real reforms. Card had a history of mental health issues, even a two-week institutionalization this summer, and had already been reported to the police for threatening to “shoot up” a number of public places. He was still able to legally purchase a semiautomatic weapon. The Washington Post spoke to a number of area locals, who called for accessible mental health care, stricter gun laws, and more aggressive law enforcement action when an armed individual is exhibiting psychosis. Some spoke of the difficulties of accessing mental health resources, especially for more rural residents, as providers are overburdened with high demand. Although Maine is a state that loves hunting, hunters have rightly pointed out that no one hunts with the sort of rifle Card used that fateful day.
Many of the state’s heartbroken residents are now pushing for an airtight red-flag law, which would allow a judge to order guns to be confiscated from anyone deemed a threat to themselves or others. President Joe Biden and the first lady traveled to Lewiston on Friday afternoon to pay respects to victims of the shooting and meet with first responders. He delivered brief remarks, saying “No pain is the same, but we know what it’s like to lose a piece of our soul…and the depths of a loss is so profound.” Sen. Angus King (I-ME) said in his own remarks, “It is fitting that a President who has known the depths of personal grief has come to Maine and to Lewiston today to share the grief of our families and our state.” The president reiterated his calls on Congress to pass an assault weapons ban: “This is about common sense. Reasonable, responsible measures to protect our children, our families, our communities, because regardless of our politics, this is about protecting our freedom to go to a bowling alley, a restaurant, school, church, without being shot and killed.”
Justice Arthur Engoron—our favorite judge overseeing the Manhattan civil fraud trial of disgraced former president Donald Trump—handed down another gag order on Friday, this time to Trump’s lawyers. The order states that all members of Trump’s legal team are prohibited from “making any public statement, in or out of court, that refer to any confidential communications, in any form, between my staff and me.” Go off!!!
The leader of Lebanon's militant group Hezbollah warned Friday the war between Israel and Hamas could widen into a broader regional conflict if Israel continues to expand its attacks on Gaza, but stopped short of committing to a full-on escalation. Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah's remarks were his first public comments since the latest Israel-Hamas war began nearly a month ago. Hezbollah (see overview) and Hamas are both backed by Iran and considered terrorist groups by the US.
Nasrallah also claimed Hezbollah had no role in Hamas' Oct. 7 surprise attack on Israel and the kidnapping of more than 220 people, claiming the attack was "kept secret" from a regional network of militant groups that refer to themselves as the "axis of resistance" (see overview). Israel has been trading fire with Hezbollah along its northern border shared with Lebanon. Other Iran-backed groups in Yemen, Syria, and Iraq have also launched attacks in recent weeks targeting Israeli and US troops.
Separately, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated Friday he wouldn't agree to a cease-fire until all of the hostages are released. The US has been flying drones to search for hostages in Gaza.
The death toll in Gaza has risen to over 9,000 people, according to its Hamas-run health ministry; the death toll in Israel is over 1,400 people.
Ukraine's air force said it had shot down 24 of the 40 drones and missiles Russia launched early Friday, which hit infrastructure as well as houses and commercial buildings. The airstrikes targeted Ukraine's Kharkiv in the northeast, Odesa and Kherson in the south, and Lviv in the west. See updates on the war here.
Nonfarm payrolls increased by 150,000 jobs for the month, below economist estimates of 170,000 and below September's downwardly revised 297,000. The unemployment rate rose to 3.9%, from 3.8% in September and the highest level since January 2022.
The air quality index in the capital of New Delhi veered into "hazardous" territory Friday, reaching a level of 640 at one point and topping a real-time list of the world's most polluted cities (see here). The haze forms every winter as a result of lower temperatures and lack of wind trapping pollution from vehicles, smoke, and burning crops.
The space agency said data from its retired Kepler space telescope (see overview) unveiled a new system of seven planets in our galaxy, which are bigger than Earth but smaller than Neptune. The center of the system, dubbed Kepler-385, features a sun-like star that is 10% larger and 5% hotter than Earth's sun.
Thomas K. Mattingly was originally part of the 1970 Apollo 13 mission but was bumped 72 hours before takeoff due to his possible exposure to rubella. He was known for helping to guide the Apollo 13 crew as they returned to Earth after an explosion compromised their lunar mission. Mattingly orbited the moon on Apollo 16 in 1972 and flew the first space flight for a Defense Department mission in 1985.
The archaeologists dug out thermal baths, found a statue of a woman draped in cloth, and discovered brick inscribed in a language predating the arrival of the Romans in Morocco. The ruins were found on Chellah, a 1.2-square-mile UNESCO World Heritage Site in Morocco's capital of Rabat.