In This Episode
- Protesters in China continue to voice their discontent over the country’s strict “zero Covid” policies. And while authorities have eased restrictions in some cities in an effort to quell public anger, Beijing isn’t backing down from the overall strategy.
- It’s been three weeks since Election Day, but in one Arizona county and two in Pennsylvania, the GOP remains in a state of denial about the results.
- And in headlines: the gunman who killed 10 Black people in a racist mass shooting in Buffalo pleaded guilty to murder charges, the World Health Organization announced a new name for monkeypox, and Hawai’i’s Mauna Loa volcano is erupting for the first time in almost 40 years.
- U.S. Geological Survey | Webcams | Mauna Loa Volcano – https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/mauna-loa/webcams
- Every Last Vote | Vote Save America – https://votesaveamerica.com/every-last-vote/
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For a transcript of this episode, please visit crooked.com/whataday
Josie Duffy Rice: It’s Tuesday, November 29th. I’m Josie Duffy Rice.
Tre’vell Anderson: And I’m Tre’vell Anderson and this is What A Day. The podcast now recorded exclusively on buy one get one Smart Toasters we picked up on Black Friday.
Josie Duffy Rice: Turns out we had the technology all along.
Tre’vell Anderson: It’s way harder than using regular microphones. But you know who can resist the deal? Love a BOGO moment. [music break]
Josie Duffy Rice: On today’s show, another cryptocurrency lender files for bankruptcy. Plus, the world’s largest volcano is starting to erupt.
Tre’vell Anderson: That does not sound good.
Josie Duffy Rice: Nope.
Tre’vell Anderson: But first, I wanted to go deeper on a headline we mentioned on yesterday’s show about the protests that have broken out across China in response to the country’s strict COVID lockdown policies. So first, just a note here. COVID is still killing people across the globe, even in our very own country. No, the pandemic isn’t over for so many people, even though it might feel like it to you all. Go get your boosters if you haven’t already, go get vaccinated if you haven’t already. We’re still in a pandemic, y’all. But back to the protests in China. Residents have been taking to the streets and making their discontent with China’s, quote unquote, “zero COVID policy” known for a few days now. A catalyst for this most recent spate of demonstrations, however, came late last week when an apartment in the capital city of the northwest Xinjiang region caught on fire and killed ten people and injured nine others. Many folks believe the victims were unable to escape and that rescue efforts were impeded because the building was under lockdown. Now, these lockdowns are how the country has been trying to stop the virus since it first appeared almost three years ago. And we should note that the strict policy was actually applauded at the beginning of the pandemic, as it surely saved a lot of lives. But now many are beginning to wonder if the strategy is outdated, especially as the rest of the world seems to have adapted.
Josie Duffy Rice: We’re not going to get to COVID zero. That’s out the window. But also this feels extremely harsh for three years under covid, can you tell us what these lockdowns actually like entail? What does it mean?
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. So they’re designed to stamp out COVID infections, right? Hence why they’re called zero covid policies. And it involves snap lockdowns of apartment buildings, including makeshift barricades and blockaded emergency exits, all to keep people indoors. The lockdowns are sometimes put in place for whole cities or regions, and there are also lengthy quarantine requirements, as well as a whole lot of testing for residents in some areas when just a handful of positive cases have popped up, residents have been forced to test every 24 hours. Now while this recent apartment fire seems to be the last straw that you know kind of broke the camel’s back here. It isn’t the first tragedy to happen that residents feel could have been prevented or mitigated if these policies weren’t in place or as strict. There was a four month old baby that died in central China earlier this month, and her father has said the stringent COVID policies delayed her getting the medical support she needed. Overall, though, the policies have continued to upend everyday life for China’s 1.4 billion residents, while much of the world has returned to some sense of normalcy. And they’re also impacting the country’s economy too which as the world’s second largest, means that an impact on China’s economy will have global consequences. And we should note that over the weekend, China reported its fourth straight daily record of new COVID 19 infections. As of Saturday, they had over 300,000 symptomatic cases.
Josie Duffy Rice: That’s a lot. [laugh] They are clearly not getting rid of COVID with this approach. Are the protests like having any impact on the restrictions? Is China backing down? What’s going on?
Tre’vell Anderson: So it’s really hard to say at this point. And we should also note, right, that the protests on their face, it’s about the COVID policies. But the country is very, you know, have a heavy hand, let’s say, when it comes to implementing a variety of things that folks might also be protesting against. But what we can say is that these demonstrations, especially since they’re happening nationwide, are extremely rare for the communist led country. Authorities have eased some restrictions in parts of the country in attempt to quell some of the public anger. But the overall strategy is still in place. We have been able to see video footage from some of the demonstrations and other social media posts that are critical of the government. And there appears to be a growing call for Chinese President Xi Jinping to resign, which experts are saying is the biggest show of opposition to the ruling Communist Party in decades. Of course, though, the party is trying to control the narrative, in addition to their censors scrambling to scrub references to protest code words and demonstration hotspots online, the Chinese government on Monday blamed, quote, “forces with ulterior motives” for linking the deadly apartment fire to the strict COVID measures. Obviously, this won’t be the last of this story, so we will keep you all updated as more information comes about.
Josie Duffy Rice: I love to blame things on forces with ulterior motives. [laughter] Anytime someone doesn’t like my choices, I blame that dislike on forces with ulterior motives. Highly recommend, it works. Okay. Some election updates. Today is officially three weeks since Election Day, but in at least three counties, the GOP remains in a state of denial about the results. Yesterday was the legal deadline for Arizona’s 15 counties to certify election results in a process known as the canvas. 14 of those counties certified the election, but Cochise County refused. This is after, of course, Democrats won major elections in Arizona, including the gubernatorial election, the Senate election and the election for secretary of state. And in Pennsylvania, two counties, Berks County and Luzerne County, did not submit their certification by the state’s legal deadline, which was also yesterday.
Tre’vell Anderson: Okay. I thought we told everyone we weren’t doing this election denial thing anymore.
Josie Duffy Rice: People don’t listen to us.
Tre’vell Anderson: About to say they didn’t get the hint. I don’t know what it is.
Josie Duffy Rice: If only they listened to us Tre’vell. We could save them a lot of trouble.
Tre’vell Anderson: If only. If only. If only. So let’s start with Arizona. Tell us more about Cochise County and why officials there refused to certify the election results.
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, so Cochise County is a rural county in southeast Arizona. It’s kind of near Tucson and it’s pretty conservative. And it’s one of the many places across the country where Donald Trump’s lies about the 2020 election being stolen have taken hold. The Board of Supervisors in Cochise County consists of two Republicans and one Democrat, and both Republicans voted to push back certification until Friday. That’s what they’re saying now. We’ll see what happens on Friday. Right. Those two Republicans said that they had concerns about voting machines, apparently, even though neither actually cited any issues with the count or the vote. And as supervisor, Peggy Judd, one of the Republicans who voted not to certify the election, said, Our small counties, we’re just sick and tired of getting kicked around and not being respected.
Tre’vell Anderson: I don’t know what that has to do with the election results.
Josie Duffy Rice: Correct.
Tre’vell Anderson: Miss Peggy.
Josie Duffy Rice: Pegs.
Tre’vell Anderson: But. Okay.
Josie Duffy Rice: Right. You’re not helping.
Tre’vell Anderson: [laugh] She’s obviously not helping. And she doesn’t want to help. Peggy doesn’t want to help.
Josie Duffy Rice: She doesn’t want to help.
Tre’vell Anderson: Okay.
Josie Duffy Rice: Peggy doesn’t want to help. Mm mm.
Tre’vell Anderson: Now, I know Arizona has been ground zero for election deniers, shout out to Kari Lake. I’m almost surprised that it was just one county that refused to certify.
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, honestly, the situation is like, it’s a mess. But it’s true that it was almost much worse in at least two other counties, county Republicans threatened not to certify as well. And Navajo County, which is also conservative and rural Republicans, only certified after the county attorney warned them that they could be sued if they didn’t. And they were like, okay, fine, we’ll do it. In Mojave County, they postponed their certification because of problems they supposedly heard about in Maricopa County. Now, I don’t know why Mojave County was trying to refuse to certify because of something happened in Maricopa, but eventually they also certified. But the Maricopa rumors have been simmering since the early part of Election Day, when a few vote counting tabulators malfunctioned. However, the county addressed the issue provided alternative accommodations for those voters. Everything was fine, and the election administration in Maricopa has made it clear that no voters were disenfranchized as a result of that technical issue. The county attorney has also said that no voters were disenfranchized as a result of that technical issue. And it’s worth noting that both the county attorney and the head of election administration in Maricopa County are Republicans. So it’s kind of hard to believe they’d lie about this to benefit Joe Biden. But then again, election deniers, they don’t tend to concern themselves with like logic. You know.
Tre’vell Anderson: They don’t they actually love that it doesn’t make sense.
Josie Duffy Rice: Mm hmm.
Tre’vell Anderson: It makes them happy. Okay. So what happens now that Cochise refused to certify? Where do we go from here?
Josie Duffy Rice: So we don’t totally know yet. It depends on how Arizona chooses to handle it, basically. And according to CNN quote, “Cochise’s actions could put at risk the votes of some 47,000 county residents and could inject chaos into the election if those votes go uncounted.” God forbid Arizona not choose chaos. Okay. So in theory it could be really bad. Most likely, the Secretary of State will try to sue to force the board to certify the results, which is what the law requires. But although suing the county is to be expected when a county refuses to certify the election, especially if that county doesn’t have any specific claims about election fraud like Cochise County in this particular case in Arizona, it could actually cause more mayhem and will probably only encourage the conspiracy theories that there are something untoward happening. And that’s because the current secretary of state, the one who would be suing the county, is guess who?
Tre’vell Anderson: It’s our homie Katie Hobbs.
Josie Duffy Rice: That’s right. It’s Katie Hobbs, the Democrat who won the race for governor and beat out Kari Lake. Even though Kari Lake has not yet conceded. The Kari Lake, who is one of Trump’s loudest supporters and a full election denial conspiracy theorist. So the fact that Hobbs is forcing Republicans to certify. I don’t think it’s going to bring Republicans back to reality. They’re not going to be like, oh, okay, then surely there was no fraud.
Tre’vell Anderson: Right. Right. If anything, it’s going to, you know, embolden them.
Josie Duffy Rice: Right. Right.
Tre’vell Anderson: I’m sure.
Josie Duffy Rice: Right.
Tre’vell Anderson: Huh yai yai. All right. So tell us about what we’re seeing in Pennsylvania.
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. So again, two counties in Pennsylvania did not certify their results yesterday by the deadline. In Berks County, less than 100 voters who, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, are supporters of unsuccessful Republican candidate for governor, Doug Mastriano, have filed petitions for a recount, claiming that votes were switched from Republican candidates to Democratic ones. I don’t know how they know about that or like what they think happened, but election administrators have denied these charges. But county commissioners are claiming that they can’t certify the election until these petitions are considered. And in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, the county board voted on whether or not to certify the election. Republicans claim that there was supposedly a paper ballot shortage that they said may have affected results. Again, there’s no evidence of anything affecting results. And of the five commissioners in Luzerne County, the two Republicans voted not to certify the election. Two of the Democrats voted to certify the election and a third Democrat abstained from the vote.
Tre’vell Anderson: Mm mmm.
Josie Duffy Rice: I don’t know what’s going on there. He says on Wednesday he’ll certify. He wanted to see if there was election fraud, and then he found out there wasn’t any. I’m like babe, got to do your homework before you get to class. [laughter] Okay. Last thing, Tre’vell. Worth noting something here. Just how much the election denial theories have shifted, right? At first, the Donald Trump narrative was that Democrats were like stuffing the ballot box. There was voter fraud, dead people were voting, non-citizens. They’d let anybody in. My five year old was voting. They were packing up trucks and going over the border. Right. All the Democrats were voting twice, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. But now it’s sort of interesting, right? The story is that Republican counties are keeping Republicans from the ballot box. Now there’s like Republican voter suppression, like they switched it up.
Tre’vell Anderson: Ironic.
Josie Duffy Rice: And they think we weren’t going to notice.
Tre’vell Anderson: Super ironic, right? Yet another reminder of how important these local and state positions are as well.
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, totally. I mean, the Arizona election is in limbo because of two officials in one small county. Right. And it’s a reminder that local elected officials have a lot of power when it comes to stuff like this. And luckily, the Democratic candidate for secretary of state and friend of What A Day, Adrian Fontes narrowly beat far right Republican Mark Finchem. So Arizona elections are in decent hands for the next few years, but we know we’re going to see more of this as election denial continues and especially as Donald Trump hits the campaign trail again. So help me God.
Tre’vell Anderson: Abort mission. We don’t want it.
Josie Duffy Rice: Abort mission.
Tre’vell Anderson: We don’t want it.
Josie Duffy Rice: I’ve lived this nightmare before. I don’t need a sequel. Let’s make a new movie, people. [laughter] That is the latest for now. We will be back after some ads. [music break].
Josie Duffy Rice: Let’s get to some headlines.
Josie Duffy Rice: The white gunman who killed ten Black people in a racist mass shooting at a Buffalo, New York supermarket in May pleaded guilty to multiple state charges yesterday. The 19 year old was indicted on 25 counts, including murder, hate crimes, and domestic terrorism charges. Under New York law, the latter charge carries an automatic life sentence without the possibility of parole. Family members of the victims spoke to reporters on Monday afternoon after the shooter entered his plea. Mark Talley, whose mother, Geraldine Talley, was killed in the shooting, said this:
[clip of Mark Talley] They say America’s national pastime is baseball or America as old as apple pie. Um. The truth is, racism is America’s national pastime.
Josie Duffy Rice: The shooter also faces federal charges which could carry the death penalty.
Tre’vell Anderson: The National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center has issued a warning to the lower Mississippi Valley today for what they’re calling a regional tornado outbreak. Expected to be hardest hit are northern Louisiana and southwest Tennessee, which have been graded as level four out of five for severe weather while surrounding areas will be on high alert. The storms are expected to continue into Wednesday.
Josie Duffy Rice: And another update from the fake Internet money desk, BlockFi. One of the first companies to offer loans with cryptocurrency as collateral, don’t do that, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The New Jersey based lender had already been in bad shape for several months after the price of Bitcoin and other tokens plummeted earlier this year. And in a move that seemed like a great idea at the time, it propped itself up with a $400 million line of credit from the impending dumpster fire known as FTX. Now, if you’re starting to feel a little sorry for the people who’ve seen their crypto wallets hit zero, here’s the bright side. Peter Thiel, the billionaire tech investor who teamed up with Donald Trump in 2016 and has been working hard to bankroll far right politicians ever since, owned a 19% stake in BlockFi.
Tre’vell Anderson: I love this story.
Josie Duffy Rice: Got to find the silver linings where we can. I love it.
Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Josie Duffy Rice: I love it.
Tre’vell Anderson: Get our joy where we can get it. Okay.
Josie Duffy Rice: Got to shrink that man’s wallet where we can.
Tre’vell Anderson: For the artist formerly known as Jennifer Lopez, all the way to the W.H.O., everybody loves a rebrand. The World Health Organization announced yesterday that monkeypox has been renamed as mpox. The UN health agencies recommendation comes about six months after outbreaks of the virus began across Europe and the US. Health experts argued the original name was misleading and scientifically inaccurate and that it contributed to racist and homophobic stigma around the disease. The old name will still be used for the next year while mpox is phased in. I’d just like to note, as we do that we already knew it was racist and homophobic. We said this month and months and months ago, W.H.O., you are behind. Just going to call it like I see it.
Josie Duffy Rice: It’s too late boo. [laughter] Why did it take so damn long? Hawaii’s Mauna Loa, the world’s largest active volcano, is erupting for the first time in almost 40 years. Mauna Loa, which means Long Mountain in Hawaiian, has been showing signs of unrest since September. But it wasn’t until late Sunday night that shit started to get real. As of yesterday, authorities say the lava flow doesn’t appear to be threatening nearby communities. So there haven’t been any calls for evacuations. The volcano, which is one of five that make up Hawaii’s big island, has erupted 33 times since recording began in the 1800s. But this is Mauna Loa’s longest known quiet period since the last eruption took place in 1984. It’s a literal go off queen moment.
Tre’vell Anderson: Okay. Yes, go off. But like, you know, it’s still a volcano. And I–
Josie Duffy Rice: Right.
Tre’vell Anderson: I know that the people are safe right now, but a live volcano, like, what’s going on? Come on, now.
Josie Duffy Rice: Go off queen has gone too far. [laughter]
Tre’vell Anderson: In a surprise to no one who watches reality television, gaslighting is the word of the year, or at least according to the dictionary slingers over at Merriam Webster. Searches for the word, which is defined as, quote, “the act or practice of grossly misleading someone, especially for one’s own advantage,” increased by 1,740% this year compared to 2021. The word originates from the title of a 1938 play and then movie about a man who conspires to drive his wife to insanity. Now, of course, we use it more plainly like to describe a barista who insists they used Oatmilk in your latte, but you can taste the whole milk. Come on, now.
Josie Duffy Rice: Mm hmm.
Tre’vell Anderson: Other top searches on the website in 2022 include Oligarch, Omicron, Codify, and LGBTQIA.
Josie Duffy Rice: I’m like kind of fascinated by the codify thing.
Tre’vell Anderson: We’ve had a lot of like, you know, legislative foolishness going on.
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, I guess we’ve been trying to codify a lot of stuff.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah.
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, yeah.
Tre’vell Anderson: It’s been a lot. Roe v Wade, voting rights, same sex marriage.
Josie Duffy Rice: Oh, my gosh.
Tre’vell Anderson: You know.
Josie Duffy Rice: Yes, this is totally right.
Tre’vell Anderson: So maybe people are just, like searching to, like, be, you know, more politically engaged citizens. And, like, I think that’s a positive.
Josie Duffy Rice: Right. Even if it’s coming, because everybody’s trying to stomp all of our rights. At least people are looking up words. Keep it up, guys. [laughter] And those are the headlines.
Josie Duffy Rice: That’s all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review, emerge spectacularly from your quiet period and tell your friends to listen.
Tre’vell Anderson: And if you’re into reading and not just dictionary definitions to help you win a fight like me, What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at Crooked.com/subscribe. I’m Tre’vell Anderson.
Josie Duffy Rice: I’m Josie Duffy Rice.
[spoken together] And we know it wasn’t oat milk in that latte.
Tre’vell Anderson: We can taste it. Okay.
Josie Duffy Rice: Don’t gaslight us. [laugh] [music break]
Tre’vell Anderson: What A Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lancz. Jazzi Marine and Raven Yamamoto are our associate producers. Our head writer is Jon Millstein and our executive producer is Lita Martinez. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.