In This Episode
- President Joe Biden and China’s President Xi Jinping met on Wednesday for the first time in a year. Following their private conversations, it was announced that the U.S. and China will resume military-to-military communications, and the leaders also reached an agreement to curb fentanyl production.
- The Israeli military stormed Al-Shifa hospital on Wednesday and said they found guns, ammunition, protective vests and Hamas military uniforms at the hospital – claims Hamas called “fabricated.” Meanwhile, Hamas has agreed “in principle” to a tentative deal to release at least 50 hostages in exchange for pauses in fighting and the release of women and children held in Israeli prisons, among other things.
- And in headlines: Donald Trump will remain on Michigan’s Republican primary ballot, New Hampshire announced that the state’s primaries will be held ahead of South Carolina, and thousands of the people took to the streets of Mexico City on Monday night to demand justice and a thorough investigation into the death of Jesús Ociel Baena.
- WAD: Not On My Ballot – https://crooked.com/podcast/not-on-my-ballot/
- What A Day – YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/@whatadaypodcast
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Josie Duffy Rice: It’s Thursday, November 16th. I’m Josie Duffy Rice.
Juanita Tolliver: And I’m Juanita Tolliver and this is What a Day where we’re just curious, does nobody else want to host the Oscars like anybody else?
Josie Duffy Rice: Truly, this is Jimmy Kimmel’s fourth time as host? Maybe time to give the spot up to someone else. Although I kind of love Jimmy Kimmel.
Juanita Tolliver: That’s a choice. [laughter]
Josie Duffy Rice: [laugh That was both very diplomatic.
Juanita Tolliver: Oh, goodness.
Josie Duffy Rice: And I know what you meant. [music break] On today’s show, an update on the Israel-Hamas war. Plus, Donald Trump will remain on Michigan’s Republican primary ballot.
Juanita Tolliver: Much to all of our dismay. But first, President Biden and China’s President Xi met yesterday for the first time in a year as the 2023 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit took place in San Francisco, California. Take a listen to a portion of President Biden’s opening statement.
[clip of President Joe Biden] Mr. President, we’ve known each other for a long time. We haven’t always agreed, which was not a surprise to anyone. But our meetings have always been candid, straightforward and useful. I’ve never doubted what you’ve told me in terms of your candid nature in which you speak. I value our conversation because I think it’s paramount that you and I understand each other clearly, leader to leader with no misconceptions or miscommunication. We have to ensure that competition does not veer in to conflict.
Juanita Tolliver: For his opening statement, President Xi struck a similar tone in his remarks and stated, quote, “For two large countries like China and the United States, turning their back on each other is not an option. It is unrealistic for one side to remodel the other, and conflict and confrontation has unbearable consequences for both sides.” Xi also added, quote, “Planet Earth is big enough for the two countries to succeed, and one country’s success is an opportunity for the other.” And in that last line lies one of the big takeaways from the meeting between Biden and Xi, this notion that there’s enough space for both of us.
Josie Duffy Rice: That Planet Earth comment is [laughter] is a lot.
Juanita Tolliver: Highly dramatic.
Josie Duffy Rice: I feel not reassured but overwhelmed by it. But I do want to know what came out of this. Did they strike any deals? Were there any firm commitments? Other than just sort of reassuring the world that they don’t hate each other?
Juanita Tolliver: Yes and yes. President Biden went into this meeting with a focus on communications, especially military communications, which have been on the fritz since August 2022, after then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan and following their private conversations yesterday, it was announced that the U.S. and China will resume military to military communications. So the secretary of defense will be able to communicate with his counterpart once identified, and senior U.S. military commanders and service members will also communicate with their counterparts. Additionally, Biden and Xi have reached an agreement to curb fentanyl production. And an administration official described this agreement as the most important deal because it will be a setback for drug dealers. Now, all of this is a huge win for the Biden administration, but what’s not clear yet is what commitments the U.S. made to China as Xi went into this meeting focused on a rollback of the U.S. sanctions and restriction against Chinese products and businesses and the U.S. providing defense aid to Taiwan.
Josie Duffy Rice: Okay. So we don’t totally know what Biden promised on behalf of America, but we do know is that while Xi and Biden were in their talks, there were some protesters outside of the APEC summit. What were they protesting? What can you tell us about it?
Juanita Tolliver: So hundreds of protesters filled the streets. They blocked traffic and even attempted to block attendees from entering the summit. Later in the afternoon, the protesters were split between a pro-China group and an anti-China group, and police worked to keep the protesters separated on the streets. Take a listen to the scene outside of the summit.
[clip of anti-China protestors] Shame on China.
Juanita Tolliver: So the anti-China protesters were chanting Shame on China. And they were holding signs and T-shirts that read Free Tibet and Free Hong Kong. And that protest is in response to the human rights concerns that protesters have about President Xi and his policies, especially as it relates to the Uyghurs and the political prisoners who are being held in China.
Josie Duffy Rice: Thank you for that Juanita. Meanwhile, in Gaza, the Israeli military has stormed the Gaza Strip’s largest hospital. We’ve discussed Al-Shifa hospital before on the show as the situation there became more and more dire due to fighting and a lack of resources. The hospital served as a refuge during the first few weeks of war, and as of late October, 60,000 people were sheltering there. That was until, of course, the Israeli military identified the hospital as a target. Now, things are very different. As we mentioned yesterday, over the weekend, three newborn babies died after the power failed at the hospital. And the desperation has escalated even more now after Israeli troops entered the complex. According to The New York Times, Israeli troops were, quote, “questioning people and conducting searches with explosions and gunfire still rattling windows and nerves.” As one witness stated, quote, “There are sounds of explosions, but I don’t know what they are blowing up exactly, but the sounds are coming from inside the building. Naturally, everyone is scared.”
Juanita Tolliver: Yeah. And if you are attempting to have any degree of medical care provided or recovery from previous wounds, from the bombardments, like it’s not happening in this hospital at this moment. So now Israel has claimed that Hamas built a command center at the hospital, and that’s why they were treating it as a military target. There was also discussion about hostages possibly being held in tunnels underneath the hospital. So what did they actually find?
Josie Duffy Rice: They didn’t find much.
Juanita Tolliver: Mm.
Josie Duffy Rice: Like you said, there was all of this talk, not just from the Israeli government, but also from the U.S. government, talking about Al-Shifa concealing a major Hamas operation. Hostages, Hamas leaders, all kind of perhaps in these tunnels under the hospital. But as of yesterday, Israeli forces had not actually encountered any Hamas fighters within the Al-Shifa medical complex, according to a senior Israeli official. And so now the Israeli government has kind of changed their story a bit, claiming they were actually interested in, quote, “destroying Hamas infrastructure” rather than going after Hamas leaders.
Juanita Tolliver: Hmm.
Josie Duffy Rice: Which it’s a pretty big walk back from earlier claims that not just major Hamas leaders, but also possibly hostages were being held at or under this hospital. And, you know, that claim was the reason given for NICU babies possibly dying and doctors dying and people in the hospital losing their lives. The claim was, well, this is basically collateral damage for the–
Juanita Tolliver: Right.
Josie Duffy Rice: –major operation happening under the hospital. And now it doesn’t seem like there really was a major operation found under this hospital. The Israeli government did say that they found about ten guns, ammunition, protective vests and Hamas military uniforms at the hospital. Hamas says that claim that they found the military uniforms and all of the protective vests etc is, quote, “fabricated and theatrics.” And at this point, it’s unclear what’s true or not here. According to The New York Times, Israel’s claims that they found this stuff could not be verified. So we don’t know at this point. It’s worth noting that there has been major pushback on Israel’s decision to storm this hospital, including from the United Nations. Martin Griffiths, chief of the UN’s Humanitarian and Emergency Relief Office, stated, quote, “The protection of newborns, patients, medical staff and all civilians must override all other concerns. Hospitals are not battlegrounds.”
Juanita Tolliver: It sounds like such a simple concept, but–
Josie Duffy Rice: Right.
Juanita Tolliver: Not in this scenario.
Josie Duffy Rice: Right.
Juanita Tolliver: You also mentioned the hostages. Are there any updates on the efforts to get them released?
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, in fact, there are updates and I feel like any time you use the phrase good news in a war, it feels off. But–
Juanita Tolliver: Right.
Josie Duffy Rice: Let’s say it’s more positive news than pretty much any news we’ve gotten in weeks, right? The Washington Post is reporting that there is a possible agreement and again, an emphasis on possible that would result in about 50 women and children hostages being released. According to the Post, quote, “In exchange for the hostages, Israel would agree to a 3 to 5 day pause in the fighting. Increased humanitarian aid to Gaza and the release of an unspecified number of women and children held in Israeli prisons.” Hamas apparently has agreed to this proposal, quote, “in principle.” So I don’t know what that means.
Juanita Tolliver: It’s not solid at all. Yeah.
Josie Duffy Rice: It’s not solid, tentatively and Israel is seriously considering it, but it’s certainly not a guarantee or written in stone at this point. But still, it gives a little bit of hope that some agreement is possible here.
Juanita Tolliver: Yeah.
Josie Duffy Rice: We also have some tape from Gaza based journalist Noor Harazeen about what’s going on in Gaza right now. Here she is talking about her evacuation and the current conditions there.
[clip of Noor Harazeen] I evacuated three weeks ago at the first of the evacuation, and I am now staying in [?] Hospital. And the living condition is not so good, actually. I mean, we do have money, but there is nothing in the markets to buy. Like I’m facing hardship getting any access to water, any access to food.
Josie Duffy Rice: To say we have money, but there’s nothing to buy.
Juanita Tolliver: Right. There’s no market operating. It’s literally about bare essentials. Food and water right now are in short supply.
Josie Duffy Rice: Yup, and keep in mind, there’s been a ton of rain in the area over the past few days, which makes the conditions even more dire. You know, people are living under tarps. They’re living in kind of makeshift structures right now. And so rainy season presents its own problems. Here is Noor Harazeen talking about that.
[clip of Noor Harazeen] Usually we are very happy, very excited welcoming winter here in Gaza. But this time, no, this is one year that we wish that it would never rain.
Juanita Tolliver: Truly heartbreaking.
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, it is. It’s very, very devastating. That is the latest for now. We will be back after some ads. [music break]
Josie Duffy Rice: Let’s wrap up with some headlines.
Josie Duffy Rice: A state judge on Tuesday ruled that former President Donald Trump will remain on Michigan’s Republican primary ballot. Judge James Redford rejected efforts to remove Trump from the ballot under the insurrection provision of the 14th Amendment. We discussed this in more detail on the October 30th show, but a quick summary. The insurrection provision disqualifies anyone from office who, quote, “engaged in insurrection or rebellion.” In his 26 page ruling, Judge Redford said that because Trump followed state law for getting on the ballot, he’s unable to take him off of it. He also wrote that it should be up to Congress, not the courts, to decide if Trump is qualified or not to serve as president. Free Speech for People, the group behind 14th Amendment cases around the country said it plans to immediately appeal the ruling to the Michigan Court of Appeals. Meanwhile, Tuesday’s ruling comes after the Minnesota Supreme Court last week ruled that Trump could stay on that state’s ballot as well. And a state judge in Colorado is set to rule on a similar lawsuit there by tomorrow.
Juanita Tolliver: So we covered a lot of Republican drama yesterday. And while it’s not a straight shot to the kidneys, the Democrats had their own tiny mess to deal with yesterday. New Hampshire’s secretary of state announced that the state’s primaries will be held on January 23rd next year, actively going against President Biden and the Democratic National Committee’s plans to give South Carolina the party’s first primary. So after all that, New Hampshire will go first and South Carolina’s primary will take place on February 3rd, but not without punishment from the DNC. And because the state is defying Biden and the DNC’s orders, Biden’s name will not be on the New Hampshire presidential primary ballot in January. Plus, New Hampshire could lose delegates to the Democratic convention for not abiding by the new order. Earlier this year, DNC Chair Jaime Harrison said that the new switch to South Carolina first quote, “Puts Black voters at the front of the process.” Harrison also said that South Carolina has been a really important state in indicating who will be the eventual nominee. It was the first contest Biden won in the 2020 Democratic primaries. The power of Black voters was so important to Biden that when he won election in November 2020, he on stage that night thanked Black voters first and foremost. And so it’s really a disheartening reality to see that New Hampshire just won’t give up that first spot for the reality and the importance of a core part of the Democratic Party’s base, Black voters.
Josie Duffy Rice: Now to Mexico. [clip of people chanting] You just heard the sound of the people who took to the streets on Monday night to demand justice and a thorough investigation into the violent death of Jesús Ociel Baena, Mexico’s first openly non-binary person to assume a judicial post. Baena and their partner were found dead inside their home in Aguascalientes Monday morning. Baena, one of the country’s most visible LGBTQ plus figures had reported receiving death threats and hateful messages. And activists have called the deaths a hate crime. Authorities in Aguascalientes, however, described the deaths as a murder suicide, saying that Baena’s partner appeared to have murdered them with razor blades before dying by suicide. But that assessment sparked outrage among some LGBTQ+ groups who said it was yet another effort to dismiss violence against the community. Baena was among the first to be issued a passport by the Mexican government, listing them as non-binary. In June Baena posted on Twitter, now X, saying, quote, “I am a non-binary person. I’m not interested in being seen as either a woman or a man. This is an identity. It is mine for me and nobody else. Accept it.”
Juanita Tolliver: Yeah. Hearing this update, I got a lot of questions. I’m with the advocates on this one. It doesn’t sound like that’s exactly what this is. So I got a lot of questions for these local authorities who are investigating.
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, it sounds like more needs to happen to know what actually happened.
Juanita Tolliver: Exactly.
Josie Duffy Rice: And these are not people I particularly trust to tell the truth.
Juanita Tolliver: That part. A tentative agreement between General Motors and the United Auto Workers Union appears to be heading towards ratification, although it was kind of close. The total yes’s counted at 54% and no sits at 46%. But that’s as of our record time on Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. Eastern. Earlier in the day, it had seemed like the deal might be rejected. But support from the large Arlington, Texas plant, along with some smaller warehouses and parts facilities, has helped this deal move even closer toward approval. If it goes through, it will be the first ratification of a deal and would run through April 2028. Voting for the Ford and the Stellantis deal is still underway. So TBD on what we see there. But it does appear that workers are favoring approval of those deals with considerable margins. A majority of UAW workers at each company must vote yes before a deal is ratified, and it is possible that one carmaker’s deal could be ratified and another is not. Voting officially ends today at 4 p.m. Eastern. And look, the head of the UAW union, Shawn Fain, made it very clear that the final decision is in the hands of the workers. And so if 46% of them are saying no to the GM deal, it kind of emphasizes that there’s a lot of other provisions that they would have liked to see included in this contract, even though it sounds like it’s ready to be ratified.
Josie Duffy Rice: 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. Give us more Republican drama, and tell your friends to listen.
Juanita Tolliver: And if you’re into reading and not just how to keep Trump off the primary ballot like me, What a Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at Crooked.com/subscribe. I’m Juanita Tolliver.
Josie Duffy Rice: And I’m Josie Duffy Rice.
[spoken together] And let us host the Oscars.
Josie Duffy Rice: Please?
Juanita Tolliver: But actually.
Josie Duffy Rice: Oh my God we’d be so good.
Juanita Tolliver: This would be dope. [laughing]
Josie Duffy Rice: Look I would be perfect–
Juanita Tolliver: Yes please.
Josie Duffy Rice: –because I have not seen any movies.
Juanita Tolliver: [laughing] Everything’s a surprise to Josie.
Josie Duffy Rice: Everybody’s a surprise. [music break]
Juanita Tolliver: What a Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lancz. Our show’s producer is Itxy Quintanilla. Raven Yamamoto and Natalie Bettendorf are our associate producers and are showrunner is Leo Duran. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.