In This Episode
- As Israel continues its air and ground offensive into Gaza, its military says it has freed an IDF soldier who was captured by Hamas on October 7th. Meanwhile, Hamas released a video of three other Israeli hostages – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it “cruel psychological propaganda,” and rejected calls for a ceasefire.
- A trial to determine whether Donald Trump can appear on the 2024 presidential ballot in Colorado began on Monday. The case centers on whether the former president is ineligible to hold office again, because of the “insurrectionist” clause in the 14th Amendment.
- And in headlines: the union representing striking auto workers reached a tentative deal with General Motors, President Biden signed a first-of-its-kind executive order on artificial intelligence, and rapper Flavor Flav’s rendition of the national anthem has gone viral.
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Josie Duffy Rice: It’s Tuesday, October 31st. I’m Josie Duffy Rice.
Tre’vell Anderson: And I’m Tre’vell Anderson. And this is What a Day.
Josie Duffy Rice: On today’s show the union representing striking autoworkers has reached a tentative deal with the last of Detroit’s big three. Plus, President Biden signed a first of its kind executive order on artificial intelligence.
Tre’vell Anderson: But first, an update on the war in Gaza. Another Israeli hostage who was taken captive by Hamas on October 7th, kicking off this stage of a decades long conflict is now free and back with her family. Her name is Ori Megidish and she is an Israeli soldier reportedly rescued by the Israeli military during their ground operations. No details have been released regarding the circumstances of her release. But as we told you yesterday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that a second phase of the war is underway and they are steadily escalating the violence on their end. Megidish is only the fifth hostage no longer held by Hamas of the now 230 people they kidnapped. The other four were two Israeli women and two U.S. Israeli nationals who were released by Hamas on what the group called humanitarian grounds.
Josie Duffy Rice: I feel so happy for her family that she’s home. I mean, it just must be a nightmare and glad at least one more person, one more hostage is home.
Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely. And speaking of those hostages, yesterday Hamas posted a video online of three other hostages with one of them speaking directly to Netanyahu and blaming him for not freeing them. She said in part, quote, “You were supposed to free all of us. You committed to free us all. But instead we are carrying your political security, military, diplomatic failure.” Now, she is referencing the proposed deal that Hamas put forward that it would free all Israeli hostages in exchange for the release of the roughly 6000 Palestinians believed to be held in Israel prisons. The woman in the video continued, quote, “Release their prisoners, set us all free. Let us return to our families.”
Josie Duffy Rice: When all of this first happened there was a lot of discussion about giving Netanyahu more support from the people of Israel. And it seems like that is not what’s happening here. There’s still so much disappointment in him as a leader. How did he respond to this video?
Tre’vell Anderson: Well, as you might expect, Netanyahu’s office, they condemned the clip, but they also called it, quote, “cruel psychological propaganda.” And they reiterated that they’re doing everything they can to bring people home. But to the point you were just making, the families of the hostages are getting restless and they’re starting to complain about the Israeli government and military themselves. They’re wondering why after three weeks that hostages haven’t been returned home. And if that idea to negotiate a prisoner exchange or any other negotiations for release are even on the table anymore, especially as Israel has intensified their airstrikes and ground operations which could endanger the lives of the hostages. And Hamas has already said that approximately 50 of the hostages were killed as a result of Israel’s bombardments. Though of course, we have no independent confirmation or proof of that claim. Netanyahu also responded to calls for a cease fire either to facilitate the release of hostages or to end the war, which he said would be long and difficult. So you kinda already have your answer there. He said, quote, “Calls for a cease fire are calls for Israel to surrender to Hamas. That will not happen.”
Josie Duffy Rice: In news stateside, a new lawsuit seeks to disqualify Trump from the 2024 presidential ballot in Colorado. Lawyers are arguing that Trump violated the insurrection clause of the Constitution, making him ineligible for the presidency. If the lawsuit succeeds, the Associated Press says it could, quote, “break new ground in constitutional law.” Arguments in the case began yesterday.
Tre’vell Anderson: Okay, so let’s start at the beginning. What is the insurrection clause? What does it say? Why are folks trying to use it here?
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, I have to say Tre’vell. I went to all those years of law school and did not remember the insurrection clause because it doesn’t actually really come up. It is the third section of the 14th Amendment. And it says that U.S. officials who take an oath to uphold the Constitution are disqualified from future office if they shall have, quote, “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the U.S.” or, quote, “given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.” If that sounds straightforward, it is decidedly not. Since all the words in there insurrection, rebellion, enemies are up for interpretation, and this clause has only been considered really twice since it was enacted in the Civil War era. So it just doesn’t end up playing a big part in the law or the legal education. This is pretty new ground. So the court in Colorado and other states where similar lawsuits are expected to be brought, has this big undertaking to interpret these questions. And the judge, Judge Sarah Wallace, has said there are nine topics to be addressed in the case, which is likely to last the entire week. They include, according to The New York Times, quote, “whether Section three of the 14th Amendment applies to presidents. What engaged in insurrection mean under that section. Whether Trump’s actions fit those definitions and whether the amendment is self-executing,” which basically has to do with whether Congress has a role here in determining whether the president violated the Constitution. And there are other questions as well, including this possible amnesty clause that may or may not be relevant. But it’s unclear whether everything will be decided in this case or not.
Tre’vell Anderson: Gotcha. And who are the lawyers that are bringing this lawsuit?
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, interestingly enough, the lawsuit was brought by Republican and Independent voters, according to CNN, who said that their goal is to, quote, “ensure Colorado has a fair election among eligible candidates.” The implication being this man is not eligible. However, it’s obviously not just Republicans who have like an interest in this suit. In fact, it’s mostly not Republicans, I would say, who have an interest in this suit. The lawsuit itself is being funded by a group called Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which has been described as a left leaning watchdog group. And Trump is being defended by the former secretary of state in Colorado, Scott Gessler. He’s argued that the plaintiffs case is, quote, “weak, anti-democratic and fringe,” stating “that when it comes to deciding who should lead our nation, it’s the people of the United States of America that get to make those decisions, not six voters in Colorado.” So far in the case, along with opening statements a U.S. Capitol Police officer who was there on January 6th has testified, as has Representative Eric Swalwell, who testified about running from the people who stormed the Capitol that day.
Tre’vell Anderson: I would just like to note in that little quote that you just read out about the people of the United States that get to make those decisions. You know, just is rich just a rich statement considering what brought us to this point.
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, his client has pretty much spat in the face of democracy at every–
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah.
Josie Duffy Rice: –single possible opportunity.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. Super rich. Interesting. Okay.
Josie Duffy Rice: That does make this case a little bit complicated, because while Trump seems to me a pretty straightforward case, you can imagine how, like, the nebulous language could be used to disqualify people, in unreasonable situations. That being said, it’s truly something when–
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah.
Josie Duffy Rice: –anybody related to Trump talks about democracy.
Tre’vell Anderson: Right. [laugh] Right. Okay. So what’s next? What happens after this point?
Josie Duffy Rice: So this case is also being brought in Minnesota or a similar case. And arguments in that case begin on Thursday. And so ultimately, we can expect this case to be brought in multiple states, including maybe multiple more states, and we can definitely expect for it to be appealed, whatever the result is. So it’s extremely unlikely that whatever the result is in these two cases will be all she wrote.
Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm.
Josie Duffy Rice: This case will be appealed. It’s very possible it ends up in front of the Supreme Court, or at least that the Supreme Court will have to decide whether or not to take the case. And so we could be having this conversation for the near future, at least in the months to come. We will keep you posted. But 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 six week long auto workers strike is set to end as General Motors reached a tentative agreement with the United Auto Workers Union yesterday. GM is the third and final member of Detroit’s Big Three carmakers to announce a breakthrough deal after Ford and Stellantis reached their own agreements with the union last Wednesday and Saturday, respectively. The new four and a half year labor contracts, which were based off the first deal struck with Ford, would offer workers a 25% pay increase, among other wins. Though union members at all three companies must still vote to approve them. UAW president Shawn Fain, who is credited with pushing for the aggressive strike, had this to say yesterday.
[clip of Shawn Fain] For the past several weeks, analysts and pundits were crying that our union was going too far, that we were demanding too much. We didn’t listen to them and we never let up. The result is one of the most stunning contract victories since the sit down strikes in the 1930s.
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. Shawn Fain has been a true firecracker these past few weeks and clearly knew what he was doing. President Biden, who briefly picketed with striking workers early on, congratulated the union on the deal as well, saying quote, “Worker power is critical to building an economy from the middle out and the bottom up.” At its peak, about 46,000 autoworkers across several states walked off the job at plants run by all three companies.
Tre’vell Anderson: Rescue and recovery efforts continue in western Mexico after Hurricane Otis devastated the country’s southern Pacific coast last week. As of yesterday morning, authorities reported at least 45 deaths, most in the resort city of Acapulco, with another 47 people missing. Local authorities say the storm has displaced over a thousand people from their homes. Otis, which made landfall last Wednesday, is reportedly the strongest hurricane on record to ever hit Mexico’s Pacific coast. In just 12 hours Otis strengthened from a tropical storm to a Category five hurricane, leaving people with little time to prepare. The hurricane also knocked out power and communications to the Acapulco area, though authorities say 65% of the city’s electricity has since been restored. Mexico’s president said he is working to deliver more food and other supplies to the region, though residents have said that help has been slow to arrive.
Josie Duffy Rice: And over at the White House yesterday, President Joe Biden signed a sweeping executive order aimed at putting safeguards and oversight around artificial intelligence. The first of its kind order is meant to be the first step towards regulating the technology. Specifically, it requires AI developers to perform safety tests and share those test results and other information with the government. It also calls on federal agencies to ensure that any AI products are safe and secure before they’re released to the public. In his remarks yesterday, President Biden called artificial intelligence the most consequential technology of our time.
[clip of President Joe Biden] One thing is clear. To realize the promise of AI and avoid the risk, we need to govern this technology.
Josie Duffy Rice: Biden Administration officials say the order will build on existing voluntary commitments made by tech companies that will need additional action from Congress to carry more weight.
Tre’vell Anderson: And speaking of AI, over 1000 members of the Writers Guild East Union have signed a petition calling on digital media companies to introduce stronger protections for journalists against the rapidly advancing technology. The petition, which went public yesterday, says that journalists working at those outlets must be included in any decision making processes surrounding AI. It also calls on those companies to, quote, “publicly commit to never replacing a human worker with an AI tool.” That point was echoed by film and TV writers during their recent strike. The petition goes on to lay out a number of concerns with the technology, including the potential it has for introducing factual errors and perpetuating racist and sexist biases. The signatories include writers at CBS News, MSNBC, Gimlet, The Intercept, Vox Media and a little podcast network called Crooked Media. Maybe you’ve heard of them. Maybe you haven’t. [laughing]
Josie Duffy Rice: I have. I can personally say I’ve heard of Crooked Media. And finally, please rise for our national anthem.
[clip of Flavor Flav singing] And the home–
Tre’vell Anderson: My God.
[clip of Flavor Flav singing] –of the brave. Of the brave. [laughter from hosts] Of the brave.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yes mm hmm. Mm hmm. Oh yes honey.
Josie Duffy Rice: First of all, I expected that to be way worse. You just heard Flavor Flav, who joined the long list of American performers to give their rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner. There have been some memorable ones, for sure, but this may have been one of the most interesting versions we’ve heard here at WAD in a while. The 64 year old rapper was invited by the Milwaukee Bucks to do the honors before the team tipped off against the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday evening. And the team captioned the video of his performance on social media with this quote, “Yeah, boy. Shout out Flavor Flav for the flavorful anthem.” [laughter] As you’d expect, there are some who loved it, others not so much. But Flav responded to the haters himself yesterday on X, the hell site formerly known as Twitter, by saying, quote, “I can’t live my life worried about what people might say about me. I won’t let that stop me from trying new things and doing things I want to do. Some people might not like that, but a sure failure is if you stop trying.” Everything about this is perfect, love it. Wouldn’t change a single thing. Why have we not had Flavor Flav singing the national anthem before is my only question. I do love the energy of being like, just try and you too will be able to sing the national anthem because the national anthem is like famously something that, it’s not for everybody.
Tre’vell Anderson: I mean, okay, yes, I agree with you. However, I personally love this reframing that Flavor Flav is encouraging us to do around the national anthem. Why not–
Josie Duffy Rice: True.
Tre’vell Anderson: –have it be, you know, something that everyone can not only dream of performing, but actually, you know, perform? And, you know, I’d like to think that perhaps Flavor’s performance is a reflection of the times that we are living in.
Josie Duffy Rice: Are you saying the quality aligns with the American vibes right now?
Tre’vell Anderson: You mean the shit show of [laughter] a landscape that we are living through? Yes. And I’ll remind you just very briefly, when Fergie did her now iconic version back in 2018.
Josie Duffy Rice: Ugh, so iconic.
Tre’vell Anderson: It too was the reflection of the shit show we were living through.
Josie Duffy Rice: And those are the headlines.
Josie Duffy Rice: That is all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review and tell your friends to listen.
Tre’vell Anderson: 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: And I’m Josie Duffy Rice. [music break]
Tre’vell Anderson: What a Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lancz. Our show’s producer is Itzy Quintanilla. Raven Yamamoto and Natalie Bettendorf are our associate producers and our senior producer is Lita Martínez. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.