In This Episode
- The Supreme Court on Wednesday announced that it will hear a case challenging the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the commonly used abortion medication mifepristone. The justices also agreed to review the scope of an obstruction law that has been applied to hundreds of felony prosecutions of insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol on January 6th.
- Last week, the House passed a resolution that equated anti-Zionism with antisemitism. And on Wednesday, the House voted to pass a resolution condemning antisemitism on college campuses. We’re joined by Beth Miller from Jewish Voice for Peace to learn more about the difference between antisemitism and anti-Zionism.
- And in headlines: House Republicans voted to formally open an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, nearly 200 countries at the COP28 Summit agreed to transition away from fossil fuels, and Tesla recalled nearly all two million of its vehicles in the U.S.
- What A Day – YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/@whatadaypodcast
Follow us on Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/crookedmedia/
Priyanka Aribindi: It’s Thursday, December 14th. I’m Priyanka Aribindi.
Juanita Tolliver: And I’m Juanita Tolliver and this is What a Day where we don’t love the monarchy. But we do mess with The Crown.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, cannot help it. Love that show. The second half of the new season is out today. I’ve been waiting to be at home with my mom to watch all the episodes, but best believe I will be bingeing all of it. [laughter] One sitting.
Juanita Tolliver: You’re such a good daughter like I appreciate that so much. [laughter] [music break]
Priyanka Aribindi: On today’s show, we talk about the differences between anti-Zionism and antisemitism. Plus, the COP28 climate summit ends with a big deal to veer away from fossil fuels.
Juanita Tolliver: But first, we’ve got a flurry of activity from the Supreme Court on some critical issues. I sound like I’m a weather girl. Flurry of activity. First up, the supremes announced that they will hear a case challenging the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the commonly used abortion medication Mifepristone. All right. Y’all let’s collectively groan because I know I’m anxious about how the same panel of justices who overturned Roe v Wade will decide this case. But keep in mind, they also shocked the nation when they blocked restrictions on this medication back in April.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yes, definitely something to note, something to have in the back of your brain. But do I feel good?
Juanita Tolliver: Absolutely not.
Priyanka Aribindi: No, I I have not known a day of peace in a long time. But remind us, how did we get to this point and what prompted the Supreme Court to take this case up?
Juanita Tolliver: So the Supreme Court got involved after a Trump appointee and known anti-abortion activist, federal Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk of Texas suspended Mifepristone’s FDA approval in April. That’s when the supremes blocked Kacsmaryk’s order, while the government challenged the ruling in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. In August, the appeals court essentially ruled that Kacsmaryk was wrong to suspend the FDA’s approval, but he was right to end mail access to Mifepristone. Now, the Supreme Court will hear arguments and issue a decision on the decades old FDA approvals and patients ability to receive the abortion medication via the mail. And as an important reminder, Mifepristone is still readily available to anyone seeking abortion health care because the original ruling from Kacsmaryk was blocked.
Priyanka Aribindi: Right. So when should we expect oral arguments and a ruling on this case?
Juanita Tolliver: So the dates haven’t been set just yet. But oral arguments are most likely to occur early next year with a decision issued next June at the end of the session. So all of this is going to shake out right in the middle of election season.
Priyanka Aribindi: Great.
Juanita Tolliver: And the political conversations surrounding this case will be centered on how Republicans continue to come for our most basic right to access abortion care and our bodily autonomy.
Priyanka Aribindi: So what else is the Supreme Court taking on in their next term?
Juanita Tolliver: The Supreme Court is also going to be wading into a Trump and January 6th related case. The justices agreed to review the scope of an obstruction law that has been applied to hundreds of felony prosecutions of insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol building. The claim is that the obstruction charge was improperly applied because it was only meant to punish physical tampering with documents. But the Department of Justice is arguing that the obstruction charge could also be applied to those who interfered with Congress’s ability to count electoral votes on January 6th and not be limited to tampering with documents. U.S. District Court Judge Carl Nichols, a Trump appointee, dismissed the obstruction charge in this case, and after the DOJ appealed the decision to a three judge panel, they were split in their decision. So now the case is heading to the Supreme Court.
Priyanka Aribindi: Okay, so what does this mean for Trump?
Juanita Tolliver: It’s another opportunity for Trump to delay and spew lies about a witch hunt, yada, yada. You know, but he better chill out because special counsel Jack Smith is also asking the Supreme Court to decide whether Trump has any immunity from criminal prosecution for alleged crimes he committed while in office. The Supreme Court hasn’t announced anything on that front, but yesterday, Judge Tanya Chutkan issued a stay on the entire election interference case while the immunity issue works its way through the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. She says it’s out of her hands for now, but all eyes should be on how Scotus moves here.
Priyanka Aribindi: Absolutely. We will be watching very closely on this program. Thank you so much for that update, Juanita. And now switching over to some updates on the war in Gaza. More than 18,600 Palestinians have been killed since the start of the fighting on October 7th. Rainfall triggered flooding in parts of the Gaza Strip yesterday and compounded the hardships that displaced Palestinian families are dealing with right now. 137 Israeli hostages are still being held by Hamas. And back here in the U.S., President Biden met with the families of the American hostages in Gaza yesterday at the White House. This is the second time that Biden spoke to the group after a video call just after October 7th. Obviously, there has been so much prolonged devastation all around.
Juanita Tolliver: Right.
Priyanka Aribindi: It really is just overwhelming to take in. And we have been covering amidst all of this the rising tensions here in the U.S. for some time, especially over the last week.
Juanita Tolliver: Especially in Congress, too. Right. Like–
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah.
Juanita Tolliver: That’s where the last week has been heavily focused on tackling the issue of antisemitism, whether that’s on college campuses or on the House floor.
Priyanka Aribindi: Definitely. Last week, the House passed a resolution that equated anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. And just yesterday, the House voted to pass a resolution that condemned anti-Semitism on college campuses, as well as the testimony from the three university presidents who spoke on the topic before Congress last week. But the issue is that many people, including Palestinian rights advocates, have denounced equating anti-Zionism with antisemitism. I spoke with an activist from one of those groups, Jewish Voice for Peace. They consider themselves anti-Zionist and are critical of the Jewish state. But they push back on the idea that their work is anti-Semitic. I spoke with political director Beth Miller, and I started by asking her to define the terms antisemitism versus anti-Zionism.
Beth Miller: Anti-Semitism. It’s the discriminating and targeting or being violent against or dehumanizing or stereotyping Jews because they are Jewish. It is bigotry and hatred against Jews because we are Jewish. Zionism is the political ideology that has come to exist in this world. It’s only ever existed in practice as the political ideology that resulted in the establishment of a Jewish state. By anti-Zionism what we mean is that we are opposing the political ideology of Zionism that’s resulted in the expulsion of so many Palestinians from their land, and that has created apartheid rule over Palestinians, where Jews are given more rights over other people living on the land. We oppose that.
Priyanka Aribindi: Got it. So now that you’ve broken down, you know the difference between these two. Let’s talk a little bit about how this plays out in our world. Can you kind of give us an example of something that crosses from being anti-Zionist into being anti-Semitic?
Beth Miller: I think there’s a lot of clarity in the movement for Palestinian rights that there is no space for anti-Semitism there, and that what we are fighting for is Palestinian rights and a future in which all people can live in safety and equality. Having said that, I think what’s really clear is that if there are ever moments where a Jewish person, for example, is targeted because of the actions of the Israeli state, but only because they are Jewish, that would be anti-Semitic right. The assumption like, oh, any random Jewish person or any random Jewish communal institution that I can hold you responsible for what the Israeli government is doing.
Priyanka Aribindi: Sure.
Beth Miller: That’s an example of anti-Semitism.
Priyanka Aribindi: Right. Let’s talk about, you know, the resolution in Congress that was overwhelmingly approved in the House last week. 311 House members voted in favor of declaring anti-Zionism as a form of antisemitism. Only 14 members voted no. Of course, there were still a number of Democrats who did not participate in the vote. They voted present. A lot of them said, you know, that language was too broad for them to feel comfortable supporting. What are your thoughts on what they passed? You know, their effort to conflate the terms. How did that sit with you?
Beth Miller: These kinds of resolutions that in particular the Republicans just keep ticking off week by week by week, do nothing. There is no material impact. It’s just a political game for them to try to have another bite at the apple of saying that they love Israel more than someone else and hoping that it will help them get reelected. It’s not serious about fighting anti-Semitism. And in fact, a resolution like this makes a mockery of the actual fight against real rising anti-Semitism and all forms of hate. We need serious efforts to actually figure out how to build and keep communities safe, not pit them against one another, which is what resolutions like this are seeking to do. And of course, the other purpose that this resolution serves is to distract the entire conversation away from what is happening in Gaza right now. This resolution, the news cycle it gets, the attention that it gets. It also just serves to distract from what we all should be oriented toward, which is that as of today, the Israeli government has killed over 18,000 Palestinians in Gaza, including over 7000 children, and that our government is actively funding it and supporting it.
Priyanka Aribindi: I just want to circle back just as we finish up, go back to these two terms, anti-Zionism and antisemitism. Why do you think it’s so important to understand the nuances of these, you know, and how does that relate to this movement, this growing movement calling for a cease fire?
Beth Miller: On the one hand, anti-Zionism, you have a political identity of a person who is trying to build toward a better future without oppression and which all people are living in freedom. Antisemitism is a form of hate that has no no place anywhere. But what we have is kind of the Israeli government, the U.S. government and other groups that are doing a lot of advocacy against Palestinian rights, that are actively trying to make the argument that they are the same, but they simply are different. They’re trying to make the argument that they’re the same because they want to make it so that you cannot criticize the Israeli government without risking being smeared as a bigot. If something is actually anti-Semitic. It has no place here. That’s not the future we’re building. But anti-Zionism is a core part of the future we’re building. Because anti-Zionism entails undoing the systems of oppression that currently exist and moving toward a better future with more justice.
Priyanka Aribindi: And Juanita, that was my conversation with Beth Miller from Jewish Voice for Peace. The conversation around antisemitism versus anti-Zionism continues to grow, and we will continue to cover it, as well as the latest developments from the frontlines of the war between Israel and Hamas. That is the latest for now. We’ll be back after some ads. [music break]
Priyanka Aribindi: Let’s wrap up with some headlines.
Priyanka Aribindi: House Republicans voted yesterday to formally open an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden. The House voted 221 to 212 right along party lines to authorize the continuation of the investigation, which focuses on foreign business dealings by Hunter Biden, the president’s son. And if President Biden himself benefited from any of those dealings. As a reminder to everyone listening who may be consuming media headlines about this, the investigation has not turned up a single shred of evidence of wrongdoing or high crimes by the president.
Juanita Tolliver: That part.
Priyanka Aribindi: That has not happened up until this time. Just so you know. And after the vote, President Biden said of Republicans in a statement, quote, “Instead of doing their job on the urgent work that needs to be done, they are choosing to waste time on this baseless political stunt that even Republicans in Congress admit is not supported by facts.”
Juanita Tolliver: So they said it out loud. Come on.
Priyanka Aribindi: He said it all.
Juanita Tolliver: Come on. Why are we here? [laughing]
Priyanka Aribindi: Wednesday’s vote also came after Hunter Biden defied a House subpoena for closed door testimony. Instead, he held a news conference outside the Capitol yesterday morning where he once again offered to testify publicly, not privately. Take a listen to what he had to say.
[clip of Hunter Biden] Republicans do not want an open process where Americans can see their tactics, expose their baseless inquiry or hear what I have to say. What are they afraid of? I’m here. I’m ready.
Juanita Tolliver: He’s not wrong. Also, the hypocrisy of all this is wild to me. Like to have somebody–
Priyanka Aribindi: Completely.
Juanita Tolliver: –who did defy a congressional subpoena, Jim Jordan. Now try to [laugh] act all tough about enforcing it? Like–
Priyanka Aribindi: To enforce rules, act like those something they care about. Very–
Juanita Tolliver: Truly.
Priyanka Aribindi: Very interesting.
Juanita Tolliver: Nearly 200 countries at the COP28 summit agreed yesterday to transition away from planet warming fossil fuels like oil, gas and coal. A first in the decade since U.N. climate talks began. The agreement was reached after two weeks of talks at the summit in Dubai, but it fell short of calling for a complete phase out of fossil fuels. Despite more than 100 nations and European leaders pushing for that. Countries like Saudi Arabia and other major oil producing nations weren’t on board with the phase out language. And ultimately, a compromise was reached with the deal, instead calling on countries to move away from fossil fuels in a, quote, “just, orderly and equitable manner.” The agreement, known as the Global Stockade, also calls on the countries to double energy efficiency and triple the use of renewable energy like wind and solar power by 2030. It’s unclear if the nations will actually go through with their promises, but they’re expected to submit a plan by COP30, which is in two years.
Priyanka Aribindi: The Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged yesterday and announced plans to lower them at least three times next year, earning praise from investors. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell announced the news during a press conference after the panel released its forecast for economic growth in 2024. As we discussed on yesterday’s show, inflation has slowed down over the past few months, but officials still want to wait for more evidence that the economy is growing before bringing interest rates back down. This is the third consecutive time that the Fed has kept interest rates the same. Interest rates currently stand between 5.25 and 5.5%. Those are the highest that they have been in over two decades.
Juanita Tolliver: Tesla is recalling nearly all 2 million of its vehicles in the U.S. to make sure drivers remember to watch the road when using the autopilot feature. That’s according to federal documents released yesterday. The fix will include a software update that adds more driver warnings and alerts while autopilot is on, as well as limits to where it can be used. For context, despite the name of the software, Teslas do not fully drive themselves. The autopilot feature uses several cameras on the outside of the car to detect other vehicles, pedestrians and road markings to make some driving decisions like keeping your car within a lane or changing your speed. But it’s not meant to be hands off. Drivers must still be alert when using it. The problem is that autopilot only monitors whether a driver’s hands are on the steering wheel, not where a driver is looking. Safety advocates have long warned that the feature needs stronger regulation ever since it debuted in 2015. And Wednesday’s recall comes after a two year federal investigation into a series of car crashes that involved a Tesla driver who was not paying attention while using autopilot, some of which resulted in death. According to the documents released yesterday. The probe found that the feature was, quote, “defective in keeping drivers engaged” and that its failure to do so could lead to, quote, “foreseeable misuse of the system.” The new autopilot update has already been sent wirelessly to some Tesla models this week. The first thing that glares in my mind is one you shouldn’t be given Elon your money. But two humans cannot be trusted like [laugh] it’s not the machine’s fault. It’s humans who are messing this up.
Priyanka Aribindi: I don’t know. All I will say is that it is actually enjoyable and somewhat relaxing in the right environment to actually drive a car and pay attention to the road and do all of that. I enjoy it sometimes, maybe because it’s a novelty for me living in New York City now.
Juanita Tolliver: Yeah, I was like, New Yorker, come on, you don’t [laugh] like have to–
Priyanka Aribindi: No no no.
Juanita Tolliver: –drive.
Priyanka Aribindi: I I drive like three times a year now. Uh. But it is nice. It’s nice. And finally, have you ever craved a nacho cheese flavored liquor?
Juanita Tolliver: Absolutely not. No.
Priyanka Aribindi: I guess I can’t say the answer is yes. [laughter] No. One that also includes a taste profile of umami, corn tostada and just a hint of acidity? Well, today is your lucky day if so, because Doritos has officially unveiled its nacho cheese spirit. I’m sorry. Doritos has an alcohol now. Everyone has an alcohol now. Doritos announced the first of its kind liquor this week, which is a collaboration with the drink company Empirical. And together they have joined forces to create a, quote, “a multi sensorial, delicious beverage experience that smells and tastes just like the real thing.” That is according to–
Juanita Tolliver: Oh no.
Priyanka Aribindi: –a joint press release. Oh no is right. That is big yikes. And if you are wondering what kind of alcohol this is exactly, the nacho cheese spirit is apparently uncategorized. And it isn’t a gin, it isn’t a tequila or any other traditional category. So what actually is it? We don’t know. We cannot tell you. If that does not say all you need to know about whether [laughter] you should drink this or not. I don’t know what will. But Empirical and Doritos listed several cocktail recipes in their press release, including the Double Triangle Margarita or the Doritos Bangarang. So you can find creative ways to enjoy the cheesy chippy, not so crunchy drink however you would like. Or, you know, maybe you abstain from that because it sounds not good. If you are interested in giving the nacho cheese spirit a try, it will be available online and in select New York and California markets next month for the suggested retail price of $65 a pop.
Juanita Tolliver: They’ve got to be joking.
Priyanka Aribindi: I’m sorry.
Juanita Tolliver: That’s not the price. [laughing]
Priyanka Aribindi: Is that perhaps the most offensive part of all of this? Maybe.
Juanita Tolliver: I feel like yes. The other thing is I will say is we can add this to the taste test for our producers to try. I will sit in the background eating some original Doritos because I am a nacho cheese girl. But no, I don’t want this. And even when they released the picture and it has a Dorito in the beverage.
Priyanka Aribindi: So gross.
Juanita Tolliver: That’s a massive turnoff. Like nothing about this sounds good. [laughing]
Priyanka Aribindi: It’s disgusting. I like don’t really partake in shots. But like I do think a Dorito as a shot chaser could be fun. Like a chip.
Juanita Tolliver: Okay, that is nice.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, like that’s a tasteful way to do this. This far too much. Far too much. That’s just my two cents. And those are the headlines. Two more things before we go. Voting has officially begun for WAD’s person of the year. Among the nominees are UAW President Shawn Fein, health care activist Ady Barkan, and many more. If you have signed up to be a friend of the pod, head over to our Discord Channel to cast your ballot for the person you think made a huge impact in 2023. And if you haven’t signed up yet, do it now at Crooked.com/friends to make your voice heard. Voting closes today at 1 p.m. Pacific Time. Results will be revealed tomorrow on our last show of the year. So stay tuned.
Juanita Tolliver: Mm hmm. Plus, friends of the pod subscribers also have access to a new limited series feed where you can listen uninterrupted to This land, Dream Town Adelanto, and Another Russia right now. Head to Crooked.com/friends to sign up and listen. [music break]
Priyanka Aribindi: That is all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review, take a cool ranch Dorito shot [laughter] and tell your friends to listen.
Juanita Tolliver: And if you’re into reading and not just our list of person of the year nominees like me What a Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at Crooked.com/Subscribe. I’m Juanita Tolliver.
Priyanka Aribindi: And I’m Priyanka Aribindi.
[spoken together] And go vote.
Priyanka Aribindi: For person of the year.
Juanita Tolliver: Yup.
Priyanka Aribindi: For WAD.
Juanita Tolliver: Shout out to everybody who’s submitted nominees like it was an interesting list for us to narrow down. That was amazing.
Priyanka Aribindi: And I mean vote in actual elections too. But this is–
Juanita Tolliver: Yeah, that one too.
Priyanka Aribindi: This could be a practice.
Juanita Tolliver: That’s that’s a big deal.
Priyanka Aribindi: Like see how fun it is [laughter] and then do the real thing in November. [laugh] [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 our showrunner is Leo Duran. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka. [music break]