In This Episode
- Gaza’s Health Ministry says that over 8,000 Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of the war between Israel and Hamas. Israel has since announced it has entered the “next stage” of its operations into Gaza, after sending in more ground troops to the enclave over the weekend.
- Meanwhile, calls for an immediate ceasefire have grown, with protesters taking to the streets in cities around the world to demand an unconditional end to the fighting.
- And in headlines: the suspected gunman behind last week’s deadly mass shootings in Maine has been found dead, Hollywood is mourning the sudden passing of “Friends” star Matthew Perry, and former Vice President Mike Pence dropped out of the 2024 presidential race.
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Tre’vell Anderson: It’s Monday, October 30th. I’m Tre’vell Anderson.
Josie Duffy Rice: And I’m Josie Duffy Rice and this is What a Day. On today’s show, Hollywood is mourning the loss of an iconic sitcom star. Plus, former Vice President Mike Pence has dropped out of the 2024 presidential race.
Tre’vell Anderson: But first, the latest on the war in Gaza. In a Saturday night address to his country, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that a second stage of the war against Hamas has begun. This one, including the sending of ground forces into Gaza and expanding other attacks from the ground, air and sea. Now, it’s important to note that this is not the all out escalation that we’ve been anticipating for a couple of weeks now, or at least that’s not what they’re calling it. Netanyahu said, quote, “There are moments in which a nation faces two possibilities, to do or die. We now face that test, and I have no doubt how it will end. We will be the victors.” Reports say this is a hint at their strategy, pivoting to a plan of staged escalation as opposed to a singular massive offensive, which, according to The Washington Post, is perhaps a reflection of the Biden administration’s influence. Nonetheless, the Israeli strikes from this stage of the conflict knocked out most of the communications in Gaza over the weekend, meaning the territory of some 2.3 million people was in a literal near total comms blackout. No Internet, no cell phone service, no way to get information about or share what they were living through. No way to contact loved ones. Literally nothing. That was until they started restoring communications with connectivity being just between 50 and 80% of the pre blackout levels by Sunday afternoon.
Josie Duffy Rice: I think it’s so hard for anyone here to imagine, like what it must be like to be going through something like this and having your entire area not be able to communicate. What does has this latest escalation meant for humanitarian efforts, like how is it impacting them? What is it doing?
Tre’vell Anderson: As can be expected, it has only exacerbated what was already a dire situation. Aid workers have been saying for weeks that more resources are needed to meet the demand and scale of trauma that folks are going through. And while more trucks carrying support are continually being allowed into the area, another three dozen trucks entered on Sunday carrying water, food and medicine. It simply isn’t enough. And despite urging from the U.S., from the United Nations and various other groups, Israel is still only letting a small trickle of resources in this one border crossing from Egypt. Well over a million people have been displaced from their homes in Gaza. The number of Palestinians killed has passed 8000. The number of killings on the Israeli side is over 1400 people. Both of those numbers are unprecedented and the conditions on the ground are so dire that thousands have been forced to raid aid warehouses. The U.N. relief agency for Palestinians, or UNRWA, said that their second largest depot, which holds most of the humanitarian aid delivered by the U.N., was targeted over the weekend. People took flour, they took wheat, they took hygiene kits. One resident simply told the BBC, quote, “Our houses were destroyed. No one cares about us. We needed aid and we wouldn’t have done this if we weren’t in need.” And as a spokesperson for the World Food Program said, quote, “The bottom line is that people are desperate. They are hungry.”
Josie Duffy Rice: Things are still pretty bad and still getting worse, it sounds like.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah.
Josie Duffy Rice: And this weekend we saw kind of the international response to that, right? Because we saw protests across the world from people calling for a cease fire in Gaza. In cities such as London, Istanbul, New York, Baghdad, Toronto, Paris and Rome, I mean really all over the world. People were coming together to call for an end to this escalation that’s happening in Gaza right now.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah, a lot of the videos and social media posts over the weekend really illustrate how widespread this issue in the calls for a ceasefire have become. But let’s start with the U.S. What did we see here in America?
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, a remarkable number of people took to the streets in cities across the country. L.A., Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco and other cities. I think it’s worth noting, like these are people who believe in a wide variety of potential features for the region. But everybody believes that reducing the escalation is of most importantance right now to save lives. Right. So here’s audio of protesters in L.A. chanting.
[clip of protesters in LA chanting] Cease Fire Now. Cease Fire Now. Cease Fire Now.
Josie Duffy Rice: So if you can’t tell what they’re saying, they’re yelling cease fire now. In New York, hundreds of protesters were arrested at Grand Central Station after a demonstration calling for a cease fire led by the Jewish community crowded the station. I don’t know if you’ve seen the pictures of it, but it’s pretty remarkable. It’s packed full of protesters, many of them Jewish-Americans, who are also calling for a cease fire. Tensions are high right now, but it seems like for the most part, these protests stayed very peaceful, though they weren’t always convenient. In San Francisco, protests briefly shut down highway 101 after 15,000 protesters took to the streets in that city. And in New York, protesters shut down part of the Brooklyn Bridge for a brief period. As is the nature with protesting, sometimes it is not convenient, but it did seem to stay pretty peaceful.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. What about outside of the U.S.? How’s the international community responding?
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. Everywhere from Asia to Africa to Europe has seen protests. In London an estimated 100,000 people took to the streets, which is really just a remarkable number of people. We saw protests in Cape Town, Toronto, Paris, all over the world, really. And this is particularly notable given that there’s been a lot of backlash against people who express any support of Palestine or Palestinian people or call for a cease fire. And I’m not talking about like supporting Hamas. Right? I’m talking about just like any kind of criticism of the Israeli government or the escalation that’s happening right now. You may remember that in the past few weeks, people have lost jobs. They’ve been doxxed. And in France, pro-Palestinian rallies were even briefly banned. But even there, people took to the streets in Paris to call for a cease fire. So the pushback has increased.
Tre’vell Anderson: Right. And what about the response from the leaders of these people, the elected officials? What are they saying?
Josie Duffy Rice: They’re a little less vocal about a cease fire. In fact, they aren’t mostly supporting a cease fire at all. Currently, the only European leader calling for one is the Spanish prime minister. Meanwhile, on Friday, the U.N. passed a non-binding resolution calling for a humanitarian, quote unquote, “truce,” though of course, it is non-binding. It’s not like a real U.N. resolution. And whatever truce means here is kind of in specific and general. It’s also worth noting that, unsurprisingly, the U.S. did not vote for that non-binding resolution. And in fact, the U.S. has explicitly rejected calls for a cease fire. But I would tell you that the protests do seem to be doing something like we’ve seen President Biden temper his language a bit and at least say that Israel should attempt to minimize civilian casualties. And so it does seem to be doing something.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah, I’ve been seeing a lot of largely like younger Democratic progressive folks noting how Biden’s response to all of this will likely affect their you know voting decisions that they will be making in a year in 2024. Um. And so I wonder how kind of that sentiment that seems to be so ever present on my timelines, at least, you know.
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah.
Tre’vell Anderson: Might be impacting that tempering that you say President Biden is now doing around his language.
Josie Duffy Rice: It seems pretty clear to me that this is going to be an issue for the election and going to take some real navigating on the part of Biden and other American politicians and other politicians across the world.
Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm.
Josie Duffy Rice: Obviously, we will keep reporting on this conflict and the push to end it, but that is the latest for now. We will be back after some ads. [music break]
Tre’vell Anderson: Now let’s wrap up with some headlines.
Tre’vell Anderson: The manhunt for the suspected gunman behind last week’s mass shootings in Maine ended Friday evening. Police say they found the suspect’s body near a recycling plant not far from the city of Lewiston where 18 people were killed and 13 others were hurt in a pair of shootings last Wednesday. There are now questions about how law enforcement agencies responded to what appears to have been many red flags about the suspect. According to the Associated Press, U.S. Army officials alerted police in Maine that the suspect, who was an Army reservist, made veiled threats against his base and other soldiers as recently as September. Investigators have also acknowledged that the suspect had a history of mental illness, which also highlights the weaknesses of the state’s so-called yellow flag gun control law. It allows the law enforcement agencies to take away someone’s access to firearms if they are a danger to themselves or others. But it requires police to arrest a person first, then have a mental health provider evaluate them before they can ask a judge to issue that order. It’s not clear if that process was ever initiated for the suspect in the Lewiston shootings.
Josie Duffy Rice: Tributes are pouring in following the sudden death of actor Matthew Perry, who was found dead Saturday at his Los Angeles home. He was 54 years old. Perry got his start in show business as a child actor, but his big break came in 1994 when he landed the role of Chandler Bing in Friends. But in his memoir published last year, Perry admitted that his rise to stardom came at a huge cost. He candidly recounted his long struggle with addiction and the serious health issues it brought, including a five month stay in the hospital in 2018. Here’s what he told ABC’s Diane Sawyer shortly after his memoir came out.
[clip of Matthew Perry] Your disease was just outside, just in one arm push ups, just waiting, just waiting for you, waiting to get you alone. Because alone, you lose to the disease. And now I finally feel okay and feel like I’ve got some strength.
Josie Duffy Rice: It’s devastating. According to the L.A. County Medical Examiner’s Office, an autopsy into Perry’s cause of death is currently pending, though it could take several weeks to complete. Law enforcement officials have told multiple news outlets that no foul play is suspected.
Tre’vell Anderson: The United Auto Workers Union said Saturday it has come to a tentative agreement with Stellantis, the company that makes Dodge, Ram, and Chrysler vehicles. Union leaders have called this deal a major victory for workers because it will restart work at an Illinois plant that was closed in February, restoring about 1200 jobs. It also gives UAW members at the company a 25% pay boost over the next four and a half years, along with cost of living adjustments similar to the tentative deal that the UAW reached with Ford last week. This means that nearly 15,000 striking UAW workers at Stellantis will be back on the job soon. Union leadership will give the green light for members to vote on whether to ratify the deal later this week. All of this means that General Motors is now the last holdout, but it’s unclear when the biggest of the big three automakers will reach an agreement with the union. The UAW expanded its strike against the company over the weekend with nearly 4000 union workers walking off the job at another GM plant in Tennessee.
Josie Duffy Rice: And finally, the clown car of Republican presidential candidates just got a little roomier. Former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence has ended his 2024 presidential campaign. Here’s Pence making the announcement on Saturday at the annual Republican Jewish Coalition summit in Las Vegas.
[clip of Mike Pence] Traveling across the country over the past six months, I came here to say it’s become clear to me, this is not my time.
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, apparently people gasped when he said that [laughter] which they seemed to not be watching the same news I’m watching. But you know, Pence is the highest profile candidate to drop out of the Republican race, which is still being dominated by his former boss, Donald Trump. And he failed to gain traction since he announced his bid back in June. According to new filings, his campaign wrapped up the month of September with a little over a million dollars left to work with, and he was polling in the single digits, which meant that he was struggling to qualify for the third GOP presidential debate next week in Miami. Meanwhile, Trump said that Pence should now endorse his reelection bid.
Tre’vell Anderson: Mm mm.
Josie Duffy Rice: Now, that is truly hilarious. That is what he told supporters during a campaign rally he held on Saturday, which coincidentally was also in Vegas. Kind of bold for someone who egged on chants of Hang Mike Pence during the January 6th insurrection to ask for the endorsement of Mike Pence. But, hey, you know, I guess the worst Mike Pence could say is no.
Tre’vell Anderson: Or perhaps the worst he could say is actually yes and then we have–
Josie Duffy Rice: Yup.
Tre’vell Anderson: –a whole another pile of foolishness to deal with.
Josie Duffy Rice: That’s correct.
Tre’vell Anderson: Huh yi yi.
Josie Duffy Rice: That’s actually probably what will happen.
Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm.
Josie Duffy Rice: It’s hard to believe Mike Pence doesn’t just go with the GOP crowd on this one.
Tre’vell Anderson: That’s what they all do, right?
Josie Duffy Rice: It’s what they all do.
Tre’vell Anderson: They sign their life over in blood, and they do whatever they have to do against their own best interests or the best interests of the American people time and time again.
Josie Duffy Rice: Absolutely.
Tre’vell Anderson: So here we are.
Josie Duffy Rice: Here we are. And those are the headlines.
Tre’vell Anderson: That is all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review and tell your friends to listen.
Josie Duffy Rice: What a Day is also a nightly newsletter, so check it out and subscribe at Crooked.com/subscribe. I’m Josie Duffy Rice.
Tre’vell Anderson: And I’m Tre’vell Andersen.
Josie Duffy Rice: 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 senior producer is Lita Martínez. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.