The Jan 6th Of The Tropics | Crooked Media
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January 08, 2023
What A Day
The Jan 6th Of The Tropics

In This Episode

  • After four days and 15 rounds of voting, Rep. Kevin McCarthy was finally elected Speaker of the House early Saturday. But in order to get enough votes, he had to cut some deals with the most conservative and hardline members of the GOP.
  • Backers of Brazil’s far-right former president Jair Bolsonaro stormed the country’s congressional building, the presidential residence, and its Supreme Court on Sunday, days after leftist Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was sworn into office. Lula blamed his predecessor’s baseless allegations of election fraud for riling up his supporters.
  • And in headlines: Iran executed two more prisoners for their involvement in anti-government protests, President Biden traveled to the U.S.-Mexico border for the first time since taking office, and Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin continues to make progress in his recovery.

 

Show Notes:

 

 

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TRANSCRIPT

 

Tre’vell Anderson: It’s Monday, January 9th. I’m Tre’vell Anderson. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: And I’m Josie Duffy Rice. And this is What A Day, where we’re pooling our resources to purchase one egg amid a nationwide bird flu induced egg shortage. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: You know, as somebody who typically has eggs with their breakfast every morning and currently doesn’t have any eggs in the refrigerator, this is not good. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: New Year, new you and not of your own choices. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Right? Forced upon me. [music break]

 

Josie Duffy Rice: On today’s show, President Biden made his first trip to the southern border since taking office. Plus, health officials warn that a new COVID sub variant could be the most contagious one yet. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: I really need Miss Funky Covidina to sit down. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Like please relax. Please relax. We’re done. We got it. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Her and all her children. Okay. Go sit down. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: But first, Kevin McCarthy is finally speaker of the House after four days in a truly absurd 15 rounds of voting. Josie, I have to say that watching this all go down as I was wrapping up living my James Baldwin fantasy for the new year, it was quite entertaining how wild it all has been. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yes. So Tre’vell was in Paris? Y’all. For the new year. [laugh] And I bet from there this was entertaining. Paris looked amazing. It probably looked like WWE Congress or something and [laughter] so no wonder they were enjoying it from Paris. From Georgia, where we did the countdown at nine ‘o clock, so my kids would go to bed. I was feeling second hand embarrassment, mostly for all of Congress and also for myself for being here. So next time, Tre’vell. Please take me with you to Paris– 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: I can do that. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: –that’s what I take from this whole thing. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: I can do that. Yeah, it was entertaining, but it was also concerning because as you mentioned, as you all mentioned on the show last week, Kevin McCarthy was courting votes from these far righters of the so-called Freedom Caucus in the House. And it was their refusal to negotiate that made this whole process as difficult as it’s been, all of which basically forced McCarthy to yield to many of their demands. It’s like we’re in The Little Mermaid all over again. And Ariel has just signed over her voice to Ursula. Now, of course, I hate to compare the right wingers in the house to such a legendary Disney villain, and we will just have to ignore the long history of Disney coding its villains as queer people for the time being. But my point, Josie, here is that McCarthy basically made a deal with the devil. And starting today, we’re going to begin to see some of the implications of it. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Let’s go over the major concessions that Kevin McCarthy won for this very Pyrrhic victory. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Yes. Okay. So one of the big deals McCarthy made to secure his position was changing the rules to allow any single member of the House to call a motion to remove him as speaker. This is significant because it makes it a whole lot easier than it currently is to trigger what would basically be a vote of no confidence in McCarthy. So it ends up being like a weapon that the most conservative of the GOP in the House can use to potentially wreak havoc if something doesn’t go their way. And to that end, McCarthy also agreed to give these hardliners greater representation on major committees in the House. Mind you, this so-called Freedom Caucus consists of a few dozen of the most conservative Republicans. So they’re getting outsized influence and control overall here because just a few of them wouldn’t initially vote for McCarthy. It’s kind of absurd. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Matt Gaetz is essentially my five year old child, but you have to negotiate with him versus my– 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: –five year old child who you can just say, go to sleep. No. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: I wish we could tell Matt Gaetz just go to sleep. Absolutely.

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Just go to sleep, right? Like you [laughter], come on. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: So in addition to that, McCarthy also agreed to a rule that would give lawmakers 72 hours to review bills before they come to the House floor. That sounds like a positive, I think, right Josie? We like that one? 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Right. I mean, I think that it feels like if you’re voting on a bill, you should take 72 hours to read it. And you know what? I don’t feel like these people are such geniuses that they can absorb it all in you know, 24 that’s not the vibe I’m getting– 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: –from this entire thing. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Broken clock twice a day. Y’all know the saying. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Also, McCarthy agreed to create an investigative committee to probe the, quote, “weaponization of the federal government”, which, okay, waste money, waste time. And he made a guarantee to hold votes on a number of key conservative bills. Those include legislation about abortion, border security, congressional term limits and more. The Holman rule will also be reinstated, which basically allows lawmakers to amend appropriations bills to reduce the salaries of specific government officials. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Why do I feel like they’re never going to reduce their own salaries? That’s my guess. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Well. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Right. The specific– 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: C’mon now. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: –government officials are somehow [laughter] not going to be congressmen. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely not. Absolutely not. But arguably, the biggest concession is in regards to the debt ceiling. In anticipation of the government needing to raise its borrowing limit later this year, a deal was made so that any effort to do so must also be paired with spending cuts. This is probably where we’ll see a lot of the proverbial fireworks. As we know, the Democrats in the Senate will likely oppose any demands for spending cuts. So this deal almost guarantees political gridlock, and that would have a destabilizing effect on our entire financial system. The New York Times says we could be in for quote, “the most perilous debt limit debate since 2011”. That was when Obama was president and he and Democrats were up against the then new Republican majority in the House. If not for an 11th hour deal, the country would have defaulted on its debt and been unable to pay its bills, which include things like military salaries and Social Security benefits. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Oh, boy. So this just seems like a disaster waiting to happen, given that it took 15 times for him to actually become speaker and all the things he sacrificed in the meantime. So what will all of this mean for the House going forward? 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Well, it means that we’ll likely be doing a lot of stories this year about foolishness and political malarkey afoot in the House. So, you know, Josie,– 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Oh yay. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Juanita, Priyanka, get ready. [laugh] Like I mentioned, this far right faction of House members basically has more tools in its arsenal to make even simple governing difficult. So the word of the year will likely be turbulent. So, you know, get ready, everyone. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Oh, boy. I’m as ready as I can be, I guess. [laughter] I wouldn’t say I’m excited, but it’s definitely going to be an eventful year. And speaking of eventful political happenings yesterday in Brazil’s capital, thousands of people invaded the country’s presidential residence, Congress and its Supreme Court, to protest President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who took office last week. The protesters were supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro, a far right reactionary who was defeated in October’s election. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Okay, another truly wild thing to witness. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: As you know, the videos and the photos and stuff were coming out. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Mm hmm. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: What spurred this particular protest? 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, well, there are a lot of Brazilians who believe that President Lula and the political left stole the presidential election in Brazil. That idea, which has no actual evidence behind it, was sparked by Bolsonaro, who for months before the election, proclaimed that Brazil’s voting machines couldn’t be trusted and called Lula a thief. He even refused to concede the election after it was over and has repeatedly implied that the results are wrong and he is the rightful president. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: You know, Josie, just a few days ago. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Mm hmm. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Okay, was the second anniversary of a one January 6th. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Mm hmm. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: And, you know, it’s giving deja vu vibes, okay? 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: It is giving deja vu vibes and not the good kind, you know? 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm mm hmm. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: I have to say, the similarities between the two events are truly uncanny. First of all, Bolsonaro has a ton in common with former President Donald Trump. They love each other. They’re very similar. Both of them are these right wing personalities who have built a very loyal, very extremist following. Both of them traffic in conspiracy theories and have successfully radicalized significant portions of the electorate. And now they both encourage insurrections. So truly two peas in a pod. This also isn’t the first threat of violence since Lula’s election. Thousands of Bolsonaro supporters have threatened violence in the past few months, even camping outside army headquarters in an attempt to force the army to stage a coup. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Yikes. Yikes. Yikes. So these far right protesters, they stormed Congress, the presidential residence and the Supreme Court yesterday. What happened when they got inside? 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Well, Tre’vell again, it was much like January 6th, right? Lots of broken glass, marching the halls, taking stuff from offices as trophies. Some protesters began to assault a police officer. And according to The Washington Post, the protesters placed a flag in front of Congress that said, quote, intervention, a reference to calls for the military to depose Lula. They also set off fireworks from the rooftops. Now, one difference between what happened in Brazil and January 6th was that Lula and the lawmakers were not there. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: So in some ways it was different. But the actual actions that they took while in these buildings really echo what we saw two years ago. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. How did law enforcement respond? Did they manage to intervene here? 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Good question. So according to recent reports, around 200 people were arrested. And Lula has said that protesters whom he called, quote, “fanatic fascists” will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. But the role of law enforcement here is somewhat contested because according to President Lula and others, supposedly much of law enforcement was on the side of the invaders. So Lula stated the police didn’t do anything at all. They just let the protesters in. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Which you never really want the police to be– 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Mm hmm. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: –letting people in, you know, who want to take over the government. That’s not a good sign. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: When the police are on the side of fascists, things are bad. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Right. Very, very bad. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Clear rule. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: And where was Bolsonaro through all of this?

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. Funny you should ask, uh because Bolsonaro, like President Trump, is in Florida. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Hmm. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Less than 48 hours after his term ended, he boarded a flight to Florida. He is allegedly in Orlando right now and he reportedly boarded that flight on a one way ticket. So it’s unclear when or if he plans on returning. He is at risk of prosecution for a number of crimes he allegedly committed while in office and seems likely to avoid going back to Brazil as long as the threat of criminal charges continues. Who knows if he’s going to Disney. [laugh] In the meantime, world leaders have condemned the actions of these far right protesters. President Biden tweeted that Brazil’s democratic institutions have our full support and the will of the Brazilian people must not be undermined. That is the latest for now. We’ll be following the story and we will be back after some ads. [music break] 

 

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Tre’vell Anderson: Now let’s wrap up with some headlines. 

 

[sung] Headlines. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Iran executed two more prisoners over the weekend in connection to the ongoing protests over the police killing of Mahsa Amini. Mohammad Mehdi Karami and Sayed Mohammad Hosseini were accused of killing a member of a paramilitary force during a demonstration late last year. A prominent lawyer who has long defended political activists in Iran said that Karami wasn’t allowed to say goodbye to his family before his execution. And Hosseini’s lawyer claimed that his client was brutally tortured while in police custody. The United Nations and the European Union both condemned the killings. According to Amnesty International, at least 13 other detained protesters are currently on Iran’s death row. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: President Biden traveled to the US-Mexico border in El Paso, Texas, yesterday. It was his first trip to the border since taking office and comes after he unveiled his administration’s new policy on asylum seekers last week. El Paso recently declared a state of emergency to deal with the influx of migrants entering the city, many of whom don’t have immediate access to housing or other resources. Upon meeting the president Sunday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, whose solution to the border crisis has been to bus people to blue states gave Biden a scathing list of demands. They include resuming construction on the border wall and detaining and expelling more migrants. Biden is in Mexico today where he will attend the North American Leader summit, where the migration issue is expected to be the top focus. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Damar Hamlin, the Buffalo Bills player who suffered cardiac arrest during play last week, continues to make progress in his recovery. Hamlin can now breathe on his own and was able to cheer on his teammates from his hospital bed as the Bills defeated the New England Patriots on Sunday. The NFL has reportedly reached an agreement with the players union to pay the full remainder of his salary this season. The team was initially planning to put him on what’s known as the injured reserve list, which would have given him a reduced payout. The 24 year old is halfway through a four year contract with the Bills. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: The blue latex gloves have officially come off because thousands of nurses in New York City could go on strike this morning if they don’t reach a tentative labor agreement with their employers. According to the union representing these nurses, many of them have been forced to treat patients in common hallways because of hospital overcrowding. And some emergency rooms are so short staffed that nurses are caring for as many as 20 patients at a time. This comes amid a nationwide simultaneous spike in COVID, flu, and RSV infections that health officials have called a tripledemic. Never a word do you want to hear. Most of the hospitals involved in the dispute reached deals with their nurses over the weekend to avert the looming work stoppage. But as we go to record at 9:30 p.m. Eastern, two hospitals still have yet to reach an agreement. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: And speaking of tripledemics, we’re tracking the new Omicron sub variant that indicates scientists have gotten too comfortable asking us to memorize long strings of letters and numbers. XBB 1.5, the sub variant has been described as the most transmissible version of coronavirus yet, and according to estimates that the Center for Disease Control released last Friday, it now accounts for 72% of new cases in the Northeast and more than a quarter of new infections nationwide. XBB 1.5 was the product of genetic recombination in a person infected with multiple COVID strains last year. The mutations that it carries do make it better at evading antibodies. But there’s no evidence that infection by XBB 1.5 is any more severe than infection by previous Omicron sub variants. Still, it’s a good reason to get your bivalent coronavirus vaccine dose. If you needed another reason besides the opportunity to relax in a chair for 15 minutes at Rite Aid. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: COVID has made its point and needs to go home. [laughter]

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely. Absolutely.

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Like you’re doing too much. You did enough. Please retire. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Goodbye COVID. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Goodbye. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: I mean, we’ve been saying that for a little minute, but like, we mean it– 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Truly. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: –for real this time. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: We really mean it. We really mean it. And if you don’t leave, we’re going to. I don’t know what we’re gonna do. We can’t do much. We’ve tried, but we’re asking nicely. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: We are asking nicely. And those are the headlines. [music break] That’s all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe, leave a review, relax at a Rite Aid, and tell your friends to listen. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: And if you are into reading and not just ten letters and numbers in the name of an Omicron sub variant like me, What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at Crooked.com/subscribe. I’m Josie Duffy Rice. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: I’m Tre’vell Anderson. 

 

[spoken together] And wish us luck buying an egg. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Okay. What are you going to do with yours when you get it though? 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: I mean, I feel like we should eat it. I mean, maybe that’s too simple. I don’t know. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: But what if you need it later? What if the eggs never come back? 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: What if they never come back? [laughter] [music break]

 

Josie Duffy Rice: 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. 

 

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