Crooked Media - What A Day: Schumer on the other foot

Thursday, March 14, 2024
BY JULIA CLAIRE & CROOKED MEDIA
- Newly-installed RNC co-chair Laura Trump describing the most work she has probably done in years

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer offered some of the strongest criticism of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yet from a mainstream U.S government official on Thursday. 
 

  • In a speech on the Senate floor Schumer said that “the Netanyahu coalition no longer fits the needs of Israel after October 7.” Schumer is the first Jewish Senate Majority Leader and the highest-ranking Jewish official in United States History. Netanyahu, Schumer said, has “lost his way by allowing his political survival to take precedence over the best interests of Israel.” He also decried Hamas and called for the release of hostages. Schumer stressed his own connection to Israel and described himself as a representative of Jewish Americans who “love Israel in our bones.”
     

  • The crux of Schumer’s criticism is that Netanyahu has no interest in (actively opposes, in fact) a two-state solution—the outcome long favored by many U.S. officials—and has, Schumer said, become an “obstacle to peace.” Schumer noted that the Prime Minister has aligned himself with “far-right extremists” like Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, while refraining from categorizing Netanyahu as a far-right extremist himself.  In spite of the criticism, Schumer said he still believes that “in [Netanyahu’s] heart, his highest priority is the security of Israel.” 
     

  • Nevertheless, Schumer continued that the Prime Minister has been “too willing to tolerate the civilian toll in Gaza, which is pushing support for Israel worldwide to historic lows. Israel cannot survive if it becomes a pariah.” This framing of the staggering death toll in Gaza as, ostensibly, an international public relations liability for Israel, is in line with many statements made by the Senate Majority Leader in the five months of the conflict. Schumer said there has been an “inaccurate perception” of the war that lays too much blame on Israel for civilian deaths in Gaza, and not enough on how Hamas uses Palestinian civilians as human shields.

Schumer concluded his remarks by taking a highly-unusual step for someone in his position: expressing his belief that Israel should call for new elections to replace Netanyahu. If Netanyahu stays in power, Schumer said, “the United States will have no choice but to play a more active role in shaping Israeli policy by using our leverage to change the present course.” This caused both Israeli and U.S. Republican lawmakers to, in official government terms, freak the fuck out.
 

  • Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Herzog wrote on social media that “Israel is a sovereign democracy.” He called Schumer’s comments “unhelpful” and “counterproductive to our common goals,” particularly, Herzog said, “as Israel is at war against the genocidal terror organization Hamas.” Herzog spoke in Netanyahu’s place on Wednesday after Senate Republicans invited the Israeli Prime minister to speak as their special guest at a party retreat in Washington. Republicans lashed out at Schumer for his remarks. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, taking a brief break from fossilization, responded to Schumer on the Senate floor, saying it was “grotesque and hypocritical” for Americans who “hyperventilate about foreign interference in our own democracy to call for the removal of a democratically elected leader of Israel.” McConnell continued: “The Democratic Party doesn’t have an anti-Bibi problem…it has an anti-Israel problem.” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) spouted off about it as well but, as usual, his words aren’t even worth reprinting here. 
     

  • House Republicans, who had gathered in West Virginia for a caucus retreat, abruptly called a news conference to attack Schumer for his comments and portray themselves as the true American congressional allies of Israel. Ambassador Herzog also addressed House Republicans at their retreat. No mention was made of the fact that Schumer also called for the replacement of Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority. The Biden administration was briefed on Schumer’s speech before he made it, but did not comment on the content of his remarks. White House spokesperson John Kirby said: “We fully respect his right to make those remarks…He obviously feels strongly about this. We understand and respect that…Our focus is on making sure that Israel has what it needs to defend itself, that everything’s being done to avoid civilian casualties, get more aid in and the hostages get out.”


Win, lose, or draw, Schumer’s speech was a Big Fucking Deal. As Obama’s former White House National Security Advisor and co-host of Pod Save the World Ben Rhodes told the What A Day podcast: “I think the reason Schumer did this is number one, it gives a lot of political cover, frankly, to Democrats in Congress to be more vocal about their concerns and to be more open to things like conditioning military systems to Israel on its actions…. And I think it also, frankly, gives more backbone to the administration.”

It seems like everyday a new Trump trial gets added to the docket and we know it can be confusing to figure out what is actually at stake. That’s where Strict Scrutiny comes in. If you want to stay up to date on the latest legal drama surrounding the former president, make sure to listen & follow Strict Scrutiny on Amazon Music so you never miss an episode.

After a small group of Republicans in the Georgia legislature joined Democrats last year to kill a program that would de-fund the state’s public schools by expanding vouchers for private schools and homeschooling, that bill is back on the table. Senate Bill 233 was amended in the House Education committee on Wednesday to include a provision that would create a new Georgia Education Savings Authority that would be responsible for distributing the vouchers of up to $6,500 per student. It passed in the Georgia House of Representatives by a vote of 91-82. Republicans love the bill, because it diverts money from the public school system under the cloak of “parental choice.” The policy, however, is not popular with voters in the Peach State. About 90 percent of K-12 students in Georgia attend public schools, and nearly two-thirds of voters said they oppose using public money to pay for parents to send their children to private schools, according to a poll conducted by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 


The average cost of attending private school in Georgia is $11,795, almost double the amount of the voucher, so not only does it take money away from public schools, effectively most vouchers like these are just a discount for parents who can already afford private school. Isabelle Phillip, narrative director at the Georgia Youth Justice Coalition criticized the bill, saying, “Public schools have to answer to certain testing standards. They have to answer to different levels of administration, while private schools don't have that same rigor.” (Another reason Republicans love private schools!) State Rep Miriam Paris (D-GA) joined other Democrats in speaking out against the bill. “Vouchers don’t work,” she said, “They don’t work for poor people, and they don’t work for the underserved. They don’t work for Title I schools. They only work for a certain few, and generally those few don’t need the help.” She called vouchers “the defunding of education, which is the very bedrock of civilization and democracy.” Can I get an Amen! The bill now heads on to the State Senate, where it is expected to pass, and Gov. Brian Kemp (R-GA) has already expressed strong support for school vouchers: an extension of his commitment to draining public services while further lining the pockets of the rich.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s office proposed a trial delay of up to 30 days for the hush money case against disgraced former president Donald Trump.

 

Senior White House officials attempted to organize a meeting with leaders of the Arab-, Muslim-, and Palestinian-American communities in Chicago on Thursday as President Biden continues to grapple with public anger in response to his handling of the Israel-Hamas war. In a joint letter, the groups refused the meeting, criticizing the bid as an attempt to “whitewash months of White House inaction.” 

 

A Washington Post investigation found that over the past two decades, at least 1,800 state and local police officers in the United States were charged with crimes involving child sexual abuse. Girls 13 to 15 years old were most frequently targeted. 

 

Arizona Republicans unanimously obstructed an effort by Democrats in the state legislature to force a vote on legislation guaranteeing the right to contraception

 

More books were banned in American schools and libraries in 2023 than in any other year on record, according to a new report from the American Library Association released on Thursday. 

 

Trump’s former Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said on Thursday that he is assembling a band of (we assume) fellow evil conservative crackpot investors to try to purchase TikTok


The Republican National Committee sued Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D-MI) on Wednesday in an attempt to purge the state voter rolls.

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Vice President Kamala Harris toured a Minnesota reproductive health services clinic that provides abortions on Thursday, believed to be the first official Executive Branch visit to such a clinic in American history. Harris stressed that abortion is healthcare, so everyone should get used to the word “uterus.” Someone tell that to Republican lawmakers and maybe also explain to them what it is. 

 

Trump-appointed Florida federal judge Aileen Cannon rejected one of the former president’s motions seeking to dismiss the classified documents case against him in south Florida. 


The Biden administration’s Department of the Interior announced on Thursday that it will fund 146 tribal climate resilience projects worth $120 million. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said that the funds are the largest single award of annual climate funding to tribes in the history of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

. . . . . .


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