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House Members Waste Our Time and Money To Pass Bill “Denouncing the Horrors of Socialism”

A whopping 328 House members, including 109 Democrats, voted for the bill.

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In a country ailed by the callousness of capitalism—as people are subject to a continual stream of mass shootings, ruthless police brutality, and having to resort to GoFundMe in order to pay for rent and hospital bills—members of Congress spent their workday, instead, denouncing socialism.

After Republican members on Thursday shamelessly voted to oust Representative Ilhan Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee, 109 Democrats joined them to pass a bill “denouncing the horrors of socialism.”

In total, 328* House members—75 percent of the chamber—participated in the farce taking place in the people’s House. The 109 Democrats, many led by the New Democrat Coalition, decided that, instead of deriding the resolution as a meaningless exercise, they’d participate in the Republican-led charade.

With an argumentative flourish that literally boiled down to “socialism bad, capitalism good,” conservative members of the House spent our taxpayer dollars to lazily bemoan socialism and glorify America, a country filled with people who deserve much better. The so-called “greatest country on earth” does not even rank in the top 25 nations in terms of economic freedom. No wonder, given that over 100 million people in the country are burdened with restrictive medical debt.

“Socialism, like the devil, does not appear with horns and a pitchfork. He masquerades as an angel of light with promises of humans flourishing, all failed, all broken. Socialism isn’t empty words, it isn’t a speech, it’s a series of actions that rob people of their freedom and concentrate power in the hands of a few in their central government,” House Budget Chairman Jodey Arrington warned. He spoke as if capitalism, in all the glory he and his colleagues threw upon it, does not in fact offer false promises and does not concentrate power in the hands of the few.

Arrington went on to attack a government program that hasn’t even happened. “There’s a whole of government assault for all the world to see on an industry: American energy,” he lamented. “And it’s being replaced with this Green New Deal—hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies, tax credits, grants,” Arrington continued, horrified at the idea of government subsidies for energy production, as if fossil fuels don’t receive billions of dollars in American subsidies every year.

“I believe our singular mission in this chamber, in this nation’s capital, is to fight for our country by preserving and protecting freedom for the next generation of Americans,” he finished. But freedom can’t come from empty promises of human flourishing.

Freedom, as The New Republic’s Michael Tomasky describes, entails “the freedom of people to reach their fullest human potential, pursue happiness, and lead lives of dignity and stability.” People can’t do that while they face bankruptcy while trying to go to school, or even the hospital; they can’t feel happy or fulfilled if their kids are constantly in fear of being shot at school, or by the police.

And if capitalism can’t even guarantee those basic freedoms, lawmakers have no business wasting their time glorifying it, or denouncing other visions for how a world can work.

* This post has been updated with the correct vote count.

House Republicans Brazenly Oust Ilhan Omar From Foreign Affairs Committee

“This debate today is about who gets to be an American. What opinions do we get to have, do we have to have, to be counted as Americans?”

Ilhan Omar
Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images

House Republicans have succeeded in their shameless campaign to eject Representative Ilhan Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee—one she has served on since joining Congress. The House voted 218–211 on Thursday, approving a resolution to remove Omar on a standard the Republicans don’t hold themselves even remotely accountable to.

Republicans have gone after Omar for past comments she has made about Israel, accusing her of antisemitism. Omar has apologized for all such comments, on numerous occasions.

In her own remarks on Thursday, Omar laid out exactly what the “debate” was about.

“This debate today is about who gets to be an American. What opinions do we get to have, do we have to have, to be counted as Americans?” Omar said. “There is this idea that you are suspect if you are an immigrant, or if you are from certain parts of the world or a certain skin tone or a Muslim. It is no accident that members of the Republican Party accused the first Black president, Barack Obama, of being a secret Muslim.

“Well, I am Muslim, I am an immigrant, and interestingly from Africa. Is anyone surprised that I am being targeted? Is anyone surprised that I am somehow deemed unworthy to speak about American foreign policy? Or that they see me as a powerful voice that needs to be silenced? Frankly, it is expected. Because when you push power, power pushes back.

“I am an American. An American who was sent here by her constituents to represent them in Congress.”

Meanwhile, Republicans themselves have tolerated, if not actively promoted, reprehensible antisemitic claims from within their own ranks.

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, whom McCarthy said he would “never leave” and “always take care of,” has spread theories about “Zionist supremacists” engineering Muslim immigration to Europe and about Jewish space lasers setting forests on fire in California. Donald Trump, many Republicans’ favorite president—or at least someone they can barely ever say a bad word about—recently wined and dined with antisemites Nick Fuentes and Ye.

The vote comes after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy also reaped “vengeance” against Representatives Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell, two members prominent during Trump’s impeachment hearings, by denying them seats on the intelligence committee.

Republicans sought to eject the three representatives as some sort of payback against the Democrats, who removed Representatives Greene and Paul Gosar from committees for inflammatory comments and online posts encouraging violence against other members of Congress.

To be clear, this is not actually “payback.” Such a term implies equal offense. When Democrats removed Greene and Gosar from their respective committees, it was done a month after an insurrection on the Capitol that both members played roles in inciting. Republicans approved of the removal of two members who simply dared to criticize Trump, and have now voted to remove a third who has repeatedly apologized for her past, and non-inciteful, comments.

The Republicans’ unembarrassed witch hunt against Omar, one of the only members of Congress who actively uses her platform to speak truth against foreign despotism everywhere, says it all about the GOP. The party has no interest in actually holding human rights violators to account, certainly has no actual moral integrity, and has a vested commitment to attacking the most marginalized among us—even, and especially, if they happen to be their own colleagues.

Of Course Joe Manchin Is Teaming Up With Ted Cruz To Defend Gas Stoves

No one is coming for your gas stove, Manchin.

Joe Manchin and Ted Cruz stand in a crowded elevator
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images

Senator Joe Manchin plans to introduce a bill Thursday that would prevent the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission from banning gas stoves, a very serious debate that has gotten Washington pretty heated.

The bill, which Manchin is co-sponsoring with Ted Cruz, would ban the use of federal funds to regulate or impose new consumer safety rules on gas cooktops.

They are not taking my gas stove out,” Manchin told reporters.

The debate over gas stoves sparked in earnest in mid-December when Richard Trumka, a CPSC commissioner, announced the organization was considering health regulations for and possibly even bans on gas stoves, following a report that they were responsible for almost 13 percent of childhood asthma cases.

The announcement set off Republicans, who took to social media to loudly declare that they would never give up their gas stoves. Here is a list of everyone who wants to take away gas stoves, particularly the one in Manchin’s house:

Trumka has already clarified that the agency will not forcibly take anyone’s gas stove, and is seeking to decrease the associated health hazards through new regulations. But it’s too late: The right wing, and now Manchin, have seized on his initial comments to spin the debate into hysteria.

What should have been a straightforward procedure for public health and safety has become a hot mess.

More on Gas Stoves

House Democrats Introduce Bill Protecting Right To Cross State Lines for Abortion

The Ensuring Women’s Right to Reproductive Freedom Act would protect anyone seeking an abortion out of their home state, and anyone who helps them.

Capitol Building
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

House Democrats reintroduced a bill Thursday to protect people’s right to travel out of state for an abortion, as many states clamp down on access to the procedure.

The Ensuring Women’s Right to Reproductive Freedom Act would protect not just anyone seeking an abortion out of their home state but also anyone who helps them, for instance someone who drives them across the border or the health care provider who carries out the procedure. Democrats had introduced the bill last summer, weeks after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, but the legislation failed to pass the Senate.

Since the nationwide right to abortion fell, people have rushed to states where the procedure is legal, such as Colorado, where reproductive health centers reported seeing wait times for an abortion double to two weeks, by midsummer, from one earlier in the year. One of the most tragic and infamous cases was a 10-year-old girl from Ohio who had to travel to Indiana for an abortion after she was raped.

As states try to restrict abortion access even further—including Kansas, where the legislature is seeking to overturn a ballot decision to protect abortion rights—one such method is to go after people who travel out of state for an abortion and those who help them when they get there. The Indiana attorney general tried to penalize the doctor who performed the 10-year-old’s abortion.

In March, before the Dobbs draft opinion had even been leaked, Republican state lawmakers in Missouri introduced a bill that would allow individuals to sue anyone who helped a state resident get an abortion, including an out-of-state health care provider or anyone providing transportation across state lines. State House lawmakers blocked the bill a few weeks later.

The Ensuring Women’s Right to Reproductive Freedom Act is unlikely to pass the House of Representatives, where Republicans hold the majority. The GOP has made it clear it opposes reproductive rights, despite losing big-time during the 2022 midterm elections as a result of its stance. The act passed the House when Democrats controlled the chamber last year, but failed to win the requisite 60 votes in the Senate.

The Women’s Health Protection Act, which would have codified the right to abortion, also failed to pass the Senate in May after all Republican senators and Democratic Senator Joe Manchin voted against it.

GOP Proceeds on Shameless Campaign To Oust Ilhan Omar From Foreign Affairs Committee

The Republican-controlled House is preparing for a final vote to remove the Minnesota congresswoman from the committee over her past criticism of Israel.

Ilhan Omar stands at a podium and looks to the side
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House Republicans’ shameless campaign against Representative Ilhan Omar continues after the House on Wednesday voted along party lines, 218–209, to advance a resolution on removing the Minnesota congresswoman from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

The House will have a final vote on Thursday that will determine whether Omar is ejected from the committee she has dutifully served on since she entered Congress—and so far, it looks like Republicans will have enough votes to make it happen.

Republicans have gone after Omar for past comments she has made about Israel, accusing her of antisemitism. Meanwhile, the House speaker also sought vengeance against Representatives Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell, two members prominent during Trump’s impeachment hearings, by denying them seats on the intelligence committee.

The ejection of the three representatives comes as a payback mission against the Democrats, who removed Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar from committees for inflammatory comments and online posts encouraging violence against other members of Congress.

There were some initial GOP holdouts, including Representatives Nancy Mace, Victoria Spartz, and Ken Buck. All voted in favor of advancing the resolution to boot Omar on Wednesday.

“This is about vengeance. This is about spite. This is about politics,” Representative James McGovern, the top Democrat on the House Rules Committee, told the Associated Press on Tuesday.

Ultimately, Republicans are not getting “payback,” as that would imply some level of equal give and take. Democrats voted to punish members notorious for inciting violence and hate; Republicans have approved of McCarthy’s removal of two members who dared criticize their king president, and are now voting to remove a third who has openly apologized for her past comments.

“It’s motivated by the fact that many of these members don’t believe a Muslim, a refugee, an African should even be in Congress, let alone have the opportunity to serve on the Foreign Affairs Committee,” Omar said on Sunday on CNN.

No less farcical is this vote because of all the rank antisemitism Republicans have allowed to fester, if not promoted themselves, in recent years. Greene, whom McCarthy said he would “never leave” and “always take care of,” has spread theories about “Zionist supremacists” engineering Muslim immigration to Europe, and about Jewish space lasers setting forests on fire in California. Donald Trump, many Republicans’ favorite president—or at least someone they can barely ever say a bad word about—recently wined and dined with antisemites Nick Fuentes and Ye.

And if that wasn’t enough, the Republicans found a way to make this vote even more of a joke. In a country where millions of people struggle to find affordable health care, housing, or even education—ailments born from relentless capitalism—Republicans attached the resolution to another denouncing “the horrors of socialism.”

Federal Reserve Hikes Interest Rates Up 0.25 Percent, Smallest Increase in Almost a Year

Here’s what exactly the Fed Reserve rate hike means for you.

Jeremy Powell speaks at a podium
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The Federal Reserve announced an interest rate hike of 0.25 percent Wednesday, the smallest increase since it began ramping rates up in March.

Inflation has fallen slowly but steadily over the past six months, particularly from October to December. The Fed has been on a tear to get interest rates high enough to discourage people from spending money, slowing the economy down in turn. The central bank only began easing its rate hikes in December. The risk is that growth will slow while prices and borrowing rates stay high, sending the economy into a recession.

“Shifting to a slower pace will better allow the committee to assess the economy’s progress toward our goals as we determine the extent of future increases that will be required to attain a sufficiently restrictive stance,” Fed Chair Jerome Powell told a press conference. “While recent developments are encouraging, we will need substantially more evidence to be confident that inflation is on a sustained downward path.”

Goods prices are generally falling, and the unemployment rate in December was 3.468, the lowest in 50 years—all indicators that the Fed’s previous rate hikes are working as intended. Ian Shepherdson, the chief economist at Pantheon Economics, warned Tuesday that the central bank shouldn’t raise interest rates anymore lest they go too far.

Dean Baker, senior economist at the Center for Economic Policy and Research, answered five questions about what the latest rate hike means going forward.

1. What has changed in recent months that gives the Fed enough confidence to hike rates by the smallest amount in almost a year?

“The economy and inflation have both slowed sharply,” Baker told The New Republic, describing the initial 0.75 percent rate hikes as a “bit of a panic.”

Indicators such as the consumer price index have decreased in recent months, a sign that the economy is slowing and inflation is finally easing up a bit. Baker suggested that Wednesday’s small rate hike is more to “demonstrate [the Fed’s] commitment to fighting inflation.”

2. What can consumers expect from a 0.25 percent rate increase?

Since the rate increase is so small, it’s unlikely to have much effect on the economy, according to Baker. “Since it was widely anticipated, the impact has already been incorporated into the rate structure.”

Now many economists are hopeful the Fed will take a step back and be more reactive with future rate increases, instead of proactive.

3. What can we expect from the Fed going forward?

In a statement, the central bank predicted that “ongoing increases … will be appropriate in order to attain a stance of monetary policy that is sufficiently restrictive to return inflation to 2 percent.”

Monetary tightening measures often have delayed effects, which the policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee said it would take into account when deciding on whether to increase rate hikes in the future.

Looking at current data, the Fed “should be looking to claim victory in the war on inflation, and back off from further rate hikes,” said Baker. He noted that Powell is probably hesitant to do so, but “he should do it soon” if trends continue as they have.

4. Is it possible for the Fed to go too far with rate increases?

There’s a chance that the Fed will go too far with rate increases and tip the economy into a recession, but Baker doesn’t see that on the horizon right now.

“I don’t think that is likely to happen with the rate hikes to date, but if they were to go much further, I would be very worried,” said Baker.

The current economy looks fairly strong, he added, even in some of the sectors most sensitive to changes in interest rates, such as housing, trade, and cars. Housing construction has stayed high due to a backlog of unfinished homes resulting from supply chain disruptions. Car sales have also held up as the supply chain untangles and the industry is finally able to meet demand.

Meanwhile, consumption has shifted from goods to services, so imports are down, meaning the U.S. import and export levels are balancing out.

5. What are the current chances of a recession?

There is some good news: It looks like a soft landing is possible, after all.

A soft landing is a decrease in inflation without a major increase in unemployment, and “it looks like we are seeing that,” said Baker. “The surge in inflation was due to one-time factors associated with the pandemic. Now that those are largely behind us, it looks like the inflation they caused is behind us as well.”

Baker put the chances of a recession at about 20 percent, fairly low. That would increase if the Fed goes too far with rate hikes, but Baker doesn’t think Powell will get too zealous. Another risk would be an escalation of the war in Ukraine, but that is hard to predict.

This post has been updated.

MrBeast’s Gift of Vision Is Nice! But One Guy Shouldn’t Have To Do It

The popular YouTuber released a new video giving 1,000 blind people cataract surgery to restore their vision. Access to life-changing procedures like this shouldn’t be dependent on the goodwill of others.

Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for MrBeast Burger

It’s really great when people’s lives are made better, but mass uplift should not be subject to the goodwill or charity of a few. This is the major takeaway of a new viral video of MrBeast’s latest charitable act.

On Saturday, MrBeast, the YouTuber with a whopping 236 million subscribers, posted a video titled, “1,000 Blind People See For The First Time.”

Jimmy Donaldson, a.k.a MrBeast, begins the video by saying that 200 million people worldwide suffer from impaired vision. “They can’t see. But we have all the technology to fix it.” Ophthalmologist Jeffrey Levenson, who joined Donaldson, says that half of all cases of blindness in the world consists of people who need a 10-minute operation, a cataract surgery that vacuums out a cloudy lens in an eye and replaces it with an artificial one. With this context, Donaldson provides the quick operation to 1,000 individuals across the world, even giving some patients additional sums of money or cars as goodwill gifts.

As far as content creation goes, this is simply just a nice thing to do; MrBeast has accumulated inordinate amounts of wealth from his massive platform and is using it to help other people. There’s a discussion to be had about so-called “poverty porn,” in which forms of media exploit one’s poor conditions in order to generate attention. On a larger scheme, out of all the malicious ways people use and exploit others’ emotions online, this video perhaps isn’t too reproachable, particularly given MrBeast, at this point, has no issue garnering viewers. He is the fourth–most subscribed account on YouTube and the most popular individual account.

But the on-the-surface heartwarming story also reveals how dependent we are as a society on charity to improve people’s material conditions.

Not only does cataract surgery take a matter of minutes, as MrBeast’s video points out, but the life-changing operation also can cost as little as $25. Yet still, people are left paying hundreds, and more often thousands of dollars for such surgeries, especially for those who are uninsured.

MrBeast himself, not known by any means as a crusading socialist, understands this:

Though he also frames the contradiction, perhaps sincerely or perhaps to appease his broader audience in terms of market logic, MrBeast still communicated to his many fans what we all know to be true: such conditions are incomprehensible.

And so, it would be worthwhile to avoid any overscrupulous analysis of what MrBeast’s latest act of charity represents: the good nature of people, and why we should seek to embrace and imbue that nature into our systems, rather than restrict it to only existing in individuals.

New College of Florida President Kicked Out, Replaced With DeSantis Ally

The conservative board of trustees, stacked with appointees of Governor Ron DeSantis, voted to oust the president and replace her with an ally of the governor.

Octavio Jones/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The president of the New College of Florida was forced out by a board of trustees stacked with appointees of Governor Ron DeSantis, who is cracking down on “woke” thought in state schools, and replaced with another DeSantis ally.

The New College is a top-notch liberal arts school, as well as a politically liberal enclave not just in deeply red Florida, but in the county where it is located, too. The college’s board of trustees was overhauled in early January when DeSantis appointed six new conservative members.

The 13-member board of trustees met Tuesday night, where they ousted President Patricia Okker to the dismay of the school community.

DeSantis’s picks include Christopher Rufo, an anti–critical race theory advocate also known for his anti-LGBTQ rhetoric; Charles Kesler, a senior fellow at a far right think tank; and Matthew Spalding, a government professor at Hillsdale College, a highly conservative private Christian college in Michigan. Both Rufo and DeSantis’s chief of staff have said they want to remake New College in the image of Hillsdale.

During the meeting, DeSantis appointee Mark Bauerlein described diversity, equity, and inclusion, or DEI, programs as “McCarthyite.” Rufo also criticized DEI and motioned to shutter the Office of Outreach and Inclusive Excellence.

The trustees appointed Richard Corcoran as interim president. Corcoran, the former state education commissioner, is a close DeSantis ally and was described by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune as “an eager participant in the governor’s education culture war battles.”

Students protested the meeting and have tried to push back on the changes at their school, but it’s a struggle in the face of what appears to be an all-out war by DeSantis on the state school system.

The New College board meeting came just hours after DeSantis announced he intends to defund DEI programs on state college campuses. He has also signed a law limiting what professors can teach about race, and another requiring tenured faculty to undergo review every five years.

Public school teachers have been told to hide their classroom libraries or risk five years in jail and a $5,000 fine for having material deemed “inappropriate” for students. DeSantis also banned high schools from teaching an A.P. African American studies class, deeming it “woke indoctrination.”

College Board Caves and Revises A.P. African American Studies Course After Backlash From the Right

The new curriculum has removed Black Lives Matter and prominent queer writers. It also suggests “Black conservatism” as an additional research topic for students.

Ron DeSantis speaks at a podium
Scott Olson/Getty Images

The College Board on Wednesday released an updated curriculum for its new Advanced Placement African American Studies course—and now missing are many Black writers and scholars on intersectionality, critical race theory, the queer experience, and Black feminism. Black Lives Matter is now optional in the new curriculum.

The New York Times first reported the news, which comes at the start of Black History Month.

The revision comes after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said he wouldn’t allow the A.P. course in state schools, calling an earlier draft of the curriculum “woke indoctrination.” DeSantis and the Florida Department of Education specifically named six topics they took issue with: Black Queer Studies, Intersectionality, the Movement for Black Lives, Black Feminist Literary Thought, The Reparations Movement, and Black Struggle in the 21st Century. (He also complained that queer theory has nothing to do with Black history and is “pushing an agenda on our kids.”)

Many experts on those topics are now gone: bell hooks, the feminist writer and author of Feminism Is for Everybody; Kimberlé W. Crenshaw, a Columbia University law professor and pioneering scholar on critical race theory; Roderick Ferguson, a professor of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies at Yale University; and Ta-Nehisi Coates, the author and journalist who wrote the definitive case for reparations for slavery and the National Book Award–winning Between the World and Me.

In a new curriculum, the College Board also suggests “Black conservatism” as an optional research topic for students.

David Coleman, the head of the College Board, told The New York Times that the changes were not due to political pressure. “At the College Board, we can’t look to statements of political leaders,” he said. The changes came from “the input of professors” and “longstanding A.P. principles.”

DeSantis’s criticism of the A.P. course seemed to be a preview of the Florida governor’s attack on education. On Tuesday, he vowed to defund diversity, equity, and inclusion programs at state colleges and suggested requiring students to take a course on Western civilization.

As The New Republic’s Tori Otten wrote:

It’s part of a larger war the governor is waging against “woke culture.” This includes signing a law limiting what professors can teach about race and another that would require tenured faculty to receive performance reviews every five years. If they are not up to standards, which have not been specified yet, they could be let go (defeating the purpose of tenure). DeSantis has also blocked high schools from teaching an A.P. African American studies class.

Benjamin Netanyahu Says Not To Get “Hung Up” On Peace

In an interview strung with falsehoods and redirects, the Israeli prime minister told CNN’s Jake Tapper that he’ll “circle back” to the Palestinians.


As Israel continues to escalate its violent campaign against Palestinians, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu joined CNN’s Jake Tapper for an interview, in which the Israeli prime minister said he is not going to be bothered to get “hung up” on peace with Palestinians.

“If we wait for them, we’re not going to have peace,” Netanyahu said in the interview Tuesday evening, describing his plan to instead focus on other nations like Saudi Arabia first. “I think we’ll circle back to the Palestinians and get a workable peace with the Palestinians.”

In other words, Netanyahu’s grand master strategy is to delay addressing the devastating crisis Palestinians face, brought by the actions of the government he leads, because apparently Palestinians aren’t ready to come to the table to negotiate on not being occupied.

“I went around them (Palestinians). I went directly to the Arab states and forged, with a new concept of peace … I forged four historic peace agreements: the Abraham Accords,” he said.

When Tapper asked Netanyahu whether would be willing to give the right to vote to people residing in the West Bank or East Jerusalem, Netanyahu dodged the question and said he’s “willing to have them have all the powers that they need to govern themselves, but none of the powers that threaten us.”

Netanyahu also streamed lie after lie as he attempted to justify his proposal to weaken the Israeli judiciary by allowing a simple majority in the Knesset to overturn any Supreme Court decision. This would subject an independent supreme court to the party in power (thus making it no longer an independent).

Israel is currently led by the furthest right government ever, so such a plan would be all the more convenient for Netanyahu—especially as he himself seeks to evade accountability from his own corruption trial. Netanyahu’s justice minister, Yariv Levin, told the Israeli Knesset two weeks ago that the charges against Netanyahu “contributed to a very broad public understanding that there are failures that need to be corrected” in the judicial system.

The United States certainly has its own role in affirming Netanyahu’s nonsense. Beyond sending billions of dollars in military aid to Israel, the U.S. simply fails to recognize the humanity of Palestinians. Last week, Vedant Patel, spokesman of Biden’s State Department, refused to acknowledge that Palestinians are occupied. Israeli forces killed at least 35 Palestinians in just the first month of 2023.