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The Outrage Over Rashida Tlaib’s Palestinian Nakba Event Reveals Everything About U.S. Politics

A Palestinian member can’t even talk about her family’s history without being labeled antisemitic.

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

On Wednesday, Representative Rashida Tlaib, the first female member of Congress of Palestinian descent, sponsored an event raising awareness about the Nakba.* Known as “the catastrophe,” the Nakba refers to the ongoing series of events beginning in 1948 that led to the persecution and displacement of Palestinians, and the occupation of Palestine that continues today.

The event, originally planned to take place at the Capitol Visitor Center, sought to “uplift the experiences of Palestinians who underwent the Nakba, and educate members of Congress and their staff about this history and the ongoing Nakba to which Israel continues to subject Palestinians,” according to an event page.

Apparently such a notion—reflection, education, conversation—was too much for some.

First, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy intervened and blocked the event from happening as planned, booking the room where the event was meant to be held.

McCarthy accused the event of trafficking in “antisemitic tropes about Israel.” (If McCarthy was suggesting it’s antisemitic to draw attention to Israel’s occupation of Palestine, well, conflating a state’s violent actions with Jewish people more broadly is actually antisemitic.)

Nevertheless, the event went on. Jewish Senator Bernie Sanders welcomed the event to be held in the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Senate committee room, which is under his jurisdiction. But still, the blowback continued.

“I wholeheartedly disapprove of the Majority permitting the use of the HELP Committee room for this divisive event,” Senator Bill Cassidy, ranking member of the HELP committee, said in a statement. “The Capitol Grounds should not be used as a pedestal to legitimize anti-Semitic bigotry.”

Senator Jacky Rosen became the first Senate Democrat to speak against the event. “Calling the establishment of the world’s only Jewish state a ‘catastrophe’ is deeply offensive, and I strongly disagree with allowing this event to be held on Capitol Hill,” she said. Rosen’s comments seemed to erase the core concern that the history of the state has been catastrophic specifically for Palestinians. Instead, Rosen purported that organizers suggest it is catastrophic more broadly for Jewish people to have a safe place to call home.

Shortly after canceling the event, McCarthy pledged to “host a bipartisan discussion to honor the 75th anniversary of the U.S.-Israel relationship,” unwittingly affirming America’s bipartisan commitment to the displacement and violence that has been inflicted upon Palestinians since 1948.

Nevertheless, the lengths McCarthy and anti-Palestinian groups went to to cancel the event did not prevail.

Meanwhile, Thursday marks one year since Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was killed by an Israeli soldier, as she reported on an Israeli military invasion of a refugee camp in occupied Palestine. Independent investigations have concluded she was the victim of a targeted killing, despite (or perhaps because of her) wearing a blue vest with “PRESS” clearly written on it.

And yet, one year later, Israel has faced no consequences for killing an American citizen.

Nor, of course, has Israel faced consequences for its ongoing violence against Palestinians. At least 123 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces this year—about one a day. The number is probably higher, as Israel continues airstrikes on Gaza.

This lack of accountability—all while Israel has ratcheted up its violent attitudes toward Palestinians—reveals why Tlaib’s Nakba event was so needed. America as an entity and as a group of people largely imagines itself to be honorable, pursuant to the light of democracy, at the very least, to be trying its best. It cannot fulfill any of that without knowing the story of the Nakba and how its legacy of displacement and disrespect toward Palestinians is so clearly part of our contemporary times.

* This piece originally misstated that Tlaib is the first member of Congress of Palestinian descent.

It’s Now Legal in Florida for Doctors to Deny Health Care to Anyone If They Feel Like It

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a dangerous bill that would give virtually any health care provider (including insurance companies) the right to deny care.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis
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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill on Thursday that will allow doctors and health insurance companies to deny care to anyone they want.

Under the new law, “a health care provider or health payor has the right to opt out of participation in or payment for any health care service on the basis of a conscience-based objection,” meaning based on their moral, ethical, or religious beliefs.

Providers and insurers will face no consequences under the measure and will not be required to refer patients to a place that would provide the needed care. If they are penalized for denying care or coverage, the doctor or company can sue.

The law makes no mention of protections against gender- or race-based discrimination, leading opponents to rightly worry that the sweeping nature of the text will let providers deny care or coverage to women, people of color, and LGBTQ people. A doctor could deny care, for instance, if they are “morally opposed” to gender-affirming care, or if they don’t like that a patient is having premarital sex. And it’s not just doctors—under the law, insurance companies, nurses, pharmacists, hospitals, ambulances, and more could all also deny care.

“This bill is a broad license for health care providers and insurance companies to refuse services to people. No one should be denied access to medical care,” said Brandon Wolf, the press secretary for Equality Florida. “This puts patients in harm’s way, is antithetical to the job of health care providers, and puts the most vulnerable Floridians in danger.”

Kara Gross, the legislative director and senior policy counsel for the ACLU of Florida, had previously warned that the bill left too much room for subjectivity in determining criteria for care. “There is no definition of ‘moral’ or ‘ethical’ in the bill. Who determines what constitutes a sincerely held moral or ethical belief, and more importantly, why should access to health care be denied based on such vague, imprecise, and subjective terms?” she said in a statement.

This law is one of the latest moves in Florida Republicans’ unrelenting attacks on people’s rights and access to health care. They have taken particular aim at women and LGBTQ people. Just last week, the legislature passed a bill that would let the state take transgender minors away from their families if they are receiving gender-affirming care. DeSantis has also signed a law banning abortion at six weeks, before many people even know they are pregnant, that will decimate abortion access throughout the South.

Louisiana Republicans Cruelly Reject Rape, Incest Exceptions to Abortion Ban

House Republicans heard directly from survivors—and then ignored them.

Astrid Riecken/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Louisiana House Republicans rejected multiple bills aimed at making abortion marginally easier to access, an unbelievably cruel move that denies exceptions even for child victims of sexual abuse.

Abortion has been banned in Louisiana since Roe v. Wade was overturned, with exceptions only to save the pregnant person’s life or if the fetus is not expected to survive. However, two doctors must agree that the fetus is nonviable, adding a significant burden to the patient.

The House Criminal Justice Committee heard a package of abortion bills on Wednesday intended to barely ease restrictions on the procedure. One bill would have exempted all rape and incest victims from the abortion ban, but it failed in a 10–5 vote, with Republicans voting against the measure and Democrats and the one independent voting for it. Another would have specifically allowed child victims of rape and incest to get abortions. The bill was voted down, again along party lines.

Following those two votes, lawmakers deferred the other bills. One would have only fined doctors for performing an abortion, instead of sentencing them to jail time. It also would have allowed only one doctor to determine that a pregnancy was medically futile, instead of requiring two opinions. The bill’s sponsor deferred the measure so she could write amendments to it that might garner more support from committee Republicans.

Doctors and abortion rights advocates who testified in the committee hearing warned that the bill would have huge negative consequences for all residents of Louisiana, particularly children. They beseeched the committee to think about what would happen if one of their own female relatives were raped.

By forcing survivors to give birth, you are forcing them to forever be connected to their rapist,” said sexual assault survivors’ advocate Morgan Lamandre. “In Louisiana, men are allowed to choose the mother of their children regardless of what the mother wants.”

Democratic Representative Cedric Glover, who sponsored the bill to create exceptions for child victims, pointed out that “if the roles were reversed in regards to which of the sexes have the burden of bearing children, this would be an issue that men would look at differently.”

“This issue is about choices,” he said. The bill’s opponents “spoke of women who regretted having availed themselves of a choice to an abortion after being raped. That was still a choice available to them.”

Although most Louisiana residents support abortion access, the majority of state legislators—both Republicans and Democrats, including Governor John Bel Edwards—oppose it. But Edwards and other members of his party had hoped to ease the state’s draconian restrictions a bit.

“I love Louisiana,” one woman testified during the hearing, after detailing how she survived a decade of sexual abuse at the hands of her grandparents. “For the future survivors that love Louisiana, it’s time Louisiana loved us back.”

CNN Insiders Slam Trump Town Hall: “A Disaster, and Totally Predictable”

CNN execs are facing a stream of criticism from their own employees.

Donald Trump
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

On Wednesday, CNN persisted with hosting a town hall event with twice-impeached, criminally indicted former President Donald Trump, just a day after he was found liable for sexual abuse and defamation.

And it went about as poorly as literally anyone could have predicted. Trump probably told more lies than truths. He smeared E. Jean Carroll and got audience members to laugh and jeer along. He doubled down on January 6 and lies about the 2020 election. And CNN left its own Kaitlan Collins with the remarkably tall task of trying to fact-check it all, while leaving her vulnerable to be called “a nasty person” by Trump in front of an audience that seemed to have no concern with him doing so at all.

And Team Trump was loving it. “Advisers to Trump are thrilled at how this is going so far for him,” The New York Times’ Jonathan Swan reported. “They can’t believe he is getting an hour on CNN with an audience that cheers his every line and laughs at his every joke.”

Early on during the town hall, one CNN employee told The Washington Posts Jeremy Barr it was “a disaster, and totally predictable.”

Another insider told Rolling Stone the evening was “appalling” and that CNN gave Trump “a huge platform to spew his lies,” while “the audience was stacked with his voters.”

“A fucking disgrace,” another CNN insider said. “1,000 percent a mistake [to host Trump]. No one [at CNN] is happy.”

“Just brutal,” another producer added.

Before the event, CNN commentator and retired Washington, D.C., police officer Michael Fanone (who was assaulted by rioters during the January 6 attack, resulting in a heart attack, severe burns, and brain injuries) openly railed against the network, in a Rolling Stone piece titled, “CNN Is Hosting a Town Hall for a Guy Who Tried to Get Me Killed.”

Oliver Darcy, CNN’s senior media reporter, wrote a very critical piece overnight on CNN’s decision to host the town hall. “It’s hard to see how America was served by the spectacle of lies that aired on CNN Wednesday evening,” he wrote. “CNN and new network boss Chris Licht are facing a fury of criticism—both internally and externally over the event.”

What was already a bad idea was made worse by CNN’s tolerance, and therefore affirmation, of a man just found liable for sexual abuse. One could imagine a parallel universe where CNN ideally never hosted Trump at all or at least canceled the event, issuing a strong declaration that the American people are better served with journalism that doesn’t offer open prime time to sexual abusers—far less coup inciters.

Instead, the network dug its heels in, leaving Collins to endlessly parry with Trump’s lies and the rest of America to become even further immersed into the same consent-manufacturing operation that helped lead to Trump’s rise in the first place.

And while many within the walls of CNN appear incensed by what their employer has done, it matters not, unless they make it matter. For their own dignity, and for the dignity of what journalism should aspire toward, these staffers could leave, or strike, or even sabotage the network; make leadership actually feel something other than a stream of reaction articles that only fuel their egotistical presumptions that “if we’re making people mad, we’re doing something right.” Till then, these executives will only further entrench themselves in somehow believing this garbage is good for America. And by then, the opening for the actually good journalists at CNN to make change will be even narrower. The clock is ticking.

Even Fox News Is Sick of Republicans’ Dumb Investigation Into Joe Biden

“You don’t actually have any facts to that point,” Fox & Friends host Steve Doocy pressed.

Fox anchor Steve Doocy
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Fox anchor Steve Doocy

Republicans have no evidence that Joe Biden was involved in shady business dealings, and even Fox News knows it.

House Republicans accused the president and his family Wednesday of engaging in business with foreign entities, but they were unable to provide any actual evidence linking Biden to any wrongdoing.

Fox & Friends host Steve Doocy pressed Representative James Comer about the nothingburger of an investigation. Comer, who chairs the House Oversight Committee, alleged in a 65-page memo that the Bidens were involved in influence peddling in Romania for two years, and claimed that Biden’s son Hunter had business deals in China.

“You don’t actually have any facts to that point. You’ve got some circumstantial evidence,” Doocy said Thursday morning. “And the other thing is, of all those names, the one person who didn’t profit is—there’s no evidence that Joe Biden did anything illegally.”

Comer gave a long, complicated explanation of how Biden was definitely involved, even though his name didn’t come up anywhere in the financial documents he had subpoenaed. In fact, Comer admitted that Republicans have yet to find any proof of their accusations.

“We’re at the very beginning stages of this, but in talking with the informants that we have … we know that Joe Biden was actively involved,” Comer said. “We’re still looking for more bank records that we believe will implicate Joe Biden’s active participation in this.”

Since taking control of the House of Representatives, Republicans have been obsessed with trying to dig up dirt on the Biden family, particularly Biden’s son Hunter. Even though the United States has just weeks before it could default on its debt, the GOP is apparently more interested in personal vendettas than leading the country.

CNN’s Trump Town Hall Was a Total Disaster

Trump told a record number of lies during the town hall, and he got away with it.

Donald Trump
Daniel Acker/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Twice-impeached, criminally indicted former President Donald Trump had an hour’s worth of exclusive time with CNN—one day after he was found liable for sexually abusing and defaming E. Jean Carroll.

Despite CNN’s Kaitlan Collins’s valiant effort with the conditions she was given, the fundamental structure of the night was not complementary to what anyone might imagine “good journalism” looking like. The network gave Trump a friendly audience of voters who seemed to largely agree with him on most things; seldom a “battleground of ideas,” the night’s only challenges came from Collins. But Trump sprayed lie after lie after lie, which is difficult for anyone to fact-check in real time.

Here are just some of the lies Trump threw at the wall, with a jeering and laughing audience buoying him throughout.

  • Doubled down on the Big Lie that the 2020 election was rigged.
  • On pressuring Georgia’s secretary of state to find missing votes: “I didn’t ask him to find anything.”
  • Then-Vice President Mike Pence “should have put the votes back to the state legislatures, and I think we would have had a different outcome.” The vice president does not have such authority, and numerous Trump allies have admitted that such a process would have been illegal.
  • On the January 6 riot: “I offered them 10,000 soldiers.” There is no evidence Trump ever made a request to the National Guard for support, or that Democrats or Washington, D.C., rejected such assistance.
  • “The Presidential Records Act is not criminal. I took the documents. I’m allowed to.”
  • Documents “become automatically declassified when I took them.
  • President Obama took classified documents from the White House.
  • On E. Jean Carroll: “This woman, I don’t know her. I never met her. I have no idea who she is.
  • The judge in the E. Jean Carroll case allowed us to put nothing in” during the defamation and sexual abuse trial.
  • President Obama separated families at the border first.
  • Other countries are sending “migrant families” from mental institutions to the U.S.
  • People don’t speak English in Chinatown [false, and racist].
  • “We created the greatest economy in history. A big part of that economy was I got you the biggest tax cuts in the history of our country, bigger than the Reagan cuts.” Average growth under Trump was lower than in numerous other administrations; moreover, Trump’s tax cut disproportionately benefited the wealthy, rather than low-income or middle-class families. In 2018, after Trump’s tax cuts passed, the richest 400 families in America paid an average effective tax rate lower than what the bottom half of American households paid.
  • I finished the border wall.
  • “They could kill the baby at the ninth month or after it was born” before the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

This is not an exhaustive list of all the lies, especially the more minute ones, Trump told during the town hall. Just during his four years in office, it is estimated that Trump lied to, or misled, the American people over 30,000 times.

CNN Lets Donald Trump Smear E. Jean Carroll, as Audience Laughs Along

Trump was found liable of sexual abuse. His base doesn’t even care.

Donald Trump
Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Donald Trump

Twice-impeached, criminally indicted former President Donald Trump was asked during the CNN town hall Wednedsay for his response to being found liable for sexual abuse and defamation.

Trump attempted to discount E. Jean Carroll’s testimony, calling it “crazy,” but the more he went on, the more it seemed like he was imbuing his own fond memories (or fantasies) of what happened with the woman Trump was found liable for sexual abusing.

“This woman said I met her at the front door of Bergdorf Goodman, which I rarely go into other than for a couple of charities,” Trump began.

“I was immediately attracted to her, and she was immediately attracted to me. And we had this great chemistry,” Trump said, as if forgetting that he was trying to discount Carroll’s testimony. “And a few minutes later, we ended up in a room, a dressing room at Bergdorf Goodman, right near the cash register,” he continued amid laughter from the audience.

“What kind of a woman meets somebody and brings them up and within minutes you’re playing Hanky Panky in a dressing room?” Trump said, musing about whether Carroll was married at the time or not.

Kaitlan Collins also asked Trump about whether he stands by defending the comments he made in the Access Hollywood tape about being able to grab women.

Trump doubled down. “I said, if you’re famous and rich, or whatever I said,” he began. “But I said, ‘If you are a star…’ I said, ‘Women let you.’”

“If you’re a famous person, if you’re a star—and I’m not referring to myself—I’m saying people that are famous, people that are stars,” Trump continued, before Collins interrupted to note that Trump had called himself a “star” during his deposition.

After some cross talk, Trump continued: “They tend to do pretty well in a lot of different ways. OK. And you would like me to take that back. I can’t take it back because it happens to be true. I said it’s been true for one million years, approximately a million years, perhaps a little bit longer than that.”

In a very tellingly simple manner, it’s remarkable that Trump didn’t even pretend to also say something like, “I wish it weren’t true,” or solidly affirm that he himself does not take advantage of this supposed system where “women let you do it.”

Perhaps the laughter and jeering helped Trump ignore the possibility that some people may find what he was saying incredibly disgusting.

Trump Has No Regrets About January 6

The former president was given several opportunities during a CNN town hall to disavow the insurrection. He refused.

Donald Trump
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

During CNN’s town hall with Donald Trump, the twice-impeached, criminally indicted, and sexually abusing former president said he had no regrets about his actions during the January 6 Capitol riots.

Host Kaitlan Collins asked him, point-blank, whether he had any regrets at all. An easy question to express even an ounce of remorse or regret or anything at all, while still maintaining your anti-democratic posture. He couldn’t even do that.

“I’ve never spoken to a crowd as large as this. And that’s because they believed the election was rigged,” Trump replied after a jumbled word salad.

“They were there proud. They were there with love in their heart. That was an unbelievable, and it was a beautiful day,” Trump said about the thousands of rioters. He even lovingly suggested that a lot of the people in the town hall audience “were probably there” too.

Later, when asked by an audience member whether he would pardon January 6 rioters, Trump said he would pardon “many of them.”

Collins followed up, asking if he would pardon the Proud Boys members recently convicted of seditious conspiracy.

Trump said he’d take a look at the cases but that you can’t get a fair trial in Washington, D.C.

The audience started clapping.

In Speech Nine Days Late, NYC Mayor Refuses to Say Jordan Neely Was Killed

New York City Mayor Eric Adams finally managed to say something about Neely—and nothing about how he was killed.

NYC Mayor Eric Adams speaks at a podium
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NYC Mayor Eric Adams

New York City Mayor Eric Adams has finally condemned the death of Jordan Neely, a Black, homeless man choked to death on the subway—nine days after the fact, and with no mention of how Neely was actually killed.

Ex-Marine Daniel Penny held Neely in a choke hold for 15 minutes on May 1, until Neely suffocated to death. Penny still has not been charged.

Though Adams condemned Neely’s death on Wednesday, he did not mention Penny or the circumstances of Neely’s death.

“Jordan Neely did not deserve to die,” Adams said in prepared comments. “Jordan Neely’s life mattered. He was suffering from severe mental illness, but that was not the cause of his death. His death is a tragedy that never should have happened.”

The mayor’s tepid comments are barely better than his first reaction to the tragedy. Last week, Adams said in a statement that “any loss of life is tragic,” but that he wouldn’t comment further because “there’s a lot we don’t know about what happened here.”

The case has been referred to a grand jury, which will determine whether to issue criminal charges. Protests have broken out in support of Neely and his family. Almost a dozen people, including a photojournalist, were arrested at the protest Monday night.

Adams, meanwhile, has decided the best solution to prevent further tragedies like Neely’s killing is to double down on his controversial proposed policy to send people to mental treatment facilities against their will.

“It is time to build a new consensus around what can and must be done for those living with serious mental illness and to take meaningful action despite resistance and pushback from those who misconstrue our intentions,” Adams said Wednesday.

New York emergency workers are already empowered to hold dangerously violent people. But a directive by Adams at the end of April expands that power. Emergency responders, police, firefighters, and state Department of Health workers will be able to hold anyone who “appears mentally ill and displays an inability to meet basic living needs.”

Adams did not provide details on what criteria determine someone should be hospitalized. Critics of the policy warn the city lacks sufficient mental health resources, particularly in low-income areas. Some city officials were also concerned that law enforcement officers would be permitted to act as mental health professionals.

Republican Senator Has No Problem With White Nationalists: “I Call Them Americans”

Tommy Tuberville is defending racists in the military.

Tommy Tuberville speaks outside the Capitol
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville

Senator Tommy Tuberville doesn’t really see the difference between white nationalists and Americans.

The Republican senator said that white nationalists should be allowed in the U.S. military because blocking any ideological group from serving would weaken the institution.

During an interview Monday with the Alabama radio station WBHM, Tuberville was asked if he thought white nationalists should be allowed to serve in the military.

“They call them that,” he said, referring to the Biden administration. “I call them Americans.”

“We are losing in the military so fast,” he continued. “Our readiness in terms of recruitment. And why? I’ll tell you why, because the Democrats are attacking our military, saying we need to get out the white extremists, the white nationalists, people that don’t believe in our agenda.”

Tuberville also referred to the military as a “strong, hard-nosed, killing machine,” which is definitely how you want national leaders discussing their opinion of defense policy.

His office released a statement Wednesday saying that Tuberville meant he was “skeptical” that white nationalists were in the military, not that he thought they should be in the military. But the Alabama Republican is wrong there, too.

A month after the January 6 attack, Pentagon officials said in a report that white supremacist ideology had made significant inroads in the military. The report found that white supremacist groups would try to recruit active military personnel and veterans and group leaders would often try to enlist in order to get weapons and training. One Florida National Guard member co-founded a fascist group and said he was “100 percent open” about being a neo-Nazi—and no one batted an eye.

As for military readiness issues, Tuberville might want to take a look in the mirror: He has blocked nearly 200 military promotions since March over his objection to the Defense Department’s abortion policy. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin warned in a letter to Senator Elizabeth Warren last week that Tuberville’s delay “harms America’s national security” and poses a “clear risk” to the military’s readiness.

Tuberville’s apparent openness toward white supremacists makes sense when you think about his unwavering support for former President Donald Trump, who counted extremists Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller among his inner circle. Trump also infamously told the far-right Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by,” which prosecutors in the hundreds of January 6 lawsuits said the white nationalists interpreted as a call to action.

Tuberville’s support for Trump remains unflagging, despite the former leader’s ongoing legal woes. On Tuesday, Tuberville said that a jury finding Trump liable for sexual assault and defamation “makes me want to vote for him twice.”