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Israel Is Blocking Vital Humanitarian Aid From Gaza

As a ground invasion looms, Gaza’s hospitals are buckling and trucks carrying food and lifesaving medical equipment are stuck at Israel’s border.

Photo by SAID KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images
Smoke billows after Israeli missiles hit the Rafah crossing.

Trucks transporting badly needed humanitarian aid to Gaza are stuck outside Israel’s border with Egypt, ahead of a planned ground offensive that has strangled the region’s access to fuel, medicine, food, and water.

The Rafah crossing, Gaza’s “lifeline” for international aid, has been closed for more than a week after Israel bombed the checkpoint, rendering the passageway inoperable, reported Reuters; Israel has continued to bomb the area.

Egypt has “been seeking to keep the crossing operational and in a way that allows the entry of humanitarian aid,” the country’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry told ABC News on Monday.

“Until now, unfortunately, the Israeli government has not taken a position to allow the opening of the crossing from the Gaza side for the entry of aid or the exit of nationals of [other] countries,” he added.

More than 400,000 Palestinians in cities across the region’s south took shelter in hospitals and schools on Monday, reported the Associated Press. Israel has called on more than a million people to evacuate the enclave’s northern region for the south as Israel enters a new phase of its all-out assault on Hamas.

While Israeli airstrikes pounded the southern city of Khan Younis, Israel’s government denied reports that it had agreed to a ceasefire to permit the transport of humanitarian aid and safe passage of Palestinian refugees and foreign nationals to Egypt. “At the moment there is no ceasefire for humanitarian aid in the Gaza Strip and the exit of foreigners,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Israel has distributed orders to evacuate residents along its northern border with Lebanon, preparing for an exchange of fire with Hezbollah after the militant group announced it targeted five positions in northern Israel.

At least 2,800 people have been killed in Palestine, with 10,850 wounded, according to a statement from the Gaza Government Press Office obtained by The New York Times, which noted that more than 60 percent of those killed were women and children.

The situation in Gaza’s hospitals is particularly dire, with an Israeli ground invasion on the horizon. “It’s absolutely impossible to evacuate the hospital,” Dr. Muhammad Abu Salima, the director of Gaza City’s largest medical complex told The New York Times. “There is nowhere in Gaza that can accept the number of patients in our intensive care unit or neonatal intensive care unit or even the operating rooms.”

On the other side of the conflict, more than 1,400 Israelis have died, the majority of whom were civilians killed during Hamas’s three-pronged surprise attack against Israel on October 7.

Israeli authorities reported on Monday that 199 hostages had been retrieved from Gaza and that the head of Hamas’s general intelligence had been assassinated during air raids in Khan Younis.

George Santos’s Campaign Is Broke

The scandal-addicted New York Republican brought in just $674 in new donations between July and September.

Representative George Santos
Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Indiscriminate lies, criminal charges, and intraparty calls to resign can’t seem to topple Representative George Santos—but bankruptcy might.

Numerous donors to the political pariah’s campaign wanted their money back amid the Long Island Republican’s numerous scandals over the summer. New filings with the Federal Election Commission show a significant overdraft between July and September: negative $16,526.09. That consists of $17,200 in refunds, along with $674 in new donations.

Santos’s campaign has spent lavishly even though it has brought in almost no new donations. In those same months, the New York Republican’s campaign spent $42,000, leaving him with less than $23,000 in the bank by the end of September. The bulk of that spending went to the D.C.-based legal firm Dickinson Wright, which Santos owes another $70,000, reported Axios.

On top of that, Santos’s campaign treasurer seemingly “became aware” of more than $120,000 in previously undisclosed debts within the last three months owed to several aides and vendors, according to the filings.

Added to the $630,000 that Santos still owes himself thanks to a fake (and then suddenly real) 2022 campaign contribution, that leaves the congressmen more than $800,000 in the red.

On Tuesday, Santos was hit with a dozen charges related to stealing his donors’ identification and credit card information, allegedly wiring tens of thousands of dollars to his personal bank account while using the rest to jack up his campaign numbers.

“As alleged, Santos is charged with stealing people’s identities and making charges on his own donors’ credit cards without their authorization, lying to the FEC and, by extension, the public about the financial state of his campaign. Santos falsely inflated the campaign’s reported receipts with non-existent loans and contributions that were either fabricated or stolen,” said United States Attorney Breon Peace in a release announcing the indictment.

The congressman is due in federal court in Suffolk County on October 27.

Eyewitness Account From Gaza: “It Is Impossible to Live”

Anyone who does not die in the raids will die of hunger and thirst.

Aris Messinis/Getty Images
A fireball erupts during Israeli bombardment in the northern Gaza Strip on October 14.

The Gaza Strip is experiencing a humanitarian catastrophe that is unprecedented since 1967. At least 2,300 lost their lives. This is the number who have arrived at the hospitals. There are hundreds of people who were buried under the rubble, and no one could reach them.

The unprecedented destruction of infrastructure has made life a living hell open to everyone. It is the harshest on women, children, and the disabled. There are 8,000 wounded in hospitals within the first week. This is close to the number of wounded in the 51-day war in 2014. This would exceed the capacity of the most advanced health systems in the world, let alone a fragile health system that has been suffering for years from a shortage of medicines and equipment. Medical teams are no longer able to work.

The Israeli army order for 1.1 million residents of the Gaza Strip to evacuate their homes and flee to the southern regions, while at the same time bombing the cars carrying them, contradicts humanity. The decision to impose a complete siege on Gaza, cut off electricity, stop fuel, and prevent the delivery of infant formula and medicines threatens to turn the whole Gaza Strip into a real grave.

It is impossible for two million people to live in less than a third of Gaza’s area. Not allowing humanitarian aid or a humanitarian truce that allows people to catch their breath represents in itself unbearable suffering for the population. Anyone who does not die in the raids will die of hunger and thirst.

What is required is a 48-hour humanitarian truce now, before Sunday, in which people can get their needs. The most important thing is a ceasefire to prevent further loss of life and prevent more suffering of the hell that opened its doors wide in the past seven days.

The House GOP’s Crazy Week Gets Even Weirder With George Santos Tirade

The disgraced New York representative erupted at a man he called an “animal” and “terrorist sympathizer.”

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Representatve George Santos yelling on Friday

Tensions in the Longsworth Building boiled over on Friday afternoon, when Representative George Santos erupted at a huddle of reporters, shouting profanities at a man he accused of being an anti-Israel protester.

“He’s an animal,” the disgraced congressman and accused fraudster shouted. “He’s a terrorist sympathizer that has no business in this building. What is happening in Israel is abhorrent. What is happening to the people of Israel should not be defended. Nobody defending Hamas has any business in this building, whether you’re an elected official or a civilian.” Santos also was carrying a baby when the confrontation began. It’s not clear whose baby it was.

The subject of Santos’s tirade was identified as Shabd Singh, according to Fox News’s Chad Pergram. Singh is Jewish but critical of the state of Israel.

Singh was allegedly attempting to question former Speaker Kevin McCarthy on “what he is doing to stop the ongoing committing of war crimes by the Israeli military,” Singh told Pergram, though when McCarthy failed to respond he pointed the question at Santos, who was walking from the opposite direction.

“He then found me here in this hallway and accosted me and began yelling at me, essentially framing what I am saying as some sort of antisemitic trope,” the Fox correspondent quoted Singh.

Singh was detained by Capitol Police shortly after the incident occurred.

The State Department Doesn’t Want Diplomats to Call for “De-Escalation” or an “End to Violence” in Gaza

A memo published on Friday encouraged officials to resist public calls for peace.


State Department officials warned diplomats not to use words such as “ceasefire” in a memo released shortly after the Israeli government ordered over one million Gazans to evacuate their homes within 24 hours late Thursday.

Staff were specifically asked not to publish press pieces containing the phrases “end to violence/bloodshed,” “restoring calm,” and “de-escalation/ceasefire,” according to HuffPost.

A State Department official refused to comment on the internal communication. Nevertheless, the memo itself suggests that the Biden administration will do little—at least publicly—to encourage Israel to de-escalate or to reduce airstrikes that have already claimed hundreds of civilian lives.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken hoped to address Hamas’s militant attacks in Israel while visiting the country on Wednesday. “The United States has Israel’s back,” Blinken said, shortly after Hamas terrorists killed more than 1,000 Israelis, including a number of children and hundreds who were attending a music festival.

Defense Secratary Lloyd Austin met with Israeli leaders on Friday and said that Israel has the right to defend itself when asked about the likelihood of civilian casualties in Gaza after Israel’s evacuation orders, the Associated Press reported.

Israeli attacks on Gaza have killed at least 1,800 people this week, according to the Palestinian health ministry on Friday.

House Republicans Are Better at Sniping at Each Other Than They Are at Governing

The GOP caucus still hasn’t elected a new speaker, but everyone is publicly bickering about why they haven’t.

Alex Wong/Getty Images
Representative Lauren Boebert in 2021

Republicans are once again turning on each other. On Friday, Colorado Representative Lauren Boebert took a jab at Republican infighting, joking that a mythical creature had a better shot of winning the speaker’s seat than one of her party’s own members.

“Colorado’s Bigfoot could get 217,” Boebert tweeted Friday morning, referring to the vote count required to earn the coveted position.

Other party members poked fun at the revolving door of names potentially seeking to become speaker.

“If we all get a chance to be voted on as speaker, are we going alphabetically or by class? Trying to plan Thanksgiving travel,” tweeted Representative Mike Collins.

Republicans have become increasingly frustrated since a Matt Gaetz–led platoon in the House ousted Speaker Kevin McCarthy over a week ago. Hope shone through on Wednesday when party members nominated Representative Steve Scalise for the position in a closed-door meeting, though support quickly fell apart overnight, leading to his withdrawal just 30 hours later.

On Thursday, Representative Troy Nehls likened the fiasco to a “circus,” describing the scene as “utter chaos,” in an interview with CNN.

It was unclear if Representative Jim Jordan, fronting a one-man race for the gavel after Scalise’s retreat, could gain the votes required, given his controversial tenure in the House, his status as a founder of the far-right Freedom Caucus, and the general fear that his elevation to party leadership would hurt the reelection campaigns of Republicans who represent districts that Biden won in 2020.

A new challenger surprised everyone—including himself—by joining the race just moments before another closed-door GOP conference Friday afternoon. Representative Austin Scott, a low-profile Georgia congressman who described the Gaetz-led faction in the House as unprincipled “grifters,” told reporters that he’s only running to end the bedlam and get the legislative body back on track.

“I don’t necessarily want to be the speaker of the House,” Scott told Punchbowl News’s Mica Soellner. “I want a House that functions correctly, but the House is not functioning correctly right now.” He may not become speaker, but he’s right about that.

Wisconsin Republicans Won’t Impeach a Supreme Court Justice for No Reason, After All

Republicans in the state aren’t going to impeach a newly seated justice right now—but might in the future.

Jeff Schear/Getty Images for WisDems
Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Janet Protasiewicz

Wisconsin’s narrow Democratic majority on the state Supreme Court is safe—for now.

On Thursday, state Republicans said that they would back off of threats to remove newly seated Justice Janet Protasiewicz.

Instead, they’ll give the liberal judge a chance, opting to focus on what she’ll do “in office,” said the state’s Republican Assembly Speaker, Robin Vos, at a news conference on Thursday, adding that impeachment was still “on the table” if the court ruled against conservative causes.

Protasiewicz’s presence on the bench is crucial for the Wisconsin Supreme Court, offering liberals an ideological majority in the court for the first time in 15 years and at least until 2025, when another liberal justice’s 10-year term is set to expire. This thin majority is crucial, given that the court’s conservative majority had pushed the state right on a number of key issues and cemented an absurd, pro-Republican gerrymander.

Protasiewicz, whose campaign was the most expensive race for a seat on a state Supreme Court in U.S. history, has infuriated Republicans since she announced her candidacy by broadcasting her views on topics like abortion, LGBTQ+ rights, and environmental protection. She’s criticized the state’s gerrymandered legislative maps, which cement a GOP stronghold on the state, as “rigged” and “unfair.”

“If they decide to inject their own political bias inside the process and not follow the law, we have the ability to go to the Supreme Court and we also have the ability to hold her accountable to the voters of Wisconsin,” Vos said on Thursday.

Days after Protasiewicz took her seat last week, a suit challenging Wisconsin’s gerrymandered legislative maps was filed directly to the state’s highest court.

The highly contested maps, which were drawn up by Republicans in 2011, give the GOP such a firm stronghold in the battleground state that Democratic wins in 12 of the last 15 statewide elections haven’t budged conservatives’ two-third majority in the state Senate or their hold on 64 of 99 seats in the Assembly, reported the Times.

Other cases are also anticipated to reach the new liberal majority, with a suit challenging the state’s abortion ban expected to hit the bench sometime next year.

Israel Just Issued an Impossible Ultimatum to 1.1 Million Palestinians

Citizens of North Gaza have been told they have just 24 hours to flee the area.

Ahmad Hasaballah/Getty Images
A residential tower in Gaza City is hit by an Israeli missile in retaliation to the weekend’s devastating attacks against civilians by Hamas.

Israel has warned the United Nations that all of northern Gaza’s roughly 1.1 million citizens must flee to south of Wadi Gaza within 24 hours—an impossible task and one that will likely lead to sizable civilian casualties.

“Whoever wants to save his life should go South,” said Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant in a press conference on Friday. Earlier this week, Gallant announced plans to cut off water, food, and electricity from Palestine, saying, “We are fighting human animals, and we act accordingly.”

Now, after a week of constant airstrikes, which have killed at least 1,799 people and wounded an additional 6,388, Gallant insisted that Israel does not want to harm civilian Palestinians. “Hamas is camouflaging itself inside civilian population, and we are going to go in and dismantle its infrastructure,” he said. The airstrikes came after Hamas militants slaughtered hundreds of Israeli civilians in surprise attacks over the weekend.

It’s not clear what “infrastructure” Gallant was referring to, but in a statement to the residents of Gaza City, the Israel Defense Forces said that they believed Hamas was hiding in tunnels beneath the homes of Palestinians. The Israeli military did not specify what its plans for Gaza City were, but it’s likely that this warning could signal that the Israeli military is planning a ground operation.

U.N. spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric voiced the U.N.’s disapproval of Israel’s plan.

“The United Nations considers it impossible for such a movement to take place without devastating humanitarian consequences,” Dujarric said. On Thursday, U.N. independent experts condemned Israel’s indiscriminate military attacks against Palestinians, as well as Hamas’s deadly attacks against Israelis.

In a statement, Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Gilad Erdan said that the “U.N.’s response to Israel’s early warning to the residents of Gaza is shameful!”

This ultimatum from the Israeli military only emphasizes the power differential between Israeli and Palestine. Israel has acted with impunity as a U.S.-backed superpower and now expects to remove one million people from their homes with limited warning after a week of deadly siege.

The House Republican Caucus Is in Chaos (Again)

Steve Scalise dropped out of the speaker’s race just 30 hours after receiving his party’s nomination. Can any Republican lead the House?

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
Representative Steve Scalise, who withdrew from the speaker’s race on Thursday, shortly after receiving the Republican nomination

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise dropped out of the speaker race on Thursday evening, just 30 hours after receiving the Republican nomination. With a government shutdown looming, it is becoming increasingly clear that no sitting House Republican currently has enough votes to become speaker.

Representative Jim Jordan, a Trump ally and Freedom Caucus founder, has already started calling around to secure votes for his nomination after collecting 46 percent of the vote prior to losing to Scalise, reported Punchbowl News’s Jake Sherman. How Jordan—who only received 99 votes from his colleagues earlier this week—will attain the roughly 217 votes needed to take the gavel is unclear.

Jordan’s candidacy will prove an uphill battle, and it’s currently unclear whether he can win over hard-liners who voted for Scalise. Moderates are also wary of backing a Jordan nomination, fearing that the far-right candidate and presidential election denier will hurt their reelection prospects in swing districts.

So far, Representatives Austin Scott, Carlos Gimenez, Mario Diaz Balart, Ann Wagner, and Mike Simpson are among the Republicans who have confirmed they won’t get behind Jordan. Since the Ohio Republican cannot be expected to win any Democratic votes, he will need a nearly unified caucus. He does not have that right now.

Some Republicans, including Representatives Tom McClintock and Carlos Gimenez, are even floating the idea of bringing former Speaker Kevin McCarthy back, an unprecedented move with a slim chance of succeeding, given McCarthy’s lack of sway with several far-right members of the House Republican Caucus.

Yet another possibility remains—House Majority Whip Tom Emmer, who made a bid to be majority leader in the early hours of Scalise’s nomination to speaker, may run for the top position in the House instead, according to The Washington Post.

Amid all the drama, Republicans are also experiencing attendance issues. After nearly two weeks without a speaker, some party members chose not to show up at a Friday morning meeting behind closed doors, reported Punchbowl News.

Scalise’s loss is the latest evidence that the party would rather cannibalize itself than lead the country.

Tara McGowan Thinks Paywalls Are Hurting Journalism

The Courier Newsroom founder spoke to The New Republic after her appearance at Wednesday’s Stop Trump Summit.

Screenshot, The Washington Post
The Washington Post's paywall

Tara McGowan wants news sites to “take their paywalls down” for critical 2024 election coverage and develop new business strategies.

Speaking at The New Republic’s Stop Trump Summit, the Courier Newsroom founder and publisher discussed how readers are more likely to passively consume free information online than information behind a paywall. 

“I do not disparage paywalls,” McGowan told The New Republic after the event. “However, if your mission and the reason that you exist is to inform the public … you have got to figure out a way to make the most important information your audiences need to be informed citizens and informed and engaged voters available for free.”

McGowan explained how paywalls are great at bringing in revenue, filling in for traditional advertising revenue, but many readers can’t or won’t pay for them. The need for new business models, combined with increasing distrust from readers, means that the news media is “in the midst of an existential crisis right now” according to McGowan.

“The reason that the media is as bad as it is, the reason they’re as obsessed with Trump as it is, is because it makes them money,” McGowan said. “A lot of news organizations have not evolved to meet people where they are on social media platforms because they don’t have a way of monetizing that.”

Increasingly obsolete themes she has noticed in news media include longer articles, dense newsletters, and unbalanced coverage. McGowan is specifically concerned with how organizations cover inaccurate sides of a story for the sake of appearing neutral. She also believes there is too much negativity in news coverage.

“[Editors and reporters are] thinking about balance in their reporting as ‘I need to give as much space in my article to both sides of an argument,’ even if one side is not accurate,’” she pointed out. “And when you only inform people about the bad things, then you are contributing to cynicism and mistrust in government, and that’s really bad for democracy.”

Unlike other newsrooms, McGowan said the Courier Newsroom runs randomized control treatment experiments to measure the impact of its journalism on its audience. “We’re able to survey and analyze voter turnout records of audiences to see if the people who get our news on social media are more likely to vote, compared to the ones who don’t have the same demographic, and then we do the same thing for our email newsletter program,” she said.

For newsletters, the newsroom gathers a small number of subscribers, and political reporting is then removed from their newsletters so they just get lifestyle content, and then they are surveyed. There’s also an audience that only receives the political reporting, and they are surveyed as well.  

“We’ve actually proven that we increase informed voter participation,” McGowan said. “There needs to be a lot more introspection in the news media business.”