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Israel blocks entry to two US congresswomen – former ambassador says it’s because of Trump’s ‘recommendation’

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Israel has just formally banned two Democratic U.S. Congresswomen from entering their country, and in a stunning admission its former Ambassador to the U.S. says they are doing so because the President of the United States told them to.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Thursday morning blocked U.S. Representatives Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) from crossing into Israel during a trip planned to the country slated for Sunday, The Washington Post reported.

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Former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S., Danny Ayalon, immediately took to Twitter to announce Israel has every right to block anyone they want – but then admitted the Israeli government did so on Trump’s “recommendation.”

Trump’s “recommendation,” at least in public, came in the form of a devastating tweet, bullying Israel by saying if they did not ban the two Democrats they would appear weak.

“The move followed an unusual intervention by President Trump and immediately opened up a new battle between Netanyahu and Democrats, who had privately warned that such a decision would be unprecedented and inconsistent with Israel’s claims of tolerance and openness,” The Washington Post reported.

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The lawmakers have repeatedly denied harboring any animus toward Jews or Israelis and have said their criticisms of the Israeli government are based on policy differences.

The two Democrats “were scheduled to meet during their stay with Israeli and Palestinian civil society groups, humanitarian workers and young people and see one of the East Jerusalem hospitals affected by recent cuts in U.S. aid to the Palestinians,” according to the Post, which noted Rep. Tlaib had “hoped to stay some extra days to see her grandmother, who lives in a West Bank village.”

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2020 Election

Trump and the GOP have become the party of the dead

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There are few morbid topics subject to greater speculation than the religious loyalty of President Donald Trump's "base." Why an alarmingly large amount of Americans refuse even to entertain any criticism of Trump deserves scrutiny from political scientists, psychologists and perhaps horror novelists working in the school of Edgar Allan Poe.

This article first appeared in Salon.

What is abundantly clear is that no matter who votes for Trump, he and the Republican Party on the national level have no interest in governing on the behalf of living human beings — with the exception of ensuring that a tiny minority of billionaires and multimillionaires enlarge their investment portfolios. Trump evinces no concern for Americans dying of the coronavirus, racist violence or any other malady or injustice. He demonstrates no regard for health care professionals courageously trying to save their patients from dying, and appears cruelly indifferent to the struggles of millions of workers whose livelihoods have been destroyed by COVID-19. Needless to say, Trump also shows contempt for Black Lives Matter, immigrants and anyone who opposes his re-election, which at this moment (and throughout his presidency) is more than half of the American public.

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As coronavirus seizes the state, Florida hospitals are in panic mode

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As Florida experiences a surge in coronavirus cases, the residents of the state are facing obstacles like overwhelmed hospitals and a looming shortage in beds.

This article first appeared in Salon.

There are 47,663 hospital beds in the state right now with 11,782 available (meaning a remaining capacity of 19.82 percent) and a total staffed bed capacity of 59,445, according to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration's Hospital Bed Capacity Dashboard. The state Department of Health also reported on Friday that, out of 95,300 individuals who received coronavirus test results over the course of the previous day, 11,433 tested positive for COVID-19 (all but 90 of whom were Florida residents), meaning that more than 12 percent of the new cases had positive test results. The state also reported 93 new deaths due to COVID-19. (Salon reached out to the Florida Department of Health for comment on this story.)

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2020 Election

The GOP is a suicide cult

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

Back in March, we argued that Donald Trump had become the charismatic leader of the dumbest suicide cult ever. There were fewer than 500 confirmed cases of Covid-19 at the time, but it wasn't difficult to see the trajectory we were on at even that early date. At the time, we were commenting on the President's* repeated claims that the whole thing was a big hoax and polls showing that Democrats were twice as likely as Republicans to say they were taking steps to avoid becoming infected.

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