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August 5, 2014
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Retired Major Gen. Giora Eiland thinks Israel is making a big mistake in its weeks-long Gaza offensive. In an opinion column in Israel's Ynet News, the former head of Israel's National Security Council argues Tuesday that his country should not "feel obligated to supply Gaza's residents with food, fuel, and electricity," because "in Gaza, there is no such thing as 'innocent civilians.'"

Purposefully punishing the entire population of Gaza, instead of targeting Hamas, may sound harsh, Eiland concedes, but the Gaza residents "are to blame for this situation just like Germany's residents were to blame for electing Hitler as their leader and paid a heavy price for that, and rightfully so." He continues:

Hamas is not a terror organization which came from afar and forcibly occupied Gaza. It's the authentic representative of the population there. It rose to power following democratic elections and built an impressive military ability with the residents' support. Its power base has remained stable despite the suffering.... Because we want to be compassionate towards those cruel people, we are committing to act cruelly towards the really compassionate people — the residents of the State of Israel. [Ynet News]

Eiland's column isn't the first controversial opinion on Gaza published in Israel — on Friday, The Times of Israel posted, then pulled, an op-ed exploring the idea of "When Genocide is Permissible." But Israel, in fact, appears to be attempting to wind down its ground incursion into Gaza, with or without Hamas sticking with the new 72-hour ceasefire scheduled to start Tuesday morning.

Israel has faced some pretty strident criticism over its shelling of civilians, including from the U.S. "We struck a very severe blow at Hamas and the other terrorist organizations," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday, citing the destroyed network of Hamas tunnels into Israel. "We have no intention of attacking the residents of Gaza." Peter Weber

12:47 a.m. ET

Vice President Joe Biden was on Thursday's Tonight Show, and when Jimmy Kimmel asked him about Monday's debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, Biden (a Catholic) crossed himself and joked, "Bless me, Father, for I am about to sin." He said he watched the debate by himself, and "I've never quite seen anything like that." When Fallon asked if he'd ever seen so much fact-checking, Biden replied, "Well, I can tell you what, I've never seen anybody who knew as few facts." "It's not a joke," he added, as everybody laughed. "I mean, it's like, whoa."

Then he got serious. "What amazes me about Donald Trump," Biden said, "he's probably a decent guy, but his lack of sensibilities. I mean, the way he talks about, you know, 'Well, you know, I was rooting for the housing market to fail,' and 'because that's business' — that's not business, that's callous." And Trump's claim that paying no taxes makes him "smart"? "What's that make the rest of us, suckers?" Biden asked. "No, I really mean it. Think about it. Can you think of any president — any president you've read about, studied, or knew — who would say anything like that? Name me one president who would do that. It angers me, quite frankly." And no Biden interview would be complete without some wisdom from his parents. "My dad had an expression, for real," Biden said: "When someone would say, 'You know, Joe, I pay too much in taxes,' he said, 'Look, that's a small price to pay to live in this country.' I mean, just pay your fair share, for God's sake." Watch below. Peter Weber

12:20 a.m. ET
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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte used a speech on Friday to ratchet up his literal war on drugs. Adolf "Hitler massacred 3 million Jews," Duterte said, undercounting the Holocaust by about 3 million Jews. In the Philippines, he continued, "there's 3 million drug addicts. There are. I'd be happy to slaughter them."

Speaking to reporters after a trip to Vietnam, Duterte said that he has been "portrayed to be some cousin of Hitler," then made that comparison himself. "If Germany had Hitler, the Philippines would have..." he paused and pointed at himself, Reuters reports. While running for president, Duterte took a strong anti-drug and corruption stance, and since taking office on June 30, more than 3,100 people, primarily drug users and dealers, have been killed by police and in vigilante killings. "You know my victims," Duterte said. "I would like [them] to be all criminals to finish the problem of my country and save the next generation from perdition." Catherine Garcia

September 29, 2016

Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson, a former governor of New Mexico, first shot himself in the foot when, on MSNBC's Morning Joe, he appeared baffled at mention of Aleppo, a Chicago-sized city under siege in Syria. He just had his second self-described "Aleppo moment" on Wednesday — also, coincidentally, on MSNBC — when he was unable to name a world leader he likes — or, really, any world leader. Matt Negrin at Bloomberg Politics took that low-hanging fruit and made it into a delicious crow pie. Watch below. Peter Weber

September 29, 2016
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As a rebuttal to USA Today's editorial imploring people to vote for anyone but Donald Trump, his running mate, Gov. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), wrote an op-ed counterpoint calling Trump a "bold leader" not unlike Republican icon Ronald Reagan.

"In a political world often reserved for talkers, Donald Trump is a doer," Pence wrote. Over time, Pence said, he has found Trump to be "thoughtful, compassionate, and steady," and a lot like Reagan, who also "made some Republicans uneasy" when he entered politics. "Along the way, people heard his vision of a renewed America," Pence continued. "Americans from all walks of life flocked to a man who was so clearly unbound by Washington niceties and political correctness. Ronald Reagan spoke the truth in 1980 to the American people, just as Donald Trump has in 2016."

Hillary Clinton, Pence wrote, will bring "more taxes, more spending, more regulation, and more government," while Trump will cut taxes, repeal Obamacare, and "rewrite our trade deals so they help American workers." The choice is clear, Pence says, and only Trump has the "courage to speak his mind and the boldness to make true his vision of a renewed America." Catherine Garcia

September 29, 2016
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The Donald J. Trump Foundation does not have the certification New York requires for charities to solicit money from the public, the state attorney general's office told The Washington Post.

Under New York law, any charity that solicits more than $25,000 a year from the public must obtain registration beforehand, reports David Fahrenthold, and a charity the size of the Trump Foundation must also submit to an audit that asks if it spent any money to personally benefit its officers. The Trump Foundation was established in 1987 as a way for Trump to give away proceeds from his book, The Art of the Deal, but began taking donations from others in the early 2000s. One example of public solicitation took place earlier this year, when the Trump Foundation asked for donations online to give to veterans, later saying it raised $1.67 million through the site. Tax filings also show that each year during the past decade, the foundation raised more than $25,000 from outsiders, the Post reports. The Trump campaign did not respond to the Post's request for comment.

If New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D), who is already looking into the charity, finds that the Trump Foundation violated the law while raising money, he could order the foundation to immediately stop its fundraising efforts, and with a court's permission, it could be ordered to give back the money it has raised. One expert in charity law told Fahrenthold he was surprised by Trump's rookie move. "He's a billionaire who acts like a thousandaire," said James J. Fishman, a professor at Pace University's law school in White Plains, New York. "You wouldn't expect somebody who's supposed to be sophisticated, and brags about his business prowess, would run his foundation like this." Catherine Garcia

September 29, 2016
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USA Today's editorial board has never before chosen sides in a presidential race, and while they were unable to come up with a consensus for a Hillary Clinton endorsement, they did unanimously agree that Donald Trump is "unfit for the presidency."

Every four years, the editorial board revisits their policy against endorsing a candidate, and every four years, they stick with it. This time around, the board explained, it was different. Trump, the board wrote, "has demonstrated repeatedly that he lacks the temperament, knowledge, steadiness, and honesty that America needs from its presidents." He is "ill-equipped to be commander in chief," with "foreign policy pronouncements" that "typically range from uninformed to incoherent." Further, he is so "erratic" that "attempting to assess his policy positions is like shooting at a moving target," and he "traffics in prejudice," is a "serial liar," and has "coarsened the national dialogue."

The editorial urges voters to "stay true" to their convictions, but "resist the siren song of a dangerous demagogue. By all means vote, just not for Donald Trump." Read the entire damning editorial at USA Today. Catherine Garcia

September 29, 2016
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There's been a drop in the number of people getting the flu vaccination, a trend that's worrying infectious disease specialists.

"Flu is serious. Flu is unpredictable," Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters Thursday. "Flu often does not get enough respect." In 2015, about 45 percent of the U.S. population received vaccinations, down 1.5 percentage points from 2014, the CDC reports. The largest decrease was in people 50 and up — there was a 3.4 percent drop among people between the ages of 50 and 64, and a 3.3 percent decline among people 65 and over. While most people are hit with mild symptoms, the flu kills 100 children every year, and the elderly are among the most vulnerable to the virus.

While the CDC is urging Americans to get a flu shot now, they are not recommending the nasal spray vaccine, which is often used on kids, due to questions surrounding the vaccine's effectiveness. This year, there are also two new vaccines, NPR reports; one protects against four strains of the flu rather than three, and the other has an "adjuvant," which increases its effectiveness. The CDC expects as many as 168 million vaccines will be available, so "there's plenty for everybody," Frieden said. Catherine Garcia

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