Patterico's Pontifications


By A Large Margin, House Votes For $1 Billion Funding For Israel’s Iron Dome

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:27 pm

[guest post by Dana]

It’s done:

An overwhelming bipartisan majority of the House voted Thursday to pass $1 billion in funding for Israel’s “Iron Dome” missile defense system days after progressives succeeded in getting the funds stripped from a temporary government funding bill.

The bill passed 420-9-2, with Reps. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), André Carson (D-Ind.), Marie Newman (D-Ill.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), Cori Bush (D-Mo.) and Chuy Garcia (D-Ill.) voting against it.

Reps. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) voted “present.”

The development came after Republicans and moderate Democrats alike erupted at progressives for getting the funds stripped from a stopgap funding bill that passed the House on Tuesday.

Before the vote, Rep. Tlaib mistakenly referred to the Iron Dome missile defense system as a “weapon” while agreeing with Human Rights Watch that Israel is an “apartheid regime”:

Rep. Elise Slotkin took to Twitter to correct Tlaib:

Rep. Ted Deutch also took Tlaib to the woodshed for calling Israel an “apartheid state”:

From Deutch:

If there’s no place in the world for one Jewish state, that’s anti-Semitism.

Earlier this year, four Jewish House Democrats were compelled to rebuke Democratic colleagues for attacking Israel as an apartheid state. In part:

“Elected officials have used reckless, irresponsible antisemitic rhetoric,” said the letter sent Tuesday…“We also reject comments from Members of Congress accusing Israel of being an ‘apartheid state’ and committing ‘act[s]’ of terrorism,” the letter said. “These statements are antisemitic at their core and contribute to a climate that is hostile to many Jews. We must never forget that less than eighty years ago, within the lifetime of our parents and grandparents, six million people were murdered by the Nazis in the Holocaust because they were Jews. Israel has long provided the Jewish people with a homeland in which they can be safe after facing centuries of persecution.”

Anyway, I was curious about why Squad members would pick a fight over the Iron Dome now, given that Democrats are facing any number of enormous issues (infrastructure bill, Haitian humanitarian crises at the Southern border, continued in-fighting between the progressive wing and centrist Democrats, Biden’s sinking approval ratings (including Black voters), the pandemic, etc). Good thing Jim Geraghty was already wondering the same thing:

So what gives? What spurred Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar to pick this fight on this issue now?

Could it be that Tlaib can sense that she and the other members of the Squad are about to get dealt a big defeat on the infrastructure spending bill – either being forced to settle for significantly less spending than they publicly demanded, or sensing that the whole massive infrastructure bill is going down in defeat – and she or they wanted to have some other big, symbolic fight to reassure their progressive supporters that they were fighting the good fight?

Put another way, if you were Tlaib and you felt really good that your party had enough votes to get your preferred version of the spending bills passed… would you pick this fight over Iron Dome funding here and now?

House Democrats clearly have an anti-Israel-anti-Semitism problem. The question is, will Nancy Pelosi do what it takes to get her house in order and actually stand up to members who continue to push that particular brand of ugliness, or will she keep providing cover for offending members by continuing to claim that “We have no taint of that in the Democratic Party”?


GOP Senators Working To Protect Military Members From Dishonorable Discharge For Refusing Covid Vaccine

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:12 am

[guest post by Dana]

Statement from the Executive Office of the President:

Prohibition on Adverse Personnel Actions Taken Against Certain Members of the Armed Forces Based on Declining COVID-19 Vaccine and Expansion of Exemptions from Vaccination Requirement. The Administration strongly opposes section 716, which would detract from readiness and limit a commander’s options for enforcing good order and discipline when a Service member fails to obey a lawful order to receive a vaccination. To enable a uniformed force to fight with discipline, commanders must have the ability to give orders and take appropriate disciplinary measures. The Administration also strongly opposes section 720, which would create a new and overly broad exemption from the vaccination requirement for previous infection that would undermine the effectiveness of the requirement. The Department will make available a full range of resources to Service members, including individual and professional medical advice, to demonstrate the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccine and to ensure they are fully informed about vaccination.

Meanwhile, Republicans are working to protect servicemembers from a “dishonorable discharge” for refusing a Covid vaccine:

On Tuesday, three GOP senators introduced the “COVID-19 Vaccine Dishonorable Discharge Prevention Act,” which builds on an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that passed in committee earlier this month. An honorable discharge is the highest category of military separation and gives a veteran full-access to benefits to which their service entitles them.

In a press release, GOP Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Roger Marshall of Kansas, and James Lankford of Oklahoma blasted President Joe Biden’s administration for not being sufficiently supportive of the troops.

“It’s an insult to our servicemen and women who have served with honor to dishonorably discharge them for refusing the COVID vaccine,” said Cruz. “It is the same way we dishonorably discharge those convicted of serious crimes such as treason, desertion, sexual assault, and murder.”

The text of the bill, released by Cruz’s senate office, specifies that a “member of an Armed Force under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of a military department subject to discharge on the basis of the member choosing not to receive the COVID–19 vaccine may only receive an honorable discharge.”

Recent Covid vaccine rates for members of the military:

A total of 1.1 million troops are already fully vaccinated against the virus, which has infected more than 238,000 service members and killed 46, according to the Pentagon’s latest update.

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