The Vaccine Mutiny
Plus, The Ukraine Speech Biden Should Give Now
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EUGENE R. FIDELL: The Vaccine Mutiny.
A mutiny is underway in the U.S. armed forces—but it’s not a matter of a few disgruntled sailors conspiring belowdecks. Instead, this mutiny is happening in broad daylight, and is led by, among others, the skipper of a Navy warship. In effect, it’s a reverse mutiny. And it is being aided and abetted by judges of the lower federal courts, several appointed by former President Donald J. Trump.
The commanding officer of a warship of the U.S. Navy, a number of Navy SEALs, and an Air Force officer have objected to the Department of Defense’s order mandating vaccination against COVID-19. They say their requests for religious exemption have been denied, while other kinds of exemption—administrative and medical—have been granted. They claim that the religious exemption option held out by the armed forces is a sham because no such exemptions are being granted. As authority for their claims, they point to the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment, as well as a 1993 law, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. They also rely on a recent Supreme Court holding that, if a government agency offers exemption from an otherwise applicable law on any ground, it must do so for those asserting a religious claim.
MONA CHAREN: The Ukraine Speech Biden Should Give Now.
My fellow Americans, our country has been through several tough years. The pandemic was a severe blow. But even more serious than the disease was the fraying of our national spirit. We’ve been so polarized that we’ve forgotten our core identity as a country. What is that identity? We stand for democracy and freedom. That is our DNA as a nation. That is what the Founders bequeathed us and our heroes ratified over two centuries at home and abroad.
In the past few years, some Americans have lost faith in those things. So this is a moment to recenter ourselves. When Russian tanks rolled into Ukrainian territory on the night of February 24, the savage attack on a peaceful neighbor reminded the world of what autocracy looks like.
Kyiv is not encircled, its air force is largely intact, and Russians soldiers keep abandoning their equipment. While Ukraine may have the momentum, Russian elites may be hunkering down in underground bunkers far from Moscow. Michael Weiss joins Charlie Sykes today to update the state of the battle.
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Eric and Eliot host British author and historian Andrew Roberts and discuss his revisionist account of King George III and how a good man was nonetheless the monarch under whom the American colonies were lost.
They discuss his new podcast, Secrets of Statecraft, the most important characteristics of leadership in wartime, and the role Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is playing today and its Churchillian and Reaganite overtones. They also talk about Vladimir Putin, the role of individuals in history, and more.
Noah Smith joins JVL, Will and Ted tonight at 8:00 p.m. ET for a discussion of the economics of war.
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ROBERT ROSAMELIA: Democrats Are Now the Party of American Leadership in the World.
Imagine going back in time to 2003 and telling Dick Cheney or Trent Lott that in about twenty years, more Democrats than Republicans would want to deploy U.S. troops abroad in response to a major foreign crisis. They’d think you were crazy.
Some of this shift can be chalked up to the partisanship surrounding Russia that went along with the Trump era. But there are deeper forces at work, too, having to do with the aftermath of the 9/11 era, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the changing nature of our political coalitions.
Because of those forces—and because of how Donald Trump remade the GOP—Republican voters abandoned their longstanding commitments to free trade, small government, public morality, and the rule of law.
From the start of the Ukraine/Russia conflict in 2014, claims that the new post-Euromaidan Ukraine—or at least its leadership—was a neo-Nazi wolf in liberal clothing figured prominently in pro-Kremlin discourse. Indeed, the “de-Nazification” of Ukraine was one of Vladimir Putin’s stated goals as he announced the invasion on February 24. But this narrative, already lacking in credibility eight years ago (despite the very real presence of some far-right radicals among the Euromaidan protesters and fighters), has been even harder to sustain today when the “neo-Nazi junta” is led by Ukraine’s first Jewish President, Volodymyr Zelensky.
Yet in the past couple of days, the “Ukrainian Nazis!” trope has had a big revival in the pro-Kremlin corners of social media thanks to a shocking video clip from one of Ukraine’s main TV channels, Ukraine-24. In it, the presenter is seen openly calling for a genocide of Russians, including Russian children, and actually quoting Adolf Eichmann while making his point.
Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! While my family isn’t Irish, my wife’s is. And as is tradition, the corned beef is in the crock pot and the DVD of The Quiet Man is ready to be played. After TNB, of course. Here’s Riverdance on Capitol Hill.
Meet the pro-Russia Republicans and conservatives. In their own words.
The eight Republicans who want to keep normal trading with Russia. Can you guess all eight?
How bad staffing resulted in the Daylight Saving bill being passed. Whoopsie, shoulda paid attention to the hotline!
An update to the Mark Meadows voter fraud story… North Carolina is now investigating.
MasterChef Junior is back… A social media ad tells me. So, I present one of the funniest items on humor site Clickhole they’ve ever published.
Profits vs. Profiteering in war time… Is Koch Industries still doing business in Russia?If so, why?
Will the House continue to allow proxy voting? A debate.
The attempted hostile takeover of a small Tennessee town… Where Ford is about to build a big plant.
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