Is manpower shortage, Israel war eroding US support for Ukraine? – National & International News – TUE 7Nov2023

MI Rep. Tlaib defends against censure over calls for Israel ceasefire.

Ohio voters to vote directly on abortion rights.

Is manpower shortage, Israel war eroding US support for Ukraine?



MI Rep. Tlaib defends against censure over calls for Israel ceasefire

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), the only Palestinian-American in Congress, gave an at times emotional defense of her comments criticizing the current bombing campaign of Gaza by Israel. Tlaib is facing a censure vote in the House, which is likely to happen tomorrow. Censures in the House do not impose any punishments or restrictions on members beyond a public condemnation. This is the second attempt by House Republicans to censure Tlaib since the Oct. 7th attack by Hamas in Israel.

In previous addresses, and again today, she called on her colleagues to join her in supporting a ceasefire in Israel. Despite overwhelming support for a ceasefire among Americans across the political spectrum, members of both parties have rejected any suggestion of appealing for a ceasefire. Only in recent days, some Democrats have called for limited “humanitarian pauses” or “tactical pauses” in fighting to allow civilians and hostages in the Gaza strip to be evacuated and allow aid to get in.

Tlaib has taken Pres. Biden to task for supporting what she called a “genocide” of the Palestinian people by Israel. Since Oct. 7, over 10,000 people have been killed in Gaza, more than 4,000 of them children.

Breaking down at one point during her speech, Tlaib again made her case.

“I can’t believe we have to say this but Palestinian people are not disposable. We are human beings just like anyone else. My sity, my grandmother — like all Palestinians — just wants to live her life with freedom and human dignity we all deserve,” she said. “Speaking up to save lives no matter faith, no matter ethnicity should not be controversial in this chamber.

“The cries of the Palestinian and Israeli children sound no different to me,” Tlaib said. “What I don’t understand is why the cries of Palestinian children sound different to you all. We cannot lose our shared humanity.”

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Ohio voters to decide whether to enshrine an right to abortion in state constitution

In addition to Mississippi’s closely-watched statewide elections, votes in several other states are garnering nation attention today. In Kentucky, incumbent Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear is defending his seat against Republican challenger Daniel Cameron. In Virginia, all 100 state House seats and all 40 Senate seats are up for grabs. In both states, abortion has been a salient issue. 

Ohioans will be voting directly today on the future of abortion rights in their state. The state’s Republican governor and Republican-dominated legislature have passed a law restricting abortions after 6 weeks. That law is currently on hold pending a legal challenge before the state’s Republican-controlled Supreme Court.

Today, Ohio voters can decide whether to abolish that law altogether with a measure that would make abortion a constitutional right in their state. The wording of the law would grant an absolute right to an abortion up to the point of fetal viability, and beyond that if a doctor determines an abortion is necessary to protect the life or health of the mother. 

So far, in every state where the issue has been put to a direct vote, voters have supported greater rights and access to abortion. Like Kansas, which approved such a measure last year, Ohio is considered a red state. Today will be a test of how potent the issue remains for voters, not only in Ohio but also in Virginia and Kentucky.

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Is manpower shortage, Israel war eroding US support for Ukraine?

Over the weekend, NBC news published a story (link below) suggesting that Western powers’ so far unwavering support for Ukraine’s fight against the Russian invasion may be running out of steam. Citing two anonymous US officials with knowledge of the talks, the article stated that “U.S. and European officials have begun quietly talking to the Ukrainian government about what possible peace negotiations with Russia might entail to end the war”. The talks apparently included what terms and concessions Kyiv might have to agree to in order to reach a settlement with Russia.

For several months, Ukraine’s progress against entrenched Russian positions in occupied regions has been slow, despite successive waves of financial and military aid from the US and other allies of Ukraine. This included a controversial decision by the US to supply Ukraine with cluster munitions, which are known to present deadly dangers to civilians even years after a conflict is over.

The consensus even among Ukraine’s staunchest allies is that fighting has reached a stalemate. There’s also growing skepticism among US politicians about supporting Ukraine. Many US politicians also prefer to switch their attention to Israel, a fact recently lamented by Ukrainian President Zelensky. 

Within Ukraine itself, there have been protests against open-ended deployments for fighters, some of whom have been at the front for the entire duration of the war. Kyiv has also proposed several changes to conscription procedures and has considered rescinding exemptions for students and people with certain health problems. Recently, Ukraine enacted a law conscripting women with medical training. For Ukraine’s allies, including the US, Ukraine’s manpower deficits are a major concern.

Possibly in answer to this, Ukraine’s defense ministry announced just days ago a policy under which “Conscript military service will be replaced by intensive military training for citizens of draft age. It’s unclear from the press release whether this training is voluntary or whether Kyiv is just rebranding “conscription” as “recruitment”.

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