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Biden Cabinet, SCOTUS Ruling, and General Observations of the Week

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Clockwise from top left: Anthony Blinken, Janet Yellen, Jake Sullivan, Avril Haines, Alejandro Mayorkas, John Kerry and Linda Thomas-Greenfield.

Topic #1: As it becomes increasingly likely that Joe Biden will indeed be our next President, he has begun the work of assembling his cabinet. Media reports indicate that key nominations/appointments will include – Antony Blinken as Secretary of State, Jake Sullivan as National Security Advisor, and Janet Yellen as Secretary of Treasury.

Thoughts and Observations:

  • As those who win elections like to remind everyone, “Elections have consequences.” If Biden is inaugurated in January, this is the type of cabinet that results from electing him. This is democracy in action, and these are the consequences.
  • Conservatives should never expect that Democratic presidents will have cabinets we’re particularly fond of, and my hope is that Biden nominates the “least bad” of the candidates he’s considering.
  • Yellen is certainly qualified, but she has made statements in the past signaling a dislike for capitalism, which isn’t good. As the head of the Treasury Department, she’ll have a significant impact on economic policy. She’s undoubtedly an extremely bright woman, we can only hope she’s smart enough to avoid being too radical.
  • Of all of the positions in any cabinet, NSA and Secretary of State are extremely critical. To state the obvious – screwing up when it comes to international relations is really, really bad. Of all of the good things from the Trump Administration, his successes with foreign policy are the most evident and potentially the most impactful. Conversely, of all of the negatives to consider from Obama’s mistakes, those involving foreign affairs are the most glaring. While neither Sullivan nor Blinken would ever be considered by a Republican president, it could be worse I suppose. Susan Rice’s name isn’t on the list, neither is Ben Rhodes, and John Kerry is apparently going to be named “Climate Czar,” where he shouldn’t be able to do as much harm as when he led the State Department under Obama.
  • A key aspect of the Biden’s thinking – that is, of course, assuming that Biden is thinking at all – should be the likelihood of getting nominees approved. Most of the key cabinet positions require approval by the U.S. Senate, and it’s highly likely that Mitch McConnell and Republicans will have control of the Senate in the new Congress next year. We should expect the usual Republican Senator suspects to cave in rather easily and vote ‘yes’ on approving non-radical nominees such as Blinken, and those Senators include Mitt Romney (R-UT), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). But if Biden tries to push through highly controversial/radical nominees, like the aforementioned Susan Rice, they’ll likely never even make it to the floor for a vote.

Topic #2: On Wednesday, President Trump pardoned former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who had pled guilty to a charge related to Robert Mueller investigation into Russian election interference. Trump had fired Flynn shortly after taking office in 2017 for purportedly lying to Vice-President Pence.

Thoughts and Observations:

  • Presidential pardons are often controversial, and this one is no exception, as members of the Left and their media had a meltdown in the aftermath. But this is exactly the type of case that deserves such intervention, and Trump was absolutely correct in issuing the pardon.
  • As information unfolded regarding the circumstances of Flynn’s guilty plea, it became apparent that the FBI not only engaged in entrapment while interviewing the former Army General, but also may have engaged in quasi-blackmail by threatening actions against Flynn’s son if Flynn didn’t play along. Attorney General Bill Barr’s subsequent decision not to prosecute Flynn was clear evidence that the Justice Department had been unethical, at best, and potentially criminal in their pursuit of Flynn.
  • One aspect of this pardon that is particularly encouraging is the display of loyalty from Trump. Flynn not only deserved the pardon, he deserved Trump’s show of allegiance. I strongly disliked the way in which Trump broke ties with former cabinet members such as James Mattis, Jeff Sessions and Rex Tillerson, all of whom the President scorned after their departures. I have no problem with any president breaking ties with subordinates, I just prefer they do so without attacking them, but that’s not Trump’s style. This action with Flynn was nice to see.
  • Flynn’s pardon also highlights another major contrast and double-standard. Consider that the entrapment and manipulation of Michael Flynn happened between the 2016 election and Trump’s inauguration. During the transition from Obama to Trump, James Comey’s FBI was actively seeking to undermine the incoming administration, before Trump was even sworn in. Now, four years later, Democrats and their media are outraged that Trump isn’t being more cooperative regarding a transition to Biden. I wonder how the media would react next year if they find out that the current FBI is investigating and entrapping Jake Sullivan. Do you think that would go over well?

Topic #3: The Supreme Court issued an injunction on Wednesday that blocked Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo from enforcing occupancy limits on churches, synagogues and mosques.

Thoughts and Observations:

  • The request came from the Roman Catholic Diocese in Brooklyn and Agudath Israel, an advocacy group for Orthodox Jews. It’s always nice to see differing religions join forces in such matters, and it’s even nicer to see SCOTUS do the right thing by them.
  • The fact that the initiative even had to be taken in the first place is outrageous. The blatant double standards we’ve seen from Cuomo and other Democratic Governors has been ridiculous, and the fact that Cuomo calls himself a “Catholic” speaks volumes about his true morality on the matter. Cuomo could care less about any religion, including his own.
  • The majority opinion by the court accused Cuomo’s government of, “singl[ing] out houses of worship for especially harsh treatment.” Now there’s an understatement. New Yorkers are permitted to engage in various other activities without a problem – and in fact are even applauded – including buying liquor and violently rioting in the name of social justice. Justice has indeed been served.
  • This ruling is just one more example of the importance of the Supreme Court and the nominations of Justices by the sitting president. If President Trump did indeed lose the election, conservatives can at least take solace in the fact that he appointed three justices (Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett) during his four years, and all three of them ruled in favor of this injunction. Hopefully we’ll see similar, conservative rulings from the three of them for years to come.
  • While it’s encouraging to see how the new make-up of SCOTUS plays out regarding key decisions, it’s deeply disappointing to see the decisions of Chief Justice John Roberts who ruled with the liberal minority in this case. Roberts was appointed by President George W. Bush, and many expected him to be a conservative, constructionist Justice. Instead, this latest example illustrates that Roberts is anything but a conservative constructionist. Along with David Souter, who was appointed by Bush’s father, Roberts has to be one of the worst Justices appointed by a Republican president.

Topic #4: Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, Iran’s top nuclear scientist, was killed by an apparent military-style ambush near Tehran yesterday.

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 Thoughts and Observations:

  • Iran’s government has labeled it an “assassination,” and I’m sure they’re correct. Combined with the assassination by the United States forces earlier this year of terrorist Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, it’s been a bad year for Iranian bad guys.
  • Fakhrizadeh has been described as the “mastermind” behind Iran’s nuclear weapons program, the killing is surely a major blow to that program. Whoever committed the strike had that one, singular purpose.
  • Iran and others are accusing Israel as being behind the attack, and that’s probably not a bad guess. But we should not rule out the possibility that another government or perhaps even an internal Iranian group were the perpetrators. The recent gains that have been made with peace agreements between Israel and other nations in the region has made one fact perfectly clear: Iran has plenty of enemies, not just Israel.
  • Former Obama CIA Director John Brennan predictably condemned the killing, calling it “criminal” and “highly reckless.” It is remarkable how so many on the Left mourn when evil is thwarted, and it’s even more remarkable to consider that Brennan was actually the head of the CIA at one point. Consider that CIA Director is one of the positions mentioned previously that require Senate approval, and then consider that Brennan was approved in 2013 by a Senate with a Republican majority. Those are the types of appointments that must be stopped next year if Biden attempts to appoint similar radicals to key positions.

Topic #5: Millions of minks were culled in Denmark after being determined to have been infected with a mutated strain of COVID. After being buried in mass graves, the minks appeared to have reemerged from their graves, in a phenomenon being attributed to the gases generated when their bodies decay. Yes, zombie minks.

Thoughts and Observations:

  • Just another strange happening in 2020, the strangest of strange years. On a positive note, Danish scientists believe they have stemmed any damage by the infections.
  • It’s interesting to note that journalists reporting on the situation seem to be confused by the terminology. What is the plural form of the word ‘mink?’ If there is one, it’s called a mink. If there are two – similar to ‘bear’ and ‘deer’ – is it ‘mink,’ or ‘minks?’ We’ve seen both used interchangeably, so I’m going with the ‘s’.  
  • There have been reports that as soon as the dead critters began emerging from their shallow graves, the Biden Campaign sent a team to try and give them election ballots for Michigan. Stay tuned for more updates.

PF Whalen