Monday, November 23, 2020

Last Call For Biden, His Time, Con't

Biden's first major cabinet pick, like nearly every president I can recall, is Secretary of State, and that job appears to be headed to Biden campaign foreign policy adviser and former Obama deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken.

Antony J. Blinken, a defender of global alliances and President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s closest foreign policy adviser, is expected to be nominated for secretary of state, a job in which he will try to coalesce skeptical international partners into a new competition with China, according to people close to the process.

Mr. Blinken, 58, a former deputy secretary of state under President Barack Obama, began his career at the State Department during the Clinton administration. His extensive foreign policy credentials are expected to help calm American diplomats and global leaders alike after four years of the Trump administration’s ricocheting strategies and nationalist swaggering.

Mr. Biden is also expected to name another close aide, Jake Sullivan, as national security adviser, according to a person familiar with the process. Mr. Sullivan, 43, succeeded Mr. Blinken as Vice President Biden’s national security adviser, and served as the head of policy planning at the State Department under Hillary Clinton, becoming her closest strategic adviser.

Together, Mr. Blinken and Mr. Sullivan, good friends with a common worldview, have become Mr. Biden’s brain trust and often his voice on foreign policy matters. And they led the attack on President Trump’s use of “America First” as a guiding principle, saying it only isolated the United States and created opportunities and vacuums for its adversaries.

Mr. Biden plans to announce their selections even as Mr. Trump continues his ineffectual push to overturn the election. A growing number of Republicans are calling on Mr. Trump to concede and begin the official transition process.

Mr. Biden is also expected to name Linda Thomas-Greenfield, a 35-year veteran of the Foreign Service who has served in diplomatic posts around the world, as his ambassador to the United Nations, according to two people with knowledge of the process. Mr. Biden will also restore the post to cabinet-level status after Mr. Trump downgraded it, giving Ms. Thomas-Greenfield, who is Black, a seat on his National Security Council. The selections of Mr. Blinken and Mr. Sullivan were reported earlier by Bloomberg News, and Ms. Thomas-Greenfield’s nomination was reported by Axios.

Mr. Blinken has been at Mr. Biden’s side for nearly 20 years, including as his top aide on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and later as his national security adviser when he was vice president. In that role, Mr. Blinken helped develop the American response to political upheaval and instability across the Middle East, with mixed results in Egypt, Iraq, Syria and Libya.

But chief among his new priorities will be to re-establish the United States as a trusted ally that is ready to rejoin global agreements and institutions — including the Paris climate accord, the Iran nuclear deal and the World Health Organization — that were jettisoned by Mr. Trump.

“Simply put, the big problems that we face as a country and as a planet, whether it’s climate change, whether it’s a pandemic, whether it’s the spread of bad weapons — to state the obvious, none of these have unilateral solutions,” Mr. Blinken said at a forum at the Hudson Institute in July. “Even a country as powerful as the United States can’t handle them alone
Remember when Cabinet officials weren't raving lunatics who made news weekly by destroying America's reputation and alienating our allies?  Welcome to the calm feeling of having an actually qualified career foreign policy wonk and diplomat as Secretary of State.

I know, weird, huh?

I look forward to not writing about Tony Blinken, Janet Yellen, Alejandro Moyorkas and Avril Haines on this blog, because he doesn't do stupid things like the last crew did, so I won't need tags for them.


Trump's Race To The Bottom, Con't

Throughout his term, Donald Trump's been throwing around the idea (well, racist Malkavian vampire Stephen Miller's idea) of abolishing the birthright citizenship provision of the 14th Amendment. He's been talking about doing this by executive order since 2018, and again in 2019, and now here in the scorched earth phase of destroying America before he leaves office, he's considering it again.

President Donald Trump is considering an executive action to target birthright citizenship in his final weeks in office, according to two sources who spoke with The Hill in a report published on Friday.

Birthright citizenship is the policy whereby anyone who is born in the US is immediately granted citizenship, regardless of whether their parents have citizenship or not.

It's guaranteed under the 14th Amendment, which states in part that "all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside." More than 30 countries — mostly in the Western Hemisphere — have birthright citizenship.

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is an example of someone who received their US citizenship in this way. Harris's Indian mother and Jamaican father were not yet US citizens when she was born in California in 1964, but she became a US citizen.

Trump has been speaking out against birthright citizenship since his 2016 run for the White House, which was infused with anti-immigrant rhetoric. He brought the issue up again in a 2018 interview with Axios, in which he stated that he could issue an executive order to end the practice.

However, The Intercept reported in 2018 that this is "an idea rejected by an overwhelming consensus of conservative and liberal law scholars." A law written into the Constitution can only be ended through a new amendment.

Counter-arguments to birthright citizenship over the years say that the 14th Amendment has been misinterpreted.

"The Citizenship Clause of the 14th Amendment was clearly intended to guarantee that emancipated slaves would properly be recognized as U.S. citizens," RJ Hauman, government relations director at Federation for American Immigration Reform, told The Hill. Hauman's group is an anti-immigration non-profit.

"It is a fundamental misapplication of this clause that U.S.-born children of illegal aliens are granted automatic citizenship, much less the offspring of people who come here to simply give birth on American soil."

If the president finally issues a long-awaited executive order limiting birthright citizenship, it will be up to the Supreme Court to resolve this issue once and for all," Hauman said.
It's that last part that will eventually be the problem.  Biden could reverse the executive order, but I would expect immediately that states like Texas and Florida would sue to have the order reinstated. This is why Trump's been putting it off, he now believes he has a Supreme Court capable of making this decision permanent.

No, I don't know how that would work from a legal standing perspective either. Like I said, it's pretty asinine. I expect Texas will find a way to sue anyhow, it's not like evidentiary law means much in 2020 to conservatives anyhow. 

Still, the point is to send this to SCOTUS somehow, and to change the country forever.

And yes, this means that millions of American citizens would no longer be American citizens. Including the Vice-President. There's a reason for this: massive deportation roundups.

It's a terrible future, and one we may not yet be able to avoid.


Retribution Execution, Con't

Steve M. notes that the GOP will gladly keep Trump's people in key positions in the party because the alternative is oblivion, but so will our media.
I suspect that the press is gearing up to just keep covering Trump -- in fact, the Times published a story titled "Win or Lose, Trump Will Remain a Powerful and Disruptive Force" the day after the polls closed. In the comments to that story, one reader wrote: 
Mr. Trump's disruptive voice, if he loses, will remain prominent if the members of the various media choose to give him the high platform given him for four years. They can give him a platform to be as prominent or more so than Mr. Biden. Certainly, Trump will be more attractive to readers and viewers than Biden. He's the showman. Biden is not. He can bolster newspaper circulation and TV ratings in a way that Biden cannot. The more Trump prominence, the more interference in the healing needed by the country. Media leaders will determine that ratio. Millions of Americans hope that they will choose healing over popularity of their products. 
I certainly hope the media will dump Trump. I don't expect it to happen, but if it does, I'll be delighted.
This is exactly the scenario I envision, so much so that I believe Ronna McDaniel will publicly state that the GOP expects the media to continue to cover Trump as still being the guy in the Oval Office. She will state that the American people don't recognize Biden.

And then, then the media will have a choice, quit Trump cold turkey and incur the angry, and possibly very violent wrath of his cultists, or to side with America.

I don't expect them to make the right choice at all.


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