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Author: TriSec    Date: 11/24/2020 10:20:10

Good Morning.

Acting President Biden has been busy over the last 24 hours or so.

While the President has yet to admit it, now his failure is complete. At long last, transition plans are proceeding. Very quickly, the Biden Administration has acted on the foreign policy front.

WASHINGTON — President-elect Joe Biden on Monday tapped Obama administration veterans for top national security positions, signaling a stark shift from the Trump administration’s “America First” policies that disparaged international alliances, career diplomats and other veteran government officials.

The six picks, including former Secretary of State John Kerry, mark a return to a more traditional approach to America’s relations with the rest of the world and reflect Biden’s campaign promises to have his Cabinet reflect the diversity of America.

In choosing foreign policy veterans, Biden appears to be seeking to upend Trump’s war on the so-called “deep state” that saw an exodus of senior and mid-level career officials from government, notably from the ranks of the State Department and National Security Council, including some who were fired for voicing opposition to the president's moves.

Biden will nominate his longtime adviser Antony Blinken to be secretary of state, lawyer Alejandro Mayorkas to be homeland security secretary, Linda Thomas-Greenfield to be ambassador to the United Nations. Avril Haines, a former deputy director of the CIA, will be nominated as director of national intelligence, the first woman to hold that post.

The incoming president will also appoint Jake Sullivan to be his national security adviser and Kerry to be his climate change envoy. Those posts do not require Senate confirmation.

The choices reflect Biden's emphasis on developing a diverse team with Thomas-Greenfield, a Black woman, at the helm of the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, and Mayorkas, a Cuban-American lawyer who will be the first Latino to lead Homeland Security.

Just reading some of those sentences is a breath of fresh air. Of course, Trump's biggest enabler remains in power, and some of these nominees will need to pass the Senate, but that fight is yet to come.

The Biden Administration will also be able to start planning and coordinating an actual Covid-19 response, a year after the crisis started. While we all look forward to coherent leadership on that front, there's a curiosity. Vaccines are on the cusp of being ready for use - but one group that could probably use it is so far remaining mum.

As the U.S. Food and Drug Administration weighs whether to issue an emergency use authorization for a coronavirus vaccine, Defense Department officials say the inoculations will remain voluntary once the FDA gives the OK.

Preparations are underway across the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs to receive doses of a COVID-19 vaccine once the FDA issues an emergency authorization for use, possibly as early as mid-December.

But as the two departments sort out the details on who should receive the vaccine and where, DoD officials stressed it will not be mandatory for U.S. service members, at least for a while.

According to officials, the vaccine will remain voluntary as long as it is authorized under emergency conditions and doesn't have official approval from the FDA.

In a town hall forum earlier this month, Air Force Col. Jessica Spitler, 30th Medical Group commander, said everyone who requests the vaccine will be required to give informed consent to receive it -- meaning they must speak with their doctor specifically about the immunization and agree to get it.

It will remain voluntary as long as it is not officially approved by the FDA -- a process that could take 18 months to two years, she added.

"We don't know the details of the legal considerations but we are expecting to get that soon," Spitler said during a Vandenberg Air Force Base town hall meeting Nov. 6.

DoD officials confirmed the decision to Military.com on Friday.

And we'll wrap up today by going back to the 80s. Do you remember the Pollard Spy Case? Thirty years on, he is alive and well - and has just been released from strict parole monitoring.

This will allow him to emigrate to Israel.

I don't know about you, but considering that Benjamin Netanyahu and Donald Trump are practically frotting each other at this point - this sure seems a little convenient, doesn't it?

An American jailed in 1985 for spying for Israel was released from strict parole conditions Friday, allowing his move to Israel, the U.S. Justice Department said.

Jonathan Pollard served 30 years for giving away classified U.S. documents and had been confined by parole terms to the United States since his release in 2015, despite Israeli pressure to allow him to leave.

"After a review of Mr. Pollard's case, the U.S. Parole Commission has found that there is no evidence to conclude that he is likely to violate the law," the Justice Department said.


Pollard's lawyers, Eliot Lauer and Jacques Semmelman, said in a statement that they are "grateful and delighted that our client is finally free of any restrictions, and is now a free man in all respects."

"We look forward to seeing our client in Israel," they said.

"Mr. Pollard is happy to finally be able to assist his beloved wife Esther, who is fighting an aggressive form of cancer," they added. "Mr. Pollard would like people to know that it was his wife, more than anyone else, who kept him alive during all the years he was in prison."

In the statement, Pollard also thanked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Ambassador Ron Dermer for their efforts on his behalf.

There was little immediate reaction from U.S. Jewish organizations or political figures, perhaps reflecting the sensitivity of commenting on a U.S. citizen who spied against his country for one of its closest allies.

Which is probably more illustrative that in the remaining few weeks of a Trumpian Gotterdamerung, there is still plenty more damage that can be done.

Have the safest Thanksgiving you can have this week!!


4 comments (Latest Comment: 11/24/2020 16:30:57 by wickedpam)
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