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Daily Briefing: AMERICA IN A SHAMBLES (December 28,2020)

Table of Contents:

 

Cropped official portrait of Vice President Joe Biden in his West Wing Office at the White House, Jan. 10, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann) (Wikipedia)

Biden Gets Vaccine, but Does He Understand It?:  James Freeman, WSJ, Dec. 21, 2020


Analysis: Has the Democrats’ Push to Depose Biden Begun?:  Martin Sherman, JNS, Dec. 27, 2020


Conrad Black: America in a Shambles: Conrad Black, National Post, Dec. 19, 2020


William Barr: ‘One Standard of Justice’:  Kimberley A. Strassel, WSJ, Dec. 18, 2020

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Biden Gets Vaccine, but Does He Understand It?
James Freeman
WSJ, Dec. 21, 2020

In the days leading up to the November elections Joe Biden told some whoppers on the subject of health care. Perhaps that’s to be expected in the heat of a political campaign. But his post-election comments are harder to figure. Mr. Biden’s Monday Covid-19 vaccination in Delaware proves he now understands that his consistent skepticism about the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed was misguided. Yet Mr. Biden continues to promote the same policy agenda based on his original false premise.
 
Candidate Biden claimed that the president had no plan for addressing the virus and warned that Americans couldn’t trust Mr. Trump to oversee a quick and safe vaccine approval. With today’s vaccination Mr. Biden has effectively rebutted his own campaign warnings.
 
The outstanding work of the pharmaceutical industry, encouraged and enabled by President Trump, has already resulted in two approved vaccines, and yes, there is a distribution plan. The Journal’s Peter Loftus and Charles Passy report on the newly authorized Covid-19 vaccine from Moderna Inc. :
 
Drug distributor McKesson Corp. began picking up doses of the vaccine from manufacturing plants on Saturday for distribution around the country. United Parcel Service Inc. and FedEx Corp. trucks started rolling out Sunday to deliver the doses to hospitals and other sites.

The federal government plans to distribute over the coming week a total of 7.9 million doses of vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer Inc., which developed the first Covid-19 shot authorized for use in the U.S.
 
“The second vaccine from Moderna, added to the Pfizer vaccine, now allows us to be on the offense” against the coronavirus pandemic, Gen. Gustave Perna, who is overseeing the federal vaccine-distribution plan, said Saturday. “The second shot in a one-two punch against the coronavirus is here,” reports Michael Gartland today for the New York Daily News. He adds:
 
The newly FDA-authorized Moderna vaccine began arriving in New York City on Monday, according to city Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi, who said shipments would continue through Wednesday. “We’re very excited about the Moderna vaccine coming to New York City,” Chokshi said at a Monday morning news briefing.
 
It’s exciting for people all over the world. In the U.S., it suggests the problem will be largely solved by Inauguration Day. Dr. Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford Medical School and Oxford University epidemiology professor Sunetra Gupta explained in a recent Journal op-ed:
 
Thanks to Operation Warp Speed, Americans will have enough doses to inoculate 20 million people in December and 30 million more in January. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has rightly put nursing-home residents first in line; 38% of U.S. Covid deaths are connected to those settings. Frontline medical personnel will also receive priority; those who care for the elderly should receive special priority. So should people under 65 who are at severely elevated risk of mortality from Covid-19 infection due to severe chronic disease. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
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Analysis: Has the Democrats’ Push to Depose Biden Begun?
Martin Sherman
JNS, Dec. 27, 2020

The November 2020 elections were an extraordinary event in which the bizarre—even the outlandish—became an integral part of the everyday humdrum routine.
 
“A significant portion of the public does not believe that the November 3, 2020, presidential election was fairly conducted…Once again, four justices on this court cannot be bothered with addressing what the statutes require to assure that absentee ballots are lawfully cast.” — Patience D. Roggensack, Chief Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, December 14, 2020.
 
” …a majority of this court unconstitutionally converts the…Elections Commission’s mere advice into governing “law,” thereby supplanting the actual election laws enacted by the people’s elected representatives in the legislature and defying the will of [the state’s] citizens. When the state’s highest court refuses to uphold the law, and stands by while an unelected body of six commissioners rewrites it, our system of representative government is subverted.” —Justice Rebecca Grassl Bradley, December 14, 2020.
 
“Investigators have been examining multiple financial issues, including whether Hunter Biden and his associates violated tax and money laundering laws in business dealings in foreign countries, principally China…Some of those transactions involved people who the FBI believe sparked counterintelligence concerns, a common issue when dealing with Chinese business.” —CNN,December 10, 2020.
 
The implausible and even more implausible?
 
This is not a politically partisan observation—for it is valid no matter which side of the Democrat/GOP political divide one might happen to be. After all, it is difficult to know what is more implausibly far-fetched:
 
(a) that—as the Republicans claim—there was pervasive electoral fraud on a scale so massive that it determined—indeed, inverted—the outcome of the ballot; or
 
(b) that—as the Democrats claim—as a lackluster and lackadaisical candidate, perceptibly frail and aging, Joe Biden genuinely managed to amass the highest number of votes ever in a presidential election, surpassing Obama’s previous 2008 record by almost 12 million votes.
 
Making this latter scenario even more difficult to accept at face value is that Biden’s running mate, Kamala Harris, was hardly an electrifying voter getter, having being forced to drop out quite early on in her own party’s primaries for its choice of a presidential candidate.
 
Indeed, Biden’s choice of Harris as his prospective vice president was, in itself, more than a little incongruous, as she had viciously excoriated him during the primaries for his record on race relations, complicity with segregationists, and sexual impropriety, adamantly proclaiming that she believed the women who had complained about his unwanted sexual advances.
 
Indeed, in light of his anemic, largely “no-show” election campaign, in which he studiously avoided articulating his position on a number of crucial issues, Biden’s apparent electoral achievement is even mor bewildering. Indeed, referring to the Biden campaign, one media channel observed dourly: “There is no surge of feeling, zero passion…Instead, the closest thing to enthusiasm…among voters is resigned, faint praise. ‘He’s a decent man’…but you can’t move the needle of history with flaccid decency.”
 
Another channel noted: “Biden’s performance [in exceeding Obama’s 2008 record] is incredible considering the voter enthusiasm – especially among young people – that his former boss had…”.
 
Accordingly, the sentiment expressed by the Chief Justice of Wisconsin’s Supreme Court, Patience D. Roggensack, was hardly surprising when she warned that, “A significant portion of the public does not believe that the November 3, 2020, presidential election was fairly conducted.”… [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
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Conrad Black: America in a Shambles
Conrad Black
National Post, Dec. 19, 2020

Canada’s 4,000-mile border with the world’s most powerful country, what Prime Minister W.L. McKenzie King described to General Charles de Gaulle in 1944 as “an overwhelming contiguity,” has generally been a veritable blessing. To the best of my research, Canada is the only country in the world that has had land borders with other countries for over 200 years that has not been invaded in that time (I consider the U.S. Civil War an invasion of the Union). And on the two prior occasions when we were invaded, the Americans were in the first case conducting what is generally reckoned to be a just revolution against oppressive colonization (though it is massively romanticized and George III hideously defamed in American mythology). The second invasion, the War of 1812, was an American response to outrageous provocations by the British. We only survived that brush with pre-national extinction because of the loyalty of the French-Canadians, the generalship of Isaac Brock and the fortuitous incompetence as a war leader of President James Madison, one of history’s great lawgivers, as the chief author of the Constitution of the United States, though he was.
 
Many countries bordered by two or more other states have suffered indescribable misery these 200 years; Poland, a valiant historic nation, was divided up and annexed by the Prussians, Russians and Austrians, and in the last century, after 20 years of independence, Poland was brutally crushed first by Hitler and then by Stalin. I am not a reflexive cheerleader for the United States, and few Canadians have been more heavily inconvenienced by the corruption of the American legal system than I have, but the U.S. has not really bothered us these last two centuries and for the last century, has been more responsible for our security than we have ourselves.
 
The United States in the 244 years of its independence has enjoyed a swifter rise by every measurement of power, population and prosperity, than any nation or people in the history of the world, from a couple of million colonists at independence in 1783 to overwhelming pre-eminence in the world at the end of the Second World War, just two long lifetimes later. Canada, to avoid being subsumed into the mighty American updraft, had to strive hard throughout that time to keep pace with America’s rise. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
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William Barr: ‘One Standard of Justice’
Kimberley A. Strassel
WSJ, Dec. 18, 2020

The U.S. attorney general is meditating on one of his frustrations with the modern Justice Department: The outside world keeps moving faster; the wheels of justice ever more slowly. “Nobody wants to take responsibility anymore,” William Barr says with a hint of incredulity. “They wring their hands and push issues around the bureaucracy and trade memos for months.” His response: “Bring it to me! I’ll make the decision. That’s what I’m here for!”
 
If Mr. Barr, 70, dominated headlines over the past two years, it’s because he made a lot of tough calls. Special counsel Robert Mueller’s constitutionally dubious claims that President Trump committed obstruction of justice? No. An investigation of the 2016 Russia-collusion probe and the dismissal of charges against Mike Flynn ? Yes. New oversight of sensitive political investigations and surveillance of U.S. citizens? Yes. A criminal referral about Mr. Trump’s call to the Ukrainian president? No. Repeated demands—from the left and the right—for his department to engage in politics? No, no, no.
 
Consequential decisions have a way of annoying people—Democrats, Republicans, the staff, one’s boss—but Mr. Barr, who’d been attorney general before, from 1991-93, knew that going in. “I’m in a position in life where I can do the right thing and not really care about the consequences,” he told senators during his January 2019 confirmation hearing. In a 90-minute phone interview Tuesday—less than 24 hours after the announcement of his resignation, effective Dec. 23—he sounded his usual spirited self.
 
He reminds me why he took the job in the first place: “The Department of Justice was being used as a political weapon” by a “willful if small group of people,” who used the claim of collusion with Russia in an attempt to “topple an administration,” he says. “Someone had to make sure that the power of the department stopped being abused and that there was accountability for what had happened.” Mr. Barr largely succeeded, in the process filling a vacuum of political oversight, reimposing norms, and resisting partisan critics on both sides.
 
Mr. Barr describes an overarching objective of ensuring that there is “one standard of justice.” That, he says, is why he appointed U.S. Attorney John Durham to investigate the FBI’s 2016 Crossfire Hurricane probe. “Of course the Russians did bad things in the election,” he says. “But the idea that this was done with the collusion of the Trump campaign—there was never any evidence. It was entirely made up.” The country deserved to know how the world’s premier law-enforcement agency came to target and spy on a presidential campaign.
 
Mr. Barr says Mr. Durham’s appointment should not have been necessary. Mr. Mueller’s investigation should have exposed FBI malfeasance. Instead, “the Mueller team seems to have been ready to blindly accept anything fed to it by the system,” Mr. Barr says, adding that this “is exactly what DOJ should not be.”… [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
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For Further Reference:

The Key Supporting Effort Appears To Be Underway On Trump’s Operational Timeline:  J. E. Dyer, Liberty Unyielded, Dec. 21, 2020 — A big indicator appeared on Saturday, in a guise that may be a bit esoteric: a report that defense officials are pushing a proposal to split U.S. Cyber Command off from the National Security Agency, where the two have operated under a dual-hatted commander, the Director of NSA, since 2009.
 
The Next Chapter in the American Story:  The New Discourses Podcast with James Lindsay – Episode 13:  New Discourses, Nov. 30, 2020 — Human beings think in stories. We understand ourselves and the world, societies, social groups, and contexts we live in that way. One type of story is a national story, and in this episode of the New Discourses podcast, James Lindsay makes the case that Americans have, by and large, forgotten the totality of their own story.
 
REPORT: Majority Of House Democrats Endorse Return To Iran Deal Michael Ginsburg, Daily Caller, Dec. 24, 2020 — 150 House Democrats signed a letter endorsing President-elect Joe Biden’s plan to re-enter the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action for Iran (JCPOA), according to reports.
 
What Raphael Warnock Believes About Israel:  Barton Swain, WSJ, Dec. 16, 2020 — The Middle East poses a problem for the Democrats. Theirs was traditionally the pro-Israel party and still commands the support of a substantial majority of Jewish voters.
 
The Best Books of 2020: Politics:  Barton Swain, WSJ, Dec. 10, 2020 — Christopher Caldwell’s “The Age of Entitlement: America Since the Sixties” (Simon and Schuster, 352 pages, $28) appeared in January, before the George Floyd riots or the coronavirus panic, but a careful reader of this penetrating study of postwar America might have foreseen the reckless lunacy occasioned by both events.
 

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