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Republican Sen. Collins on why she voted to convict | Second Trump impeachment trial

Republican Sen. Collins on why she voted to convict | Second Trump impeachment trial

https://youtu.be/VJt_-eU0SNE
Senator Collins in a most powerful informed truthful presentation on why former president Trump should be condemned for abusing his office on and before January 6, 2021.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, delivers remarks Feb. 13 following Trump’s acquittal in his second impeachment trial. The 57-43 vote was the most bipartisan in history, with seven Republicans, including Collins, voting to convict but 10 votes shy of the two-thirds majority needed.

“Context was everything. Tossing a lit match into a pile of dry leaves is very different than tossing it into a pool of water,” Collins said, explaining her vote to convict. She said Trump’s selfish interests are to blame for the Capitol attack. “This impeachment trial is not about any single word uttered by President Trump on January 6, 2021. It is instead about President Trump’s failure to obey the oath he swore on January 20, 2017,” she said.

She condemned his repeated false claims about a stolen election, the call to Georgia election officials asking to “just find 11,780 votes,” and his Twitter invitation to his supporters to come to the Capitol on Jan. 6. She said she voted to convict to uphold the oath she took to defend the Constitution.

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Trump Acquitted – ‘Make America Great Again has only just begun’: Trump defiant after acquittal

https://a.msn.com/r/2/BB1dELAT?m=en-gb&referrerID=InAppShare

Sky News – 13 February 2021

Former US President Donald Trump has been found not guilty in his impeachment trial

Former US President Donald Trump has been found not guilty in his 2nd impeachment trial.

Although the final vote came in as 57 “guilty” and 43 “not guilty”, the Democrats did not reach the two-thirds majority they needed to secure a conviction.

Seven members of Mr. Trump’s own party (Senators Sasse, Romney, Burr, Collins, Murkowski, Toomey, and Cassidy) joined Democrats on the charge of incitement.

In a statement after the trial, Mr. Trump said it was “a sad commentary on our times” that the Democrats had been given a “free pass to transform justice into a tool of political vengeance, and persecute, blacklist, cancel and suppress all people and viewpoints with whom or which they disagree”.

He added: “I always have, and always will be a champion for the unwavering rule of law, the heroes of law enforcement, and the right of Americans to peacefully and honorably debate the issues of the day without malice and without hate.

“No president has ever gone through anything like it, and it continues because our opponents cannot forget the almost 75 million people, the highest number ever for a sitting president, who voted for us just a few short months ago.”

Mr. Trump had been charged with “incitement of insurrection” over last month’s violence when the US Capitol was stormed by his supporters, just as Congress was attempting to ratify the 2020 election result.

Just before the 6 January riots, thousands of his supporters gathered at a “Save America” rally on the National Mall, minutes away from the Capitol.
It had been organised to challenge the election result and Joe Biden’s win.

Mr. Trump’s supporters listened to him speak for 70 minutes, during which at one point the former reality star exhorted them to “fight like hell – or you’re not going to have a country anymore”.

https://news.sky.com/story/trump-impeachment-trial-three-things-that-make-the-verdict-crucial-to-all-of-us-12216607

The attack began moments after he took the applause.

At the impeachment hearing, Mr. Trump’s defence team had launched a blistering attack on the Democrats, describing proceedings as an “unjust, unconstitutional witch-hunt”.

Michael van der Veen, Mr. Trump’s lawyer, said: “This whole spectacle has been nothing but the unhinged pursuit of a long-standing political vendetta against Mr. Trump by the opposition party.”

He told the hearing Mr. Trump was not to blame and that he had told his supporters to protest peacefully.

It was argued that his speech at the rally was “ordinary political rhetoric” and was constitutionally protected free speech.

t is the first time in history that a US president has been impeached twice.
The first attempt to convict Mr. Trump in January 2020, for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, saw him acquitted by a majority of 52 votes to 48 for one charge and 53 to 47 for the second.

Only one Republican voted against him on one of the charges.
In his defiant statement after the conclusion of Saturday’s vote, Mr. Trump hinted he may return to the political spotlight.

He said: “Our historic, patriotic and beautiful movement to Make America Great Again has only just begun.

“In the months ahead I have much to share with you, and I look forward to continuing our incredible journey together to achieve American greatness for all of our people.

“There has never been anything like it!”

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The New Yorker

How the Question of Trump’s Behavior During the Capitol Assault Shook Up the Impeachment Trial

The New Yorker
Reprint

By Amy Davidson Sorkin – February 13, 2021

Former President Donald Trump standing on stage in front of a line of American flags waving in the wind.
The former President’s tweets and reports of his calls to Republican congressmen during the riot became a key part of the case against him. Photograph by Brendan Smialowski / Getty

On Friday afternoon, when senators got their chance to ask questions in Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial, one of the first came from Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, and Susan Collins, Republican of Maine. Like all of the senators’ questions, this one had been written on a yellow notecard, passed from the gallery to Patrick Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, who was presiding and then read aloud by a clerk. “Exactly when did President Trump learn of the breach of the Capitol, and what specific actions did he take to bring the rioting to an end? And when did he take them?” Murkowski and Collins wanted to know. “Please be as detailed as possible.” The two senators are among the handful of Republicans who are seen as possible votes to convict the former President for inciting an insurrection, and, for that reason alone, their question, which was directed at Trump’s lawyers, was worth taking seriously. But it also got at a central inquiry in the trial: How many people were Trump willing to see get hurt in his effort to hold on to the Presidency?

Michael van der Veen, one of Trump’s lawyers, didn’t really answer. “The House managers have given us absolutely no evidence one way or the other on to that question,” van der Veen, whose professional specialty is personal injury cases, said. This was an odd complaint, given that the question concerned his client’s knowledge and actions. Flipping through some papers, van der Veen offered that there had been “a tweet at 2:38 P.M.” on January 6th—which would have been almost half an hour after a mob seeking to disrupt the Electoral College vote tally had breached the Capitol—and so “it was certainly some time before then” that Trump had learned of the riot. (In the tweet, Trump advised the mob to be peaceful, but failed to tell them to leave the Capitol—perhaps because that was where he wanted them to be.) Van der Veen added, “That’s the problem with this entire proceeding. The House managers did zero investigation! The American people deserve a lot better than coming in here with no evidence. Hearsay on top of hearsay on top of reports that are of hearsay.” Van der Veen muttered something about due process and then, without any further attempt to answer the question, he sat down.

In one respect, his reply is an example of the dismissive, blame-shifting, reality-defying manner in which Trump’s defense has been conducted. Trump’s lawyers may have also recognized that the question of his response on January 6th has become a particularly hazardous area for him—and, indeed, for a few hours on Saturday morning, it seemed to have changed the timeline for the trial, opening the door for witnesses. The question is powerful for more than one reason. First, his reaction spoke of his intent: if he had truly been misunderstood by his supporters, who certainly seemed to believe that they were fulfilling his wishes, he might have quickly expressed shock and condemnation, told them in no uncertain terms to leave the Capitol, and rushed to send reinforcements. He, of course, did none of these things. Despite van der Veen’s claims, and even though much about how, exactly, Trump spent his time is not known, the House managers did document the former President’s inaction. It wasn’t until after 4 P.M. that he told the rioters to go home, but, in the same message, he said, “We love you,” and took the time to complain, again, about the election. As Stacey Plaskett, a House manager and a delegate representing the Virgin Islands, noted, when she got a chance to respond to the Murkowski-Collins query, the reason that the question of what Trump did to help “keeps coming up is because the answer is ‘nothing.’ ”

As Plaskett took her seat, Collins and Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, sent a question to the chair about the second aspect of Trump’s response: his attitude regarding the danger to Vice-President Mike Pence. In the days leading up to the January 6th assault, Trump had pounded home the message that he expected Pence, who was set to preside over the joint session of Congress that day, to sabotage and disrupt the electoral-vote certification. Under the Constitution, Pence did not have the power to do that, as he and many others explained to Trump. No matter: Trump drew his supporters into his effort to pressure Pence to act lawlessly. At the rally before the assault, Trump built up the expectation that Pence might still come through. “All Vice-President Pence has to do is send it back to the states to recertify, and we become President, and you are the happiest people,” he said, and added, “Mike Pence is going to have to come through for us.” When people in the mob realized that Pence had not done so, they shouted that he was a traitor and chanted, “Hang Mike Pence!” They began searching for him inside the Capitol; at about 2:13 P.M., Secret Service agents took him out of the Senate chamber, to a room where he took shelter with his family, before being moved again.

As Pence hid, the mob heard from Trump. The 2:38 P.M. tweet was not his first since the breach of the Capitol. At 2:24 P.M., Trump posted this: “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution . . . the USA demands the truth!” Romney and Collins asked whether, when Trump sent that “disparaging tweet,” he was “aware that the Vice-President had been removed from the Senate by the Secret Service for his safety.” Joaquin Castro, one of the House managers, replied that the assault itself was being reported live. People, he said, “couldn’t consume any media or probably take any phone calls or anything else without hearing about this, and also hearing about the Vice-President.” Castro also noted that Senator Tommy Tuberville, Republican of Alabama, had confirmed that he had been on a phone call with Trump, which ended when he told him, “Mr. President, they just took the Vice-President out. I’ve got to go.”

Video From The New Yorker

A Reporter’s Video from Inside the Capitol Siege
In a Taped Call, Trump Pressures a Georgia Official to Overturn the State’s Election Results

It would be good to know more about that call to Tuberville—on Saturday, Mike Lee, whose phone Tuberville had used, said his call log indicated that the call had begun at 2:26 P.M., right after the tweet—but the focus soon shifted to another one, between Trump and Kevin McCarthy, the House Minority Leader. On Friday evening, after the trial had adjourned for the day, CNN reported new details of the “expletive-laced” call between Trump and McCarthy, citing several Republicans who had heard the Minority Leader’s account of it. Trump did not seem interested in ending the violence. According to some who spoke with McCarthy, Trump told him, “Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are,” suggesting that McCarthy could learn from their devotion. (Three weeks later, McCarthy made a pilgrimage to Mar-a-Lago, to reconcile with Trump.) Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler, of Washington—one of only ten House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump—had spoken publicly in January about McCarthy’s account of the call. On Friday, she put out a statement in which she told any “patriots” who had heard Trump’s side of his conversations that day that “if you have something to add here, now would be the time.” In other words, witnesses are welcome. When the trial convened on Saturday morning, Jamie Raskin, the lead House manager, said that he wanted to subpoena Herrera Beutler, offering to depose her via Zoom. Van der Veen responded with an angry tirade, in which he said that any witnesses—he mentioned Vice-President Kamala Harris—would have to come to his Philadelphia office. (That is a fantasy.) The Senate voted 55–45 to allow witnesses—and then, after closed-door negotiations, the lawyers and House managers agreed to enter Herrera Beutler’s statement into the record instead.

Herrera Beutler had also suggested that Mike Pence might have something to say. For example, he might add something to van der Veen’s reply to Romney and Collins’s question. “The answer is no,” van der Veen said. “At no point was the President informed the Vice-President was in any danger.” This is an absurd answer. Even putting aside the particularities of Pence’s situation—that it was the Secret Service, for example, that led him out of the chamber—Trump certainly knew that his Vice-President was in a dangerous setting. If, before sending the tweet, he had bothered to find out whether Pence was safe, he would certainly have been given an even more troubling report. Pence was not safe: the managers’ presentation made clear that the mob had come even closer to him and his family than had previously been understood. At that moment, Trump not only abandoned Pence—he targeted him. To put it another way, the incitement did not end when the first window was broken.

Van der Veen, however, argued that the Pence question wasn’t even “really relevant to the charges for the impeachment in this case.” The House managers had focussed on how Trump’s actions ahead of January 6th had laid the groundwork for the violence; these included his threats to election officials and his summoning of his supporters for a “wild” rally to coincide with the vote certification. Trump’s lawyers seemed to believe that he had to answer only for his precise words at the rally, for which they offered improbable explanations. (Because Trump, early in his speech, had observed that the crowd planned to “peacefully and patriotically” protest, the lawyers brushed aside his subsequent repeated calls for them to act quite differently.) In their telling, it was as if Trump were just someone who had happened to wander onto the stage, with no context, history, or—perhaps most of all—power. But when the President of the United States tells people that they must go to the building he’s pointing at, the Capitol, and fight, or else “you’re not going to have a country anymore”—and when he says that “when you catch somebody in a fraud, you are allowed to go by very different rules”—he is doing something distinct. Trump’s lawyers, throughout their defense, ignored all the ways that Trump used and abused the office of the Presidency to make January 6th unfold as it did. As Raskin had noted, the impeachment process, with its reference to “high crimes and misdemeanors,” has a political character that makes it distinct from the ordinary criminal justice process.

In the course of the defense presentation—which lasted a little more than three hours, less than a quarter of the time that Trump’s lawyers were allotted—they played so many clips of Representative Maxine Waters, Democrat of California, delivering fiery speeches, that one might have thought that she was on trial. There were also videos of other Democratic politicians, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Kamala Harris, Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Karen Bass, Al Green, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, and Hillary Clinton—and even ones featuring Madonna, Chris Cuomo, and Johnny Depp. One video, played multiple times, consisted of clips of Democratic senators and House managers using the word “fight” in different contexts. (Judging from the placard set up next to him in one clip, Representative Joe Neguse, one of the impeachment managers, was captured saying, during his first term in Congress, that he’d fight for the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy Act, which, among other things, helps preserve areas for mountain biking and protects the habitat of the greater sage grouse.) Speaking of the people shown in the videos, Plaskett noted, “It is not lost on me that so many of them were people of color. And women—Black women.” As Trump surely knows, that message won’t be lost on his supporters, either.

The underlying message in Trump’s defense, however, was that it was outrageous that his actions were being questioned at all. Bruce Castor, another of his lawyers, told the senators that, by any measure, Trump was “the most pro-police, anti-mob-rule President this country has ever seen.” The senators had already heard from the managers how, for months before the assault, Trump had reveled in acts of political violence, such as when COVID-lockdown protesters attacked state buildings in Lansing, Michigan, or when vehicles driven by his supporters dangerously surrounded a bus of Biden campaign workers on a Texas highway. The senators had also seen evidence of the injuries that his supporters had inflicted on officers with the Capitol Police and Metropolitan D.C. Police. But Castor showed them one of the videos. There was Trump, standing in front of an American flag, saying, “I am your President of law and order.” The scenes changed—to people holding Black Lives Matter signs, to street violence, to Maxine Waters, again—but always returned to Trump with the words “LAW AND ORDER” superimposed on the screen. “We know that the President would never have wanted such a riot to occur, because his long-standing hatred for violent protesters and his love for law and order is on display, worn on his sleeve every single day that he served in the White House,” Castor said. He sounded like he was offering a declaration of faith—against all the evidence of reality—not a legal argument. On Saturday morning, Mitch McConnell, the Senate Minority Leader, reportedly told colleagues that he planned to vote to acquit. The Trumpist credo, it seems, is one that the Republican Party intends to live by.

https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/how-the-question-of-trumps-behavior-during-the-capitol-assault-upended-the-impeachment-trial?utm_source=nl&utm_brand=tny&utm_mailing=TNY_Daily_021321&utm_campaign=aud-dev&utm_medium=email&bxid=5c4900cb3f92a44c6204e517&cndid=49388965&hasha=335bf5f704bb1992aeb4e5c8934cb9a9&hashb=71c6a87bf07011f21867006e6169ea9865429b1e&hashc=8611d077b9d4bfc03504d249e603f505bfeadca448fe02f135ccf05e677e717e&esrc=bounceX&mbid=CRMNYR012019&utm_term=TNY_Daily

Read More About the Attack on the Capitol

Amy Davidson Sorkin

has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 2014. She has been at the magazine since 1995, and, as a senior editor for many years, focusing on national security, international reporting, and features.

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Brian Stelter here at 10:40pm ET Thursday with the latest on BBC News, Dean Baquet, Medium, Microsoft, Bloomberg, Disney, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” Issa Rae, and much more…

Those empty seats in the Senate chamber on Thursday? They are emblematic of the public’s reaction to the second Trump impeachment trial.

If you’ve been glued to every minute of the trial, or even just half-watching the proceedings, then you’re part of a special club. You’re learning the full story of the crimes that were committed at the Capitol on January 6. But you are much more plugged-in than the average American adult.

The Nielsen TV ratings for the first two days of trial coverage show that only a sliver of the public is watching at any given time. The ratings for CNN and MSNBC are way up — and the ratings for Fox News are much weaker. Some people are also watching coverage via the broadcast networks, but not in huge numbers.

The bottom line: News junkies are gripped by emotional presentations, but a vast swath of the nation is not. More casual news consumers are catching the coverage in bits and pieces, by watching clips of the Democratic presentation on news websites or YouTube, or by scanning summaries by partisan outlets. This is far, far from one of those “drop what you’re doing and watch” moments in America.

What the numbers tell us

On Tuesday afternoon an average of 11 million viewers watched the opening arguments across MSNBC, CNN, Fox, ABC and CBS. (NBC, PBS and other outlets also aired live coverage but I don’t have exact data for those channels.) On Wednesday afternoon the same five channels averaged 12.4 million viewers. This is an average, which means people came and went the whole time, and the cumulative audience was much higher. But given that nearly 210 million adults live in the US, you might conclude that many folks think they know how this story ends, so they’re not bothering to watch…

 >> However: Trump’s second trial IS drawing a larger average audience than the first trial, the NYT’s John Koblin points out…

 >> On Wednesday CNN was #1 overall in the 25-54 demo while MSNBC prevailed among total viewers…

 >> Online, the streaming audience was smaller, but still significant. CNN Digital’s traffic on Tuesday and Wednesday surpassed the equivalent days for the 2019 House Impeachment Hearings and the 2020 Senate Impeachment Trial…

Fox viewers don’t want to see Democratic arguments

Fox News ended Wednesday morning with 1.4 million viewers. Then the trial began, and so did Fox’s ratings slide. Fox bottomed out at 1 million in the 3pm hour, though the audience levels noticeably ticked up during a break in the trial at 1:39pm, when Fox’s Trump-friendly analysis of the trial brought some viewers back. The audience came back in a big way at 5 p.m. when Fox cut away from the Senate chamber and aired “The Five” — 2.7 million viewers were there for it. Some tuned out during “Special Report” at 6, and many more tuned out when Fox resumed trial coverage from 6:30 til 7 — Fox plummeted to 1.2 million viewers. The audience rushed back, of course, for “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” which topped 3 million. But MSNBC and CNN’s average viewership was up above 3 million all afternoon long! The takeaway is clear: Fox’s base rejected the prosecution of Trump. They only wanted to hear the pro-Trump spin…

 >> Thought bubble: I know it never would have happened, but what if the Senate had decided to conduct this trial in the evening, when a prime-time audience might have watched live?

Pulling further apart?

Will that be the primary result of this trial? New tears in the proverbial American fabric? Even more fights between red and blue?

The insurrection shouldn’t be seen as a partisan issue, but it has been, period, full stop. Folks have retreated to their corners. Charges of hypocrisy have flown in all directions. The crimes that will never be forgotten by Trump critics have already been excused, and buried down the memory hole, by Trump loyalists. The terms “Trump critics” and “Trump loyalists” shouldn’t even be a part of this conversation, but… they are.

What happened at the Capitol on January 6? Trump’s war on truth has affected how people answer that question. And it’s pulling people even further apart…

Not worth debating?

Brian Lowry writes: “Twitter spats seldom merit attention, but I think there’s a significant point buried in producer David Simon’s gleefully vulgar exchange with Hugh Hewitt, in which Hewitt offered Simon a chance to come debate on his syndicated radio show. It’s a favorite tactic of Hewitt’s, but buried within Simon’s response was this: Having gone all-in on defending the former president, you no longer have the credibility to be worth debating. This might not be a path to bridging the political divide, but it does send a message that someone like Hewitt – once seen as a fair broker of conservative ideals – has sacrificed that standing in the eyes of many on the left…”

FOR THE RECORD, PART ONE

 — “I’m not sure what, exactly, to call what we have been watching this week: part trial, part documentary film, part constitutional-law seminar, part Facebook video shared by your politics-obsessed cousin,” Susan Glasser writes… (TNY)

 — “Anderson Cooper called out the three Republican senators who met with Donald Trump’s defense attorneys on Thursday, despite being jurors of the trial, noting that ‘the fix is likely in…'” (Mediaite)

 — Instead of leading his hour with the trial news, Tucker launched into a conspiratorial complaint about Jeff Bezos, Max Boot, Nick Kristof, and yours truly… (Twitter)

 — Speaking of stories you won’t hear in MAGA media: “The Capitol assault resulted in one of the worst days of injuries for law enforcement” in the US since 9/11… (NYT)

 — WaPo’s most-read story right now: “Mounting evidence suggests Trump knew of danger to Pence when he attacked him as lacking ‘courage’ amid Capitol siege…” (WaPo)

 — Jonathan Reiner: “The former president’s legal team could literally say nothing tomorrow, offer no defense, and GOP senators would still vote to acquit…” (Twitter)  — The WSJ editorial board’s harsh assessment of Trump: “He might be acquitted, but he won’t live down his disgraceful conduct…” (WSJ)

Trump wants to see more lawyers on TV defending him

Jim Acosta reports: “Trump wants to see more lawyers defending him on television, a source familiar with his thinking said. One of his attorneys, David Schoen, left the Senate in the middle of the impeachment trial to do a live interview on Fox News. Even out of office, Trump has the people working for him performing for the ‘audience of one.’

FRIDAY PLANNER

The trial will resume at noon ET…

The WH press briefing will take place at 12:30 pm…

Friday is the deadline for public input on the Facebook Oversight Board “as it nears a decision” about Trump’s account…Natalie Morales will make her official debut as a “Dateline NBC” correspondent…

Kamala Harris and The 19th*

“In her first national, extended interview since becoming vice president, Kamala Harris sat down with Errin Haines, editor-at-large at The 19th* to discuss her focus on an equitable response to the COVID-19 crisis,” the website said in a press release. Here’s the interview…

FOR THE RECORD, PART TWO

— The deception of the Trump era is still being documented and exposed. The NYT’s Thursday afternoon scoop: “Trump Was Sicker Than Acknowledged With Covid-19…” (NYT)

 — The day’s most hopeful headline: President Biden “declares there will be enough vaccines for 300 million Americans by end of July” (CNN)

 — “On Wednesday, the 7-day average of new doses administered exceeded President Biden’s target for 1.5 million doses per day the first time,” per CNN Health…

 — NBCUniversal is rolling out a new tool “dedicated to helping you plan when and where you can get vaccinated…” (NBC)  — Journalists all across NYC are mourning the sudden death of Katherine Creag, a beloved reporter for News 4 who was “the first face many New Yorkers woke up to every day.” May her memory be a blessing. (WNBC)

Baquet walks back controversial comment

Oliver Darcy writes:Dean Baquet on Thursday walked back a controversial comment he and Joe Kahn made last week in which they said the paper does not ‘tolerate’ the use of racist language ‘regardless of intent.’ At the State of the Times meeting, Baquet said that in their ‘zeal to make a powerful statement about our workplace culture, we ham-handedly said something you rightfully saw as an oversimplification of one of the most difficult issues of our lives.” Baquet called it a ‘deadline mistake’ and expressed regret for it. More in my story here…”

>> Darcy adds: “The comment Baquet and Kahn had made about intent had drawn criticism from external critics, but also from staffers inside NYT who had expressed confusion to me and said that intent and context always matter. These staffers pointed to NYT’s own use of such language in reporting. Baquet nodded to that fact, telling employees racial slurs ‘will no doubt appear in our pages again….'”

Stephens says Sulzberger ‘spiked’ column, but…

Darcy writes:Bret Stephens on Thursday accused AG Sulzberger of having ‘spiked’ a piece he had written about the McNeil departure. In an email to a small group of colleagues, which was first reported by Dylan Byers and which I later obtained, Stephens said he had filed the column Monday, but that it was never published. Opinion editor Kathleen Kingsburyexplained to me over the phone that the paper regularly chooses not to run columns for various reasons. ‘The bar is especially high for columns that could reflect badly on colleagues,’ Kingsbury said. ‘And we decided that this column didn’t reach that bar.’ Kingsbury also pointed out to me that she has previously published and supported Stephens when he has written critically about NYT, including the 1619 Project and his reaction to retracting the Tom Cotton op-ed, but in this case felt his piece wasn’t quite there…”

A call for coverage

An Phung emails: “A number of celebrities and activists of Asian descent have taken to social media to condemn the spate of anti-Asian violence around the country, a trend that took root at the start of the pandemic and was reinforced by Trump’s hateful language. A thread that runs through the commentary: The glaring lack of attention from the national media. Amanda Nguyen said it. Daniel Dae Kim touched on it. Gemma Chan pleaded for media attention.

Phung adds: “A few high-profile incidents caught on camera that rippled through social media in recent weeks showed perpetrators targeting elderly people. This detail gets to the heart of why celebrities are wielding their powerful platforms: “Our elderlies won’t speak up to report these crimes so we have to do it,” said comedian David So, citing language and cultural barriers. On Thursday, the Asian American Journalists Association weighed in, calling on the national media to ‘prioritize coverage of this ongoing violence against AAPIs, and to empower their journalists to report on these incidents immediately, accurately and comprehensively.’ Indeed, coverage of the latest wave of violence was scant at the start of this week — but the media has since picked up the pace. Some credit goes to Nguyen for her powerful plea for media attention in a video that caught the eye of celebrities, journalists and lawmakers. Catch up with CNN, The Cut, or NPR for the latest on this troubling trend.”

FOR THE RECORD, PART THREE

— “In an apparent tit for tat move, BBC World News has been banned from airing in China,” one week after China Global Television Network was blocked in the UK… (CNN)

 — State Department spox Ned Price condemned the BBC blockade and said “it’s troubling that as the PRC restricts outlets and platforms from operating freely in China, Beijing’s leaders use free and open media environments overseas to promote misinfo…” (Reuters)

 — “Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, has won a privacy claim in her case against a tabloid newspaper,” the Mail on Sunday, “that published a handwritten letter to her estranged father, Thomas Markle…” (CNN)

 — David Folkenflik is out with a new story about the Trump-era VOA and about the lives that were upended… (NPR)

 — Via Brian Fung: Twitter has permanently banned an account belonging to Project Veritas (and temporarily locked James O’Keefe’s account) for repeated violations of the company’s anti-doxxing policies… (CNN)  

— New and compelling from Donie O’Sullivan and company: “Two women tell us how their parents began following QAnon and how it is tearing their families apart.” The extended 11-minute story is up on YouTube… (CNN)

A Valentine edition of the RS podcast

My better half, NY1 host Jamie Stelter, took over the “Reliable Sources” podcast for a Valentine-themed episode. She gathered questions via social media and asked me about everything from work habits (I’m a huge procrastinator) to “love language” to local news. A special guest makes an appearance at the end of the conversation. Hint: We taped this during afternoon nap time, or at least, we thought we did. Listen in via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn, or your favorite pod app…

Microsoft calls for laws forcing Big Tech to share revenue with news outlets

CNN’s Brian Fung writes:Microsoft is calling for new laws, including in the US, designed to force tech platforms to share more advertising revenue with news publishers. It is a direct assault on Facebook and Google, who have protested such a proposal currently under consideration in Australia and, increasingly, in Europe. And it reflects Microsoft’s eagerness to challenge the reigning kings of digital advertising in markets where doing so could provide a convenient boost to Microsoft’s own bottom line.”

 >> Microsoft prez Brad Smith spoke with the NYT’s Cecilia Kang about his push…  >> Bloomberg’s Dina Bass has much more here…

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Pandemic schooling at home is not homeschooling – this is why lesson failures are OK

Trying to force parents, children, and teachers to replicate traditional education online in the home is both punishing and pointless

TMR: Right from the beginning, we ask how does this might apply to Montserrat? How is the consultation, or the discussion or the action, not getting it right! How many of our parents and children in little Montserrat are facing this situation. Who thinks about it? What was done when it was discovered that not all had computers at home? What does that say when instead of engaging the media appropriately, with a complete lack of understanding of the important role of proper and beneficial ‘communication’?

by Victoria Bennett – The Independent – 03 February 2021

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Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

When the schools closed in 2020, friends said to me, “You’re ok, it’s normal for you”. To some extent this was true. My husband and I work online from home and our 13-year-old son has always been home-educated. What we were experiencing though was not normal, particularly as our child is medically vulnerable.

Our normal home-learning includes trips to museums, meet-ups with friends, swimming, cinema outings, family travel, and more. It’s enriching for all of us. Now, we keep hearing about the “lost generation” and “long-term damage” of being out of school. My son feels angry. He wants to know if that’s how the world sees him, as a home-educated child? He’s furious at having his future written off so casually. Learning at home does not mean your life is ruined and this language reveals a lot about how homeschooling is perceived.

I’ve grown used to children assuming my son can’t read or write because he doesn’t go to school. They’re often surprised to hear that whilst education is compulsory, school is not. I’ve learned to accept the inevitable “What about socialisation? What about GCSEs?” questions. It seems the general perception of regular homeschooling children is that they spend their days locked away, destined for a life of illiterate delinquency. The reality, of course, is far from this. My son is a voracious reader, is interested in subjects from chemistry to engineering to art, plays piano and guitar, and is confident in social situations. As to whether he will do GCSEs? He might choose to, or he might make different choices. His route is not fixed.

Mother working from home with a kid: Quarantine mode

But these are not normal times for any of us and pandemic schooling at home is not the same as homeschooling. Trying to force parents, children, and teachers to replicate traditional education online in the home is both punishing and pointless. Author and educator John Holt said: “What is most important and valuable about the home as a base for children’s growth into the world is not that it is a better school than the schools, but that it isn’t a school at all.”

These are, as we frequently hear, unprecedented times. Why then, is the Department for Education insisting teachers, students, and parents try to replicate school at home? Holt pioneered the term “radical unschooling”, which assumes that all children are curious learners and every experience is an opportunity to learn and grow. This can be challenging to trust but maybe it’s what we need right now?

When my son was seven, we spent a year caring for my mother. It was exhausting and traumatic yet, when nurses asked my son what he was learning, I felt guilty. I wasn’t managing formal lessons. I was a bad mother. The guiltier I felt, the harder I tried. One day, after yet another failed maths lesson (it isn’t my strongest subject) my son and I, sat crying on the floor. This way wasn’t going to work, for either of us. I put away the maths books, got out the paints, and, for the next three hours, we painted the garden shed, path, and ourselves until everything was a mess of colour. We ended the day laughing and the shed, though worn now, still makes people smile.

At the end of that year, my son’s life was not ruined. What did he learn? Playing Minecraft online gave him excellent keyboard skills and a strong sense of digital citizenship. Witnessing end-of-life care gave him the opportunity to learn about resilience and compassion. Being there when my mother died helped him learn how to process loss. Learning that it was okay to listen to his needs helped him articulate his feelings. We both grew, and we never returned to formal lessons.

Right now, our priority is learning how to live through extraordinary times. To do so, we need to be flexible, not rigid. Maybe, instead of worrying about algebra, we need to learn how to slow down and give time to our needs. Instead of testing, maybe we need to reflect on our collective grief and fear as we live through it. In place of Zoom classes, maybe we can develop skills in sustaining joyful human connections in a rapidly changing digital world?

This is a time for simple acts of radical gentleness. In the end, it is about loving ourselves, and each other, enough to get through this in one piece, even if that means playing hooky once in a while. The world won’t end if you do. It will be okay.

Victoria Bennett is a writer, creative producer, and full-time home educating mother to a teenage son

Read : Going back to ‘normal’ will be a process, not an event – we must learn to live with Covid

10 years in prison if you hide trip to ‘red zone’ country, says Hancock Welcome to Hancock Travel – check out early and the next 10 years are free

Travel quarantine policy is now deemed so crucial to containing the spread of coronavirus that breaking the rules is as serious as ABH
https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/covid-travel-rules-prison-hotel-quarantine-b1799733.html

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image

Mutated virus may reinfect people already stricken once with covid-19, sparking debate and concerns

The Washington Post
Reprint

 Carolyn Y. Johnson, William Wan 

a person standing in front of a brick building: Volunteers deliver coronavirus test kits Thursday west of London as part of surge testing for the virus variant discovered in South Africa.
© Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images Volunteers deliver coronavirus test kits Thursday west of London as part of surge testing for the virus variant discovered in South Africa.

A trial of an experimental coronavirus vaccine detected the most sobering signal yet that people who have recovered from infections are not completely protected against a variant that originated in South Africa and is spreading rapidly, preliminary data presented this week suggests.

The finding, though far from conclusive, has potential implications for how the pandemic will be brought under control, underscoring the critical role of vaccination, including for people who have already recovered from infections. Reaching herd immunity — the threshold when enough people achieve protection and the virus can’t seed new outbreaks — will depend on a mass vaccination campaign that has been constrained by limited supply.

Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, noted that it appears a vaccine is better than natural infection in protecting people, calling it “a big, strong plug to get vaccinated” and a reality check for people who may have assumed that because they have already been infected, they are immune.

In the placebo group of the trial for Novavax’s vaccine, people with prior coronavirus infections appeared just as likely to get sick as people without them, meaning they weren’t fully protected against the B.1.351 variant that has swiftly become dominant in South Africa. The variant has been detected only a handful of times in the United States, including a case reported Friday in Virginia, which became the third state to identify the presence of the virus variant.

The preliminary finding from the South African vaccine trial, based on a data set with limitations, stirred debate and concern among researchers as results first hinted at in a news release last week were revealed more broadly this week.

“The data really are quite suggestive: The level of immunity that you get from natural infection — either the degree of immunity, the intensity of the immunity or the breadth of immunity — is obviously not enough to protect against infection with the mutant,” Fauci said.

Even if they don’t agree on the scope of the threat, scientists said reinfection with new variants is clearly a risk that needs to be explored more. There is no evidence that second cases are more severe or deadly, and a world in which people may have imperfect protection against new versions of the virus is not necessarily a world in which the pandemic never ends.

“I worry especially that some of these premature sweeping conclusions being made could rob people of hope,” said Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Georgetown University’s Center for Global Health Science and Security. “I worry the message they may receive is that we’re never going to be rid of this. When in fact that’s not what the data suggests.”

She and others emphasized the apparent lack of severe health repercussions from reinfection — and the lack of evidence that reinfection is common.

When Maryland biotechnology company Novavax first disclosed results from two international vaccine trials last week, the company noted in its news release that some people in the trial with earlier infections had become reinfected, probably with the variant B.1.351, which had become dominant during the trial.

On Tuesday, details of the Novavax trial were presented at the New York Academy of Sciences.

About 30 percent of the people in the South African trial had antibodies in their blood at the start of the trial showing they had recovered from an earlier infection.

But that previous exposure didn’t necessarily appear to afford protection. Among those who got saltwater shots, the people with a prior infection got sick at the same rate as study participants who had not been previously infected — a surprise because they would have been expected to have some immunity. Nearly 4 percent of people who had a previous infection were reinfected, an almost identical rate to those with no history of infection.

“It’s awful strong data,” said Larry Corey, a virologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle who is co-leading the federal clinical trial network testing coronavirus vaccines in the United States. “Basically, it’s saying vaccination actually needs to be better than natural immunity. But vaccination is better than natural immunity.”

The study found that two shots of the experimental vaccine did provide protection against the variant.

The reinfection result was incidental to the main objective of the study, which was to determine the vaccine’s efficacy and safety. It was not designed to test the likelihood of reinfection, and others argued that it can’t be used to draw firm conclusions and cautioned against assuming that the previous infection provided no protection.

It also shows the risks of a strategy to reach herd immunity pushed by Scott Atlas, a neuroradiologist and adviser to President Donald Trump, who is said to have endorsed allowing the virus to spread mostly unfettered, while protecting nursing homes and other vulnerable populations. Atlas has repeatedly denied backing such a strategy.

The study backs up recent laboratory data from South African researchers analyzing blood plasma from recovered patients. Nearly half of the plasma samples had no detectable ability to block the variant from infecting cells in a laboratory dish. In a separate study, scientists at Rockefeller University in New York took blood plasma from people who had been vaccinated and found that vaccine-generated antibodies were largely able to block mutations found on the B.1.351 variant.

Novavax did not provide a breakdown of mild, moderate, and severe cases, but severe cases of covid-19 were rare in the trial, suggesting that reinfection is unlikely to send people to the hospital.

“It is not surprising to see reinfection in individuals who are convalescent. And it would not be surprising to see infection in people who are vaccinated, especially a few months out from vaccine,” said Michel Nussenzweig, head of the Laboratory of Molecular Immunology at Rockefeller University. “The key is not whether people get reinfected, it’s whether they get sick enough to be hospitalized.”

Reinfection has always been a possibility, but scientists who design disease models had assumed that natural infection would convey some level of immunity for at least a few months. That figured into some earlier calculations for how America could start approaching herd immunity by this summer or fall. Even with limited vaccination supply and delays in distribution, the hope was that people previously infected would factor in the drive toward herd immunity.

If it turns out that previously infected people could be susceptible to reinfection by variants, that could have implications for when the nation reaches herd immunity.

“Everyone’s still trying to digest this and asking, is this really what’s happening? Because the implications are pretty huge,” said Chris Murray, who leads the modeling team at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. “If the data holds true, it means we will need to walk the public back on the idea of how close we are to the finish line for ending this pandemic.”

Others are less sure. Marc Lipsitch, an epidemiologist at Harvard University, said he couldn’t draw clear conclusions from the data because it remains limited and preliminary.

“The pace has been dizzying, and several times today, I have learned new things that significantly change my view of those data,” Lipsitch said.

Projections created by data scientist Youyang Gu — whose pandemic models have been cited by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — suggest that about 65 percent of America’s population will reach immunity by June 1. But built into that 65 percent is roughly 20 percent having immunity from past infections only. Scientists are unsure how the potential for reinfection might influence their projections. They are eager to see if other vaccine trial data in the coming weeks will corroborate the trend from the Novavax trial.

“The sample size so far is small,” Gu said. “We need much more data before we can draw conclusions.”

More data from South Africa will help clarify how common reinfection is and whether it results in severe disease. Researchers are following up with certain groups, such as health-care workers, to quantify reinfection, said Anne von Gottberg, co-head of the Center for Respiratory Diseases and Meningitis at South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases.

“Several individual cases of reinfection have been confirmed,” Gottberg said in an email. “We may be able to learn from seasonal coronaviruses and the fact that reinfection for these viruses are not uncommon, and start to occur 6 to 12 months after the previous infection.”

The good news is that vaccine trials from Johnson & Johnson and Novavax show that vaccines can work — even against the B.1.351 variant, and particularly in preventing severe illness.

“I think the fact that we … now have data from two vaccines indicating that we can prevent serious disease, even against the new variant, is hopeful,” Penny Moore, a scientist at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases in Johannesburg, said in an email. “We need to keep monitoring sequences as these won’t be the last lineages.”

A future concern needing close monitoring is whether the reformulation of vaccines to keep up with the evolving virus could drive the virus to continue evolving. There is also a concern that subpar immunity could allow new resistant variants to emerge. That possibility, Nussenzweig said, is one reason that people should get both doses of a vaccine, on time.

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<p>Boris Johnson provided a Friday update on Government

Boris Johnson says he will unveil ‘roadmap out of lockdown’ on Feb 22

Barney Davis – Evening Standard – 05 February 2021

<p>Boris Johnson provided a Friday update on Government's intentions</p>

Boris Johnson says he plans to unveil the “roadmap” out of the national lockdown to the public on February 22.
British officials are also said to have started working on a “vaccine passport” that would allow people to travel for a holiday this summer.
The Prime Minister has urged the public to continue following the rules despite successes with the vaccine rollout which has seen nearly 11.5 million jabs given in the UK so far.

Posting a video on Twitter, Boris Johnson said on February 22 he would “set out the beginnings of our roadmap for a way forward for the whole country as the vaccine programme intensifies and, as more and more people acquire immunity, a steady programme for beginning to unlock.”
He added: “I want to stress that it is still early days and we have rates of infection in this country (that are) still very, very high and (have) more people – almost twice as many people – in our hospitals with Covid now than there were back at the peak in April.

“So, do remember how tough it still is, how high that rate of infection is, and that we must, must work together to get it down – that’s the fundamental thing to get right. Stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.”

Coronavirus – In pictures

A sign advertising a book titled "How Will We Survive On Earth?" is seen on an underground station platform
Customers wearing face masks shop at the pork counter of a supermarket following the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan, Hubei province
Westminster Bridge is deserted in London the day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown
Canadian passengers Chris & Anna Joiner ask for help onboard the MS Zaandam, Holland America Line cruise ship, during the coronavirus outbreak, off the shores of Panama City
A man crosses a nearly empty 5th Avenue in midtown Manhattan during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New York City

Lockdown measures in England are set to remain in place until at least March 8, after the Prime Minister announced the date for the earliest reopening of schools.

Following a scientific review of data on the UK vaccination programme and the impact of the lockdown on reducing infections and hospitalisations, ministers will gather in the Commons on February 22 to establish a plan for taking the country out of lockdown.

Government sources told the Times that there were “tentative” plans to prioritise outdoor activities such as golf and tennis and limited social gatherings outside, for the first phase out of lockdown.

Outdoors markets are expected to reopen before high street shops.

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The New Yorker

When Reporting Becomes a Defense for Rioting

John Sullivan claims that he was at the Capitol insurrection as a neutral journalist. Others say he was a riot chaser who urged the mob to “burn this shit down.”

By Andrew Marantz
February 3, 2021

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A photo collage of John Sullivan with a group of protesters on the Capitol.

Sullivan has made a habit of blurring the lines between activism, advocacy journalism, and opposition research. Illustration by Jon Key; Source photographs from John Sullivan / YouTube (portrait 1, 2); Preston Crawley (portrait 3); Tayfun Coskun / Anadolu Agency / Getty (crowd)

John Sullivan, also known as Jayden X, calls himself an activist, a reporter, or an entrepreneur, depending on who’s asking. When I first reached him by phone, he told me that he was “a video journalist, or maybe a documentarian, or whatever you would say—going out there and just live-streaming the events that are transpiring, so that people can see it on the Internet.” He lives near Salt Lake City, but, until recently, he spent most of his time on the road, looking for the next riot: Portland, Seattle, New York. He has tried to associate himself with the Black Lives Matter movement, but many organizers have disavowed him; others have gone further, accusing him of being an “agent provocateur,” a “con artist,” or a “thrill-seeking instigator.” “Riots are meant to bring change, so purge the world with fire,” he tweeted in December. But he has not always been clear about what kind of change he has in mind. “I’m not Antifa,” he told me recently, although he went out of his way to mention that he often wears all black to protests, as many antifascists do. “And I’m not with the Trump supporters,” he continued, although he was among the Trump supporters when a mob of them assaulted the Capitol, on January 6th. Using a Samsung phone mounted on a gimbal, he captured about ninety minutes of raw video—a chilling, near-comprehensive record of the siege. (Reviewing some of the footage, in Artforum, the film critic J. Hoberman called it “cinema as forensic evidence.”) Sullivan has since uploaded his footage to YouTube and provided it to law enforcement; he has also repeatedly tried and largely failed, to explain what he was doing there in the first place.

Sullivan is twenty-six, lean and sharp-featured, and he moves with the lithe precision of a former athlete. He has three younger brothers: James, Peter, and Matthew. “We’re all Black, adopted, and our parents are white,” John told me. “We were raised in a sheltered household and taught to view the world as colorless. Then you grow up and suddenly realize, No, actually, I’m Black, and a lot of the people I grew up around were racist as fuck.” He told me that his father, John Sullivan, Sr., is a retired Army lieutenant colonel who now works in the freight-shipping industry and that his mother, Lisa, is a homemaker. They are conservative—“more conservative than Trump,” Peter told me—and are devout Mormons, although their three eldest sons no longer practice the religion. Growing up, John, Jr., was a nationally ranked speed skater, but he quit in 2018. (On one of his Web sites, he claims that he “competed in the 2018 Olympic Games”; in fact, he only got as far as the Olympic trials.) In 2016, he starred in a slickly produced Uber ad, the conceit of which was that athletes who train at odd hours might want to work part-time in the gig economy. A director’s cut ends with a shot of Sullivan skating to an abrupt stop, followed by the tagline “Find your hustle.”

After graduating from high school, Sullivan said, he thought about joining the Army Reserve and applied to be a police officer in a Salt Lake City suburb. He ended up working in corporate sales instead. Last year, feeling isolated and restless during the pandemic, he decided to start his own business. George Floyd had just been killed, and Sullivan’s social-media feeds filled with rousing images from street protests against police brutality. He went to a local Black Lives Matter protest, wearing a GoPro on his motorcycle helmet, and uploaded his footage to YouTube. After that, he established an L.L.C., called Insurgence USA. Later, on the Web site ActivistJohn.com, he posted a photo of himself raising a clenched fist, with the National Mall in the background, next to the words “John Sullivan is bringing the revolution.” He solicited donations on Patreon and PayPal, offered his services as a motivational speaker, and sold merchandise: black tactical gloves; protective goggles; red baseball caps that looked like Make America Great Again hats, but actually read “Made Ya Look / Black Lives Matter.” He started filling his YouTube channel with footage from street clashes, employing a gonzo-guerrilla aesthetic: balaclavas, billowing clouds of tear gas. “I put my body on the line to bring people the best documentation of history,” Sullivan said. “That’s my thing: When shit’s going down, you follow me and I show you exactly what it’s like.”

More on the Capitol Riot
Ronan Farrow on a Pennsylvania mother’s path to insurrection.

Last June, early in his new career as an activism entrepreneur, Sullivan attended a protest near a police station in Provo, Utah. A pro-police group had organized a “Back the Blue” rally; another group planned an anti-police-brutality demonstration around the same time. (Sullivan’s Insurgence USA organization reportedly promoted the latter event on social media.) The vast majority of Black Lives Matter protests last summer were peaceful—more than ninety-five percent, by some estimates—but, at this one, clashes broke out. According to criminal affidavits later filed in state court, one of Sullivan’s fellow-protesters shot a man who was driving near the protest, and Sullivan kicked a woman’s car and threatened to beat her up. (Sullivan claimed that his confrontation started because the woman was trying to run over the protesters.) Sullivan was charged with criminal mischief and “riot,” which was defined, in part, as assembling “with the purpose of engaging . . . in tumultuous or violent conduct.” Sullivan argued that he had simply attended the event as a journalist—not a credentialled and impartial journalist, perhaps, but a journalist nonetheless.

More than once, his brother Peter, who describes himself as “politically moderate,” asked John why he was drawn to potentially violent street actions. “He would talk about his business, how he wanted to be the best video journalist, and that meant taking risks,” Peter recalled. “He would also tell me, ‘You don’t understand, it’s such a surreal experience.’ In addition to the journalism element, I think that rush is something that he really craves.”

John Sullivan made a habit of blurring the lines between activism, advocacy journalism, and opposition research. He tried to stay abreast of where the next big protest or riot was likely to break out, monitoring activist group chats on Signal and Telegram. “I was able to collaborate with the left in their community to gather information,” Sullivan wrote in an unpublished draft of a memoir. “But I also can connect with the right and successfully be in their presence without them being combative towards me.” When he was surrounded by left-wing activists or right-wing activists, he sometimes gave the impression of being one of them; at other times, he implied that he was working undercover to expose one side or the other. In his recent conversations with me, he emphasized his neutrality. “I want to make sure my First Amendment rights as a journalist are not being forgotten,” he told me.

The First Amendment enshrines, separately, “the freedom of speech” and “of the press.” “If the Speech Clause is the Court’s favorite child, the Press Clause has been the neglected one,” Sonja West, a legal scholar at the University of Georgia, wrote in the Harvard Law Review, in 2014. As a result, West told me, “this remains a fuzzy area of the law.” Can an undercover reporter misrepresent herself in order to get a story? Should a journalist in pursuit of publicly useful information be allowed to do certain things—push past a police barricade, say—that a normal citizen may not? “The Court has indicated that journalists have a special role that deserves protection,” West said. “But it has been very reluctant to say what those protections are.” If a professional reporter follows a crowd of protesters onto private property, the police may refrain from arresting her. If a whistle-blower leaks classified information to a journalist, prosecutors can treat this differently than if the information were leaked to a spy. In West’s Harvard Law Review article, she advocates what she calls “press exceptionalism,” suggesting a kind of checklist—eight “distinct qualities,” including “attention to professional standards” and “a proven ability to reach a broad audience”—that might distinguish the press from “press-like” members of the public. Sullivan checks about half of these boxes, depending on how generously you apply the criteria.

There has never been a clean way to delineate professional journalists from everyone else, and the boundary has only grown blurrier in the selfie-stick era. Defining the press too narrowly risks excluding freelancers and correspondents from nontraditional outlets; defining it too broadly could mean including anyone with a cell phone and a YouTube account. “If everyone has an equal claim to being a reporter, regardless of intent or track record, what it means in practice is that law enforcement won’t be able to tell the difference,” Lucy Dalglish, the dean of the University of Maryland’s journalism school, told me. “Suddenly, you have a situation where anyone can do any crazy thing—like break into the Capitol building, for instance—and then, when the cops show up, they can just take out their phone and say, ‘Hands off, I’m a documentarian.’ ” One of the people who invaded the Capitol on January 6th was Nick Ochs, a Proud Boy from Hawaii, who was later arrested for unlawful entry. “We came here to stop the steal,” Ochs said on a live stream the day of the siege. That night, however, Ochs told CNN that he had entered the Capitol as a professional journalist. He was associated with a far-right new-media collective comprising audio and video talk shows, published on YouTube and other platforms. The name of the collective was Murder the Media.

In July, Sullivan returned to the Provo police station for another demonstration. Standing on a small promontory and holding a megaphone, he gave a short speech. Then, spotting members of the Proud Boys and other far-right groups in the crowd, he improvised a kind of olive-branch gesture. “I want to understand you,” he said. “That’s what we’re about here. Getting to know people . . . because then you love them just like your family.” The megaphone was passed to several far-right activists, including a burly Proud Boy in a camouflage vest. The following month, Sullivan, wearing body armor and carrying a long gun, led a few dozen Second Amendment enthusiasts, including both left-wing activists and members of the Utah Constitutional Militia, on an armed march to the state capitol.

The more prominence he gained in local newspapers and TV-news segments, the more vocally left-wing organizers denounced him. (Lex Scott, a founder of Black Lives Matter Utah, told me, “He’s a thorn in our side. We learned to stay away from him long ago.”) Some wondered whether he was a police informant or a spy for a far-right militia. Among their reasons for suspicion was Sullivan’s brother James, a right-wing activist in Utah who had ties to the Proud Boys. (When asked if he had ever collaborated with James, John said, “I have barely spoken to that man in years.”) James currently runs a right-wing Facebook page called Civilized Awakening, which, in addition to the usual links about Trump and voter fraud, seems to specialize in anti-John Sullivan content—for example, a crudely Photoshopped image of John receiving a creepy neck massage from Joe Biden. Recently, on Facebook, James wrote, “I got into activism for one reason, and that was to take down my brother.” An activist from Portland floated a simpler explanation for John Sullivan’s antics: “He came off as someone that was a bit lost and looking for a family/following anywhere he could find it.”

According to left-wing activists, John Sullivan promoted his work online using a fluctuating assortment of handles: @ActivistX, @BlackFistNews, @FascistFighter, @WatchRiotPorn. Sometimes, he appeared to log in to multiple accounts simultaneously, using one to corroborate another. During one group chat on Signal, an organizer warned, “Activist X is not to be trusted.” Sullivan, who was in the chat, brushed it off. “Lol the fuck?” he wrote, using the display name Activist X. “I’ve known Activist X,” the next comment read. “Sounds like a lot of bullshit to me.” This was supposed to appear under the display name Tiger Wolf, but other activists claimed that they could see that it was actually posted by Sullivan, from another one of his phone numbers. “Why did you respond to yourself?” one asked. Another wrote, “I’m burning this chat lol.” (Sullivan denied using the handle Tiger Wolf and others, saying, “People are trying to hack my accounts and misrepresent me.”)

During the fall and winter, as Black Lives Matter protests fizzled and pro-Trump protests grew, Sullivan followed the momentum, live-streaming from far-right events in Washington, D.C., and at the Oregon state capitol. On Election Day, he witnessed a group of Proud Boys, normally implacable supporters of law enforcement, chanting “Fuck the police.” “That was shocking,” he wrote in a draft of his memoir; in his view, the far right’s turn against the police marked “a paradigm shift.” In December, he started to notice chatter on Parler and Telegram indicating that Trump supporters planned to descend on the Capitol. He booked a trip to D.C. In the memoir draft, he recalled thinking that Trump supporters who were angry about the outcome of the election, especially those who “overcame this barrier of supporting the police,” might “unite with Black Lives Matter. . . . I felt that perhaps they would come and fight together against the government.”

In the first shot of Sullivan’s main video from the Capitol, he is standing outside, underneath a set of bleachers erected for Joe Biden’s Inauguration. He angles his camera to take in the crowd behind him: red MAGA hats, yellow Gadsden flags, a man in a fur pelt. Suddenly, the crowd surges up a flight of stairs and toward a line of police barricades. The officers, most of whom do not have helmets or shields, are vastly outnumbered; they hold the line for a few seconds, but they’re quickly overtaken. “This shit’s ours!” Sullivan shouts as the invaders swarm onto a terrace. “We accomplished this shit. We did this shit together! Fuck, yeah!”

Looking over a balustrade to the lawn below, he sees a roiling crowd of thousands of people. He lets out several wonder-struck cheers, his voice cracking with exertion and emotion. “That’s beautiful shit!” he shouts. “Let’s go!” People are climbing up the walls, and he offers one of them a hand up. “Holy shit, dude, that was awesome,” he says. “Let’s burn this shit down.” A few seconds later, Sullivan rests his camera on a ledge and turns to a woman next to him, who is also filming. “I’m just gonna rely on you for footage from now on, is that chill?” he says. “Or should I just keep recording?” But then he presses forward, still taping, following the group through a broken window.Inside the Capitol, Sullivan wanders from room to room more or less at random, as if playing a first-person video game with no clear objective. He marvels at the palatial digs (“This is surreal”; “I’m shook at this!”; “What is life?”) and fantasizes about their destruction. “We’ve gotta burn this,” he says. “We’ve gotta get this shit burnt.” When he is surrounded by Trump supporters, he provides encouragement or advice. When confronted by police officers who ask him to leave, he says, “I’m just filming,” or “No freedom of the press now?” A few times, he tries to persuade police officers to abandon their posts. “We want you to go home,” he tells an officer. “I don’t want to see you get hurt.”

In the Rotunda, he stops to admire the domed ceiling, watching the afternoon light streaming in from above. “Damn,” he says, relishing the moment. Then, gesturing toward the fresco on the ceiling, he asks the man next to him, “What is this painting?”

“I don’t even know, but I know we in this motherfucker,” the man responds.

“Gang shit, bro,” Sullivan says.

“Make sure you follow me on Instagram,” the man says.

Sullivan continues past Corinthian columns and ruffled red-velvet curtains, into a marble hallway packed with insurrectionists, where the mood turns dark. A woman with a gray ponytail stands inches away from a police officer, vibrating with rage. “Tell fucking Pelosi we’re coming for her!” she shouts. “We’re coming for all of you!” She stops and stares the officer down, as if preparing for battle. “You ready?” she asks.

“I’m ready, bro,” Sullivan says, perhaps to himself. “I’ve been to so many riots.”

Suddenly, the mob pushes past the police and into a small inner corridor. One of the insurrectionists grabs a megaphone and turns to face the others. “We need to remain calm now,” he says. “We’ve made our point. Let’s be peaceful.”

“Fuck that shit,” Sullivan says. “Push!” Several times throughout the video, he can be heard saying, “I got a knife.” (He now claims that he didn’t actually have a knife: “I used that to navigate myself to the front of the crowd.”)

Some of the insurrectionists break away and find another small hallway, leading to a set of wood-and-glass doors. On the other side is a lobby leading to the House chamber. (The mob doesn’t know it, but several members of Congress, staffers, and journalists are still in the process of being evacuated from the chamber.) The insurrectionists use helmets and wooden flag poles to start beating down the door, smashing the glass, and splintering the wood frame. One woman, an Air Force veteran named Ashli Babbitt, starts to approach the door. A plainclothes police officer stands on the other side, wearing a mask and pointing a pistol in the group’s direction. “There’s a gun!” Sullivan says, but Babbitt doesn’t seem to hear. She starts to climb through an opening in the doorway. The officer shoots once and Babbitt falls to the ground, bleeding, eyes open. “She’s dead,” Sullivan says to the man next to him, who identifies himself as a correspondent from the far-right conspiracist network Infowars. “I saw, the light goes out in her eyes.”

“I need that footage, man,” the Infowars correspondent says. “It’s gonna go out to the world.”

“Dude, this shit’s gonna go viral,” Sullivan says.

From his hotel room, Sullivan uploaded his video footage to YouTube. He licensed parts of it to the Washington Post and NBC, and Anderson Cooper interviewed him on CNN. Right away, far-right conspiracy theorists started to use Sullivan for their propaganda efforts. Some tried to suggest that Sullivan was a left-wing plant who had somehow orchestrated the entire insurrection. Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s lawyer, tweeted a screenshot of what appeared to be a text conversation between himself and James Sullivan, who claimed, baselessly, that there were “226 members of Antifa that instigated the Capitol ‘riot,’ ” and added, “I’m currently working with the FBI to expose and place total blame on John.”

John Sullivan uploaded videos in which he spoke directly to the camera, attempting to justify some of the more incongruous parts of his Capitol footage. “I have emotions, and those moments are crazy,” Sullivan said. In another video, he added, “I was not there to be a participant. I was there to record. But I also have to blend my fucking Black ass into that crowd.” Many of his followers didn’t seem to buy it. When he tweeted, “#TrumpSupporters are making a hit list to take me out,” someone responded, “Stop acting like the victim. . . . You were obviously more involved than what you are playing out.”

“I mean, the FBI doesn’t think so,” Sullivan responded.

A week after the insurrection, James Sullivan says, he sent the F.B.I. tips about his brother. On January 14th, according to John, agents came to his apartment and seized two computers, two cell phones, and his camera equipment. Federal prosecutors announced that Sullivan was being charged with one count of knowingly entering a restricted building, one count of violent entry and disorderly conduct, and one count of interfering with law enforcement. “People are understandably angry and upset, but I’m hoping we don’t respond to mob violence with mob justice,” Mary Corporon, one of Sullivan’s defense attorneys, told me. “It’s going to take a lot of discipline to look at each individual case separately, to give each person a chance to be presumed innocent, but that’s what the Constitution requires.”

A central function of the press is to reveal significant information, including images that the public otherwise would not have seen. “People can say what they want, but nobody else got the footage I got,” Sullivan told me. “That shit was history, and I captured it.” The events leading to Ashli Babbitt’s death are of undeniable import, and we would understand them less well if Sullivan hadn’t documented them. In a dissenting Supreme Court opinion from 1972, Justice Potter Stewart argued that, in order to protect “the full flow of information to the public,” there “must be the right to gather news.” Sullivan and his lawyers may end up arguing that some of his actions on January 6th—shouting support for the mob, for example—were acts of newsgathering, necessary for Sullivan to get as far as he did. This theory would be less helpful, presumably, in explaining away some of Sullivan’s other actions, such as encouraging the invaders to push forward or claiming to have a knife. In Brandenburg v. Ohio, from 1969, the Supreme Court ruled that speech is not protected by the First Amendment if it is “directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.” This is a high bar, but it’s possible that Sullivan’s speech would clear it.

Sullivan spent the night of January 14th in jail. The next day, he was brought before a judge, who released him on the condition that he wear an ankle monitor and stay in his house except for pre-approved activities. Near the end of the hearing, the prosecutor asked that Sullivan be barred from using the Internet. The defense argued, “It is nearly impossible to find employment in the twenty-first century without some form of Internet access.” In the end, the judge ordered the prosecution and the defense to agree on “a list of social-media sites that you feel would be dangerous for Mr. Sullivan to use.”

Against his lawyers’ advice, Sullivan has called me nearly every day since his release, giving me a Zoom tour of his apartment and sending me a Google Drive of protest footage, snippets from his childhood vlog, and cell-phone recordings from his family’s Thanksgiving. I wondered whether these were acts of defiance or of self-sabotage, but it seemed more likely that he was trying to alleviate his boredom. He showed me his video-editing setup, which includes a ring light, a key light, and a professional microphone with a pop filter—but not his computers, which had been confiscated by the F.B.I. His rhetoric about his trip to D.C. was triumphant—“I think I really accomplished something”—but his body language seemed deflated. He told me that, when he closed his eyes, he still saw images of Babbitt’s shooting. “Even after all the wild stuff I’ve witnessed,” he said, “that was the first time I ever saw anyone die.” Internet sleuths continued to argue about whether he was a far-right plant or an Antifa double agent, but he sounded more like a confused kid who was in over his head.

During one of our conversations, he told me that he hadn’t yet received the list of social-media sites that he would be prohibited from using, but that he had been told to expect a far-ranging ban. “Maybe I’ll be allowed to use LinkedIn, maybe not even that,” he told me. “I’m just watching TV and meditating and trying to steer clear of all of it.” This may have been his goal, but he did spend at least some time lurking on Twitter. I know this because, on January 16th, he followed me. He used one of his old handles, @ActivistJayden. I clicked on the account’s profile and scrolled through its history. It was one of Sullivan’s lesser-used accounts; at the time, it consisted only of a few retweets. There was a live stream of a protest outside a federal prison and a video of a protester playing violin while tear gas spread around him. On New Year’s Eve, @ActivistJayden had retweeted a tweet that read, “Let’s make 2021 the year of political upheaval.” Replying to the tweet from a different account, Sullivan had written, “I’m fucking ready.”


Read More About the Attack on the Capitol

Andrew Marantz is a staff writer at The New Yorker and the author of “Antisocial: Online Extremists, Techno-Utopians, and the Hijacking of the American Conversation.”More:Donald TrumpBlack Lives MatterTrumpismActivistsJournalistsRiotsProtestTrump-Biden Transition

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The Capitol was breached by Trump supporters who had been declaring, at rally after rally, that they would go to violent lengths to keep the President in power. A chronicle of an attack foretold.

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On January 6th, 2021, Luke Mogelson followed Trump supporters as they forced their way into the U.S. Capitol, using his phone’s camera as a notebook. The Political SceneThe Week the Trump Supporters Disappeared

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UK coronavirus cases drop to a THIRD of figure three weeks ago

A sombre Boris Johnson says he takes ‘full responsibility’ as UK Covid death toll tops 100,000 with 1,631 new fatalities but new cases drop by TWO THIRDS in three weeks to 20,089

UK coronavirus cases drop to a THIRD of figure three weeks ago
  • Department of Health statistics show 20,089 infections were registered today, below 45,533 two weeks ago
  • This was also a 40 per cent drop from last Tuesday when Health chiefs announced another 33,355 cases
  • But amid the glimmer of hope Britain’s death toll from the virus passed the grim death toll of 100,000
  • There were another 1,631 fatalities recorded today, bringing the total to as high as 100,162 

By Luke Andrews For Mailonline and Sam Blanchard Deputy Health Editor For Mailonline

Published: 16:50 GMT, 26 January 2021 | Updated: 19:59 GMT, 26 January 2021

A sombre Boris Johnson tonight appeared at Downing Street to say he was ‘deeply sorry’ as the UK’s Covid-19 death toll officially rose above 100,000 for the first time.

The Prime Minister appeared alongside Professor Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, and NHS CEO Sir Simon Stevens, to say it was ‘hard to compute the sorrow’ that Britain has been through in the past year. 

This Sunday will mark one year since the first two people were taken to a hospital in Newcastle after being found with coronavirus in York.

Since then, 375,000 people have been admitted to hospital with the Covid-19 and at least 100,162 have died. The Department of Health today announced the deaths of 1,631 more people. Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer today called the figures a ‘national tragedy’.

Speaking at a sombre Downing Street press conference today, Mr Johnson said: ‘On this day, I should just really repeat that I am deeply sorry for every life that has been lost and, of course, as Prime Minister, I take full responsibility for everything that the Government has done. 

‘What I can tell you is that we truly did everything that we could, and continue to do everything that we can, to minimise loss of life and to minimise suffering in what has been a very, very difficult stage and a very, very difficult crisis for our country, and we will continue to do that.’

But in a glimmer of hope on what Professor Whitty branded a ‘very sad day’, the number of people testing positive for coronavirus has dropped again to just a third of the level it was at three weeks ago, with 20,089 more infections.  

The infection number was well below the 45,533 announced two weeks ago and a steep drop from 60,916 the Tuesday before that. 

Although the peak of infections now appears to have passed, the number of people in hospital is still ‘incredibly high’, Professor Whitty said as both he and the PM spoke to quash hopes that lockdown will be lifted soon. On loosening restrictions Mr Johnson said the infection rate was ‘still pretty forbiddingly high’.

Deaths lag about three weeks behind cases because it takes this long for someone who has caught the virus to suffer symptoms severe enough to be admitted to hospital and die from the disease, and Professor Whitty said the daily counts would remain high for weeks to come. 

It comes as it’s revealed Britain has missed its vaccination target for a second day running after 279,757 received a first dose which is more than 100,000 below the 400,000 the Government must get jabs to every day to hit its target of inoculating 15million of the most vulnerable by mid-February.

The Prime Minister has promised to get jabs to those most at risk from the virus – the over-70s, care home residents, NHS staff and the vulnerable – by this time. 

Boris Johnson tonight lamented the UK's huge Covid death toll and offered his 'deepest condolences' to everyone that had lost a relative to coronavirus

Boris Johnson tonight lamented the UK’s huge Covid death toll and offered his ‘deepest condolences’ to everyone that had lost a relative to coronavirus

UK RANKS AMONG TOP 5 WORST-HIT COUNTRIES FOR COVID DEATHS

The UK has the fourth highest coronavirus death toll per million people, damning data shows.

Britain’s current fatality rate is 1,454 per million and rising.

It is behind only Slovenia (1,625) and Belgium (1,795).

San Marino is technically number one in the world for Covid death rates, at 1,915 per million, but the country has a tiny population of just 34,000.

Rounding out the top five is the Czech Republic (1,442) and Italy (1,420).

Bosnia, Liechtenstein, North Macedonia and Bulgaria fill out the top 10.

The fact all 10 countries are in Europe highlights how the burden of the pandemic has fallen on the continent. 

Overall, Britain has the fifth highest death toll in the world.

Only the US (421,129), Brazil (217,664), India (153,587) and Mexico (150,273), which have far larger populations, have suffered higher numbers of victims.

On another day of grim coronavirus news:

  • Pfizer said it was developing booster shots amid fears its Covid-19 vaccine may be less effective against highly infectious strains;
  • German paper behind fake Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine story still prominently displays the article on its website despite claims being rubbished;
  • After German health ministry admits claims ‘Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is only eight per cent effective in over-65s’ was a lie;
  • Cabinet continues to argue over plans to ask all arrivals in the UK to quarantine in hotels for two weeks at their own expense;
  • London hospitals are giving Covid jabs to people who turn up without appointments to avoid wastage;
  • UK could miss out on 3.5million doses of the vaccine if the EU suspends deliveries across the channel;
  • Vaccine passports could pose data risks and create a ‘two-tier society’ based on who’s had jabs, warns MP;
  • Covid could become a ‘much more treatable disease’ in the next six months according to NHS chief Sir Simon Stevens as he warns half of patients in intensive care are under 65. 

Speaking at the conference today, the Prime Minister offered his ‘deepest condolences’ to everyone that had lost loved ones during the pandemic.

‘I offer my deepest condolences to everyone who has lost a loved one: fathers and mothers; brothers and sisters; sons and daughters and the many grandparents who have been taken,’ he said.

‘And, to all those who grieve, we make this pledge: that when we have come through this crisis, we will come together as a nation to remember everyone we lost, and to honour the selfless heroism of all those on the front line who gave their lives to save others.

‘We will remember the courage of countless working people – not just our amazing NHS and care workers, but shop workers, transport staff, pharmacists, teachers, police, armed forces emergency services and many others – who kept our country going during our biggest crisis since the Second World War.

‘We will commemorate the small acts of kindness, the spirit of volunteering and the daily sacrifice of millions who placed their lives on hold time and again as we fought each new wave of the virus, buying time for our brilliant scientists to come to our aid.

‘In that moment of commemoration, we will celebrate the genius and perseverance of those who discovered the vaccines and the immense national effort – never seen before in our history – which is now underway to distribute them, one that has now seen us immunise over 6.8 million people across the United Kingdom.’

Virus cases in Europe have remained stubbornly high throughout winter despite tougher restrictions being introduced, with many countries now considering new national shutdowns - if they have not been imposed already

Virus cases in Europe have remained stubbornly high throughout winter despite tougher restrictions being introduced, with many countries now considering new national shutdowns – if they have not been imposed already

Although there were signs of optimism as infection rates are coming down across the UK, Professor Whitty said deaths would remain stubbornly high for the weeks to come.

BORIS JOHNSON’S SPEECH IN FULL

Speaking from a podium in Downing Street, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said tonight: ‘I am sorry to have to tell you that today the number of deaths recorded from Covid in the UK has surpassed 100,000, and it is hard to compute the sorrow contained in that grim statistic.

‘The years of life lost, the family gatherings not attended and, for so many relatives, the missed chance even to say goodbye.

‘I offer my deepest condolences to everyone who has lost a loved one: fathers and mothers; brothers and sisters; sons and daughters and the many grandparents who have been taken.

‘And, to all those who grieve, we make this pledge: that when we have come through this crisis, we will come together as a nation to remember everyone we lost, and to honour the selfless heroism of all those on the front line who gave their lives to save others.

‘We will remember the courage of countless working people – not just our amazing NHS and care workers, but shop workers, transport staff, pharmacists, teachers, police, armed forces emergency services and many others – who kept our country going during our biggest crisis since the Second World War.

‘We will commemorate the small acts of kindness, the spirit of volunteering and the daily sacrifice of millions who placed their lives on hold time and again as we fought each new wave of the virus, buying time for our brilliant scientists to come to our aid.

‘In that moment of commemoration, we will celebrate the genius and perseverance of those who discovered the vaccines and the immense national effort – never seen before in our history – which is now underway to distribute them, one that has now seen us immunise over 6.8 million people across the United Kingdom.

‘And when those vaccines have finally freed us from this virus and put us on a path to recovery, we will make sure that we learn the lessons and reflect and prepare.

‘And, until that time, the best and most important thing we can all do to honour the memory of those who have died is to work together with ever greater resolve to defeat this disease.

‘And that is what we will do.’ 

He said there would be ‘a lot more deaths over the next few weeks before the effects of the vaccines begin to be felt’ and that the number of positive tests was ‘still at a very high number, but it has been coming down’.

Professor Whitty also cautioned against relaxing restrictions ‘too early’ as he said Office for National Statistics data demonstrates a slower decrease. 

Sir Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said: ‘This is not a year that anybody is going to want to remember nor is it a year that across the health service any of us will ever forget.’

He also told the briefing that there will eventually be an end to the ‘incessant’ new Covid-19 admissions to hospitals.

‘What people probably want right now is three things – first of all to be able to look forward to some sort of respite from what has been an incredibly demanding and continuous year of pressure.

‘Secondly, to know that there are reinforcements on the way, that the staffing pressures in the health service will be taken seriously in the years to come.

‘And thirdly, to tackle the pressures in the here and now which fundamentally are about reducing the number of new patients who turn up in A&E severely ill with coronavirus day in day out.

‘So it’s that combination I think. The sense there will be some respite, the sense the health service will get resilient, staffing support it needs in the years to come, but right now we actually collectively turn off the incessant new admissions that are arriving with very severely ill coronavirus patients.’ 

Today Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called the figures a ‘national tragedy’. He said: ‘We must never become numb to these numbers or treat them as just statistics.

‘Every death is a loved one, a friend, a neighbour, a partner or a colleague. It is an empty chair at the dinner table.’

Sir Keir also accused the Prime Minister of being ‘reluctant to take tough decisions’ throughout the crisis.

He added: ‘There’s a strong sense I think that our Government has been behind the curve at every stage.

‘There has been a reluctance to take tough decisions when they needed to be taken.

‘And here we are today we find ourselves with this awful milestone of 100,000 deaths from Covid.’ 

It comes after the EU today vowed to force firms to declare what vaccines are being exported to the UK, amid frustration in Brussels after AstraZeneca said it would not be able to meet orders of its jab – which the bloc is still yet to approve – previously agreed.

The saber-rattling from Brussels, which comes amid growing chaos and protests across the continent, has incensed senior MPs, with warnings that the EU could ‘poison’ relations for a generation if it blocks some of the 40million Pfizer doses the UK has bought ‘legally and fairly’.  

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer today called the figures a 'national tragedy'. He said: 'We must never become numb to these numbers or treat them as just statistics.'

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer today called the figures a ‘national tragedy’. He said: ‘We must never become numb to these numbers or treat them as just statistics.’

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NHS England chief Simon Stevens swiped at the ‘uproar’ today, suggesting it underlined the pressure on supplies and how Britain had done ‘very well’.

And Health Secretary Matt Hancock said protectionism was ‘not the right approach’, insisting that the huge push to get the four most vulnerable groups of Britons covered by mid-February will not be derailed.

For its part, Pfizer warned it was ‘critical that governments do not impose export restrictions or other trade barriers’ that would risk creating ‘uncertainty’ and disrupting supplies. 

Meanwhile, the health ministry in Berlin has been forced to issue a denial after two German newspapers claimed the EU’s regulator could refuse to give the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab full approval, with officials anonymously briefing its efficacy for pensioners was just eight percent.

The claim was angrily rejected by the pharmaceutical company – and No10 sources told MailOnline it was ‘rubbish’. It is understood the issue came up at Cabinet this morning, and Boris Johnson said it was ‘not correct’. Science chief Patrick Vallance told the meeting that data showed a good immune response among all older patients.

He suggested the publications could have been confused between the proportion of the trial participants who were over 65, and the effectiveness. One Whitehall source told Playbook it was the kind of tactics ‘you expect from the Russians’.

RELATED ARTICLES

The German health ministry today desperately tried to kill off the spat, dismissing the idea there was any data suggest the efficacy of only 8 percent among older people. It said at ‘first glance’ there seemed to have been a mix-up over the 8 percent figure insisting a decision is still due on approving the jab on Friday. 

Official figures today showed a slowdown in the vaccine rollout, as it failed to hit the 500,000 daily jabs target for the second day in a row. 

Speaking at a Downing Street press conference last night, Health Secretary Matt Hancock insisted that Britain was ‘on track’ to reach the most vulnerable groups by the middle of February. 

He said that 6.6million people had now received a jab, more than one in nine of the adult population, and in the last week 2.5million got a vaccine, which was equal to a rate of more than 250 people per minute.

And, he said, 78.7 percentof over-80s have received a jab.

Mr. Hancock told the Downing Street press conference: ‘We’re on track to offer everyone in the top four priority groups a jab by February 15’.     

The race to deliver the vaccine comes aftercare home residents have accounted for almost a third of the total number of coronavirus deaths in England and Wales. As of January 15, 2021, a total of 30,851 residents had been killed by the virus. 

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The number-crunching body said there were 1,705 deaths in English care homes reported to the Care Quality Commission in the seven days to January 2, up from 661 a fortnight ago

The number-crunching body said there were 1,705 deaths in English care homes reported to the Care Quality Commission in the seven days to January 2, up from 661 a fortnight ago

EU block could mean UK misses out on millions of Covid vaccine doses 

The UK could miss out on millions of doses of the coronavirus vaccine if the European Union suspends deliveries to countries outside the bloc.

Britain is expecting to receive another nine million doses by mid-February from Oxford/AstraZeneca and Pfizer/BioNTech.

But if Eurocrats blockade jab exports across the channel, American drugs company Pfizer – which manufactures vaccines in Puurs, Belgium – will be unable to ship supplies.

As many as 3.5million doses of their jab are expected to arrive over the next three weeks, reports the Telegraph, a shipment that wouldn’t land on British soil if Brussels chose to redirect supplies.

The move would not, however, cut supplies of the AstraZeneca vaccine because the ‘vast, vast majority’ of their jabs are made in the UK.

There are fears that any cut in deliveries could leave the Government unable to meet its target of vaccinating 15million of the most vulnerable by mid-February.

But it is not clear how many doses are already sitting in warehouses in the UK, which ministers say they won’t reveal because of ‘security concerns’.

The Health Secretary Matt Hancock said at a conference last night that supply remained the ‘limiting factor’ in Britain’s Covid-19 vaccine rollout.

The UK has already vaccinated more than six million of the most vulnerable against the virus, as it steams towards its mid-February target.

Separate damning ONS figures show weekly fatalities among care home residents in England alone have almost tripled in the last fortnight, as the virus makes a deadly resurgence in the sector. 

The number-crunching body said there were 1,705 deaths in English care homes reported to the Care Quality Commission in the seven days to January 2, up from 661 a fortnight ago.   

For the first time the ONS has released data bringing together the deaths of care home residents in care homes and other settings since March 2020 up to the present. 

The number of deaths involving Covid-19 in care home residents has been rising in recent weeks. A total of 1,719 deaths were registered in the week to January 15 – the highest figure since the week ending May 21, 2020.   

The Independent Care Group, which represents providers in York and North Yorkshire, said the figures make ‘grim reading’ and demonstrate the need to avoid complacency.

Chairman Mike Padgham said: ‘Yes, we now have vaccines, and the Government is to be congratulated on the speed at which it is protecting the vulnerable.

‘But Covid-19 is not beaten yet and we must remain cautious and, on our guard, observing all the guidance and keeping everyone in care settings – care and nursing homes and those receiving care in their own homes – as safe as we can, alongside those who are caring for them.

‘The news that carers are going to be supplied with lateral flow tests they can do at home is another positive step and will hopefully have an impact and help protect carers who are selflessly looking after others.’ 

Nuffield Trust Deputy Director of Research Sarah Scobie said that care homes are ‘feeling the strain’ and said it will take time for the vaccine rollout to affect figures. 

She said: ‘The number of registered deaths from Covid of care home residents has increased by 25 percent since last week. 

‘The sector is again feeling the strain, and while the vaccine roll-out for the most vulnerable is continuing at impressive speed it will be a while until the benefits feed through to the figures.’  

The ONS report today also found coronavirus accounted for four in 10 deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending January 15 – the highest proportion recorded during the pandemic.

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There were 7,245 deaths registered where the virus was mentioned on the death certificate in England and Wales, a 20 percent rise from the previous week, when 6,057 deaths were registered.

It is also the third-highest weekly number recorded during the pandemic and at 40.2 percent, the week with the highest proportion of deaths involving Covid-19 recorded so far.

There have also been concerns the drive could be held up by the supply of the vaccine, which has been described as ‘lumpy’ and could yet threaten to derail the plans. 

Ministers have refused to reveal how much is already in the country, citing a security risk, but there have been reports of deliveries to centers being scaled down.

Confusion has also been sparked over whether supplies are being diverted to areas lagging behind in the rollout, with the vaccines minister denying this after Mr. Hancock said the Government would be redirecting stocks last week.  

And both Pfizer and AstraZeneca – suppliers of the only two vaccines being used in the UK – have faced disruption to their shipments as they have scaled up manufacturing.

It comes after EU leaders arranged an urgent meeting with AstraZeneca executives after the company unexpectedly slashed its supply of vaccines to the bloc.

The jab-makers have blamed the EU’s supply chain for their failure to deliver the promised 80million vaccines by the end of March as part of a £300million deal.

AstraZeneca, which developed its shot with Oxford University, said on Friday they could only offer 31million vaccines in the first quarter, a cut of 60 percent.

Furious EU officials said they will investigate their claims and have questioned why Britain is not suffering from similar delays in the rollout.

Peter Liese, an EU lawmaker from the same party as Angela Merkel, said: ‘The flimsy justification that there are difficulties in the EU supply chain but not elsewhere does not hold water, as it is, of course, no problem to get the vaccine from the UK to the continent.

‘AstraZeneca has been contractually obligated to produce since as early as October and they are apparently delivering to other parts of the world, including the UK without delay.’

The Anglo-Swedish drugmaker had received an up-front payment of 336 million euros (£298million) from the EU when they struck a deal in August, an EU official told Reuters. 

TOP TEN JOBS WITH THE HIGHEST NUMBER OF CORONAVIRUS DEATHS, ACCORDING TO THE ONS

Taxi drivers, home carers, security guards, and lorry drivers were among the professions suffering the highest number of deaths from coronavirus, official data shows.

Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures reveal there were 8,000 deaths in people aged between 20 and 64 in England and Wales last year, one-twelfth of the total.

And of the more than 5,000 for which a profession was registered, the ONS compiled the statistics to show which were recording the highest number of deaths after an individual tested positive for the virus.

In men, the highest number of Covid-19 deaths was in taxi and cab drivers, 209, followed by security guards, 140, and lorry drivers, 118. And in women, the highest number of Covid-19 deaths was in care workers, 240, sales assistants, 111, and nurses, 110.

Men, Profession

Taxi and cab drivers

Security guards

Large goods vehicle drivers

Storage workers

Care workers/Home carers

Processing plant workers

Van drivers

Builders

Bus and coach drivers

Chefs 

Number of Covid-19 deaths

209

140

118

111

107

100

97

85

83

82

Women, profession

Care workers/Home carers

Sales assistants

Nurses

Cleaners

Other administrative jobs

Nursing assistants

Teaching assistants

Kitchen/catering assistants

Personal assistants

Payroll managers/clerks&

Government administrators 

Number of Covid-19 deaths

240

111

110

95

58

54

37

36

30

26

26 

Posted in COVID-19, International, Local, News0 Comments

image-1

Inauguration Live Updates: Biden and Harris Are Sworn In, Kicking Off New Era in Washington

reprint (Adapted)
Joseph R. Biden Jr. was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.CreditCredit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

https://nyti.ms/3itiXsV

Kamala Harris is the first woman and the first woman of color to serve as vice president. President Biden said he wanted to “restore the soul and secure the future of America” in his Inaugural Address.

RIGHT NOW Biden and Harris receive gifts after taking part in an inauguration like no other.

Video https://nyti.ms/391Dul7

Watch live coverage of the inauguration ceremony for Joseph R. Biden Jr. as the next president of the United States.CreditCredit…Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Watch live coverage of the inauguration ceremony for Joseph R. Biden Jr. as the next president of the United States.CreditCredit…Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Here’s what you need to know:

https://www.nytimes.com/live/2021/01/20/us/biden-inauguration/in-pictures-preparations-for-the-inauguration
https://www.nytimes.com/live/2021/01/20/us/biden-inauguration/inaugural-briefing-inauguration-firsts
https://www.nytimes.com/live/2021/01/20/us/biden-inauguration/they-are-preparing-the-white-house-for-a-new-president-and-they-have-just-five-hours-to-do-it
https://www.nytimes.com/live/2021/01/20/us/biden-inauguration/photos-of-joe-bidens-long-road-to-the-presidency
https://www.nytimes.com/live/2021/01/20/us/biden-inauguration/biden-and-harris-attended-mass-alongside-republican-and-democratic-leaders
https://www.nytimes.com/live/2021/01/20/us/biden-inauguration/some-people-pardoned-by-trump-can-still-be-tried-an-ex-mueller-prosecutor-argues
https://www.nytimes.com/live/2021/01/20/us/biden-inauguration/in-pictures-preparations-for-the-inauguration
https://www.nytimes.com/live/2021/01/20/us/biden-inauguration/in-his-last-minutes-as-president-trump-pardons-al-pirro
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/20/us/politics/trump-speech-fact-check.html
https://www.nytimes.com/live/2021/01/20/us/biden-inauguration/trump-departs-white-house

—–

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/20/us/politics/inauguration-fashion-purple.html
https://www.nytimes.com/live/2021/01/20/us/biden-inauguration/biden-sends-his-first-tweet-from-potus
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/20/us/politics/eugene-goodman-kamala-harris.html
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/20/us/politics/amanda-gorman-poet.html
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/20/us/politics/lady-gaga-biden.html
https://www.nytimes.com/live/2021/01/20/us/biden-inauguration/on-day-1-biden-will-wield-executive-authority-to-undo-trumps-legacy
https://www.nytimes.com/live/2021/01/20/us/biden-inauguration/biden-taking-office-amid-chaos-seeks-to-project-calm-resolve
https://www.nytimes.com/live/2021/01/20/us/biden-inauguration/biden-and-harris-take-part-in-an-inauguration-like-no-other
https://www.nytimes.com/live/2021/01/20/us/biden-inauguration/kamala-harris-is-sworn-in-as-vice-president-a-barrier-breaking-moment-in-us-history
https://www.nytimes.com/live/2021/01/20/us/biden-inauguration/biden-sworn-in – Democracy has prevailed

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