6:27 PM 2/8/2021 - Michael Novakhov - SharedNewsLinks℠

6:27 PM 2/8/2021



Michael Novakhov - SharedNewsLinks℠ | In Brief | 
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Michael Novakhov - SharedNewsLinks 
Tweets by @mikenov - 6:07 PM 2/8/20
German intelligence warns Capitol riot, Covid lockdown fuel right-wing extremism
12:53 PM 2/7/2021 - News Review
8:08 AM 2/7/2021 - Penguins Spared After Mammoth Iceberg Splits Into Smaller Pieces - News Review
More Than A Month Later, It's Still January 6 on Capitol Hill : NPR
Video News Review - 5:02 PM 2/6/2021
Podcasts Review - 8 - 9 AM 2/6/2021: Trump Propaganda Video May Have Helped Incite Capitol Rioters
COVID-19 Deaths Are Finally on the Decline
6:22 AM 2/6/2021 - Biden says "no need" for Trump to receive intel briefings
5:04 AM 2/6/2021 - The mysterious puzzle of the Covid-19 falling rates: too fast, too soon - Michael Novakhov
COVID cases in the Midwest drop to a QUARTER of the seven-day average at its peak
New York Daily News: Alexei Navalny gives supporters message of hope in first comments since jail sentence
4:51 AM 2/5/2021 - Tweets Review
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Was it an epic cyber attack or spy operation?
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Military Links To US Capitol Rioters Show Challenge Of Fighting Extremism In The Ranks
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Michael Novakhov - SharedNewsLinks 
Tweets by @mikenov - 6:07 PM 2/8/20

Michael_Novakhov shared this story from The News And Times.

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German intelligence warns Capitol riot, Covid lockdown fuel right-wing extremism

Michael_Novakhov shared this story .

MUNICH While much of the liberal West watched the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol in horror, right-wing extremism and anti-Semitic ideas are gaining ground in certain corners of the globe.

German officials say the violence in Washington, together with coronavirus skepticism and anti-lockdown sentiment, has emboldened right-wing groups. The rising extremism has prompted the country's intelligence services to place a number of people under surveillance.

"The security services are wide awake and are monitoring all developments," Alina Vick, a spokeswoman for Germany's Interior Ministry, said at a news conference Jan. 25 in response to questions from NBC News.

According to provisional police figures released Thursday, the number of crimes committed by right-wing extremists jumped to its highest level in at least four years in 2020.

Suspected coronavirus deniers have attacked a number of people and organizations in recent months. In October, the Robert Koch Institute, Germany's center for disease control, was the target of an arson attack. The same day, an explosive detonated at the Berlin office of the Leibniz Association, a group of research institutes that has also researched the coronavirus.

Anti-lockdown demonstrations have intensified in recent weeks as Germany has tightened coronavirus restrictions, which are in place until at least mid-February.

Intelligence agencies have taken a particular interest in the group Querdenken 711, whose name loosely translates as "thinking outside the box." The anti-lockdown group, which was founded in Stuttgart, the capital of the southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg, has inspired similar groups across the country that espouse a mixture of QAnon conspiracy theories, anti-Semitic ideas and frustration at coronavirus restrictions.

In December, Baden-Württemberg's intelligence service placed the group on a watchlist and warned about rising extremism.

"We are dealing with a movement that formed on the occasion of the corona protests and then radicalized further on," Beate Bube, the president of Baden-Württemberg's intelligence service, said in a recent interview with a local newspaper. "We see an anti-state attitude at demonstrations and in online activities. Such attitudes are specifically fanned by the organizers."

She said that the group was not interested in legitimate protest and that it was simply seeking to spread false information about the coronavirus and undermine the rule of law. The riot at the U.S. Capitol has added fuel to those sentiments.

"What we saw in Washington can be a breeding ground for radicalization and violent action in the right-wing scene," Bube said. "Within the state's scene, we are currently seeing verbal approval for the violence at the Capitol."

While official national statistics on extremism for 2020 are not yet available, preliminary numbers released by a German lawmaker indicate that police recorded the highest number of far-right crimes since 2016. Police recorded 23,080 crimes with far-right backgrounds, around 700 more than in the previous year.

A report by RIAS Bavaria, a nonprofit organization, documented 46 anti-Semitic incidents related to coronavirus conspiracy theories in the state of Bavaria alone from Jan. 1 to Oct. 31, 2020. Many incidents occurred at demonstrations, while others occurred online or in daily life.

Annette Seidel-Arpaci, the head of RIAS Bavaria, said in an interview that the coronavirus protests have helped promote anti-Semitic beliefs more broadly, raising the possibility of violence.

"The danger is that ideas turn into public speech and through that potentially into actions," Seidel-Arpaci said.

Even before the pandemic, right-wing attacks have shocked Germany in recent years. In 2019, a gunman attacked a synagogue on Yom Kippur, and a man with far-right views shot and killed a politician.

Download the NBC News app for breaking news and politics

According to the RIAS Bavaria report, a Jewish pedestrian was accosted in a Munich park last year by a man wearing a T-shirt that read "corona denier" and "anti-vaxxer." The assailant claimed that Jews had created the coronavirus, according to the report.

In another documented case, a German rapper posted a video to Instagram claiming that the Rothschild family was behind a curfew that had been instituted to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Seidel-Arpaci said that signs of anti-Semitism were evident in early protests against coronavirus measures last year but that those sentiments have become much more prevalent now.

"Victims are feeling more fear and insecurity," Seidel-Arpaci said. "Not just because of the coronavirus pandemic, but in general, anti-Semitism is acted out more openly, especially in everyday life."

Carlo Angerer is a multimedia producer and reporter based in Mainz, Germany. 

12:53 PM 2/7/2021 - News Review

Michael_Novakhov shared this story from The News And Times.

Michael Novakhov retweeted:
A Winter Storm Warning is currently in effect, as well as a Hazardous Travel Advisory. Stay home or take public transportation if you're able. Stay safe!


PBS NewsHour Weekend Live Show: February 7, 2021

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8:08 AM 2/7/2021 - Penguins Spared After Mammoth Iceberg Splits Into Smaller Pieces - News Review thenewsandtimes.blogspot.com/2021/02/808-am

EtoHrDkXUAgnPUE.jpg:large

Michael Novakhov retweeted:
FBI arrests Pennsylvania woman accused of using a bullhorn to direct rioters during last months Capitol siege, federal prosecutors say. nbcnews.to/3q1ukuX
Michael Novakhov retweeted:
Chinese whistleblower doctor who sounded alarm about COVID remembered a year on trib.al/LEfs6Jh
Michael Novakhov retweeted:
Trump's DC hotel is hiking prices for March 4 the day QAnon followers think the former president will be sworn in businessinsider.com/trumps-dc-hote
Michael Novakhov retweeted:
There likely will be ample evidence for the Justice Department to prosecute former President Donald Trump. But the schoolbook ideal of a criminal investigation and the reality are often not the same, writes @MichaelJStern1 in @usatodayopinionusatoday.com/story/opinion/
Michael Novakhov retweeted:
Full Schiff Interview: We simply couldnt sit still and wait on Trump imeachment

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Chair, House Intelligence Committee, talks about the upcoming impeachment trial of former President Trump.

nbcnews.to/2YRRoAz

EtobWf_XUAYU2uj.jpg:large

Michael Novakhov retweeted:
The Landsknechts Meet the Renaissance's Most Feared Soldiers-of-Fortune militaryhistorynow.com/2018/08/16/mee

EtoZn2rXAAAQjoU.jpg:large

Michael Novakhov retweeted:
"I think it's clearly constitutional to conduct a Senate trial with respect to an impeachment," Republican Sen. Pat Toomey says on fmr. Pres. Trump's upcoming trial.

"In this case, the impeachment occurred prior to the President leaving office." #CNNSOTU cnn.it/2YTXikI



Michael Novakhov retweeted:
What does the ICC ruling mean for Israel, the IDF and the Palestinians? haaretz.com/israel-news/.p
Michael Novakhov retweeted:
Dont dismiss the ICC ruling on Israel, but dont blow it out of proportion either haaretz.com/israel-news/.p
Michael Novakhov retweeted:
Florida officer fired for alleged physical harassment, taunting colleague for fears of COVID-19 hill.cm/safqSXA

EtoarQ6XYAIfjoo.png:large

10:33 AM 2/7/2021 - News Review: Its Still January 6 on Capitol Hill on #SoundCloud #np soundcloud.com/mike-nova-3/10
10:33 AM 2/7/2021 - News Review: Its Still January 6 on Capitol Hill youtu.be/1D5VrF0Shdc via @YouTube
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen: Biden's stimulus bill could help US employment bounce back to normal by 2022
Janet Yellen Without the bill, recovery could plod along until 2025.

Andrew Harnik/AP Photo

  • Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said US employment could return to normal by 2022.
  • She said a speedy economic recovery hinges on whether or not President Biden's relief bill passes. 
  • Democrats and Biden have indicated they will pass the package with or without bipartisan support. 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the US could see employment rebound to pre-pandemic levels by 2022 if Congress passes President Joe Biden's coronavirus stimulus package. 

"This package is going to really speed recovery. And analysis by Moody's and economists at the Brookings Institution show that very clearly - that we will get people back to work much sooner with this package," Yellen said on CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday. 

"I would expect that if this package is passed that we would get back to full employment next year."

Yellen also said that the consequences of not passing a robust stimulus bill would be dire. 

"If we don't provide additional support, the unemployment rate is going to stay elevated for years to come," Yellen said, citing a report from the Congressional Budget Office. "It would take until 2025 to get the unemployment rate back to 4% again. We would have a long, slow recovery like we had after the financial crisis."

President Biden's proposed relief package would commit $1.9 trillion to aid state and local governments, fund vaccination efforts, distribute a wave of $1,400 stimulus checks, and temporarily enhance unemployment benefits, among other efforts. 

Read more: Biden's stimulus plan is heightening Wall Street's worries that inflation will upend the stock market. We spoke to 4 experts on what the raging debate means for investors, and how to take advantage of it.

Although it's not the massive infrastructure and job-creation bill Biden plans for the future, the relief package will help dig the US out of the "deep hole" it currently faces with respect to the job market, Yellen said during an appearance on CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday.

"The spending it will generate is going to lead to demand for workers, help put people back to work, especially when we can get vaccinations and the public health situation to the point where the economy can begin to open up again," Yellen said. "I'd point out, it includes aid to state and local governments. We've seen already 1.3 million workers fired off state and local payrolls because of shortfalls that they have in revenues."

The bill would also aim to bring women back into the workforce through several measures, Yellen said.  

"The American Rescue package that President Biden has proposed really addresses the problems that women face. It places huge emphasis on getting our schools open safely, getting children back into school, providing paid family and medical leave during this crisis," she said. 

The White House is currently trying to push the bill through Congress, though it's facing opposition from Republican lawmakers over its size. This week, the Senate approved a resolution that would allow it to pass the bill with a simple majority, and Biden indicated he would move forward with the package with or without Republican support. 

Read the original article on Business Insider
businessinsider?d=yIl2AUoC8zA businessinsider?i=QXQZrBat_Mk:hzogs7_v47 businessinsider?i=QXQZrBat_Mk:hzogs7_v47 businessinsider?d=qj6IDK7rITs businessinsider?i=QXQZrBat_Mk:hzogs7_v47
8:08 AM 2/7/2021 - Penguins Spared After Mammoth Iceberg Splits Into Smaller Pieces - News Review

Michael_Novakhov shared this story from The News And Times.

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Michael_Novakhov
shared this story
from 8073762.png Analysis : NPR.

In this Jan. 12, 2021 photo, shattered glass from the attack on Congress by a pro-Trump mob is seen in the doors leading to the Capitol Rotunda.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP


hide caption

toggle caption

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

In this Jan. 12, 2021 photo, shattered glass from the attack on Congress by a pro-Trump mob is seen in the doors leading to the Capitol Rotunda.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

A month has passed since the shocking invasion of the U.S. Capitol by rioters bent on blocking the official recognition of the presidential election results, but the aftershocks have not stopped.

More than 200 people have now been charged with various crimes, ranging from illegal trespassing to attacks on police officers to conspiracies to kidnap members of Congress. Federal authorities have opened investigations into about 200 other individuals who have yet to be charged.

Among the first to face a trial for their actions on January 6 is the former president of the United States, Donald Trump. Unlike the others, he will not appear in federal court. But as a (twice) impeached federal official, he will face a jury of 100 senators who have been asked to deliberate on his case (for the second time in year). The trial is scheduled to begin this coming week.

Offered a chance to testify under oath and defend the statements he has made in regard to January 6, Trump via his latest set of lawyers has declined. He is not expected to attend when his Senate trial begins. But in the (still) unlikely event of conviction, he could be barred from federal office for life.

Trump Will Not Testify In Senate Impeachment Trial, Adviser Says
Impeachment Managers Argue Trump Is 'Singularly Responsible' For Capitol Attack

This past week we also saw the House convulsed with not one, but two highly unusual spectacles of intraparty tension. House Republicans were asked to decide whether their third-ranking leader, Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, should be driven from her position because she voted last month to impeach former President Trump.

House Republicans were also asked to defend the newly-elected Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and her incendiary online remarks and embrace of baseless conspiracy theories. Should she be allowed on the Budget and Education and Labor committees after questioning the authenticity of student massacres at Sandy Hook Elementary and Parkland? What to do with an outspoken freshman whose penchant for conspiracy theories had been denounced as looney lies by no less a partisan than Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell?

House Republicans To Keep Rep. Liz Cheney In Leadership Position
House Removes Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene From Her Committee Assignments

In the end, the vote on Cheney was taken by secret ballot, allowing members to express their feelings with less fear of reprisal. She won the backing of more than two-thirds of her colleagues. Greene lost her committee seats based on the en bloc vote of the Democratic majority, but she was supported by all but 11 of her Republican colleagues.

Greene had sought to make amends with a concession or two. For example, she allowed that the attacks of Sept. 11 had happened. In the past she has said there was no evidence of an airplane striking the Pentagon that day, when 184 people in the building and on the plane lost their lives.

The Role of Violent Rhetoric

Much of the critique of Greenes social media record has focused on her penchant for violent rhetoric directed at Democrats in Congress including her approval of a Facebook comment saying a quicker way to remove Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) would be a bullet to the head.

In his closing speech on the House floor the night of the vote, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) stood beside a poster-sized enlargement of a Facebook post from Greene, then a candidate for Congress. It showed her wielding a military-style automatic weapon and sunglasses, facing off against unflattering depictions of three Democratic members of the House: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Michigans Rashida Tlaib, three members of the Squad known for their outspoken opposition to Trump.

Hoyer walked the graphic around to the Republican side of the floor, holding it up and asking members how they would feel about a colleague threatening them in such a manner.

Life on the Hill

Meanwhile, an ominous iron fence crowned with concertina wire girds the Capitol grounds and adjacent acreage of the National Mall. It is called a security fence, but it communicates the opposite.

We are far from secure if we need this. And yet, in the wake of January 6, we as a nation have had to admit we do need this.

And no one is prepared to say for how long.

This week, we watched Congress at work inside this military-style perimeter, guarded by National Guard troops who have not left since Inauguration Day. We got a sense of how January 6 still casts a shadow over the building and the institution, as it was either the subject or the subtext of every political conversation.

Acting Capitol Police Chief Promises 'Significant' Changes Following Deadly Riot
Lawmakers Honor Slain Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick In Rotunda

The pressing issues regarding Reps. Cheney and Greene within the ranks of the House GOP were symptomatic of the deeper question Americans have been asking in one form or another since January 6. What has happened to us?

The question suggests a suspicion that somehow some transformation has overtaken us, distorting our politics and our national consciousness.

But are we different from what we were before, or are we different from what we thought we were?

Has something changed, or has something about us been revealed?

The Presence of the Past

History is not a relic, sealed in a case to be regarded as irrelevant. History is a palpable, continuous reality, an appreciation of what it took for the present to come about. As William Faulkner famously said: The past is never dead. Its not even past.

So it was particularly poignant in recent days to hear Yale professor Joanne Freeman speak of her 2018 book The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to Civil War at a late January session of the U.S. Capitol Historical Society. She had been asked to put the events of January 6 in context.

Was this unprecedented? she asked rhetorically. Aspects of it were.

She then cited the direct involvement of the president and, of course, the physical attack on the Capitol itself.

Then she added: But if you are talking about the mixture of violence and politics if you are talking about people who feel they are entitled to power and are being denied it and choose violence as a way to demand it back if you are talking about questions of race and dominance all these things have deep roots in American history.

Indeed they do. Freemans point was that the violence we witnessed last month was not without a predicate and not without a purpose. That predicate may seem distant to most people today as it reaches back to the Civil War and further yet to the slavery era that began in some of the original 17th century American colonies.

Not Random Acts

Freeman argues that the purpose of violence inside the Capitol during the mid-19th century and the purpose of violence on January 6 was to defend power arrangements perceived to be threatened by social, legal and political change.

In antebellum America, slavery was defended in every manner possible, Freeman notes, including the use and the threat of violence. Her book documents more than 70 incidents of violence that took place in and around the Capitol building in the three decades prior to the 1860 election of Abraham Lincoln.

The most famous is the caning of Senator Charles Sumner by Rep. Preston Brooks of South Carolina, who beat the abolitionist from Massachusetts senseless on the Senate floor in 1856.

But members often engaged in less notable confrontations that on occasion resulted in blows, challenges and threats of further retribution. Freeman documents dozens of cases of people pulling guns and knives on each other, people punching each other, mass brawls, all kinds of real physical violence in addition to lots and lots of threats.

Freeman also concludes that this atmosphere of combativeness was decidedly one-sided, a tactic pursued by those who perceived their own positions in jeopardy as the nation lurched toward a reckoning over slavery.

Most of that violence, Feeeman said, was inflicted by Southern slave-holding congressmen who pretty much used threats and physical violence to intimidate Northerners and anyone else who was going to try and attack their slave regime into silence or submission.

And was this merely an expression of the rough-hewn, frontier-flavored behavior of Americans in the years before the Civil War? No, Freeman argues, it was an instrument for the defense of privilege and political power.

So we have to think about that very fact that what we are seeing is people truly feeling entitled to power being willing to take whatever it takes to keep it.

As we have recently seen, that willingness survives and thrives in some quarters today surely an example of past that is not even past.

The post More Than A Month Later, Its Still January 6 on Capitol Hill : NPR first appeared on Michael Novakhov - SharedNewsLinks - michaelnovakhov-sharednewslinks.com.
NPR News: 02-07-2021 6AM ET

VOA Newscasts

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 audio/mp3 a.mp3
NPR News: 02-07-2021 7AM ET
This photo was taken moments before U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt began his historic "Fireside Chat" to the American people on March 12, 1933. President Biden is reviving the practice, used by many modern presidents but ditched by Trump, of directly addressing the public through a weekly address.

Biden's first address was a conversation with a woman who lost her job during the pandemic. The White House says Biden will use a "variety of forms" in his take on the weekly radio address.

(Image credit: AP)

npr-rss-pixel.png?story=964889898

6227898 News : NPR
NPR News: 02-06-2021 9PM ET
More Than A Month Later, It's Still January 6 on Capitol Hill : NPR

Michael_Novakhov shared this story from Analysis : NPR.

In this Jan. 12, 2021 photo, shattered glass from the attack on Congress by a pro-Trump mob is seen in the doors leading to the Capitol Rotunda. J. Scott Applewhite/AP hide caption

toggle caption
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

In this Jan. 12, 2021 photo, shattered glass from the attack on Congress by a pro-Trump mob is seen in the doors leading to the Capitol Rotunda.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

A month has passed since the shocking invasion of the U.S. Capitol by rioters bent on blocking the official recognition of the presidential election results, but the aftershocks have not stopped.

More than 200 people have now been charged with various crimes, ranging from illegal trespassing to attacks on police officers to conspiracies to kidnap members of Congress. Federal authorities have opened investigations into about 200 other individuals who have yet to be charged.

Among the first to face a trial for their actions on January 6 is the former president of the United States, Donald Trump. Unlike the others, he will not appear in federal court. But as a (twice) impeached federal official, he will face a jury of 100 senators who have been asked to deliberate on his case (for the second time in year). The trial is scheduled to begin this coming week.

Offered a chance to testify under oath and defend the statements he has made in regard to January 6, Trump via his latest set of lawyers has declined. He is not expected to attend when his Senate trial begins. But in the (still) unlikely event of conviction, he could be barred from federal office for life.

Trump Will Not Testify In Senate Impeachment Trial, Adviser Says
Impeachment Managers Argue Trump Is 'Singularly Responsible' For Capitol Attack

This past week we also saw the House convulsed with not one, but two highly unusual spectacles of intraparty tension. House Republicans were asked to decide whether their third-ranking leader, Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, should be driven from her position because she voted last month to impeach former President Trump.

House Republicans were also asked to defend the newly-elected Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and her incendiary online remarks and embrace of baseless conspiracy theories. Should she be allowed on the Budget and Education and Labor committees after questioning the authenticity of student massacres at Sandy Hook Elementary and Parkland? What to do with an outspoken freshman whose penchant for conspiracy theories had been denounced as "looney lies" by no less a partisan than Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell?

House Republicans To Keep Rep. Liz Cheney In Leadership Position
House Removes Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene From Her Committee Assignments

In the end, the vote on Cheney was taken by secret ballot, allowing members to express their feelings with less fear of reprisal. She won the backing of more than two-thirds of her colleagues. Greene lost her committee seats based on the en bloc vote of the Democratic majority, but she was supported by all but 11 of her Republican colleagues.

Greene had sought to make amends with a concession or two. For example, she allowed that the attacks of Sept. 11 had "happened." In the past she has said there was no evidence of an airplane striking the Pentagon that day, when 184 people in the building and on the plane lost their lives.

The Role of Violent Rhetoric

Much of the critique of Greene's social media record has focused on her penchant for violent rhetoric directed at Democrats in Congress including her approval of a Facebook comment saying a quicker way to remove Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) would be a "bullet to the head."

In his closing speech on the House floor the night of the vote, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) stood beside a poster-sized enlargement of a Facebook post from Greene, then a candidate for Congress. It showed her wielding a military-style automatic weapon and sunglasses, facing off against unflattering depictions of three Democratic members of the House: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Michigan's Rashida Tlaib, three members of the "Squad" known for their outspoken opposition to Trump.

Hoyer walked the graphic around to the Republican side of the floor, holding it up and asking members how they would feel about a colleague threatening them in such a manner.

Life on the Hill

Meanwhile, an ominous iron fence crowned with concertina wire girds the Capitol grounds and adjacent acreage of the National Mall. It is called a security fence, but it communicates the opposite.

We are far from secure if we need this. And yet, in the wake of January 6, we as a nation have had to admit we do need this.

And no one is prepared to say for how long.

This week, we watched Congress at work inside this military-style perimeter, guarded by National Guard troops who have not left since Inauguration Day. We got a sense of how January 6 still casts a shadow over the building and the institution, as it was either the subject or the subtext of every political conversation.

Acting Capitol Police Chief Promises 'Significant' Changes Following Deadly Riot
Lawmakers Honor Slain Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick In Rotunda

The pressing issues regarding Reps. Cheney and Greene within the ranks of the House GOP were symptomatic of the deeper question Americans have been asking in one form or another since January 6. What has happened to us?

The question suggests a suspicion that somehow some transformation has overtaken us, distorting our politics and our national consciousness.

But are we different from what we were before, or are we different from what we thought we were?

Has something changed, or has something about us been revealed?

The Presence of the Past

History is not a relic, sealed in a case to be regarded as irrelevant. History is a palpable, continuous reality, an appreciation of what it took for the present to come about. As William Faulkner famously said: "The past is never dead. It's not even past."

So it was particularly poignant in recent days to hear Yale professor Joanne Freeman speak of her 2018 book The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to Civil War at a late January session of the U.S. Capitol Historical Society. She had been asked to put the events of January 6 in context.

"Was this unprecedented?" she asked rhetorically. "Aspects of it were."

She then cited "the direct involvement of the president" and, of course, "the physical attack on the Capitol itself."

Then she added: "But if you are talking about the mixture of violence and politics ... if you are talking about people who feel they are entitled to power and are being denied it and choose violence as a way to demand it back ... if you are talking about questions of race and dominance ... all these things have deep roots in American history."

Indeed they do. Freeman's point was that the violence we witnessed last month was not without a predicate and not without a purpose. That predicate may seem distant to most people today as it reaches back to the Civil War and further yet to the slavery era that began in some of the original 17th century American colonies.

Not Random Acts

Freeman argues that the purpose of violence inside the Capitol during the mid-19th century and the purpose of violence on January 6 was to defend power arrangements perceived to be threatened by social, legal and political change.

In antebellum America, slavery was defended in every manner possible, Freeman notes, including the use and the threat of violence. Her book documents more than 70 incidents of violence that took place in and around the Capitol building in the three decades prior to the 1860 election of Abraham Lincoln.

The most famous is the caning of Senator Charles Sumner by Rep. Preston Brooks of South Carolina, who beat the abolitionist from Massachusetts senseless on the Senate floor in 1856.

But members often engaged in less notable confrontations that on occasion resulted in blows, challenges and threats of further retribution. Freeman documents dozens of cases of "people pulling guns and knives on each other, people punching each other, mass brawls, all kinds of real physical violence in addition to lots and lots of threats."

Freeman also concludes that this atmosphere of combativeness was decidedly one-sided, a tactic pursued by those who perceived their own positions in jeopardy as the nation lurched toward a reckoning over slavery.

"Most of that violence," Feeeman said, "was inflicted by Southern slave-holding congressmen who pretty much used threats and physical violence to intimidate Northerners and anyone else who was going to try and attack their slave regime into silence or submission."

And was this merely an expression of the rough-hewn, frontier-flavored behavior of Americans in the years before the Civil War? No, Freeman argues, it was an instrument for the defense of privilege and political power.

"So we have to think about that very fact that what we are seeing is people truly feeling entitled to power being willing to take whatever it takes to keep it."

As we have recently seen, that willingness survives and thrives in some quarters today surely an example of past that is not even past.

Video News Review - 5:02 PM 2/6/2021

Michael_Novakhov shared this story from The News And Times.

Video News Review - 5:02 PM 2/6/2021

The Biden administration is ramping up efforts to distribute and administer coronavirus vaccinations. Meanwhile, the FDA considers whether to give Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine emergency use approval. Jodie Guest, a professor and Emory University's Department of Epidemiology vice chair, speaks to CBSN's Lana Zak about how it could be a game-changer in the fight against COVID-19.

CBSN is CBS News 24/7 digital streaming news service featuring live, anchored coverage available for free across all platforms. Launched in November 2014, the service is a premier destination for breaking news and original storytelling from the deep bench of CBS News correspondents and reporters. CBSN features the top stories of the day as well as deep dives into key issues facing the nation and the world. CBSN has also expanded to launch local news streaming services in major markets across the country. CBSN is currently available on <a href="http://CBSNews.com" rel="nofollow">CBSNews.com</a> and the CBS News app across more than 20 platforms, as well as the CBS All Access subscription service.

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The NYPD Harbor Unit pulled a man from the East River near Pike Street on Thursday afternoon.

Podcasts Review - 8 - 9 AM 2/6/2021: Trump Propaganda Video May Have Helped Incite Capitol Rioters

Michael_Novakhov shared this story from Audio News Reviews with Michael Novakhov.

Podcasts Review - 8 - 9 AM 2/6/2021: Cuomo Prime Time with Chris Cuomo - 9 hours ago - Trump Propaganda Video May Have Helped Incite Capitol Rioters https://thenewsandtimes.blogspot.com/2021/02/podcasts-review-808-am-262021-cuomo.html - Podcasts Review - 8:08 AM 2/6/2021: Cuomo Prime Time with Chris Cuomo - 9 hours ago - Trump Propaganda Video May Have Helped Incite Capitol Rioters NPR News Now Latest episodes The News And Times - Blogs By Michael Novakhov - https://newsandtimes.org/ The News And Times | Link to this Page | - The News And Times 6:22 AM 2/6/2021 - Biden says "no need" for Trump to receive intel briefings 5:04 AM 2/6/2021 - The mysterious puzzle of the Covid-19 falling rates: too fast, too soon - Michael Novakhov 4:06 PM 2/5/2021 - I find it amazing and not coincidental that the apparent peak of the Pandemic is around January 8, practically at the same point in time with the January 6 Riot. - M.N. Chet Baker in Tokyo (1996) (Full Album) 4:51 AM 2/5/2021 - Tweets Review: Joe Biden demands Russia free Alexei Navalny 'immediately' 4:27 AM 2/5/2021 - The News And Times - Latest Blog Posts The News And Times - Blog Posts 1:25 PM 2/4/2021 - Podcasts Review 11:54 AM 2/4/2021 - Podcasts Review The FBI News Review: 7:33 AM 2/4/2021 Attention FBI: Was it a TRAP?! Special Agent Daniel Alfin and Special Agent Laura Schwartzenberger: What Went Wrong During FBI Search Warrant That Led To Shooting, Agents Deaths? 6:18 AM 2/4/2021 - News Brief: On Twitter 2:37 PM 2/3/2021 - 2 FBI agents killed, 3 agents wounded while serving warrant 1:43 PM 2/3/2021 - Эхо Москвы - Особое мнение : Глеб Павловский | Scientists explain why the new Covid-19 variants could be more infectious 1:32 PM 2/3/2021 - Vaccination Update: 92% of first doses allocated to NYS health care distribution sites have been administered as of 11am today. -1,554,450 first doses received -1,432,195 first doses administered 11:31 AM 2/3/2021 - America isnt moving its troops out of Germany and Belgium for Poland ... That plan, Wolters said, has been put on freeze ... | Trumps Banker at Deutsche Bank Was Ousted for a Real Estate Deal - The New York Times 11:14 AM 2/3/2021 - Several Capitol rioters are blaming Trumps rhetoric. Whats in it for them? 9:10 AM 2/3/2021 - Covid-19 and vaccinations in Israel: I "The jury's still out on whether the vaccine completely stops people from carrying, and passing on, the virus." | Israel opens coronavirus vaccines to all over-16s | DEBKAfile: Israel closes airport and points of entry for extended period 8:07 AM 2/3/2021 - New York digs out from 16 inches of snow - News Review 6:40 AM 2/3/2021 - The study by researchers at the University of Oxford is the first to document evidence that any coronavirus vaccine can reduce transmission of the virus. Study Finds AstraZeneca Shots Drastically Cut Transmission The New York Times (???) The Pandemic Bulletin - 9:56 AM 2/2/2021: COVID-19: Surprising number of US healthcare workers refuse vaccines | Vaccine rollout hits snag as health workers balk at shots Trey Gowdy: "Crooked FBI members ..." 5:19 PM 2/1/2021 - New study finds reinfection by SARS-CoV-2 in healthy young adults is common 4:13 PM 2/1/2021 - The Mystery Of India's Plummeting COVID-19 Cases



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COVID-19 Deaths Are Finally on the Decline

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6:22 AM 2/6/2021 - Biden says "no need" for Trump to receive intel briefings

Michael_Novakhov shared this story from The News And Times.

5:04 AM 2/6/2021 - The mysterious puzzle of the Covid-19 falling rates: too fast, too soon - Michael Novakhov

Michael_Novakhov shared this story from The News And Times.

Cases of COVID-19 are continuing to drop with all four regions reporting a decline in new daily infections. The seven-day average for new daily cases per capita in Midwest dropped to a quarter of the region¿s peak in late November, pictured

The mysterious puzzle of the Covid-19 falling rates of the new cases: too fast, too soon; these are the mirror images of the patterns of the Covid-19 emergence in the early 2020, which also looked "too fast, too soon".

Is this a "natural phenomenon"?

It looks like there are a lot of "man made" factors here. The so called "INFODEMIC", the Informational aspects of the Covid-19 Pandemic appear to be quite significant in attempts at understanding of these phenomena. 


Michael Novakhov | 5:04 AM 2/6/2021


"Cases of COVID-19 are continuing to drop across the United States ...

Its too soon for vaccines to be a significant driver of the downturn; just 8.7 percent of the US population has had one or more shots, according to Bloomberg data, and the US is nowhere near herd immunity yet.

And while CDC director Dr Rochelle Walensky called this weeks encouraging downward trend in cases consistent, Dr Shaffner echoed her warnings that the trend could be reversed by the arrival of variants and potential super-spreader events, like Super Bowl Sunday.

Already, there are at least 645 cases of the UKs super-covid variant in 33 states, at least five cases of the South African variant and two of the Brazilian variants in the US, in addition to several homegrown variants."





Michael_Novakhov
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fromNews | Mail Online.

Cases of COVID-19 are continuing to drop with all four regions reporting a decline in new daily infections. The seven-day average for new daily cases per capita in Midwest dropped to a quarter of the region¿s peak in late November, pictured

COVID cases in the Midwest drop to a QUARTER of the seven-day average at its peak

Cases of COVID-19 are continuing to drop across the United States with all four regions reporting a decline in new daily infections.

In the Midwest, the seven-day average for new daily cases per capita has now dropped to a quarter of what it was during the regions peak in late November.

It now stands at 231 news cases a day per million people; compared to 328 in the West, 394 in the Northeast, and 490 in the South.

Nationwide, there were 131,146 new cases reported on Friday and 86,373 Americans were hospitalized with the virus.

This was the second day in a row that the number hospitalized remained below 90,000, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project. This was the first time it had dropped below this threshold since late November.

According to the Tracking Project, there were 3,543 new fatalities from coronavirus in the U.S. reported on Friday. 

It came after America recorded its deadliest day of the pandemic yet on Thursday, with a staggering 5,077 fatalities in 24 hours, that is believed to have been a result of a surge of infections after the holiday period. 

The national death toll now stands at 459,360 and more than 26.8million have been infected with the virus. 

Cases of COVID-19 are continuing to drop with all four regions reporting a decline in new daily infections. The seven-day average for new daily cases per capita in Midwest dropped to a quarter of the region¿s peak in late November, pictured

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Cases of COVID-19 are continuing to drop with all four regions reporting a decline in new daily infections. The seven-day average for new daily cases per capita in Midwest dropped to a quarter of the regions peak in late November, pictured

As new case numbers fall in all parts of the country, so do hospitalizations with only two states ¿ New York and Arizona - reporting more than 400 people hospitalized with COVID-19 per million residents, as pictured above

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As new case numbers fall in all parts of the country, so do hospitalizations with only two states New York and Arizona reporting more than 400 people hospitalized with COVID-19 per million residents, as pictured above

COVID cases in the Midwest drop to a QUARTER of the seven-day average at its peak

Michael_Novakhov shared this story from News | Mail Online.

Cases of COVID-19 are continuing to drop across the United States with all four regions reporting a decline in new daily infections.

In the Midwest, the seven-day average for new daily cases per capita has now dropped to a quarter of what it was during the regions peak in late November.

It now stands at 231 news cases a day per million people; compared to 328 in the West, 394 in the Northeast, and 490 in the South.

Nationwide, there were 131,146 new cases reported on Friday and 86,373 Americans were hospitalized with the virus.

This was the second day in a row that the number hospitalized remained below 90,000, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project. This was the first time it had dropped below this threshold since late November.

According to the Tracking Project, there were 3,543 new fatalities from coronavirus in the U.S. reported on Friday. 

It came after America recorded its deadliest day of the pandemic yet on Thursday, with a staggering 5,077 fatalities in 24 hours, that is believed to have been a result of a surge of infections after the holiday period. 

The national death toll now stands at 459,360 and more than 26.8million have been infected with the virus. 

Cases of COVID-19 are continuing to drop with all four regions reporting a decline in new daily infections. The seven-day average for new daily cases per capita in Midwest dropped to a quarter of the region¿s peak in late November, pictured
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Cases of COVID-19 are continuing to drop with all four regions reporting a decline in new daily infections. The seven-day average for new daily cases per capita in Midwest dropped to a quarter of the regions peak in late November, pictured

As new case numbers fall in all parts of the country, so do hospitalizations with only two states ¿ New York and Arizona - reporting more than 400 people hospitalized with COVID-19 per million residents, as pictured above
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As new case numbers fall in all parts of the country, so do hospitalizations with only two states New York and Arizona - reporting more than 400 people hospitalized with COVID-19 per million residents, as pictured above

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As new case numbers fall in all parts of the country, so do hospitalizations with only two states New York and Arizona - reporting more than 400 people hospitalized with COVID-19 per million residents.

In January, 19 states exceeded that level.

The national seven-day average for hospitalization has now fallen to 92,210 and to 125,431 for new cases.

It marks around a 50 percent drop in the average cases since the national peak on January 12.

The plummet in cases is even being felt in California, The state´s worst coronavirus surge continues to abate as new virus cases fall sharply.

The daily average now is about 14,500 cases, down almost 50 percent from two weeks ago.

The California Department of Public Health rescinded its hospital surge order, which had required hospitals to delay some elective surgeries and to accept patients from other counties whose intensive care unit capacity had dropped below 15 percent.

Deaths also are starting to fall but remain exceptionally high.

Another 558 were announced Friday and in the last week almost 3,500 have died.

However, despite the continued high deaths, the Supreme Court on Friday told California that it can't enforce a ban on indoor church services because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The high court issued orders late Friday in two cases where churches had sued over coronavirus-related restrictions in the state.

The high court said that for now, California can't ban indoor worship in areas where virus cases are surging, but it can cap indoor services at 25 percent of a building's capacity.

The justices also declined to stop the state from barring singing and chanting at services.

The court's three liberal justices dissented.

Nationwide, there were 131,146 new cases reported on Friday and 86,373 Americans were hospitalized with the virus
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Nationwide, there were 131,146 new cases reported on Friday and 86,373 Americans were hospitalized with the virus

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The court's action follows a decision in a case from New York late last year in which the justices split 5-4 in barring the state from enforcing certain limits on attendance at churches and synagogues.

Shortly after, the justices told a federal court to reexamine a similar lawsuit over California's restrictions in light of the ruling.

America recorded its deadliest day of the pandemic yet on Thursday, with a staggering 5,077 fatalities in 24 hours, dwarfing the previous record of 4,466 deaths on January 12 by 611.

It comes despite encouraging and sustained declines in daily coronavirus infections as the trend in fatalities consistently lags weeks behind trends in cases and hospitalizations, which have been falling for the past three weeks.

Hospitalizations fall after cases, and deaths are expected to follow hospitalizations, despite yesterday's record-high fatalities.

CDC director Dr Rochelle Walensky said earlier in the week that 'the pace of deaths appears to be slowing.'

On Friday she said: 'Early data suggest now we're starting to see this, with the 7-day average of deaths declining 6.7 percent to slightly more than 3,00 deaths a day from Jan 28 to Feb 3.'

Meanwhile, experts are encouraged, but perplexed by the decline in infections. Vanderbilt University infectious diseases professor Dr William Shaffner told <a href="http://DailyMail.com" rel="nofollow">DailyMail.com</a> he is 'bumfuzzled' by what's driving the trend.

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It's too soon for vaccines to be a significant driver of the downturn; just 8.7 percent of the US population has had one or more shots, according to Bloomberg data, and the US is nowhere near herd immunity yet.

And while CDC director Dr Rochelle Walensky called this week's encouraging downward trend in cases 'consistent,' Dr Shaffner echoed her warnings that the trend could be reversed by the arrival of variants and potential super-spreader events, like Super Bowl Sunday.

Already, there are at least 645 cases of the UK's 'super-covid' variant in 33 states, at least five cases of the South African variant and two of the Brazilian variants in the US, in addition to several homegrown variants.

Holidays led to the last surge of infections that followed the triple-threat of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Eve.

With the lags between infections, hospitalizations and deaths, yesterday's record fatalities likely still reflect patients infected in that period.

'Just as we are smiling,' about the downturn in cases 'there are a couple of three countervailing factors,' Dr Shaffner told <a href="http://DailyMail.com" rel="nofollow">DailyMail.com</a>. 

'The arrival of variants could create more cases, more illnesses and hospitalizations down the road.

'The second factor is Super Bowl Sunday. We expect anticipate many families parties where people gather together for prolonged periods, cheering lustily or groaning mightily, depending on which team is doing what, and those are ideal circumstances for spreading [the virus].

'Super Bowl Sunday may become a super-spreader event all over the country.'

Patients are vaccinated against COVID-19 at the Sharp Vaccination Center in La Mesa, California, on Friday
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Patients are vaccinated against COVID-19 at the Sharp Vaccination Center in La Mesa, California, on Friday

Residents wait in line to receive COVID-19 leftover doses of the Moderna vaccine  in Los Angeles on Thursday
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Residents wait in line to receive COVID-19 leftover doses of the Moderna vaccine  in Los Angeles on Thursday

The last massive surge of infections in January may mean slightly fewer people are vulnerable now because they were previously infected, the US is long way off from herd immunity.

Scientists estimate that as many as 100 million Americans, or about a third of the population, have had COVID-19. 

At least 70 percent of the population needs to have protection from prior infection or vaccines to reach herd immunity.

New calculations predict that the coronavirus pandemic will drag on for another seven years at the current rate of vaccinations worldwide.

It will take that long to reach Dr Anthony Fauci's estimate for the herd immunity threshold of 75 percent of people inoculated globally, according to Bloomberg's vaccination calculator.

More than 4.5 million vaccines are being administered a day, for a total of 119.8 million shots given worldwide.

The US has vaccinated 8.7 percent of its population thus far, at a rate of 1.3 million shot given a day. After a slow start, the rollout is picking up steam and saw a record 1.7 million people vaccinated Thursday.

Despite ranking sixth in the world for the pace of its vaccinations, the US is predicted to reach herd immunity just in time for New Year's 2022.   

But all of this depends on whether the vaccines are effective against variants like those that emerged in South Africa and Brazil, which appear to dull the potency of shots. 

New York Daily News: Alexei Navalny gives supporters message of hope in first comments since jail sentence

Michael_Novakhov shared this story from My News Links mynewslinks.com Current News.

Alexei Navalny still feels like a free man behind bars.

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96859 New York Daily News

The post New York Daily News: Alexei Navalny gives supporters message of hope in first comments since jail sentence first appeared on My News Links - mynewslinks.com - Current News.
4:51 AM 2/5/2021 - Tweets Review

Michael_Novakhov shared this story from The News And Times.

4:51 AM 2/5/2021 - Tweets Review

 Tweets 

  1.  Michael Novakhov Retweeted

    FBI Raids Home Of Rachel Powell, Mercer County Mother Of 8 Suspected In Capitol Attack.

    Powell has become known as the lady with the bullhorn, seeming to have knowledge of the Capitol building's floor plan, instructing insurrectionists where to go.https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2021/02/04/law-enforcement-agents-rachel-powell-house/ 

    •  
  2.  Michael Novakhov Retweeted

    NY state Senate pushes COVID-19 nursing home accountability legislation https://trib.al/GbrTfua 

    •  
  3.  Michael Novakhov Retweeted

    Poll: 64 percent of GOP voters say they would join a Trump-led new party http://hill.cm/r0AtPML 

    •  
  4.  Michael Novakhov Retweeted

    AOC blasted for exaggerating her 'trauma' from Capitol riot experience https://trib.al/hsRnQGb 

    •  
  5.  Michael Novakhov Retweeted

    On this day in 1985, the mayors of Rome and a Tunisian town near the site of ancient Carthage sit down together and sign a treaty of friendship between the two cities. Both claim that the meeting marks the official end of the Third Punic War of 146 BC.

    •  
  6. House votes to remove Marjorie Taylor Greene from committee assignments https://youtu.be/qVw6i-1WH24  via @YouTube

Biden demands Navalny freed and says he will not 'roll over' to Russia 'like my predecessor'

Michael_Novakhov shared this story from News | Mail Online.

President Joe Biden said Russia needed to free Alexei Navalny 'immediately' as he said the United States will no longer 'roll over' to President Vladimir Putin like 'my predecessor.' 

The tough and anti-Trump talk came Thursday when Biden made his first trip to a cabinet agency, the State Department, under the leadership of his longtime aide, Secretary of State Tony Blinken, and called for 'reclaiming our credibility and moral authority.' 

'Much of which has been lost,' Biden uttered. 

There, Biden also said he would 'take on directly' the challenges posed the the U.S.'s 'most serious competitor,' China. 

President Joe Biden spoke at the State Department Thursday and demanded that Russia release Alexei Navalny 'immediately'
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President Joe Biden spoke at the State Department Thursday and demanded that Russia release Alexei Navalny 'immediately' 

Russian President Vladimir Putin
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Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny
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President Joe Biden said at the State Department he would not 'roll over' to Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) and called on Putin to release opposition leader Alexei Navalny (right) 

President Joe Biden also had a message for Chinese President Xi Jinping (pictured), saying that the U.S. would 'take on' China, but also work with its 'most serious competitor' on issues that benefit the American people
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President Joe Biden also had a message for Chinese President Xi Jinping (pictured), saying that the U.S. would 'take on' China, but also work with its 'most serious competitor' on issues that benefit the American people 

'We'll confront China's economic abuses, counter its aggressive coercive action [and] push back on China's attack on human rights, intellectual property and global governance,' Biden said. 

'But we're ready to work with Beijing when it's in America's interest to do so,' the new president added. 

Biden made the same point about Russia, explaining why he agreed to extend the START treaty for five years. 

'To preserve the only remaining treaty between our countries safeguarding nuclear stability,' Biden said. 

'At the same time, I made it clear to President Putin, in a manner very different from my predecessor, that the days of the United States rolling over in the face of Russia's aggressive actions interfering with our elections, cyber attacks, poisoning its citizens, are over,' the president said.

Biden spoke with Putin six days into his presidency and said he would not hesitate to 'raise the cost on Russia' if need be.  

Biden called Navalny's imprisonment 'politically motivated.' 

'And the Russian efforts to suppress freedom of expression and peaceful assembly are a matter of deep concern to us and the international community,' Biden said. 

'Mr. Navalny, like all Russian citizens, is entitled to his rights under the Russian constitution,' the president continued. 'He's been targeted targeted for exposing corruption. He should be released immediately and without condition.'  

Navalny, the Russian opposition leader, was poisoned in August and then arrested last month for violating parole stemming from a 2014 charge, which had barred him from running for office. 

At the State Department, Biden also took on Myanmar's coup. 

'There should be no doubt that in a democracy force should never seek to overrule the will of the people or attempt to erase the outcome of a credible election,' Biden said. 'The Burmese military should relinquish power they have seized, release the advocates and activists and officials they have detained, lift the restrictions on telecommunications and refrain from violence.'   

Throughout his remarks, Biden admitted that he believed the U.S. reputation had been badly damaged by President Donald Trump's 'America First' posturing - and by the January 6 insurrection on Capitol Hill. 

'Though many of these values have come under intense pressure in recent years, even pushed to the brink in the last few weeks,' Biden said. 'The American people are going to emerge from this moment stronger, more determined and better equipped to united the world in fighting to defend democracy, because we have fought for it ourselves.'  

He pointed to some of the first moves he made in office domestically as proof the U.S. was back on track. 

Internationally, he said moving up the refugee cap - 125,000 in his first fiscal year in office - would also send the world the right message. 

'So today I'm approving an executive order to begin the hard work of restoring our refugee admissions program to help meet the unprecedented global need,' Biden announced.

'It's going to take time to rebuild what has been so badly damaged, but that's precisely what we're going to do,' the president said.  

Secretary of State Tony Blinken (right) welcomes President Joe Biden (left) to the State Department on Thursday, marking Biden's first trip to a cabinet agency
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Secretary of State Tony Blinken (right) welcomes President Joe Biden (left) to the State Department on Thursday, marking Biden's first trip to a cabinet agency 

Donald Trump only visited the State Department once as president - above on May 2, 2018 to see Mike Pompeo sworn in as secretary of State
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Donald Trump only visited the State Department once as president - above on May 2, 2018 to see Mike Pompeo sworn in as secretary of State

By choosing Foggy Bottom as his first Cabinet stop - as opposed to the Pentagon or another department - Biden is making a heavily symbolic gesture to an agency suffering from morale problems in the wake of Trump's presidency. 

'We are grateful to both of you for visiting us so early on in the administration. Despite the remnants of snow outside, we know that you want to make the State Department as strong as it possibly can be for the country,' Blinken said in his initial remarks to greet Biden and Harris.  

In his speech Biden told State Department employees, 'I value your expertise and I respect you and I will have your back.' 

'This administration is going to empower you to do your jobs, not target or politicize you,' he pledged. 

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during the trip the president will thank staff 'who are Foreign Service officers, civil servants, who are the heart and soul of that institution and, frankly, our government.'

She said Biden's remarks shouldn't be interpreted as a complete vision of his foreign policy plans.  

'This will not be a laydown of his vision for every issue and every foreign policy issue. He will have plenty of time to do that,' Psaki noted at her Wednesday press briefing.

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said President Joe Biden will end support for Saudi Arabia's controversial war in Yemen and will freeze Donald Trump's plan to withdraw some U.S. troops stationed in Germany
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National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said President Joe Biden will end support for Saudi Arabia's controversial war in Yemen and will freeze Donald Trump's plan to withdraw some U.S. troops stationed in Germany

In making the State Department his first Cabinet stop as president, Joe Biden is making a heavily symbolic gesture to an agency suffering from morale problems in the wake of Trump's presidency
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In making the State Department his first Cabinet stop as president, Joe Biden is making a heavily symbolic gesture to an agency suffering from morale problems in the wake of Trump's presidency

Trump took an isolationist view in his foreign policy and didn't visit the State Department for more than a year into his presidency - to see Mike Pompeo sworn in as secretary after Trump fired Rex Tillerson. 

It was his first and only visit, Trump also accused officials at Foggy Bottom of being part of the 'deep state' out to undermine his presidency.

Biden, who spent years as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is expected to be much more engaged in foreign policy during his time in the White House. 

'No one has ever brought as much foreign policy expertise and experience to the presidency as Joe Biden. For the two decades I've worked for him, I've just been trying to keep up,' Blinken said during Biden's visit.  

He's already returned the United States to international agreements and organizations that Trump withdrew from - including the Paris Climate Accord and the World Health Organization.

Biden also has endorsed a multilateral approach to issues ranging from the coronavirus pandemic to China and Iran. 

'We can make America, once again, the leading force for good in the world,' he said in his inaugural address.

And the president chose his longtime confidant, Blinken, to be his secretary of State.

Blinken has vowed to take politics out of the department.

'I am determined to put our career folks in positions of responsibility and leadership, and I am absolutely determined that politics are not going to come into this building,' he told NBC News' Andrea Mitchell in an interview last week. 

On his first day at Foggy Bottom, in remarks to staff, Blinken told them: 'I will have your back.'

'It starts with rebuilding morale and trust. This is a priority for me because we need a strong department for the United States to be strong in the world,' he said.     

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Although Biden's first nominations and appointments to senior positions at State have trended heavily toward political appointees, the president and Blinken have pledged to promote career staffers.

The State Department visit comes after Biden moved on Wednesday to extend the last remaining treaty limiting Russian and American stockpiles of nuclear weapons, acting just two days before the pact was set to expire. 

It also follows days after a coup in Myanmar that has emerged as an early proving ground of Biden's approach to multilateralism.

Prior to Biden's visit, the White House said Thursday that Biden will end support for Saudi Arabia's controversial war in Yemen - his first major foreign policy reversal. 

President Barack Obama began support for Saudi Arabia and President Donald Trump ramped it up, but Biden announced during his visit to the State Department that it's ending.

'We're also stepping up our diplomacy to end the war in Yemen, a war which has created a humanitarian and strategic catastrophe,' Biden said. 

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan had previewed the move at the briefing.  

'Today he will announce an end to American support for offensive operations in Yemen,' Sullivan said. 

The move would fulfill a campaign pledge by Biden, whose administration plans to pursue diplomacy to end the overall conflict in Yemen. 

Sullivan also said Biden will freeze Trump's planned withdrawal of some U.S. troops stationed in Germany.

Biden explained that Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin would be leading a review of how American forces are being used 'so that our military footprint is appropriately aligned with our foreign policy and national security priorities.' 

'We'll be stopping any planned troop withdrawals from Germany,' Biden said.

Biden also is announcing the choice of Timothy Lenderking as special envoy to Yemen when he speaks to State Department employees. Lenderking has been a deputy assistant secretary of state in the agency's Middle East section. A career foreign service member, he has served in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other countries inside and out of the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia began the offensive in 2015 to counter a Yemeni Houthi faction that had seized territory in Yemen and was launching cross-border missiles at Saudi Arabia.

A Saudi-led air campaign since then has killed numerous civilians, and survivors display fragments showing the bombs to be American-made. 

The conflict has deepened hunger and poverty in Yemen, and international rights experts say both the Gulf countries and Houthis have committed severe rights abuses. 

The FBI News Review: 7:33 AM 2/4/2021 Attention FBI: Was it a TRAP?! Special Agent Daniel Alfin and Special Agent Laura Schwartzenberger: What Went Wrong During FBI Search Warrant That Led To Shooting, Agents Deaths?

Michael_Novakhov shared this story from The News And Times.

Was it an epic cyber attack or spy operation?

Michael_Novakhov shared this story .

American officials suspect a Russian spy agency has carried out what may be the most successful cyber infiltrations of U.S. government and corporate institutions in history.

Its being described as an epic hack. But was it an attack?

Thats a more complicated question than might be imagined, and how it is answered may dictate how the incoming Biden administration responds.

For Microsoft president Brad Smith, the formulation is clear: This latest cyber-assault is effectively an attack on the United States and its government and other critical institutions, including security firms, he wrote in a blog post Thursday, after it emerged his own company was breached by what U.S. officials say was likely the Russian SVR, a rough equivalent to the CIA.

But for many current and former American officials, thats not the right way to look at it. By hacking into dozens of corporations and government agencies, they say, the hackers have pulled off a stunning and distressing feat of espionage. But they note that its just the sort of cyber spying that the American National Security Agency attempts on a regular basis against Russia, China and any number of foreign adversaries.

It might constitute an attack if the intruders destroyed data, for example, or used their access to do damage in the physical world, say, by shutting down power grids. But breaking into unclassified government and corporate networks? Reading other peoples emails? Thats spying.

I dont think under anybodys definition who works in this field is this any kind of cyber attack, said Gary Brown, a former Pentagon cyber official who is Professor of Cyber Law at National Defense University.

This is really just a very successful espionage operation. Its the kind of thing we would love to carry out. And its sort of a wake-up call we have got to get better. The Russians are way better at this than we even knew about.

Jamil Jaffer, former senior counsel to the House Intelligence Committee and a vice president at IronNet Security, noted that we have no evidence yet that any information has been deleted, destroyed, manipulated or modified, leading me to believe that this is an intelligence collection operation.

Its alarming but not surprising, for example, that the Energy Departments National Nuclear Security Administration was among those agencies breachedits unclassified business networks were hacked, according to the agency.

If we could access Russia or Chinas nuclear programs and information, we would, he said.

American officials should be careful how they describe this incident, said one senior Congressional official who oversees intelligence. It is different from what North Korea is said to have done in 2014 to Sony Pictures, hacking into its networks, destroying data and computers and making public private emails.

Its also different from the U.S. and Israeli operation known as Stuxnet, which a decade ago used a cyber attack to damage Iranian nuclear centrifuges. That was clearly a cyber attack.

The latest suspected Russian cyber intrusion is more akin to Chinas hack of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), gaining the Chinese access to millions of sensitive personnel records.

After that incident, then Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said: "You have to kind of salute the Chinese for what they did. If we had the opportunity to do that, I don't think we'd hesitate for a minute."

Obviously if somebody breaks into your systems and starts destroying stuff, as happened with Sony, well, thats an attack, the official said.

But in the case of OPM, when hackers come in and exfiltrate reams of data, while that is not welcome, its not necessarily in the same ballpark as offensive action. We need to be careful here, because the United States should be conducting cyber espionage as well, so if were sitting around and labeling as attacks stuff that would normally fall into the espionage and intelligence bucket, we risk reaping what weve sown.

He added: We are now wringing our hands over what other people are doing to us without a great visibility for the public into what we are doing to others.

In fact, American officials have been careful in their language. The top senators on the armed services committee, Republican James Inhofe and Democrat Jack Reed, issued a joint statement calling what happened a significant, sophisticated cyber intrusion -- not an attack.

Likewise, Mark Warner, the ranking Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee, called it a devastating breach, a malign effort, and an intrusion.

International law on cyber operations is not well developed, but for something to be considered an attack, it must involve force or the use of force, said James Lewis, a former State Department official now with the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Much is still yet to be understood about exactly what the intruders have done with nine months of unfettered access to government and corporate networks. Its possible they have done things that would be considered more than simple espionage, said a Western intelligence official who would not be named discussing a sensitive matter.

If they just took data, that would be one thing, he said, but if they planted cyber bombs that could cause physical destruction if detonated, that would be at least positioning for attack, he said.

Then again, he and others noted, that wouldnt be much different from what officials say the Russians have already done by positioning cyber weapons on parts of the American power grid, or by stationing nuclear weapons-equipped submarines off the U.S. coast.

The Russian SVR, which is believed to have carried out the hacks, has no history of manipulating or destroying data they are a spying outfit, the congressional official said.

But even if this remains merely a Russian espionage success, it has shown, experts say, that the Russians dont feel they will pay a price for such a brazen operation. President Trump has said nothing about the matter, but President-elect Joe Biden has vowed to respond.

In doing so, he used the exact language that some intelligence officials said went too far, raising expectations for a more robust response than, in the end, he may be prepared to deliver.

A good defense isnt enough; we need to disrupt and deter our adversaries from undertaking significant cyberattacks in the first place, Biden said in a statement. I will not stand idly by in the face of cyber assaults on our nation.

Leader of Hawaii Proud Boys Nick Ochs arrested by FBI for Unlawful Entry into U.S. Capitol

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7:33 AM 2/4/2021 - Attention FBI: Was it a TRAP?! Special Agent Daniel Alfin and Special Agent Laura Schwartzenberger: What Went Wrong During FBI Search Warrant That Led To Shooting, Agents' Deaths?

Michael_Novakhov shared this story from The FBI News Review.


____________________________________
Michael Novakhov retweeted:
Pelosi issues statement blasting "cowardly" GOP leader "McCarthy (Q-CA)" hill.cm/kyn6v0o

EtX-QwqXUAAIlgs.jpg:large

 

Special Agent Daniel Alfin and Special Agent Laura Schwartzenberger

Attention FBI: 

Are these the Telling Names

Alfin: "Alpha Male",  Schwartzenberger - self-explanatory, in facetious contrast to her actual ethnicity.

Was this prearranged, very likely by the (Russian) Mob, sending their facetious message? Was this a set up? It looks like it. 

Was it a TRAP?! 

As a response to you setting up the traps?

Investigate vigorously this aspect also, along with others. 

Evaluate this occurrence within the context of the current situation. 

If you do not investigate it properly and in depth, you setting yourselves up for the future losses. 


Michael Novakhov | 7:33 AM 2/4/2021 


FBI News Review

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6:18 AM 2/4/2021 - News Brief: On Twitter

Michael_Novakhov shared this story from The News And Times.

6:18 AM 2/4/2021 - News Brief: On Twitter


CNN Daily News Briefing - Morning news briefing for February 4, 2021 podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6L
CNN Daily News Briefing - Morning news briefing for February 4, 2021 podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6L
Michael Novakhov retweeted: Analysis: Some police deaths are more worrisome to Fox News than others wapo.st/36B8qXK
Michael Novakhov retweeted: Analysis: Some police deaths are more worrisome to Fox News than others wapo.st/36B8qXK

Michael Novakhov retweeted: China pays 'close attention' as US warship passes the Taiwan Strait trib.al/vZslwLJ
Michael Novakhov retweeted: China pays 'close attention' as US warship passes the Taiwan Strait trib.al/vZslwLJ
Michael Novakhov retweeted: Pelosi issues statement blasting "cowardly" GOP leader "McCarthy (Q-CA)" hill.cm/kyn6v0o
Michael Novakhov retweeted: Pelosi issues statement blasting "cowardly" GOP leader "McCarthy (Q-CA)" hill.cm/kyn6v0o
Michael Novakhov retweeted: Secretary of Defense orders all military to pause and review handling of extremism in ranks cnn.it/3avuNip
Michael Novakhov retweeted: Secretary of Defense orders all military to pause and review handling of extremism in ranks cnn.it/3avuNip
Michael Novakhov retweeted: Canada becomes the first nation to declare Proud Boys as a terrorist group trib.al/rjiYsXm
Michael Novakhov retweeted: Canada becomes the first nation to declare Proud Boys as a terrorist group trib.al/rjiYsXm
Michael Novakhov retweeted: Majorie Taylor Greene gets a standing ovation from Republicans as she AVOIDS punishment for QAnon claims trib.al/vFnEXUd
Michael Novakhov retweeted: Majorie Taylor Greene gets a standing ovation from Republicans as she AVOIDS punishment for QAnon claims trib.al/vFnEXUd
Michael Novakhov retweeted: More Republicans sign up for tit-for-tat move to remove Ilhan Omar from House committees trib.al/cO791V4
Michael Novakhov retweeted: More Republicans sign up for tit-for-tat move to remove Ilhan Omar from House committees trib.al/cO791V4
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1:43 PM 2/3/2021 - ЭÑо ÐœÐ¾ÑÐºÐ²Ñ - Особое мнение : Ðлеб Павловский | Scientists explain why the new Covid-19 variants could be more infectious

1:32 PM 2/3/2021 - Vaccination Update: 92% of first doses allocated to NYS health care distribution sites have been administered as of 11am today. -1,554,450 first doses received -1,432,195 first doses administered

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11:31 AM 2/3/2021 - America isnt moving its troops out of Germany and Belgium for Poland ... That plan, Wolters said, has been put on freeze ... | Trumps Banker at Deutsche Bank Was Ousted for a Real Estate Deal - The New York Times

11:14 AM 2/3/2021 - Several Capitol rioters are blaming Trumps rhetoric. Whats in it for them£

9:10 AM 2/3/2021 - Covid-19 and vaccinations in Israel: I "The jury's still out on whether the vaccine completely stops people from carrying, and passing on, the virus." | Israel opens coronavirus vaccines to all over-16s | DEBKAfile: Israel closes airport and points of entry for extended period

8:07 AM 2/3/2021 - New York digs out from 16 inches of snow - News Review

6:40 AM 2/3/2021 - The study by researchers at the University of Oxford is the first to document evidence that any coronavirus vaccine can reduce transmission of the virus. Study Finds AstraZeneca Shots Drastically Cut Transmission The New York Times (£££)

The Pandemic Bulletin - 9:56 AM 2/2/2021: COVID-19: Surprising number of US healthcare workers refuse vaccines | Vaccine rollout hits snag as health workers balk at shots

Trey Gowdy: "Crooked FBI members ..."

5:19 PM 2/1/2021 - New study finds reinfection by SARS-CoV-2 in healthy young adults is common

4:13 PM 2/1/2021 - The Mystery Of India's Plummeting COVID-19 Cases

Walensky on variants: The presumption at this point is that there has been community spread of this strain, she said. It is likely the United States is experiencing community spread of the COVID-19 virus variant that was first discovered in South Africa. The first two cases of the variant were diagnosed in South Carolina on Thursday.

1:23 PM 2/1/2021 - South African Coronavirus variant with no travel history in England - one more indication that this variant is "local", of the "community origin", and of the "sustained community transmission", just like so many other variants and in so many other and various locations. These facts prompt us to review the basic postulates of the Covid-19 as the travel driven phenomenon and they might indicate the universally present internal, "local", innate origins of this putative infection rather than acquired from the extraneous sources. This dichotomy is of course extremely important and has to be researched very thoroughly. It has the enormous implications for the understanding of the "Covid-19 Pandemic" and its correct, efficient, and the evidence based management. Michael Novakhov

3:04 AM 2/1/2021 AP The Day 5,000 arrested at anti-Putin protests across Russia

4:19 PM 1/31/2021 - Did Trump know what was about to happen Jan. 6£ | TheHill

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1:49 PM 1/31/2021 - Trump and the Capitol Riot of January 6, 2021: Trump bears responsibility

7:10 AM 1/31/2021 - Podcasts - Latest episodes | Tweets Review

5:41 PM 1/30/2021 - Yuri Shvets and Craig Unger discuss Trump as Russian asset

News - 10:52 AM 1/30/2021 | WHO investigators visit second Wuhan hospital that treated Covid-19 cases

News: 01-30-2021 9AM ET

News: 01-30-2021 5AM ET

1/30/21 7:32 AM - UK - EU "Vaccine War" | Foster: "An Incredible Act of Hostility" | M.N. To me, this UK - EU "Vaccine War" itself is the "Incredible Act of Hostility", reminding the WW2 at 75-th Anniversary of its end. The "Defeat turned into Victory Parade" continues. The New Abwehr's revengful and vindictive games do go on.

_______________________________________________



Current News Review In 25 Headlines
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2:37 PM 2/3/2021 - 2 FBI agents killed, 3 agents wounded while serving warrant

Michael_Novakhov shared this story from The News And Times.

2:37 PM 2/3/2021

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Two FBI agents killed in Sunrise, Florida.

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Michael Novakhov retweeted:
Im proud of my Motherland, exclaimed the editor-in-chief of the state-funded network RT. She argued that those who attempt to undermine the regime must be harshly dealt with and imprisoned, describing Navalny as a traitor of the Motherland. trib.al/s520F8U
Michael Novakhov retweeted:
Portugal is the world's worst COVID-19 hotspot right now, and a surge in infections has left the hospitals on the brink of collapse.

Michael Novakhov retweeted:
Qué son los antinutrientes y por qué son parte fundamental de la alimentación bbc.in/2MLZnMA
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Grateful to the Biden Administration for providing long overdue support for the people of Puerto Rico to rebuild from the 2017 hurricanes and prepare for future storms.
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Democrats blast Cuomo's health chief Howard Zucker as 'liar,' 'puppet' trib.al/SiyFCrg

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A year ago this week, I said at the @HRC gala the first under the leadership of my friend @AlphonsoDavid  that we must repeal the walking while trans statute. Im proud to say we got it done and Im grateful to Alphonso and the entire LGBTQ community for their partnership.
AssociatedPress's YouTube Videos: FBI: FL shooting is 'dark day' for organization ino.to/hhUkiA6
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Covid: Israel's vaccine rollout linked to infection fall - BBC News bbc.com/news/health-55

The jury's still out on whether the vaccine completely stops people from carrying, and passing on, the virus.

So for now, while many people remain unvaccinated, those who have had ...
Michael Novakhov retweeted:
Rabbi from Israeli settlement convicted of inciting to violence and encouraging hate crimes haaretz.com/israel-news/.p
In Israel, Infections Drop Sharply After One Shot of Vaccine

Michael_Novakhov shared this story .

JERUSALEM Israel, which leads the world in vaccinating its population against the coronavirus, has produced some encouraging news: Early results show a significant drop in infection after just one shot of a two-dose vaccine, and better than expected results after both doses.

Public health experts caution that the data, based on the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, is preliminary and has not been subjected to clinical trials. Even so, Dr. Anat Ekka Zohar, vice president of Maccabi Health Services, one of the Israeli health maintenance organizations that released the data, called it very encouraging.

In the first early report, Clalit, Israels largest health fund, compared 200,000 people aged 60 or over who received a first dose of the vaccine to a matched group of 200,000 who had not been vaccinated yet. It said that 14 to 18 days after their shots, the partially vaccinated patients were 33 percent less likely to be infected.

At about the same time, Maccabis research arm said it had found an even larger drop in infections after just one dose: a decrease of about 60 percent, 13 to 21 days after the first shot, in the first 430,000 people to receive it.

Maccabi did not specify an age group or whether it had compared the data with a matched, non-vaccinated cohort.

On Monday, the Israeli Health Ministry and Maccabi released new data on people who had received both doses of the vaccine, showing extremely high rates of effectiveness.

The ministry found that out of 428,000 Israelis who had received their second doses, a week later only 63, or 0.014 percent, had contracted the virus. Similarly, the Maccabi data showed that more than a week after having received the second dose, only 20 out of roughly 128,600 people, about 0.01 percent, had contracted the virus.

In clinical trials the Pfizer vaccine proved 95 percent effective after two doses in preventing coronavirus infection in people without evidence of previous infection. The Israeli results, if they hold up, suggest the efficacy could be even higher, though rigorous comparisons to unvaccinated people have not yet been published.

This is very encouraging data, Dr. Zohar said. We will monitor these patients closely in order to examine if they continue to suffer from mild symptoms only and do not develop complications as a result of the virus.

Both Clalit and Maccabi warned that their findings were preliminary and said they would soon be followed by more in-depth statistical analysis in peer-reviewed scientific publications.

Israel, where more than 30 percent of the population has already received a first dose of the vaccine, has become something of an international test case for vaccination efficacy.

With its small population, highly digitized universal health system, and rapid, military-assisted vaccine rollout, Israels real-world data provides a useful supplement to clinical trials for researchers, pharmaceutical companies and policymakers.

Israel made a deal with Pfizer in which the drug company ensured the country an early and steady supply of vaccines in exchange for data. The Health Ministry has made public a redacted version of the agreement.

Despite its race to vaccinate, Israel is suffering a devastating third wave of the coronavirus. The government reimposed a strict national lockdown this month after weeks of soaring infections and deaths.

Israel was set to halt most air travel in and out of the country starting at midnight on Monday in an effort to block the arrival of emerging virus variants that could threaten the countrys vaccination campaign. Two vaccine makers said Monday that their vaccines were slightly less effective against one of the new variants.

While real-world data like that from Israel is useful, it is subject to variables that can skew the results and which clinical trials try to account for.

The early Israeli numbers are based on the first people to get the vaccine. Such people, experts say, are likely to be more concerned or informed about the virus and therefore more careful about social distancing and mask wearing. They could also differ from those who did not rush to get the shot by location and socio-economic status.

Also, experts say, the disease changes over time. Prof. Ran Balicer, the chief innovation officer at Clalit and a leading Israeli epidemiologist, said that two-week-old data can be like evidence from a different era or about a million vaccines ago in Israeli terms.

Maccabi said that it would release more data weekly. The main message, Maccabi said in a statement, is that even the first dose of the vaccine is effective and reduces morbidity and lowers hospitalizations by many tens of percent.

A hazard of releasing raw data, experts cautioned, is that it can be misinterpreted.

After Clalit first publicized its early numbers two weeks ago, many people heard about a 33 percent drop in cases, not the expected 95 percent, and jumped to the erroneous conclusion that the Pfizer shot didnt work.

There was an uproar in Britain, where the authorities have delayed giving the second dose by up to 12 weeks, as opposed to the 21-day gap on which Pfizer based its trials.

Professor Balicer thought of the results as good news and was dismayed at how they were interpreted.

We were reassured enough to tell everyone that we were seeing what we were supposed to be seeing right after Day 14, he said. I dont know how it turned into a message of Oh my God, it doesnt work.

Professor Balicer, who is also the chairman of the team of experts advising the Israeli government on its Covid-19 response, hoped the positive results might have a bearing on an imminent government decision regarding a third lockdown.

Covid has turned us all into amateur scientists, said Talya Miron-Shatz, an associate professor and expert in medical decision-making at Ono Academic College in central Israel. We are all looking at data, but most people are not scientists.

Israel, which began vaccinating people on Dec. 20, has given a first shot to more than 2.6 million Israelis and both shots to more than a million people.

After starting with people aged 60 and above, health care workers and others at high risk, Israel is now offering vaccines to people over 40 and to high school students aged 16 to 18 to allow them to get back to school. The military is assisting the effort and 700 army reserve medics are helping at vaccination centers.

Prof. Jonathan Halevy, the president of Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, had not studied the findings of the H.M.O.s but said that two weeks after the first dose was rolled out he began seeing a drop in severe cases.

I know several people who became infected close to the time they got the vaccine, but they got it lightly, he said.

Still, Israel remains under a national lockdown and officials are concerned about the emergence of new, highly contagious variants. It remains to be seen how effective the vaccines are against the new variants.

Despite what appears to be the early success of the vaccine, the virus continues to wreak havoc in Israel. Professor Halevy said his hospitals Covid wards were still packed to capacity and he expected that it would take another two or three weeks to see a decline.

The virus has killed more than 1,000 Israelis so far this month alone, nearly a quarter of those who have died from the pandemic virus overall.

Health officials and experts have attributed much of the recent increase in infection to the fast-spreading variant first detected in Britain.

Military Links To US Capitol Rioters Show Challenge Of Fighting Extremism In The Ranks

Michael_Novakhov shared this story from Honolulu Civil Beat.

Signs of military influence were everywhere when ex-President Donald Trumps supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol last month. Olive helmets, camouflage backpacks, body armor, even troop formations. It shouldnt have been a surprise.

Only a few active-duty service members were arrested, but the mob included dozens of veterans from all branches of service including the founder of the Hawaii Proud Boys Nick Ochs, a former Marine, and other right-wing group leaders.

The failed insurrection in the heart of the nations capital on Jan. 6 has prompted a reckoning in the military, which has battled racism and extremism in the ranks for decades.

A Trump supporter stands outside of the U.S. Capitol on the same day hundreds stormed into the building.

Nick Grube/Civil Beat

Concerns were so high that the FBI took the extraordinary step of vetting all of the 25,000 National Guardsmen, including about 200 from Hawaii, deployed to Washington, D.C., for President Joe Bidens inauguration amid fears of an insider attack.

The Pentagons inspector general also announced that it would launch an investigation into whether the military is doing enough to stamp out banned ideologies and activities.

The Pentagon faces a delicate balance in maintaining a right of expression for service members while preventing the spread of hate.

The rules appear clear when troops are in uniform, but what about when theyre off-duty? And how do you crack down on extremists in the National Guard, whose members only serve part-time.

For example, members of the armed forces are allowed to express personal opinions on political candidates, contribute to campaigns and attend political events as spectators. But they may not engage in political activities in an official capacity and never in uniform.

Defense Department policy expressly prohibits military personnel from actively advocating supremacist, extremist or criminal gang doctrine, ideology or causes.

All military personnel undergo background investigations, are subject to continuous evaluation and have to complete periodic training to make sure they understand the rules.

We in the Department of Defense are doing everything we can to eliminate extremism in the Department of Defense, Gary Reid, director for defense intelligence, told Civil Beat in an email. Simply put, we will not tolerate extremism of any sort in DOD.

The National Guard helped protect the U.S. Capitol in the days after pro-Trump supporters stormed the building.

Nick Grube/Civil Beat

CNN reported Monday that 21 of those facing federal charges in the Capitol violence were current or former members of the U.S. military, including two soldiers and two guardsmen. It said that was more than double the proportion of service members and veterans in the adult U.S. population.

The 17 veterans included six former soldiers, eight former Marines, two former sailors and one who was in the Air Force, according to the broadcasters analysis of Pentagon and court records. CNN said service records showed that at least one served in Vietnam while others fought in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Some defendants have insisted that they participated in the pro-Trump rally but didnt enter the Capitol or engage in violence, often despite photos and videos posted on social media showing the contrary.

Former Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, who became the first Black defense secretary last month, pledged during his Senate confirmation hearing to rid our ranks of racists and extremists.

The job of the Department of Defense is to keep America safe from our enemies, but we cant do that if some of those enemies lie within our own ranks, he said.

Experts say drastic steps will be needed to stamp out a problem that has existed for decades. Timothy McVeigh, who carried out the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, was a Gulf War vet.

Theres no way to know how widely extremist ideologies have permeated among the approximately 1.3 million members of the military and some 18 million veterans.

Carolyn Gallaher, who has written about right-wing and militia movements, said extremist groups are often formed by veterans or recruit heavily among them.

Anti-government groups want people with military experience, she said in a telephone interview.

Nick Ochs, middle, poses with fellow Proud Boy Nicholas DeCarlo, left, and Jake Angeli, the so-called QAnon Shaman on Jan. 6 when Trump supporters rioted at the U.S. Capitol.

U.S. Justice Department

Gallaher, a professor at American University in Washington, D.C., suggested more outreach to veterans groups, saying they often feel isolated after returning home from war zones.

She also worries that military commanders often look the other way when faced with extremist attitudes as long as theyre not causing trouble on the job.

They cant control their minds, she acknowledged. But they have to police the policies they have and if they need stronger policies they need to put them in place.

The military should not be a ground for white supremacists and white nationalists and militias to get military training and then use it against the government, she said.

The military already began implementing new measures amid the anti-racist protests following the killing of George Floyd. The Pentagon banned the display of the Confederate flag on military installations last year despite opposition by Trump.

Several lawmakers want to ensure active-duty service members and veterans involved in the Capitol attack are brought to justice.

Rep. Kai Kahele, an Air Force veteran and a commissioned officer in the Hawaii National Guard, joined a bipartisan group in calling last month for a probe of extremists among those with links to the military.

The Jan. 14 letter, which was sent to the Defense and Justice departments, also asked about administrative and legal tools available to prosecute those involved in the violence, including active-duty troops, retirees, veterans and federal contractors.

We are concerned about further participation in insurrection or rebellious activities by current or former service members that contravenes the oath we took to protect this country, the lawmakers wrote.

Kaheles office said Monday it was still waiting for answers but had been told it would take more time than usual due to the transition of administrations.

Activists wary of broader law enforcement after Capitol riot

Michael_Novakhov shared this story .

CHICAGO As federal officials grapple with how to confront the national security threat from domestic extremists after the deadly siege of the U.S. Capitol, civil rights groups and communities of color are watching warily for any moves to expand law enforcement power or authority.

They say their communities have felt the brunt of security scrutiny over the last two decades and fear new tools meant to target right-wing extremism or white nationalists risk harming Muslims, Black Americans and other groups, even if unintentionally.

Their position underscores the complexity of the national debate surrounding how to balance First Amendment expression protections with law enforcement's need to prevent extremist violence before it occurs. In particular, many Muslim advocates oppose the creation of any new domestic terror statute modeled after existing laws that criminalize support for foreign terror organizations.

The answer ought to be to sort of pause. Because the instinct to do something is something Im really quite afraid of, said Maya Berry, executive director of the Arab American Institute, one of more than 130 civil and human rights organizations that say the FBI already has the tools it needs.

Theres an entire federal code in place that allows you to successfully go after this violence before you need to sort of say, Oh, wait, you know, theres this existing gap and we need more power, she added.

The debate over how to prevent extremist violence, and whether new domestic terrorism laws are required, has surfaced before, including after rampages that targeted Jews in a Pittsburgh synagogue and Latinos in a Texas Walmart.

The Jan. 6 attack, when an overwhelmingly white mob of Donald Trump supporters and members of far-right groups violently breached the Capitol, has refocused attention on white extremism and prompted questions about whether a racial double standard exists in investigating and countering violence.

President Joe Biden moved swiftly to declare domestic extremism an urgent national security concern, tasking the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to create a threat assessment. The Department of Homeland Security issued a terrorism bulletin warning of the prospect of additional violence. Even before the riot, FBI Director Chris Wray said domestic extremism was responsible for the deadliest violence over the last year and had been elevated as a priority to the same level as international terrorism.

The debate now is how to address the rise of white supremacist violence while not targeting the same people white supremacists seek to harm. Not only that, law enforcement officials pressured to crack down more on domestic extremists have to do so while staying mindful of broad First Amendment protections that prevent the arrests of people for abhorrent or hateful speech short of threatening violence.

White violence is consistently perpetuated and then used as justification for increased surveillance or increased state power against communities of color, said 26-year-old Iranian American activist Hoda Katebi, who is Muslim, wears a headscarf and grew up defending herself against harassment and being called a terrorist in the years after Sept. 11, 2001.

The Justice Department has not said publicly if it intends to seek any additional powers, or whether it even needs new ones to deal with domestic extremism. Though there is no federal law that explicitly charges crimes as domestic terrorism, prosecutors have successfully used other statutes to cover conduct that might reasonably be seen as terrorism, including at the Capitol.

There are, however, additional legal tools available for countering international terrorism. Federal law makes it a crime to give support to designated foreign terror groups, giving law enforcement greater flexibility to arrest people who donate money or otherwise aid such an organization, even if they haven't harmed anyone or threatened violence themselves.

No comparable law exists for people aligned with U.S.-based extremist groups, which enjoy expansive free speech protections.

The current concern from civil rights groups stems from the way communities of color, notably Black Americans and Muslims, have been affected over the decades by law enforcement scrutiny, though the FBI has significantly tightened its policies in ways that require a credible basis for suspicion to launch an investigation or apply for surveillance of a particular individual.

In a statement, the FBI said it has a dual, but not contradictory, mission of protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution and that it will defer to Congress to work with the Justice Department on assessing whether any additional authorities are needed. It says it will continue to use all the tools it has.

The FBI investigates and responds to incidents only when an individuals activity crosses the line from ideas and constitutionally protected activity to violence, the statement said.

Still, in the early years of the bureau's history, it targeted "movements that sought to liberate Black people from the continued oppression that they suffered post-slavery and post-Reconstruction, said Janai Nelson, NAACP Legal Defense Fund associate director-counsel.

FBI surveillance of civil rights leaders and infiltration of Black organizations continued into the 1950s and 1960s, most infamously through the COINTELPRO program created to disrupt activities of the Communist Party. Martin Luther King Jr. was monitored by the FBI beginning in 1955 during his involvement with the Montgomery bus boycott.

In the last decade, as protests swept the U.S. after the police killings of Black people, Black Lives Matter grew in prominence as a slogan and an organization. The FBI at one point created a domestic threat category called Black Identity Extremists, though Wray has said the bureau no longer uses the term.

Surveillance tactics and the eye of our law enforcement have always been trained on communities of color. Particularly Black communities, Nelson said.

Muslim Americans believe they've felt particular scrutiny since 9/11, including after the Patriot Act, legislation that afforded law enforcement new counterterrorism authority, as well as less intrusive initiatives like the Obama-era program designed to counter violent extremism across different movements. Counterterrorism experts defend the Patriot Act and similar investigative tools, including sting operations, as having prevented an untold number of attacks. Yet many Muslims still regard those actions as having unfairly infringed upon the privacy of many Americans.

All the while, the threat of white nationalism continued to grow inside the U.S., prompting debate over a perceived double standard when it comes to the terrorism label, and tough questions for law enforcement about whether it has been sufficiently attuned to a domestic extremism surge that has been recently responsible for greater casualties in the U.S. than international terrorism.

Mindful of the complexity of the debate, one legislative proposal would create not additional law enforcement tools or even a new definition of domestic terrorism, but simply mandate that the FBI and Department of Homeland Security make periodic reports to Congress about the extremist threat.

Anytime you shine a light on an issue, on an action, you get more accountability and better outcomes, said Rep. Brad Schneider, an Illinois Democrat and a co-sponsor of the measure.

___

Nasir reported from Chicago and Tucker from Washington.

___

Nasir is a member of The Associated Press' Race and Ethnicity team. Follow Nasir on Twitter at https://twitter.com/noreensnasir.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Vaccine rollout hits snag as health workers balk at shots

Michael_Novakhov shared this story .

The desperately awaited vaccination drive against the coronavirus in the U.S. is running into resistance from an unlikely quarter: Surprising numbers of health care workers who have seen firsthand the death and misery inflicted by COVID-19 are refusing shots.

It is happening in nursing homes and, to a lesser degree, in hospitals, with employees expressing what experts say are unfounded fears of side effects from vaccines that were developed at record speed. More than three weeks into the campaign, some places are seeing as much as 80% of the staff holding back.

I dont think anyone wants to be a guinea pig, said Dr. Stephen Noble, a 42-year-old cardiothoracic surgeon in Portland, Oregon, who is postponing getting vaccinated. At the end of the day, as a man of science, I just want to see what the data show. And give me the full data.

Alarmed by the phenomenon, some administrators have dangled everything from free breakfasts at Waffle House to a raffle for a car to get employees to roll up their sleeves. Some states have threatened to let other people cut ahead of health care workers in the line for shots.

Its far too low. Its alarmingly low, said Neil Pruitt, CEO of PruittHealth, which runs about 100 long-term care homes in the South, where fewer than 3 in 10 workers offered the vaccine so far have accepted it.

Many medical facilities from Florida to Washington state have boasted of near-universal acceptance of the shots, and workers have proudly plastered pictures of themselves on social media receiving the vaccine. Elsewhere, though, the drive has stumbled.

While the federal government has released no data on how many people offered the vaccines have taken them, glimpses of resistance have emerged around the country.

In Illinois, a big divide has opened at state-run veterans homes between residents and staff. The discrepancy was worst at the veterans home in Manteno, where 90% of residents were vaccinated but only 18% of the staff members.

In rural Ashland, Alabama, about 90 of some 200 workers at Clay County Hospital have yet to agree to get vaccinated, even with the place so overrun with COVID-19 patients that oxygen is running low and beds have been added to the intensive care unit, divided by plastic sheeting.

The pushback comes amid the most lethal phase in the outbreak yet, with the death toll at more than 350,000, and it could hinder the governments effort to vaccinate somewhere between 70% and 85% of the U.S. population to achieve herd immunity.

Administrators and public health officials have expressed hope that more health workers will opt to be vaccinated as they see their colleagues take the shots without problems.

Oregon doctor Noble said he will wait until April or May to get the shots. He said it is vital for public health authorities not to overstate what they know about the vaccines. That is particularly important, he said, for Black people like him who are distrustful of government medical guidance because of past failures and abuses, such as the infamous Tuskegee experiment.

Medical journals have published extensive data on the vaccines, and the Food and Drug Administration has made its analysis public. But misinformation about the shots has spread wildly online, including falsehoods that they cause fertility problems.

Stormy Tatom, 30, a hospital ICU nurse in Beaumont, Texas, said she decided against getting vaccinated for now because of the unknown long-term side effects.

I would say at least half of my coworkers feel the same way, Tatom said.

There have been no signs of widespread severe side effects from the vaccines, and scientists say the drugs have been rigorously tested on tens of thousands and vetted by independent experts.

States have begun turning up the pressure. South Carolinas governor gave health care workers until Jan. 15 to get a shot or move to the back of the line. Georgias top health official has allowed some vaccines to be diverted to other front-line workers, including firefighters and police, out of frustration with the slow uptake.

Theres vaccine available but its literally sitting in freezers, said Public Health Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey. Thats unacceptable. We have lives to save.

Nursing homes were among the institutions given priority for the shots because the virus has cut a terrible swath through them. Long-term care residents and staff account for about 38% of the nations COVID-19 fatalities.

In West Virginia, only about 55% of nursing home workers agreed to the shots when they were first offered last month, according to Martin Wright, who leads the West Virginia Health Care Association.

Its a race against social media, Wright said of battling falsehoods about the vaccines.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said only 40% of the states nursing home workers have gotten shots. North Carolinas top public health official estimated more than half were refusing the vaccine there.

SavaSeniorCare has offered cash to the 169 long-term care homes in its 20-state network to pay for gift cards, socially distanced parties or other incentives. But so far, data from about a third of its homes shows that 55% of workers have refused the vaccine.

CVS and Walgreens, which have been contracted by a majority of U.S. nursing homes to administer COVID-19 vaccinations, have not released specifics on the acceptance rate. CVS said that residents have agreed to be immunized at an encouragingly high rate but that initial uptake among staff is low, partly because of efforts to stagger when employees receive their shots.

Some facilities have vaccinated workers in stages so that the staff is not sidelined all at once if they suffer minor side effects, which can include fever and aches.

The hesitation isnt surprising, given the mixed message from political leaders and misinformation online, said Dr. Wilbur Chen, a professor at the University of Maryland who specializes in the science of vaccines.

He noted that health care workers represent a broad range of jobs and backgrounds and said they are not necessarily more informed than the general public.

They dont know what to believe either, Chen said. But he said he expects the hesitancy to subside as more people are vaccinated and public health officials get their message across.

Some places have already seen turnarounds, such as Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

The biggest thing that helped us to gain confidence in our staff was watching other staff members get vaccinated, be OK, walk out of the room, you know, not grow a third ear, and so that really is like an avalanche, said Dr. Catherine ONeal, chief medical officer. The first few hundred that we had created another 300 that wanted the vaccine.

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Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Jake Bleiberg in Dallas; Heather Hollingsworth in Mission, Kansas; Janet McConnaughey in New Orleans; Candice Choi in New York; Kelli Kennedy in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Jay Reeves in Birmingham, Alabama; Brian Witte in Annapolis, Maryland; Jeffrey Collins in Columbia, South Carolina; John Seewer in Toledo, Ohio; Melinda Deslatte in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and Bryan Anderson in Raleigh, North Carolina.

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Michael Novakhov - SharedNewsLinks℠ | In Brief | 

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