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July 2, 2022 3:49 pm

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8:10 AM 2/14/2021 – Gantz to demand tight Purim restrictions to allow reopening of commerce

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Kyle Mizokami

Security, Asia

North Korea’s chemical-weapons threat is real and the likelihood of their use in wartime is high.

Here’s What You Need to Remember: The most effective means overall of mitigating Pyongyang’s chemical threat may be to bargain the weapons away ahead of time. If the North could be persuaded to give up most or all of its chemical weapons, it would lessen the threat to civilians and soldiers in wartime, both on the Korean peninsula and abroad.


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7:18 AM 2/14/2021 – Former President Donald Trump has been acquitted in his historic second impeachment trial – News Review

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Michael Novakhov retweeted:
It is really a shock that the US has no rule of law that applies to a completely criminal president. Time to fix this flawed constitution! twitter.com/robertjdenault…
Michael Novakhov retweeted:
BREAKING: Former President Donald Trump has been acquitted in his historic second impeachment trial cnn.it/3s445Vx

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Michael Novakhov retweeted:
By a 57-43 majority, with seven Republicans voting with the majority, the United States Senate says that Donald J. Trump incited an insurrection against the United States of America.

Forty-three U.S. Senators should forever hang their heads in shame.

Michael Novakhov retweeted:
WATCH LIVE: The Senate is voting now on whether to convict former President Donald Trump
twitter.com/i/broadcasts/1…
Michael Novakhov retweeted:
“The country and the world know who Donald Trump is. This trial is about who we are,” said lead House impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland in his closing remarks.

to.pbs.org/3b5y6x4

Michael Novakhov retweeted:
‘He Must Be Convicted. It’s That Simple’: Impeachment Managers’ Close Their Case npr.org/sections/trump…
Michael Novakhov retweeted:
Live on @MSNBC:

Senate to vote on article of impeachment against fmr. President Trump.

Watch live coverage msnbc.com/live

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#Freedom of #Speech was crafted and emerged for practical and #wise purpose: to help to establish the ever elusive #TRUTH#Trump, like all classic #Fascists and #Authoritarians, substituted the one and only, in all its variations #Truth with the #BigLiethenewsandtimes.blogspot.com/2021/02/the-tr…

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The Capitol Riot may have been “PRE-PLANNED” indeed, as the Trump’s defense asserted – Google Search google.com/search?q=The+C… money.yahoo.com/house-prosecut…

capitol rioters financial problems – Google Search google.com/search?q=capit… dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9…

transfer to the US Far Right groups of large sum of the Bitcoins – Google Search google.com/search?q=trans… seattletimes.com/nation-world/w…

transfer to the US Far Right groups of large sum of the Bitcoins – Google Search google.com/search?q=trans… reuters.com/article/us-usa…

Counterintelligence aspects of the Capitol Riot – Google Search google.com/search?q=Count… nbcnews.com/politics/natio…

TOC-MOB – Google Search google.com/search?q=TOC-M… fbi.gov/investigate/or…

New Abwehr – Google Search google.com/search?q=New+A…

New Abwehr – Google Search google.com/search?q=New+A…

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New Abwehr – Google Search google.com/search?q=New+A…

New Abwehr – Google Search google.com/search?q=New+A…

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deeply dysfunctional FBI – Google Search google.com/search?q=deepl… nytimes.com/2019/12/09/us/…

calls for the Independent Congressional Investigations of Capitol Riot – Google Search google.com/search?q=calls… washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/…

us intelligence failures – Google Search google.com/search?q=us+in… theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/…


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Book review of War of Shadows: Codebreakers, Spies, and the Secret Struggle to Drive the Nazis from the Middle East by Gershom Gorenberg

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The story opens in 1942, when the Axis appeared to be winning the war and Field Marshal Erwin Rommel’s army was so close to Cairo that the British General Headquarters was burning its archives. “The flames were too hot,” Gorenberg observes, “and half-burnt secrets floated out over the city.” A young cipher clerk named June Watkins, serving in Britain’s Women’s Auxiliary Air Force, was armed with a revolver while she worked: “Among other things, they learned how to shoot themselves,” the author explains. “Women who knew the ciphers were not to fall into enemy hands.”

“War of Shadows” is based on meticulous and exhaustive research that ranged from “archives in places from Tel Aviv to Palo Alto to the homes of the children and grandchildren of people whose names have been forgotten though they changed the direction of history.” One reason, as Gorenberg reveals, is that the spies and spymasters who made history were told, “Now history must have no memory of you.” Yet the book also flashes and sparkles with the kind of observed detail that we are accustomed to finding only in spy fiction. The highest praise that can be bestowed on his book is that it will remind readers of a cloak-and-dagger tale by John Le Carré with an armature of fascinating historical annotation.

Gorenberg is a veteran journalist and historian based in Jerusalem, the author of three previous books about aspects of the Middle East (“The Unmaking of Israel,” “The Accidental Empire” and “The End of Days”), a contributing columnist for The Washington Post, and a longtime contributor to the New York Times Magazine, the New York Review of Books, the Atlantic and Haaretz.

Facts on the ground in North Africa figure prominently in “War of Shadows,” but equally important is the work that was conducted in an English country house called Bletchley Park, where the secret messages that passed between Berlin and its battlefield commanders were decoded and selectively shared with Allied counterparts. But the deciding factor was Winston Churchill’s conviction that the decision to defend British primacy in the Middle East was “at once awful and right.” According to Gorenberg, “It was a wager that changed the shape of the war, and of the Middle East then and after.”

Indeed, Gorenberg allows us to see that a Middle Eastern version of the Great Game was conducted in parallel with armed combat. Nazi plotters imagined that Egyptian dissidents could be persuaded to “switch to the German side.” The same sentiment can be detected in the recollections of Anwar Sadat, then a young officer in an Egyptian artillery brigade that was serving with the British army in the campaign against Benito Mussolini’s expeditionary force. “Our enemy was primarily, if not solely, Great Britain,” Sadat later explained.

The code-breakers at Bletchley Park confirmed the strategic ambitions of the Axis in the Middle East. Bombers, fighters and transport planes were being sent from German-occupied Greece, “with Iraq markings or no markings at all,” for service against the Allies. After all, as Gorenberg points out, “both Iraq and the Vichy-ruled territories of Syria and Lebanon were fully aligned with the Axis.”

Palestine, then ruled by Britain under a mandate from the League of Nations, was also at stake. When Italian bombers attacked Haifa and Tel Aviv, the former grand mufti of Jerusalem sent his congratulations to Mussolini. By contrast, the Jewish leadership in Palestine urged Jews to enlist in the British army, and an elite unit known as the Palmach shared its soldiers with the Special Operations Executive. Meir Yaari, a leader of the kibbutz movement, observed that “these days no fear is an exaggeration.” Yet Gorenberg also notices that Moshe Shertok, a future prime minister of Israel, saw a distinction in the early years of the war between the Nazi invasion of Poland that had already happened and the Nazi invasion of Palestine that was feared in the future: “It’s possible that there will be atrocities here,” Shertok said.

“On that,” Gorenberg writes in a heartbreaking aside, “intelligence was entirely lacking.”

The dramatis personae that appear in Gorenberg’s book from the outset range from world historical figures like Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt and Adolf Hitler to a young naval intelligence officer named Ian Fleming, whose wartime experiences inspired him to create the most famous spy of all. Above all, Gorenberg restores to the historical record various men and woman who have been mostly overlooked and always undervalued, including the remarkable Hermione, Countess of Ranfurly, an English aristocrat who served a consequential role in the Special Operations Executive.

Countess Hermione is an example of exactly what makes “War of Shadows” such a colorful and compelling book of history. She was met with skepticism when she first volunteered for the war effort: “You can’t expect me to believe that a countess can type,” said one brigadier. As it turned out, she was stationed in an office that was stocked with guns, ammunition and gold, and she directed the efforts of commandos in a shooting war.

“We sent little boats up the Danube to lay mines,” she wrote of her wartime efforts. “We sent gentlemen forth with wirelesses in suitcases and instructions to blow up certain bridges.”

Once in action, however, the Countess demonstrated one facility that her male comrades-in-arms lacked; she carried a Colt revolver in her girdle and smuggled secret papers in her bra.

War of Shadows

Codebreakers, Spies, and the
Secret Struggle
to Drive the Nazis From the Middle East

PublicAffairs.
474 pp. $34


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After impeachment acquittal, Trump remains dominant in GOP – WKRG News 5

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Coronavirus strain found in Polish mink can pass to humans, government says

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

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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.

A woman lights a candle next to the entrance of a synagogue in Munich during a protest against anti-Semitism on Oct. 11, 2019, two days after a deadly shooting targeting a Turkish restaurant in Halle after an attempt at the synagogue.Christof Stache / AFP via Getty Images file

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.

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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. 


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12:53 PM 2/7/2021 – News Review

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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…

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Michael Novakhov retweeted:
FBI arrests Pennsylvania woman accused of using a bullhorn to direct rioters during last month’s 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 couldn’t 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

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

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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


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8:08 AM 2/7/2021 – Penguins Spared After Mammoth Iceberg Splits Into Smaller Pieces – News Review

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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

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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.

The post More Than A Month Later, It’s Still January 6 on Capitol Hill : NPR first appeared on Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠ – michaelnovakhov-sharednewslinks.com.

NPR News: 02-07-2021 6AM ETDownload audio: https://play.podtrac.com/npr-500005/edge1.pod.npr.org/anon.npr-mp3/npr/newscasts/2021/02/07/newscast060740.mp3?awCollectionId=500005&awEpisodeId=965021848&orgId=1&d=300&p=500005&story=965021848&t=podcast&e=965021848&size=4500000&ft=pod&f=500005

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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)

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More Than A Month Later, It’s Still January 6 on Capitol Hill : NPR

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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.


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Video News Review – 5:02 PM 2/6/2021

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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.

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


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