17 May

What Insurrection? Growing Number in GOP Downplay Jan. 6

Flouting all evidence and their own first-hand experience, a small but growing number of Republican lawmakers are propagating a false portrayal of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, brazenly arguing that the rioters who used flagpoles as weapons, brutally beat police officers and chanted that they wanted to hang Vice President Mike Pence were somehow acting peacefully in their violent bid to overturn Joe Biden’s election.

One Republican at a hearing Wednesday called the rioters a “mob of misfits.” Another compared them to tourists. And a third suggested the sweeping federal investigation into the riot — which has yielded more than 400 arrests and counting — amounts to a national campaign of harassment.

It’s a turn of events that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, another target of the rioters, called “appalling” and “sick,” and it raises the possibility that the public’s understanding of the worst domestic attack on Congress in 200 years — an attack that was captured extensively on video — could become distorted by the same kinds of disinformation that fueled former President Donald Trump’s false claims of a stolen election. It was the lie about the election that motivated the rioters in the first place.

“I don’t know of a normal day around here when people are threatening to hang the vice president of the United States or shoot the speaker, or injure so many police officers,” said Pelosi, who has pushed for a bipartisan commission to investigate the riots.

The hearing Wednesday was supposed to be the latest dive by congressional investigators into the chaos of Jan. 6 — the missed warning signs, confusion and delays that allowed the rioters to terrorize the Capitol for an entire afternoon. But several Republicans used their rounds of questioning not to pepper the witnesses with questions but to downplay the brutal assault on America’s seat of democracy.

“Let’s be honest with the American people — it was not an insurrection, and we cannot call it that and be truthful,” said Rep. Andrew Clyde, a Republican from Georgia serving his first term.

Clyde said one video feed of the rioters looked like they were on a “normal tourist visit.” Those in the video, taken in Statuary Hall, were able to enter the building after rioters broke through glass, pummeled officers and busted through the doors as lawmakers were frantically evacuated. They were headed to the House chamber where they tried to beat down the doors with lawmakers still inside.

Clyde wasn’t the only Republican making that argument. Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar portrayed a woman who was shot and killed by Capitol Police as she tried to break through a door next to the House chamber as a martyr. He said Ashli Babbitt was “executed” and noted she was an Air Force veteran who was wearing an American flag. The Department of Justice decided after an investigation not to charge the police officer who shot her.

The Justice Department, Gosar said, is “harassing peaceful patriots across the country” as federal prosecutors file charges against hundreds of people who stormed the Capitol and participated in the riot. The massive investigation, one of the largest in American history, remains ongoing with federal agents continuing to serve search warrants and attempting to locate dozens of other people still being sought for questioning.

Georgia Rep. Jody Hice also painted the rioters as the victims, noting that they were four of the people who died, including Babbitt. The other three suffered medical emergencies while part of the crowd laying siege to the Capitol. “It was Trump supporters who lost their lives that day, not Trump supporters who were taking the lives of others,” Hice said.

A fifth person, Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, collapsed immediately after the insurrection and died the next day. Video shows two men spraying him and another officer with a chemical, but the Washington medical examiner said Sicknick suffered a stroke and died from natural causes. The men have been charged with assaulting the officers.

Two other officers took their own lives in the days afterward, and dozens more were hurt — including one officer who had a heart attack and others who suffered traumatic brain injuries and permanent disabilities. The union that represents the Capitol Police said some of the officers may never return to work.

The attempt to defend the insurrectionists came on the same day that House Republicans voted to oust Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney from their leadership team for repeatedly rebuking Trump for his false claims that the election was stolen. Cheney voted with Democrats to impeach Trump for telling his supporters hours before the Jan. 6 attack to “fight like hell” to overturn Biden’s win. Trump’s lies about widespread election fraud were rebuked by numerous courts, election officials across the country and his own attorney general.

Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin, who led the Democrats’ impeachment prosecution and sits on the Oversight Committee, said after the hearing that he believes that Republicans were “emboldened and emancipated” by Cheney’s ouster earlier in the day.

“They have declared themselves to be on the side of Donald Trump and the ‘big lie,’ and the ‘big lie’ now has spread outwards to include denial of what happened on Jan. 6,” Raskin said.

Timothy Naftali, a professor of history and public service at New York University, says it is “deeply cynical” to set aside the insurrection as if it didn’t happen. He compares it to political elites in Southern states after the Civil War who failed to examine its causes, which he says prevented racial reconciliation and healing and still affects the country to this day.

“Political amnesia never helps,” Naftali said. “It’s a source of poison.”

Given the extensive record of the attack, captured in video and photos seen the world over, defending the insurrectionists required some creative omissions. One point Clyde emphasized was that the rioters never made it to the House floor — even though they tried, only to be held back by police officers with guns drawn. Some lawmakers were taking cover in the gallery of the chamber as they tried to beat down the doors.

“I can tell you the House floor was never breached and it was not an insurrection,” Clyde said. “This is the truth.”

12 May

Germany to Open up Vaccinations to All on June 7

Germany’s wellbeing pastor says the nation will open up Covid inoculations to everybody beginning on June 7. Wellbeing Minister Jens Spahn told columnists on Monday that the current arrangement of prioritization wherein the most weak gatherings are to be immunized first will at this point don’t be substantial at that point.

The pastor said, “this doesn’t imply that everybody will get an arrangement in practically no time, yet … every individual who needs to get inoculated will get an offer.”

Spahn said that the inoculation crusade has gotten a move on as of late and that before the finish of May around 40% surprisingly in Germany will have gotten in any event one shot. He said 70% of those over the age of 60 have gotten one shot, around one-fourth of them are completely immunized. All things considered, 40 million dosages of Covid immunizations have been given and around 9,000,000 individuals are completely inoculated, in this nation of 83 million.

Following quite a while of lockdown, the disease rate has been dropping in Germany and a few states are gradually beginning to open up outside feasting and different shopping prospects.…

11 May

Glimmer of Hope Seen in India, but Virus Crisis Not Over Yet

Without precedent for months, Izhaar Hussain Shaikh is feeling fairly hopeful.

The 30-year-old emergency vehicle driver in India’s city of Mumbai has been working vigorously since the time the city turned into the focal point of another calamitous COVID-19 flood slicing through the country. A month ago, he drove around 70 patients to the clinic, his cellphone continually vibrating with calls.

Yet, fourteen days into May, he’s just conveyed 10 patients. Cases are falling as are the calls.

“We used to be so occupied previously, we didn’t have the opportunity to eat,” he said.

Somewhat recently, the quantity of new cases plunged by almost 70% in India’s monetary capital, home to 22 million individuals. After a pinnacle of 11,000 day by day cases, the city is currently seeing less than 2,000 per day.

The turnaround addresses a hint of something to look forward to for India, still in the grip of an overwhelming Covid flood that has raised public outrage at the public authority.

An all around implemented lockdown and careful specialists are being credited for Mumbai’s thriving achievement. Indeed, even the capital of New Delhi is considering weak to be of progress as contaminations loosen following quite a while of misfortune and distress working out in packed emergency clinics and crematoriums and in the city.

With more than 24 million affirmed cases and 270,000 passings, India’s caseload is the second most elevated after the U.S. However, specialists accept that the nation’s steeply rising bend may at last be leveling — regardless of whether the level is a high one, with a normal of 340,000 affirmed day by day cases a week ago. On Monday, revealed diseases kept on declining as cases plunged under 300,000 without precedent for weeks.

It is still too soon to make statements are improving, with Mumbai and New Delhi addressing just a bit of the general circumstance.

For one, drops in the public caseload, anyway minor, to a great extent reflect falling contaminations in a modest bunch of states with large populaces and additionally high paces of testing. So the cross country patterns address a fragmented and deceiving image of how things are faring across India overall, specialists say.

“There will consistently be more modest states or urban areas where things are deteriorating, however this will not be as clear in the public caseload numbers,” said Murad Banaji, a mathematician demonstrating India’s cases.

Given India’s size and populace of almost 1.4 billion, what’s more essential to follow is a course of tops at various occasions rather than a solitary public one, specialists said.

“It appears as though we are getting desensitized by the numbers, having become acclimated to such high ones,” said Bhramar Mukherjee, a University of Michigan biostatistician following the infection in India. “In any case, a general change or drop in by and large cases doesn’t reduce the size of the emergency using any and all means.”

With dynamic cases over 3.6 million, medical clinics are as yet overwhelmed by patients.

Specialists likewise caution that another justification an evident pinnacle or level in cases could be that the infection has beaten India’s trying abilities. As the infection bounces from urban communities to towns to towns, testing has battled to keep pace, blending fears that a country flood is spreading out even as information falls a long ways behind.

Battling the spread in the open country, where wellbeing framework is scant and where most Indians reside, will be the greatest test. “The transmission will be increasingly slow, however it can in any case correct a major cost,” said K. Srinath Reddy, leader of the Public Health Foundation of India.

Indeed, even in enormous urban communities, testing has gotten progressively harder to get to. Labs are immersed and results are requiring days, driving numerous to begin treating indications prior to affirming a Covid disease. Somewhat recently, cases have dramatically multiplied and announced passings have gone up multiple times — yet testing has just expanded by 1.6 occasions, said Mukherjee. In the mean time, immunizations have dove by 40%.

Probably the greatest worry for specialists is that India may never realize the full loss of life from the infection, with fatalities undercounted on such a scale that journalists are discovering a larger number of answers at crematoriums than true state counts.

In any case, while specialists recently seemed to battle to try and recognize the scale, they’re currently making a move. “Previously, there simply was certainly not an engaged consideration. Yet, presently everybody is centered around containing it however much as could be expected,” Reddy said.

Hit by an amazing deficiency of beds, oxygen and other clinical supplies, numerous states are currently adding a huge number of beds seven days, changing over arenas into COVID-19 emergency clinics, and getting however much gear as could reasonably be expected. States across India are planning to be hit by another deluge of contaminations and even courts have mediated to help unravel oxygen supplies.

Help from abroad, while as yet confronting administrative obstacles, is beginning to stream in. In excess of 11,000 oxygen concentrators, almost 13,000 oxygen chambers and 34 million vials of antivirals have been shipped off various states.…