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The government will bring some "vulnerable" Australians home after its travel ban ends next week.
- The Week
Liz Cheney secretly orchestrated Jan. 3 letter from 10 defense secretaries warning about Trump, friend says
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) is almost certainly going to be ousted as No. 3 House Republican next week, even though she voted with former President Donald Trump more often (93 percent) than her likely replacement, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) — as Stefanik's conservative critics point out. While Stefanik has morphed from Trump skeptic to enthusiastic booster, Cheney has transformed from one of those "hold-their-noses-and-deal-with-him" establishment Republicans into, finally, Sen. John McCain's political "heir," Susan B. Glasser writes in The New Yorker. After Trump tried to co-opt "the Big Lie" this week to refer to his false claims that he won the 2020 election, Cheney shot back that "the 2020 presidential election was not stolen," and "anyone who claims it was is spreading the big lie." Predictably, House Republicans turned against Cheney and sided with Trump, who "has learned the lesson of previous demagogues: the bigger and more flagrant the untruth, the better to prove the fealty of his party," Glasser writes. "It's all got to do with fealty to Trump and the Big Lie and the fact that Liz is a living reproach to all these cowards," Eric Edelman, a friend of Cheney's, told The New Yorker. Glasser continues: Cheney's rupture with the House Republican Conference has become all but final in recent days, but it has been months in the making. Edelman revealed that Cheney herself secretly orchestrated an unprecedented op-ed in The Washington Post by all 10 living former defense secretaries, including her father, warning against Trump's efforts to politicize the military. The congresswoman not only recruited her father but personally asked others, including Trump's first Defense Secretary, Jim Mattis, to participate. ... The Post op-ed appeared on Jan. 3, just three days before the insurrection at the Capitol. [Susan Glasser, The New Yorker] More quietly, Cheney and her husband circulated a 21-page memo among House Republicans on Jan. 3, debunking Trump's false election fraud claims and warning her colleagues about the "dangerous precedent" of voting to overturn the election, Glasser reports. Not even Cheney allies expect her to win this last stand, but "if Trump does manage to reinvent 'the Big Lie' in service of his own corrupt ends, Cheney will at least have forced members of her party into admitting, on the record, that they are making a choice between truth and Trump's untruth — and choosing the latter." Read the entire article at The New Yorker. More stories from theweek.comHouse GOP leader Kevin McCarthy apparently pays $1,500 to live in a 12-bedroom, 16-bath penthouseThe insurrectionists are winningTrump likes Elise Stefanik, but it appears his base still needs to come around
- Business Insider
Democrats renew calls to end the filibuster after McConnell said he's '100%' focused on stopping Biden
"Anyone expecting a return to some bygone era of bipartisanship isn't acknowledging the reality that we are in," Democratic Sen. Alex Padilla said.
- Business Insider
Melinda Gates was upset and uncomfortable after she and Bill Gates met with Jeffrey Epstein, The Daily Beast reports
Sources told The Daily Beast that Bill Gates' relationship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein "still haunts" Melinda.
- The Daily Beast
Fox NewsIn what has become a commonplace occurrence these days, Fox News host Tucker Carlson addressed a controversy purely of his own making on Thursday night, this time regarding his dangerous and sloppy suggestion that dozens of Americans a day are dying from the coronavirus vaccines.How did he explain away the highly misleading and disingenuous speculation? Well, by blaming it all on President Joe Biden, of course.Carlson, who has increasingly sought to cast doubt on the efficacy and safety of the highly effective vaccines, took his vaccine skepticism to new heights on Wednesday night when he cited a faulty open-sourced database dubbed a “a breeding ground for misinformation” to suggest that thousands of Americans have died from the shots.“Between late December of 2020 and last month, a total of 3,362 people apparently died after getting the COVID vaccine in the United States,” Carlson exclaimed, citing the Center for Disease Control’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System. “That is an average of roughly 30 people every day. So, what does that add up to? By the way, that reporting period ended on April 23, and we don’t have numbers past that.”While acknowledging that there’s been criticism of the VAERS database’s numbers and insisting he believes “vaccines aren’t dangerous,” Carlson still spent 15 minutes speculating that the federally authorized COVID-19 vaccines are leading to an untold number of deaths.“The actual number is almost certainly higher than [30 people every day], perhaps vastly higher than that,” he said at one point.Of course, Carlson never once noted that the CDC itself had analyzed the reports of deaths submitted to VAERS—which is nothing more than open-access data—and offered the following conclusion: “A review of available clinical information, including death certificates, autopsy, and medical records has not established a causal link to COVID-19 vaccines.”Following a 24-hour period in which he was roundly criticized and fact-checked—including from his own Fox colleagues—Carlson issued his rebuttal. And he wanted his critics to know he was “just asking questions.” Oh, and it’s also Biden’s fault.“We looked up the numbers the Biden administration has gathered on vaccine safety. Then last night, we boldly read those numbers on television—the Biden numbers,” Carlson began with a mocking tone.“As we did that, we noted the administration’s reporting system for injuries—it’s called VAERS—has been credibly accused of being inaccurate,” he added. “We also noted that very same system has been used for a long time.”Once again insisting that “more deaths have been connected to the new COVID vaccines over the past four months than all previous vaccines combined” in recent years—again, something the CDC has thoroughly knocked down—Carlson claimed he was just seeking answers.“Very same system, very different results,” he said, adding: “How does this happen? So what is that explanation? We still don’t know. Instead of answering that simple and important question, the usual chorus of partisans started screaming and calling for censorship!”After mocking his critics for telling him the VAERS numbers are untrustworthy, he wanted to know why “hasn’t the Biden administration fixed its reporting system” and “what are the real numbers.”Carlson, meanwhile, ended the segment by flipping the indignation over his reckless speculation back onto his critics, insisting they are actually the ones who are doing harm to the public.“It’s fair to ask how much harm this medicine causes. No one has told us,” he declared. “Their position is, you don’t need to know the rate of injury! That doesn’t matter. Anyone who asks about harm is immoral. That’s what they’re arguing. If you ever find yourself arguing that, you will know for certain you have lost the thread. You are no longer arguing for public health. You’re doing something else entirely.”Carlson, of course, could just read the disclaimers when searching the database to realize that it’s not a typical government data source and the numbers don’t reflect direct causation.“Reports may include incomplete, inaccurate, coincidental and unverified information,” one disclaimer reads, while another warns: “The number of reports alone cannot be interpreted or used to reach conclusions about the existence, severity, frequency, or rates of problems associated with vaccines.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
- The Independent
‘It is ironic that we came to India for two weeks and he contracted it here,’ Dr Rajendra Kapila’s widow says
To honor the second birthday of their son Archie, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have come up with an extra special way for their supporters across the globe to show their love by supporting a good cause. “We have been deeply touched over the past two years to feel the warmth and support for our family in honor of Archie’s birthday,” Meghan, 39, and Harry, 36, wrote Thursday on their Archewell Foundation website.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Thursday the process of removing all contractors from Afghanistan working with the United States was under way as part of President Joe Biden's withdrawal of forces from the country. The remarks are the clearest indication yet that Biden's April order to withdraw all U.S. forces from Afghanistan by Sept. 11 extended to U.S.-funded contractors. Asked whether the Pentagon had issued orders to withdraw not just American troops but also contractors, Austin said: "We're going to responsibly retrograde all of our capabilities that we are responsible for and the contractors fall in that realm as well."
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Thursday there was no plan at this point to shoot down the remnants of a large Chinese rocket expected to plunge back through the atmosphere this weekend. The Long March 5B rocket blasted off from China's Hainan island on April 29, carrying the Tianhe module, which contains what will become living quarters for three crew members on a permanent Chinese space station. The Global Times, a Chinese tabloid published by the official People's Daily, characterized reports that the rocket is "out of control" and could cause damage as "Western hype."
DeGeneres shut down speculation that she was living with the "Friends" star because of "marital troubles."
MALE (Reuters) -The speaker of parliament in Maldives, former President Mohamed Nasheed, was being treated for shrapnel wounds and in stable condition after a blast outside his family home on Thursday, a spokesman for his governing Maldivian Democratic Party said. Two close family members, who asked not to be identified due to the sensitivity of the situation, told Reuters Nasheed was talking and responsive before being treated under anaesthesia at the hospital. President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, a close ally of Nasheed, said an investigation into the explosion was under way.
- The Independent
‘I’m a vet ... f*** you all!’: Capitol riot suspect screams at judge and disconnects call during wild hearing, report says
Attempts to mute defendant were unsuccessful and he may face competency hearing and detention
- Business Insider
Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem found no abnormalities in the volume, concentration, or motility of the men's sperm after the shot.
BERLIN (Reuters) -Germany on Thursday rejected a U.S. proposal to waive patent protection for COVID-19 vaccines, saying the greatest constraints on production were not intellectual property but increasing capacity and ensuring quality. President Joe Biden on Wednesday voiced support for a waiver in a sharp reversal of the U.S. position, and his top trade negotiator, Katherine Tai, swiftly backed negotiations at the World Trade Organization. The German government stood behind the goal of a worldwide supply of COVID-19 vaccines, a government spokeswoman said, adding however that the main factors in vaccine production are capacity and quality standards, and not patents.
The Amazon.com founder will launch people into space on his New Shepard vehicle on 20 July.
- The Daily Beast
Drew AngererWhat remains of Bill Barr’s sullied reputation was blown up when federal district Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled that the government must turn over the memorandum, which the public has yet to fully see and that the Justice Department relied upon in declining to prosecute the 45th president.Not only was Barr being personally “disingenuous” by announcing his decision before the Mueller report was released and pretending he used the report to reach a conclusion instead of simply announcing the one he’d come to before the special counsel’s work had even finished his work, she wrote, “but DOJ has been disingenuous to this Court.”“The fact that (Trump) would not be prosecuted was a given,” the judge wrote. In reality, it was a given from the moment Barr was appointed by Trump, as the past inevitably became prelude given his first stint as attorney general under George H.W. Bush. Back then, DOJ resisted efforts to get to the bottom of U.S. government-backed financing of Iraq in the run-up to Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait.Mueller Report Has a Hidden Message for BarrPressed by House Democrats to appoint an independent counsel, Barr refused, while insisting it was “not a crime,” “simply not criminal in any way,” “nothing illegal.” What he meant was that oversight was for Democratic presidents only.In 2019, Barr stonewalled then Sen. Kamala Harris when she asked him whether Donald Trump or anyone at the White House had inquired or urged that he open an investigation into anyone. Think of Barr as an updated version of Roy Cohn, an earlier Trump lawyer. Both men attended Horace Mann, the swank private school in the Riverdale section of New York City, and Columbia University. As with Cohn, things are not ending well for Barr. For the record, Judge Jackson’s recent opinion was not written on a blank slate. Judge Reggie Walton, a George W. Bush appointee, had already blasted Barr’s allergy to the truth. In a March 2020 decision in a related case, the judge “seriously” questioned Barr’s integrity and credibility, and deployed words like “distorted” and “misleading” to make his point.He also observed that it appeared that Barr had “made a calculated attempt to influence public discourse about the Mueller Report in favor of President Trump despite certain findings in the redacted version of the Mueller Report to the contrary.”DOJ is not a public relations shop. Likewise, the department’s client is the U.S., not the occupant of the Oval Office. The imperial presidency is supposed to have limits.Barr’s reputation also stands to be tarnished by his efforts to put his thumb on the scale in connection with the sentencing of a since-pardoned Roger Stone and the Mike Flynn debacle. Like Stone, Flynn too received a Trump pardon. But along the way, Barr’s handling of Flynn’s case raised eyebrows from the bench.Specifically, Judge Emmet Sullivan hammered Barr while dismissing, at the DOJ’s request, its own case against Flynn after he had pleaded guilty. Sullivan observed, “In view of the government’s previous argument in this case that Mr. Flynn’s false statements were ‘absolutely material’ because his false statements ‘went to the heart’ of the FBI’s investigation, the government’s about-face, without explanation, raises concerns about the regularity of its decision-making process.”“Raises concerns”? Talk about understatement.By the end of Trump’s term, Flynn would call for the imposition of martial law. Meanwhile, Flynn’s brother, Charles Flynn, another general, was on duty during the insurrection. To top it all off, Flynn’s lawyer, Sidney Powell, would emerge as a grim punchline in attempting to “release the Kraken” to try and push through Trump’s Big Lie.As for the Flynn pardon, it happened on Barr’s watch, on November 25, 2020, more than two weeks before Barr quit. And here too, Barr’s past is relevant.After Bush 41 lost to Bill Clinton, Barr successfully pushed for pardons for Caspar Weinberger, Ronald Reagan’s defense secretary, and others in connection with the Iran-Contra scandal. “I favored the broadest pardon authority,” Barr explained. There were some people just arguing just for Weinberger. I said, ‘No–in for a penny, in for a pound.’”To his credit, Barr resisted Trump’s entreaties to find fraud with the election where none existed and, when he finally quit, the outgoing AG took a swipe at Trump and his efforts to undo the election results, and tried to suggest there was still some regularity to DOJ’s decision-making process by declaring that “it is incumbent on all levels of government, and all agencies acting within their purview, to do all we can to assure the integrity of elections and promote public confidence in their outcome.”Much too little, too late. Meanwhile, AG Merrick Garland has until May 17 to appeal Judge Jackson’s ruling. If he does not, the full memo that Barr used when he was the attorney general to justify the fix that was already in will immediately become public—and the fixer’s reputation will take one more hard hit as his successor begins the hard work of restoring integrity and public confidence in a battered Justice Department.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
- National Review
Republican candidate for California governor Caitlyn Jenner voiced support for a U.S.-Mexico border wall in an interview with Fox News’s Sean Hannity on Wednesday. “I am all for the wall,” Jenner said. “I would secure the wall. We can’t have a state — we can’t have a country without a secure wall.” Jenner also pledged to work to revoke California’s law that bars local law enforcement agencies from working with federal immigration enforcement, except in the case of illegal immigrants convicted of certain felonies. “It’s not going to be easy, but I will do my absolute best. I am for securing this state,” Jenner told Hannity. “I am pro-law enforcement. I am pro-border protection. OK? ICE, [I’m] pro-ICE. We need these people, and they do a wonderful job.” However, Jenner also appeared to back leniency for illegal immigrants already living in the U.S. “You have two questions here,” Jenner said. “One is stopping people from coming in illegally into the state. And then the second question is, what do we do with the people that are here? We are a compassionate country, okay? We are a compassionate state.” Jenner entered the gubernatorial race last month amid a recall effort for current Governor Gavin Newsom. The recall gathered steam from Republicans frustrated with Newsom as well as other state residents concerned over pandemic-related policies, particularly school closures. Jenner, a reality TV star and former Olympic athlete who transitioned from a man to a woman in 2017, also addressed some transgender issues in her interview with Hannity. Jenner reiterated her position that biological males should not compete in girls’ sports teams, but then added, “Why do they keep asking me that question? … There’s more problems here in the state of California than that.”
The European Union will allow the United States, Norway and Canada to join a project to overcome delays in moving troops across Europe, diplomats said on Wednesday, which NATO sees as vital in the event of a conflict with Russia. While NATO has spearheaded efforts to reduce conflicting regulations across 27 EU countries for transfers of U.S. troops, the EU has a budget to back the reconstruction of bridges too weak for tanks and has more power over changing bloc-wide rules. The decision, to be formally taken by EU defence ministers on Thursday, means NATO members Norway, Canada and the United States also become the first foreign countries to collaborate in the EU's Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) pact, which aims to deepen defence ties.
- Business Insider
Netflix's Mark Millar plans to build a streaming superhero universe starting with 'Jupiter's Legacy,' after inspiring some of Marvel's biggest stories
Comic writer and Millarworld president Mark Millar talked to Insider about Netflix's purchase of his company and its first series, "Jupiter's Legacy."
- The Telegraph
The Duchess of Sussex's former press secretary has insisted he led "extensive efforts" to protect her privacy and reputation during her time as a working member of the Royal Family. Jason Knauf appeared to question Meghan's claim that she was "unprotected" by Kensington Palace staff, stating that he "regularly" objected to coverage deemed "unfair or untrue". In a letter sent to the Mail on Sunday's solicitors in connection with her legal battle against the newspaper, Mr Knauf said he also "made significant efforts over many months" to advise and support her father, Thomas Markle, and protect him from media intrusion. In her televised interview with Oprah Winfrey, the pregnant duchess, 39, suggested her team had failed to defend her from inaccurate stories and refused to take action when false allegations were made. She also alleged that her Kensington Palace team had lied about her in order to protect other members of the family. She said: "I came to understand that not only was I not being protected, but that they were willing to lie to protect other members of the family. They weren't willing to tell the truth to protect me and my husband."