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3 of Biggest Issues Conservatives Face in 2022

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We’re just one week into 2022 and already political debates are heating up in Washington over election integrity, the Senate filibuster, and spending, among other things.

It’s clear that 2022 will be a significant year in the fight for American liberty. Jessica Anderson, Heritage Action for America executive director, says conservatives will face at least three major battles in the year ahead. (Heritage Action is the grassroots partner organization of The Heritage Foundation, of which The Daily Signal is the news outlet.)

“The fight to protect the sanctity of life, I think, is going to be in the forefront of so many voters’ minds, really, throughout the year,” Anderson says. 

The Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization will determine not only whether or not Roe v. Wade is overturned, but also affect the lives of millions of unborn babies. 

In addition to the issue of abortion, Anderson says, election integrity and President Joe Biden’s liberal agenda more broadly are significant issues to follow in 2022. 

Also on today’s show: 

  • Both Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris deliver speeches about the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot. 
  • Former President Donald Trump says Biden used his speech about Jan. 6 to distract from his failings as president.
  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis takes action to limit America’s dependence on China.

Listen to the podcast below or read the lightly edited transcript:

Virginia Allen: We are just about a week into 2022, and already there are major debates happening in Washington, D.C., over election integrity, the filibuster, spending, and so much more. Many of us are asking the question of, what are those big issues for 2022 that we, as conservatives, need to be focused on, need to be worried about, and need to be preparing to fight on?

Well, here with us to answer those questions is Jessica Anderson, the executive director of Heritage Action for America. Jessica, welcome back to the show.

Jessica Anderson: Thanks for having me. It’s great to be here.

Allen: Yeah, it’s wonderful to be kicking off the year with you and talking about, OK, what are these big fights ahead? We spoke a little bit before the show and you say there’s really three major things that come to mind right away.

One, of course, is, broadly speaking, the Biden agenda. We need to know where the Biden administration is heading and what those implications are for all of us, as Americans. That’s a big category, but then, of course, we also have the issue of election integrity, specifically at the state level, and abortion, something that’s so close to the hearts of so many conservatives.

I want to work backward here and start by talking about the issue of abortion. Just in December, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments for the Dobbs [v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization] case that could overturn Roe v. Wade. Where do things stand right now? What can we expect as we look to 2022 and what is coming down the line on the issue of abortion?

Anderson: The fight to protect the sanctity of life, I think, is going to be forefront of so many voters’ minds really throughout the year.

Right now the Supreme Court is still considering. We’ve had the oral arguments from the Dobbs case, that was the first week of December. That followed the Texas heartbeat Supreme Court case as well, which the Supreme Court heard oral arguments from.

Both of those cases ended at the front of the Supreme Court’s minds as we concluded 2021. And then now, when we expect decisions to be passed down later this spring, I think we’ll have some clarity on where the court is going to come down on the sanctity of life and on some of the main principles around Roe v. Wade.

What’s interesting to watch, though, is that some states are already anticipating that the court rules to essentially overturn the main principle of Roe. If that were to happen, basically the entire decision around how abortions are regulated will be passed down for states to decide.

It’s not that abortion then becomes illegal, it then becomes something that states have to weigh in on and regulate or not regulate within their own state. Some states are getting ahead of that.

I think as we watch the legislative sessions open across the country, as general assemblies and legislatures come back into session this January, some at the beginning of February, this is going to be something that they tackle.

How they choose to tackle it will also be interesting. Do they do things like the 24-hour waiting period? Do they do a heartbeat bill? Do they do fetal pain? There are so many different ways to back into this issue from a legislative standpoint. It’s really going to be up for these state legislative leaders and these lawmakers to decide what sort of policy they’re going to put forward.

I would keep an eye on that, I think certainly as these sessions kick back off here at the end of January, and some have already begun as of this next week on Monday.

Allen: Yeah. I think that’s really, really important to explain because we sometimes hear from the left this language of, OK, if Roe v. Wade is overturned, it’s just the end of the world for them and there’s no abortions going to be allowed anywhere in America, and that’s not accurate.

What you just explained, it returns back to the states and then it’s in the hands of states to make the policy decisions that they want to around abortion.

We’ve already seen with states like California coming out really aggressively, saying almost like, “We’re going to be this abortion safe haven.” Of course, that opens a whole other debate and shifts the focus of the pro-life movement. It’s really important that we draw the distinctions and parse that out clearly.

Anderson: Yeah, and I think there’s a lot of goodness in states taking the reins on this issue. I mean, look what Texas was able to do with the heartbeat bill. The longer that that law stands, the more babies are being saved on a day-to-day basis.

Whether or not it fails in the courts or not, I don’t have a crystal ball, I don’t know what’s going to happen, and we certainly don’t know the full conclusion of that yet, but what we do know is, for as long as it stands, more babies are being saved. That’s something that Texas did not even 60 days ago.

Allen: We’re celebrating, it’s been so exciting to see so many states saying, “Nope, we’re going to protect life.” It’s so, so good.

And of course, another big state issue is that of election integrity. We’re seeing a lot of debates already so far, just in the first week of this year, around that idea, that concept. Your argument is we really need to be focused on this at the state level. Why? Explain why this is such an important issue.

Anderson: Election integrity and the desire to return trust, sanctity, support, security, fairness, all of that transparency back to the ballot box is really top of mind for so many Americans. I mean, we see this in the grassroots, our Sentinels bring it up day in and day out. They’re asking us, what are we doing to secure the vote?

There’s two ways to look at this, one on the federal side. The Democrat leadership, [Senate Majority Leader] Chuck Schumer, [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi, [President] Joe Biden, [Vice President] Kamala Harris, they have made crystal clear that their No. 1 priority at the beginning of 2021 was to pass a federal overhaul, a federal overtake of our election systems through their No. 1 legislative bill, HR 1/S 1, which is titled We the People.

We have retitled that. It is not “We the People,” it’s “For the Corrupt Politicians Act,” because it basically ushers in an entire wave of liberal and Democrat victories for decades to come because of how the entire election system would be overhauled.

Then it goes after things like commonsense, a very commonsense policy like voter ID, over 85% of Americans support it. It would completely shed it and get rid of it, even if states had passed their own voter ID laws. It’s an overhaul, it’s a complete override.

The federal way to look at this is simply to say, “We need to block the federal overreach of our election systems.”

Now, conservative activists and those conservative senators and members of the House that were so active about this issue all through 2021 did a fabulous job keeping the GOP conference together, keeping conservatives in lockstep. The grassroots made it clear that they didn’t want to see HR 1 move.

Throughout the year, as different elements of the bill—first it was HR 1, then HR 4, and then now it’s kind of a version of the two with a [Sen. Joe] Manchin compromise, in that he compromised with himself, all of those different iterations failed. They were not able to get through the Senate, they were not able to push through and nuke the filibuster.

As we start 2022, we’ve already seen in the first eight days of the year a huge rush of energy from the left to return to that road map to nuke the filibuster and pass this federal overreach. I think our goal, as conservatives, remains the same as it was last year, which is to block that bill.

Then the second way to look at the issue of election integrity is at the state level. There are so many incredibly important reforms that are needed to secure elections through states. State legislators like [in] Florida, like Georgia, like Texas, Arizona, Iowa, so many of them stepped up to the plate this last year and put forward reform packages that really did two things.

They wanted to make it easy for legitimate voters to vote and hard for cheaters to cheat. “Easy to vote, hard to cheat,” that was the mantra. The reforms that we saw move through were everything from voter ID to securing absentee ballots, to limiting the number of days around early voting, to making sure voter rolls are updated and clean, so if someone passed away that they’re not being carried on a voter roll for year after year after year, which just asks for more fraud.

This issue is so important because it’s just been completely ingrained in our psyche as American citizens, because the ability to vote is the bedrock of our republic, it’s the bedrock of American democracy. When that feels threatened or it’s not protected and secure or transparent, that’s really where you see freedom-loving grassroots Americans come out and really demand something different from their state lawmakers.

I would pay attention to states like Georgia and Florida that are going to go deeper on election reform bills this next legislative session, and I would look for new states, like South Carolina and Tennessee, to get into the mix, to put these reform bills through.

We’ve put together a whole list that’s based on The Heritage Foundation’s research from the Meese Center that outlines what these reforms can be. You can find all this at saveourelections.com. Then it integrates back with this great new product that Heritage just came out with called the Election Integrity Scorecard, which goes through and shows where states need to make changes.

Then there’s actual model legislation that they can download that is a great starting point that lawmakers can use, can build off of to make sure that their state is in the best shape possible heading into 2022.

The two goals: block the federal overreach, continue to tackle state-based reforms. That will be front of mind for, frankly, all of us as conservatives throughout the year of 2022.

Allen: Yeah, yeah. We’re already seeing movement, as you mentioned, from states like South Carolina that are saying, “OK, we want to adopt some of these policies, like Georgia has done, to make sure that our elections are safer.” That’s a really good sign, that’s encouraging.

Anderson: Yes, yeah, be on the lookout. I think there’s such an interesting phenomenon going on right now as more and more activists realize how much power state governments have. It’s like during the lockdowns, right?

Allen: COVID showed us all that, how much power the states have.

Anderson: Exactly. We looked around and we said, “Who’s locking us down? Who’s closing my business, shutting down my school?” Well, it’s state governments.

For the first time, in a very, very long time, as activists, we realized, OK, we have to have relationships with our state lawmakers, with our governors. We have to know who these guys are and be able to call them and petition our grievances, just in the way we would with a federal member of Congress.

I think that’s why you’re starting to see some of this shift, where activists are being able to do both at the same time, still work on federal accountability, work with their members of Congress, of course, their senators, but then also build those deep relationships with state lawmakers.

Allen: Yeah. That’s going to be interesting this year to watch that continue to play out, because you’re right, it’s so important.

Now, you mentioned the filibuster. Of course, this flows right into the Biden administration’s larger agenda for 2022. There’s a big debate right now over the filibuster. We heard about it quite a bit last year. Obviously, it’s not gone away and it’s right in line with all this conversation about election integrity and the federal takeover of elections.

Parse this out a little bit more for us. Where do you think we stand right now? The filibuster simply means that for the majority of a piece of legislation in the Senate, they require 60 votes.

There’s a part of me that has to just step back and laugh a little bit in this conversation because I’m almost like, well, doesn’t the left realize that if they do away with the filibuster that then if conservatives again control the Senate, well, that’s not going to go in their favor? It seems obvious, but somehow they don’t seem to be picking up on that.

Anderson: Well, it’s a two-step power grab is basically the best way to think about it.

First, they want to completely shut down and erode a 200-plus-year rule that has governed the Senate. It’s been the cooling kettle for policies that are coming over from the House. It’s allowed the voice of the moderate to be heard, it’s allowed the voice of the minority to be heard and to be protected. It’s ensured that the country doesn’t yo-yo back from one position to another as power changes.

The filibuster is so much more than just an ageless Senate procedure. It’s really become part of our vernacular because of what it protects and because of what it means.

As the liberal elites want to squash that and they want to nuke it, that then ushers in their second step for power, which is to go back, because nuking the filibuster is the only way they will be able to pass HR 1/S 1, the federal overtake of our elections. They know that they can’t get that bill through without nuking the filibuster.

It’s not just the procedure that we’re talking about, it’s what that procedure then opens up the door for. First would be HR 1, and then everything that follows is a complete laundry list of the left’s wish list for the last two to decades, everything from the Green New Deal to adding additional states, to adding additional Supreme Court justices. I mean, the list goes on.

When you look at this, you realize that this is a power grab and it’s meant to cement Democrat policy, legislative agenda, liberal reengineering of American society in the most aggressive way that we would’ve seen to date.

Now, thankfully, there’s two senators that have said “no,” that they’re not budging. That’s Sen. [Kyrsten] Sinema of Arizona and Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, two senators we’ve heard a lot from and a lot about throughout 2021.

We’re going to continue to hear from them in ’22. Manchin is already making news. He’s put a stop to Biden’s Build Back Better, or “Build Back Broke” plan, as I like to call it. That’s that legislative agenda that we’ve been watching from the Biden administration. But he’s also said no to this, which is interesting.

Not to digress too much, but to get back to the earlier point about why do states matter, the left has tried to use the success of states in passing their election integrities. They’ve tried to reframe those successes to say, “No, those states are racist. They’re disenfranchising voters. This is white supremacy.”

Every single time that they’ve done that, they’ve tried to create this narrative to push back, to have a voting rights carve out for the filibuster, to say, “Look how crazy the states are. We need to deal with this federally. They can’t, we will.”

Every time they’ve done that though, they’ve failed. You even have The Washington Post coming out and giving Biden four Pinocchios for mischaracterizations of the Georgia election integrity bill.

I mean, it’s not for nothing that we are a year into this, they haven’t been successful in passing this because the American people recognize that these are not crazy bills, this is not extremism that’s going on in the states. These are good, wholesome reforms that we all want and they were bipartisan before everything became so partisan.

This is truly just a narrative. If they’re successful in doing it, and I don’t think that they will, but if they are successful in doing it, then the filibuster will be nuked and it will give the next 12 months, or however much longer there’s Democrat control of the Congress and the White House, it’ll give a complete wish list, the entrée to move through and to find its way to Biden’s desk.

Conservatives should stay diligent. We should continue to call and support Manchin and Sinema, urge them to say “no.”

Allen: What else is on that wish list? You mentioned a few things. I’m especially thinking about our economy. As a young person, I think, looking toward the future and with goals to buy a house one day, and my brother-in-law has his own business, and thinking about, OK, where do we stand right now as our country continues to recover from COVID and what are the implications if Biden has his way, as it relates to our economy?

Anderson: Yeah. The Biden economic domestic agenda puts Americans last. It just does. And it does it in every single aspect of public policy.

When you look at energy and increasing our energy dependence on other countries as opposed to American oil, when you look at how he’s dealt with the supply chain, when you look at how he’s dealt with health care and COVID readiness versus lockdowns and not getting enough testing or vaccines out to Americans that want them, I mean, it’s literally one thing after the other.

The hardest part about the Biden domestic agenda, in my mind, is that he doesn’t have a mandate to do this. He did not win in a landslide, he did not win with overwhelming support. It was a close election. And there’s no mandate for him to come in and to do this from the people. His only mandate should be, “Am I giving more freedom or less freedom to the American people?” I would argue he needs to be giving more freedom.

There’s a lot that’s at stake. Thankfully, the Build Back Better plan, which housed a lot of the more egregious policies, is stalled right now. Whether or not they are able to chop the bill up and move different parts of it, we don’t know yet. That will really depend on how negotiations go in the next 10 to 15 days.

Congresswoman [Pramila] Jayapal, who is the head of the Progressive Caucus, was calling that Biden slice and dice and start doing some things with the executive order. Well, we know how that will end. It won’t end well, because much of that is unconstitutional to do. They may not go that route, but I think you’re going to see a lot of pressure from progressives to do it like that.

Then regardless, Manchin will have the pen on pulling bits and pieces of the package and whether or not it’s in a Build Back Better skinny version or a light version, or is it the full behemoth of a bill that is what we saw at the end of 2021.

Allen: Yeah, because Manchin has really been the one putting the brakes on this.

Anderson: He said “no.”

Allen: Yeah.

Anderson: Yeah, he said “no” and they can’t pass it without him.

Allen: Yeah, yeah. Wow, a lot rides on him. Wild times in America.

Anderson: We’re all moving to West Virginia so we can be West Virginia activists.

Allen: There you go. Well, Jessica, what else? What are other things that we need to be aware of, as conservatives, and thinking about and tracking in 2022?

Anderson: Well, I’d be remiss if we didn’t at least acknowledge that we have a huge midterm election that’s coming up.

This is a great time for people to get involved as a volunteer. You can be a poll worker, can be a poll watcher. You can serve to get out the vote, going door to door, volunteering to talk in your community about these policy issues, making sure people are registered to vote, making sure you yourself are registered to vote.

I mean, so many people moved because of COVID to either more free red states or they just picked up and moved back home with their families, or college students that were in school but now they’re remote from home. I mean, the abundance of needs for voter registration couldn’t be more obvious going into ’22.

Make sure you have a plan to vote, make sure you’re registered, talk to your friends and family, do your American civic duty. Certainly a lot going into 2022 in November and the midterms. Keep an eye on that and figure out how you can get plugged in and how you can get involved.

Then I think there’s going to be a lot of fits and starts throughout the year when it comes to, is there an additional recovery package? What do they do with additional appropriations, with defense spending? All of that regular order of business in a legislative calendar. We will want to stay on top of that. Conservative activists will engage directly with it as those things become more clear.

But you’ve nailed it, the three big pillars are this legislative agenda that Biden is trying to push through the Congress now, what happens post-Dobbs and what that influence and impact is on Roe v. Wade, and then protecting the filibuster and the fight for election integrity as it spreads to the state and federal levels.

Allen: Yeah, yeah. Jessica, you are the executive director of Heritage Action for America. For those that are not familiar with the awesome work that you guys do, share with us just briefly what you-all do and how individuals can get involved. I know you have a grassroots army out there and you-all are always looking for more people to join that army.

Anderson: We need the help. You’ll never be turned away or not given plenty of work to do, that’s for sure.

Heritage Action is a network of 2 million grassroots activists, coast to coast. We have over a hundred activists in every congressional district and we engage directly with lawmakers, both at the state level and the federal level, to ensure that they know what the conservative public policy position is on any given issue.

People get involved in everything from volunteering with the Election Day operations, as poll workers and watchers, to giving public testimony at committee hearings at the state level, working on coalition letters, engaging on social media, letters to the editor.

Really, however much time you have and ability you have, we will put you to work. We have eight field offices across the country, four more that are rolling out this next year, so there’s a role for everybody.

The time to be an activist, there couldn’t be warmer waters, let’s say it like that. We’d love to have you and you can find out more at heritageaction.com.

Allen: Awesome. Jessica, thank you so much for your time. We really appreciate it.

Anderson: Thanks for having me.

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email [email protected] and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the url or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state.

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Hailey Bieber Details Terrifying ‘Life-Altering’ Mini-Stroke She Suffered And Procedure To Close Hole In Her Heart

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Hailey Bieber has spoken out in her “own words” about the “life-altering,” “scariest moment” of her life she had after suffering what she called a mini-stroke, and later underwent a procedure to close a hole in her heart.

The 25-year-old supermodel and wife of superstar singer Justin Bieber took to her YouTube channel Wednesday and opened up about the terrifying experience of being hospitalized last month after she suffered a blood clot to her brain that traveled through a hole in her heart between 12 and 13 millimeters, reported People magazine.

“I had, like, a very scary incident on March 10, basically,” Bieber shared. “I was sitting at breakfast with my husband, having a normal day … and all of the sudden, I felt this really weird sensation that kind of like traveled down my arm from my shoulder all the way down to my fingertips. And it made my fingertips feel really numb and weird.”

“Justin [her husband] was like, ‘Are you okay?’” she added, as she explained that she tried to respond to him, but she “couldn’t speak.” “The right side of my face started drooping; I couldn’t get a sentence out.”

“Obviously, immediately, I thought I was having a stroke,” the supermodel continued. “He thought I was having a stroke. Right away, he asked for somebody to please call 911 and get a doctor.”

Hailey said that where they were, there happened to be a medic who started asking her lots of questions and testing her arms, calling it definitely the “scariest moment” of her life. The model talked about how the “facial drooping lasted for probably like thirty seconds.” Her speech did came back, but her “anxiety” about what was happening just made “everything worse.”

“By the time I got to the emergency room, I was pretty much back to normal – [I] could talk, [I] wasn’t having any issues with my face or my arm,” Bieber explained.

She said scans revealed she had, in fact, suffered a “small blood clot” to her brain which was labeled a “TIA” [Transient Ischemic Attack]. Hailey told her followers it was basically like having a “mini-stroke.”

Doctors still weren’t sure what caused it, but she said it was widely believed it was a combination of birth-control issues, recently having COVID-19, and having just traveled “to Paris and back in a very short amount of time,” calling it a “perfect storm.”

Further testing at the University of California, Los Angeles, revealed Bieber had a Grade 5 PFO [a small opening in the heart that usually closes after birth]. The outlet said the hold measured between 12 and 13 millimeters. She later underwent a procedure to close the hole, and said it went “very smoothly” and she’s recovering.

“The biggest thing I feel is I just feel really relieved that we were able to figure everything out, that we were able to get it closed, that I will be able to just move on from this really scary situation and just live my life,” Hailey shared.

“If there’s anybody that watches this that has gone through the same thing or something similar, I definitely really empathize with you,” she concluded. “And I understand how life-altering and scary it is.”

Bieber, who’s the daughter of actor Stephen Baldwin and Kennya Baldwin, married her husband Justin in 2018.

Related: Hailey Baldwin Credits Christian Faith For Marriage To Justin Bieber

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Wikipedia’s Left-Wing Bias

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I love Wikipedia. I donated thousands of dollars to the Wikimedia Foundation.

Before Wikipedia, all we had were printed encyclopedias—out of date by the time we bought them.

Then libertarian Jimmy Wales came up with a web-based, crowd-sourced encyclopedia.

Crowd-sourced? A Britannica editor called Wikipedia “a public restroom.” But Wales won the battle. Britannica’s encyclopedias are no longer printed.

Congratulations to Wales.

But recently, I learned that Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger now says Wikipedia’s political pages have turned into leftist “propaganda.”

That’s upsetting. Leftists took over the editing?

Sadly, yes. I checked it out.

All editing is done by volunteers. Wales hoped there would be enough diverse political persuasions that biases would be countered by others.

But that’s not what’s happening.

Leftists just like to write. Conservatives build things: companies, homes, farms.

You see the pattern comparing political donations from different professions: Surgeons, oil workers, truck drivers, loggers, and pilots lean right; artists, bartenders, librarians, reporters, and teachers lean left.

Conservatives don’t have as much time to tweet or argue on the web. Leftists do. And they love doing it. This helps them take over the media, universities, and now, Wikipedia.

Jonathan Weiss is what Wikipedia calls a “Top 100” Wikipedian because he’s made almost half a million edits. He says he’s noticed new bias: “Wikipedia does a great job on things like science and sports, but you see a lot of political bias come into play when you’re talking current events.”

Weiss is no conservative. In presidential races, he voted for Al Gore, Ralph Nader, and Barack Obama. Never for a Republican. “I’ve really never identified strongly with either political party,” he says.

Maybe that’s why he notices the new Wikipedia bias.

“People on the left far outweigh people on the center and the right … a lot [are] openly socialist and Marxist.” Some even post pictures of Che Guevara and Lenin on their own profiles.

These are the people who decide which news sources Wikipedia writers may cite. Wikipedia’s approved “Reliable sources” page rejects political reporting from Fox but calls CNN and MSNBC “reliable.”

Good conservative outlets like The Federalist, the Daily Caller, and The Daily Wire are all deemed “unreliable.” Same with the New York Post (That’s probably why Wikipedia called Hunter Biden’s emails a conspiracy theory even after other liberal media finally acknowledged that they were real).

While it excludes Fox, Wikipedia approves even hard left media like Vox, Slate, The Nation, Mother Jones, and Jacobin, a socialist publication.

Until recently, Wikipedia’s “socialism” and “communism” pages made no mention of the millions of people killed by socialism and communism. Even now, deaths are “deep in the article,” says Weiss, “treated as an arcane academic debate. But we’re talking about mass murder!”

The communism page even adds that we cannot ignore the “lives saved by communist modernization”! This is nuts.

Look up “concentration and internment camps” and you’ll find, along with the Holocaust, “Mexico-United States border,” and under that, “Trump administration family separation policy.”

What? Former President Donald Trump’s border controls, no matter how harsh, are very different from the Nazi’s mass murder.

Wikipedia does say “anyone can edit.” So, I made a small addition for political balance, mentioning that President Barack Obama built those cages.

My edit was taken down.

I wrote Wikipedia founder Wales to say that if his creation now uses only progressive sources, I would no longer donate.

He replied, “I totally respect the decision not to give us more money. I’m such a fan and have great respect for you and your work.” But then he said it is “just 100% false … that ‘only globalist, progressive mainstream sources’ are permitted.”

He gave examples of left-wing media that Wikipedia rejects, like Raw Story and Occupy Democrats.

I’m glad he rejects them. Those sites are childishly far left.

I then wrote again to ask why “there’s not a single right-leaning media outlet Wiki labels ‘reliable’ about politics, [but] Vox, Slate, The Nation, Mother Jones, CNN, MSNBC” get approval.

Wales then stopped responding to my emails.

Unless Wikipedia’s bias is fixed, I’ll be skeptical reading anything on the site.

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Public Health England to blame for sending patients to care homes without Covid tests

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Speaking on condition of anonymity, Whitehall officials alleged that Prof Duncan Selbie, the former PHE chief executive, was ultimately responsible for informing Mr Hancock of the risks.

Prof Selbie is working as a senior adviser to the DHSC. Neither he nor the department responded to requests for comment on Wednesday.

Mr Hancock, who was replaced by Sajid Javid last year, claimed the High Court ruling had exonerated him and the had been cleared “of any wrongdoing” because PHE “failed to tell ministers what they knew about asymptomatic transmission”.

The High Court judges concluded that care home policies in March and April 2020 were “irrational” because they failed to advise that those discharged from hospitals “should, so far as practicable, be kept apart from other residents for up to 14 days”.

“Since there is no evidence that this question was considered by the secretary of state, or that he was asked to consider it, it is not an example of a political judgment on a finely balanced issue,” they said. “Nor is it a point on which any of the expert committees had advised that no guidance was required.”

After the ruling, Boris Johnson said he wanted to “renew my apologies and sympathies” to relatives who lost loved ones, adding: “The thing we didn’t know in particular was that Covid could be transmitted asymptomatically in the way that it was.”

However, the risks of asymptomatic transmission had been highlighted by Sir Patrick Vallance, the Government’s chief scientific adviser for England, who said it was “quite likely” as early as March 13 2020. Varying levels of risk had been outlined in papers from late January, the ruling said.

The judicial review was brought by Dr Cathy Gardner and Fay Harris, whose fathers, Michael Gibson and Donald Harris, died after testing positive for Covid.

‘Opens the floodgates for potential claims’

Paul Conrathe, a solicitor at Sinclairslaw who was instructed by both women, said: “It’s possible that care home providers and relatives who lost loved ones in the first wave could bring compensation claims. The Government was found to have acted ‘irrationally’ – that’s a very high legal hurdle.”

Nadra Ahmed, who chairs the National Care Association, said the ruling “opens the floodgates for potential claims to be brought against government policy”.

“This will be especially pertinent where the individual was not given a choice,” she said. “There will be a lot of people assimilating to the information as they consider if the loss of their loved one was premature, and holding the Government to account is the only way forward for them.”

Helen Wildbore, the director of the Relatives and Residents Association, said that the ruling proved “the protective ring around care homes was non-existent” and that older people were “abandoned at the outset of the pandemic”.

A government spokesman said it had been a “very difficult decision” to discharge hospital patients into care homes, taken when evidence on asymptomatic transmission was “extremely uncertain”.

The spokesman added: “We acknowledge the judge’s comments on assessing the risks of asymptomatic transmission and our guidance on isolation, and will respond in more detail in due course.”


‘He was in a home and should have been safe’

They stood outside the Royal Courts of Justice, two women unknown to each other before the Covid pandemic but brought together by tragedy, writes Tom Ough.

Cathy Gardner spoke first, delivering a steely reading of a statement. Matt Hancock’s boast of a “protective ring” encircling care homes, Dr Gardner said, was “a despicable lie of which he ought to be ashamed and for which he ought to apologise”.

Fay Harris, more downcast in demeanour but no less forthright, told journalists: “I have lost precious years with my wonderful Dad.”

Both women lost their fathers in early 2020, arguing that they might still be alive were it not for hospital patients having been discharged into care homes without having been tested for Covid.

Michael Gibson, born in 1931, had been a superintendent registrar of births and deaths. “He was in a home and should have been safe,” Dr Gardner told The Independent after his death.

Mr Gibson, who had advanced dementia, had fallen ill a couple of weeks before the first lockdown. Staff at his care home were unable to procure tests for Covid, but the virus is believed to have struck him down.

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