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Fact-Checking 4 Claims From Biden’s, Harris’ Jan. 6 Speeches

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Marking the one-year anniversary of the assault on the Capitol, President Joe Biden repeatedly called his predecessor, Donald Trump, a “defeated” former president who “can’t accept he lost” and referred to him as a “self-seeking autocrat.” 

Ahead of the president’s remarks, Vice President Kamala Harris compared the Jan. 6, 2021 riot—in which hundreds of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in a bid to prevent Congress from certifying the results of the 2020 election—to Pearl Harbor and the 9/11 terrorist attacks

Biden and Harris delivered their remarks in Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday morning, to mark the year since the shocking event that led to Trump’s second impeachment on a charge of “incitement to insurrection.” 

The president and vice president made some big statements along the way. The following is an analysis of the accuracy of four of those claims. 

1) ‘Most Significant Test’ Since Civil War

Biden said the riot represented a threat to democracy. 

“We’re facing the most significant test of our democracy since the Civil War. That’s not hyperbole—since the Civil War. The Confederates, back then, never breached the Capitol as insurrectionists did on Jan. 6,” he said.

“I’m not saying this to alarm you. I’m saying this because you should be alarmed.”

Some rioters carried Confederate battle flags into the Capitol on Jan. 6, but at no time did the flag fly in the U.S. Capitol during the Civil War, which raged from 1861 to 1865. So, Biden was correct to say Confederate soldiers did not breach the Capitol carrying the Confederate battle flag. 

As for being a comparable threat, that’s more questionable. The Civil War came about after Southern slaveholding states attempted to break away from the United States and form a separate country. 

The fledgling Confederate States of America raised its own military in an armed rebellion that wore on for four years and took the lives of more than 600,000 troops. 

2) Dec. 7, Sept. 11, and Jan. 6

Harris put Jan. 6 in league with days that will live in infamy. 

“Certain dates echo throughout history, including dates that instantly remind all who have lived through them where they were and what they were doing when our democracy came under assault,” Harris said. “Dates that occupy not only a place on our calendars, but a place in our collective memory: Dec. 7, 1941; Sept. 11, 2001; and Jan. 6, 2021.” 

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941 killed 2,403 Americans. The 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and in rural Pennsylvania killed 2,997 Americans.  

Reportedly, only two people died directly from the violence on Jan. 6, 2021. But as many as seven others died indirectly from the events of the day, based on a tally of deaths published this week in The New York Times. 

Rioter Ashli Babbitt was fatally shot by a Capitol Police officer when she was trying to break through a door. Another rioter was reportedly stampeded by fellow rioters. 

Others died of natural causes or suicide, but the stress from the violence and commotion of the day could have contributed to those deaths. About 140 police were reportedly injured in the rioting.

Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, initially thought to have died from an attack, actually died of natural causes. But the stress from the day’s events could have prompted his strokes. 

Two rioters also died of natural causes, while four police officers defending the Capitol that day later committed suicide.

3) ‘Defeated Former President’

Throughout his speech, Biden did not refer to Trump by name, but continuously blamed the riot on “a former president.”

“He’s not just a former president. He’s a defeated former president, defeated by a margin of over 7 million of your votes in a full and free and fair election,” Biden said. 

Trump continues to contend the election was neither free nor fair. 

Other critics who did not question the outcome nonetheless did raise concerns about large-scale mail-in voting, as well as private money from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg funding election administration, primarily in heavily Democratic-leaning areas, with the potential to affect the outcome.

In the nationwide popular vote, Biden received 81,268,924 votes to Trump’s 74,216,154—a margin of 7,052,770 votes. 

Several state audits affirmed Biden’s victory in battleground states, most notably the Maricopa County, Arizona, forensic audit of votes, which actually added to Biden’s tally. 

However, a Washington Post analysis in February found that flipping fewer than 43,000 votes across three states—Arizona, Georgia, and Wisconsin—could have changed the election outcome by creating an Electoral College tie and sending the race to the House of Representatives. 

4) ‘Armed Insurrection’

In a bid to ensure the events of a year ago weren’t shrugged off, Biden insisted, “This wasn’t a group of tourists. This was an armed insurrection.”

Trump has said there were “no guns whatsoever.”

Whether the rioters were armed has been disputed, and that’s perhaps based on a definition of “armed.” Several were carrying pepper spray or bear spray, and wielding flagpoles as clubs in attacking law enforcement officers. 

Meanwhile, at least three rioters were charged with having firearms “on Capitol grounds” or stashed nearby, meaning not necessarily inside the Capitol, the Austin American-Statesman reported. 

Arms aside, so far, federal prosecutors have not charged any of the rioters with insurrection. 

The term “insurrection” has a legal definition and a dictionary definition that don’t correlate with what occurred on Jan. 6, Jeffrey Scott Shapiro, a former assistant attorney general, wrote this week in The Wall Street Journal

He noted that most of those who were arrested have been charged with violating 18 U.S.C. 371, which makes it a crime “to commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States.” That includes civil disorder, disorderly conduct, entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, destruction of government property, and obstruction of an official proceeding.

“[N]ot one defendant is charged with insurrection under 18 U.S.C. 2383,” Shapiro wrote. “That’s because insurrection is a legal term with specific elements. No prosecutor would dare mislabel negligent homicide or manslaughter a murder, because they are totally distinct crimes. The media [have] no legal or moral basis to do otherwise.”

He continued: “The events of Jan. 6 also fail to meet the dictionary definition of ‘insurrection,’ which Merriam-Webster defines as “an act or instance of revolting against civil authority or an established government.” A usage note adds that the term implies “an armed uprising that quickly fails or succeeds.” 

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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