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The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Altria – Democrats eye same plays hoping for better results

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                                    Presented by Altria

 

 

Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. It is Wednesday! We get you up to speed on the most important developments in politics and policy, plus trends to watch. Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver are the co-creators. Readers can find us on Twitter @asimendinger and @alweaver22. Please recommend the Morning Report to friends and let us know what you think. CLICK HERE to subscribe!

Total U.S. coronavirus deaths each morning this week: Monday, 826,064; Tuesday, 827,749; Wednesday, 830,284.

As Roger Daltrey once sang, “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.” 

 

That dynamic played out once again on Tuesday as Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerThe Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Altria – Winter is here for Democrats Schumer ramps up filibuster fight ahead of Jan. 6 anniversary Corporations, politicians and new tax incentives support carbon mitigation investments MORE (D-N.Y.) laid out his desire to alter the chamber’s filibuster rules to enact voting rights reform, only to be swatted away by Sen. Joe Manchin (D) shortly thereafter.

 

The West Virginia centrist all but killed any chance for Democrats to change the 60-vote rule, warning that his “preference” is for any changes to be bipartisan. 

 

“Being open to a rules change that would create a nuclear option, it’s very, very difficult. It’s a heavy lift,” Manchin told reporters when asked about using the “nuclear option,” in which Democrats would change the 60-vote legislative filibuster on their own. “I’m talking. I’m not agreeing to any of this. … I want to talk and see all the options we have open” (The Hill).

 

Nevertheless, Schumer reiterated his pledge to force a vote to nix the 60-vote threshold by Jan. 17 even though he noted that the party does not have the votes to make the change. As The Hill’s Jordain Carney notes, a group of Democrats that have spearheaded the voting rights discussion met with Schumer and Manchin (D-W.Va.) later in the day as part of running negotiations.

 

“It’s an uphill fight. I don’t want to give anybody the illusion that we’re there, but hopefully we can get 50 of us to come to an agreement,” Schumer said.

 

The Hill: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell: Schumer ‘hellbent to try to break the Senate’ Watch live: Senate GOP leaders hold press conference 60 groups urge Senate Democrats to reform filibuster for voting rights MORE (R-Ky.) says Schumer “hellbent on breaking the Senate.”

 

Jordain Carney, The Hill: Democrats scramble to lock-down Manchin on filibuster.

 

For months, Schumer’s dreams and ambitions of enacting the Biden administration’s wide-ranging agenda in the upper chamber have been quashed at almost every turn, with Manchin often standing in the way to do the thwarting. It was a reminder that came up not once but twice on Tuesday, as Manchin also told reporters that at present there are no discussions taking place toward a new Build Back Better proposal. 

 

“I’m really not going to talk about Build Back Better anymore because I think I’ve been very clear on that. There is no negotiations going on at this time,” Manchin said, referring to his opposition to the most recent iteration of the social spending and climate package last month (The Hill).

 

 

 

 

That state of play is not expected to last too much longer. According to The Hill’s Alexander Bolton, Senate Democrats indicated on Tuesday that they expect President BidenJoe BidenOvernight Energy & Environment — Manchin raises hopes on climate spending Missouri state GOP lawmaker resigns for Florida consulting job Joe Manchin stood up for West Virginia values MORE and Manchin to resume talks once debate on voting rights and election reforms wraps up in the coming weeks, referring to it as a “cooling-off period” between the two. 

 

At a virtual lunchtime meeting on Tuesday, Senate Democrats agreed that everyone in their caucus would take a deep breath and step back from the heated debate over the mammoth social spending and climate legislation. The move would also give Manchin some space, giving the party hope that he will return to the negotiating table in due time. 

 

“We all acknowledge, understand there’s a cooling-off period and we need to give a little distance to Manchin and Biden on this so they can come back together and try again,” said one Democratic senator who took part in Tuesday’s caucus discussion. “My guess is there will be a very significant reworking of the bill.”

 

The Wall Street Journal: Manchin deflates Democrats’ hopes of changing the Senate filibuster, passing election bills.

 

Axios: Omicron, snowstorm thwart Schumer’s midterm year quick start.

 

The Hill: Rep. Brenda LawrenceBrenda Lulenar LawrenceMichigan adopts congressional map that pits two incumbent Democrats against each other National progressive group labels six lawmakers ‘progressive in name only’ in new report Biden, top officials spread out to promote infrastructure package MORE (Mich.) to retire, becomes 25th House Democrat to decide against running for reelection.

 

> Jan. 6 latest: As security preparations near the Capitol took place on Tuesday ahead of the anniversary, including the use of drone surveillance (seen below), the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol released a series of text messages from Fox News’s Sean HannitySean Patrick HannityJan. 6 panel releases Hannity texts, asks for cooperation Jan. 6 panel to seek Hannity’s cooperation: report Jan. 6 panel chair says ‘significant testimony’ shows White House ‘had been told to do something’ MORE and asked him to voluntarily cooperate with the committee. 

 

In a letter to Hannity, the panel reviewed five communications he sent among dozens in the committee’s possession, including previously unreleased texts they argue show he “had advance knowledge regarding President TrumpDonald TrumpMissouri state GOP lawmaker resigns for Florida consulting job Trump to attend fundraiser for midterm candidates Biden meatpacking reforms lack punch, say critics MORE’s and his legal team’s planning for January 6th.” On Dec. 31, Hannity appeared to express concern over losing support from the White House legal team while relaying his advice to then-White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsJan. 6 panel releases Hannity texts, asks for cooperation Jan. 6 panel to seek Hannity’s cooperation: report Jan. 6 panel chair says ‘significant testimony’ shows White House ‘had been told to do something’ MORE.

 

“We can’t lose the entire WH counsels office. I do NOT see January 6 happening the way he is being told. After the 6 th. He should announce will lead the nationwide effort to reform voting integrity. Go to Fl and watch Joe mess up daily. Stay engaged. When he speaks people will listen,” Hannity wrote that night (The Hill).

 

Shortly after, Trump canceled his plans to hold a news conference on the one-year anniversary of the deadly riot. In a statement, he blamed the House select committee charged with investigating the Jan. 6 riot for the cancellation. He said he would instead touch on many of the themes he had planned to discuss at the news conference during a rally in Arizona set for Jan. 15 (The Hill).

 

According to Axios, the decision came after two prominent Trump allies — Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamBiden’s court picks face fierce GOP opposition GOP rep says Republicans have ‘no other option’ than to back Trump McConnell urges Thune to run for reelection amid retirement talk MORE (R-S.C.) and Fox News’s Laura IngrahamLaura Anne IngrahamTrump cancels Jan. 6 press conference Jan. 6 panel chair says ‘significant testimony’ shows White House ‘had been told to do something’ Capitol rioters’ tears, remorse don’t spare them from jail MORE — questioned whether he should move forward with it. (Graham offered his counsel during a round of golf over the weekend.) 

 

“There could be peril in doing a news conference,” Graham told the outlet of his message to the ex-president, adding that it is “best to focus on election reform instead.”

 

Niall Stanage: The Memo: Threats to democracy are stark one year after Jan. 6.

 

The Hill: Biden to note “historical significance” of Jan. 6 at one-year mark.

 

 

 

A MESSAGE FROM ALTRIA

Altria is working to create a more sustainable future — aligned with the expectations of society and our stakeholders. Learn about the goals we’ve set and the progress we’re making at Altria.com.

LEADING THE DAY

CORONAVIRUS: Biden on Tuesday urged Americans to approach the dramatic new surge in COVID-19 cases as a different and less dire phase of the pandemic, thanks to vaccines, antiviral medications and accessible tests. The president, who has said the government was not prepared for the speed with which omicron spread throughout the country, again urged unvaccinated Americans and those eligible for booster doses to get the shots.

 

“You can still get COVID, but it’s highly unlikely, very unlikely, that you’ll become seriously ill,” Biden said of vaccinated people.

 

“There’s no excuse, there’s no excuse for anyone being unvaccinated,” he added. “This continues to be a pandemic of the unvaccinated” (The Associated Press and The Hill).

 

The administration for nearly a year has tried to reassure Americans they would at some point be able to put COVID-19 behind them. However, Biden’s former talk of beating the coronavirus has given way to guidance about living with it. COVID-19’s viral adaptations have raced ahead of governments’ aspirations to outrun it with antibody-bolstered populations. Omicron is responsible for 95 percent of new U.S. infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

 

Experts debate whether the attention paid to the winter’s soaring infections is less important than the rate of hospitalizations, which has improved because more people are vaccinated and boosted. Biden’s pandemic strategy remains vaccine centered. 

 

Hospital admissions averaged 14,800 per day last week, up 63 percent from the week before, but still short of the peak of 16,500 per day a year ago, when the vast majority of the U.S. population was unvaccinated. Deaths have been stable over the past two weeks at an average of about 1,200 per day, well below the all-time high of 3,400 last January (The Associated Press). Hospitals say omicron is sending many people to hospitals, but fewer COVID-19 patients to ICUs (The New York Times).

 

The peaks and troughs of new infections in the U.S. tell winter stories about omicron. Florida is now a hot zone, with confirmed infections up 849 percent in a two-week period (The Hill). ​​But in New York City, where omicron surged last month, infections may have peaked. It’s a pattern observed in South Africa and London, where omicron grabbed hold before spreading through U.S. travel hubs.

 

The Associated Press: Israel set a new COVID-19 record for cases amid zigzag government actions and a fourth jab for those with compromised immune systems. The omicron variant is outpacing the government’s ability to make and execute clear pandemic public policy.

 

 

 

 

> A federal judge in Texas on Monday blocked the U.S. Navy from taking punitive action against 35 sailors who refused on religious grounds to get required vaccinations for COVID-19 and sued the Navy and Defense Secretary Lloyd AustinLloyd AustinOvernight Defense & National Security — Sailors prevail in vaccine mandate challenge Abbott to sue Biden administration over vaccine mandate for National Guard Judge blocks Pentagon from taking ‘any adverse action’ against sailors who have refused vaccine MORE. To date, the Navy has granted zero requests for religious waivers (The Associated Press).

 

 

 

 

Two Republican governors on Tuesday took dramatically different steps to address the COVID-19 challenges they are managing.

 

Maryland Gov. Larry HoganLarry HoganHogan, administration found using disappearing messaging app to communicate with staff Maryland anti-detention law no favor to immigrants Maryland school board approves regulation to let some schools drop mask mandates MORE (R), who last month tested positive for the coronavirus after being fully vaccinated and boosted, declared a 30-day state of emergency to deal with surging hospitalizations. He mobilized the National Guard to help staff testing and vaccine sites after Maryland hit a record high 3,057 COVID-19 hospitalizations on Tuesday, an increase of more than 500 percent in the past seven weeks (The Hill). In Texas, Gov. Greg AbbottGreg AbbottOvernight Defense & National Security — Sailors prevail in vaccine mandate challenge Abbott to sue Biden administration over vaccine mandate for National Guard Omicron surge poses political peril for Democrats MORE (R) announced he is suing the Biden administration over its requirement that the National Guard be vaccinated against COVID-19 (The Hill). Meanwhile, hospitalizations are again on the rise from COVID-19 and straining medical facilities and staffing in Texas (The Texas Tribune).

 

The Wall Street Journal: Walmart and Kroger raised prices negotiated with the White House to sell popular BinaxNOW COVID-19 test kits for $14 after the agreement expired last month. Walmart said the price went up to $19.98, but BinaxNow kits are out of stock.

 

The Hill: COVID-19 vaccine doses do not pose increased risk of preterm births, according to a CDC study. The rate of preterm births in unvaccinated pregnant people was higher in the study.

 

The Hill: The U.S. ordered another 10 million courses of Pfizer oral treatment for COVID-19 infections known as Paxlovid.

 

The Associated Press: Chicago officials want students back in school but the city canceled classes today because the Chicago Teachers Union overwhelmingly voted for virtual learning, citing the high rate of COVID-19 infections. Mayor Lori LightfootLori LightfootChicago teacher union mulling refusal of in-person work over COVID concerns The debacle of defunding the police is coming home to roost Democrats’ selective hearing on law and order issues puts everyone at risk MORE (D) warned that teachers who do not show up for work today will be put on no-pay status (Chicago Tribune).

 

Among the many Americans on Tuesday who reported new COVID-19 infections were two members of Congress: Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanLawmaker battling kidney cancer hospitalized after testing positive for COVID-19 Republicans say Mayorkas failed to deliver report on evacuated Afghans Sen. Rob Portman announces positive COVID-19 test MORE (R-Ohio), who said he was asymptomatic and feeling “fine” while working remotely (The Hill), and Rep. Jim Hagegorn (R-Minn.), who is undergoing treatment for kidney cancer and was hospitalized as a precaution.

IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES

POLITICS: Staffers at the Democratic National Committee on Tuesday voted to unionize and join with Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 500. 

 

“We are incredibly excited to join SEIU Local 500 to live our Democratic values at our workplace,” Alison Goh, a DNC staffer and union leader, said in a statement. “Throughout this process, our aim has been not only to improve the lives of current and future staff at the DNC, but to ensure our staff, no matter where they live, are protected and given the resources they need to thrive in their careers and succeed in our mission to elect Democrats up and down the ballot.”

 

The vote was finalized by former Rep. Donna EdwardsDonna F. EdwardsDNC staff votes to unionize The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Dems, GOP dig in on police reform ahead of House vote The Memo: Strife turns up heat on Trump MORE (D-Md.), who served as an independent neutral observer in the process. The vote allows the union and committee leadership to kick off contract negotiations (The Hill).

 

> Big tech: Twitter’s permanent ban and Facebook’s temporary suspension of Rep. Marjorie Taylor GreeneMarjorie Taylor GreeneGOP efforts to downplay danger of Capitol riot increase The Memo: What now for anti-Trump Republicans? Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene says she’s meeting with Trump ‘soon’ in Florida MORE’s (R-Ga.) accounts are fueling GOP attacks against social media giants as the party makes opposition to those entities a cornerstone of it moving forward. 

 

Trump, who got himself banned nearly one year ago, and House GOP lawmakers have bashed the platform for removing the congresswoman’s personal account over violating COVID-19 misinformation policies. 

 

“Twitter (all big tech), if you shut down constitutionally protected speech (not lewd and obscene) you should lose 230 protection. Acting as publisher and censorship regime should mean shutting down the business model you rely on today, and I will work to make that happen,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyCheney: Republicans who stuck by Trump ‘will not be judged well by history’ Twitter’s Marjorie Taylor Greene ban fuels GOP attacks on ‘Big Tech’ Democrats’ loose talk of ‘disqualification’ still dangerous MORE (R-Calif.) tweeted on Tuesday, name-checking Greene’s recent banishment. “Big tech’s censorship is out of control and must be addressed. A House GOP Majority WILL fight to hold them accountable.”

 

However, experts say that the ban on Greene sets a “more far-reaching precedent” than the one imposed on Trump last year, as he was already on his way out of office at the time (The Hill). 

 

Reid Wilson, The Hill: In a drying West, Utah governor proposes major water investments. 

 

*****

 

ADMINISTRATION: The Biden administration is confronting the nation’s four largest meatpacking companies to try to expand competitive markets for farmers and ranchers in one of the least competitive sectors of the U.S. economy. The president has called the companies’ dominance “exploitation.” The administration wants to create regional slaughterhouses beyond the control of Tyson, JBS, Cargill and National Beef, which purchase and process 85 percent of beef in the United States, and provide a pathway for the Justice Department to investigate anti-competitive practices in the meat industry. Critics, however, say the moves are not tough enough (The Hill).

 

> Climate change: Biden “over-promised and under-delivered” with the administration’s climate agenda in 2021, whether in the courts, legislatively or while bowing to existing statutes, according to advocates and analysts. The president faces major challenges this year as time runs out (The New York Times). 

 

> VEEP staff turnover: Vice President Harris is losing another member of her staff. Senior aide Vincent Evans, a former House aide, will become executive director of the Congressional Black Caucus (Bloomberg News). 

The Morning Report is created by journalists Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver. We want to hear from you! Email: asimendinger@thehill.com and aweaver@thehill.com. We invite you to share The Hill’s reporting and newsletters, and encourage others to SUBSCRIBE! 

OPINION

Theranos directors pay no price for Elizabeth Holmes’s fraud, by Timothy L. O’Brien, columnist, Bloomberg Opinion. https://bloom.bg/3FVnn6J 

 

Medicare needs to test the new Alzheimer’s drug before paying, by Peter B. Bach and Rita F. Redberg, contributors, Bloomberg Opinion. https://bloom.bg/32PS6Uq

A MESSAGE FROM ALTRIA

Altria is working to create a more sustainable future — aligned with the expectations of society and our stakeholders. Learn about the goals we’ve set and the progress we’re making at Altria.com.

WHERE AND WHEN

The House returns to work on Monday. 

 

The Senate convenes at 11 a.m. and will resume consideration of the nomination of Anne Witkowsky to be an assistant secretary of State.

 

The president and the vice president will receive the President’s Daily Brief at 10:10 a.m.

 

Attorney General Merrick GarlandMerrick GarlandBiden meatpacking reforms lack punch, say critics Equilibrium/Sustainability — ‘Western’ diet puts pinch on black bears Gallego rips ‘feckless’ Garland over Jan. 6 response MORE at the Justice Department at 2:30 p.m. will speak about the Jan. 6 attacks and “the department’s solemn duty to uphold the Constitution, follow the facts and the law and pursue equal justice under law without fear or favor” (The Associated Press).

 

Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenOvernight Defense & National Security — Sailors prevail in vaccine mandate challenge Republicans say Mayorkas failed to deliver report on evacuated Afghans Will Putin sink Biden? MORE will meet with German Minister for Foreign Affairs Annalena Baerbock at 11 a.m. and hold a joint press conference with her at noon at the State Department. 

 

The Federal Reserve will release minutes from the Dec. 15 Federal Open Market Committee policy-setting meeting.

 

The White House press briefing is scheduled at 12:15 p.m. The administration’s COVID-19 response team will brief journalists at 11 a.m.

 

Hill.TV’s “Rising” program features news and interviews at http://thehill.com/hilltv or on YouTube at 10:30 a.m. ET at Rising on YouTube.

ELSEWHERE

INTERNATIONAL: North Korea on Wednesday fired a suspected ballistic missile off its east coast, authorities in the region reported, underscoring leader Kim Jong UnKim Jong UnSouth Korean crosses border, defects to North Kim Jong Un places economy, food shortage at center of policy meeting Pardoning South Korea’s former president puts the US in a delicate position MORE‘s New Year’s vow to bolster the military to counter an unstable international situation (Reuters).

 

WEATHER SNARLS: Virginia Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineOvernight Health Care — Presented by AstraZeneca and Friends of Cancer Research — Biden seeks to alleviate omicron concerns On the Money — Dems pivot from Biden spending plan Tim Kaine reaches Capitol after being stranded on I-95 for nearly 27 hours MORE (D) (seen below) and hundreds of other travelers who were stuck in a snow and accident-triggered traffic jam 50 miles long on I-95 (for 27 hours, in Kaine’s case), were mostly freed by Tuesday evening after a portion of the major Northeast corridor was shut down to allow the much-criticized Virginia Department of Transportation to clear the clogged interstate and off-ramps (The Washington Post and The Associated Press). … Separately, Amtrak train passengers were trapped on tracks for 30 hours after they left Atlanta and encountered fallen trees because of winter weather conditions as they headed north (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution). … Airlines continued to blame COVID-19 staff shortages, weather and a holiday rush of passengers for flight cancellations and delays that affected many, many irate, exhausted people. The situation on Tuesday eased in comparison with Monday’s mess (The Associated Press). … Snow, ice and wind led to power outages on Monday for more than 200,000 customers in the Washington, D.C., region (NBC News 4), improving slightly to 100,000 homes and businesses with no electricity as of Tuesday afternoon (NBC News).

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE CLOSER

And finally … After selling the Iowa Cubs, a AAA minor league baseball club, the outgoing owner, Michael Gartner, 83, made a generous decision last month to give team employees $2,000 for every year they had been with the organization for a total of $600,000. He called it “the right thing to do.”

 

“My jaw dropped,” said Alex Cohen, 33, the team’s radio broadcaster since 2018. “Seeing all the people who had been there for two decades, three decades, tears streaming down their faces, it was a very special, emotional day” (The New York Times).

 

 

 

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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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