Travel News

“It’s never too late to do the right thing. Democrats and Republicans are fighting over impeachment.

Meeting on Capitol Hill just a week after being viciously attacked by a pro-Trump mob, the House on Wednesday opened an emotional debate on whether to impeach President Trump for his role in inciting violence.

The vote was expected in the afternoon and Democrats confidently predicted they had the votes to impeach, with nearly every member speaking in favor and several Republicans pledging to join them.

But as the vote drew near, the two sides traded harsh blows and dueling arguments for and against the use of the Constitution’s most serious remedy just days before Mr. Trump left office. Democrats have consistently described the president’s conduct in scathing terms, arguing that impeachment was an appropriate remedy. A few Republicans defended him, but most of the rest simply argued that a rush to impeach Mr. Trump without a hearing or investigation raised constitutional questions.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi from California: “The president must be impeached and I believe the president must be condemned by the Senate, a constitutional complaint which will ensure that the republic will be safe from this man who is so resolutely determined to demolish what is close to our hearts and that we hold together. I am not happy to say that. It breaks my heart.”

Representative Jaime Raskin of Maryland, Senior Charging Officer: “It’s a little hard to hear that these people wouldn’t try to destroy our government and kill us if we just weren’t so mean to them.

Representative Adam B. Schiff from California: “America has been through civil war, world wars, great depression, pandemics, McCarthyism, and now a Trumpist and white nationalist insurgency. And yet our democracy endures.

“It lasts because at every moment, at every pivotal moment, when the evil threatens to overtake the good, patriotic Americans come forward to say, enough. It’s one of those times. “

Representative Hakeem Jeffires from New York: “Donald Trump is a living and breathing impenetrable offense. It is what it is.”

Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, Majority Leader: “I served with Ronald Reagan, with George HW Bush and George Bush. I have respect for all of these presidents. They cared about our country. They honored our Constitution and performed the duties of the office in accordance with the constitution and laws of our country.

“This is not the case with this president. And therefore, it should be removed. And we have this opportunity to do it. Is there little time left? Yes. But it’s never too late to do the right thing. “

Representative Ilhan Omar from Minnesota: “For years we have been asked to turn a blind eye to crime, corruption and the blatant disregard for the rule of law on the part of the tyrant president that we have in the White House. As a nation, we can no longer look away. “

Representative Cedric Richmond from Louisiana, a Democrat leaving to join the White House Biden: “Simply put, we told you.

Representative Joaquin Castro from Texas: “Let me ask you a question. What do you think they would have done if they had come in? What do you think they would have done to you? And who do you think sent them here?

Ohio Representative Jim Jordan: “It was always about getting the president, no matter what. It’s an obsession, an obsession that has now broadened. It’s not just a question of impeachment anymore, it’s a question of overturning, as I said. Cancellation of the president and anyone who disagrees with them.

Representative Tom McClintock from California: “If we were to indict every politician who gave a heated speech in front of a crowd of supporters, this Capitol would be deserted. That’s what the president did, that’s all he did.

“He specifically told the crowd to protest peacefully and patriotically. And the vast majority of them have. But every move has crazy bangs. “

Washington State Representative Dan Newhouse: “The president has taken an oath to defend the constitution against all foreign and domestic enemies. Last week there was an inside threat at the Capitol Gate and he did nothing to stop it. That is why, with a heavy heart and a clear determination, I will vote yes on these articles of impeachment.

Representative Matt Gaetz from Florida: “I speak out against political violence from all sides of the spectrum, but make no mistake, the left in America has instigated a lot more political violence than the right. For months our towns burned down, police stations burned down, our businesses were destroyed and they didn’t say anything. Or they applauded and raised money for it and they made it happen in the biggest country in the world.

“Now, some have cited the metaphor that the president lit the flame. Well, they lit real flames. Real fires. “

Representative Guy Reschenthaler from Pennsylvania: Mr Reschenthaler condemned the violence that had taken place, but was one of the few Republicans to oppose the impeachment charge on the merits, disputing that Mr Trump had instigated violence.

“During his rally, President Trump urged participants to ‘make your voices heard peacefully and patriotically’. There was no mention of violence, let alone calls to action. “

Representative Nancy Mace from South Carolina: “The US House of Representatives has every right to remove the President of the United States. But what we are doing today, rushing this indictment into an hour or two hour debate on the floor of this chamber, bypassing the judiciary, poses big questions about the constitutionality of this process.

Washington State Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler, who supports impeachment: “I’m not afraid of losing my job, but I’m afraid my country will fail.”

Travel News

Late explosion of climate denial extends era of Trump disinformation

WASHINGTON – President Trump’s Twitter megaphone may be silenced, but disinformation from his administration continues.

David Legates, a climate denier installed last year by the Trump administration to oversee scientific work on climate change, has released a series of debunked reports that appear to purport to represent global warming research produced for state government -United, pulling a disavowal from the White House Science Office.

His reports do not appear on a government website but on a private site that espouses climate denial. However, they bear the logo of the President’s Executive Office and claim to be the copyrighted work of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy depicting the “current state of science” on climate change. .

The response from the White House science office was swift.

“These documents were not created under the direction of the Office for Science and Technology Policy of the White House, nor were they approved or approved by the leadership of the OSTP,” said Kristina Baum, door -Office speech, in a statement Monday evening.

The articles include long discredited claims that climate change happens naturally; that the sun, and not human pollution, is responsible for recent warming; and that the effects on the planet, if any, of climate change will be minimal. One of the featured authors is William Happer, a physicist who compared the emphasis on carbon dioxide to “demonizing the poor Jews under Hitler”. Another is Wei-Hock Soon, known as Willie, an astrophysicist whose work in minimizing the risk of greenhouse gas emissions has been funded by the fossil fuel industry.

Mr. Legates’ bet appears to be a dishonest effort by some of the more extreme elements of Mr. Trump’s administration to put the federal government imprimatur on research that aims to undermine the established science of climate change . In doing so, many deniers have openly acknowledged, could give more weight to such studies when they are subject to prosecution, testimony in Congress or even the next national climate assessment, the government’s main contribution to the knowledge of climate.

According to a Trump administration official and an outside adviser, both familiar with the effort, officials from the White House personnel office asked Mr. Legates last year to compile a body of research for Mr. Trump in what was supposed to be an internal project. . Mr. Legates is currently head of the Global Change Research Program in the United States, which oversees the National Climate Assessment. Kelvin K. Droegemeier, chief science adviser to the president and director of the White House’s science office, was unaware of the project, according to the two people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to speak publicly about the episode. .

Dr Roy Spencer, a climate denier who wrote an article for the package titled ‘The Religious Nature of Man-Made Global Warming’, said in a blog post Monday night that Mr Legates “hopes he can get them. . posted on the White House website by Jan. 20, “probably for inclusion in the official record of the outgoing administration.” But, he added, “there is no guarantee given recent events.”

Mr. Legates did not respond to a request for comment. Meanwhile, the legal implications of putting the studies on a private site while using the White House logo and copyright in a seemingly unauthorized manner were unclear on Monday evening. Federal law states that anyone who “fraudulently or falsely” affixes the seal of a US department or agency can be fined or jailed for up to five years.

John Holdren, who headed President Barack Obama’s science office, said a disavowal from a spokesperson for the disinformation effort was not enough.

“Kelvin himself must step up and strongly denounce this farce committed in the name of the OSTP,” he said.

Peter Gleick, a climatologist and member of the National Academy of Sciences who noticed the posts and drew attention to them on Twitter, called them “ridiculous” and a clumsy effort to give a veneer of government respectability to junk science before president- elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. takes office Jan. 20. He said he expected the studies to have no lasting political implications.

“Maybe as part of the next national climate assessment, someone will try to cite them as having some merit,” Dr Gleick said. But, he added, “for climate science itself, they pose very little danger because they are pseudoscience, because they are ridiculous and because no one in the scientific community is serious. will not pay them any attention. “

The articles appeared late last week on the website of the Center for Environmental Research and Earth Sciences, an organization associated with Dr. Soon.

In an introduction, Mr. Legates describes the articles as “the current state of science on various topics related to climate change”. He called the documents leaflets written by “top scientists from leading institutions” across the country.

“The Office of Science and Technology Policy is pleased to bring you these notes to deepen your understanding of climate change by learning from these scholarly researchers,” he wrote. The introduction identifies Mr. Legates as a professor of climatology at the University of Delaware rather than by his government title.

Many reports, the scientists noted, are repackaged summaries of previously published articles. One of the articles is touted as being written by Ryan Maue, a senior official in the White House’s science office, who downplayed the effects of climate change and the links between global warming and extreme weather events. On the site, Dr Maue’s article does not list his government affiliation, but rather describes him as a “private sector meteorologist.” Dr Maue could not be reached for comment.

Current and former federal officials involved in the national climate assessment have expressed dismay that the documents are being presented as representing the Office of Science and Technology Policy.

The documents, they said, marked the latest low point in the Trump administration’s approach to climate science.

Travel News

Hack ‘likely’ came from Russia, says US in late official statement on major intrusion

US intelligence agencies have officially named Russia as the “likely” source of the large-scale US government and private enterprise hacking, and said the operation was “underway” nearly a month after its discovery.

The statement issued jointly on Tuesday by four government agencies was a clear rebuke of President Trump’s efforts, in Twitter posts, to suggest that China was behind the hack. But within intelligence agencies, there is little doubt about Russia’s responsibility. No information has been gathered indicating China, according to people briefed on the material.

The statement also highlighted how U.S. intelligence agencies continue to catch up, after being alerted in mid-December by private security firms to the widest and deepest penetration of U.S. computer networks of times. modern. Intelligence agencies concluded with a high degree of confidence that Russia was responsible for the hacking, according to people briefed on the analysis.

This statement is as final a blame on Russia as the United States has made, and echoes early statements of 2016 about the Kremlin’s interference in the elections. It took months in this case to link the attacks to the orders given by President Vladimir V. Putin.

Mr. Putin and his main intelligence agency, the SVR, were not mentioned in the statement released on Tuesday. But the general conclusion that Russia was the likely source of the penetration of American systems had already been announced by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and then Attorney General William P. Barr.

Tuesday’s statement was carefully crafted, in a nod to Mr. Trump’s personal skepticism of Russian guilt.

But whatever its wording, the formal conclusion opens the way for retaliation, likely from President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. after taking office. Mr. Biden, unlike Mr. Trump, said whoever was behind the operation would pay a high price.

According to the statement, an as yet unidentified cyber actor, possibly of Russian origin, is responsible for most or all of the recently discovered and ongoing cyber compromises of government and non-government networks.

He added: “At the moment, we believe it was, and continues to be, an intelligence-gathering effort. We are taking all necessary steps to understand the full scope of this campaign and respond accordingly. “

The characterization of the intrusion as an “intelligence gathering effort” is significant because it shows that there is no indication yet that the Russians have implanted malware in American systems intended to disrupt power grids or modify data. government or private databases.

But in interviews over the past two weeks, government and private officials have said they are still discovering the scope of the intrusions, and it may take months to determine whether Russia or others could do so. more malicious use of the “back doors” they have placed. in systems.

The statement from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the National Security Agency, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security seemed very similar in wording to the one the White House was set to release nearly two weeks ago. But it was pulled after Mr Trump erupted against his intelligence officials and said they had no evidence to link the action to Russia.

The various agencies have already created ad hoc working groups to deal with hacking, but the formal creation of a new working group is a reflection of the fact that bringing the full extent of the huge Russian piracy under control will take time. and is beyond the capacity of a single government agency.

While the computers of many agencies were infected with the backdoor providing access, Russian intelligence agencies were shrewd in which of those doors they opened and what information they stole, complicating the investigation of the material that had been taken.

The establishment of the task force will help the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and the National Security Agency share information better and faster, according to government officials.

In addition to trying to better understand what the Russian spies have taken, the task force will also examine what is needed to repair existing computer networks and ensure that no further vulnerabilities remain in government networks created by them. Russian hackers.

Members of the task force will also start trying to put in place new procedures to try to prevent similar future vulnerabilities from being exploited by conflicting powers.

Travel News

As the virus rages, some believe it is too late to stop it

HEART OF ALENE, Idaho – The Candlelight Christian Fellowship congregation gathered around tables in the church sanctuary last week to sip coffee and grapple with theological questions. From the end of the hall came the laughter of dozens of children playing.

With a potluck dinner, no masks and lots of shared hugs, the night felt like a throwback to the pre-pandemic era, with the exception of one notable exception on the stage: Senior Pastor Paul Van Noy, addressed the congregation with the help of supplemental oxygen, channeled into his nostrils from a small reservoir.

About a month ago, Mr Van Noy, 60, was released from a hospital in a wheelchair after a Covid-19 infection brought him to the brink of death. But while this fear has ravaged her lungs and rocked the church, it has done little to alter the growing feeling among many in northern Idaho that the coronavirus cannot be stopped and the efforts to contain it do more harm than good.

“I think we just open up and let it take its course,” said Nancy Hillberg, 68, as church members mingled after the service. “Just let it be done.”

Amid a record spike in coronavirus cases and the final days of the presidential election, President Trump and his administration have expressed growing powerlessness to contain the virus, focusing instead on improving survivability and trying to keep the economy together. While this is a theme welcomed by many supporters of the president, it has proven alarming to health officials, including those at the hospital who treated Mr Van Noy, who meet growing resistance to their calls for unity in the fight against a pandemic that has already claimed nearly 230,000 Americans and threatens to take many more.

In northern Idaho, which faces record cases and hospitalizations, the local health board last month repealed the requirement to wear masks in Kootenai County, where Candlelight Christian Fellowship is located.

“Personally, I don’t care if someone is wearing a mask or not,” board member Walt Kirby said in a public hearing on the matter. “If they want to be stupid enough to walk around and expose themselves and others to this, that’s fine with me.”

“I’m just sitting and watching them grab it and die. I hope I will live through. “

In a later interview, Mr Kirby said he initially supported the mask’s mandate as a strategy to contain the virus and at 90, he wears one whenever he is in public.

But the demand for the mask has drawn immense backlash, he said, in a part of the country where many have moved to escape what they see as an authoritarian government.

Governors across the country, especially Republicans, are following the president’s lead in resisting new restrictions against a virus that has powerfully persisted despite lockdowns in some areas in the spring and summer.

Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota wrote that “there is no way to stop the virus,” while Gov. Doug Burgum of North Dakota said when it comes to saving lives , “It’s not a job for the government, it’s a job for Everyone.” In Tennessee, Gov. Bill Lee told residents that “in the end, personal responsibility is the only one. average. ”Governor Mike Dunleavy of Alaska said in an interview that the increase in the number of cases this fall shouldn’t cause people to go into hiding.

“It’s like being told you are going to be hit by a meteorite,” Dunleavy said. “There comes a time when people just say, ‘I have yet to live. I still have to work. I still have to have contact with my family. ”

With the weather cooling and people turning their lives inside, the virus began a fall rampage across the country far surpassing the highs of previous months. The country set a record of more than 98,000 infections in a single day on Friday. Deaths have also started to increase slightly.

Despite the gloomy tendencies, Mr Trump spoke out against the lockdown restrictions and tried to send a message that the country was “turning the corner” – a claim at odds with the country’s top infectious disease specialist, Dr Anthony S. Fauci, who said more caution is needed, not less, and people shouldn’t expect a return to normal for maybe another year.

Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, set the tone last month for many who are ready to throw in the towel on pure containment of the virus, calling for a focus on therapies and vaccines because ” we are not going to control pandemic. “

Hospital and government officials have seen signs of pandemic fatigue, with children’s sports leagues looking to resume their activities, friends celebrating birthdays and families planning to get together again – possibly for the holidays in come. Gallup has been tracking Americans’ social distancing habits and has seen a drop in the number of people practicing social distancing, from 92% in April to 72% in September.

In Idaho, where many residents cherish autonomy, resistance to coronavirus warrants emerged early in the pandemic. In recent weeks, hot spots have developed across the state, which is now averaging about 900 new cases per day, more than triple the number seen just six weeks ago.

In the eastern part of the state, the Rexburg metropolitan area recorded the most new cases per capita in the country. In the north, Kootenai Health Hospital has warned the facility could exceed capacity and be forced to send patients to Seattle or Portland, Oregon – two areas where restrictions remain in place and the virus is no longer under control .

In Boise, an outbreak at Idaho State Veterans Home has resulted in 26 active cases and two recent deaths among residents, as well as 16 employees who have tested positive.

Gov. Brad Little reinstated restrictions on large gatherings, but faced the return of some fellow Republicans and resisted a mask mandate. Last week, Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin joined a group of lawmakers to release a video calling for an end to all state and local emergency ordinances, vowing to ignore them in the future. In the video, Ms McGeachin put a gun on a Bible.

“Whether or not a pandemic may occur does not change the meaning or intent of the state constitution in preserving our inalienable rights,” the political leaders said in the video and letter. support.

In Twin Falls, where an increase in the number of coronavirus patients forced Magic Valley Medical Center in St. Luke to redirect pediatric patients elsewhere and cancel elective surgeries, Dr Adam Robison said he wanted efforts to control the virus are not seen through the prism of politics. .

“We’re about to run out of room,” he said. “I’m getting extremely nervous right now, to be very frank.

Mr Van Noy, the pastor of Coeur d’Alene who spent 18 days in an intensive care unit, had expressed skepticism about masks before he fell ill, did not need them at church and vowed to defy any order to cancel in-person services. . But he said that although his illness led to doctors at one point giving him a 20% chance of survival, he saw others in the congregation who had only minor infections. While he wanted people to be careful to avoid spreading the virus, he said, he remained skeptical of the government’s efforts to contain it.

“I’m not convinced that all of our efforts have had a great impact on the spread or absence of it,” Van Noy said. “I think we’ve done a lot of harm to our economy, to the psyche of the characters. I mean, we see depression. We see all kinds of problems that develop because people feel hopeless.

When he went to vote recently, Mr. Van Noy wore a pro-Trump mask at the voting site. When he arrived, he said, a polling officer told him he couldn’t wear the mask because it was an inappropriate election.

Mr. Van Noy took off the mask and went inside to vote without one.