World Cup 2022: U.S. players consoled Iranian players following group stage win

Yahoo! Sports

World Cup 2022: U.S. players consoled Iranian players following group stage win

Tyler Greenwalt – November 30, 2022

Lost in the tenseness of the United States’ 1-0 win over Iran Tuesday is what happened in the moments after the final whistle sounded.

American players embraced their opponents, both on the pitch and with support online, following the victory that sent the U.S. to the Round of 16 while sending the Iranians back home.

Antonee Robinson consoled fellow defensemen Abolfazl Jalali and Ramin Rezaeian, while Josh Sargent, DeAndre Yedlin and Timothy Weah knelt with Saeid Ezatolahi immediately after the game ended.

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Love this. USA beat #Iran but Josh Sargent & DeAndre Yedlin console Saeid Ezatolahi. Tim Weah, who also came over, sums it up: “we grew up differently. He is still my family, he is still my brother and I love him the same way as the guys I grew up with.”

This transcended traditional post-game sportsmanship or the proverbial handshake. It looked like genuine human connections.

Weah explained the emotions in an interview with Fox Sports’ Martin Rogers and later posted on his Instagram story how much he respected the Iranian team and the pride they showed for their country.

“I think the United States and Iran have had so many issues politically and I just wanted to show that we are all human beings and we all love each other,” Weah said. “I just wanted to spread peace and love and show him we come from different backgrounds, we grew up differently. He is still my family, he is still my brother and I love him the same way as the guys I grew up with.”

The Iranian team appeared to be under a lot of pressure at the World Cup as nationwide protests have rocked the country over the government’s treatment of women, especially following the death of Mahsa Amini, a young woman who was arrested for allegedly wearing a hijab too loosely and who later died in police custody. The team voiced its support for the Iranian people before its match with England and then refused to sing their country’s national anthem at the match.

Tensions rose even higher before the players even hit the field. U.S. Soccer faced backlash after it altered the Iranian flag in support of the protests in Iran, which led to and politically charged news conference for head coach Gregg Berhalter and midfielder Tyler Adams. Berhalter apologized for the alteration and said he “had no idea about what U.S. Soccer put out.” Iran also reportedly threatened the families of Iranian players as well if they didn’t “behave” against the U.S., according to CNN.

But when the game ended, the players just wanted to share a bit of humanity with each other.

“I just really feel for any team,” Sargent told Fox Sports. ” … Everybody is human, obviously. We’ve all been working our asses off to get to this important point of our lives. This is the pinnacle of everybody’s career. I know it is not an easy situation when you lose.”

Antonee Robinson was one of the American players to console his opponent after their World Cup match with Iran. (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Antonee Robinson was one of the American players to console his opponent after their World Cup match with Iran. (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)

Oath Keepers’ Rhodes guilty of Jan. 6 seditious conspiracy

Associated Press

Oath Keepers’ Rhodes guilty of Jan. 6 seditious conspiracy

Lindsay Whitehurst, Alanna Durkin Richer and Michael Kunzelman

November 30, 2022

FILE - Stewart Rhodes, founder of the citizen militia group known as the Oath Keepers speaks during a rally outside the White House in Washington, on June 25, 2017. Rhodes was convicted Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022, of seditious conspiracy for a violent plot to overturn Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential win, handing the Justice Department a major victory in its massive prosecution of the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
Stewart Rhodes, founder of the citizen militia group known as the Oath Keepers speaks during a rally outside the White House in Washington, on June 25, 2017. Rhodes was convicted Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022, of seditious conspiracy for a violent plot to overturn Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential win, handing the Justice Department a major victory in its massive prosecution of the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
Attorneys for Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes, James Lee Bright, center left, and Edward Tarpley, left, speak to members of the media outside the Federal Courthouse following a verdict in the Rhodes trial in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022. Rhodes was convicted of seditious conspiracy for a violent plot to overturn Democrat Joe Biden's presidential win, handing the Justice Department a major victory in its massive prosecution of the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Attorneys for Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes, James Lee Bright, center left, and Edward Tarpley, left, speak to members of the media outside the Federal Courthouse following a verdict in the Rhodes trial in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022. Rhodes was convicted of seditious conspiracy for a violent plot to overturn Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential win, handing the Justice Department a major victory in its massive prosecution of the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
FILE - This artist sketch depicts the trial of Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes, left, as he testifies before U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta on charges of seditious conspiracy in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, in Washington, Nov. 7, 2022. Rhodes was convicted of seditious conspiracy on Nov. 29. (Dana Verkouteren via AP, File)
 This artist sketch depicts the trial of Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes, left, as he testifies before U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta on charges of seditious conspiracy in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, in Washington, Nov. 7, 2022. Rhodes was convicted of seditious conspiracy on Nov. 29. (Dana Verkouteren via AP, File)
A federal jury convicted five members of the Oath Keepers on a variety of charges Tuesday in connection with the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. (AP Graphic)
A federal jury convicted five members of the Oath Keepers on a variety of charges Tuesday in connection with the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. (AP Graphic)
A man holding a sign that reads "Stop Hating Each Other Because You Disagree" refuses to move from behind The attorneys for Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes Edward Tarpley, right, and James Lee Bright, center, as they speak to members of the media outside the Federal Courthouse following a verdict in the Stewart Rhodes trial in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022. Rhodes was convicted of seditious conspiracy for a violent plot to overturn Democrat Joe Biden's presidential win, handing the Justice Department a major victory in its massive prosecution of the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
A man holding a sign that reads “Stop Hating Each Other Because You Disagree” refuses to move from behind The attorneys for Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes Edward Tarpley, right, and James Lee Bright, center, as they speak to members of the media outside the Federal Courthouse following a verdict in the Stewart Rhodes trial in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022. Rhodes was convicted of seditious conspiracy for a violent plot to overturn Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential win, handing the Justice Department a major victory in its massive prosecution of the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
U.S. Capitol Police Sgt. Harry Dunn leaves federal court following a verdict in the Rhodes trial in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022. Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes was convicted Tuesday of seditious conspiracy for a violent plot to overturn Democrat Joe Biden's presidential win, handing the Justice Department a major victory in its massive prosecution of the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
U.S. Capitol Police Sgt. Harry Dunn leaves federal court following a verdict in the Rhodes trial in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022. Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes was convicted Tuesday of seditious conspiracy for a violent plot to overturn Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential win, handing the Justice Department a major victory in its massive prosecution of the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes was convicted Tuesday of seditious conspiracy for a violent plot to overturn President Joe Biden’s election, handing the Justice Department a major victory in its massive prosecution of the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection.

A Washington, D.C., jury found Rhodes guilty of sedition after three days of deliberations in the nearly two-month-long trial that showcased the far-right extremist group’s efforts to keep Republican Donald Trump in the White House at all costs.

Rhodes was acquitted of two other conspiracy charges. A co-defendant — Kelly Meggs, who led the antigovernment group’s Florida chapter — was also convicted of seditious conspiracy, while three other associates were cleared of that charge. Jurors found all five defendants guilty of obstruction of an official proceeding: Congress’ certification of Biden’s electoral victory.

The verdict, while mixed, marks a significant milestone for the Justice Department and is likely to clear the path for prosecutors to move ahead at full steam in upcoming trials of other extremists accused of sedition.

Rhodes and Meggs are the first people in nearly three decades to be found guilty at trial of seditious conspiracy — a rarely used Civil War-era charge that can be difficult to prove. The offense calls for up to 20 years behind bars.

It could embolden investigators, whose work has expanded beyond those who attacked the Capitol to focus on others linked to Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland recently named a veteran prosecutor, Jack Smith, to serve as special counsel to oversee key aspects of a probe into efforts to subvert the election as well as a separate investigation into the retention of classified documents at Trump’s Florida estate, Mar-a-Lago.

Garland said after the verdict that the Justice Department “is committed to holding accountable those criminally responsible for the assault on our democracy on January 6, 2021.”

“Democracy depends on the peaceful transfer of power. By attempting to block the certification of the 2020 presidential election results, the defendants flouted and trampled the rule of law,” Steven M. D’Antuono, assistant director in charge of the FBI Washington Field Office, said in an emailed statement. “This case shows that force and violence are no match for our country’s justice system.”CAPITOL SIEGEJan. 6 panel interviews ex-Secret Service agent Tony OrnatoJury deliberates for 2nd day in Oath Keepers sedition case2 Illinois sisters get probation after Capitol riot pleasMontana man gets 3 years in prison for role in Capitol riot

Using dozens of encrypted messages, recordings and surveillance video, prosecutors made the case that Rhodes began shortly after the 2020 election to prepare an armed rebellion to stop the transfer of presidential power.

Over seven weeks of testimony, jurors heard how Rhodes rallied his followers to fight to defend Trump, discussed the prospect of a “bloody” civil war and warned the Oath Keepers may have to “rise up in insurrection” to defeat Biden if Trump didn’t act.

Defense attorneys accused prosecutors of twisting their clients’ words and insisted the Oath Keepers came to Washington only to provide security for figures such as Roger Stone, a longtime Trump ally. The defense focused heavily on seeking to show that Rhodes’ rhetoric was just bluster and that the Oath Keepers had no plan before Jan. 6 to attack the Capitol.

Rhodes intends to appeal, defense attorney James Lee Bright told reporters. Another Rhodes lawyer, Ed Tarpley, described the verdict as a “mixed bag,” adding, “This is not a total victory for the government in any way, shape or form.”

“We feel like we presented a case that showed through evidence and testimony that Mr. Rhodes did not commit the crime of seditious conspiracy,” Tarpley said.

On trial alongside Rhodes, of Granbury, Texas, and Meggs, were Kenneth Harrelson, another Florida Oath Keeper; Thomas Caldwell, a retired Navy intelligence officer from Virginia; and Jessica Watkins, who led an Ohio militia group.

Caldwell was convicted on two counts and acquitted on three others, including seditious conspiracy. His attorney, David Fischer, called the verdict “major victory” for his client and a “major defeat” for the Justice Department. He also said he would appeal the two convictions.

Jury selection for a second group of Oath Keepers facing seditious conspiracy charges is scheduled to begin next week. Several members of the Proud Boys, including the former national chairman Enrique Tarrio, are also scheduled to go to trial on the sedition charge in December.

In an extraordinary move, Rhodes took the stand to tell jurors there was no plan to attack the Capitol and insist that his followers who went inside the building went rogue.

Rhodes testified that he had no idea that his followers were going to join the mob and storm the Capitol and said he was upset after he found out that some did. Rhodes said they were acting “stupid” and outside their mission for the day.

Prosecutors said the Oath Keepers saw an opportunity to advance their plot to stop the transfer of power and sprang into action when the mob started storming the Capitol. The Capitol attack was a “means to an end” for the Oath Keepers, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathryn Rakoczy told jurors in her closing argument.

‘We the People’ at heart of White House holiday decorations

Associated Press

‘We the People’ at heart of White House holiday decorations

Darlene Superville – November 28, 2022

Cross Hall of the White House is decorated for the holiday season during a press preview of holiday decorations at the White House, Monday, Nov. 28, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Cross Hall of the White House is decorated for the holiday season during a press preview of holiday decorations at the White House, Monday, Nov. 28, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
The Green Room of the White House is decorated for the holiday season during a press preview of holiday decorations at the White House, Monday, Nov. 28, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
The Green Room of the White House is decorated for the holiday season during a press preview of holiday decorations at the White House, Monday, Nov. 28, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
The East Colonnade of the White House is decorated for the holiday season during a press preview of holiday decorations at the White House, Monday, Nov. 28, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
The East Colonnade of the White House is decorated for the holiday season during a press preview of holiday decorations at the White House, Monday, Nov. 28, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
The White House Christmas Tree is on display in the Blue Room of the White House during a press preview of holiday decorations at the White House, Monday, Nov. 28, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
The White House Christmas Tree is on display in the Blue Room of the White House during a press preview of holiday decorations at the White House, Monday, Nov. 28, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
A gingerbread replica of the White House and a sugar cookie replica of Independence Hall are on display in the State Dining Room of the White House during a press preview of holiday decorations at the White House, Monday, Nov. 28, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
A gingerbread replica of the White House and a sugar cookie replica of Independence Hall are on display in the State Dining Room of the White House during a press preview of holiday decorations at the White House, Monday, Nov. 28, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Depictions of Willow, bottom left, and Commander, the Biden family's cat and dog, are part of decorations in the Vermeil Room of the White House during a press preview of holiday decorations at the White House, Monday, Nov. 28, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Depictions of Willow, bottom left, and Commander, the Biden family’s cat and dog, are part of decorations in the Vermeil Room of the White House during a press preview of holiday decorations at the White House, Monday, Nov. 28, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Cross Hall and the Blue Room of the White House are decorated for the holiday season during a press preview of holiday decorations at the White House, Monday, Nov. 28, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Cross Hall and the Blue Room of the White House are decorated for the holiday season during a press preview of holiday decorations at the White House, Monday, Nov. 28, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Former President Barack Obama's portrait is on display alongside decorations in the Grand Foyer of the White House during a press preview of holiday decorations at the White House, Monday, Nov. 28, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Former President Barack Obama’s portrait is on display alongside decorations in the Grand Foyer of the White House during a press preview of holiday decorations at the White House, Monday, Nov. 28, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
The Blue Room of the White House is decorated for the holiday season during a press preview of holiday decorations at the White House, Monday, Nov. 28, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
The Blue Room of the White House is decorated for the holiday season during a press preview of holiday decorations at the White House, Monday, Nov. 28, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Ornaments containing self-portraits of students from across the country hang from a tree in the State Dining Room of the White House during a press preview of holiday decorations at the White House, Monday, Nov. 28, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

WASHINGTON (AP) — “We the People” is Jill Biden’s holiday theme with White House decorations designed for “the people” to see themselves in the tree ornaments, mantel displays, mirrors and do-it-yourself creations that have turned the mansion’s public spaces into a winter wonderland.

“The soul of our nation is, and has always been, ‘We the People,’” the first lady said at a White House event honoring the volunteers who decorated over Thanksgiving weekend. “And that is what inspired this year’s White House holiday decoration.”

“The values that unite us can be found all around you, a belief in possibility and optimism and unity,” Jill Biden said. “Room by room, we represent what brings us together during the holidays and throughout the year.”

Public rooms are dedicated to unifying forces: honoring and remembering deceased loved ones, words and stories, kindness and gratitude, food and traditions, nature and recreation, songs and sounds, unity and hope, faith and light, and children.

A burst of pine aroma hits visitors as they step inside the East Wing and come upon trees adorned with mirrored Gold Star ornaments bearing the names of fallen service members.

Winter trees, woodland animals and glowing lanterns placed along the hallway help give the feeling of walking through snow.

Likenesses of Biden family pets — Commander and Willow, the dog and cat — first appear at the end of the hallway before they are seen later in the Vermeil Room, which celebrates kindness and gratitude, and the State Dining Room, which highlights children.

Recipes contributed by the small army of volunteer decorators spruce up the China Room’s mantel. Handwritten ones — for apple crisp and pizzelle, an Italian cookie — are family recipes shared by the first lady.

Aides say she was inspired by people she met while traveling around the country and by the nation’s founding documents, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

A copy of the Declaration of Independence is on display in the library, while the always-show-stopping 300-pound (136 kilogram) gingerbread White House this year includes a sugar cookie replica of Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, where the documents were signed.

The executive pastry chef used 20 sheets of sugar cookie dough, 30 sheets of gingerbread dough, 100 pounds (45 kilograms) of pastillage, 30 pounds (14 kilograms) of chocolate and 40 pounds (18 kilograms) of royal icing to create the gingerbread and sugar cookie masterpiece.

A new addition to the White House collection this year is a menorah, which is lit nightly during the eight-day Jewish festival of Hanukkah. White House carpenters built the menorah out of wood that was saved from a Truman-era renovation and sterling silver candle cups.

Some 50,000 visitors are expected to pass through the White House for the holidays, including tourists and guests invited to nearly a month’s worth of receptions. Among them will be French President Emmanuel Macron, who will meet with President Joe Biden at the White House on Thursday and be honored at a state dinner, the first of the Biden administration.

More than 150 volunteers, including two of the first lady’s sisters, helped decorate the White House during the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

The decorations include more than 83,000 twinkling lights on trees, garlands, wreaths and other displays, 77 Christmas trees and 25 wreaths on the White House exterior. Volunteers also used more than 12,000 ornaments, just under 15,000 feet (4,500 meters) of ribbon and more than 1,600 bells.

Some of the decorations are do-it-yourself projects that the first lady hopes people will be encouraged to recreate for themselves, aides said. They include plastic drinking cups turned into bells and table-top Christmas trees made from foam shapes and dollar store ramekins.

Groupings of snowy trees fill corners of the East Room, which reflects nature and recreation, and scenes from four national parks are depicted on each fireplace mantel: Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Great Smoky Mountains and Shenandoah.

In the Blue Room, the official White House Christmas tree — an 18 1/2-foot (5.6-meter) Concolor fir from Auburn, Pennsylvania — is decorated to represent unity and hope with handmade renderings of the official birds from all 57 territories, states and the District of Columbia.

The State Dining Room is dedicated to the next generation — children — and its trees are decorated with self-portrait ornaments made by students of the 2021 Teachers of the Year, “ensuring that children see themselves” in the décor, the White House said.

Hanging from the fireplace in the State Dining Room are the Biden family Christmas stockings.

“We the People” are celebrated again in the Grand Foyer and Cross Hall on the State Floor, where metal ribbons are inscribed with the names of all the states, territories and the District of Columbia.

As part of Joining Forces, her White House initiative to support military families, Jill Biden was joined by National Guard leaders from across the country, as well as National Guard families. Her late son, Beau Biden, was a major in the Delaware Army National Guard.

She met before the event with children from National Guard families, telling them she wanted to hear their stories because “you have served right alongside of your parents and you deserve to have your courage, and your sacrifice, recognized, too.”

The White House noted that the holiday guide book given to visitors was designed by Daria Peoples, an African American children’s book author who lives in Las Vegas. Peoples is a former elementary school teacher who has written and illustrated a series of picture books to support children of color, including those who have experienced race-based trauma.

At Protests, Guns Are Doing the Talking

The New York Times

At Protests, Guns Are Doing the Talking

Mike McIntire – November 26, 2022

Kimber Glidden, who resigned as the library director for  Boundary County, Idaho after her library became a cause célèbre for conservatives, in Spokane, Wash. on Oct. 28, 2022. (Rajah Bose/The New York Times)
Kimber Glidden, who resigned as the library director for Boundary County, Idaho after her library became a cause célèbre for conservatives, in Spokane, Wash. on Oct. 28, 2022. (Rajah Bose/The New York Times)

Across the country, openly carrying a gun in public is no longer just an exercise in self-defense — increasingly it is a soapbox for elevating one’s voice and, just as often, quieting someone else’s.

This month, armed protesters appeared outside an elections center in Phoenix, hurling baseless accusations that the election for governor had been stolen from the Republican, Kari Lake. In October, Proud Boys with guns joined a rally in Nashville, Tennessee, where conservative lawmakers spoke against transgender medical treatments for minors.

In June, armed demonstrations around the United States amounted to nearly one a day. A group led by a former Republican state legislator protested a gay-pride event in a public park in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Men with guns interrupted a Juneteenth festival in Franklin, Tennessee, handing out flyers claiming that white people were being replaced. Among the others were rallies in support of gun rights in Delaware and abortion rights in Georgia.

Whether at the local library, in a park or on Main Street, most of these incidents happen where Republicans have fought to expand the ability to bear arms in public, a movement bolstered by a recent Supreme Court ruling on the right to carry firearms outside the home. The loosening of limits has occurred as violent political rhetoric rises and police in some places fear bloodshed among an armed populace on a hair trigger.

But the effects of more guns in public spaces have not been evenly felt. A partisan divide — with Democrats largely eschewing firearms and Republicans embracing them — has warped civic discourse. Deploying the Second Amendment in service of the First Amendment has become a way to buttress a policy argument, a sort of silent, if intimidating, bullhorn.

“It’s disappointing we’ve gotten to that state in our country,” said Kevin Thompson, executive director of the Museum of Science & History in Memphis, Tennessee, where armed protesters led to the cancellation of an LGBTQ event in September. “What I saw was a group of folks who did not want to engage in any sort of dialogue and just wanted to impose their belief.”

A New York Times analysis of more than 700 armed demonstrations found that at about 77% of them, people openly carrying guns represented right-wing views, such as opposition to LGBTQ rights and abortion access, hostility to racial justice rallies and support for former President Donald Trump’s lie of winning the 2020 election.

The records, from January 2020 to last week, were compiled by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, a nonprofit that tracks political violence around the world. The Times also interviewed witnesses to other, smaller-scale incidents not captured by the data, including encounters with armed people at indoor public meetings.

Anti-government militias and right-wing culture warriors such as the Proud Boys attended a majority of the protests, the data showed. Violence broke out at more than 100 events and often involved fisticuffs with opposing groups, including left-wing activists such as antifa.

Republican politicians are generally more tolerant of openly armed supporters than are Democrats, who are more likely to be on the opposing side of people with guns, the records suggest. In July, for example, men wearing sidearms confronted Beto O’Rourke, then the Democratic candidate for Texas governor, at a campaign stop in Whitesboro and warned that he was “not welcome in this town.”

Republican officials or candidates appeared at 32 protests where they were on the same side as those with guns. Democratic politicians were identified at only two protests taking the same view as those armed.

Sometimes, the Republican officials carried weapons: Robert Sutherland, a Washington state representative, wore a pistol on his hip while protesting COVID-19 restrictions in Olympia in 2020. “Governor,” he said, speaking to a crowd, “you send men with guns after us for going fishing. We’ll see what a revolution looks like.”

The occasional appearance of armed civilians at demonstrations or governmental functions is not new. In the 1960s, the Black Panthers displayed guns in public when protesting police brutality. Militia groups, sometimes armed, rallied against federal agents involved in violent standoffs at Ruby Ridge, in Idaho, and in Waco, Texas, in the 1990s.

But the frequency of these incidents exploded in 2020, with conservative pushback against public health measures to fight the coronavirus and response to the sometimes violent rallies after the murder of George Floyd. Today, in some parts of the country with permissive gun laws, it is not unusual to see people with handguns or military-style rifles at all types of protests.

For instance, at least 14 such incidents have occurred in and around Dallas and Phoenix since May, including outside an FBI field office to condemn the search of Trump’s home and, elsewhere, in support of abortion rights. In New York City and Washington, D.C., where gun laws are strict, there were none — even though numerous demonstrations took place during that same period.

Many conservatives and gun-rights advocates envision virtually no limits. When Democrats in Colorado and Washington state passed laws this year prohibiting firearms at polling places and government meetings, Republicans voted against them. Indeed, those bills were the exception.

Attempts by Democrats to impose limits in other states have mostly failed, and some form of open carry without a permit is now legal in 38 states, a number that is likely to expand as legislation advances in several more. In Michigan, where a Tea Party group recently advertised poll watcher training using a photo of armed men in camouflage, judges have rejected efforts to prohibit guns at voting locations.

Gun-rights advocates assert that banning guns from protests would violate the right to carry firearms for self-defense. Jordan Stein, a spokesperson for Gun Owners of America, pointed to Kyle Rittenhouse, a teenager acquitted last year in the shooting of three people during a chaotic demonstration in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where he had walked the streets with a military-style rifle.

“At a time when protests often devolve into riots, honest people need a means to protect themselves,” he said.

Beyond self-defense, Stein said the freedom of speech and the right to have a gun are “bedrock principles” and that “Americans should be able to bear arms while exercising their First Amendment rights, whether that’s going to church or a peaceful assembly.”

Others argue that openly carrying firearms at public gatherings, particularly when there is no obvious self-defense reason, can have a corrosive effect, leading to curtailed activities, suppressed opinions or public servants who quit out of fear and frustration.

Concerned about armed protesters, local election officials in Arizona, Colorado and Oregon have requested bulletproofing for their offices.

Adam Searing, a lawyer and Georgetown University professor who helps families secure access to health care, said he saw the impact on free speech when people objecting to COVID-19 restrictions used guns to make their point. In some states, disability-rights advocates were afraid to show up to support mask mandates because of armed opposition, said Searing, who teaches public policy at Georgetown University.

“What was really disturbing was the guns became kind of a signifier for political reasons,” he said, adding, “It was just about pure intimidation.”

Armed Speech

The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project has been tracking such incidents in the United States for the past few years. Events captured by the data are not assigned ideological labels but include descriptions and are collected from news sources, social media and independent partners such as the Network Contagion Research Institute, which monitors extremism and disinformation online.

The Times’ analysis found that the largest drivers of armed demonstrations have shifted since 2020. This year, protesters with guns are more likely to be motivated by abortion or LGBTQ issues. Sam Jones, a spokesperson for the nonpartisan data group, said upticks in armed incidents tended to correspond to “different flashpoint events and time periods, like the Roe v. Wade decision and Pride Month.”

In about one-fourth of the cases, left-wing activists also were armed. Many times, it was a response, they said, to right-wing intimidation. Other times, it was not, such as when about 40 demonstrators, some with rifles, blocked city officials in Dallas from clearing a homeless encampment in July.

More than half of all armed protests occurred in 10 states with expansive open-carry laws: Arizona, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington. Three of them — Michigan, Oregon and Texas — allowed armed protesters to gather outside Capitol buildings before President Joe Biden’s inauguration, and in Michigan, militia members carrying assault rifles were permitted inside the Capitol during protests against COVID-19 lockdowns.

Beyond the mass gatherings, there are everyday episodes of armed intimidation. Kimber Glidden had been director of the Boundary County Library in Northern Idaho for a couple of months when some parents began raising questions in February about books they believed were inappropriate for children.

It did not matter that the library did not have most of those books — largely dealing with gender, sexuality and race — or that those it did have were not in the children’s section. The issue became a cause célèbre for conservative activists, some of whom began showing up with guns to increasingly tense public meetings, Glidden said.

“How do you stand there and tell me you want to protect children when you’re in the children’s section of the library and you’re armed?” she asked.

In August, she resigned, decrying the “intimidation tactics and threatening behavior.”

A Growing Militancy

At a Second Amendment rally in June 2021 outside the statehouse in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where some people were armed, Republican speakers repeatedly connected the right to carry a gun to other social and cultural issues. U.S. Rep. Scott Perry voiced a frequent conservative complaint about censorship, saying the First Amendment was “under assault.”

“And you know very well what protects the First,” he said. “Which is what we’re doing here today.”

Stephanie Borowicz, a state legislator, was more blunt, boasting to the crowd that “tyrannical governors” had been forced to ease coronavirus restrictions because “as long as we’re an armed population, the government fears us.”

Pennsylvania, like some other states with permissive open-carry laws, is home to right-wing militias that sometimes appear in public with firearms. They are often welcomed, or at least accepted, by Republican politicians.

When a dozen militia members, some wearing skull masks and body armor, joined a protest against COVID-19 restrictions in Pittsburgh in April 2020, Jeff Neff, a Republican borough council president running for the state senate, posed for a photo with the group. In it, he is holding his campaign sign, surrounded by men with military-style rifles.

In an email, Neff said he had since left politics, and expressed regret over past news coverage of the photo, adding, “Please know that I do not condone any threats or action of violence by any person or groups.”

Across the country, there is evidence of increasing Republican involvement in militias. A membership list for the Oath Keepers, made public last year, includes 81 elected officials or candidates, according to a report by the Anti-Defamation League. Most of them appear to be Republicans.

Another nationwide militia, the American Patriots Three Percent, recently told prospective members that it worked to support “individuals seeking election to local GOP boards,” according to an archived version of its website.

More than 25 members of the Oath Keepers and Three Percenters have been charged in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. Those organizations, along with the Proud Boys and Boogaloo Boys, make up the bulk of organized groups in the armed-protest data, according to the Times’ analysis.

Shootings were rare, such as when a Proud Boy was shot in the foot while chasing antifa members during a protest over COVID-19 lockdowns in Olympia last year. But Jones said the data, which also tracked unarmed demonstrations, showed that although armed protests accounted for less than 2% of the total, they were responsible for 10% of those where violence occurred, most often involving fights between rival groups.

“Armed groups or individuals might say they have no intention of intimidating anyone and are only participating in demonstrations to keep the peace,” said Jones, “but the evidence doesn’t back up the claim.”

Competing Rights

In a landmark 2008 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment conveyed a basic right to bear arms for lawful purposes such as self-defense at home. It went further in a decision in June that struck down New York restrictions on concealed-pistol permits, effectively finding a right to carry firearms in public.

But the court in Heller also made clear that gun rights were not unlimited and that its ruling did not invalidate laws prohibiting “the carrying of firearms in sensitive places.” That caveat was reiterated in a concurring opinion in the New York case.

Even some hard-line gun-rights advocates are uncomfortable with armed people at public protests. Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation, told The Washington Times in 2017 that “if you are carrying it to make a political point, we are not going to support that.”

“Firearms serve a purpose,” he said, “and the purpose is not a mouthpiece.”

But groups that embrace Second Amendment absolutism do not hesitate to criticize fellow advocates who stray from that orthodoxy.

After Dan Crenshaw, a Republican congressman from Texas and former Navy SEAL, lamented in 2020 that “guys dressing up in their Call of Duty outfits, marching through the streets” were not advancing the cause of gun rights, he was knocked by the Firearms Policy Coalition for “being critical of people exercising their right to protest.” The coalition has fought state laws that it says force gun owners to choose between the rights to free speech and self-defense.

Regardless of whether there is a right to go armed in public for self-defense, early laws and court decisions made clear that the Constitution did not empower people, such as modern-day militia members, to gather with guns as a form of protest, said Michael Dorf, a constitutional law professor at Cornell University who has written about the tension between the rights to free speech and guns.

Dorf pointed to an 18th-century Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling that a group of protesters with firearms had no right to rally in public against a government tax. Some states also adopted an old English law prohibiting “going armed to the terror of the people,” still on the books in some places, aimed at preventing the use of weapons to threaten or intimidate.

“Historically,” said Dorf, “there were such limits on armed gatherings, even assuming that there’s some right to be armed as individuals.”

There is no evidence that the framers of the Constitution intended for Americans to take up arms during civic debate among themselves — or to intimidate those with differing opinions. That is what happened at the Memphis museum in September, when people with guns showed up to protest a scheduled dance party that capped a summerlong series on the history of the LGBTQ community in the South.

Although the party was billed as “family friendly,” conservatives on local talk radio claimed that children would be at risk. (The museum said the planned activities were acceptable for all ages.) As armed men wearing masks milled about outside, the panicked staff canceled all programs and evacuated the premises.

Thompson, the director, said he and his board were now grappling with the laws on carrying firearms, which were loosened last year by state legislators.

“It’s a different time,” he said, “and it’s something we have to learn to navigate.”

Former surgeon general faces his wife’s cancer – and the ‘Trump Effect’

The Washington Post

Former surgeon general faces his wife’s cancer – and the ‘Trump Effect’

Manuel Roig-Franzia, The Washington Post – November 25, 2022

Former surgeon general faces his wife’s cancer – and the ‘Trump Effect’

Former surgeon general Jerome Adams and his wife, Lacey, often find themselves talking about what they have named the “Trump Effect.”

It followed them from Washington to their home in the Indianapolis suburbs. They felt it when he was exploring jobs in academia, where he would receive polite rejections from university officials who worried that someone who served in the administration of the former president would be badly received by their left-leaning student bodies. They felt it when corporations decided he was too tainted to employ.

Now, two years after Adams left office as only the 20th surgeon general in U.S. history, the couple feel it as acutely as ever. As Donald Trump announced this month that he will run for president again, they had hoped it all would have faded away by now.

They would rather talk about public health, in a very personal way. This summer, Lacey Adams was diagnosed with a third recurrence of melanoma. Both Adamses have been sharing her experiences on social media and in public appearances, hoping to spread a message about skin-cancer prevention. But the stigma of his association with Trump, even though neither of them is a supporter of his political campaign, remains.

Trump is “a force that really does take the air out of the room,” Adams, 48, said. “The Trump hangover is still impacting me in significant ways.” He said the 2024 Trump campaign “will make things more difficult for me.”

The former surgeon general’s predicament underscores one of the givens of today’s political environment: Association with Trump becomes a permanent tarnish, a kind of reverse Midas touch. Whether indicted or shunned or marginalized, a cavalcade of former Trump World figures have foundered in the aftermath of one of the more chaotic presidencies in modern American history.

Lacey saw it coming. She said she “hated Trump” and did not want her husband to leave his comfortable life in Indiana, where he practiced anesthesiology and served as state health commissioner under then-Indiana governor Mike Pence, who was Trump’s vice president when Jerome became surgeon general. Lacey, 46, worried about a lasting “stigma” but her husband talked her into supporting their move by saying he thought he could make a bigger difference inside the administration than outside it, especially when it came to his efforts to combat opioid addiction.

Now Jerome bristles at his forever label as “Trump’s surgeon general,” an image sealed by his highly public role during the much-criticized early White House response to the coronavirus pandemic. Other surgeons general, he feels, have been less intensely identified with the president who appointed them, permitting them to glide into a life of prestigious and sometimes lucrative opportunities, unencumbered by partisan politics.

Not him. “It was a lot harder than he thought to find a landing spot because of the Trump Effect,” Lacey said. For eight months after leaving office, Jerome could not find a job. The couple started to worry about how they would support their three children, especially since Lacey does not work outside the home.

“People still are afraid to touch anything that is associated with Trump,” Jerome said. Though he was quick to add in the interview that he is “not complaining.” He added, “It is context.”

Finally, in September 2021, Purdue University President Mitch Daniels, a former Indiana governor and Republican stalwart, hired Adams as the first executive director of health equity initiatives at the school.

Even as Adams was seeking to define the next chapter of his life, he was engaged in an almost constant battle on social media. His frequent tweets about everything from his personal life to public health issues have invariably drawn attacks from both the right and the left. Rather than ignore his critics, he has often punched back, engaging in Twitter spats that stretch for days.

He has battled on social media over his recommendation that people continue to wear masks in crowded indoor settings, his criticism of President Biden’s declaration of an end to the pandemic and about his advocacy for coronavirus vaccinations for children and for adults to get booster shots. He takes heat from the left for a pro-life stance on abortion and from the right for his opposition to laws that dictate what a doctor can say to a patient about abortion.

“I get mad at him for being addicted to Twitter,” Lacey said. “People hated him because he was part of Trump’s administration. Now the Trump people hate him.”

Carrie Benton, an Ohio medical lab scientist who has tangled with Jerome Adams on social media, is critical of what she considers “blanket statements” he is now making about topics such as masking. But she also feels he should still be held accountable for errors committed by the Trump administration early in the pandemic.

The pushback has done little to dissuade Adams. He invites debate. He wants to argue, genially. He tries to search for ways to use his platform as a former surgeon general that do not turn into politically charged spats.

“It is hard to find an issue,” he said.

In August, an issue found him, and it was precisely the topic that he had hoped would not feel so personal anymore. During a routine follow-up check, doctors discovered tumors on the outside of Lacey’s right thigh.

“Here we go again,” Lacey said to herself.

She had first been diagnosed with melanoma 12 years ago, in 2010, when she spotted a “weird mole.” She had it removed. She thought she was in the clear.

“No big deal,” she said.

As an adolescent growing up in the Midwest, she had been a frequent visitor to tanning beds. She did not worry much about the sun, even though she is very light-skinned. After having the mole removed, she changed her ways. Sunscreen. Long sleeves. She joked that her mother would chase her around with floppy hats. She started getting regular dermatology checks. It was all good. Until it was not.

In early 2018, just as her anesthesiologist husband was starting as surgeon general under Trump, she noticed lumps on her groin while shaving her bikini line. The doctor in her house, newly minted as America’s doctor, was constantly on the go as he sought to get a grasp on his job, serving as a public health advocate and overseeing thousands of members of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. “The doctor in my house is my absent-minded professor, always running in 100 directions,” she said.

So Lacey called the doctor next door: her neighbor in Indiana and dear friend, Amy Hoffman, an emergency room physician. When Hoffman realized why her friend was calling, she put her on the speakerphone, so that her husband, an oncologist, could listen in.

He just had one question: Was it on the same side as the melanoma from years earlier? Yes, she said. She could hear the worry in their voices.

“Stop unpacking,” she said they told her. “Stop going to fancy events with your husband. You need to make this a priority.”

She was soon ushered into a special area of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center reserved for high-ranking officials and their families. She was given a fuzzy robe with an embroidered White House logo.

“All of a sudden it is like you are in the Ritz-Carlton,” she recalled, and asked herself, “Why am I deserving of this special attention?”

A scan showed a tumor somewhere between the size of a pea and a grape. She needed to have surgery. Doctors eventually removed 12 lymph nodes, some of which were cancerous. While she was recovering from surgery, still groggy from the anesthesia, her husband came into the room with a request that was hard for her to comprehend through the fog of the drugs: He wanted her Facebook password.

She had taken a selfie at the medical center and posted it to her Facebook page, and she also took a little dig at the administration. The White House was not happy, he told her. They wanted it taken down.

In the months to come, she would again think she had beaten cancer. She underwent a year of immunotherapy treatments. She rang the bell, a tradition among cancer patients completing treatments, at Walter Reed after scans showed she was cancer free.

“Cancer, schmancer,” she thought.

There were other things to worry about. Her husband had come to Washington hoping to focus on opioid addiction, a plague that had hit members of his family. Instead, he was thrust into a much more public role with the arrival of the coronavirus. As the Trump administration struggled with effective responses, the new surgeon general kept setting off firestorms.

He shared a Valentine’s Day poem on social media that said the regular flu was a greater risk than covid and urged people to get flu shots. He told African Americans, who were contracting the coronavirus in disproportionate numbers, to take precautions to protect their “Big Mama.”

In each instance, he fumbled the messaging, making incomplete or poorly explained statements. He asked people not to buy masks because there was a shortage. He said people were at a greater risk of catching the regular flu than covid because projections by the Trump administration, later shown to be inaccurate, suggested more people would get the regular flu.

He used the words “Big Mama,” which led to accusations that he was using Trump-style racist dog whistles, because it was a term of affection in his own family that he thought would help him connect with African Americans.

Those missteps, which Adams has blamed on a partisan atmosphere, drew heavy criticism, which might be expected. What he had not anticipated was how people would come for his loved ones. On social media, trolls called his family ugly. They criticized Adams, who is Black, for marrying a White woman.

While her husband was trying to fend off critics and nasty commenters by sharpening his messaging, Lacey, like many Americans, was putting off medical appointments while limiting her movements because of the risk of contracting the coronavirus. She had a clear scan in January 2020. It was not until July that year that she returned for another scan. It revealed a tumor on her back.

The cancer had returned for a second round: This time it was Stage 4. She started immunotherapy. And again she beat it. For two years she passed routine scans, with good results. Then, this past summer, came the tests that revealed the cancer had returned. His wife cries herself to sleep some nights. He marvels at her resilience.

She has been speaking and writing about the disease that lurks inside her and threatens to deprive her of so many things she looks forward to, like the days her children, now 18, 16 and 12, graduate or get married.

Some days she is too ill from side effects of her treatments to do much. But other times she is full of energy and ready to go. People might look at her and not know she is sick, and that is one of her points: Melanoma is a stealthy disease, the doctors keep telling her. It can hide inside people without any outward signs. She had once had a mole, but other times nothing showed up on her skin. The disease was hiding from her.

She understands that she has been given a platform few have. No one would be listening to a mom from Indiana if she were not the wife of the former surgeon general.

The other day, her husband asked if he could post a photo of her on Twitter. She said for him to go ahead. It showed her in profile, lying in bed with the covers partly obscuring her face, on a day when she was not feeling great. He asked for prayers, but he also gave some advice: “See a dermatologist right away if a mole changes/looks different from your others!”

What happened next was nothing short of amazing to them. People wished the best for Lacey even though they were not fans of Jerome: “I don’t agree with your politics. God bless your sweet wife.” “I’m sorry your wife has cancer, even though I completely disagree with some of your decisions.”

Some people even wanted advice. “Should we worry about a single mole or look for odd shapes and changes in several?” That person did not mention Trump at all. That might be a person they could help. That might be, they dared to imagine, the end of the Trump Effect, and the beginning of a Lacey Effect.

Krull: House Republicans plan to investigate things that don’t matter to most Americans

The Herald Times

Krull: House Republicans plan to investigate things that don’t matter to most Americans

John Krull – November 24, 2022

INDIANAPOLIS — Some people are slow learners.

And some people never learn at all.

The members of the Republican caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives belong to one of those two groups. The next two years will tell us which one.

Fresh from a midterm election that fell far, far, far short of both Republican expectations and historic norms for parties out of power, the House GOP firebreathers announced their priorities for the coming legislative session, one in which they will have one of the slimmest majorities in American history.

Most sensible politicians would use a moment such as this to lay a foundation for future growth. They would outline an agenda featuring plans and programs designed to sway independent or undecided voters. They would use their platform to persuade.

But that’s not the way the deep thinkers in the House Republican caucus approach things. Their agenda is simple.

They plan a series of investigations — and every one of those investigations will be designed to appeal to the narrowing base of supporters that already supports the GOP.

The Republicans say they will investigate President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, even though there already are several criminal investigations into the younger Biden’s conduct, and he likely will be indicted soon.

They plan to investigate the U.S.-Mexico border “crisis.” Maybe that investigation will determine why Republicans made top-heavy tax cuts for billionaires their legislative priority rather than border security from 2017 to 2019, when they controlled the presidency, both chambers of Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court.

But I wouldn’t count on it.

The Javerts in the House also intend to dive into the U.S. withdrawal from the Afghanistan War, the cause of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic and the U.S. Department of Justice.

Of these, only the study of the Afghanistan withdrawal debacle doesn’t seem exclusively partisan in nature.

It’s doubtful, though, that House Republicans will ask the essential question about that costly episode, which is: Once the United States has plunged into a long-term military conflict without an exit strategy in mind, how should we go about extricating ourselves?

The other investigations are nothing more than attempts to throw chunks of red meat to the most rabid and snarling parts of the Republican base. The House GOP brain trust seems to think this is a winning political strategy. They’re wrong about that — for at least two reasons.

The first is none of these investigations connects in any way to the lives of average Americans.

The strongest message Republicans had in the 2022 election focused on the economy and the unease many — perhaps even most — Americans feel regarding galloping inflation.

Voters in the suburbs — once a Republican bastion but now the battlefield in which elections for at least the next decade will be decided — worry the good lives they’ve built for themselves and their families will slip away, one price increase at a time.

Inflationary pressures on the world economy aren’t likely to go away any time soon, so House Republicans could spend their political capital fashioning programs designed to alleviate those concerns. They could create a system of targeted tax cuts aimed at helping the middle class offset costs in other areas.

But no.

The Republicans are going to focus on wooing the voters already with them.

They might as well send every embattled suburban GOP candidate out to campaign wearing a sign reading: “Please send me back to make noise and spend your tax money while accomplishing nothing.”

The second reason the GOP strategy is wrong is that it’s based on a mistaken premise.

Republicans believe the Benghazi investigation fatally wounded 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

The problem with that thinking is Clinton was damaged goods long before the investigation started. For nearly 20 years, she had carried historically high negatives. Polls showed that four out of 10 voters wouldn’t cast a ballot for her under any circumstances, which meant she had to persuade five out of the remaining six to support her.

That’s a tall order.

Joe Biden never has aroused the levels of animosity both Clintons did and do and, if Donald Trump is the Republican nominee again, Biden likely won’t do anything more than say: “Vote for me because I’m not him.”

Republicans have been down this road before.

Pity they didn’t learn anything along the way.

John Krull is director of Franklin College’s Pulliam School of Journalism and publisher of TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students. The views expressed are those of the author only and should not be attributed to Franklin College.

Bill Barr says Trump will ‘burn the whole house down’ and destroy the GOP if he doesn’t win the 2024 nomination

Insider

Bill Barr says Trump will ‘burn the whole house down’ and destroy the GOP if he doesn’t win the 2024 nomination

Tom Porter – November 23, 2022

Bill Barr and Donald Trump
Former Attorney General Bill Barr and former President Donald TrumpDrew Angerer/Getty Images
  • Former Attorney General Bill Barr discussed Donald Trump’s 2024 campaign in an op-ed.
  • He said Trump’s “narcissism” means he would be unable to accept losing the GOP nomination race.
  • Barr is a former Trump loyalist, who has recently turned against his ex-boss.

Former Attorney Bill Barr said that Donald Trump would seek to destroy the Republican Party if defeated in his bid to become its 2024 presidential nominee.

In an op-ed in The New York Post published on Tuesday, Barr addressed Trump’s announcement last week that he was seeking the Republican Party candidacy for the White House in 2024.

He said that if Trump loses the nomination, it could tear the GOP apart.

“Unless the rest of the party goes along with him, he will burn the whole house down by leading ‘his people’ out of the GOP,” Barr said, referring to the former president’s hardline supporters in the party.

“Trump’s willingness to destroy the party if he does not get his way is not based on principle, but on his own supreme narcissism,” Barr wrote.

“His egoism makes him unable to think of a political party as anything but an extension of himself — a cult of personality.”

Trump’s status as the GOP’s most powerful figure has taken a hit in the wake of the midterm elections, when several of the high profile candidates he’d endorsed in key races were defeated. 

Barr is among Republicans claiming the the divisive and flawed candidates Trump endorsed are the reason for the party’s failure to win control of the Senate, and to only secure a small House majority.

“The GOP’s poor performance in the recent midterms was due largely to Trump’s mischief,” said Barr, citing his candidate choice, failure to provide proper funding, and stoking of internal GOP divisions.

His criticisms is strikingly similar to that of Trump’s niece, Mary Trump, who also believes that the former president would seek to “burn everything down” if Republicans blame their midterms defeat on him.

Trump announced his candidacy at a relatively muted event at Mar-a-Lago last week amid mounting criticism of his midterm strategy. Meanwhile, momentum is building behind his rival, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Barr was seen as among the most loyal members of Trump’s cabinet. But more recently has been highly critical of Trump over his refusal to concede defeat after the 2020 election, and his retention of stashes of classified information after leaving office.

Barr in the op-ed said it was time for new leadership in the Republican Party.

“It is painfully clear from his track record in both the 2020 election and the 2022 midterms that Donald Trump is neither capable of forging this winning coalition nor delivering the decisive and durable victory required,” Barr said.

“Indeed, among the current crop of potential nominees, Trump is the person least able to unite the party and the one most likely to lose the general election,” he added.

Ukrainians work to restore power to nuclear plants as country freezes

Reuters

Ukrainians work to restore power to nuclear plants as country freezes

Pavel Polityuk and Tom Balmforth – November 23, 2022

KYIV (Reuters) -Ukraine restored power on Thursday to two of its four nuclear power plants but much of the country remained consigned to freezing darkness by the most devastating Russian air strikes on its energy infrastructure so far.

Viewed from space, Ukraine has become a dark patch on the globe at night, satellite images released by NASA showed, following repeated barrages of Russian missiles in recent weeks.

With temperatures falling below zero, authorities were working to get the lights and heat back on. Russia’s latest missile barrage killed 10 people and shut down all of Ukraine’s nuclear power plants for the first time in 40 years.

Regional authorities in Kyiv said power had been restored to three quarters of the capital by Thursday morning and water was working again in some areas. Transport was back up and running in the city, with buses replacing electric trams.

Authorities hoped to restart the three nuclear power plants in Ukrainian-held territory by the end of the day. By early evening, officials said a reactor at one of them, the Khmelnytskyi nuclear plant, had been reconnected to the grid.

The vast Zaporizhzhia plant in Russian-held territory also had to activate backup diesel power but it too was reconnected on Thursday, Ukrainian nuclear power company Energoatom said.

Since early October, Russia has attacked energy targets across Ukraine about once a week, each time firing hundreds of millions of dollars worth of missiles to knock out Ukraine’s power grid.

Moscow acknowledges attacking basic infrastructure, saying its aim is to reduce Ukraine’s ability to fight and push it to negotiate. Kyiv says such attacks are clearly intended to harm civilians, making them a war crime.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said it was Kyiv’s fault Ukrainians were suffering because it refused to yield to Moscow’s demands, which he did not spell out. Ukraine says it will only stop fighting when all Russian forces have left.

“What is there to talk about? I think that the first step should come from them. For starters, they have to stop shelling us,” said 27-year-old Olena Shafinska, queuing at a water pump in a park in central Kyiv with a group of friends.

Nuclear officials say interruptions in power can disrupt cooling systems and cause an atomic disaster.

“There is a real danger of a nuclear and radiation catastrophe being caused by firing on the entire territory of Ukraine with Russian cruise and ballistic missiles,” Petro Kotin, head of Ukraine’s nuclear operator Energoatom said.

“Russia must answer for this shameful crime.”

WEAPONISING WINTER

Winter has arrived abruptly in Ukraine and temperatures were well below freezing in the capital, a city of three million. U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Russian President Vladimir Putin was “clearly weaponising winter to inflict immense suffering on the Ukrainian people”.

The Russian president “will try to freeze the country into submission,” she added.

There was no prospect of action from the Security Council, where Russia wields a veto. Moscow’s U.N. ambassador, Vasily Nebenzya, said it was against council rules for Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to appear via video as he did on Wednesday, and rejected what he called “reckless threats and ultimatums” by Ukraine and its supporters in the West.

He blamed damage to Ukraine’s infrastructure on its air defence missiles and said the West should stop supplying them.

Ukrainian authorities said three apartment blocks were hit on Wednesday, killing ten people.

“Our little one was sleeping. Two years old. She was sleeping, she got covered. She is alive, thanks be to God,” said a man who gave his name as Fyodr, dragging a suitcase as he walked away from a smouldering apartment building hit in Kyiv.

Also in the capital, performers and staff members of the Kyiv National Academic Operetta Theater tearfully bid farewell to 26-year-old ballet dancer Vadym Khlupianets who was killed fighting Russian troops in eastern Ukraine.

Moscow has shifted to the tactic of striking Ukraine’s infrastructure even as Kyiv has inflicted battlefield defeats on Russian forces since September. Russia has also declared the annexation of land it occupies and called up hundreds of thousands of reservists.

The war’s first winter will now test whether Ukraine can press on with its campaign to recapture territory, or whether Russia’s commanders can keep their invasion forces supplied and find a way to halt Kyiv’s momentum.

Having retreated, Russia has a far shorter line to defend to hold on to seized lands, with more than a third of the front now blocked off by the Dnipro River.

“Ukraine will slowly grow in capabilities, but a continued maneuver east of the Dnipro River and into Russian-occupied Donbas will prove to be much tougher fights,” tweeted Mark Hertling, a former commander of U.S. ground forces in Europe.

“Ukrainian morale will be tested with continued Russian attacks against civilian infrastructure … but Ukraine will persevere.”

Russia has been pressing an offensive of its own along the front line west of the city of Donetsk, held by Moscow’s proxies since 2014. Ukraine said Russian forces tried again to advance on their main targets, Bakhmut and Avdiivka, with only limited success.

Further south, Russian forces were digging in on the eastern bank of the Dnipro, shelling areas across it including the city of Kherson, recaptured by Ukrainian forces this month.

Reuters could not immediately verify the battlefield accounts.

Moscow says it is carrying out a “special military operation” to protect Russian speakers in what Putin calls an artificial state carved from Russia. Ukraine and the West call the invasion an unprovoked war of aggression.

(Additional reporting by Stefaniia Bern and Reuters bureauxWriting by Peter Graff, Alexandra Hudson, Philippa Fletcher, Editing by William Maclean)

Brain-eating amoeba infections keep spreading to new areas across the US

Insider

Brain-eating amoeba infections keep spreading to new areas across the US

Andrea Michelson – November 23, 2022

deadly amoeba
A map from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows brain-eating amoeba infections from 1962-2019.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • At least three people died of brain-eating amoeba infections in the US this year.
  • The amoeba was found in lakes and rivers in Iowa, Nebraska, and Arizona.
  • As temperatures trend warmer, infections have been reported further north than in previous years.

In 2022, deadly brain-eating amoeba infections were recorded in states that had not seen the water-borne pathogen before.

The amoeba Naegleria fowleri thrives in warm freshwater — mostly lakes and rivers, but it’s also been found in public splash pads. If inhaled up the nose, the microscopic creature can cause a devastating brain infection known as primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM).

In past years, this has meant that health officials in southern states spend their summers on the lookout for reports of mysterious brain infections. However, the amoeba’s geographic footprint has expanded as temperatures warm across the US.

About three PAM infections are reported each year in the US, and they’re usually fatal.

By Insider’s count, there have been at least four infections in 2022. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have kept a record of PAM cases since 1962, but the agency has not released data for 2022 yet.

One reported case came from Florida, where a teenage boy continues to recover from an infection he contracted in July. The other three individuals who got sick lived further north, and they all died shortly after coming down with symptoms.

States like Florida, which has the most reported PAM infections after Texas, are better prepared to treat any brain infection in a swimmer like a PAM case. As global temperatures continue to rise, a larger swath of health officials will need to prepare for summer infections.

The first exposure in Iowa

A Missouri resident died of PAM in July after going swimming in an Iowa lake.

Testing at the Lake of Three Fires later revealed the presence of N. fowleri in the southwestern Iowa waters.

Iowa officials had not previously detected the amoeba in the state, but it’s possible that it was present in past years. The amoeba only causes harm to humans if it enters the nose, gaining access to the brain.

It was the first recorded case of the season, and the first of two PAM deaths in the Midwest in 2022.

Nebraska’s first recorded case

Nebraska confirmed its first death due to N. fowleri in August, after a child died of a rapidly progressing brain infection. The state had never reported a PAM infection before.

The child fell ill after swimming in the Elkhorn River, located a few miles west of Omaha. Officials later confirmed the amoeba was present in the child.

The river runs along a similar latitude to the Lake of Three Fires, as well as a Northern California lake where officials believe a 7-year-old contracted the amoeba last year.

Infections have been occurring in the northern half of the US with increasing frequency as temperatures rise and water levels drop, Douglas County health officials said at a news conference.

“Our regions are becoming warmer,” county health director Lindsey Huse said. “As things warm up, the water warms up and water levels drop because of drought, you see that this organism is a lot happier and more typically grows in those situations.”

A late infection in Arizona

The brain-eating amoeba is not new to Arizona, according to the CDC. The state has reported eight infections with PAM since 1962, and a Nevada resident died this year after a potential exposure in Arizona waters.

A Clark County, Nevada, resident under the age of 18 died after swimming in the Arizona side of Lake Mead, a reservoir that is split between the two states.

According to the Southern Nevada Health District, the boy went swimming in early October and developed symptoms about a week later. Most infections have been reported in June and July of previous years, so it’s possible the amoeba’s timeline is expanding along with its geographic territory.

How deadly is lung cancer? Signs, symptoms and prevention, according to an expert

Yahoo! Style

How deadly is lung cancer? Signs, symptoms and prevention, according to an expert

Julia Ranney, Lifestyle Editor – November 23, 2022

X-ray of lungs showing lung cancer
Read on to learn more about lung cancer, its causes and key warning signs. (Photo via Getty Images)

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Contact a qualified medical professional before engaging in any physical activity, or making any changes to your diet, medication or lifestyle.

For years, more and more Canadians have faced the often deadly diagnosis of lung cancer. The condition can be hard to detect, and thus difficult to treat.

Almost 100 people every day are expected to be diagnosed with lung cancer in Canada, which is a concerning statistic.

For Lung Cancer Awareness Month, which is recognized in November, Yahoo Canada spoke to Dr. Susanna Yee-Shan Cheng, a Medical Oncologist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, about the condition and how you might be able to prevent it.

Read on to learn more about lung cancer, its causes and key warning signs.

doctor pointing at a photo of an x-ray of lungs
Lung cancers are usually grouped into two main types called small cell and non-small cell. (Photo via Getty Images)
What is lung cancer?

Cancer is a disease in which cells in the body grow out of control.

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, “lung cancer starts in the cells of the lung,” and when it starts in lung cells, “it is called primary lung cancer.”

Lung cancers are usually grouped into two main types called small cell and non-small cell.

Non–small cell lung cancer usually starts in glandular cells on the outer part of the lung, and small cell lung cancer usually starts in cells that line the bronchi in the centre of the lungs. Non–small cell is more common.

According to Cheng, while lung cancer might not be as common as skin or breast cancer for example, it’s the mortality rate that’s concerning.

“Lung cancer is actually the number one cause of cancer death. It is common but it’s actually the mortality that’s the biggest issue.”Dr. Susanna Cheng

“Lung cancer is actually the number one cause of cancer death,” says Cheng. “It is common but it’s actually the mortality that’s the biggest issue. Stage by stage lung cancer is prognostically worse than most cancers.”

What causes lung cancer?

Cheng says that smoking is “the number one cause” of lung cancer. As per Lung Cancer Canada, the majority of lung cancer cases – about 85 per cent — are directly related to smoking tobacco, particularly cigarettes.

Smoking increases lung cancer risk by:

• Causing genetic changes in the cells of the lungs

• Damaging the lungs’ normal cleaning process by which they get rid of foreign and harmful particles

• Lodging cancer-causing particles in the mucus and developing into cancer tumours

However, Cheng reveals that there’s a “growing number of patients who are non-smokers.”

man smoking a cigarette outside
Smoking is “the number one cause” of lung cancer, according to Cheng. (Photo via Getty Images)

“In particular, we’re now seeing patients who’ve never smoked or never had second-hand smoke exposure developing lung cancer, which is interesting because usually smoking is a key cause,” explains Cheng. “There’s a number of patients who are never smokers and might not have a reason to get lung cancer, so that’s the concerning part.”

Cheng says that “we don’t know why” non-smokers develop lung cancer, so more research needs to be done. However, her best guess is that it’s “related to certain hormones.”

That said, the main focus on lung cancer screening is for people with a history of smoking and who are between the ages of 55-70 years old.

Unfortunately, Cheng adds that “the system doesn’t allow for never smokers to be screened.”

“We’re now seeing patients who’ve never smoked or never had second-hand smoke exposure developing lung cancer.”Dr. Susanna Cheng

What are the signs and symptoms of lung cancer?

In its early stages, lung cancer might not cause any signs or symptoms. As the tumour grows and causes changes in the body, it usually results in coughing and shortness of breath.

However, if you have any of the below signs and symptoms that are linked to lung cancer, it’s important you see a doctor or medical professional as soon as possible:

  • A cough that gets worse or doesn’t go away
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain that you can always feel, and that gets worse with deep breathing or coughing
  • Blood in mucus coughed up from the lungs
  • Wheezing
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Hoarseness or other changes to your voice
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck or above the collarbone
  • Headache

Cheng notes that she usually sees “cough, infection or pneumonia” as precursors to lung cancer.

However, she reveals that “COVID put a stint in it.”

“Nowadays when someone has has COVID they they can be coughing for weeks and weeks,” she says. “Some cannot really tell what the symptoms are for sometimes, which can make it hard to diagnose at first.”

Male doctor examining patient in hospital gown who is coughing
A cough that gets worse or doesn’t go away is a key sign of lung cancer. (Photo via Getty Images)

She adds that cough, shortness of breath (especially when moving), unexplained weight loss, loss of appetite, chest pain, and hoarse voice are other possible warning signs of lung cancer.

“In smokers they may always have a chronic cough but in non-smokers they may never have a cough or develop it over time. Which can delay a lung cancer diagnosis,” adds Cheng.

How is lung cancer diagnosed and treated?

Lung cancer is usually diagnosed after a visit to your family doctor, who will ask you about your health history, symptoms, and perform a physical exam. You may also take a blood test, or get an X-ray, MRI or CT scan.

If lung cancer is diagnosed, other tests are done to find out how far it has spread through the lungs, lymph nodes, and the rest of the body. This process is called staging.

Screening for lung cancer is another important step that can help detect the condition early. With lung cancer, early detection is vital. The sooner the disease is diagnosed, the greater chances of survival.

“It’s unfortunate that there isn’t really screening for people who aren’t smokers yet, but hopefully soon.”Dr. Susanna Cheng

“It’s unfortunate that there isn’t really screening for people who aren’t smokers yet, but hopefully soon,” says Cheng.

When it comes to treatment, Cheng believes it’s going in a positive direction.

“In the last 20 years things have transformed significantly. We used to only have chemotherapy, but now it’s based on their pathology and their genetic mutations, which predicts what kind of treatment they get, such as immunotherapy and targeted drugs,” Cheng explains.

Woman smoking against a black background holding a poster with black lungs on it.
Stop smoking to reduce your risk of lung cancer. (Photo via Getty Images)
How can I prevent or reduce the risk of lung cancer?

Unfortunately, not all lung cancers can be prevented. However, there are things you can do to help prevent developing the condition, such as changing the risk factors that you can control.

Cheng says that the first thing you can do is to avoid smoking.

“Really, don’t smoke, and try not to be around a loved one who smokes because second-hand smoke risk is also very real,” she says.

Cheng adds that there aren’t many risk factors related to diet or alcohol, but keep an eye on “occupational exposure.”

“Watch occupational exposure like Ephesus. You could also check for radon in your house, but other than that there isn’t really much you could do,” she explains.