For three days after every major news organization declared Joseph R. Biden Jr. the victor of the presidential election, one widely read political site maintained that Pennsylvania was still too close to call.
The delay was welcome news to allies of President Trump like Rudolph W. Giuliani and friendly outlets like The Gateway Pundit, which misrepresented the site’s decision in their efforts to spread false claims that Mr. Biden’s lead was unraveling.
That site, Real Clear Politics, is well known as a clearinghouse of elections data and analysis with a large following among the political and media establishment — and the kinds of political obsessives who might now have all the counties in Georgia memorized. It markets itself to advertisers as a “trusted, go-to source” admired by campaign and news professionals alike. Its industry benchmark polling average is regularly cited by national publications and cable news networks.
But less well known is how Real Clear Politics and its affiliated websites have taken a rightward, aggressively pro-Trump turn over the last four years as donations to its affiliated nonprofit have soared. Large quantities of those funds came through two entities that wealthy conservatives use to give money without revealing their identities.
Real Clear’s evolution traces a similar path as other right-leaning political news outlets that have adapted to the upheaval of the Trump era by aligning themselves with the president and his large following, its writers taking on his battles and raging against the left.
As the administration lurched from one crisis after another — impeachment, the coronavirus, a lost election the president refuses to concede — Real Clear became one of the most prominent platforms for elevating unverified and reckless stories about the president’s political opponents, through a mix of its own content and articles from across conservative media.
In recent days, as Mr. Trump and his loyalists repeated baseless claims of rampant voter fraud and counting errors, Real Clear Politics gave top billing to stories that reinforced the false narrative that the president could still somehow eke out a win. Headlines on Monday — more than a week after Mr. Biden had clinched the race — included “There’s Good Reason Not To Trust Election Results” and “Trump Attorney Says Results in Several States Will Be Overturned.”
While many of its featured headlines promote articles that have been aggregated from competitors, a separate, donor-funded investigative unit within the Real Clear enterprise has been responsible for some of the most audacious work it has published during the Trump presidency. Sometimes these have been stories that most other news outlets, including some that lean conservative, would not touch because the details were unsubstantiated or publication of them would raise ethical concerns.
One article from October 2019, for instance, purported to name and identify in a photo the anonymous whistle blower who reported the phone call between Mr. Trump and the Ukrainian president that led to Mr. Trump’s impeachment. Other news organizations knew the identity but declined to publish it because of concerns that the person’s safety could be jeopardized. Facebook prevented people from sharing the Real Clear article, saying it violated the social network’s policy against inciting harm. Fox News cautioned its staff at the time not to identify the person on the air.
Other times its stories have been inaccurate. Another Real Clear investigative piece from April misidentified the author of an anonymous New York Times Op-Ed article written by a member of the Trump administration who claimed to be one of many high-level officials working to thwart the president’s “worst inclinations.”
The polling industry as a whole has taken a hit after the election, since most reputable organizations missed the mark with surveys showing a more dominant performance from Mr. Biden in key states. But in the lead up to Election Day, some of the country’s top political analysts raised questions about why the Real Clear averages often seemed skewed by polls that “have been a bit kinder to Trump” and didn’t adhere to best practices like person-to-person phone interviews, as Charlie Cook of the Cook Political Report put it in August.
Yet the polling averages and selection of political news and opinion pieces from across the internet were presented as they long had been: an authoritative curation of the best possible data and analysis on races around the country.
The founders of Real Clear Politics, two self-described news junkies who became friends at Princeton and started the website in 2000, said over email that they “fully stand behind” the average and their editors’ decision to publish those pieces. “Our advertisers, sponsors, supporters, and readers represent an array of perspectives across the political spectrum,” wrote John McIntyre, the chief executive, and Tom Bevan, the president. “And they know we practice fiercely independent journalism that necessarily covers all relevant sides of our national political and policy debates.”
Interviews with current and former Real Clear staff members, along with a review of its coverage and tax filings, point to a shift to the right within the organization in late 2017, when the bulk of its journalists who were responsible for straight-news reporting on Capitol Hill, the White House and national politics were suddenly laid off. Though the staff always knew the website’s founders were conservative and harbored strong views about liberal media bias, several said they never felt any pressure from above to slant their stories.
“One day we were all called in and told it was over,” said Alexis Simendinger, who was the White House correspondent for Real Clear Politics. “It was a very surprising thing.”
They were never given much of an explanation why, the former employees said. But they were surprised to learn who was replacing them in some cases: writers who had worked in the conservative movement or for the Republican Party. One hire was the former chair of the Manhattan Republican Party and was married to a senior Trump administration official .
Top Real Clear executives also developed business ties with a hard-right conservative outlet, The Federalist, that is frequently promoted on the Real Clear flagship website. Public records and interviews show that The Federalist, whose funding sources have been largely secret, draws from the same pool of donor money as Real Clear. In their statement, Mr. McIntyre and Mr. Bevan emphasized the website’s independence but declined to address specific questions about their donors.
Given the challenges of turning a profit in digital media, political publications often have a hard time existing on advertising revenue alone. Some right-of-center outlets like Real Clear and National Review, along with left-leaning ones like Media Matters for America and Mother Jones, fund part of their operations through foundations that can accept anonymous tax-deductible contributions.
Publishers and media scholars said that while these gifts provide a measure of financial stability, they can also cost an outlet its editorial independence — or the perception of independence. And accepting money from ideologically motivated donors, especially ones who wish to keep their giving private, opens the door to a host of ethical questions.
“There’s a history of relying on donors — everyone from National Review to the radio shows of the 1950s and ’60s had to do so, because none of them turned a profit,” said Nicole Hemmer, the author of “Messengers of the Right,” which explores the rise of conservative media. “The question is why they feel the need to hide their sources of funding.”
Some conservative moguls are publicly associated with the media enterprises they fund: the Mercer family, whose hedge fund fortune helped underwrite Breitbart, or Sun Myung Moon, the Korean businessman and spiritual leader who owned The Washington Times.
Ms. Hemmer said that “objectivity-laundering” was one concern if donors identities’ were not known — if sites like Real Clear were presenting “a fairly neutral, objective face while hiding a more conservative agenda.”
The beginning of the Trump era in Washington was difficult for smaller political outlets like Real Clear and The Weekly Standard, which struggled to find their sweet spot in a media landscape that was becoming ever more polarized around the new president. For conservative publications that remained critical of Mr. Trump, like The Weekly Standard, business was unsustainable. That outlet shut down in December 2018.
Others like The Federalist adapted by striking an aggressively pro-Trump, anti-left tone, eventually coming to warn that Mr. Biden’s victory would lead to “Marxist singalongs” in public schools and to recommend “coronavirus parties” as a way of defeating the pandemic.
From 2016 to 2017, donations to the Real Clear Foundation more than quadrupled to $1.7 million, with nearly all of that coming from two entities that conservatives use to shield their giving from public disclosure requirements, Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund. In 2018, the Real Clear Foundation had its best year yet, reporting more than $3 million in donations. One donor whose identity is disclosed on tax filings is Andrew Puzder, who was briefly Mr. Trump’s nominee for labor secretary and writes opinion pieces for Real Clear.
Public records from those years and interviews show how the leadership and donor base of Real Clear and The Federalist overlapped.
One of The Federalist’s major financial backers is the conservative, pro-Trump businessman Richard Uihlein, according to two people with knowledge of the website’s finances. Mr. Uihlein and his wife, Elizabeth, who runs their family’s multibillion-dollar packaging business, have been known to steer money toward hard-right candidates that many other Republicans have avoided, like Roy S. Moore, the former Alabama judge whose Senate campaign unraveled after women accused him of pursuing them and fondling them when he was in his 30s and they were teenagers.
Ms. Uihlein was also known for her outspokenness against public health lockdowns and revealed last week that she and her husband had contracted the coronavirus.
Together the couple have become one of the biggest sources of investment in conservative politics in recent years. They have given $250,000 to the Real Clear Foundation through their family nonprofit, tax records from 2017 and 2018 show.
The Federalist’s funding remains opaque, but its ties to Real Clear are detailed in public documents. Two top executives at Real Clear Politics were named in disclosures filed by Federalist entities. Mr. McIntyre, the Real Clear co-founder, is listed as a director of The Federalist’s umbrella corporation on a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that also bears his signature.
The Real Clear publisher David DesRosiers was listed as a director with The Federalist’s nonprofit foundation. And as reported by BuzzFeed and others, The Federalist has used the same address that Real Clear Politics uses as the location of its Chicago office.
Despite the dominance of pro-Trump outlets in conservative media, others that are more critical of the president, like The Bulwark and The Dispatch — both formed by alumni of The Weekly Standard — have expanded their audiences. Both were wary of a financial model that could open the door to meddling by donors.
At The Dispatch, for instance, no single outside investor can own more than roughly 5 percent of the company.
William Kristol, the editor at large of The Bulwark, said it was little surprise that there were conservative donors willing to fund pro-Trump news outlets.
“It’s hard to know who’s causing what,” he said about whether donor influence was skewing sites to take a harder line in defense of the president. “But the sea in which donors swim — that sea has turned out to be much Trumpier than I expected.”
Source:- The New York Times
Live politics updates: Biden plans to campaign in Georgia for Senate candidates – USA TODAY
Joe Biden’s Cabinet picks and other roles in his administration
The President-elect says he wants a government as diverse as America when he enters the White House. Here are some of his Executive Branch picks.
USA TODAY’s coverage of the 2020 election and President-elect Joe Biden’s transition continues this week as he rolls out his picks for top jobs in his administration and states continue to certify their vote counts.
President Donald Trump has cleared the way for Biden’s team to use federal resources and get briefings during the transition, although Trump has yet to formally concede the race.
Be sure to refresh this page often to get the latest information on the election and the transition.
Pence tells Georgia voters presidential election not over
Vice President Mike Pence on Friday said the presidential election is still undecided as he urged Georgia Republicans to put aside shared “doubts” about how fairly that race was conducted and show up for the state’s Senate runoff elections.
“We’re on ‘em this time,” Pence said. “We’re watching. We’re gonna secure our polls. We’re gonna secure our drop boxes. So get an absentee ballot and vote and vote today.”
Pence has not gone as far as President Donald Trump in falsely claiming the presidential race was rigged.
But he continues to assert that the winner hasn’t been determined.
– Maureen Groppe
Attorney General William Barr’s chief of staff has resigned as the transition to the Biden administration progresses. Will Levi’s last day is Friday, the Justice Department said.
“Will is a rarity: a brilliant lawyer with common sense, humility, and integrity. For the past two years, he has unstintingly given himself in service to the Department. As both Counselor and Chief of Staff, he handled challenges with remarkable resiliency and humor. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to work closely with him, and I know he has a bright future ahead,” Barr said in a statement.
Political appointees typically leave at the end of every administration. But departures in the waning weeks of President Donald Trump’s presidency have caught more attention recently because of the president’s refusal to concede or acknowledge President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
Levi’s departure comes a day after White House communications director Alyssa Farrah announced she is resigning after a 3 ½-year stint in the Trump administration.
Barr appointed Levi as his chief of staff last spring. His grandfather, Edward Levi, served as attorney general under President Gerald Ford, taking over a Justice Department recovering from the Watergate scandal.
– Kristine Phillips
President-elect Joe Biden said Friday he would campaign in Georgia, where two Senate runoff races could determine whether Republicans retain control of the chamber.
Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler are each in separate runoff races to hold onto their seats, with voting ending Jan. 5. Vice President Mike Pence campaigned in the state Friday and President Donald Trump is scheduled to visit Saturday. “I know we’ve all got our doubts about the last election. And I actually hear some people saying, `Just don’t vote,’ ” Pence said. “If you don’t vote, they win.”
Biden, a former vice president who served 36 years in the Senate, would need Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock to win both seats to achieve a Senate with 50 members in each party caucus. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris could then cast tie-breaking votes in favor of Democratic priorities.
Georgia has been reliably Republican statewide for decades. But Biden beat Trump in Georgia after he made two campaign stops in the state during the final week of the campaign, and had former President Barack Obama visit.
“Yes,” Biden replied Friday to a reporter’s question about whether he would visit during the runoffs. But he didn’t break stride after a news conference to say when the appearance might happen or where.
– Michael Collins and Bart Jansen
WILMINGTON, Del. – President-elect Joe Biden said Friday that plans for his Jan. 20 inauguration will be scaled back from traditional celebrations and look more like the Democratic National Convention that was held largely online.
Biden said plans are still being developed in consultation with House and Senate leaders who control 200,000 seats for the potential event. But he said decisions would be based on science, to avoid spreading COVID-19.
“It is highly unlikely there will be 1 million people on the mall,” Biden told reporters at The Queen theater, in response to a question from USA TODAY. “I think you’ll see something closer to what the convention was like than a typical inauguration.”
Biden said he expects there will still be a ceremony on a platform on the west front of the Capitol. But he suggested more of the celebrations will be held remotely across the country, rather than in downtown Washington.
“My guess is there will probably not be a gigantic inaugural parade down Pennsylvania Avenue,” Biden said. “I don’t know exactly how it’s all going to work out.”
– Michael Collins and Bart Jansen
WILMINGTON, Del. – President-elect Joe Biden said more must be done to plan the distribution of vaccines for COVID-19 after they are approved, but that his health advisers are developing plans.
“There’s a lot more that has to be done,” Biden told reporters at The Queen theater. “There is no detailed plan, that we’ve seen anyway, about how you get the vaccine out of a container into an injection syringe and into an arm.”
He called the anticipated distribution “difficult and expensive.” He also said it must be equitable, to ensure that communities of color receive vaccinations beyond those distributed through major drugstore chains that might not have offices in all neighborhoods.
Utah officials suggested they could distribute a vaccine easily, Biden said. But the process is “not that easy” in populous states such as California, Texas and Florida, he said.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Biden said.
Biden said he would take the vaccine – along with former presidents – as part of the effort to persuade residents of Black and Latino communities the vaccine is safe.
Coronavirus vaccine: Biden says he will join former presidents in publicly getting COVID vaccine
“I think that my taking the vaccine and people seeing me take the vaccine is going to give some confidence,” Biden said. “It’s going to take some effort to rebuild confidence in science because it’s been so diminished in this administration.”
– Michael Collins and Bart Jansen
WILMINGTON, Del. – President-elect Joe Biden on Friday called a federal report about job growth in November “grim” and said it reflected the economy is “stalling” amid a surge of COVID-19 infections.
“It was grim. It shows an economy that is stalling,” Biden told reporters at The Queen theater. “We remain in the midst of one of the worst economic and jobs crises in modern history.”
U.S. employers added a disappointing 245,000 jobs in November, the Labor Department announced. The figure was about half the 486,000 jobs that economists surveyed by Bloomberg had projected were added last month.
The lackluster report came as Biden said 12 million Americans face the loss of jobless benefits by the end of December. A moratorium on evictions also is scheduled to expire.
“This is a dire jobs report,” Biden said. “We need Congress and the president to act now.”
States are adding restrictions that will hinder economic growth. The number of coronavirus cases surged beyond 277,000 dead and 14 million having been infected. An additional 2,800 deaths daily and 100,000 hospitalizations have been reported this week.
The economy has regained about 11 million jobs lost early in the pandemic in the spring, but economists warn it could take years to restore 9.8 million jobs shed during the crisis.
Congress is considering a $900 billion stimulus, including loans for small businesses and a resumption of federal unemployment benefits, but without direct payments to individuals as happened over the summer. Lawmakers are also negotiating a spending bill to fund the federal government beyond Dec. 11. Both measures could potentially be combined.
But passage of stimulus spending for the pandemic is uncertain because the Democratic-controlled House seeks a larger package than the Republican-led Senate.
“We must get it done before we leave,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters Friday. “We cannot leave without it.”
Biden has said any money Congress approves this month would be a “down payment” and he would seek more when he takes office Jan. 20.
“This situation is urgent,” Biden said. “If we don’t act now, the future will be very bleak.”
– Michael Collins and Bart Jansen
Kellyanne Conway, former adviser and White House counselor to President Donald Trump, acknowledged President-elect Joe Biden as the winner of the presidential election during an interview with The 19th on Friday.
Conway explained it is Trump’s “right” to exhaust “all of his legal avenues” but “if you look at the vote totals in the Electoral College tally, it looks like Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will prevail. I assume the electors will certify that and it will be official. We, as a nation, will move forward, because we always do.”
She added, “You always need a peaceful transfer of democracy, no matter whose administration goes into whose administration.”
Conway, who also served as Trump’s campaign manager in 2016, has been a staunch defender of the president and his administration. She left her position in the White House in August to focus on family, but still remains a prominent member of the president’s inner circle.
Her admission of Biden’s victory is noteworthy, as many of Trump’s allies and those in the White House have not publicly acknowledged his victory as Trump and his legal team continue to challenge election results.
Most of the lawsuits brought forth to challenge the results have been dismissed or rejected due to the lack of evidence to back up the baseless. Attorney General William Barr said Tuesday that the Justice Department has not found evidence of widespread voter fraud.
Biden said Thursday night that many Republicans have been calling him privately to congratulate him.
– Savannah Behrmann
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she was backing down from months-long demands for trillions in new coronavirus relief to support a $900 billion bipartisan deal because of two things: Joe Biden was elected president and a COVID-19 vaccine is on the way.
“That is a total game changer. A new president and a vaccine,” Pelosi said, adding that some of her objections to the bill are OK because another batch of relief will come once Biden takes office. “We have a new president, a president who recognizes that we need to depend on science to stop the virus.”
The California Democrat has been the lead negotiator for Democrats on another coronavirus stimulus bill and has been firm in demanding a large package of about $2 trillion. She and other Democrats repeatedly rejected smaller bills to replenish some of the most popular programs, such as more funds for a small business loan program and unemployment assistance. Top Democrats even cast aside proposals from within the party to quickly get more aid to Americans. But this week, Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., backed a $908 billion proposal offered by a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the Senate and House, saying it offered a good framework for bipartisan discussions.
Pelosi, asked about the sudden change after months of demands, cut off a reporter’s question and sternly said, “Don’t characterize what we did before as a mistake,” she said. “That was not a mistake. It was a decision. And it has taken us to a place where we can do the right thing without other, shall we say, considerations in the legislation that we don’t want.”
The California Democrat added that she and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., have had discussions and both support adding a relief package to a must-pass government spending bill, though she noted work needs to be done to come to agreements on both COVID-19 relief and certain provisions in a spending bill.
Time is of the essence, though. The government is set to shut down Dec. 11 if Congress does not pass a spending bill that President Donald Trump will sign and the House is only scheduled to be in session for one more week.
“There is momentum,” Pelosi said, adding that Congress must pass more aid. “We need to do it to save lives and livelihood with the hope that much more help is on the way.”
– Christal Hayes
President-elect Joe Biden on Friday said his administration would be “the most pro-equality administration in history” as he called for a “new era of LGBTQ rights.”
Biden’s comments to the 2020 International LGBTQ Leaders Conference came while honoring House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., for receiving the LGBTQ Victory Institute’s History Maker Award. He recorded his statement for a panel marking the 10-year anniversary of repealing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy about sexual orientation for serving in the U.S. military.
Biden called it an honor for him and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris to have campaigned with a record number of LGBTQ candidates.
“It’s an honor to be an ally,” Biden said. “Vice President-elect Harris and I are committed to being the most pro-equality administration in history. But we can’t do it without you and we can’t do it without my dear friend Nancy Pelosi.”
Biden caused a stir as vice president when he supported same-sex marriage in May 2012 before President Barack Obama. The Supreme Court later decided in June 2015 that states must issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and recognize marriages from other jurisdictions.
“I can’t wait to work together again to continue to fight for full equality and to usher in a new era of LGBTQ rights,” Biden told the group Friday.
– Bart Jansen
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert and a leader in the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, will join President-elect Joe Biden’s administration.
Biden told CNN on Thursday that he asked Fauci to become his chief medical adviser and part of his COVID-19 response team.
“I asked him to stay on the exact same role he’s had for the past several presidents, and I asked him to be a chief medical adviser for me as well, and be part of the COVID team,” Biden said.
“Oh, absolutely. I said yes right on the spot,” Fauci told NBC’s “Today” on Friday when asked if he’d taken the role.
Ron Klain, Biden’s incoming White House chief of staff, praised Fauci in a tweet.
“There are few public servants in our history who have served as long and as well and with as much distinction at (sic) Dr. Tony Fauci. It will be a great honor to work with him again,” he wrote.
– Bart Jansen and Sean Rossman
The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives is set to vote on marijuana legalization at the federal level Friday, the first time either chamber of Congress has voted on the matter.
The bill is likely to pass the chamber, but the Republican-controlled Senate is unlikely to take up the legislation in the last two weeks Congress is in session this year.
The measure, sponsored by Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., would remove marijuana from the federal list of controlled substances and expunge some marijuana-related criminal records. It would still be up to states to pass their own regulations on the sale of marijuana.
Nadler told USA TODAY in September the vote on the bill would be a “historic vote” as the federal government put an end to its “40-year, very misguided crusade” against marijuana.
– Nicholas Wu
Vice President Mike Pence returns Friday to Georgia, when he’ll stump for Republicans seeking reelection in the highly watched Senate run-off races there.
Pence will participate in a 3 p.m. EST rally in Savannah. The vice president has campaigned for Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, who face Democratic opponents Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff on Jan. 5. The races have national significance because if Democrats manage to flip both seats, the Senate would then be split 50-50, giving Vice President-elect Kamala Harris the deciding vote in the chamber.
Pence also will visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta to lead a roundtable on the COVID-19 vaccine.
– Sean Rossman
President-elect Joe Biden had a big Election Day in New York. In the final tally, his victory got even larger over President Donald Trump.
The former Democratic vice president picked up 1.5 million additional votes when all the absentee ballots were tallied and final counting was finished.
It ended with Biden getting about 5.2 million votes to 3.2 million votes for Trump, a victory of 60.4% to 37.5%, according to the certified tally approved Thursday by the state Board of Elections.
Biden’s victory in New York bested the nearly 60% of the vote that Democrat Hillary Clinton garnered four years ago against Trump, the native New Yorker, and helped Democrats down ballot in key state Senate races.
Due to a surge in absentee voting because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Biden’s lead swelled in New York, as it had in many states. Biden won the popular vote by more than 7 million votes, according to national totals updated Thursday.
– Joseph Spector (New York State Team – USA TODAY Network)
Vaccines End the Pandemic’s Political Harmony – The New York Times
This week people in Britain learned that a coronavirus vaccine will soon be on its way — at least for the first batch of people. In Canada, however, vaccines were the focus of political squabbling.
After several months of the pandemic not being a partisan issue in Canada, the prospect of effective vaccines has finally politicized it. While the political dissent in no way resembles the polarization that surrounds the pandemic in the United States, Erin O’Toole has made the government’s vaccine plans the subject of his first major attack as Conservative leader on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Joining Mr. O’Toole have been several of the premiers. Ontario’s premier Doug Ford, who as recently as August said, “I absolutely love Chrystia Freeland,” Mr. Trudeau’s deputy prime minister, now grumbles about being denied information by the Liberal government.
Although no vaccine is currently approved for use in Canada, or in the United States or Europe, Mr. O’Toole introduced a motion in Parliament on Thursday to, among other things, require the government to post specific dates for when Canadians will start receiving each of the various vaccines it has ordered; offer details on how the vaccines will be shipped and stored; and state who the government will recommend be first inoculated by provincial health care systems.
“Canadians deserve to know when they can expect each vaccine type to be available in Canada and how many vaccines will be available per month,” Mr. O’Toole said. “In the middle of a historic health crisis, this government should not be operating behind closed doors.”
The motion followed earlier claims by Mr. O’Toole that the government had excessively focused efforts on a joint vaccine venture between CanSino, a Chinese vaccine maker, the National Research Council and Dalhousie University that ultimately fell apart because of lack of cooperation from China. He also said Canada was at the back of the line for the millions of doses of vaccines it has ordered.
The government rejects Mr. Toole’s accusations that it has somehow dropped the ball on vaccines and will leave Canadians waiting for the shots.
When confirming this week that the first doses will arrive in early 2021, Anita Anand, the minister responsible for buying them, emphasized that everything now hinges on Health Canada determining that the vaccines are both safe and effective.
“While there is pressure to move at the speed of politics, we will not rush the science,” she told a news conference. “It is not possible to circle a single date on the calendar but I can assure you that as soon as Health Canada approval occurs, our delivery process will kick in.”
But that does open up the question of why Britain is going ahead now with the vaccine from Pfizer, the American company that will also be Canada’s first supplier. Benjamin Mueller, my colleague based in London, recently explained that, unlike Canada and the United States, Britain’s regulator is willing to rely more on reports by drug makers that their vaccines are safe and work as promised, rather than analyze the raw data.
Not everyone accepts the wisdom of Britain’s accelerated approach.
Scott Matthews, a professor of political science at Memorial University in St. John’s, Newfoundland, told me that it was inevitable that the political harmony in Canada around the pandemic would erode.
“The prime minister has been benefiting from the absence of criticism,” he said.
But he said there was no danger that the current focus on vaccine delivery would harm the overall message of the importance of following public health guidelines to reduce infection.
“The Conservatives’ approach isn’t putting anyone’s life in danger and it’s natural they’d be criticizing the government — that’s what the opposition does,” he said. But Professor Matthews wondered what would be gained if specific dates are pinned down. “Is the motion they’re talking about really that important?” he asked.
On Nov. 7, before British Columbia imposed new pandemic restrictions and after the end of the pro hockey season, several N.H.L. players and Patrick Chan, an Olympic gold medalist in figure skating, climbed aboard two helicopters. Their destination was a makeshift rink about 100 kilometers north of Vancouver at a mountaintop altitude of 1,800 meters. Gerald Narciso tells the story of that day, which was captured in stunning photos by Devin Olsen and Zachary Moxley.
In Opinion, Nicholas Kristof has examined the harm inflicted by Pornhub and its Montreal-based parent company, Mindgeek, and asks: “Why does Canada host a company that inflicts rape videos on the world?” (A note of caution: His powerful report includes descriptions of sexual assaults.)
Suzanne Simard of the University of British Columbia is foremost among scientists who have changed how we understand forests. She has demonstrated that they are not a collection of solitary trees fighting each other for resources but rather vast and intricate societies exchanging carbon, water and nutrients through underground networks of fungus. Set aside some time for Ferris Jabr’s article for The New York Times Magazine, which is beautifully illustrated by Brendan George Ko, a photographer from Toronto.
Elliot Page, the Halifax-born and raised actor and Oscar-nominated star of “Juno,” announced on Tuesday that he is transgender.
A clutch of tiny eggs arrived at the Montreal Insectarium in 2018. They would solve a century-old mystery about an elusive leaf insect.
Several Indigenous podcasters offered their recommendations for podcasts about their people and communities.
As it wrote off $20 billion in natural gas investments. Exxon Mobil said it was removing gas projects in Canada, the United States and Argentina from its plans.
The police said two American women tampered with railway signals in Washington state, an action with the potential to cause a derailment. The tampering, which led to terrorism charges, appears to have been an act of solidarity with Indigenous Canadians opposed to the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline between Alberta and British Columbia.
A native of Windsor, Ontario, Ian Austen was educated in Toronto, lives in Ottawa and has reported about Canada for The New York Times for the past 16 years. Follow him on Twitter at @ianrausten.
How are we doing?
We’re eager to have your thoughts about this newsletter and events in Canada in general. Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Like this email?
Forward it to your friends, and let them know they can sign up here.
Will Rajinikanth's bet on 'spiritual' politics, 'change' mantra catapult him ? – Mint
Chennai: If his political package of ‘spiritual politics’ plus ‘change everything’ clicks, Rajinikanth would be the third star from the celluloid world to taste political success in Tamil Nadu after AIADMK founder M G Ramachandran and his protege J Jayalalithaa.
Whether or not his charisma and fan following would catapult him to political primacy could also be gauged, to an extent, from how he was going to explain his spiritual politics and the mantra of change to the people besides a host of other factors.
Assembly elections are due in Tamil Nadu during April-May 2021. According to the actor, spiritual politics is honesty, transparency and graft free politics transcending the barriers of caste and religion to provide good governance.
The ‘change everything’ slogan in addition to the ‘now or never’ is about a complete overhaul of the ‘system’ in governance and at the level of party structure as well to facilitate a real change for the benefit of the people.
The star, who had described himself in the past as a fanatic fan of late MGR, had invoked his legacy to assure a good administration for the benefit of poor and common man. Before he founded the AIADMK in 1972, MGR was with the DMK and had been also been active in politics. Virtually challenging Dravidian ideology, he had asked if honesty, belief in God and overcoming the barriers of caste and religion was alien to the Dravidian land.
On the poll prospects for the actor, political analyst Sumanth Raman said it was too early to predict since there were many questions to be answered by the actor. Raman wondered, “What is the meaning of change everything ? what is his policy and programmes ?”
He said the actor should explain how he would usher in the change that he has promised. Many things– like if his party would contest all the 234 seats, if it is so, who would be the candidates or whether there is a possibility of stitching an electoral alliance are not known, he said. Rajinikanth would also need a large team of credible faces to be fielded as candidates, he pointed out.
To a question on the actor saying in March that he would prefer to name a youth as Chief Minister and stay out of governance, Raman wondered if that view was still “valid.” “Rajinikanth will make an impact. But for the impact to be really huge, there should be answers for such questions. I can see that both AIADMK and DMK is rattled by his political innings.” he told PTI.
On spiritual politics, he said the DMK may try to give a spin to it, but he did not see ‘neagativity’ about it.
Dravidian ideologue V M S Subagunarajan, however, did not concur. He said the actor could not get a political foothold in Tamil Nadu since neither spirituality nor nationalistic politics have ever been successful in the state. Despite rooted in Periyar’s ideology, the state has some space for film stars but only for those who have either acknowledged or endorsed the Dravidian ideology like actors Vijayakanth (founder of DMDK) and Kamal Haasan (chief of Makkal Needhi Maiam), he said.
“Rajinikanth’s brand of spirituality is no doubt Hindu spirituality. His claim that he embraces all faiths is only hollow,” he said, adding the actor’s party, with its hues of spiritualism and nationalism may only be a clone of the BJP. “Nationalistic politics has no place in Tamil Nadu and yesteryear top star Sivaji Ganesan’s failure to take off politically is a very good example,” he said.
Renowned actor Sivaji Ganesan, who founded a political party after associating with the Congress, was defeated by DMK’s Durai Chandrasekaran in the 1989 Assembly election (Tiruvaiyaru assembly constituency) by a margin of over 10,000 votes. Ganesan could only emerge as the runner-up.
Film critic and political analyst M Bharat Kumar pointed out that the actor has said his spiritual politics treated all religions equally and that it transcended all barriers. “The AIADMK is already following soft spiritualism through several welfare measures for the benefit of all faiths including Christians and Muslims. So, we need to see how he is going to distinguish himself from the AIADMK to succeed,” he said.
The actor has promised ‘spiritual politics’ driven by the ‘change’ mantra in Tamil Nadu which is dominated by Dravidian politics of the AIADMK and DMK for over five decades.
The death of former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, and DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi in 2016 and 2018 respectively, provided the perfect setting for Kamal Haasan and now Rajinikanth to aspire to climb the political ladder.
This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.
Japan awaits capsule's return with asteroid soil samples – North Shore News
Former B.C. resident participating in AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine trial – Global News
Why some say Canada needs to do more to protect essential workers until COVID-19 vaccine arrives – CBC.ca
Silver investment demand jumped 12% in 2019
Iran anticipates renewed protests amid social media shutdown
Galaxy M31 July 2020 security update brings Glance, a content-driven lockscreen wallpaper service
Tech9 hours ago
Tips on how to find the Playstation 5 and XBox Series X, the hottest items this Christmas – CTV Edmonton
Real eState22 hours ago
5 Reasons for Tenants to Buy Instead of Renting – An Economic Perspective
Science22 hours ago
NASA buying Moon dust for US$1 – CTV News
Economy22 hours ago
5 Strongest Growing Provinces and Territories in Canada
Tech15 hours ago
Sonos One Wi-Fi speakers are $40 off today – The Verge
Art22 hours ago
Defining Art Moments in 2020 – The New York Times
Economy15 hours ago
Canadian economy added 62,000 jobs in November, Statistics Canada says – KitchenerToday.com
Tech5 hours ago
Tips on how to find the Playstation 5 and XBox Series X, the hottest items this Christmas – CTV News Ottawa