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Three southern BK nabes lead city in COVID positivity rates

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Three southern Brooklyn neighborhoods — Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach, and parts of Brighton Beach — currently make up the area of the city with the highest positivity rate for COVID-19 tests. 

City testing data shows 17.37 percent of all tests administered in the 11235 zip code produced positive results during the 7-day period from Jan. 12 through Jan. 18, when the most recent data is available. 

Some 521 new coronavirus cases cropped up that week in the area, which is nearly 100 more new cases than the next highest zip code, 10467 in the Bronx.  

While no other Brooklyn neighborhoods cracked the top five of the city’s highest COVID-19 positive testing rate, six other southern Brooklyn neighborhoods — Bensonhurst, Mapleton, Bath Beach, Gravesend, other parts of Brighton Beach, Coney Island, Seagate and Homecrest, in that order — are included in the top ten. 

Throughout Brooklyn, the positive testing rate sits at 8.13 percent. Across the Five Boroughs, where the rate has hovered around 9 percent, health officials have recorded 36,069 new cases over the seven days ending on Jan. 18. 

Theresa Scavo, chairwoman of the area’s Community Board 15, attributes the recent spike in southern Brooklyn cases to people dropping their guard to spend the holidays with family members.

“People are getting crazy, they have been locked in their homes for months,” Scavo said. “You had the holidays, people want to be with friends and family, and they let their guard down, that’s what happening.” 

She told Brooklyn Paper the community board has also received multiple reports from residents of store employees not wearing masks inside their businesses and people not wearing masks when walking on the waterfront. 

“The community board has received a lot of complaints that there are certain stores that the personnel of the stores are not wearing masks,” Scavo said. “People are mentioning that they are walking around in certain areas, along the waterfront, and people are not wearing masks.”

Area Councilman Chaim Deutsch, however, suggests the increase in COVID-19 rates could result from city dwellers traveling to his district for its recreational spaces, such as the waterfront, and also from caretakers coming from different areas of the city to treat the district’s high population of elderly people. 

“Because there is so much activity and so many places people can actually go to, you tend to have more people congregating in certain areas,” My district has a very high population of seniors… where they also have homecare attendants.” 

Deutsch recommends the city government dispatch people to knock on doors to educate residents on the importance of wearing a mask, washing their hands and social distancing to combat the spreading of misinformation about the coronavirus on social media. 

“There is not enough education,” Deutsch said. “People are constantly on social media… they need to re-educate people constantly because people always believe the last thing they read.”

But most importantly, he said the city needs to designate vaccinations to southern Brooklyn, especially his district, where there is an outsized senior population and coronavirus cases are soaring. 

“My constituents are telling me they are trying to get appointments,” Deutsch said. “We need to see the city putting in resources in those areas that need it most. My district needs it most.” 

Sheepshead Bay resident Ned Berke expressed frustration at the infection rate in a neighborhood Facebook group.

“Keep up the hard work of wearing masks around your chins, coughing into the markets’ open salad bar, and generally not giving a s—,” he wrote. “Sheepshead proud.”

Update (3:47 pm): This story has been updated to include comments from area Councilman Chaim Deutsch.

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In ambulances, an unseen, unwelcome passenger: COVID-19

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In ambulances, an unseen, unwelcome passenger: COVID-19

By STEFANIE DAZIO

today

LOS ANGELES (AP) — It’s crowded in the back of the ambulance.

Two emergency medical technicians, the patient, the gurney — and an unseen and unwelcome passenger lurking in the air.

For EMTs Thomas Hoang and Joshua Hammond, the coronavirus is constantly close. COVID-19 has become their biggest fear during 24-hour shifts in California’s Orange County, riding with them from 911 call to 911 call, from patient to patient.

They and other EMTs, paramedics and 911 dispatchers in Southern California have been thrust into the front lines of the national epicenter of the pandemic. They are scrambling to help those in need as hospitals burst with a surge of patients after the holidays, ambulances are stuck waiting outside hospitals for hours until beds become available, oxygen tanks are in alarmingly short supply and the vaccine rollout has been slow.

Emergency medical workers Jacob Magoon, from left, Joshua Hammond and Thomas Hoang lift a patient onto a gurney in Placentia, Calif., Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Emergency medical technician Thomas Hoang, 29, of Emergency Ambulance Service, loads a patient into an ambulance in Placentia, Calif., Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Emergency medical technician Joshua Hammond, right, of Emergency Ambulance Service, holds the hand of a patient to calm her down in Placentia, Calif., Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

EMTs and paramedics have always dealt with life and death — they make split-second decisions about patient care, which hospital to race to, the best and fastest way to save someone — and now they’re just a breath away from becoming the patient themselves.

They gown up, mask up and glove up, “but you can only be so safe,” Hammond said. “We don’t have the luxury of being 6 feet apart from the patient.”

Full Coverage:  Photography

Statistics on COVID-19 cases and deaths among EMTs and paramedics — especially ones employed by private companies — are hard to find. They are considered essential health care workers but rarely receive the pay and protections given to doctors and nurses.

Hammond and Hoang work for Emergency Ambulance Service Inc., a private ambulance company in Southern California. They, like so many others, have long fostered goals of becoming first responders to serve their communities.

Hoang is attending nursing school. Hammond is one test away from becoming a paramedic. Both were called to a life in the medical field after traumatic experiences: Hammond had to call 911 after his mother had an allergic reaction, and Hoang witnessed a young bicyclist get hit by a car.

Yet as COVID-19 infections surge and the risks increase, they wonder: Is it worth risking your life — and the lives of your loved ones at home — for a small paycheck and a dream?

“It’s really hard to justify it beyond ‘I really want to help people,’” said Hammond, 25. “Is that worth the risk?”

For now, yes.

“I do want to do my part in helping people get better, in a sense,” said Hoang, 29.

And so their day starts at 7 a.m.

Wearing masks, Hoang and Hammond clean their ambulance and equipment, wiping down every surface even if the previous crew scrubbed it already. They take no chances during their daylong shift covering the Orange County city of Placentia.

The 911 calls come in with limited information: a broken bone, chest pain, difficulty breathing, stomachache, fever. Every patient is a potential carrier of the coronavirus, whether they know it or not.

Sometimes, people know they’re infected and tell 911 dispatchers before the EMTs arrive. Other times, the symptoms themselves — fever, shortness of breath — signal a possible case. But Hammond remembers one woman, suffering from hip pain, who didn’t tell him or his partner about her coronavirus diagnosis.

He only found out afterward, saying it reinforced the importance of treating every patient as if they have tested positive.

“That was definitely a call where we learned a lot,” Hammond said.

Unlike doctors and nurses, first responders must go inside homes. They walk into hot zones where everyone in a household is sick, where the virus is in the air. They lift immobile patients onto gurneys, their masked faces just inches apart.

They race to hospitals already overwhelmed with sick people, sometimes only to wait hours outside before their patient can be admitted. And then they do it all again when the next 911 call comes in.

“We don’t know the end result,” Hoang said. “We only know the beginning to the hospital.”

Then there are those who direct the EMTs where to go. In Los Angeles County, 20 miles (32 kilometers) northwest from Hoang and Hammond, three young women stood before six screens apiece recently, talking into headsets with clear, clipped voices, marshaling other ambulance crews around a territory stretching from the mountains to the sea.

Ashley Cortez, Adreanna Moreno and Jaime Hopper work 12-hour shifts as dispatchers for Care Ambulance Service Inc. If the EMTs are the front lines, these women are the scouts.

They play chess with ambulances all day. When one gets stuck at a hospital for eight, 10 or 12 hours, the dispatchers must reposition the others to cover its area. When an EMT reports a positive COVID-19 test, the dispatchers must find a way to cover the ambulance’s calls if the whole crew must quarantine. When one household has multiple coronavirus patients requiring two ambulances, the dispatchers have to plug the hole.

Their greatest fear is what’s called a “level zero” — when there are no ambulances left to send to an emergency. In Los Angeles County, one of the nation’s hardest-hit counties during the pandemic, the fear becomes a regular reality.

For Moreno, 28, the anxiety begins the night before her shift.

“I lay there and know I’m going to come in, and I know I’m going to have no units to run these calls,” she said.

On Christmas weekend, Cortez watched as call after call piled up on her screen — with no ambulances available. Typically, it takes 30 seconds to send one out. That weekend, it took up to 15 minutes. And this was even before ambulances started languishing outside hospitals for hours.

“I was just in disbelief,” said Cortez, 26.

There’s not much more the dispatchers can do. They watch those screens. They listen to radio chatter. They rearrange the crews to cover the most territory possible. And they wonder what fresh horror awaits in a virus-ravaged world where the dangers are too many and the ambulances are too few.

“What if something happens to my daughter,” Cortez said, “and there was nobody to send for her?”

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California may have highly contagious homegrown COVID-19 strain

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Dr. Eric Vail, a pathologist at Cedars Sinai, said the strain could be responsible for doubling the state’s total death toll in the space of less than three months.

“It probably helped to accelerate the number of cases around the holiday season,” Vail said.

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Did a homegrown coronavirus strain cause California's recent COVID surge?

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Health officials in California are investigating whether a homegrown coronavirus strain could be partly to blame for the state's surge in infections. 

According to the Los Angeles Times, scientists stumbled upon the new strain while looking for signs of the highly contagious variant that originated in the United Kingdom before making its way over to the US. 

During that search, researchers found a new strain, dubbed B.1.426, which is thought to be responsible for the rapid rise in infections during the holiday season in California where more than 3.1 million cases have been reported and 36,790 people have died. 

The new strain is also highly contagious and is propagating faster than any other variant in California.

'While the B.1.1.7 strain may play an important role in increased COVID rates in the UK and Europe, there are still no reports to account for the current spike of cases in Los Angeles and California as a whole that began in early November 2020,' researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center wrote in their findings. 

Health officials in California are investigating whether a homegrown coronavirus strain, dubbed B.1.426, could be partly to blame for the state's surge in infections. The strain has five mutations including, CAL.20C (red bubble), which has been increasingly found in California
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Health officials in California are investigating whether a homegrown coronavirus strain, dubbed B.1.426, could be partly to blame for the state's surge in infections. The strain has five mutations including, CAL.20C (red bubble), which has been increasingly found in California 

According to researchers, the CAL.20C strain was barely detectable in October, but by December it made up 24 per cent of 4,500 viral samples
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According to researchers, the CAL.20C strain was barely detectable in October, but by December it made up 24 per cent of 4,500 viral samples

The graphic depicts the rapid increase of infections between late November through December in California. The increase is being blamed on what researchers believe is a homegrown strain of the coronavirus
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The graphic depicts the rapid increase of infections between late November through December in California. The increase is being blamed on what researchers believe is a homegrown strain of the coronavirus 

In California, more than 3.1 million cases have been reported and 36,790 people have died. More than 18,000 people died in the state in less than three months
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In California, more than 3.1 million cases have been reported and 36,790 people have died. More than 18,000 people died in the state in less than three months

'We report the existence of a novel strain CAL.20C that is currently increasing in numbers in Southern California,' they added. 

The B.1.426 strain was initially discovered in July, but it wasn't seen again until three months later. 

According to the research, the CAL.20C strain was barely detectable in October, but by December it made up 24 per cent of 4,500 viral samples. 

In a separate study, researchers found that 25 per cent of viral samples from Northern California between late November and December were of the same type, according to the LA Times. 

'There was a homegrown variant under our noses,' Dr Charles Chiu, a laboratory medicine specialist at UC San Francisco, told the newspaper. 

Chiu said if they hadn't been searching for the UK strain, they 'could have missed this at every level'.

According to the Cedars-Sinai team, the B.1.426 strain has five mutations, including the L452R mutation, which alters the virus' spike protein. The spike protein is what the virus uses to infiltrate human cells. 

The new strain is believed to be partly responsible for California nearly doubling its death toll in less than three months.  

However, just how big of a role the new strain played in the surge is still unclear due to the presence of other factors including holiday gatherings and people disregarding CDC guidance.

In order to determine B.1.426’s role in the surge, investigators are trying to figure out what it's capable of doing.   

In a separate study, researchers found that 25 per cent of viral samples from Northern California between late November and December were of the same type. A doctor checks in on a patient with COVID-19 in Los Angeles
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In a separate study, researchers found that 25 per cent of viral samples from Northern California between late November and December were of the same type. A doctor checks in on a patient with COVID-19 in Los Angeles 

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CA health chief says COVID infection curve 'beginning to flatten'

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Researchers told the LA Times that they will focus on its transmissibility and its ability to circumvent masks, drugs and vaccines, which are being used as tools to stop the spread. 

Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is stepping up its efforts to track coronavirus mutations to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines and treatments stay ahead of new variants of the disease until collective immunity is achieved, the CDC chief said on Sunday.

Dr Rochelle Walensky spoke about implications posed by the rapidly evolving virus during a Fox News Sunday interview as the 

More than 25 million Americans have been infected with the virus and there have been more than 418,000 deaths just over a year after the first US case of COVID-19 was documented.

Walensky, who took over as CDC director last Wednesday, the day President Joe Biden was sworn in, also said the greatest immediate culprit for sluggish vaccine distribution is a supply crunch worsened by inventory confusion inherited from the Trump administration.

'The fact that we don't know today, five days into this administration, and weeks into planning, how much vaccine we have just gives you a sense of the challenges we've been left with,' she told Fox News Sunday.

Biden's transition team was largely excluded from the government's vaccine rollout deliberations for weeks after his election as then-President Donald Trump refused to concede defeat and allow the incoming administration access to information needed to prepare to govern.

There have been more than 25 million cases of the virus reported in the US since the pandemic began last year
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There have been more than 25 million cases of the virus reported in the US since the pandemic began last year 

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LA County begins opening mass COVID vaccination sites

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Ron Klain, Biden's chief of staff, said in a separate interview on NBC's Meet the Press, that a plan for distributing the vaccine, particularly beyond nursing homes and hospitals, 'did not really exist when we came into the White House.'

Walensky said she was confident the government would soon resolve supply questions, and go on to dramatically expand vaccine production and distribution by late March.

Uncertainty over immediate supplies, however, will hinder efforts at the state and local levels to plan ahead for how many vaccination sites, personnel and appointments to set up in the meantime, exacerbating shortages in the short term, she said.

Vaccination has become ever more critical with the recent emergence of several coronavirus variants believed to be more transmissible, and in the case of one strain first detected in Britain, possibly more lethal.

'We are now scaling up both our surveillance of these and our study of these,' Walensky said, adding that the CDC was collaborating with the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration and even the Pentagon.

The object, she said, is to monitor 'the impact of these variants on vaccines, as well as on our therapeutics,' as the virus continues to mutate while it spreads.

Until vaccines can provide 'herd' immunity in the population, mask-wearing and social distancing remain vital to 'decrease the amount of virus that is circulating, and therefore, decrease the amount of variants that are out there,' Walensky said.

Although British officials on Friday warned that the so-called UK variant of the coronavirus, already detected in at least 20 US states, was associated with a higher level of mortality, scientists have said existing vaccines still appeared to be effective against it.

They worry, however, that a more contagious South African variant may reduce the efficacy of current vaccines and shows resistance to three antibody therapeutics developed for treating COVID-19 patients. 

Similarities between the South African variant and another identified in Brazil suggest the Brazilian variety may likewise resist antibody treatment.

'We're in a race against these variants,' said Vivek Murthy, nominated by Biden to become the next US surgeon general, on ABC's This Week program on Sunday.

Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease specialist, said in late December he was optimistic the US could achieve enough collective immunity to COVID to regain 'some semblance of normality' by the fall of 2021.

But Murthy said getting to herd immunity before a new school year begins in September was 'an ambitious goal'.

Nevertheless, Murthy suggested the government may exceed Biden's objective of administering 100 million vaccinations in the first 100 days of his presidency, telling ABC News, 'that's a floor; it's not a ceiling'.

Fauci, appearing separately on CBS News' Face the Nation, said the 100-million-shot goal encompasses people who may have received both injections of the two-dose vaccines and those who have only gotten the first jab.  

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“The President Threw Us Under the Bus”: Embedding With Pentagon Leadership in Trump’s Chaotic Last Week

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“The D.C. mayor finally said, ‘Okay, I need more,’” Kash Patel would tell me. “Then the Capitol police—a federal agency and the Secret Service made the request. We can support them under Title 10, Title 32 authorities for [the] National Guard. So [they] collectively started making requests, and we did it. And then we just went to work.”

What did Miller think of the criticism that the Pentagon had dragged its feet in sending in the cavalry? He bristled. “Oh, that is complete horseshit. I gotta tell you, I cannot wait to go to the Hill and have those conversations with senators and representatives.” While Miller confessed that he hadn’t yet emotionally processed the day’s events, he said, “I know when something doesn’t smell right, and I know when we’re covering our asses. Been there. I know for an absolute fact that historians are going to look…at the actions that we did on that day and go, ‘Those people had their game together.’”

Miller and Patel both insisted, in separate conversations, that they neither tried nor needed to contact the president on January 6; they had already gotten approval to deploy forces. However, another senior defense official remembered things quite differently, “They couldn’t get through. They tried to call him”—meaning the president.The implication: Either Trump was shell-shocked, effectively abdicating his role as commander in chief, or he was deliberately stiff-arming some of his top officials because he was, in effect, siding with the insurrectionists and their cause of denying Biden’s victory.

As for Mike Pence, Miller disputed reports that the vice president was calling the shots or was the one who sent in the Guard. The SECDEF stated that he did speak with Pence—then in a secure location on the Hill—and provided a situation report. Referring to the Electoral College certification that had been paused when the mob stormed the building, Miller recalled Pence telling him, “We got to get this thing going again,” to which the defense secretary replied, “Roger. We’re moving.” Patel, for his part, said that those assembled in Miller’s office also spoke with congressional leaders Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and Mitch McConnell. “We were called upon to do our job, and we executed because we had the reps and sets built into our process to get the troops where they were requested, to put up a fence, to secure a perimeter, and to help clear the Capitol compound. I mean, that’s just what we do.” Others, of course, believe reinforcements came far too late that day, possibly serving to embolden extremists for years to come.

Ezra Cohen, another of Miller’s top confidants, believes that his colleagues’ words and deeds may be well and good, but are beside the point: “The president threw us under the bus. And when I say ‘us,’ I don’t mean only us political appointees or only us Republicans. He threw America under the bus. He caused a lot of damage to the fabric of this country. Did he go and storm the Capitol himself? No. But he, I believe, had an opportunity to tamp things down and he chose not to. And that’s really the fatal flaw. I mean, he’s in charge. And when you’re in charge, you’re responsible for what goes wrong.”

Miller agreed, and I raced to Washington for COVID testing so I could join his entourage. Like many others, I had been worried that Donald Trump, using domestic havoc or a foreign military skirmish as pretext, might move to delay Biden’s inauguration—or actually attempt a putsch by invoking martial law. Having worked in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and later as an attorney for the CIA (before I began my career in journalism), I understood the national security wiring diagram. And I recognized that in the absence of the vice president invoking the 25th Amendment, Secretary Miller was the one person standing between an unhinged president and a full-scale national meltdown.

While waiting to begin my reporting in earnest, I sought a gut check from a senior national security official. “If I was writing your headline,” he advised me, “it would be, ‘Who really is the secretary of defense? Chris Miller? Kash Patel? Ezra Cohen? Or [Chairman] Mark Milley?’ I don’t know how to answer that, frankly. The scuttlebutt is that Miller is the good guy who’s the frontman and it’s Cohen and Patel who are calling all the shots.”

What happened on January 6 made the assignment feel even more pressing. With the president missing in action, who was protecting the republic? Was Miller—with his command of America’s troops and nukes—still receiving orders from the vestigial president? And what to make of Cohen and Patel, who in some corners of the Pentagon were referred to as zampolit, a term the Soviets used to describe political enforcers who were deployed to strategic locations to ensure loyalty to the Kremlin?

As the dust from the insurrection was still settling and as talk of impeachment gained momentum, I tagged along with Miller and his team as they went about their last days in office (Tuesday, January 12, to Tuesday, January 19). In addition, it was agreed that virtually everything would be on the record and on tape: Miller, Cohen, and Patel wore lapel microphones during our conversations.

Chris Miller—55, with a shock of white hair—neither acts nor speaks like a prototypical cabinet member. First off, he had commanded an airborne Special Forces battalion and fought in some of the earliest combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. (Three current officials I consulted, who asked for anonymity due to the sensitivity of the subject matter, confirmed that Miller had also served with Task Force Orange, a military intelligence unit so secret that its name is rarely uttered.)

Miller was a little-known careerist who had labored in relative obscurity for decades. That is, until November 9, 2020, when President Trump tweeted: “I am pleased to announce that Christopher C. Miller, the highly respected Director of the National Counterterrorism Center (unanimously confirmed by the Senate), will be Acting Secretary of Defense, effective immediately.” Trump added, “Mark Esper has been terminated. I would like to thank him for his service.” (Secretary Esper’s dismissal had been brewing since the summer, when he issued a mealy-mouthed apology for participating in a June 1 stroll with the president across Lafayette Square. Upon his departure, three top aides left with him.)

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Trump’s final days in office revealed in shocking detail

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An

article in Vanity Fair

by Adam Ciralsky has laid bare some kay aspects of US president Donald 

Trump

’s final days in office.The article sheds light on the crucial role of the US Defense Department during the weeks leading up to the inauguration of President Joe Biden.

These were remarkable and uncertain times in US history. When there is chaos and fear of insurrection, the behavior of vital people is brought to light, and they are put through a crucible of needing to make the right decisions at the right time. The article is important because it sheds light and references some key aspects of the last days of Trump. 

“I sought and secured a front-row seat to what was happening inside the Department of Defense, the only institution with the reach and the tools – 2.1 million troops and weapons of every shape and size – to counter any moves to forestall or reverse the democratic process,” writes Ciralsky.

The article begins with acting secretary of defense Christopher Miller at the White House with his chief of staff, Kash Patel. “They were meeting with President Trump on ‘an Iran issue’” on January 5, the article states. We now know that the next day a massive protest in Washington would lead to attacks on the US Capitol and ransacking of offices of US senators. This was unprecedented.

The article includes important insights from Miller, Patel and Ezra Cohen-Watnick, the under-secretary of defense for intelligence.

Miller came with experience from wars in 

Afghanistan

 and Iraq. He had commanded an airborne Special Forces battalion. The report looks at a week in his life prior to January 19. Miller had three goals, he told the writer: “No military coup, no major war and no troops in the street,” before observing dryly, “The ‘no troops in the street’ claim changed dramatically about 14:30... So that one’s off [the list].”

It shows the extraordinary place the US was in, during the fall of 2020 after the US election, and that a “coup” was even considered. The reference to a coup is left hanging. It’s not clear what Ciralsky meant. It is known that Trump attempted to reverse the election result. US National Guard were called into Washington on January 6, and more than 20,000 have been deployed.

PATEL TOLD the writer that the US had been successful in getting things done over the last several years: “[We] ended three wars.

Went to Damascus for [American journalist and hostage] Austin Tice.” Again, it is not clear what wars he is referring to. Trump sought to get out of Afghanistan and Syria. However, Syria is not really a major war today. There was largely a myth that the conflict against ISIS in Syria was an “endless war,” when in fact it was a successful operation with almost no US ground troops.

The Tice comment is more interesting. Last October, The Wall Street Journal wrote that Patel went to Damascus as a White House official for hostage talks. Tice is from Texas, and he was born in 1981. He went missing in Syria in 2012 during the Syrian civil war.

A former US marine, he was a freelance journalist when he was disappeared, allegedly taken by the Syrian regime. The discussions show that the US believed they could get him back, or at least learn of his fate. The Trump administration repeatedly sought to get US hostages back, such as US pastor Andrew Brunson, who was held by Turkey.

The attempt to get information on Tice and the lengths the US went to complete this mission are clear. However, it is unclear why nothing came of it. The Syrian regime likely wanted sanctions relief. Trump could cave on that key policy.

Another part of the article touches on Miller’s comments about “the $1.5 trillion F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (a deeply flawed system I had covered at length for Vanity Fair) –a purportedly off-the-record conversation that someone in the Pentagon decided to simply post on the Defense Department’s website.”

What did this costly, badly flawed aircraft – 27 years in the making – say about the Pentagon’s spending priorities, the author notes? “Miller started laughing before letting loose: ‘I cannot wait to leave this job, believe me. Talk about a wicked problem! I wanted to take that one on. F-35 is the case study… [T]hat investment, for that capability that we’re never supposed to use… I’m like, ‘We have created a monster.’”

The remarks by Miller referenced above are shocking. According to posts online, Miller complained about the F-35 as a “case study” that should be examined. He appears to curse the aircraft in the interview. While it is an unbelievable aircraft, someone tells Miller that it is a capability the US is “never supposed to use.” It is referred to as a monster.

Of interest is that Israel may want more F-35s in the future, and the UAE is buying them from the US now. It is unclear – if the plane is such a monster and a case study in a problematic program – why so many countries are seeking it. Is it just the prestige? Countries that acquired it seem to like using it.

Overall, the important article leaves many questions about the key weeks and months leading up to the end of the Trump administration. It also leaves open questions about what the administration wanted to do and didn’t accomplish.

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