00:21 GMT16 January 2021
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    US Blows Past COVID Record with 2,800 New Hospital Patients in One Day

    The Critical Hour
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    Over 128,000 people across the United States were hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Monday, with a record increase of 2,800 new patients in a single day.

    Dr. Yolandra Hancock, board-certified pediatrician and obesity medicine specialist, joins us to discuss the coronavirus catastrophe in the United States. On Sunday, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screened the highest number of airline passengers in a single day since the beginning of the pandemic as the nation blew past hospitalization records. Additionally, the rollout of vaccines has been problematic, as the new, highly contagious variant of the virus has been detected in New York.

    Ted Rall, political cartoonist and syndicated columnist; and Greg Palast, investigative reporter, join us to discuss the Georgia runoff Senate races. Polls are open as the two Senate races, among the most expensive in history, determine whether Mitch McConnell holds onto power as the Senate majority leader. Early voting has shattered records, and election officials are expecting an extremely heavy turnout. Both parties are experiencing internal strife, and analysts are wondering if US President Donald Trump's fight over alleged voter fraud or the Democratic #forcethevote effort will affect the outcomes of the Georgia contests.

    Marvin Weinbaum, scholar-in-residence at the Middle East Institute and director of its Center for Pakistan and Afghanistan Studies, joins us to talk about the troubled Afghan peace process. Afghan government representatives traveled to Qatar on Tuesday in order to resume peace talks with Taliban leaders, despite mixed messages from US officials and a number of recent assassinations in the Central Asian country. Many insiders predict that the talks are doomed to collapse based on a host of angry statements and accusations that have preceded the meetings.

    Alexander Mercouris, editor-in-chief of The Duran and host of its YouTube channel, returns to The Critical Hour to review the UK court ruling rejecting the US' request for the extradition of WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange. Despite the potential for Assange's personal freedom from incarceration, many free speech advocates are deeply concerned with the verdict. Judge Vanessa Baraitser said, “This court trusts that a US court will properly consider Mr. Assange’s right to free speech,” which indicates that the US persecution of whistleblowers is receiving legitimacy and support from the UK government.

    Teri Mattson, Latin America coordinator for Code Pink, joins us to discuss the swearing-in of the Venezuelan parliament. A recent AFP article by Margioni Bermudez argues that the decision to boycott elections by the opposition was a strategic error, and that as a result, opposition leader Juan Guaido "will be out of his job as National Assembly speaker, losing the limited institutional legitimacy he had, and leaving foreign governments backing his claim to the presidency in a difficult position." Bermudez goes on to say that a measure passed by the opposition-controlled National Assembly to let it carry on as-is until new elections, alongside the new legislature that is favorable to President Nicolas Maduro, has no legal basis and does not seem to have much popular support. 

    Ray McGovern, former CIA analyst and co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, joins us to talk about his latest article about the suspected Russian hacking story. Ray argues that "this latest [New York Times] indictment of Russia does not substantially advance the story beyond the information available two weeks ago, when 'neither the actor, nor the motive, nor the damage done [was] known for certain in this latest scare story.'" Also, he discusses a story by a retired Indian ambassador who believes that Russia-US relations could go from bad to worse under the incoming Biden administration. 

    KJ Noh, peace activist, writer, and teacher, joins us to discuss the New York Times' crusade against China. The Times pushes the Trump administration's argument that China is responsible for the spread of COVID-19 due to its failures to act properly in January 2020. However, Reuters reported in June, "Scientists in Italy have found traces of the new coronavirus in wastewater collected from Milan and Turin in December 2019." Additionally, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday that he regretted the Trump administration had not fully resolved certain "hard issues" between the US and China, reported Bloomberg. 

    Dan Kovalik, labor and human rights lawyer, professor and author, joins us to discuss his book "The Plot to Attack Iran." Kovalik argues that the deep state and the CIA have conspired to vilify Iran. In his introduction to the book, Oliver Stone writes, "Over the past century, Iran's greatest resource, and at the same time, its greatest curse has been its oil. For it is oil that has caused the United States and other world powers to systematically attempt to destroy Iran." 

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    Tags:
    COVID-19, Nicolas Maduro, Iran, Afghanistan, Julian Assange
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