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It’s a New Dawn

Well tomorrow is finally Inauguration day! It feels like Biden was elected a year ago. But nevertheless, tomorrow is the day. Let us pray for no crazy shenanigans on the part of Trump supporters and that the day runs smoothly because there is a lot of work to do. Either way, the National Guard had deployed over 25,000 troops to D.C. Hopefully, this is enough of a deterrent. 

Now the political news can move on to more normal and traditional topics, like the beginning of confirmation hearings for five of Biden’s cabinet members and Biden’s first hundred days. Biden has said the pandemic, immigration including a federal task force to reunite children with parents, rejoining the Paris agreement, a climate world summit, the Equality Act that benefits the LGBTQ community, and racial and criminal justice are all at the forefront of his agenda. Whew! That’s a lot to get done, so let’s get this ceremony over so the work can begin. 

White Supremacist Dominated the Riot Crowd

It’s been two weeks since a large number of Trump Supporters stormed the Capitol Building. Since then, the Justice Department has arrested and charged more than 120 people and the search continues for riot members. The majority of the people arrested have been individuals who posted videos of themselves on social media or who have been turned in by friends and family. The more we learn about the people at the capital the more obvious it is that they were white supremacists, plain and simple. And yes, that was the majority of them and yes they are your family, friends and neighbors. Now, the FBI is focusing on the extremist groups that were represented that day and those groups that were more prepared and organized among the larger mass of rioters.

One person charged was Robert Gieswein, a 24 year old from Woodland Park, Colorado who has ties to the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, and Three Percenters. Gieswein is charged with assaulting police, civil disorder, and obstruction of police and government. 

The Washington Post and NY Times have identified many of the flags and symbols in the crowds at both Trump’s rally and during the riot:

Deus Vult: Latin for “God Wills it,”  the flag was used during the Crusades and is now used by white supremacists. 

Confederate Flags: Used by the South during the Civil War. It is a symbol of slavery and white supremacy. 

Besty Ross Flag: It’s an early design of the current US Flag. It is now used by some white supremacists groups who idolize the time when women and people of color had no rights. 

Gadsden Flag: A revolutionary war flag initially popularized by the Tea Party, that reads, “Don’t Tread On Me,” and is currently used by militia groups.

South Carolina Militia Flag/Liberty Flag: Used by South Carolina during the Revolutionary War. The design is now incorporated into the actual South Carolina flag. 

KEK Flag: Started in the gaming world but then further developed by far right groups on 4chan. The Flag represents the fake country of Kekistan, where they don’t believe in political correctness and the design is similar to the Nazi flag.

III Percenters Flag: This is an altered form of the Besty Ross Flag and uses the Roman numeral for three to represent the anti-government paramilitary group. The group was formed on the debunked claim that only 3 % of the population fought against the British in the American Revolution. And now they believe that a small number of patriots protect Americans from the tyranny of big government. 

America First Flag: “America First” is the name of a podcast hosted by far-right activist Nick Fuentes, who appeared at the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville and later taunted people protesting the killing of George Floyd in police custody. 

VDARE Flag: Lion imagery, often red, white and blue and is associated with the xenophobic, anti-immigration website VDARE Foundation. VDARE’s name comes from Virginia Dare, who was supposedly the first White child born in the New World. It is run by “intellectuals” who share their opinions and publish articles by prominent white nationalists, race scientists, and anti-Semites. The organizer of the Charlottesville rally was a contributor to VDARE and in 2019, the Trump campaign came under fire after using the lion graphic in a promotional video.

QAnon: Q symbols on flags and t-shirts often accompanied by slogans like “Trust the Plan,” “Save the Children” and the abbreviation “WWG1WGA,” which stands for “Where We Go One, We Go All.” QAnon is an online conspiracy theory that believes Trump is leading a crusade against a cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles who encompass a majority of the nation’s elites, including politicians, celebrities and executives. 

Punisher Flag: The skull symbol of the Punisher, from the Marvel comic books has become a popular emblem on the far right and is sometimes used by police officers to signal one another without having to wear badges.

Oath Keepers: The Oath Keepers, one of the largest militia groups, focuses on recruiting  law enforcement and active or former military members. The group is founded on the notion of what it means to take an oath to protect the Constitution against “all enemies both foreign and domestic.”

Proud Boys: Proud Boys got their national attention when they were mentioned at the Presidential debate last year. They are an all white male group that is self-described as “western chauvinists.” They are known for anti-Muslim and misogynistic rhetoric. Prior to the insurrection they changed from their usual black-and-gold garb in favor of all-black attire and bright orange hats. Some members still donned the Proud Boys logo on patches, clothing and helmets.

I think the moral of this is that, white supremacy is alive and well and in full view of everyone. It includes people in all walks of life and should be a major priority for the country. There are so many groups and symbols, but they all say essentially the same thing: They want an all white, male country and everyone else doesn’t belong. 

NRA Attempts to Limit Damage

The National Rifle Association has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The bankruptcy filing came after NY attorney general Letitia James filed a lawsuit to dissolve the group. The group is accused of diverting millions in charitable donations for personal use by senior leadership. 

We are in our “strongest financial condition in years” and filing for bankruptcy protection was to escape “a corrupt political and regulatory environment in New York.”

Statement by the NRA

Chapter 11 bankruptcy is designed to allow companies or organizations to restructure their operations, shed debt, and delay lawsuits, while keeping the company intact. It could, however, lead to dissolution, but the NRA is betting that won’t happen. That is one reason they filed in Texas. They are likely hoping for and have a good chance of getting a Second Amendment friendly judge. A company can file for bankruptcy in any jurisdiction where they operate an affiliate group. 

Like a Cockroach

Josh Hawley (R-Missouri), who lost his publishing deal after the insurrection at the Capital, has found a new publisher. Simon & Schuster explained dropping Hawley’s book by saying:

“It will always be our mission to amplify a variety of voices and viewpoints; at the same time we take seriously our larger public responsibility as citizens, and cannot support Senator Hawley after his role in what became a dangerous threat to our democracy and freedom.”

His book “The Tyranny of Big Tech” has been picked up by a conservative publisher Regnery.

“Regnery is proud to stand in the breach with him. And the warning in his book about censorship obviously couldn’t be more urgent.”  

Regnery president and publisher Thomas Spence

Vid/Vac Update

U.S. The United States recorded more than 24 million COVID cases and Los Angeles County topped 1 million cases. COVID-19 deaths are currently at around 397,000 and are expected to reach 405,000 by inauguration day, which also marks the first reported case one year ago. To put that in perspective, the 1918 flu killed 675,000 American and 50 million worldwide. But seriously that was 1918, we could have done better.  Who’s to blame? According to the majority of Americans, Donald J. Trump. 

Federal PPP program.  It appears five anti-vaccine organizations  have received more than $850,000 in loans from the Paycheck Protection Program despite spreading misleading information about COVID. Those groups are: National Vaccine Information Center, Mercola Health Resources, the Informed Consent Action Network, the Children’s Health Defense and the Tenpenny Integrative Medical Center. This money really should be returned.

Florida. Remember Rebekah Jones, the data scientist who was fired for providing truthful information about COVID-19 in Florida. After her firing, her home was subsequently raided by police and she was accused of hacking the emergency management system to send a message to health department workers to “do the right thing.” She turned herself in after a warrant was issued for her arrest this weekend. She is now out on bail.

Florida Again. 40,000 people are overdue for their second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, which represents 5% of all the Floridians who have taken the vaccine. 

U.S. Black Americans are being vaccinated at lower rates than White Americans. 3% of the population have received the first dose, but in the 16 states that have released data by race, white residents are being vaccinated at a two to three times higher rate.