Temps will rise more this week
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The Confederate battle flag, which rioters flew inside the US Capitol, has long been a symbol of white insurrection
A historic first: the Confederate battle flag inside the U.S. Capitol. Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty ImagesConfederate soldiers never reached the Capitol during the Civil War. But the Confederate battle flag was flown by rioters in the U.S. Capitol building for the first time ever on Jan. 6. The flag’s prominence in the Capitol riot comes as no surprise to those who, like me, know its history: Since its debut during the Civil War, the Confederate battle flag has been flown regularly by white insurrectionists and reactionaries fighting against rising tides of newly won Black political power. An 1897 lithograph shows changes in Confederate flag design. The ‘Southern Cross’ design, chosen to visually distinguish Confederates from Union soldiers in battle, became a symbol of white insurrection. Library of Congress via National Geographic The infamous diagonal blue cross with white stars on a red background was never the Confederacy’s official symbol. The Confederacy’s original “stars and bars” design was too similar to the U.S. flag, which led to confusion on the battlefields, where troop positions were marked by flags. The official flag went through a series of changes in attempts to distinguish Confederate from Union troops. The Confederacy would ultimately adopt the “Southern Cross” as its battle flag – cementing it as a symbol of white insurrection. While it is technically the battle flag, it has been used the most, and therefore has become known more generally as the Confederate flag. The Confederate battle flag figures prominently in this depiction of the 1864 battle of Franklin, Tennessee. Kurz and Allison, restoration by Adam Cuerden, via Wikimedia Commons The original emblem Six decades before the Nazi swastika became an instantly recognizable symbol of white supremacists, the Confederate battle flag flew over the forces of the insurgent Confederate States of America – military troops organized in revolt against the idea that the federal government could outlaw slavery. The founding documents of the Confederacy make its goals of white supremacy and preservation of slavery explicitly clear. In March 1861, Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens declared of the Confederacy, “its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition.” The documents drafted by seceding states make this same point. Mississippi’s declaration, for instance, was very specific: “Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery – the greatest material interest of the world.” Rioting white students at University of Mississippi hoist a Confederate battle flag in a backlash against James Meredith’s attendance as the first Black student in 1962. Bettman via Getty Images Backlash against racial integration After the Civil War, Confederate veterans groups used the flag at their meetings to commemorate fallen soldiers, but otherwise the flag mostly disappeared from public life. After World War II, though, the flag surfaced as part of a backlash against racial integration. Black soldiers who fought discrimination abroad experienced discrimination when they came home. Racist violence against Black veterans who had returned from battle prompted President Harry Truman to issue an executive order desegregating the military and banning discrimination in federal hiring. Truman also asked Congress to pass a federal ban on lynching, one of nearly 200 unsuccessful attempts to do so. In 1948, the retaliation for Truman’s integration efforts came, and the Confederate battle flag resurfaced as a symbol of white supremacist public intimidation. That year, U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond, a South Carolina Democrat, ran for president as the leader of a new political party of segregationist Southern Democrats, nicknamed the “Dixiecrats.” At their rallies and riots, they opposed Truman’s integration under the banner of the Confederate battle flag. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, white Southerners flew the Confederate battle flag at riots – including violent ones – to oppose racial integration, especially in schools. For example, in 1962, white students at the University of Mississippi hoisted it at a riot defying James Meredith’s enrollment as the university’s first Black student. It took the deployment of 30,000 U.S. troops, federal marshals and National Guardsmen to get Meredith to class after the violent race riot left two dead. Historian William Doyle called the riot – which featured the Confederate battle flag at its center – an “American insurrection.” Charleston, Charlottesville and the Capitol More recently, the Black Lives Matter era has seen an increase in violent incidents involving the Confederate battle flag. It has now featured prominently in at least three recent major violent events carried out by people on the far right. In 2015, a white supremacist who had posed with the Confederate battle flag online killed nine Black parishioners during a prayer meeting at their church. In 2017, neo-Nazis and other white supremacists carried the battle flag when they marched in Charlottesville, Virginia, seeking to prevent the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. One white supremacist drove his car through a crowd of anti-racist counterprotestors, killing Heather Heyer. [Deep knowledge, daily. Sign up for The Conversation’s newsletter.] At the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, an image of an insurrectionist toting the Confederate battle flag inside the Capitol building arguably distills the siege’s dark historical context. In the background of the photo are the portraits of two Civil War-era U.S. senators – one an ardent proponent of slavery and the other an abolitionist once beaten unconscious for his views on the Senate floor. A man carries the Confederate battle flag in the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, between portraits of senators who both opposed and supported slavery. Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images The flag has always represented white resistance to increasing Black power. It may be a coincidence of exact timing, but certainly not of context, that the riot happened the day after Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff won U.S. Senate seats representing Georgia. Respectively, they are the first Black and first Jewish senators from the former Confederate state. Warnock will be only the second Black senator from below the Mason-Dixon Line since Reconstruction. Their historic victories – and President-elect Joe Biden’s – in Georgia happened through large-scale organizing and turnout of people of color, especially Black people. Since 2014, nearly 2 million voters have been added to the rolls in Georgia, signaling a new bloc of Black voting power. It should come as no surprise, then, that today’s white insurrectionists opposed to the shifting tides of power identify with the Confederate battle flag.This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts. It was written by: Jordan Brasher, Columbus State University. Read more:Capitol siege raises questions over extent of white supremacist infiltration of US policeA second impeachment is just the start of Trump’s legal woes Jordan Brasher does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
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Cabinet officials preparing to leave administration as DC prepares for Biden inauguration
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Selena Roth, a 25-year-old Army veteran and spouse, was killed at Schofield Barracks on Oahu.
- National Review
Senator Ben Sasse (R., Neb.) on Friday called for the rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol last week to be “prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” saying those who participated in the unrest that left five dead were “terrorists attacking this country’s constitutionally-mandated transfer of power.” Sasse’s comments come after the Department of Justice said in court documents that the rioters breached the Capitol with the intent to “capture and assassinate elected officials.” In a memo requesting that “QAnon shaman” Jacob Anthony Chansley be kept in detention, Justice Department lawyers in Arizona wrote that “strong evidence, including Chansley’s own words and actions at the Capitol” show that the intent was to harm elected officials. Sasse said it would be “wrong” of “rage-peddlers” to “try to whitewash the attack on the Capitol, saying that a few bad apples got out of control.” “Every American needs to understand what the Department of Justice has just made public: Investigators have strong evidence to suggest that some of the rioters who stormed the United States Capitol planned to kidnap and possibly assassinate the Vice President,” he said. “These men weren’t drunks who got rowdy — they were terrorists attacking this country’s constitutionally-mandated transfer of power,” he added. “They failed, but they came dangerously close to starting a bloody constitutional crisis.” He concluded: “They must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The FBI is investigating widespread calls for violence across the country and every American has an obligation to lower the temperature.” Last week, before the House impeached President Trump for a second time on an “incitement of insurrection” charge, Sasse had vowed to consider any articles of impeachment against Trump that came before the Senate. “The House, if they come together and have a process, I will definitely consider whatever articles they might move,” Sasse said in an interview with CBS. “I believe the president has disregarded his oath of office…what he did was wicked.”
- The Telegraph
Brad Vercosa has passed Jimmy’s Sport Shop in Mineola, Long Island countless times, but last Thursday he approached the counter, still in his slippers, to buy his first gun. The construction company owner is one of nearly five million Americans who have purchased their first firearm over the past 12 months, driving what analysts are calling the greatest gun-buying spree in the country’s history. The seeds were sown with the onset of the pandemic last spring, and grew in response to Black Lives Matter demonstrations and pro-Trump rallies over the summer. But for many of Jimmy Gong’s customers in Mineola – a suburban village 20 miles east of the skyscrapers of Manhattan – the storming of the Capitol by pro-Trump demonstrators on January 6 was the inflection point. The following day is one of the busiest Gong, 46, can remember, even accounting for a 150 per cent rise in demand. And he expects business to keep booming. After Donald Trump’s impeachment on Wednesday, the FBI warned of possible armed protests and “domestic terrorism”, amid reports of armed far-Right groups planning to gather at all 50 state capitals and in Washington DC in the run-up to Joe Biden being sworn in as president.
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- Associated Press
A white man who stabbed a Black college student to death at a bus stop on the University of Maryland’s flagship College Park campus was sentenced Thursday to life in prison for what prosecutors claimed was a racially motivated hate crime. Sean Urbanski, 25, apologized to the parents of 23-year-old Richard Collins III for the “horrible pain” he caused them and said he wishes he could “go back and change what happened” on the night in May 2017 when he killed the newly commissioned Army lieutenant. “There hasn’t been a day that’s gone by where I haven’t thought about what I’ve done to you, and if I could switch places with your son I would in a heartbeat,” Urbanski told Dawn and Richard Collins Jr. during a hearing conducted by video teleconference.
- Charlotte Observer
An Army private first class was arraigned on sexual assault charges before a military judge.
- Architectural Digest
- The Week
Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner have spent the past few years living in a six bedroom, 6.5 bathroom rented home in Washington, D.C.'s exclusive Kalorama neighborhood. The family could count high-profile officials and even one former president among their neighbors — as well as their own Secret Service detail, who had to rent a nearby apartment to use the bathroom because they weren't allowed inside the Kushner-Trump home, neighbors and law enforcement sources tell The Washington Post.It's not unusual for Secret Service agents to stay out of the typically expansive homes they're guarding, instead using a garage or auxiliary building as their home base, the Post notes. But Kushner and Trump took that to an extreme, forcing the Secret Service to install a porta-potty outside their home just so they had somewhere to relieve themselves, sources said. The unsightly outdoor bathroom was taken down after neighbors complained.That's when the Kushner-Trump detail started using a bathroom in the Obama family's nearby garage. But they were kicked out when "a Secret Service supervisor from the Trump-Kushner detail left an unpleasant mess in the Obama bathroom," the Post notes. Agents then headed to to Vice President Mike Pence's home a mile away to use the toilet or, when time was short, counted on nearby restaurants and even knocked on neighbors' doors. One of those neighbors eventually ended up renting a $3,000/month basement studio to the agents, making $144,000 in taxpayer money by the time the lease expires this September.A White House spokesperson denied Trump and Kushner barred Secret Service from their home, saying it was the force's choice not to come inside — something one law enforcement officer disputed. Read more at The Washington Post.More stories from theweek.com Trump's vaccine delay is getting suspicious The worst-case scenario for America's immediate future Statehood for D.C. and Puerto Rico only needs 50 votes
A chunk of stimulus payments are missing in action, thanks to a mix up that put as many as 13 million checks into invalid bank accounts.Why it matters: The IRS (by law) was supposed to get all payments out by Friday. Now the onus could shift to Americans to claim the money on their tax refund — further delaying relief to struggling, lower-income Americans.Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.What's going on: The newest COVID-19 relief bill — signed in the final days of 2020 — mandated the $600 payment to those making up to $75,000 per year (or 150,000 for joint filers) get out by Jan. 15. * The fast turnaround meant “some payments may have been sent to an account that may be closed or, is or no longer active, or unfamiliar,” according to the IRS website.To get a sense of the speed: It took 19 days to distribute half the first-round payments last spring, but two-thirds of payments were out the door just a week after the latest bill became law, according to an analysis by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. * Billions of those dollars are in the process of being returned to the IRS by tax preparers because of the error, though the IRS would not say how many payments were incorrectly deposited. * Jackson Hewitt estimates funds were deposited in 13 million accounts that were no longer open.How it works: These accounts are typically set up by tax prep companies, most often used by financially constrained taxpayers to get their refunds faster. * Some tax preparers told CNBC that the money would be deposited starting Feb. 1. What’s next: It’s up to those whose payments haven’t been disbursed by today to claim what’s owed on their tax return. * “You can wait until the money shows up, or you’re going to file your return and claim your money there,” Janet Holtzblatt, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center and former official at the Treasury Department’s Office of Tax Analysis, tells Axios. * “There’s going to be confusion” about which option to pick.Of note: Any refunds that also claim the earned-income tax credit — which offsets tax bills for lower income workers — can’t be issued before mid-February, prolonging the delay as the Washington Post points out.What to watch: The incoming Biden administration wants to issue another round of direct payments. Depending on the timing, the IRS could be juggling those checks at the height of tax season. * “I can never say with IRS that things are impossible, but it's going to be a challenge to get those payments out during filing season,” Holtzblatt says.You can check the status of your stimulus payment — and whether you can expect it by paper check, debit card or direct deposit — here.Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America.
- The Telegraph
- Miami Herald
As more rioters from the attack on the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6 get arrested, a clearer picture is emerging of who was there that day. At least a handful of Florida residents have been tracked down, thanks in part to video and images widely circulated on social media.