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Archive for January 8th, 2021

Rabid mob who stormed the US Capitol. They were also armed with a portable and potent weapon: flags of hatred and discrimination


By Anne Quito & Amanda Shendruk January 7, 2021. From Quartz

There were large election banners, battle colors from the American Civil War, neo-Nazi flare, Christian symbols, and a smattering of national and state flags.

Seen as a whole, they serve as a twisted ideological quilt for those who believe that the US election was stolen from incumbent president Donald Trump.

Trump supporters breach the US Capitol
A Trump supporter parades a Confederate flag at the US Capitol.

Of the various flags paraded around the seat of the US legislative branch, the most incendiary was a battle pennant from the Confederate army. Widely appropriated by white supremacists as a hate symbol, the “Southern Cross” (center row and middle flag) never has been paraded public inside the Capitol before, historians point out

“It’s an outright affront to the government in its entirety,” says Antaeus Edelsohn, a University of Richmond law student and vexillology enthusiast.

A sampling of flags seen at the Capitol insurrection

QUARTZ. Painful parade.

The ensign featuring St. Andrew’s cross with 11 stars was designed to identify Confederate soldiers through the mist, fog, and gunpowder in the battlefields, Edelsohn says. “Its purpose is specifically to stand out and say ‘we are against the United States; we are against the union.’”

Laura Scofield, a graphic designer and member of the North American Vexillological Association, contends that flags are “the most powerful artifact ever designed.”

Graphic marks, she explains, instantly gain emotional weight when emblazoned on a piece of cloth. “They’re powerful because they’re visible symbols of our identity. More than a cardboard sign, flags are dynamic. They communicate ideas quickly especially when hoisted to the heavens.”

This contributes to the effect of a bigger, more unified rally behind a cause.

Surveying the footage, artist-activist Mirko Ilić recognized several neo-Nazi symbols in the crowd. As curator of the Tolerance Project and a scholar on white supremacist iconography, he says watching the mayhem at the Capitol felt a bit like déjà vu.

“This is how things started in Yugoslavia,” notes Ilić, who was born in the former socialist republic. White supremacists cling to fascist iconography because Hitler’s army demonstrated how potent flags can be when seen en masse, he explains.

“In my opinion, branding was truly invented by Nazi Germany. It was total design. We have to be vigilant about these symbols because they’re like tea leaves. You can see the future.”

We took a closer look at the array of flags seen in this AFP photograph by Roberto Schmidt, which we obtained via Getty Images:

And that’s just a small sampling of the flags on display. For more detail on what we spotted in coverage of the insurrection, read on.

America First flag

Trump’s succinctly articulated foreign policy stance, immortalized in his 2016 inauguration speech, has been adopted by a” band of white nationalists and far-right activists spearheaded by 22-year old political commentator Nick Fuentes. They identify as “Groypers” or “America First boys”

Betsy Ross flag (1776)

An early version of the US flag, it has a circle of 13 stars in the corner, representing colonies that fought for independence during the American Revolution. Though not strictly a white supremacist symbol, it has been used by some extremist groups as an emblem of a more traditional (read: white and male-dominated) America.

A police officer detains a pro-Trump protester as mobs storm the U.S. Capitol, during a rally to contest the certification of the 2020 U.S. presidential election results by the U.S. Congress, at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, U.S, January 6, 2021.
A Betsy Ross flag

Calvin peeing on Biden

This flag was adapted from a decal featuring a bastardized version of the character Calvin, from the Calvin and Hobbes comic strip by Bill Watterson.

Come and Take It flag (1835)

symbol of defiance created by a band of Texans who resisted Mexican forces in 1835, the flag features a slogan that has been co-opted by gun rights activists, abortion rights advocates, marijuana enthusiasts, and even McDonald’s. But the phrase was originally a battlecry for Texan independence.

Culpeper Minutemen (1775)

This flag was used by militias around the town of Culpeper, Virginia, during the American revolution, when “minutemen” (troops ready for duty in “a minute’s warning”) got their name. The group’s rattlesnake flag bear the words “ “Liberty or Death” and “Don’t Tread on Me

Gadsen flag (1777)

The yellow flag, with a coiled rattlesnake and the words “Don’t Tread on Me,” has origins before the American Revolution, but has recently been used by the tea party movement, militia groups, and even in sports branding. Now, the flag tends to symbolize opposition to restrictions and government oppression.

A man walks with a Gadsden and American flags outside the U.S. Capitol, a day after supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump occupied the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, U.S. January 7, 2021. REUTERS/Erin Scott
A Gadsden flag


This symbol, used by ancient Christians, has been adopted by several conservative, religious groups supporting Trump. (Several protestors also held up a Trumpian pirate flag with the words “Jesus is My Savior, Trump is My President.”)


Flags bearing the capital letter Q signal believers of the discredited far-right conspiracy theory that a group of Satan worshipers are plotting to take down Donald Trump.

Republic of Kekistan flag

This flag first appeared in 4 Chan in 2017, as a symbol for the made-up sect who worship Kek, the ancient Egyptian deity of darkness.

Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gather in Washington
Battle banners

South Carolina Navy ensign (1778)

Used by South Carolinian naval fleets during the American Revolution and the Civil War, it features a rattlesnake against a field of 13 stripes.

Stop the Steal flag

This flag features the battle cry for the right-wing conspiracy theory that falsely posits that there was widespread fraud during the 2020 US presidential election.

Thin blue line flag (1922)

For some, the black and white US flag with a blue line through the center is a symbol of police solidarity. However, it has also been flown by white supremacists at gatherings like the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville.

Three Percenters flag (2008)

The Three Percenters are an American-Canadian faction described by the Anti-Defamation League  as “anti-government extremists who are part of the militia movement.”

Their name is derived from the unproven claim that only 3% of Americans fought for independence during the American Revolution. Their flag is similar to the Betsy Ross flag, with III (the Roman numeral for three) in the middle of the circle of stars.

Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gather in front of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, U.S. January 6, 2021.
A modern Three Percenter flag flies beside the Colonial-era Betsy Ross.

Trump 2020 banners

An enormous Trump campaign banner was the most visible flag draped in front of the US Capitol. Several protestors also held up Trump 2024 flags, alluding to Trump’s suggestion that he may run for office again.

Trump Rambo flag

“No man, no woman, no commie can stump him.” A cheesy incarnation of Trump as Vietnam vet John Rambo, from the movie franchise starring Sylvester Stallone, this flag was a common fixture at Trump rallies during the US presidential campaign.

Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gather in front of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, U.S. January 6, 2021. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
Alt-Right Rambo.

Unleash the Kraken

This is a reference to a threat by Sidney Powell, a member of the Trump legal team contesting the results of the US election. She was citing a line from the movie Clash of the Titans, where Zeus orders a monstrous a giant squid to destroy the city of Argo.

Upside down American flag

The US Flag Code stipulates that this can only be used in cases of “dire distress and extreme danger to life or property.”

US Marine Corps standard flag (1939)

Several protestors hoisted the red pennant of the US Marine Corps. A majority of military veterans voted for Trump, but his popularity among younger, active-duty personnel dipped during the last election cycle, according to a recent poll.

VDare/Lion Guards of Trump (2016)

This is the banner for an anti-immigration alt-right site founded by British-born columnist Peter Brimelow

Its lion motif is traced back to a quote from Benito Mussolini that Trump tweeted in 2016. It also has been used by the Lion Guard, a civilian group formed to protect Trump and his supporters.

Virginia confederate battle flag (1861)

This battle pennant first used by Confederate general Robert E. Lee’s troops in northern Virginia is often mistaken as the official flag of the pro-slavery Confederacy (it wasn’t).

The Ku Klux Klan began using it as a symbol in the 1940s. The state of Mississippi removed it from its official state flag in 2020.

Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump demonstrate on the second floor of the U.S. Capitol near the entrance to the Senate after bre?ching security defenses, in Washington, U.S., January 6, 2021.
A mix of flags inside the capitol building.

Miscellaneous flags


“Gays for Trump” showed up at the Capitol. Despite the president’s numerous attacks against the LGBTQ+ community, gay support for the Republican agenda doubled from 2016 to 2020.


The flags of Canada, Cuba, Georgia, India, Israel, South Korea, and South Vietnam were spotted in the mob. It’s unclear why many of these flags appeared, though a number of the white supremacist and militia groups that were present have international chapters. For example, the presence of the Canadian flag could have been because the white nationalist group the Proud Boys was founded by a Canadian.


Georgia, Maryland, Texas: Several state flags were present. There was perhaps some confusion about the official state flag of Georgia, as the symbol of the Republic of Georgia. also was spotted on the scene.

Karen K. Ho contributed research to this story.

How the poor people survive forced economic discrimination?

Are poor classes better off in their poor conditions in underdeveloped countries?

Posted on December 19, 2013

Dave Ramsey probably wasn’t expecting this much pushback when he shared a piece by Tim Corley contrasting the habits of the rich with those of the poor.

Ben Irwin posted this Dec. 3, 2013

20 things the poor really do every day

In her response on CNNRachel Held Evans noted that Ramsey and Corley mistake correlation for causality when they suggest (without actually proving) that these habits are the cause of a person’s financial situation.

(Did it never occur to them that it might be the other way around?)

Ramsey fired back, calling the pushback “immature and ignorant.” This from a guy who just made 20 sweeping assertions about 47 million poor people in the US — all based on a survey of 361 individualsramsey

To come up with his 20 habits, Corley talked to just 233 wealthy people and 128 poor people.

Ramsey can talk all he wants about Corley’s research passing the “common-sense smell test,” but it doesn’t pass the “research methodology 101” test.

To balance the picture a bit, I wanted to take a fact-based look at 20 things the poor do on a daily basis…

1. Search for affordable housing.  Especially in urban areas, the waiting list for affordable housing can be a year or more. During that time, poor families either have to make do with substandard or dangerous housing, depend on the hospitality of relatives, or go homeless. (Source: New York Times)

2. Try to make $133 worth of food last a whole month.  That’s how much the average food stamp recipient gets each month. Imagine trying to eat well on $4.38 per day. It’s not easy, which is why many impoverished families resort to #3… (Source: Kaiser Family Foundation)

3. Subsist on poor quality food.  Not because they want to, but because they can’t afford high-quality, nutritious food. They’re trapped in a food system that subsidizes processed foods, making them artificially cheaper than natural food sources. So the poor are forced to eat bad food — if they’re lucky, that is… (Sources: Washington Post; Journal of Nutrition, March 2008)

4. Skip a meal. One in 6 Americans are food insecure. Which means (among other things) that they’re sometimes forced to go without eating. (Sources: World Vision, US Department of Agriculture)

5. Work longer and harder than most of us. While it’s popular to think people are poor because they’re lazy (which seems to be the whole point of Ramsey’s post), the poor actually work longer and harder than the rest of us. 

More than 80% of impoverished children have at least one parent who works; 60% have at least one parent who works full-time. Overall, the poor work longer hours than the so-called “job creators.” (Source: Poverty and Learning, April 2008)

6. Go to bed 3 hours before their first job starts.  Number 15 on Ramsey and Corley’s list was, “44% of [the] wealthy wake up three hours before work starts vs. 3% of [the] poor.”

It may be true that most poor people don’t wake up three hours before work starts. But that could be because they’re more likely to work multiple jobs, in which case job #1 means they’re probably just getting to bed three hours before job #2 starts. (Source: Poverty and Learning, April 2008)

7. Try to avoid getting beat up by someone they love.  According to some estimates, half of all homeless women in America ran away to escape domestic violence. (Source: National Coalition for the Homeless, 2009)

8. Put themselves in harm’s way, only to be kicked to the streets afterward.  How else do you explain 67,000 63,000 homeless veterans? (Source: US Department of Veterans Affairs, updated to reflect the most recent data)

9. Pay more than their fair share of taxes.  Some conservative pundits and politicians like to think the poor don’t pay their fair share, that they are merely “takers.” While it’s true the poor don’t pay as much in federal income tax — usually because they don’t earn enough to qualify — they do pay sales tax, payroll tax, etc.

In fact, the bottom 20% of earners pay TWICE as much in taxes (as a share of their income) as do the top 1%. (Source: Institute on Taxation & Economic Policy, January 2013)

10. Fall further behind.  Even when poverty is the result of poor decision-making, often it’s someone else’s choices that make the difference. If you experience poverty as a child, you are 4 times less likely to graduate high school.

If you spend your entire childhood in poverty, you are 5 times less likely to graduate. Which means your future has been all but decided for you. (Sources: World VisionChildren’s Defense Fund, Annie E. Casey Foundation)

11. Raise kids who will be poor.  A child’s future earnings are closely correlated to their parents’ earnings. In other words, economic mobility — the idea that you can claw your way out of poverty if you just try hard enough is, more often than not, a myth. (Sources: OECD, Economic Policy Institute)

12. Vote less.  And who can blame them? I would be less inclined to vote if I didn’t have easy access to the polls and if I were subjected to draconian voter ID laws that are sold to the public as necessary to suppress nonexistent voter fraud. (Source: The Center for Voting and Democracy)

13. When they do vote… vote pretty much the same as the rest of us.  Following their defeat in 2012, conservatives took solace by reasoning that they’d lost to a bunch of “takers,” including the poor, who voted for Democrats because they want free handouts from big government.

The reality is a bit more complex. Only a third of low-income voters identify as Democrats, about the same for all Americans, including wealthy voters. (Sources: NPRPew Research Center)

14. Live with chronic pain.  Those earning less than $12,000 a year are twice as likely to report feeling physical pain on any given day. (Source: Kaiser Health News)

15. Live shorter lives.  There is a 10-14 year gap in life expectancy between the rich and the poor. In recent years, poor people’s life expectancy has actually declined — in America, the wealthiest nation on the planet. (Source: Health Affairs, 2012)

16. Use drugs and alcohol pretty much the same as (or less than) everyone else.  Despite the common picture of inner city crack houses, drug use is pretty evenly spread across income groups. And rich people actually abuse alcohol more than the poor. (Source: Poverty and Learning, April 2008)

17. Receive less in subsidized benefits than corporations.  The US government spends around $60 billion on public housing and rental subsidies for low-income families, compared to more than $90 billion on corporate subsidies.

Oil companies alone get around $70 billion. And that’s not counting the nearly $60 billion a year in tax breaks corporations enjoy by sheltering profits offshore. Or the $700 billion bailout banks got in 2008. (Source: Think By Numbers)

18. Get themselves off welfare as soon as possible.  Despite the odds, the vast majority of beneficiaries leave the welfare rolls within 5 years.

Even in the absence of official welfare-to-work programming, most welfare recipients enroll in some form of vocational training. Why? Because they’re desperate to get off welfare. (Source: US Department of Health and Human Services)

19. Have about the same number of children as everyone else.  No, poor people do not have loads of children just so they can stay on welfare. (Source: US Department of Health and Human Services)

20. Accomplish one single goal: stay alive.   Poverty in America may not be as dire as poverty in other parts of the world, but many working poor families are nonetheless preoccupied with day-to-day survival. 

For them, life is not something to be enjoyed so much as endured. These are the real habits of the poor, those with whom Jesus identifies most closely.

[Note: This post has been updated to more clearly identify the source for each claim made below. The original post included links to each source but did not call them out as clearly.]

Stand By Me: Nepal

Posted on May 15, 2015

Claire and I came to Nepal on vacation.

Actually, April 25th was the start of her two-month sabbatical!

We certainly didn’t have the experience we expected, but we’re both grateful that we had this time here, and that we were able to contribute in some small way.

Claire Davidson and I will be leaving Nepal tomorrow after three weeks here that we will never forget. Talk about bittersweet.

We arrived on the afternoon of April 24th.

The next day, as we were exploring the ancient capital of Bakhtapur with Ajay Uprety, the earthquake hit.

We were almost crushed by a falling building, and spent the rest of that day sprinting through Bakhtapur’s narrow streets, running from square to square through the destroyed 800-year-old city, to escape the recurring terror of the aftershocks.

We walked for several hours and eventually made our way back to our hotel, which had partially collapsed, and set up camp.

We immediately started mobilizing International Medical Corps‘ response with the help of a handful of strangers-come-friends who shared our campsite and who wanted to help.

Over the days that followed, more staff and volunteers arrived, and our response scaled up.

We chartered helicopters to reach the most remote villages, and we worked to bring safe water and sanitation facilities to displaced persons living in camps in Kathmandu and in destroyed villages around the epicentre.

Our team and our reach grew before our eyes as the global community generously contributed to our efforts.

On May 12th, we experienced yet another earthquake.

I was in Gorkha District with Ivy Caballes Registered NurseRemi DrozdLara Phillips and our team running a mobile medical unit when the building we were in partially collapsed and the hills around us started sliding away.

We flew back to Kathmandu with Tara Yip-Bannicq and linked up with Claire and other colleagues to immediately start assessments – going first to Bakhtapur, where Claire, Ajay and I were the day of the first earthquake.

We worked late into that evening, setting up a field post-op unit close to one of the hospitals we are supporting in Kathmandu.

We’re leaving Nepal with heavy hearts, as there is still an enormous amount of work to be done.

But we’re leaving our work in good hands, and we will continue to stand by Nepal from afar. We look forward to coming back under better circumstances, and to once again experiencing the beauty and kindness of this country.

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Tracy Chapman: “Stand By Me” – David Letterman Tracy performs the classic Ben E. King song.




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