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Military Veterans Overrepresented In Those Charged In Jan. 6 Capitol Riot

“Roughly one-third of active duty troops said they had "personally witnessed examples of white nationalism or ideological-driven racism within the ranks in recent months," according to a [2019 survey]…”

Military Veterans Overrepresented In Those Charged In Jan. 6 Capitol Riot : NPR

Tom Dreisbach and Meg Anderson, for NPR.

NPR compiled a list of individuals facing federal or District of Columbia charges in connection with the events of Jan. 6. Of more than 140 charged so far, a review of military records, social media accounts, court documents and news reports indicate at least 27 of those charged, or nearly 20%, have served or are currently serving in the U.S. military. To put that number in perspective, only about 7% of all American adults are military veterans, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Several veterans are charged with violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. One of them is Larry Rendall Brock Jr. The Air Force veteran was photographed in a military-style helmet and tactical vest carrying flex cuffs inside the Capitol. He posted on Facebook that he was preparing for a "Second Civil War," according to documents filed in federal court. In the weeks after Biden's victory, Brock posted that "we are now under occupation by a hostile governing force."

"I see no distinction between a group of Americans seizing power and governing with complete disregard to the Constitution and an invading force of Chinese communists accomplishing the same objective," Brock wrote. (There is no credible evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election.) He ended his post with a reference to the oath taken by members of the military: "Against all enemies foreign and domestic."

Some veterans who allegedly stormed the Capitol are still serving in some capacity. Jacob Fracker, 29, was an infantry rifleman in the Marine Corps and deployed to Afghanistan twice, according to the Pentagon. He now serves in the Virginia National Guard, according to widespread news reports, though he was not among the service members deployed to Washington ahead of the inauguration. He is also a police officer in Rocky Mount, Va. With him at the Capitol on Jan. 6 was his colleague from the Rocky Mount Police Department, Thomas Robertson, 47, who is an Army veteran also facing charges.

Federal prosecutors have also alleged that multiple members of the right-wing extremist group the Oath Keepers took part in the "incursion" at the Capitol. The group has been known to target and recruit active-duty members of the military and veterans, in part for their specialized skills. Among those charged in relation to the storming of the Capitol are Thomas Edward Caldwell, a Navy veteran and alleged leader among the Oath Keepers, and Donovan Ray Crowl, a Marine Corps veteran. They have been charged with conspiracy to obstruct the Electoral College vote, among other alleged crimes.

Roughly one-third of active duty troops said they had "personally witnessed examples of white nationalism or ideological-driven racism within the ranks in recent months," according to a 2019 survey conducted by the Military Times and Syracuse University Institute for Veterans and Military Families. Troops said they had seen "swastikas being drawn on service members' cars, tattoos affiliated with white supremacist groups, stickers supporting the Ku Klux Klan and Nazi-style salutes between individuals."

This entry was tagged. January 6 Insurrection Jesus and John Wayne MAGA Cult Military White Christian Nationalism

The Ignominious Deceits of Congressman Cawthorn

Now that I’m reading through Jesus and John Wayne, it absolutely doesn’t surprise me that a Republican representative would specifically lie about being: 1) really good at business, 2) military material, and 3) a great athlete. It hits the trifecta of masculine prowess and nationalist credibility.

The Ignominious Deceits of Congressman Cawthorn | The Nation

Sara Luterman, for The Nation.

Before January 6, 25-year-old Representative Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) was known for being the youngest member of Congress, an ardent Trump supporter, and one of the few wheelchair users in elected office. Now he is in the headlines for giving a speech at the “Stop the Steal” rally prior to the insurrection at the Capitol that left five people dead. Throughout his short but meteoric political career, Cawthorn has used his disability to tell a story of overcoming: Despite great adversity, he claims to have achieved excellence through grit and physical strength. Many of his campaign ads featured images of Cawthorn intubated and hospitalized alongside videos of him lifting weights and hurtling forward in a racing wheelchair. But his claims of sporting success—like his accounts of education and business acumen—have often been misleading.

Cawthorn became disabled after a 2014 car crash left him paralyzed from the waist down. By Cawthorn’s own telling, he was a successful business owner headed to the Naval Academy before his injury tragically reordered his life. As it turns out, neither claim is true. The Asheville Watchdog reported that Cawthorn had already been rejected from the Naval Academy before his accident. And Cawthorn’s real-estate investment firm, SPQR Holdings LLC, which he only formed in August 2019, reported no income on its tax documents, and Cawthorn was the sole employee.

But he has not only styled himself as Naval Academy material with a head for real estate. Multiple outlets reported that before he ran for office, Cawthorn was training for the 2020 Paralympic Games. There is little detail, but according to Micah Bock, Cawthorn’s campaign communications director, he intended to compete in the 400-meter dash at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. It would have been an incredible footnote in a politician’s biography: Paralympians are celebrated and accomplished athletes. But his hopes for the Paralympic Games, now slated for summer 2021, were allegedly dashed by his worsening disability.

Cawthorn frequently said on social media that he was “training” for the Paralympic Games. Technically, such a statement could be true—but only in the sense that I could be training for the Olympic Games. “It’s like a kid saying they want to play in the NBA when they’re on their fourth-grade basketball team,” said Amanda McGrory, a three-time Paralympian who has earned seven medals in track and field. Cawthorn stated on the Christian inspirational podcast The Heal, “I had an opportunity for the Paralympics for track and field.” He did not have that opportunity, nor does it appear he took any meaningful steps that would have led him there.

This entry was tagged. Corruption Jesus and John Wayne Olympics

Statement from Wheaton College Faculty and Staff

Wheaton College steps up and calls out White Christian Nationalism.

Statement from Wheaton College Faculty and Staff

The January 6 attack on the Capitol was characterized not only by vicious lies, deplorable violence, white supremacy, white nationalism, and wicked leadership—especially by President Trump—but also by idolatrous and blasphemous abuses of Christian symbols. The behaviors that many participants celebrated in Jesus’ name bear absolutely no resemblance to the Christian teachings or ethics that we submit to as faculty and staff of Wheaton College. Furthermore, the differential treatment displayed by those with a duty to protect in their engagement with rioters who trespassed on the Capitol grounds illegally, when compared to recent protests over police brutality in D.C. last summer, illustrates the ongoing reality that systemic racism in our country is tragically and undeniably alive and well. These realities are reprehensible. Our Christian faith demands shining a light on these evils and the simultaneous commitment to take appropriate action.

In the days and weeks preceding January 6, many more leaders, including many evangelical leaders, could have spoken truth to the disillusioned supporters of President Trump—diminishing the prospects for violence and bolstering the witness of Christian love and the call for justice in our civic life. Some did. However, many wittingly propagated lies, or were unduly silent in a just cause. Our Christian faith demands greater courage.

We repent of our own failures to speak and to act in accordance with justice, and we lament the failures of the Church to teach clearly and to exercise adequate church discipline in these areas. Moreover, we grieve over the inadequate level of discipleship that has made room for this type of behavior among those who self-identify as Christian.

“Dave Ramsey Fired my Daughter-in-Law”

Two weeks ago, we learned that Dave Ramsey doesn’t care about the health of his employees. Last weekend, we learned that he’s thin-skinned and vindictive.

tom_stephenson tweet thread from Sat, December 26, 2020 at 06:12 PM.

My daughter-in-law has worked for @DaveRamsey for 5 years. She loved her job and has been a model employee. It has been difficult this year with the Covid situation but she hung in there and did her job without complaining.

Last week my son made some comments to someone he did not know at a non-Ramsey dinner about the Covid situation at Ramsey and how crazy this year has been. The next day @DaveRamsey fired my DIL because my son expressed his opinions to someone who apparently called Ramsey.

It was apparently reported to Ramsey that my son said Dave was an idiot but my son confirmed with the person he talked to that was not what he said or even suggested. Not sure why the person felt compelled to call anyone about their conversation.

There was no discussion or questions about what her husband said or why- just "see you later". For a company that claims to be a Christian based organization and claims not to tolerate gossip and as a former CEO, I struggle to rationalize this intolerant, cult-like behavior.

As much as she loved her job, I for one am thankful she is out of there. She didn't deserve to be fired and I just needed to vent a little. P.S. The day after she was fired, she test positive for Covid after being exposed to it by at least 2 co-workers at Ramsey.

Dave Ramsey, Christian personal finance guru, defies COVID-19 to keep staff at desks

Dave Ramsey, noted Christian financial guru, is an unkind, abusive employer. How else do you describe the fact that he freely admits that COVID cases are out of control at his company, but that employees are not allowed to work from home? The only choice he gives his employees is coming to an infected workplace or quitting their job. He’s also suing a hotel for trying to institute safety measures at one of his conferences.

Ramsey has the audacity to say that “fear is not a fruit of the spirit” and “I do not let my behaviors be — dictated by fear unless it involves getting out of the way of a car that is coming toward me.” His statement is profoundly silly. COVID can mess you up just as bad as a car. Or worse. So why are you “getting out of the way of a car that is coming toward [you]”, but not getting out of COVID’s way? After all, most drivers will swerve around you. And if God wants to “call you home”, who are you to interfere with God’s plan by leaping aside? Or by wearing a seatbelt while driving?

After suggesting that staff members quit their job if they were worried about COVID, Ramsey’s HR director said “It is harsh and hard for me to say this”. Surprisingly, he didn’t seem to question whether or not he should be saying harsh things. I would suggest that Christians should be thinking long and hard before criticizing people’s fear and saying “harsh and hard” things about where to work, especially during a global pandemic. I don’t know what kind of a business Ramsey is running, but it’s not one that Jesus would claim.

Here are some of the actual fruits of the spirit: “love, forbearance, kindness, goodness, gentleness”. Too bad no one ever told Dave Ramsey that those fruits of the spirit apply to running a business and interacting with one’s employees.

Dave Ramsey, Christian personal finance guru, defies COVID-19 to keep staff at desks

by Bob Smietana, for Religion News.

Ramsey Solutions does not require masks at its offices — Dave Ramsey himself has been a vocal opponent of mask-wearing and other COVID restrictions. In a clip from his daily radio show, posted on YouTube in November, Ramsey railed against what he called “totalitarian” government restrictions and mask mandates, saying he wanted to “start a crusade” against them.

The Dave Ramsey Show is known for its host’s folksy financial advice balanced with a moralizing disdain for debt. One of the show’s highlights is a listener’s call featuring a “debt-free scream” to mark their liberation from consumer debt using Ramsey’s methods.

Since March, Ramsey Solutions has had about 100 cases of COVID-19 among its employees, according to a recording of a mid-November staff call obtained by Religion News Service.

Among that number were about 50 cases in mid-November, Ramsey Solutions Executive Director of Human Resources Armando Lopez told staff on the Nov. 13 call.

“There are 50 people that are somewhere in the neighborhood who are either positive or returning to work,” Lopez said.

Ramsey Solutions did not respond to multiple requests for comment from Lopez or other leaders.

During the November call, Lopez acknowledged the entire country — including suburban Williamson County, where Ramsey Solutions is located — was seeing spiking COVID-19 numbers. “Williamson County has seen a huge increase in COVID cases. And so have we. Ramsey Solutions has seen a huge spike,” said Lopez.

The human resources director also said he feared the numbers were higher, admitting the company lacked an accurate system for tracking COVID-19 cases.

Despite the number of positive cases, Lopez told staff in November there were no plans to allow remote working. The company allowed staff to work from home during the initial weeks of the pandemic but has required them to return to company headquarters since May.

Lopez said Ramsey Solutions leadership had decided it was not “a work from home employer.”

“Can we be a work from home employer for a short period of time?” he said on the Nov. 13 call. “We have proven for five weeks it works. Can we? Yes. Are we? No.”

That message was repeated in a company newsletter sent on Nov. 20, which reported 32 positive cases among staff and another 17 staff awaiting tests. The newsletter encouraged staff to report any COVID-19 test results to human resources but maintained that the company would continue operating out of headquarters.

“We know that many of you have felt pressure from family and friends, some of whom think you are ‘weird’ for still going in to work,” said the newsletter.

“Fortunately we work in a place that is used to being called weird,” the newsletter continued, then highlighted Ramsey Solutions’ “countercultural approach to business.”

“And now we are weird for following common sense and using logic in providing for our families and our customers,” according to the newsletter.

During the mid-November call with staff, Lopez said company leaders were not able to keep up with requests for exemptions to work from home, and employees were the best people to judge what is the right thing to do for their health. Some might decide they need to choose to quit their jobs, he said.

“We know we are going to lose some people through this,” he said. “It is harsh and hard for me to say this.”

The company has advised workers to social distance if possible and to stay home if they feel sick. In staff newsletters, the company has encouraged testing for COVID-19 but has also shared articles claiming the threat of COVID-19 has been exaggerated by the media.

“We are all adults here,” Luke Lefevre, a creative director at Ramsey, told employees in the Nov. 20 newsletter. “If you want to wear a mask, wear a mask. Give yourself healthy space from others. Use the stairs if you can. Don’t be careless.”

The company has also continued to hold large events during the pandemic, including its “EntreLeadership Summit” in July. That event was scheduled to be held at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in Kissimmee, Florida, near Orlando, but Ramsey moved the event to its Franklin offices after the Gaylord informed the company of significant COVID-19 restrictions, including mask checks, according to a lawsuit filed by Ramsey Solutions.

The summit was one of a series of “high-end experiences” put on by Ramsey, attracting thousands of business owners and other attendees, “each of whom spends between $5,000 and $15,000 to attend, inclusive of hotel,” according to the amended complaint in the suit.

The COVID-19 restrictions at the hotel, which included no buffets or other self-service food along with limited use of the pool or other amenities, made having the conference there untenable, Ramsey Solutions stated in the complaint.

In court documents, Ramsey Solutions claimed the change of venue cost the company $10 million in lost revenue.

During a July staff meeting after the summit, Ramsey accused the hotel’s leadership of breaking their word to him and the company. The mask requirement in particular irked Ramsey. He ridiculed the idea that hotel staff would enforce a mask requirement on guests.

“As you guys are well aware we don’t require masks but if someone wants to wear a mask we don’t mind,” according to a recording of the meeting obtained by RNS. “Everybody gets to choose what you want to do. This is America — a voluntary thing, you choose what you want to do. But we’re not going to have someone pay $10,000 for a ticket to have some $8 an hour twerp at Marriott giving them a hard time about wearing a mask.”

At a staff meeting after Thanksgiving, Ramsey continued his criticism of those who are ruled by “fear” of COVID-19 and are “freaking out” due to the pandemic.

“They have got fear, they have trepidation on the COVID, they are scared to death about whether or not they are meeting all the social cues on fear and masks and temperature controls,” he said on a recording of the meeting obtained by RNS.

By contrast, he said, staff at Ramsey Solutions would spread Christmas cheer and joy during the holidays — as well as courage, which he said was contagious.

The company, Ramsey said, would not be ruled by fear.

“Fear is not a fruit of the spirit,” he told his employees in the meeting, while rallying them to step up their performance during the holiday season. “It is not on the list. And so, while sometimes I am afraid, I do not make decisions — and I do not let my behaviors be — dictated by fear unless it involves getting out of the way of a car that is coming toward me.”

This entry was tagged. COVID-19 Christianity Dave Ramsey Jesus and John Wayne White Christian Nationalism