It’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and for several hours now countless mostly white, mostly male pro-gun, anti-gun control activists have been marching throughout the streets of Richmond, Virginia, claiming to merely be exercising their Second Amendment rights. Many appear to be dressed in military garb, including camouflage, masks, and donning various types of firearms over their shoulders or at their side.
Some Virginians have been so concerned about the possibility of violence that Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency and banned guns from the capitol. His ban survived a state supreme court challenge. Some say the ban does not appear to have been enforced.
Thousands are marching, including some white nationalists, far-right militia members, anti-government extremists, and neo-Nazis. As NBC News reports, members of some of those groups from across the country have been planning on attending.
To get a sense of scale here’s a photo from an ABC reporter:
Crowd from above at the Richmond 2A protest @ABC7News
— Caroline Patrickis (@Cpatrickis) January 20, 2020
Many online noted the reception from pro-gun advocates might be far different if the activists were Black instead of white, given the nation’s history – and that of Virginia.
The Virginia Mercury’s Ned Oliver posted this video at 7:35 AM:
Here’s a line of heavily armed rally attendees outside the VA Capitol pic.twitter.com/ze2ZUYf0SR
— Ned Oliver (@nedoliver) January 20, 2020
One social media user asked, “Can you imagine a group of black men walking around with masks and guns?”
Can you imagine a group of black men walking around with masks and guns? https://t.co/aI9fwe6nTi
— Pariah Carey (@weekend3warrior) January 20, 2020
Government ethics expert Walter Shaub offers this insight.
Imagine how Fox News would cover this if these guys weren’t white. Imagine what Trump would tweet. Imagine how much danger they’d be in. But these guys are allowed to silence counter protesters by showing up armed to the teeth after some of their allies have threatened violence. https://t.co/scmDaodgku
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) January 20, 2020
Days ago President Trump essentially endorsed the rally in a tweet and then did so again minutes ago.
The Democrat Party in the Great Commonwealth of Virginia are working hard to take away your 2nd Amendment rights. This is just the beginning. Don’t let it happen, VOTE REPUBLICAN in 2020!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 20, 2020
Some are asking questions like, “Imagine if Black folks just decided to have a ‘gun rally’ like this.”
Take a look at these responses from social media users.
There's a mob of white folks walking around the streets of Virginia with assault rifles, MAGA hats and trump flags and nobody seems to care, nor think anything bad can possibly come from this.
Imagine if Black folks just decided to have a "gun rally" like this.
— Skoob 🇵🇦🇯🇲 (@TheKidSkoob) January 20, 2020
Imagine if a large group of black men with assault weapons and ski masks were marching in the VA capital.
The privilege on display here is really something.
— Kathmandu🦅💚 (@Kathmandu513) January 20, 2020
— CrazyLikeATiger (@groundedsince87) January 20, 2020
I’m only leaving my apartment for the gym today and already the amount of confederate flag shit I’m seeing for these guns rights people is ridiculous. I’m only commenting so gun nuts will stop the dishonest framing of this issue as an act to protect Black people.
— AdenWare (@AdenWare) January 20, 2020
Imagine if a group of black people lined up outside the capitol with guns 🤦🏾♂️ https://t.co/EGzgwj2deH
— Terrence Everett (@IB_terrence) January 20, 2020
Don’t use MLK or any minority groups to promote your fear message. You all know damn well if those were majority black men with their military-grade guns protesting out there, it would be a different story. #VirginiaRally
— mariah loves wonho 🇭🇰 (@ohnoitsmariah__) January 20, 2020
In the 1960s, when the Black Panthers were the ones carrying guns, Republicans were much more sympathetic to gun control. A total coincidence I’m sure. https://t.co/7ELwGC6hmD
— Max Boot (@MaxBoot) January 20, 2020
that history here https://t.co/uuJFOkmUjN
— David Dayen (@ddayen) January 20, 2020
What’s happening in Richmond today is not only scary but also underscores that the cruelty is the point. If they just wanted to advance an argument on gun rights, they wouldn’t do it on #MLKDay. The miss being able to openly terrify people, especially black people. #richmondrally https://t.co/Koc8EYoRit
— ilyse hogue (@ilyseh) January 20, 2020
Image: Screenshot via Twitter
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DeSantis Hires New Surgeon General: A Hydroxychloroquine-Pushing Physician Who Appeared in ‘Demon Sperm’ Doc’s Video
Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, responsible for one of the worst COVID-19 responses in the nation, has just announced his new Surgeon General, Joseph A. Ladapo, MD, PhD, a UCLA Medical Center physician and health policy researcher who appeared in the viral “Demon Sperm” quack doctor’s video that advocated the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19.
Today, I appointed Dr. Joseph A. Ladapo, MD, PhD as Florida Surgeon General and Secretary of the Florida Department of Health. He has a remarkable academic and medical career, and will bring great leadership to @healthyFla. Watch: https://t.co/7b3KnwIpjI
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) September 21, 2021
NEW: Florida’s new Surgeon General, Dr. Joseph Ladapo, was a strong proponent of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID.
He was in a viral video – now removed from social media – discussing his belief that the drug helps COVID patients.
Here’s a portion 👇 pic.twitter.com/xPzfMKmEud
— Jay O’Brien (@jayobtv) September 21, 2021
Dr. Ladapo appears to be anti-mask, pro-ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine, and against mass vaccinating the public against the coronavirus which to date has now killed over 675,000 Americans.
For example, in one of his many op-eds, mostly published in the Wall Street Journal, Dr. Lapado says it’s “reasonable” for parents to not want to, or to be skeptical of vaccinating their children. In February he hinted that the vaccine might not be safe for pregnant women, calling for “humility about areas of uncertainty—such as vaccination in pregnant women.” CDC guidance now urges them to be vaccinated. Studies show pregnant women who contract coronavirus are 10, 15, and even 22 times more likely to die if unvaccinated.
“Tools for stopping variants are limited and, like masks and distancing, vaccines are not a panacea,” Dr. Ladapo also wrote in February.
Ron Desantis today appoints UCLA professor Joseph Ladapo as FL’s new Surgeon General. He goes across the country to bring in an anti-mask, anti-vaccine guy who is required to start every interview with “my views are my own and not those of UCLA.” pic.twitter.com/wayDqmP2R0
— Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) September 21, 2021
In an April op-ed, “An American Epidemic of ‘Covid Mania’,” he wrote: “The problem isn’t only the overreaction to the virus but the diminution of every other problem.”
In June he asked, “Are Covid Vaccines Riskier Than Advertised?” despite billions of people worldwide having been vaccinated with almost no lasting negative side effects.
Dr. Ladapo appeared in a viral video social media companies removed from their platforms in 2020, a video that received millions of views in part thanks to then-President Donald Trump. It featured “a group that has dubbed itself America’s Frontline Doctors, standing on the steps of the Supreme Court and claiming that neither masks nor shutdowns are necessary to fight the pandemic, despite a plethora of expertise to the contrary,” as The Washington Post reported.
The lead physician, Stella Immanuel, “has a history of making particularly outlandish statements — including that the uterine disorder endometriosis is caused by sex with demons that takes place in dreams.”
That led phrases like “demon semen,” and “demon sperm” to take over social media.
Rolling Stone, profiling the physicians who appeared in the video, including Ladapo, called them “COVID-19 Truthers.”
Eric Trump to Headline Anti-Vaxxers Pro-QAnon Possible Super-Spreader Event Next Month: Report
Eric Trump is scheduled to deliver the keynote address at an anti-vaxxers conference in October, despite his father, the former president, claiming credit for the three COVID-19 vaccines.
It’s just the “latest alliance between the Trump family and the GOP’s fringiest elements,” The Daily Beast reports. The second Trump son will be “joining a speakers’ lineup that includes some of the most prominent promoters of disinformation about vaccines, as well as leading figures in the QAnon conspiracy theory movement.”
A press release from the group holding the event describes it as organized “by health freedom activists, natural medicine practitioners, and freedom-loving truth seekers,” and claims it will be “a massive in-person gathering in Nashville, TN from October 22nd to the 24th.”
In other words, a likely super-spreader event.
Republican Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has not only refused to implement a mask mandate, he has banned local governments from ordering them.
The Daily Beast adds that the conference, called The Truth About Cancer Live! “is the brainchild of Ty and Charlene Bollinger, two major promoters of anti-vaccine disinformation who have made tens of millions of dollars promoting both alternative health cures for cancer and vaccine fears. The Bollingers have dubbed the coronavirus vaccine ‘that abominable vaccine,’ according to a Center for Public Integrity report, and sell a $200 video series promoting vaccine fearmongering on their website.”
Eric Trump denies the event is an anti-vaxx conference.
“As to labeling something an anti-vaccine event, it wouldn’t make much sense for me to attend as a vaccinated person if it was,” Trump told The Daily Beast in an email.
His hosts disagree.
In posts on Telegram, a social media app popular on the right, the Bollingers have called the vaccine a “SHOT OF POISON!” and the “COVID kill shot.”
Photo, top: Eric Trump with Charlene Bollinger
Images via PR Newswire press release
Head of Anti-LGBTQ Group Worked With Trump on Secret Scheme to Try to Get Pence to Overturn Election: CNN
The head of a once well-known anti-LGBTQ organization that spent countless millions in dark money to try to block the advancement of same-sex marriage worked with then-President Donald Trump and his legal team on a secret scheme to try to get Vice President Mike Pence to subvert the U.S. Constitution and overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
John Eastman (photo, next to Rudy Giuliani), who until January 13 was a tenured professor of law and dean at the Chapman University School of Law in California, advanced a six-point plan detailing the steps he wanted Pence to take on January 6.
Eastman, who is the chairman of NOM, the National Organization For Marriage, “tried to convince then-Vice President Mike Pence that he could overturn the election results on January 6 when Congress counted the Electoral College votes by throwing out electors from seven states, according to the new book ‘Peril’ from Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa,” CNN reports.
“You really need to listen to John. He’s a respected constitutional scholar. Hear him out,” Trump told Pence during a January 4 meeting with Eastman in the Oval Office, according to “Peril.”
In addition to directing that Pence would falsely claim that the seven states had competing electors, Eastman suggested Pence make all these moves without warning.
“The main thing here is that Pence should do this without asking for permission — either from a vote of the joint session or from the Court,” Eastman wrote. “The fact is that the Constitution assigns this power to the Vice President as the ultimate arbiter. We should take all of our actions with that in mind.”
Pence disagreed with Eastman’s legal claims and did not enact the secret scheme.
Eastman spoke at the January 6 “Save America” rally that many claim Trump used to incite the insurrection.
One week later he “abruptly” resigned from Chapman University “amid criticism of his role in stoking the violent attack,” and “calls for his firing,” Law.com reported at the time.
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