DHS Issues Rare Warning of Heightened Domestic Terror Threat
- The Department of Homeland Security published a bulletin Wednesday warning of a continued threat from “ideologically-motivated violent extremists” in the weeks following President Biden’s inauguration.
- The department did not cite any specific threat. It appeared to imply that threats could come from across the political spectrum; however, officials said the main focus of the announcement was on racist extremist groups.
- This is the first warning of domestic extremism DHS has published in recent years. It’s also the first time the department has publicly said the U.S. faces a growing threat from violent extremists following the Capitol insurrection.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a rare announcement on Wednesday, warning Americans of a heightened threat from domestic extremists in the weeks following President Joe Biden’s inauguration.
Notably, the bulletin did not cite any specific threat, and in a statement to the media DHS officials said they did not have information implying there was a “specific, credible plot.”
However, the warning did note that there could be continued violence from “some ideologically-motivated violent extremists with objections to the exercise of governmental authority and the presidential transition, as well as other perceived grievances fueled by false narratives.”
DHS seemed to indicate that the threats could come from across the political spectrum, stating that they range from a variety of issues, “including anger over COVID-19 restrictions, the 2020 election results, and police use of force.”
The last point appeared to be a nod to left-wing groups that set fires, smashed windows, and had stand-offs with the police in Portland and Seattle following the inauguration.
However, experts have said the main focus of the warning was on racist extremist groups, noting some of the specific language the agency used as well as the fact that it specifically mentioned the 2019 mass shooting in El Paso that targeted Hispanics.
The bulletin is both unusual and significant because while DHS issues a few of these warnings a year, they are almost always focused on international terrorism threats. In fact, according to The Washington Post, records show that there have not been any bulletins warning Americans about violence from domestic extremists in recent years.
This is also the first time DHS has publicly said the U.S. faces a growing threat from violent extremists following the Capitol insurrection. That is especially notable because neither Homeland Security nor the FBI issued similar bulletins before the attack, despite the fact that rioters had openly planned the event online for weeks.
Some have speculated that Wednesday’s bulletin is a reflection of the administration change. Under former President Donald Trump, the department had long been accused of failing to publish reports or warnings about far-right domestic extremists and white supremacist groups.
Even after the department issued a report in September 2019 that specifically flagged white supremacists as a leading domestic terrorism threat, analysts and intelligence officials claimed that the warning had been watered down and delayed.
Some former Trump administration officials have also told reporters in the past that the Trump White House tried to suppress the phrase “domestic terrorism.”
This past September, a top intelligence official claimed that acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf and his deputy had directed him to change intelligence reports to make the threat of white supremacy “appear less severe” and include more information on left-wing groups to align with Trump’s messaging.
Wolf and his second in command denied the accusations, but an intelligence official involved with drafting the Wednesday bulletin told The New York Times that it should have been issued in November when Trump was making false accusations about the election that stirred up far-right groups.
However, during that time, Trump was also firing department officials who he believed were disloyal.
The official also told The Times added that DHS decided to publish the warning now because it was concerned that the peaceful inauguration might create a false sense of security.
Despite the generally quiet on Jan. 20, the official said that “the intent to engage in violence has not gone away” among far-right groups upset by the outcome of the election.
See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (The New York Times) (NPR)
White Supremacist Propaganda Reached Record High in 2022, ADL Finds
“We cannot sit idly by as these extremists pollute our communities with their hateful trash,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said.
White supremacist propaganda in the U.S. reached record levels in 2022, according to a report published Wednesday by the Anti-Defamation League’s Center of Extremism.
The ADL found over 6,700 cases of white supremacist propaganda in 2022, which marks a 38% jump from the nearly 4,900 cases the group found in 2021. It also represents the highest number of incidents ever recorded by the ADL.
The propaganda tallied by the anti-hate organization includes the distribution of racist, antisemitic, and homophobic flyers, banners, graffiti, and more. This propaganda has spread substantially since 2018, when the ADL found just over 1,200 incidents.
“There’s no question that white supremacists and antisemites are trying to terrorize and harass Americans with their propaganda,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement. “We cannot sit idly by as these extremists pollute our communities with their hateful trash.”
The report found that there were at least 50 white supremacist groups behind the spread of propaganda in 2022, but 93% of it came from just three groups. One of those groups was also responsible for 43% of the white supremacist events that took place last year.
White supremacist events saw a startling uptick of their own, with the ADL documenting at least 167, a 55% jump from 2021.
Propaganda was found in every U.S. state except for Hawaii, and events were documented in 33 states, most heavily in Massachusetts, California, Ohio, and Florida.
“The sheer volume of white supremacist propaganda distributions we are documenting around the country is alarming and dangerous,” Oren Segal, Vice President of the ADL’s Center on Extremism said in a statement. “Hardly a day goes by without communities being targeted by these coordinated, hateful actions, which are designed to sow anxiety and create fear.”
“We need a whole-of-society approach to combat this activity, including elected officials, community leaders, and people of good faith coming together and condemning this activity forcefully,” Segal continued.
See what others are saying: (Axios) (The Hill) (The New York Times)
Adidas Financial Woes Continue, Company on Track for First Annual Loss in Decades
Adidas has labeled 2023 a “transition year” for the company.
Adidas’ split with musician Kanye West has left the company with financial problems due to surplus Yeezy products, putting the sportswear giant in the position to potentially suffer its first annual loss in over 30 years.
Adidas dropped West last year after he made a series of antisemitic remarks on social media and other broadcasts. His Yeezy line was a staple for Adidas, and the surplus product is due, in part, to the brand’s own decision to continue production during the split.
According to CEO Bjorn Gulden, Adidas continued production of only the items already in the pipeline to prevent thousands of people from losing their jobs. However, that has led to the unfortunate overabundance of Yeezy sneakers and clothes.
On Wednesday, Gulden said that selling the shoes and donating the proceeds makes more sense than giving them away due to the Yeezy resale market — which has reportedly shot up 30% since October.
“If we sell it, I promise that the people who have been hurt by this will also get something good out of this,” Gulden said in a statement to the press.
However, Gulden also said that West is entitled to a portion of the proceeds of the sale of Yeezys per his royalty agreement.
Adidas announced in February that, following its divergence from West, it is facing potential sales losses totaling around $1.2 billion and profit losses of around $500 million.
If it decides to not sell any more Yeezy products, Adidas is facing a projected annual loss of over $700 million.
Outside of West, Adidas has taken several heavy profit blows recently. Its operating profit reportedly fell by 66% last year, a total of more than $700 million. It also pulled out of Russia after the country’s invasion of Ukraine last year, which cost Adidas nearly $60 million dollars. Additionally, China’s “Zero Covid” lockdowns last year caused in part a 36% drop in revenue for Adidas compared to years prior.
As a step towards a solution, Gulden announced that the company is slashing its dividends from 3.30 euros to 0.70 euro cents per share pending shareholder approval.
Adidas has labeled 2023 a “transition year” for the company.
“Adidas has all the ingredients to be successful. But we need to put our focus back on our core: product, consumers, retail partners, and athletes,” Gulden said. “I am convinced that over time we will make Adidas shine again. But we need some time.”
See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (The New York Times) (CNN)
Immigration Could Be A Solution to Nursing Home Labor Shortages
98% of nursing homes in the United States are experiencing difficulty hiring staff.
The Labor Crisis
A recent National Bureau of Economic Research paper has offered up a solution to the nursing home labor shortage: immigration.
According to a 2022 American Health Care Association survey, six in ten nursing homes are limiting new patients due to staffing issues. The survey also says that 87% of nursing homes have staffing shortages and 98% are experiencing difficulty hiring.
The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) outlined in their paper that increased immigration could help solve the labor shortage in nursing homes. Immigrants make up 19% of nursing home workers.
With every 10% increase in female immigration, nursing assistant hours go up by 0.7% and registered nursing hours go up by 1.1% And with that same immigration increase, short-term hospitalizations of nursing home residents go down by 0.6%.
Additionally, the State Department issued 145% more EB-3 documents, which are employment-based visas, for healthcare workers in the 2022 fiscal year than in 2019, suggesting that more people are coming to the U.S. to work in health care.
However, according to Skilled Nursing News, in August of 2022, the approval process from beginning to end for an RN can take between seven to nine months.
Displeasure about immigration has exploded since Pres. Joe Biden took office in 2021. According to a Gallup study published in February, around 40% of American adults want to see immigration decrease. That is a steep jump from 19% in 2021, and it is the highest the figure has been since 2016.
However, more than half of Democrats still are satisfied with immigration and want to see it increased. But with a divided Congress, the likelihood of any substantial immigration change happening is pretty slim.