Finally! (Flag Update)

Closing Thought–29Jun20

I have written about the state of Mississippi and its attempt to change the state flag with the CSA symbol on it…..https://lobotero.com/2020/06/27/mississippi-flag-again/

And I’ll be damned….after many many decades of trying to change the racist symbol……the legislature finally did the right thing…..

It’s almost done: Mississippi lawmakers on Sunday passed a bill to change the state flag. After voting Saturday to suspend legislative deadlines and file the bill, the GOP-controlled state legislature held debates on the bill Sunday and voted, with the House passing the bill 91-23 and the Senate then opening its own session and ultimately passing the bill 37-14. The Mississippi Clarion-Ledger has a detailed timeline of how the day went. The bottom line: The current flag, which features the Confederate battle emblem and is the last remaining state flag to include the Confederate flag symbol after others dropped it, will be scrapped. A nine-member commission will start the process of selecting a new flag, and residents will vote on that new flag in November. If rejected, the process will start over again and another vote will be held in November 2021.

The bill prevents the Confederate battle emblem from being included on any future designs. The state’s Republican governor, Tate Reeves, who on Saturday agreed for the first time to sign the bill, said Sunday that he won’t do so immediately. “The governor does not want to rush this moment in history for our state,” a spokesperson said. “Once the legislature sends the final bill to his desk and he’s had the opportunity to review it, Gov. Reeves will sign the bill in the coming days.” Though polling had shown until earlier this month that a majority of state residents wanted to keep the flag as-is, the latest polling shows 55% of Mississippians are ready for a change, CBS News reports. “Big salute to EVERY university in this State that helped,” tweeted Kylin Hill, the Mississippi State All-SEC running back who, per AL.com, threatened to sit out the season if the flag was not changed. The NCAA, SEC, and Conference USA all decided not to hold championships in the state if the flag was not changed.

The governor has stated that if passed he would sign the bill of the change……we will see if that was just idle BS or he truly wants the state to move out of the past.

What flag will they use….a historic flag or design a new one?

I am proud of Mississippi for finally doing the right thing.  Now the state needs to keep progress moving forward.

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Deja Vu (Again)–1968

These days we are witnessing a possible turning point in American society…..I say ‘possible’ because I have witnessed the people let social issues be dictated by the people that do not want change in any way.

In summer of 1967, African Americans protested, marched, and rioted in cities across the country. The unrest convinced President Lyndon Johnson to set up the Kerner Commission, which spent about six months doing research, visiting slums, and holding hearings. In 1968, they published a provocative report that civil rights leader Jesse Jackson recently called “the last attempt to address honestly and seriously the structural inequalities that plague African Americans.”

“Segregation and poverty have created in the racial ghetto a destructive environment totally unknown to most white Americans,” the Kerner report said. “What white Americans have never fully understood — but what the Negro can never forget — is that white society is deeply implicated in the ghetto. White institutions created it, white institutions maintain it, and white society condones it.”

https://www.npr.org/sections/money/2020/06/09/872402262/what-a-1968-report-tells-us-about-the-persistence-of-racial-inequality

There is more similar with 1968 and 2020 than most people realize….

Racial tensions, clashes between police and protesters, a general sense of chaos — 1968 and 2020 seemed to have a lot in common. Observers wrote about how Trump’s use of “law and order” rhetoric echoed Richard Nixon and George Wallace in 1968. The comparison makes broader sense, too: 1968 was a destabilizing year in American politics, marked by Civil Rights protests, uprisings born out of racist oppression, assassinations, violence at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago (classified later as a “police riot”) and protests against the Vietnam War. Racial tensions and inequality were at the center of the instability that year, with the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. sparking uprisings in cities across the country.

But 1968 isn’t the only chapter in American history that’s relevant to the current crisis. America has a long history of racial injustice, which makes it difficult to isolate any one precedent for the current environment. History has a way of building on itself; the injustices of one generation are passed on to the next, even as incremental progress is made. This is why I want to share with you three other episodes that also help contextualize the moment we’re in now. They, like 1968 and the broader Civil Rights movement, highlight the depths of violence and injustice that black Americans have faced, and explain why everyday political processes have failed to bring about lasting systemic change.

1968 Isn’t The Only Parallel For This Political Moment

I started my protest days in the 1970s and the races were closer together then than now….and that is a shame that our system has consistently screwed the black population.

Now is the time for radical politics….so says Princeton’s Eddie Glaude, Jr (a professor from  my neck of the woods)……

A common reaction to these displays of violence and injustice in the past weeks is: This is not who we are. But what if that isn’t true? What if this is exactly who we are? That’s a far more uncomfortable idea to grapple with — and, if accurate, it demands far more radical solutions to America’s current malaise.

There are few people who have wrestled with these questions more deeply than Eddie Glaude Jr., the chair of Princeton University’s department of African American studies and author of books like Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Souland Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own.

“In order to address this cultural practice of racial inequality, we have to narrate America differently,” Glaude Jr. says. “We have to confront the ugliness of who we are — and who we have been — so that we can imagine ourselves otherwise.”

https://www.vox.com/2020/6/9/21279536/radical-politics-george-floyd-protests-police-brutality-black-lives

I agree we need truly RADICAL politics if we want the change the direction of this country toward division….and then without it the divisions will continue to widen and the more inequality will become entrenched in society.

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What Is Happening To The GOP?

This GOP is not the party that my grandfather supporter back in the 50s…..since the mid 60s it has been moving further and further away from the policies it supported back in the day.

But has Trump done anything to make the GOP a stronger party?

I say no….the reason is just watch the party nowadays….they do not seem to jump to defend the president…..only a few sycophants.

Politico reporter Jake Sherman explained in a PBS “Washington Week” discussion that it has become clear Republicans aren’t defending Trump anymore.

“Republicans have just basically decided, as we put it in Playbook, almost to just pat him on the head – Pres. Trump that is – and move on with their day. They’re no longer really twisting themselves in pretzels to defend him,” Sherman said Sunday.

Instead, they’re replying to reporters asking questions with, “we didn’t really see that” or claiming they need more information. While they still haven’t moved to be brave enough to criticize Trump, refusing to defend him is a huge step for Republicans who protected the president from a legitimate impeachment investigation.

https://www.rawstory.com/2020/06/republicans-have-decided-they-arent-twisting-themselves-in-pretzels-to-defend-trump-anymore-report/

First I would not get too excited at this lack of defense….some of those are facing stiff elections and will do what they can to look as if they are showing some spine….they will slip back if they win.

Second there is another worrying situation within the GOP….those ultra far right candidates….

Openly fascistic candidates are gaining ground within the Republican Party, which is moving ever further to the right even as the working class and large sections of the middle class move to the left, as expressed in the demonstrations against the police murder of George Floyd.

In Georgia’s Republican primary election June 9, a supporter of the QAnon conspiracy campaign was the leading candidate for the party’s nomination in the 14th Congressional District, a seat held by Republican Tom Graves, who stepped down after five terms in office. The district, which comprises the northwest corner of Georgia, along the Alabama and Tennessee borders, is considered a safe Republican seat.

Marjorie Taylor Greene, co-owner of a local construction company, won 41 percent of the vote, more than double the vote of her closest competitor, John Cowan, a neurosurgeon and businessman. Greene is heavily favored to win the August 11 runoff election.

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/06/15/repu-j15.html

Like I said…..worrying situation for a once proud party that is sinking into the muck and mire of far right politics.

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Afghanistan Can Be Deadly!

I know…NO SHIT Professor!

There is other ways that it is deadly other than the Taleban and friendlies and IEDs……

It seems that someone put bounties of American soldiers…..and that someone was RUSSIA…..

United States intelligence agents believe that Russia offered Afghan militants bounties to kill U.S. soldiers and other coalition troops during peace talks between the U.S. and the Taliban, The New York Times reports. The talks were part of an effort to wind down U.S. military presence in the Middle Eastern nation, but the covert effort by Russia appears aimed at undermining them. U.S. intelligence officers reportedly reached the startling conclusion months ago and have been debating a response since. President Donald Trump has been briefed on the matter, as has the White House National Security Council, but neither has made a direct response. Islamist militants and their associates killed 20 U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan in 2019, and intelligence officers believe that the insurgents did collect bounties from Russia, but it’s unclear how many of those deaths are considered paid for by Russia.

Read it at The New York Times

Our president was told this back in March by our intel agencies…..

US troops, killed by paid assassins? Maybe so, if this story holds any water. A Russian military spy unit has secretly paid Taliban-linked militants to kill coalition forces in Afghanistan—something President Trump learned about months ago but chose not to act, US officials tell the New York Times. According to US intelligence, the Russian unit shuttled bounty money to Islamist militants (or armed criminals who work with them) back in 2019. Trump and the White House’s National Security Council examined the issue in late March and mulled various options, like making a diplomatic complaint or escalating sanctions, but the White House has not yet responded. This, of course, could become political dynamite if it’s confirmed.

“If true, this is outrageous conduct by Russia,” tweeted Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif), who suggested that Trump might be “beholden to Putin” as he puts “US troops’ lives at risk by doing nothing.” But there are problems. Only a few coalition troops died in Afghanistan amid a wave of attacks in 2019, and just four Americans were killed in combat there in 2019. And if it’s true, why would the Russians do it? Officials say it might be an attempt to derail US-Taliban peace talks or get revenge for Russian mercenaries killed by US troops in a 2018 battle in Syria. Meanwhile, the Kremlin is keeping mum and the Taliban has issued a flat denial. And the revelation has triggered “intense debate” at the White House about how to respond, the Washington Post reports

INTENSE DEBATE?

And in 4 months no one has any idea how to respond?

An Intense debate and Trump knew nothing about this……

President Trump on Sunday denied that he had been briefed on reported US intelligence that a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing American troops in Afghanistan, and he minimized the allegations against Moscow. American intelligence officials concluded months ago that Russian officials offered rewards for successful attacks on American service-members last year, at a time when the US and Taliban were holding talks to end the long-running war, per the New York Times. Trump, in a Sunday morning tweet, said “Nobody briefed or told me” or Vice President Mike Pence or chief of staff Mark Meadows about “the so-called attacks on our troops in Afghanistan by Russians.” “Everybody is denying it & there have not been many attacks on us,” he said, per the AP.

The White House issued a statement Saturday denying that Trump or Pence had been briefed on such intelligence. Trump’s director of national intelligence, John Ratcliffe, also said neither the president nor vice president was “ever briefed on any intelligence alleged” in the Times’ report. Trump’s tweet came a day after Joe Biden said that the report, if accurate, was a “truly shocking revelation” about the commander in chief and his failure to protect US troops in Afghanistan and stand up to Russia. Russia called the report “nonsense.” “This unsophisticated plant clearly illustrates the low intellectual abilities of the propagandists of American intelligence, who instead of inventing something more plausible have to make up this nonsense,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said. A Taliban spokesman said the militants “strongly reject this allegation” and are not “indebted to the beneficence of any intelligence organ or foreign country.” Trump responded to Biden on Twitter, saying “Russia ate his and Obama’s lunch during their time in office”

If the president was not briefed then who was having the intense debate?

Truly a country lead by amateurs.

And that amateurish BS gets people killed….

The bounties Russia allegedly put on US troops in Afghanistan led to at least one US soldier’s death, sources tell the New York Times. President Trump has denied reports that he was briefed on the plot, in which Russia promised to pay the Taliban if they killed American troops, but the Times‘ sources say US intelligence officers and Special Operations forces in Afghanistan told superiors about the scheme as early as January. The plot allegedly played out in 2019, and after the US spies and commandos recovered a large amount of US cash during a raid on a Taliban outpost and followed up that find with interrogations of captured militants and other criminals, the intelligence community came to its conclusions about the bounty plot. Officials have since then been reviewing combat casualties over an 18-month period; the Washington Post‘s sources say “several” deaths are believed to have come as a result of the scheme.

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