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The Domino Theory by Jeff Winbush

"Buy the ticket. Take the ride." ~ Hunter S. Thompson

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Jeff Winbush

The Sorority Nobody Wanted to Join.

Cosby victims
(photo: New York magazine)

“I walk her out. She does not look angry. She does not say to me, don’t ever do that again. She doesn’t walk out with an attitude of a huff, because I think I’m a pretty decent reader of people and their emotions in these romantic sexual things, whatever you want to call them.”

~ Bill Cosby speaking about Andrea Constand in his 2005 deposition.
The most powerful image on the Internet today is a simple one. 35 women sitting on a chair. The youngest is and the oldest. 35 women with somber, serious and at points nearly blank looks on their faces who stare into the camera and say they were sexually assaulted by Bill Cosby.

No two people will view the 35 exactly the same way. That’s what makes it one hell of a picture. There’s a photographic beauty in the ugly circumstances that binds 35 strangers together in a  sorority none of them want to be part of.

New York magazine published the story which took months to do, but unfortunately it is was accessible for hours because a hacker crashed the website. Fortunately, someone found a working link and passed it on to me and I passed it on to someone else. The site is now back up.

How one responds to the cover varies by what the Cosby scandal means to you. I’ve  encountered reactions from “I’m going to call Barnes & Noble and have them hold a copy for me” to it doesn’t change anything about how they already felt that many of these women were out for fame and publicity since they are revealing their names and showing their faces.

Someone said it was a dog pile “We already know Cosby is a scumbag. This is just unnecessary.” I got one “I don’t care” followed by “It’s not that I don’t care, but I’ve heard enough about this.”

I understand that. I reached my saturation point in talking, reading and writing about Cosby a while ago and I’d like to take an extended break from the subject.   Until and unless an even bigger shoe drops, I will and not because I don’t care but because endlessly living in this story will make me stop caring.

Being as I’m one of those dinosaurs who still subscribes to magazines and New York being one of them, I can sit somewhere comfortable and quietly look at the pictures and read all the stories and lose myself in the process of reading instead of swiping, scrolling and clicking.

It won’t be a pleasurable read.  It is a necessary one.

 

Hillary, Bernie and Jeb Don’t Get Why ‘Black Lives Matter.’ Sandra Bland Did and Now She’s Dead

Don’t Drive While Black.

It’s not possible to be angry enough over what happened to Sandra Bland when she was pulled over by Is it possible Sandra Bland killed herself?   It’s not only possible, it’s probable, but that isn’t the point.  What is the point is Bland should never have been put in the position  where dying was preferable to living.

The only thing more inept than the bungling by the Texas cops investigating themselves and is how the Democratic presidential candidates can’t seem to wrap their thick skulls around the notion that once you say  “All Lives Matter” you’ve missed the entire reason why it became necessary to  emphasize “Black Lives Matter” in the first place.

Hillary Clinton botched her moment at a Black church and then she  backtracked by calling Bland’s death, “heartbreaking,” adding, “And that’s why I think it is essential that we all stand up and say loudly and clearly, ‘Yes, black lives matter.’ And we all have a responsibility to face these hard truths of race and justice honestly and directly.”

Clinton’s rivals haven’t fared any better with Sen. Bernie Sanders, the darling of the progressive Left, totally fumbling his response to a protest by Black Lives Matters advocates at the NetRoots Nation conference where he grumped “Black lives, of course, matter. I spent 50 years of my life fighting for civil rights and for dignity,” he said. “But if you don’t want me to be here, that’s OK. I don’t want to outscream people.”

Sanders has declined to offer specific comment or remedies to the many cases of Blacks being assaulted by law enforcement (Dajerria Becton, Martez Johnson) or killed (Walter Scott, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Rekia Boyd, Michael Brown, Akai Gurley, John Crawford II, Eric Garner…ad infinitum).

The 73 year-old socialist from Vermont still doesn’t seem to get it as he continues to cite his resume instead of directly addressing how a Sanders presidency would be proactive in getting a handle on police brutality.

“I’m not dismissive,” he said. “I’ve been involved in the civil rights movement all of my life, and I believe that we have to deal with this issue of institutional racism.”

Too young to die.  Too Black to live.
Too young to die. Too Black to live.

Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley got slapped around when he responded, “Black lives matter. White lives matter. All lives matter.” O’Malley, whose testy relationship with the residents of Baltimore has come under scrutiny later apologized, “That was a mistake on my part and I meant no disrespect. I did not mean to be insensitive in any way or communicate that I did not understand the tremendous passion, commitment and feeling and depth of feeling that all of us should be attaching to this issue.”

Jeb Bush, continuing to prove he isn’t the “Smart Bush” essentially called O’Malley a punk for apologizing.   “We’re so uptight and so politically correct now that we apologize for saying ‘lives matter?” an incredulous Bush wondered aloud at a gathering in overwhelmingly White New Hampshire.   “Life is precious. It’s a gift from God. I frankly think that it’s one of the most important values that we have. I know in the political context it’s a slogan, I guess. Should he have apologized? No. If he believes that white lives matter, which I hope he does, then he shouldn’t have apologized to a group that seemed to disagree with it.”

There’s nothing as useless as good White liberals who think they get it but they’re either too busy bragging about themselves or fumbling to say what they think will keep the natives from getting restless.   As for the Republican conservatives, they have to wait to see what Donald Trump will say first before knowing whether they should say anything at all.

What Hillary, Bernie and Jeb  do not get is they can say “all lives matter”and will be mostly right, but at they will be still be all wrong because they never had to give their children The Talk I’ve had to give my daughter and son on what to say, what to do and what not to do and say and how to conduct themselves so they don’t get killed during a routine traffic stop. There is no routine traffic stop when you are Black and a cop pulls you over.

Bernie is a Socialist,  Hillary is a moderate, and Jeb is a conservative but none of them understands why Black Lives Matter.  Sandra Bland could have told them but now its too late.   This is not about them.   There will be plenty of time for me to think about who the next president will be.    I don’t care about that now.   What I care  about is yet another Black body humiliated, stripped of its pride and humanity,  smashed to pieces and left to die in police custody and I VERY MUCH CARE ABOUT THAT.

The cell where Bland died. She allegedly hung herself with a trash bag tied to the toilet partition.

“how did switching lanes with no signal turn into all of this?”
~ Sandra Bland

Sandra Bland should not be dead. She may have killed herself but the State of Texas is complicit for her death.   The U.S. Justice Department MUST step in to answer the question “What Happened to Sandra Bland?”

There must be an independent investigation and an independent autopsy performed on Sandra Bland. The officials in Texas have proven themselves to be untrustworthy by any but the gullible and law enforcement groupies. There are too damn many unanswered questions with the first one being the one Sandra asked herself, “How did switching lanes with no signal turn into all of this?”

American citizens should not walk into jails and be carried out dead. We can not and should not trust the local cops will do a fair, open and complete investigation.   All lives do matter but not all lives matter equally.   Those lives seemingly don’t matter at all. There is a specific need to say “Black Lives Matter” as there have been too many times when it has been violently proven they don’t.

Sandra Bland was tired of seeing Black bodies laid to rest long before their time.   I’m tired of trying to explain this to ignorant pandering politicians.

Sandra_Bland_Instagram
Was Bland’s Instagram pic was an eerie harbinger of her own death?

Ta-Neshi Coates Gets Trolled by Cornel West

“Eat your heart out, Cornel.”

Ta-Neshi Coates is widely regarded as America’s best and brightest social critic (and I share the sentiment). If writers wield power through their employment and arrangement of words, Coates flexed his muscles in the 2014 essay in The Atlantic, “The Case For Reparations” which moved the debate in an entirely new direction. It certainly opened to the possibility of a legitimate claim for reparations which avoided the non-starter argument of slavery as the justification.

Coates is having his moment in the spotlight as he makes the rounds of television, magazine, web interviews to promote his new book, Between the World and Me. Already the book has been lauded by liberals, crapped on by critics and its author praised by one of America’s literary lions.

“I’ve been wondering who might fill the intellectual void that plagued me after James Baldwin died. Clearly it is Ta-Nehisi Coates.” Toni Morrison in a note to Ta-Neshi Coates’ agent.

That annoting did not sit well with one Cornel West who took to his Facebook page to retort:

In Defense of James Baldwin – Why Toni Morrison (a literary genius) is Wrong about Ta-Nehisi Coates. Baldwin was a great writer of profound courage who spoke truth to power. Coates is a clever wordsmith with journalistic talent who avoids any critique of the Black president in power. Baldwin’s painful self-examination led to collective action and a focus on social movements. He reveled in the examples of Medgar, Martin, Malcolm, Fannie Lou Hamer and Angela Davis. Coates’s fear-driven self-absorption leads to individual escape and flight to safety – he is cowardly silent on the marvelous new militancy in Ferguson, Baltimore, New York, Oakland, Cleveland and other places. Coates can grow and mature, but without an analysis of capitalist wealth inequality, gender domination, homophobic degradation, Imperial occupation (all concrete forms of plunder) and collective fightback (not just personal struggle) Coates will remain a mere darling of White and Black Neo-liberals, paralyzed by their Obama worship and hence a distraction from the necessary courage and vision we need in our catastrophic times. How I wish the prophetic work of serious intellectuals like Robin DG Kelley, Imani Perry, Gerald Horne, Eddie Glaude commanded the attention the corporate media gives Coates. But in our age of superficial spectacle, even the great Morrison is seduced by the linguistic glitz and political silences of Coates as we all hunger for the literary genius and political engagement of Baldwin. As in jazz, we must teach our youth that immature imitation is suicide and premature elevation is death. Brother Coates continue to lift your gifted voice to your precious son and all of us, just beware of the white noise and become connected to the people’s movements!


There are many ways to take that. I take that to mean Cornel West thinks Toni Morrison and Ta-Neshi Coates are full of shit.

But so is West if he (a) thinks James Baldwin needs defending and (b) he’s the guy to do the defending.

Michael Eric Dyson,  the former West ally turned bitter enemy went public with his break in a New Republic piece,  dumped derision on West’s kneecapping of Coates in an interview  “It shows the vast ineptitude of Professor West’s scholarship. The point I made in my piece is that he doesn’t keep up, he doesn’t read the freshest, newest, most insightful scholarship, nor does he write about it in any serious fashion or teach it in his curriculum, and it shows here.”

Dyson described Coates as a “greatly gifted writer” who forms “sentences and thoughts that sing on the page and stick to the mind.”

“Every charge he made against Ta-Nehisi is patently false,”  Dyson added. “Shall I introduce you to his essay on reparations? It has every bit of the analysis that West was hankering for,”

Dyson rallied to Morrison’s defense.  “And so now that makes her look like a dupe and a boob when she is a literary genius who possesses a Nobel Prize in literature,” he said. “I think her pedigree of assessment is far more convincing than Cornel West’s.”

Ta-Nehisi Coates_book

Coates may have incurred West’s undying wrath in 2011 in an essay entitled,    where he wrote:

In the matter at hand, there is no real difference between the tribalism offered by [Dinesh] D’Souza and his ilk, and the tribalism offered by West and his defenders. There is no real difference between Tea Partiers who insist that NAACP are the actual racists, and those who believe Obama is a “black mascot” damning the influence of identity politics. There is no real difference between those who push their agenda by implying that Obama isn’t really American, and those who push their agenda by implying that Obama isn’t really black.

Both are afflicted with a species of blindness, and intellectual sloth. Understanding and debating actual policy is hard. Enumerating perceived slights and name-calling, and dubbing it a black agenda, is not.

It may have taken him four years to return fire, but West never forgets an insult and never forgives the insulter.

West has become a small, petty, vulgar, envious and shriveled little man. His ego is second only to the equally vulgar Donald J. Trump. I now consider him a failed intellectual who has invalidated his earlier status as one of the leading voices in Black Thought.

West has nearly abrogated any claim to being a serious thinker to be taken seriously.   His pathological hatred of Barack Obama  coupled with his envy and spitefulness for anyone  like Coates who disagrees with or eclipses him is sad beyond words.   He’s become a really smart rapper with no flow  who enjoys playing the Dozens with big words.

West is a crank living off his rep and is clearly on the down escalator of his career  as Coates passes him on the way up.

“I repudiate Obama and I repudiate myself for supporting Obama.”

Bill Cosby Is Not Dead But He’s Dead To Me.

Nobody Left to Lie To.

Bill Cosby is dead. Well, technically, he’s not. Bill Cosby is still very much alive, but the Bill Cosby we thought Bill Cosby was is dead. That Cosby was a comedic genius and despite never winning an Oscar, he turned out to be a better actor than anyone ever gave him credit for.

Acted like a comedian. Acted like a nice guy. Acted like a philanthropist. Acted like America’s Dad. Turned out to be a rapist. Whoops. Ya got us all, Bill. Too bad you’re dead now.

Not dead as being laid out in a nice suit with his hands folded over his chest and looking so lifelike the mortician deserves some praise for making Bill look so natural.   Not that kind of dead at all.     Bill Cosby is alive but he should be dead to you.   Dead as in you’ll never laugh at him again.  Dead as in you now know beyond any reasonable doubt the man is a predator, a liar, and a rapist.

That’s the kind of dead man Bill Cosby is.   More dead to the world than he is alive.

Thing were already going bad for Cosby  before President Obama raised eyebrows by responding to  a reporter who wondered  maybe someone should take back the Presidential Metal of Freedom Award   Cosby received from President  Bush in 2002.   Maybe someone should reconsider the honor  in the aftermath of Cosby admitting in an unsealed deposition in 2006 to purchasing Quaaludes to drug woman to have sex with them.

Obama  was circumspect, “There’s no precedent for revoking a medal. We don’t have that mechanism,” before he got raw on Cosby’s ass.   Obama  added: “If you give a woman, or a man, for that matter, a drug and then have sex with that person without consent? That’s rape. And I think this country, or any civilized country, should have no tolerance for rape.”

That sounds  to me like a man who has just declared Bill Cosby is dead.   At least dead to him.

“How ya doin’ Bill? No, I don’t want you to make me a drink.”

Obama didn’t call Cosby a rapist.   He didn’t have to.   The president made it abundantly clear  how disgusted he was with Cosby’s preying on women and while Obama can’t send U.S. marshals  to confiscate Cosby’s medal,  he can say he really really doesn’t deserve it any more.

Black-oriented cable channels, Centric and Bounce TV did the late thing, not the right thing by  pulling The Cosby Show from their programming.   This was  the program which cemented Cosby’s America’s Dad status and as it goes dark across cable, what else will go into the junk heap?

Will Amazon and Wal-Mart stop selling  Cosby’s DVDs?  Will  I Spy and Fat Albert and all his films and records disappear too?

What about the millions Cosby has contributed to charity and universities and the resultant honorariums, statues, plaques they have awarded him or buildings they’ve named after him?

Should Spelman College end their  Cosby Chair for the Humanities funded in part by a $20 million gift to the historically Black school made by Bill and Camille Cosby in the ’80’s and give the money to his victims and rape-crisis centers? Here in Ohio, Central State University handled their  Cosby Conundrum by covering up his name on the media center which bears his name.

The Cosby Cover-Up

Are the good deeds of a very bad man the tainted fruit of the poisoned tree?  Yes.  Yes they are. The solution to the Cosby Conundrum is no less than a Cosby Cleansing.   Tear down the statutes.  Revoke the honorary degrees.   Chisel the surname off of the buildings.   Don’t feel guilty because a rapist sent your school a fat check and you cashed it.   Take bad money and do something good with it.

Two words keep swirling around Cosby (three if you count ‘rapist’ and you should) and that’s betrayal and why?     I’ve probably written Cosby betrayed us.  I take that back.  Cosby didn’t betray me or  you.    He never betrayed me because I never knew the man.    He  only made it seem like we did.      Bill Cosby betrayed his wife, Camille  and his family and his friends who defended him.

Mostly , he betrayed himself.

Why did Cosby rape?   Short answer:  Because he could and could get away with it.     We don’t know when Cosby went from cheating husband to sexual predator, but he certainly didn’t have to go far to find women willing to have sex with him.   However, at some point something dark and ugly came out and this was the real Cosby.   The one only his victims saw.  Right before they passed out.

Why Did Cosby Rape?  Maybe he got bored by the buffet of beautiful, young, willing women.   Maybe he had a small dick or couldn’t get it up.   Maybe he had to do it  in a way that seemed kind of freaky.   Maybe he got tired of trying to please his bed partners and decided the kind of sex he enjoyed was when women were totally subservient and submissive to him.

Maybe Cosby is just a narcissistic pig who gets off on rape and that’s as deep as it goes.      I don’t really want to speculate too much.   Figuring the why of it  almost makes him the victim and that clearly can’t be allowed to happen.

A woman who has been drugged and passes out can’t claim they have a headache.   Can’t say they don’t do that whatever “that” is.   Can’t expect anything and are only there to receive and be taken by force.

Don’t take either pill.

There’s no retroactive virginity available to  disassociate ourselves from the sin of laughing at Cosby.    He is far from the first celebrity to bring shame and scorn down  upon his own head, but even with Woody Allen, Michael Jackson or Roman Polanski has there ever been so disturbing the revelations over so many years against so many years as Cosby’s crimes against women?   The fall has been  precipitous for an  idol and role model held in such fond admiration and the landing will not be soft.

Until an allegation against Cosby falls within the statute of limitations or there’s enough evidence to indict him, what comes next will probably  be the sorry spectacle of a 78-year-old man being deposed time and again trying (and lying) about things he did 20, 30 and 40  years ago.     Perhaps there will be some big checks coming from Cosby in the future, but this time it’s for his victims.

Money isn’t going to heal those women but taking away his money is probably all the justice Cosby’s victims are going to ever get.     Whatever Cosby’s future is he can’t outrun his shady past.

This will be a long, slow painful fade for Cosby.   There’s  nobody left to lie to.   He’s not dead but he is dead to me.

A Good Day In South Carolina

The rebel flag is finally a’comin’ down.

A bill taking down the flag and its flagpole from the Capitol’s front lawn passed the South Carolina House early Thursday after 13 hours of debate. It should get to Gov. Nikki Haley before the end of the day and she has promised to sign it quickly.

The bill requires the flag be taken down within 24 hours of her signing and shipped to the Confederate Relic Room.

There were hugs, tears and high fives in the House chamber after the vote. Members who waited decades to see this day snapped selfies and pumped their fists.

But even among the celebrations, there was more than a bit of sadness.

After the Civil War, the flag was first flown over the dome of South Carolina’s Capitol in 1961 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the war. It stayed as a protest to the Civil Rights movement that sought to end discrimination against blacks, only moving in 2000 from the dome to its current location.

The push to remove the flag only started after nine black churchgoers, including state Sen. Clementa Pinckney, were gunned down during Bible study at the historic Emanuel African Episcopal Church in Charleston on June 17. Police said the white gunman’s motivation was racial hatred. Then three days later, photos surfaced of the suspect, Dylann Roof, holding Confederate flags.

“I am 44 years old. I never thought I’d see this moment. I stand with people who never thought they would see this as well,” said House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford, who called the victims martyrs.

I’m glad the Confederate flag is coming down in South Carolina. I’m sad it took the deaths of nine innocents to do it.

Let those who want to be stirred up be stirred up. Let them whine, moan and cry like blubbering brats until they have the dry heaves. Let them hold their breaths until they turn blue and die. I am all out of shits to give. No more enabling of a detestable and contemptible symbol of failure, surrender, and bigotry.

The Racist Rabble of the Right are losing their minds. My heritage is under attack! My way of life is under siege! A symbol of pride is being stripped away from me! STFU with that noise!  Nobody’s banned the rebel flag. You can still buy it, fly it and wipe your ass with it. The  flag remains available if you  need  proof of how much you hate Black  people.    Dylann Roof will  appreciated your show of Southern  pride.

The Confederate flag is still available for anyone who wants one.  They can have it in the privacy of their homes,  put it on their license plates,  wear it on their t-shirts and wave it their Klan rallies. They can’t just have it flying over the South Carolina statehouse. That’s all over. If  some sore losers want to go beyond Civil War reenactments to trying to secede again, let ’em whistle “Dixie” and piss up a rope. Pandering to idiots only guarantees more idiocy.

The decision to remove the flag was arrived at through a democratic process where both sides had their opportunity to make their case and win the day. The pro-Confederate flag side lost. Sucks for them. Don’t like the result? Still sucks for them.

I could not care less if that rag becomes more of a rallying point for racists and for those sympathetic to racists.  LET THEM. It only makes them easier to identify as the bigots they truly are.

Racism LOST today and it was like Japan vs. the U.S in women’s soccer.   It wasn’t even close.

Today was a good day for South Carolina and a better one for America. It took a giant step away from ignorance and intolerance and a giant step toward enlightenment and equality.

South Carolina

What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? by Frederick Douglass

douglass
The preacher preaches and the teacher teaches.

Fellow-citizens, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here to-day? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? and am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us?

Would to God, both for your sakes and ours, that an affirmative answer could be truthfully returned to these questions! Then would my task be light, and my burden easy and delightful. For who is there so cold, that a nation’s sympathy could not warm him? Who so obdurate and dead to the claims of gratitude, that would not thankfully acknowledge such priceless benefits? Who so stolid and selfish, that would not give his voice to swell the hallelujahs of a nation’s jubilee, when the chains of servitude had been torn from his limbs? I am not that man. In a case like that, the dumb might eloquently speak, and the “lame man leap as an hart.”

English: Portrait of Frederick Douglass as a y...
English: Portrait of Frederick Douglass as a younger man (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But, such is not the state of the case. I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us. I am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice, are not enjoyed in common. — The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought life and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth [of] July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak to-day? If so, there is a parallel to your conduct. And let me warn you that it is dangerous to copy the example of a nation whose crimes, lowering up to heaven, were thrown down by the breath of the Almighty, burying that nation in irrecoverable ruin! I can to-day take up the plaintive lament of a peeled and woe-smitten people!

Frederick Douglass portrait
Frederick Douglass portrait (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade, and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices, more shocking and bloody, than are the people of these United States, at this very hour.

 
Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the old world, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me, that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.

(excerpted from Frederick A. Douglass’ July 5, 188 speech to New York abolitionists )

Source: Frederick Douglass: Selected Speeches and Writings, ed. Philip S. Foner (Chicago: Lawrence Hill, 1999), 188-206.

The American Swastika Must Come Down!

Rosa Parks would be proud of Bree Newsome (photo: Bruce Smith/AP)

Here’s what I don’t get about the “pride”  aspect of defending the flying of the Confederate flag on the grounds of the South Carolina statehouse.   What is there to be proud about?    The South came in second.  They lost the war to the North.

Is the rebel flag their consolation prize for showing up?   Yay!    You did really good Johnny Reb.    Good job!   Here’s your flag.   Okay, I’m not a Southerner.   I don’t know from nothing about why it’s such a point of pride to be a bunch of losers who won’t let go of the past.

It’s not that everyone trying to save the Confederate flag is racist. It’s that it’s a racist flag  which should not be saved.

I heard a Republican state legislator who is for taking down the Confederate flag say in response to a question of what he thought when he saw it and he said, “I don’t even see it anymore.”  That’s how  privilege works.   They’re so used to seeing that flag they don’t even see it at all.

Back in 1991 David Duke, the neo-Nazi and Ku Klux Klan leader, ran for governor of Louisiana and he lost badly but I believe Duke received four percent of the Black vote. I’ve always wondered what the hell was going on in the minds of that four percent.   I wondered, but never wanted to understand what they were thinking.

Some 24 years later nothing has changed. I still don’t want to understand anyone who would defend a racist relic like the Confederate flag.

Bree Newsome’s awesome act of civil disobedience (illustrated by Rebecca Cohen)

Like it or not, the Confederate flag has been co-opted from whatever dubious historical merit it may have once possessed into a symbol of dogged resistance to the painful, protracted and bloody struggle for civil rights in America.   The Civil War ended 150 years ago, yet still a flag of Southern-friend supremacy  flies on.

Racism. Segregation. Violence. Subjugation. Degradation. Brutality. White Supremacy. Black Inferiority. White Superiority. Master. Slave. Cruelty. Hatred. Lynching. Murder.

That’s what I see in the Rebel flag. If there’s any “Southern Pride” in there it’s the pride of White Southerners exploiting Black Southerners.

The flag is not a symbol of Southern Pride, but Southern Prejudice. This is a settled issue and there is no ambiguity of what it represents.  The worst excuse not to make a necessary change is because some extremist is going to be mad about it. White supremacists aren’t going to stop being that way if you cave in to their racist philosophy and if bringing down that flag pisses them off, they’ll still be pissed off and that’s the best reason to do it.

Not just pride, but Southern gay pride.

The defenders of the flag, both White and Black are fighting hard for their bloody rag of a flag.    They protest they aren’t personally prejudiced, but only want to honor the brave solders of the South.     If they want to honor dead soldiers who died to preserve slavery wave your loser’s flag all you want in the privacy of your home and it’s all good.   Just don’t pretend it was for any sort of noble cause.

Continuing to fly the flag of a defeated rebellion is what breeds resentment and furthers racism. Oh yeah, I almost forgot. It kills innocent people in churches too. Conceived in rebellion and exalted as a defiant symbol of racism against Blacks, the Confederate flag is an anachronism and I’ve changed my mind on moving it into museums. A trash can is where it belongs.

Trying to appease racists never satisfies them. It only empowers them. “This will create resentment and refusal to comply by Whites,” was exactly the same argument made against school desegregation, not moving to the back of the bus and the entire Civil Rights movement. It is not a reason to delay taking down the flag and much respect to Bree Newsome who committed an act of civil disobedience Rosa Parks would have been proud of when she climbed the pole to pull down the flag.

All this CRAP about “Southern Pride” being wrapped up in the Confederate flag is an irritating and annoying example of people wanting their silly beliefs respected and taken seriously as if ignorance should be considered as acceptable as intelligence.

No more delays. Not one more day.    The Confederate flag is a symbol of  hate and is nothing more than an American Swastika.   It can’t be redeemed and it should be removed.

No more indulging racism. No more tolerance for intolerance. You want us to “get over” slavery? Fine. You get over losing the Civil War. TAKE DOWN THAT FLAG!

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Obama’s Amazingly Graceful Eulogy

The fallen, but not the forgotten.

Familiarity doesn’t only breed contempt. It creates expectations. Barack Obama has been president for just short of seven years. I read somewhere during his time in office he has made statements at  memorials and  mass shootings in America  19 times. He has to extremely tired of this part of the job.

Yet Obama does it anyway because while it’s a dirty job, somebody’s gotta do it. Somebody has to remind the rest of us America isn’t a great big unlocked insane asylum where the inmates are armed and running buck wild in the streets though it probably looks that way to the rest of the world.

The President isn’t only the Commander-In-Chief of the nation’s armed forces. He’s also the Counselor-In-Chief when yet another senseless act of violence occurs such as the killing of Susie Jackson, Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, Rev. Daniel L. Simmons Sr., Cynthia Hurd, Ethel Lee Lance, Tywanza Sanders, Myra Thompson, Rev. Sharonda Singleton, and Rev. Clementa Pinckney by a murderous White supremacist.

Obama led a bipartisan group from Washington for Pinckney’s memorial service, and he gave praise to the fallen pastor and those of the parishioners who fell with him.     The president used a country preacher’s cadence that while solemn was  full of hope, healing and grace and  grace particularly was on the president’s mind as he lauded Rev. Pinckney.

What a good man. Sometimes I think that’s the best thing to hope for when you’re eulogized — after all the words and recitations and resumes are read, to just say someone was a good man.

You don’t have to be of high station to be a good man. Preacher by 13. Pastor by 18. Public servant by 23. What a life Clementa Pinckney lived. What an example he set. What a model for his faith. And then to lose him at 41 — slain in his sanctuary with eight wonderful members of his flock, each at different stages in life but bound together by a common commitment to God.

Cynthia Hurd. Susie Jackson. Ethel Lance. DePayne Middleton-Doctor. Tywanza Sanders. Daniel L. Simmons. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton. Myra Thompson. Good people. Decent people. God-fearing people. People so full of life and so full of kindness. People who ran the race, who persevered. People of great faith.

To the families of the fallen, the nation shares in your grief. Our pain cuts that much deeper because it happened in a church. The church is and always has been the center of African-American life–a place to call our own in a too often hostile world, a sanctuary from so many hardships.

It was no surprise the president spoke plainly and forcefully on the unaddressed issues laid bare by the Charleston church shootings including the bloody rebel flag the killer wrapped himself in.

For too long, we were blind to the pain that the Confederate flag stirred in too many of our citizens. It’s true, a flag did not cause these murders. But as people from all walks of life, Republicans and Democrats, now acknowledge — including Governor Haley, whose recent eloquence on the subject is worthy of praise–as we all have to acknowledge, the flag has always represented more than just ancestral pride. For many, black and white, that flag was a reminder of systemic oppression and racial subjugation. We see that now.

Removing the flag from this state’s capitol would not be an act of political correctness; it would not be an insult to the valor of Confederate soldiers. It would simply be an acknowledgment that the cause for which they fought — the cause of slavery — was wrong — the imposition of Jim Crow after the Civil War, the resistance to civil rights for all people was wrong. It would be one step in an honest accounting of America’s history; a modest but meaningful balm for so many unhealed wounds. It would be an expression of the amazing changes that have transformed this state and this country for the better, because of the work of so many people of goodwill, people of all races striving to form a more perfect union. By taking down that flag, we express God’s grace.

Americans have a remarkable ability to focus on something with great intensity and then move on from it. Here today is Rachel Dolezal and tomorrow’s she’s a trivia question. But nobody paid attention when NYPD patrolman Peter Liang was indicted for shooting Akai Gurley That’s the sort of thing which matters while Dolezal’s subterfuge and family matters don’t. The President reminded us there’s still a lot of unfinished business.

But I don’t think God wants us to stop there. For too long, we’ve been blind to the way past injustices continue to shape the present. Perhaps we see that now. Perhaps this tragedy causes us to ask some tough questions about how we can permit so many of our children to languish in poverty, or attend dilapidated schools, or grow up without prospects for a job or for a career.

Perhaps it causes us to examine what we’re doing to cause some of our children to hate. Perhaps it softens hearts towards those lost young men, tens and tens of thousands caught up in the criminal justice system –and leads us to make sure that that system is not infected with bias; that we embrace changes in how we train and equip our police so that the bonds of trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve make us all safer and more secure.

Then Obama did something no president ever has done before and may never ever do again. He began to sing. The President of the United State sang “Amazing Grace.”

“Amazing grace —  how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me; I once was lost, but now I’m found; was blind but now I see. “

Clementa Pinckney found that grace.

Cynthia Hurd found that grace.

Susie Jackson found that grace.

Ethel Lance found that grace.

DePayne Middleton-Doctor found that grace.

Tywanza Sanders found that grace.

Daniel L. Simmons, Sr. found that grace.

Sharonda Coleman-Singleton found that grace.

Myra Thompson found that grace.

Through the example of their lives, they’ve now passed it on to us. May we find ourselves worthy of that precious and extraordinary gift, as long as our lives endure. May grace now lead them home. May God continue to shed His grace on the United States of America.

It’s been a long time since I was in church but Reverend President took me there.

I teared up AND got chills. This was the Obama I voted for. Every now and then my president makes me proud and he reminds me why. I could never imagine President McCain or President Romeny responding the way Obama did. Would Rand or Jeb or even Hillary preach and sing from the pulpit? Maybe they would, probably they wouldn’t but whatever they would do they could never do something so perfectly human.

We may not know it yet, but we’re  going to miss Obama when he’s gone.   He’s done some very good things, some very bad things, been exceptional, been ordinary, been inspiring and been infuriating.   Coming off a week where he had won fast- track trade authority in Congress (mostly with Republican support) and two monumentally important decisions by the Supreme Court making same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states and preserving Obamacare,  the president had enjoyed some significant wins.   We’ve seen many of Obama’s predecessors enjoy good weeks.

What Obama hasn’t been is anything like we’ve ever seen in any American President.    That’s a good thing and a uniquely Obama thing.

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