A moving story from the Mississippi Center For Investigative Reporting, after lawmakers voted on Sunday to remove the Confederate battle emblem from the state flag.
Myrlie Evers began to weep when she heard the Mississippi Legislature vote to remove the Confederate battle emblem from the state flag.
“I can’t believe it. I am so emotional,” the widow of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers said. “Medgar’s wings must be clapping.”
Medgar Evers was a civil rights activist in Mississippi who was shot dead in the driveway of his home in Jackson in June 1963.
As Martha Bergmark of the Mississippi Center for Justice wrote for the Guardian in 2013, “for many of us, white as well as black, the assassination of Medgar Evers was a turning-point. We were forced to ask ourselves with regard to the growing civil rights movement, Where do I stand, and what am I willing to risk?’”
Speaking on Sunday, Myrlie Evers had praise for lawmakers of both parties who voted to change the flag and said: “I never thought this would happen. For the people who hold the palm of Mississippi in their hands, for their wisdom and their strength, for them to vote the way they did is all but unbelievable to me, but I am ever so thankful for that vote.”
Here’s Donald Trump again, following up his retweet of video of a white couple pointing weapons at protesters with: “Can anyone believe that Princeton just dropped the name of Woodrow Wilson from their highly respected policy center. Now the Do Nothing Democrats want to take off the name John Wayne from an airport. Incredible stupidity!”
Here’s more on the Princeton story, where the 28th president’s name is to be removed from the School of Public and International Affairs, due to views on race which are now distinctly outmoded to say the very least.
It was always likely, meanwhile, that Trump wouldn’t like news out of Orange county, California, that the airport there named for John Wayne could soon be given a different title.
According to an Associated Press report, the Orange County Democratic party wants to rename the airport, having passed a resolution “condemning ‘racist and bigoted statements” the actor, who died in 1979, made in a 1971 interview with Playboy.
In the interview, Wayne makes bigoted statements against black people, Native Americans and the LGBTQ community.
“I believe in white supremacy until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility. I don’t believe in giving authority and positions of leadership and judgment to irresponsible people,” he said.
Wayne also said that although he didn’t condone slavery: “I don’t feel guilty about the fact that five or 10 generations ago these people were slaves.”
The actor said he felt no remorse in the subjugation of Native Americans.
“I don’t feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from them. . (O)ur so-called stealing of this country from them was just a matter of survival,” he said. “There were great numbers of people who needed new land, and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves.”
Wayne also called movies such as Easy Rider and Midnight Cowboy perverted, and used a gay slur to refer to the two main characters of the latter film.
Democrats are therefore calling on the Orange County Board of Supervisors to drop Wayne’s name, statue and other likenesses from the international airport and “to restore its original name: Orange County Airport”.
Trump likes Wayne (who campaigned for rightwing causes in Hollywood) and Wayne would’ve liked Trump – at least according to the cowboy star’s daughter, Aissa, who held an event for Trump on the campaign trail in 2016.
“The reason that I’m here to support Mr Trump is because America needs help,” Aissa Wayne said at an event at the star’s Iowa birthplace. “And we need a strong leader. And we need someone like Mr Trump with leadership qualities, somebody with courage, someone that’s strong like John Wayne.
“If John Wayne were around, he’d be standing right here instead of me.”
In response, Trump said: “We love John Wayne. We love John Wayne and we love his family equally, right? Equally.”
Not all Wayne’s family returned the love. Ethan Wayne, the actor’s son and president of John Wayne Enterprises, responded with a statement in which he said no one “can speak on behalf of John Wayne and neither the family nor the Foundation endorses candidates in his name”.
Speaking of the supreme court, opinions are due today and they could include cases involving abortion restrictions, the contraceptive mandate of the Affordable Care Act and … Trump’s taxes.
Eyes down around 10am for all that.
The court has recently delivered rulings against anti-LGBTQ discrimination in the workplace and in support of DACA, the programme which protects Dreamers, or undocumented people brought to the US as children, from deportation. But as Nathan Robinson advises here, that doesn’t mean the 5-4 conservative court, with its two Trump appointees, has suddenly become all progressive…
New York Times media columnist Ben Smith’s latest column is about the Washington Post under editor Marty Baron and its struggles with a changing news landscape, and as usual it may seem pretty Inside Baseball if you’re not in the media. But it does lead off with a remarkable story concerning Brett Kavanaugh.
During the supreme court justice’s tempestuous confirmation hearing, in late 2018, Smith reports, the Post was all set to run a story in which Watergate veteran Bob Woodward outed Kavanaugh as a source, specifically for a story about special counsel Ken Starr and his investigation of Bill Clinton which Kavanaugh had publicly denied at the time.
The article, described by two Post journalists who read it, would have been explosive, arriving as the nominee battled a decades-old sexual assault allegation and was fighting to prove his integrity.
The article was nearly ready when the executive editor, Martin Baron, stepped in. Baron urged Woodward not to breach his arrangement with Kavanaugh and to protect his old source’s anonymity, three Post employees said.
Baron and other editors persuaded Woodward that it would be bad for the Post and “bad for Bob” to disclose a source, one of the journalists told me. The piece never ran.
One can only wonder what kind of detonations that would have set off had it run. Kavanaugh was confirmed, but only just, amid huge controversy over allegations – which he strenuously denied – of sexual assault while a student.
Trump retweets video of white couple pointing guns at protesters
In another move bound to prove controversial and inflammatory – and perhaps to deflect attention from reports about Russia placing bounties on US soldiers in Afghanistan – Donald Trump has just retweeted news footage of a couple in St Louis, Missouri, pointing guns at protesters marching for police reform:
The unidentified man in the footage holds an assault-style rifle, the woman a handgun. Here’s an extract from the AP report on the incident:
A white couple pointed guns at protesters in St Louis, Missouri, as a group marched toward the mayor’s home to demand her resignation.
A social media video showed the unidentified armed couple standing outside their home on Sunday evening in the Central West End neighbourhood shouting at protesters, while people in the march moved the crowd forward, urging participants to ignore them.
The group of at least 500 people were heading towards the home of the mayor, Lyda Krewson, chanting, “Resign Lyda, take the cops with you,” news outlets reported.
Calls for her resignation came after a Facebook live briefing on Friday, at which Krewson read the names and addresses of several residents who wrote letters to the mayor suggesting she defund the police department.
The video was removed from Facebook and Krewson apologised on Friday, stating she did not “intend to cause distress”.
Reporting over the weekend said part of Trump’s planned campaign reset would focus on how he can keep people safer, amid such protests, than Joe Biden.
Striking video from Aurora, Colorado, of police in riot gear breaking up a vigil for Elijah McClain, an African American man who was 23 when, one day last year, police put him in a neck hold, killing him.
The confrontation happened on Saturday, as the Denver Post reports:
As evening fell … tensions rose and police announced that the protest was now an ‘illegal gathering”. Police said protesters were throwing rocks and bottles and confirmed they used pepper spray on the crowd. That scene contrasted sharply with the violinists who were performing at the same time, honoring McClain who played the instrument.
On Sunday night, the Washington Post followed the New York Times’ scoop and said “Russian bounties offered to Taliban-linked militants to kill coalition forces in Afghanistan are believed to have resulted in the deaths of several US service members”.
In response, under fire for alleged treason or gross negligence or both, Donald Trump tweeted: “Intel just reported to me that they did not find this info credible, and therefore did not report it to me or [vice-president Mike Pence] Possibly another fabricated Russia Hoax, maybe by the Fake News @nytimesbooks, wanting to make Republicans look bad!!!”
Today, according to reports, the administration will brief some members of Congress on intelligence about the Russian plot.
It wasn’t clear what the Times books desk had to do with anything but this was just another day in America. One which Trump started by retweeting a video in which a supporter yelled: “White power! White power!” That was deleted, after a few hours, with a spokesman saying Trump hadn’t heard the words in question.
Out in the evening: reporting that the Trump campaign is trying to change its attacks on Joe Biden, from Sleepy Joe to Corrupt Joe or otherwise. It’s driven by polling of course: Biden leads in most battleground states and nationally. Here’s fivethirtyeight.com, for further reading.
In coronavirus news, the US has now recorded more than 2.5m cases and more than 125,000 deaths and is racking up record daily totals of new cases. By the same measure, from Johns Hopkins University, more than 500,000 people have died worldwide.
Mike Pence, vice-president and head of the White House coronavirus task force, made news over the weekend by cancelling campaign events because of spikes in states which reopened early, advising the wearing of masks at others, and appearing (with mask) at another with a massed choir who … weren’t wearing masks. Here’s Lauren Aratani with a look at a key question:
And so to the protests stemming from the killing of George Floyd, an African American man, in an arrest by four Minneapolis police officers on 25 May. Confrontations between police and protesters continued overnight, in cities across the US. In Jackson, Mississippi, meanwhile, there was victory for those seeking change: the last state to carry the Confederate battle emblem on its state flag voted to remove it.