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Opening Arguments

That hour

The most chilling part of the horror inflicted by the gunman in the AME church in Charleston is that he worshiped with the congregation for an hour before shooting nine of them dead. Was he trying to work up the courage? Was he savoring the moment to come? Whatever it was, that one hour he spent among them just underscores the absolulte evil he took into that church. Is this a clue?

The man who shot and killed nine parishioners at a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina, told police that he "almost didn't go through with it because everyone was so nice to him," sources told NBC News.

And yet Dylann Roof decided he had to "go through with his mission."

I'm not sure how much stock to put in that report. Who are those sources who would know what he had been thinking? And could somebody who believed African-Americans were "taking over the country" really be swayed just because a few of them were so nice to him?

Wasn't it thoughtful and decent of everybody to let the survivors grieve awhile instead of having to listen immediately to all the gun control/mental illness/ loss of traditional values bloviating?


Bob G.
Sat, 06/20/2015 - 11:46am


I could not agree MORE.

Well said.

Mon, 06/22/2015 - 11:07am

First to answer your question "I'm not sure how much stock to put in that report. Who are those sources who would know what he had been thinking?"  The answer is Sylvia Johnson, who spoke to a relative that survived the shooting, and said the survivor told her that Roof reloaded a gun five times during the massacre. “He just said, ‘I have to do it.’ He said, ‘You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go,’ ” Johnson told WIS-TV.

But no one at least in this paper, will open an honest dialouge about the underlying cause for such slaughter.

In April 2000, shortly after bowing out of the Republican presidential primary, John McCain expressed deep regret for not speaking out about the flying of the Confederate flag at the South Carolina state capital. “I should have done this earlier, when an honest answer could have affected me personally. I did not do so for one reason alone. " I feared if I answered it honestly, I wouldn't win the South Carolina primary" McCain said.


More than 15 years later, the massacre of nine African-Americans — allegedly by a young white man obessed with the Confederate flag and othe images of white superemacy — has placed the issue at the center of the political conversation again. (The flag, in a purported compromise, no longer flies atop the South Carolina statehouse but in front of it.)


There are twelve Republicans officially seeking their party’s nomination for President next year. Not a single one has explicitly called for the Confederate flag to be taken down in South Carolina.

The candidates are not uniform in their statements. Some, like Mike Huckabee, refused to address the issue at all. "This is not an issue for someone running for President" he said. Others, like Jeb Bush, cited his own move to remove the Confederate flag from the Florida state capitol building, adding that he is “confident” the people of South Carolina "Will do the right thing"  Still Bush, and all of the other candidates, stopped short of actually calling for South Carolina to remove the flag.


The Republicans hesitancy on the issue is a missed opportunity to distance themselves from the "Southern Strategy," which then-RNC chairman Ken Mehlman apologized for in 2005.  The Republican Party, according to Mehlman, historically tried to "benefit politically from racial polarization." Lee Atwater, one of the architects of the strategy, explained how the strategy worked and could be adopted for the times.


You start in 1954 by saying ‘N*****, n*****, n*****.’ By 1968 you can’t say ‘N*****.’ That hurts you. It backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states rights and all that stuff and you get so abstract. Now you talk about cutting taxes and these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that’s part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract and that coded, we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. Obviously sitting around saying we want to cut taxes and we want this, is a lot more abstract than even the busing thing and a hell of a lot more abstract than n***** n*****. So anyway you look at it, race is coming on the back burner.


The "Southern Strategy" is almost certainly a losing strategy in a modern American general election, due to demographic changes and shifting attitudes about race. It seems clear, however, that it still has a role in Republican primary politics which are dominated by overwhelmingly white party activists.


The current controversy on the flag was an opportunity for the Republican field to put the nail in the coffin of the "Southern Strategy." They’ve gutlessly taken a pass.

But what they have taken is money.

It appears that the head of the group that helped make Dylann Roof a murderous racist has given lots of money to promenient Republicans  as The Guardian notes:


"The leader of a rightwing group that Dylann Roof  credits with helping to radicalise him against black people before massacre has donated tens of thousands of dollars to Republicans such as presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Rick Santorum.

Earl Holt has given $65,000 to Republican campaign funds in recent years while inflammatory remarks -- including that black people were "the laziest, stupidist and most criminally inclined race in the history of the world"-- were posted online in his name....

Holt, 62, is the president of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CofCC)...."


The Guardian story states that Holt has given $8500 to Cruz and his super PAC -- Cruz has now said the money will be returned -- as well as $1750 to RandPAC and $1500 to Rick Santorum's campaign. Holt also gave $2000 to Mitt Romney's campaign in 2012.


But that's just the tip of the iceberg. Keep reading -- below I'll give you a longer list of Republicans who've taken Holt's money.



Holt is a piece of work. As the Guardian story notes, a man with his name (Earl P. Holt III) and hometown (Longview, Texas), go figure this political nut job would be from Texas,  has posted many racist comments at Glenn Beck's Blaze:


One comment said of black people: "One can extridie them fro the jungle but you cannot purge the jungle from them", while another said: "I do wish they would keep their violence and savagery in their own communities"

The commenter using Holt’s name also complained under a story about white privilege that his taxes were being distributed "to very daddy-baby, daddy momma, welfare cheat, Oprah watcher, felon, alcoholic, drug addict, deadbeat in America."

Holt also writes ""Metal-Detectors and Security Guards are essential at any gathering of nigro teens these days, even pool parties..."

And this:
  "Looks like every spook in the country wants to incite some kind of incident, so they can become the latest "civil rights" hero like Rosa Parks or Trayvon Martin or Tawana Brawley..."

Holt is also notorious for  a letter he wrote to a blogger in 2004, when he was a radio host:

"Dear Commie," Holt began as he responded to an Internet blogger who had accused Holt and three others, who also won election to the St. Louis school board on an anti-busing platform in the late 1980s, of being white supremacists.

"Being the shallow n***r-loving dilettante that you are, you probably DO consider n***s to be your equal (who am I to question this?)," Holt wrote. "Yet, unlike you and your allies, I have an IQ in excess of 130, which grants me the ability to objectively evaluate the Great American Nigro (Africanus Criminalis)."

Holt then reeled off a series of questionable statistics to back his assertion that the "nigro is still as criminal, surly, lazy, violent, and stupid as he/she ever was," despite years of government aid....

"I honestly pray to God that some n***r f***s, kills and eats you and everyone you claim to love!" Holt concluded, daring the blogger to print his E-mail on the blogger's Web site.

So how many Republicans has Holt given money to? Oh, quite a few.

In 2004, he gave to Bush/Cheney 04.

He skipped '06 and '08, but in 2010 the recipients of his donations included Sharron Angle, Ken Buck, Rob Portman, and Ron Johnson.

In 2012, recipients included Romney, Cruz, Santorum, and Paul as well as Steve King, Louie Gohmert, Michele Bachmann, Dean Heller, Linda McMahon, George Allen, Richard Mourdock, Todd Akin, and Pete Hoekstra. Oh, and, oddly, two African-American candidates, Allen West and Mia Love.

In 2014, recipients included Gohmert, King, Love, Bachmann, West, Johnson, and Cruz again, as well as Joni Ernst, Tom Cotton, Thom Tillis, Ben Sasse, Tom Emmer, Mark Sanford, and Paul Broun.

Let's now watch Republican politicians squirm while not being able to give the money back fast enough,  (My guess is that Steve King and Louie Gohmert won't.)

Do you think the money would have been returned if the shooting hadn't happened?


Rebecca Mallory
Wed, 06/24/2015 - 6:19am

Joe, since you live in a leftist echo chamber, you probably missed this.  In February 2001 Governor Jeb Bush ordered the Confederate flag removed from the State Capitol and moved to a museum.

The American flag flew over ships bringing slaves to North America.  Should it also be removed? 

Wed, 06/24/2015 - 12:49pm

Becks, if your reading comprehension was a little higher or you read the post you would have remembered and noted that I indeed mentioned in the sixth paragraph that Gov. Bush removed the confederate flag from Florida.

You also miss the whole point. That being the racism and bigotry that has been, and continues to be prevelent in the GOP and the current GOP presidential hopefuls hypocrisy taking money from bigots only to return it after disclosure is politically imprudent. Not unlike Pence with RFRA, try to slip by until you get caught.

But since you crow about Gov Bush's sensitivity and being so far ahead of the curve on this issue, let's do a little investigation.

There is a backstory to Jeb Bush's executive order in 2001 to remove the Confederate flag that had flown over the Florida capitol since 1978.

Jeb Bush had just won the battle for the governorship in late 1998. He arrived in Tallahassee in January, 1999 , determined to enforce his agenda and to take no prisoners along the way. Also, his brother was setting up a run for the presidency in 2000. Soon after Jeb took office in 1999, an anti-affirmative action zealot named Ward Connerly traveled to Florida to push a ballot initiative for the 2000 ballot, that would remove racial preferences. Mr. Connerly had pushed the same ballot initiatives in California and Washington, and it had the unsurprising effect of damaging the overall outcome for the GOP. Jeb saw this happen, and decided that allowing Mr. Connerly's divisive tactics in Florida would threaten the GOP's chances in the 2000 election by increasing Democratic minority turnout at the polls.

Jeb wanted to end affirmative action in Florida, and he

,,,,,expressed skepticism  about Florida's affirmative-action policies, which he described in one private email as "stupid and destructive." So Bush decided to preempt Connerly's effort by ending affirmative action in Florida himself. He did so by signing Executive Order 99-281 on November 9, 1999.

Alongside his executive order, Bush proposed replacing affirmative action at Florida's state-run universities and in government contracting with an initiative he called One Florida. Under the new plan, students in the top 20 percent of each public high school class would be guaranteed admission to one of the state's public universities. On the contracting side, Bush's order wiped out set-asides and price preferences for minority-owned businesses. Instead, Bush sought to increase diversity in procurement by streamlining the certification process for minority vendors and encouraging purchasing officers to reach out to minority businesses.

From the outset, many observers suspected an ulterior motive lurked behind Bush's executive order. With George W. Bush then the likely GOP nominee for president, Connerly's contentious proposal could be expected to drive Democratic-leaning black voters to the polls in the 2000 election and potentially imperil his path to the White House. CNN's Inside Politics dubbed Bush's executive order the "political 'Play of the Week.'" Bush denied that his brother's presidential ambitions had influenced his decision, but the mere suggestion was damaging. For African Americans, "it was like their interests are being subordinated to the political interest of the Bush family," says Florida State University political scientist Lance deHaven-Smith.

To fully implement One Florida, Bush needed the State University System Board of Regents to approve his ban on racial considerations in state college admissions. In a twist not lost on Bush's critics, the regents vote was scheduled for Friday, January 21, the week of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. A few days prior to the vote, in a last-ditch effort to convince Bush to scrap his plan, a handful of black state lawmakers met with Lt. Gov. Frank Brogan at the state Capitol to make their case. During the meeting, Bush briefly popped in, telling the lawmakers that if they were waiting for him to rescind his executive order, "you might as well get some blankets," according to the Orlando Sentinel. Democratic state Sen. Kendrick Meek (who would later serve in Congress) and state Rep. Tony Hill responded by staging a sit-in on the spot.

The protest was a public relations disaster for Bush, with newspapers likening it to the civil rights demonstrations of the 1960s. As Meek and Hill camped out in executive office suite into the evening—and a couple hundred protesters gathered outside the Capitol singing "We Shall Overcome"—Bush ordered his aides to "throw their asses out." The remark that was caught on video in time for the nightly news.

When Bush ran for reelection in 2002, his support among black voters dropped by more than 50 percent.

The effect of all of this was that with his minority voter purge lists and One Florida, Bush alienated African Americans against him during his very first year in office, 1999. And he never looked back. After all, when he was asked during his first campaign for governor in 1994, what he would do for black Floridians, his answer was, "probobly nothing"'

1999: Jeb Bush gets himself into trouble with African Americans by a stealth executive order to end affirmative action and by creating One Florida.

2000: Jeb Bush's  voter purge lists and his very active role in disenfranchising black voters in a hotly disputed election that Jeb facilitated for his brother to seize via a Supreme Court ruling to stop counting votes, enrage the state and the country.

February 2, 2001: With little notice, Jeb Bush and Katherine Harris quietly remove the Confederate flag from the Capitol.

Bush’s action came at a time when wounds were still fresh from the contentious 2000 recount in Florida, which ended in his brother, George W. Bush, officially winning the state’s 25 electoral votes -- and thereby the presidency -- by just 537 votes out of almost 6 million cast.  But Bush’s office denied that the move to bring down the Confederate flag was motivated by a desire to placate African-Americans in the state, 93 percent of whom had cast their ballots for George W. Bush's Democratic opponent, Al Gore.

With something so consequential to so many people, you would think that Bush have would announced his plan to remove the flag, in anticipation for the public to share and celebrate, that their governor had the wisdom to bring people together by removing this symbol of racial strife.

But, he did not publicize it. He did it very quietly, with agreement of his Secretary of State Katherine Harris.

That flag was removed for duplicitous reasons. And now he's using that event to give himself an advantage in the flag controversy in South Carolina this week, as he brags about how he 'did it in Florida'.

Jeb Bush never does anything without gaining an advantage for himself and  his future political plans. And looking back at these circumstances of how this flag was removed in Florida, notwithstanding his spokesman's perfunctory explanation for the news cycle at the time, the effect was wholly self-serving.

His next election was in 2002, one year later. And he needed to diffuse the issue.

And in 2015, he is deceitfully exploiting that quiet executive order of 2001, in the wake of the South Carolina murders, to gain ruthless political advantage.