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Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

TPM Reader CS gives us a view from Charleston and why he thinks the damn broke on the preservation of Confederate symbols. I'm particularly interested in the second catalyst he notes ...

As a Charleston resident, I’ve noticed that there seem to be two main catalysts driving the removal of the flag—at least here in South Carolina.

First and foremost, a member of the South Carolina Senate was murdered. Not just any member, but a very highly respected and very well liked member. I have been pleasantly surprised by the number of Republican Senators who have come forward to release very personal statements about Sen. Pinckney’s death, especially among the Lowcountry delegation. The statements made about him strike me as more than just the generic nice things one is supposed to say.

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One of the many enjoyable things about writing historically-themed posts is finding out new things or re-finding out things I'd dimly known or learned at some point but had almost entirely forgotten. That happened today as I was writing about the history of the Confederate flag and the fact that what we know as the Confederate flag was actually never the national flag of the pretended Confederate States of America. What I didn't remember, though, was this issue of the "White Man's Flag" which was the official national flag of the CSA for most of its history. As I noted in this post, the second flag of the Confederacy was what we recognize as the 'confederate flag' in the top left corner on a field of pure white. And unless you think this is just ironic given what the Confederacy stood for ... nope not ironic.

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Back in February we brought you the news of one-time county sheriff Richard Mack of Arizona, head of the nonsense "constitutional sheriff" movement, a group of yahoos who got confused and believe that sovereign authority rests not with the state or the head of state or the individual or the people but with county sheriffs. Go figure. Not surprisingly, Mack is a big opponent of Obamacare. So it was a source of eye-popping and some ungenerous schadenfreude when, having not purchased insurance under the ACA for liberty, he and his wife both got seriously ill and were reduced to starting a GoFundMe page to raise money for their medical expenses.

That got us thinking about the ironies of Obamacare, the staunch opponents of Obamacare who are nevertheless in desperate need of it and more. So we sent a reporter to Arizona to find out more. He talked to Mack. But he also found more: the flip side of the coin, the many ways that the ACA has already seeped deep into the sinews of society and government and the economy. We also learn a lot of about politicians, law enforcement professionals and ordinary citizens who may be staunch conservatives and opposed to Obamacare on ideological grounds but have also come to accept that it is either essential for their work or simply and quite clearly helping their constituents.

Here's the piece. Check it out.

I've been telling fellow TPMers in our editorial chats over the last few days that I was genuinely surprised that the Charleston church massacre has apparently proved the watershed that is leading to a wholesale abandonment of at least the Confederate flag (and perhaps other symbols of the Confederacy) from public spaces in the South. Certainly, this is not to discount the shocking scale of Dylann Roof's crime. But the Confederate flag - actually the Confederate battle flag or flag of the Army of Northern Virginia, you probably would not recognize the actual national flags of the Confederacy - is a damn persistent thing.

(For the actual national flags of the pretended Confederate States of America, see the list of flags at the bottom of this post.)

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I'm starting to think Michael Oren may end up soon as an official Fox News contributor. This new piece in Foreign Policy is basically an edges sanded down version of something you might read on NRO or Newsmax.

This is the guy who said it is critical for Israel to mend ties with the White House.

Over the weekend, what appears to be a manifesto writen by alleged Charleston massacre perpetrator Dylann Roof emerged. And in addition to a fairly typical list of white supremacist ideas and storylines, several key things jumped out at me. First was that Roof said that he had been radicalized by the Trayvon Martin shooting. And first shaken into "racial awareness" by media reactions to the Martin/Zimmerman saga, he then found a group called the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC) online, which revealed to him a purported epidemic of black on white violent crime which, at least in his own accounting, led him on the path which ended at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston last Wednesday.

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When the news broke Wednesday night of the horrific massacre at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, from the start people asked why this crime, which would have been labeled "terrorism" if the killer had been a Muslim, is merely a "hate crime" or the work of a deranged madman since the murderer is white. It's a very good question and people are right to ask it. I think the word "terrorism", as we've come to use it, is so clumsy that it might be better to retire the word altogether. But as long as we do use it, it definitely makes sense to apply the label to this crime. But there's another meaning of the term, or another history, that I think helps us understand much more of the past and the present of what happened Wednesday night in Charleston.

You've probably heard of The Citadel, one of the most storied military academies in the United States, which is located in Charleston. As Benjamin Parks explains in this piece from yesterday, the origins of The Citadel are directly linked to the reaction to the Denmark Vesey slave conspiracy that rocked the city in 1822. As you've probably also seen in the news coverage over the last two days, Vesey was one of the founders of the Emanuel AME Church. Nor is this connection between The Citadel and the attempted Vesey uprising some coincidence or oddity. It is a particular connection that illustrates a greater and sobering truth: the Southern military tradition, whatever it has evolved into in more recent history, has its roots in the institution of and particularly the preservation of slavery. Whether it is slave patrols, militias focused on putting down slave revolts or musters intended to overawe subject populations - while no institution has a single origin, this basic fact about the history of the American South is unquestionably true. It is particularly so about South Carolina.

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This story is, painfully, much more timely than when we first assigned it. But it's a must-read on several levels. Tomorrow is Juneteenth - a predominantly African-American holiday commemorating the end of slavery - and the 150th anniversary of the event it celebrates, the arrival of the US Army at Galveston Island on June 19th 1865. Read this piece and it will change your understanding of just how slavery really ended and why.

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