This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Remember what it felt like to know that the end of the separation was coming soon? That there'd be meals and movies and laughs and catching up, in person, for the first time in ages?
And remember how agonizingly slow those last few days were before the reunion?
That's life right now for the 1st Battalion, 163rd Field Artillery of the Indiana Army National Guard, an Evansville-based unit that draws in some 300 soldiers from around the Hoosier State. They've been gone since August 2022, sent 7,000 miles to Iraq to mind the details of a muted conflict that the American public has generally moved past.
The soldiers will tell you otherwise. So will their relatives and friends and nieghbors and co-workers. There have been a lot of holes in a lot of lives for the past year. And at some point − achingly soon − they'll be home.
We caught up with Capt. Ernie Griffin of the 163rd, who we also talked to in February about the deployment. When he gets back to the United States and his "other career," Griffin will start his tenure as principal at Plaza Park Middle School. He was previously an assistant principal at Harrison High School.
Twitter doesn't do that and doesn't care to.
Nate Hochman, a communications staffer, is said to have allegedly retweeted the controversial meme video from the Ron DeSantis Fancams Twitter account which ended with the 2024 hopeful's face imposed over what appeared to be a circular symbol known as the "sonnenrad."
Hochman, as first reported by Semafor, was let go after allegedly retweeting the since-deleted video featuring the ancient symbol which had been appropriated by the Nazi Party and is still used today by white supremacist groups.
It would be easy to understand this development as simply more campaign dysfunction, perhaps poor vetting, or even a symptom of the campaign being “too online.” It is better understood as the result of a fundamental strategic decision by DeSantis to actively court the far right.,
DeSantis’s campaign hired Hochman from National Review after it was reported he had participated in a Twitter Spaces with Nick Fuentes, who is at least Nazi-adjacent. “We were just talking about your influence and we were saying, like, you’ve gotten a lot of kids ‘based,’ and we respect that, for sure,” Hochman told him. “I literally said, ‘I think Nick’s probably a better influence than Ben Shapiro on young men who might otherwise be conservative.’” (The comparison is instructive: The nicest and perhaps only good thing that can be said about Shapiro is that Nazis hate him.),
When I wrote a long feature about DeSantis’s campaign last year, one factor I identified was its decision to position DeSantis to Trump’s right. The most visible aspects of this strategy have involved mocking Trump as a supporter of the COVID vaccine and LGBTQ rights, both of which are themes in the video Hochman created. But it has also led the campaign to woo the extreme right:
To the editor: Brock never stood a chance. It is appalling to see him exit his car and never get a chance to even ask why he was being followed by a deputy without his patrol car's lights and siren on.
It is even more appalling to watch this deputy throw Brock to the ground and beat him.
This has nothing to do with being transgender. That comes later with the humiliation at the Norwalk sheriff's station. I hope to see justice served and for Brock to be able to put the pieces of his life back together.
Olivia Roberts, Hacienda Heights
To the editor: When Emmett Brock told the staff at the Los Angeles County sheriff's station in Norwalk that he is a transgender man, he said they asked to see his genitals. And he got a violent beating from a deputy for having an air freshener hanging from his car's rearview mirror.
Dennis Snyder, Long Beach
Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis is talking up the prospect of Democrat and Joe Biden rival Robert Kennedy, Jr., serving in his administration.
In a new interview with right-wing commentator Clay Travis, DeSantis was asked whether he’d consider the anti-vax conspiracy theorist Kennedy as a running mate. DeSantis, who has campaigned vigorously (and fecklessly) to appeal to vaccine skeptics, downplayed that idea, arguing that the Democrat was “averse to our base” on 70 percent of the issues.
But the Florida governor was warm to Kennedy serving in the Cabinet, because Kennedy’s stance on “the medical stuff,” DeSantis said, “does appeal to me.” DeSantis lofted the idea that Kennedy could serve as his administration’s attack dog, battling the nation’s top health agencies. “Sic him on the FDA, if he’d be willing to serve,” DeSantis said. “Or sic him on CDC.”
Florida’s new education guidelines garnered widespread rebuke last week over the requirement that schools teach that some enslaved people extracted a “personal benefit” from technical skills they learned in captivity.
It’s an obviously absurd and ahistorical suggestion that fundamentally relies on racism. It falsely suggests that enslaved people had the good fortune — despite their bondage and all the horrifying abuse that came from it — to learn specialized skills, such as blacksmithing, that many Black people had long been practicing outside of American chattel slavery.
As I wrote Friday, Vice President Kamala Harris took Florida to task for the new guidelines during an impromptu trip to Jacksonville. And DeSantis did himself no favors in response.
“I didn’t do it, and I wasn’t involved in it,” he claimed before pivoting to defending it.
“I think that they’re probably going to show some of the folks that eventually parlayed, you know, being a blacksmith into doing things later in life. But the reality is, all of that is rooted in whatever is factual. ... These were scholars who put that together. It was not anything that was done politically.”
The Florida Department of Education tried to offer examples of enslaved people benefiting from slavery — but as the Tampa Bay Times noted, “historic sources show several of the 16 individuals were never even slaves.”
University of Buffalo researcher Ndubueze Mbah’s work on the concept of “abolition forgery” shows us that oppressive (and occasionally violent) slave-like conditions were imposed on Black laborers even after slavery had officially been abolished in Europe and the United States.
During an April lecture for Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute, Mbah told the story of Jampawo, an African British subject who was forced, after abolition, to comply with a contract that allowed him and other Black laborers to be punished with physical violence. A similar power dynamic occurred in the U.S. after abolition as well.
“African bodies experienced abolition as beatings and starvation,” Mbah explained. “As hanging on trees. As burning with fire. As prison confinement. As penal labor. As forced labor. And that is not the story of abolition as liberation.”
Slavery was actually beneficial to Black people, according to a set of new rules around how Black American history is going to be taught in Florida’s public schools.
The new curriculum also includes assertions that Black people themselves perpetrated violence during historical racial massacres like the 1906 Atlanta race riot and the 1921 Tulsa massacre.
The slavery-was-actually-a-good-thing and there-were-bad-actors-on-all-sides bits are old, racist talking points that I’m not surprised to see Ron DeSantis shamelessly dredging up now that he’s on a national crusade to make himself as appealing as possible to the worst of white America. Using school curricula to delegitimize the horrors of slavery was an obvious next step, but we still need to call it what it is – white supremacy in government.
The historical revisionism being employed here has a singular goal – to erase the horrors of America’s racist past, legitimize far-right ideology and create easier pathways for racism to thrive.
Just look at what’s happening in Italy. For years, revisionists have redirected conversation about Italy’s role in the second world war away from its fascist crimes, effectively trivializing that past – and helping legitimize the county’s new far right. The prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, and her ilk simply refuse to acknowledge that Nazis and fascists were the bad guys in the war, and this ridiculous glossing over of Italy’s past has been extremely helpful to Italy’s contemporary far right.
That is what DeSantis wants for America. A systematic destruction of human rights followed by a reworking of our collective memory around race, so that ultimately the country’s most vulnerable people don’t have a leg to stand on in fighting for their most basic rights.
Long before Moms for Liberty, there were the United Daughters of the Confederacy.
Their passion and influence kept generations of Southern children ignorant of how slavery had caused the Civil War and how cruel it had been. The “war between the states” was rather over “states’ rights” and tariffs. Confederate soldiers were the heroes of a “Lost Cause.” Kindly masters had been considerate to contented slaves.
Reconstruction was bad. The Ku Klux Klan was good.
The Daughters didn’t have to pull the truth from shelves. Its influence with state boards kept offending books from ever being printed or bought. When a University of Florida professor wrote that the South had been more in the wrong in the Civil War, the Daughters of the Confederacy got him fired.
To nationwide scorn and well-deserved derision, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Board of Education has approved a required Black history curriculum with “clarifications” that trivialize slavery and distort the record on racial violence.
Here’s one of them: “Instruction includes how slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.”
Another is worse: “Instruction includes acts of violence perpetrated against and by African Americans but is not limited to 1906 Atlanta Race Riot, 1919 Washington, D.C., Race Riot, 1920 Ocoee Massacre, 1921 Tulsa Massacre and the 1923 Rosewood Massacre” (emphasis added).
In each of those massacres, Blacks were never the perpetrators. It is a fraud on history and a libel on them to imply that they were. When whites died, it was because Black men had taken up arms to defend their homes, their families and themselves from armed mobs, seething with racism, bent on arson and murder.
Middle of the Mitten Greens Tag Sale
The Middle of the Mitten Greens is inviting you to a street sale on July 29, 2023. Proceeds from the sale will be donated to the Green Party of Michigan.
Corner of Michigan Ave. and Mifflin Ave. in Lansing. Free bags of groceries with each $10.00 purchase. (3 items).
Toys, clothing, household items, books, odds and ends. Free food!
Your purchase will go to administrative costs of the Green Party of Michigan. For more information please contact Robin Lea Laurain @ email@example.com.
Robin Laurain, Ways and Means Officer GPMI
©2023 Green Party of Michigan | PO Box 2754, Grand Rapids 49501