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What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White

What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White

Know Anyone Who Thinks Racial Profiling Is Exaggerated? Watch This, And Tell Me When Your Jaw Drops.

This video clearly demonstrates how racist America is as a country and how far we have to go to become a country that is civilized and actually values equal justice. We must not rest until this goal is achieved. I do not want my great grandchildren to live in a country like we have today. I wish for them to live in a country where differences of race and culture are not ignored but valued as a part of what makes America great.

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

New SNAP work requirements, explained

New SNAP work requirements, explained

“Four ways the debt deal could affect who’s eligible for benefits such as SNAP and TANF

Larrilou Carumba, a furloughed housekeeper, pays for groceries using food stamps in Union City, Calif., in May 2020. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

The Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023, which would raise the debt ceiling for the next two years and cut federal spending, is making its way through the House and Senate. If enacted, it will put an end to months of heated debate and political tension over the country’s economic and fiscal future.

A central issue in the standoff has been nutrition assistance programs for many low-income Americans, with Republicans seeking to insert work requirements that the Biden administration opposed.

The agreement, which must be voted on by Congress in the next few days, ultimately would institute new requirements for families who get benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

“If it passes, this plan would be the first major deficit-reducing budget agreement in almost a dozen years and would signal Washington is serious about making progress in addressing our mounting national debt,” said Maya MacGuineas, president of the conservative-leaning Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

But in a twist, these changes could actually make these programs more expensive for the government in the long run, because more people would end up qualifying for aid, according to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office. Federal spending for SNAP and TANF is expected to rise by about $2.1 billion in the next 10 years, the analysis found.

Here are four things to know about the requirements in the proposed debt deal.

1. Older Americans on SNAP would face new work requirements

Current rules for SNAP benefits, which used to be called food stamps, require that adults up to age 49 work or participate in a training program for at least 80 hours a month. There are certain exceptions, though, including for people who are pregnant, have mental or physical limitations, or live with children.

If the deal is passed, the work requirements would apply to a new group: adults without dependents between 50 and 52 starting in October, and adults as old as 54 beginning next fall.

The new requirements could put hundreds of thousands of additional adults at risk of losing food assistance, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a left-leaning think tank.

Many older adults work part-time jobs — as crossing guards, store greeters or seasonal workers, for example — with hours that may not add up to 80 per month, said Ty Jones Cox, vice president of food assistance at CBPP.

“When we look at that older group, especially those with no children in the home and who aren’t eligible for other programs … they may be in jobs where they have had to work with their hands and bodies for years,” making it harder to work into their 50s, Jones Cox said. “These individuals may have a hard time finding another job, retraining or engaging in a new opportunity.”

2. Veterans, the homeless and young adults who recently left foster care will be exempt from SNAP work requirements

But the new legislation would also create new exceptions on exactly who is required to work. Veterans, people experiencing homelessness and adults ages 18 to 24 who were previously in foster care will all be newly exempt from the work requirement.

For the first time ever, Americans who are homeless would not need to meet work requirements to qualify for SNAP benefits, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia L. Fudge said on Twitter. This includes people who are unsheltered, living in shelters or temporarily living in someone else’s home, she said.

As a result, the Congressional Budget Office expects that more people — an additional 78,000 per month, on average — will qualify for SNAP benefits between 2025 and 2030, resulting in $1.8 billion in extra spending.

The extra funding and new exemptions will help some families, who have had to make do after pandemic-era boosts to food stamps ended in March. In Centerville, Va., Heather Thomas has been struggling to make ends meet after her family’s SNAP benefits were cut in half a couple of months ago.

Now, though, the provision for veterans may ward off additional cuts for her family.

Thomas’s husband, Andre, an honorably discharged combat veteran, has been struggling to find work since their small computer business failed in 2016. Thomas, 48, has four kids under 13 in the house, as well as two adult children. She said when her youngest, 6-year-old twins, were babies, she had complications from the pregnancy that rendered her permanently disabled and with ongoing health challenges.

“My husband has been trying to find a job, that’s his only goal,” she said earlier this month, when she worried that more stringent work requirements could put her family in an even more dire position. If the deal passes, Thomas’s family could be among those around the country who benefit.

3. States can still waive work requirements, though there are new wrinkles

States, which can waive work requirements in areas with insufficient jobs, would still be able to do so under the new rules. (An earlier Republican proposal had sought to restrict states’ ability to issue waivers.)

However, there could be some changes to how states dole out exemptions. Under current rules, states are allowed to waive work requirements for a limited number of people. Unused exemptions can be carried over indefinitely by states, which can stockpile them for future years.

Under the bill, though, states would receive fewer monthly exemptions and would be able to carry over unused exemptions for only one year.

4. Enhanced work requirements for TANF benefits in most states

TANF, a program that provides temporary cash for families in need, is also facing potential changes, though the actual impact on recipients will vary by state.

States design their own programs but are required to make sure that at least 50 percent of recipients are working. States can effectively reduce that 50 percent threshold based on how much their caseloads have fallen since 2005. For example, if the number of families receiving benefits has fallen by 20 percent since 2005, then only 30 percent of families would be required to meet work standards.

The new proposal overhauls that framework and sets the comparison year to 2015, instead of 2005. This means more states would have to boost their work requirements accordingly. States would have two years to implement the new rules. They can also lower their work participation requirements by contributing more state funding toward TANF benefits.

As a result, the CBO expects that the federal government would end up paying slightly less to states, because some states would not meet the work requirements. Those changes are expected to shave off $5 million in federal spending over the next decade.

Advocates for low-income families with children say the proposed changes could prompt some states to reduce cash aid to families, in part because “the work participation standards are impossible to meet,” according to LaDonna Pavetti, a senior fellow at CBPP.

“For many people who are homeless or face domestic violence or have a mental health issue, states can exempt them from work requirements,” she said. “But for everyone who is exempted, you need another person who is meeting the work requirements, and because benefits are so low in most states, few working families qualify for assistance.”

BREAKING: Federal Trump case gets SERIOUS update with attorney ADMISSION

Sunday, May 28, 2023


Shweta Aggarwal On Anti-Black Racism In India, Skin Bleaching, Colorism & The Black Rose

BREAKING: Trump's OWN employees screw him over in BOMBSHELL legal development


SHOCKING Bodycam Footage Released Of Keith Murriel's DEADLY Encounter With Jackson Police

DeSantis accused of ‘catastrophic’ climate approach after campaign launch | Ron DeSantis | The Guardian

DeSantis accused of ‘catastrophic’ climate approach after campaign launch

"Republican ‘trying to out-Trump Trump’ on climate, expert says, as governor says he rejects the ‘politicization of the weather’

ron DeSantis
Environmental groups have taken aim at DeSantis over a record on climate they say is no better than Donald Trump’s, his rival for the Republican presidential nomination. Photograph: Wade Vandervort/AFP/Getty Images

Ron DeSantis has been accused of a “catastrophic” approach to the climate crisis after he launched his campaign for US president by saying he rejects the “politicization of the weather” and questioning whether hurricanes hitting his home state of Florida have been worsened by climate change.

DeSantis, the Republican Florida governor who announced his bid for the White House via a glitch-heavy Twitter stream on Wednesday, has previously dismissedconcerns about global heating as “leftwing stuff” and he expanded upon this theme during a Fox News interview following his campaign launch.

“People tried to say when we had [Hurricane] Ian that it was because of climate change but if you look at the first 60 years from 1900 to 1960 we had more major hurricanes hit Florida than the 60 years since then,” DeSantis told his interlocutor, the former Republican congressman Trey Gowdy.

“This is something that is a fact of life in the Sunshine state. I’ve always rejected the politicization of the weather.”

Climate scientists have said that while it is true that hurricanes have not become significantly more frequent due to climate change, there is good evidence that the heating of the ocean, now at record levels, as well as the atmosphere is causing storms to rapidly intensify and become more powerful.

A study in the wake of Hurricane Ian, which pulverized roads and buildings in Florida last year, causing $112bn in damages and around 150 deaths in total in the US, found that climate change worsened the storm’s extreme rainfall by around 10%.

Michael Mann, a climate scientist at the University of Pennsylvania, said that DeSantis’s stance towards climate science is “classic projection”.

“It is Ron DeSantis who is engaged in the ‘politicization of the weather’ by denying basic, established science – the intensification of tropical storms with human-caused warming of the oceans.”

Mann added that DeSantis has favored fossil fuel interests over Florida’s, a state acutely vulnerable to sea level rise and more powerful storms that has “been placed directly in harm’s way by the devastating consequences of fossil fuel burning and the resulting warming of our planet”.

Environmental groups have also taken aim at DeSantis over a record on climate they say is no better than Donald Trump’s, his rival for the Republican presidential nomination.

While governor, DeSantis has adopted bills banning Florida’s cities from adopting 100% clean energy goals and barred the state’s pension fund from making investment decisions that consider the climate crisis due to what he called a corporate attempt to “impose an ideological agenda on the American people”. He has also attacked the US military for being “woke” for warning about the national security risks posed by climate impacts.

“The cost of taking his anti-climate record to the national stage as president would be catastrophic,” said Pete Maysmith, senior vice-president of campaigns for the League of Conservation Voters. “DeSantis has already made clear he would unleash his war on climate science, clean energy jobs, and strong pollution safeguards against clean air and clean water.”

During his elections to Congress and to the Florida governor’s mansion, DeSantis has taken more than $1m in campaign donations from the oil and gas industry, with his campaign committee receiving $2m just last year from Club for Growth, a conservative organization that successfully agitated for the US to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement when Trump was president.

“We need fossil fuels,” DeSantis said at an event in March. “You can’t just get rid of them unless you guys want to pay a lot more for energy.”

However, the governor’s supporters argue that he has forged strong environmentalist credentials in Florida, signing bills to beef up the state’s resilience to sea level rise and pledging billions of dollars to restore the ailing Everglades, which has been besieged by agricultural development and, increasingly, climate change.

This record could have been the basis for a pragmatic alternative to Trump and help appeal to voters increasingly alarmed by rising temperatures, according to Bob Inglis, a former Republican congressman who now advocates for a conservative response to the climate crisis.

“He’s done some things in Florida designed to address the problem of climate change, he could’ve been the post-Trump successful governor, the solver of problems,” said Inglis.

“But instead he’s choosing to be more of the anti-woke warrior than Trump. He’s slugging it out in the Trump lane which is really a terrible mistake. I’m hearing from Republicans in Florida ‘why is he choosing this path?’

“He could’ve said, ‘Hey, we are dealing with this climate issue in Florida, let’s lead the world on this.’ Instead he’s trying to out-Trump Trump.”

Inglis said that while some senior Republicans fret they will lose out on a younger generation of climate-concerned voters, they still risk being beaten in primary races by candidates that back Trump’s ongoing embrace of climate denialism.

“People like (House of Representatives speaker) Kevin McCarthy know that young conservatives want action on climate change and even if Trump wins he will be a lame duck by 2026 and the party could start moving on by then,” said Inglis.

“The trouble is, the scientists say we don’t have the time to wait for that. That really is the problem.”

DeSantis accused of ‘catastrophic’ climate approach after campaign launch | Ron DeSantis | The Guardian

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Kissinger at 100: New War Crimes Revealed in Secret Cambodia Bombing Tha...

Biden has one of the most VIRAL moments of his presidency

Henry Kissinger turns 100 this week. He should be ashamed to be seen in public | Bhaskar Sunkara and Jonah Walters | The Guardian

Henry Kissinger turns 100 this week. He should be ashamed to be seen in public | Bhaskar Sunkara and Jonah Walters

"Henry Kissinger turns 100 on Saturday, but his legacy has never been in worse shape. Though many commentators now speak of a “tortured and deadly legacy”, for decades Kissinger was lauded by all quarters of the political and media establishment.

A teenage Jewish refugee who fled Nazi Germany, Kissinger charted an unlikely path to some of the most powerful positions on Earth. Even more strangely, as national security adviser and secretary of state under Nixon and Ford, he became something of a pop icon.

Back then, one fawning profile of the young statesman cast him as “the sex symbol of the Nixon administration”. In 1969, according to the profile, Kissinger attended a party full of Washington socialites with an envelope marked “Top Secret” tucked under his arm. The other party guests could hardly contain their curiosity, so Kissinger deflected their questions with a quip: the envelope contained his copy of the latest Playboy magazine. (Hugh Hefner apparently found this hilarious and thereafter ensured that the national security adviser got a free subscription.)

What the envelope really contained was a draft copy of Nixon’s “silent majority” speech, a now-infamous address that aimed to draw a sharp line between the moral decadence of antiwar liberals and Nixon’s unflinching realpolitik. 

The actual top-secret work he was doing in the 1970s aged just as poorly. Within a few short years he masterminded illegal bombings in Laos and Cambodia and enabled genocide in East Timor and East Pakistan. Meanwhile, Kissinger was known among Beltway socialites as “the playboy of the western wing”. He liked to be photographed, and photographers obliged. He was a fixture on gossip pages, particularly when his dalliances with famous women spilled into public view – like when he and the actor Jill St John inadvertently set off the alarm at her Hollywood mansion late one night as they stole away to her pool. (“I was teaching her chess,” Kissinger explained later.)

While Kissinger gallivanted with Washington’s jet set, he and Nixon – a pair so firmly joined at the hip that Isaiah Berlin christened them “Nixonger” – were busy contriving a political brand rooted in their supposed disdain for the liberal elite, whose effete morality, they claimed, could lead only to paralysis.

Kissinger certainly disdained the antiwar movement, disparaging demonstrators as “upper-middle-class college kids” and warning: “The very people who shout ‘Power to the People’ are not going to be the people who take over this country if it turns into a test of strength.” He also scorned women: “To me women are no more than a pastime, a hobby. Nobody devotes too much time to a hobby.” But it’s indisputable that Kissinger held a fondness for the gilded liberalism of high society, the exclusive parties and steak dinners and flashbulbs.

High society loved him back. Gloria Steinem, an occasional dining companion, called Kissinger “the only interesting man in the Nixon administration”. The gossip columnist Joyce Haber described him as “worldly, humorous, sophisticated, and a cavalier with women.” The Hef considered him a friend, and once claimed in print that a poll of his models revealed Kissinger to be the man most widely desired for dates at the Playboy mansion.

This infatuation didn’t end with the 1970s. When Kissinger turned 90 in 2013, his red-carpet birthday celebration was attended by a bipartisan crowd that included Michael Bloomberg, Roger Ailes, Barbara Walters, even “veteran for peace” John Kerry, along with some 300 other A-listers.

An article in Women’s Wear Daily reported that Bill Clinton and John McCaindelivered the birthday toasts in a ballroom done up in chinoiserie, to please the night’s guest of honor. (McCain, who spent more than five years as a POW, described his “wonderful affection” for Kissinger, “because of the Vietnam war, which was something that was enormously impactful to both of our lives”.) The birthday boy himself then took the stage, where he reminded guests about the “rhythm of history” and seized the occasion to preach the gospel of his favorite cause: bipartisanship.

Kissinger’s capacity for bipartisanship was renowned. (Republicans Condoleezza Rice and Donald Rumsfeld were in attendance early in the evening, and later in the night Democrat Hillary Clinton strode in through a freight entrance with open arms, asking: “Ready for round two?”) During the party, McCain gushed that Kissinger “has been a consultant and adviser to every president, Republican and Democrat, since Nixon”. McCain probably spoke for everyone in the ballroom when he added: “I know of no individual who is more respected in the world than Henry Kissinger.”

In fact, much of the world reviles Kissinger. The former secretary of state even avoids visiting several countries out of fear that he might be apprehended and charged with war crimes. In 2002, for example, a Chilean court demanded he answer questions about his role in that country’s 1973 coup d’état. In 2001, a French judge sent police officers to Kissinger’s Paris hotel room to serve him a formal request for questioning about the same coup, during which several French citizens were disappeared.

Around the same time, he cancelled a trip to Brazil after rumors began circling that he would be detained and compelled to answer questions about his role in Operation Condor, the 1970s scheme that united South American dictatorships in disappearing one another’s exiled opponents. An Argentinian judge had already named Kissinger as one potential “defendant or suspect” in a future criminal indictment.

But in the United States, Kissinger is untouchable. There, one of the 20th century’s most prolific butchers is beloved by the rich and powerful, regardless of their partisan affiliation. Kissinger’s bipartisan appeal is straightforward: he was a top strategist of America’s empire of capital at a critical moment in that empire’s development.

Small wonder that the political establishment has regarded Kissinger as an asset and not an aberration. He embodied what the two ruling parties share: the resolve to ensure favorable conditions for American investors in as much of the world as possible. A stranger to shame and inhibition, Kissinger was able to guide the American empire through a treacherous period in world history, when the United States’ rise to global domination sometimes seemed on the brink of collapse.

The Kissinger doctrine persists today: if sovereign countries refuse to be worked into broader US schemes, the American national security state will move swiftly to undercut their sovereignty. This is business as usual for the US, no matter which party sits in the White House – and Kissinger, while he lives, remains among the chief stewards of this status quo.

The historian Gerald Horne once recounted a story about the time Kissinger nearly drowned while canoeing beneath one of the world’s largest waterfalls. Tossed in those churning waters, the statesman was finally forced to confront the terror of losing control, of facing a crisis in which even his own incredible influence could not insulate him from personal disaster. But the panic was only temporary – his guide righted the boat, and Kissinger again escaped unscathed.

Perhaps time will soon accomplish what the Victoria Falls failed to do so many decades ago.

  • Bhaskar Sunkara is the president of the Nation, the founding editor of Jacobin, and the author of The Socialist Manifesto: The Case for Radical Politics in An Era of Extreme Inequalities

  • Jonah Walters is a freelance writer and postdoctoral fellow at the UCLA Institute for Society and Genetics"

Henry Kissinger turns 100 this week. He should be ashamed to be seen in public | Bhaskar Sunkara and Jonah Walters | The Guardian

Nikki Haley let Confederate flag fly at State House until Charleston mass shooting - The Washington Post

Nikki Haley let the Confederate flag fly until a massacre forced her hand

"She told Confederate groups that flag was about “heritage,” and her campaign said efforts to remove it from the State House grounds were “desperate and irresponsible”

Politician Nikki Haley, in a pastel plaid suit, stands with a group outside a white church building.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) prepares to speak to journalists on June 19, 2015, at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., where, two days before, an avowed white supremacist had killed nine Black parishioners. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Amid her barrier-breaking first run for governor, Nikki Haley took time off the trail for an unusual event: A private meeting with two leaders of Confederate heritage groups.

The men listened during the 2010 conversation as the Republican candidate assured them that she shared their worldview. She said the Civil War was a fight between “tradition” and “change,” without mentioning the word slavery. She said she supported Confederate History Month as a parallel to Black History Month.

And, as the daughter of Indian immigrants, she suggested that her identity as a minority woman could help her take on the NAACP, which was leading a boycott of the state until the Confederate flag was taken off the State House grounds.

“I will work to talk to them about the heritage and how this is not something that is racist,” Haley said in a discussion captured on video.

Haley’s outreach to Confederate groups reflects a more complex backstory than she has previously acknowledged about her most famous act: Signing legislation five years later that removed the Confederate flag from the State House grounds in the wake of a racist massacre at a Black church in Charleston.

As Haley rose from governor to U.N. ambassador under President Donald Trump, she often portrayed the decision as the culmination of her work to move South Carolina beyond its history of secession, enslavement and segregation. The reason she didn’t try to take down the flag sooner, Haley claimed in her 2019 memoir, was because members of both parties had “pushed back” against the idea, adding that“even many African American Democrats were privately opposed to the idea of reopening the flag debate.”

Yet a Washington Post review of Haley’s actions in the five years before the massacre found that she repeatedly dismissed efforts to remove the flag, mollified Confederate heritage groups whose influence remained a powerful force, and did not hold substantive discussions with Black leaders who wanted to remove the flag. Months before the mass killing that changed her position, her reelection campaign had called a proposal by her Democratic opponent to remove the flag “desperate and irresponsible.”

Her actions in South Carolina illuminate how she has carefully tailored her approach to race depending on the audience. At times, she has invoked her reaction to the Charleston massacre to take on other Republicans, as she did when criticizing Trump for his claim that the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville had included “very fine people on both sides.” But as she now runs in a GOP presidential primary fixated in part on critiques of a “woke” agenda to re-examine racial fault lines in America’s history, her announcement video highlights her leadership after the 2015 Charleston massacre without any mention that she signed legislation to remove the Confederate flag from the State House grounds.

Haley declined to comment and did not respond directly to a detailed list of questions from The Post, including a request that she provide the names of Black legislators who opposed reopening the debate over the Confederate flag. In a statement, Haley campaign spokesperson Chaney Denton said that there “was little appetite in either political party” to take action on the flag, but that “Haley did her best to hold the state together” after a White man killed nine Black parishioners at a Charleston church.

In the wake of the murders, “there was nothing inevitable” about the flag’s removal, Denton said, and “without Governor Haley’s leadership, that would not have happened. That is a fact that was recognized by many across the political spectrum. It appears some people want to rewrite history because they don’t agree with her running for president.”

Denton said those critical of Haley’s actions have a “political motivation.”

Black legislators said Haley deserves credit for eventually embracing the call to remove the flag, and many said that they have no reason to doubt Haley’s assertion that she played a role in persuading some wavering legislators to support the move.

But those who spent years fighting to remove the Confederate flag under Haley’s governorship also say that her accounts obscure her long history of dismissing removal efforts until after the mass shooting by an avowed white supremacist who embraced the flag.

“When she had a chance to do it prior to the deaths of those nine people, she never, ever offered to bring us together to make a change,” said James Gallman, a past president of the South Carolina NAACP.

Critics particularly bristle at Haley’s claim that unnamed Black legislators had also resisted removing the flag before the massacre.

“That sounds like [she is saying], ‘My cover is that I didn’t do it because even the Black legislators did not want it done,’” said state Sen. Darrell Jackson (D), a Black descendant of enslaved South Carolinians who helped broker a compromise in 2000 that moved the flag from atop the dome to the State House lawn.

In fact, Jackson said in an interview at his office overlooking the State House, no Black Democratic legislator believed that “we were happy with this flag being there forever.”

Growing up in a small town

A bitter history of racism formed the backdrop of Haley’s upbringing in the tiny South Carolina town of Bamberg.

In 1897, a pathbreaking Black woman, Elizabeth Evelyn Wright, opened the only high school for Black people  after other schools she opened were burned downby White supremacists  that became a historically Black institution known today as Voorhees University.

In 1969, that college hired Haley’s father, an immigrant from India named Ajit Singh Randhawa, who taught biology there until 1997, according to the institution. By the time Haley went to elementary school, she has said, she saw how discrimination still affected her and others in a county that was less than 1 percent Asian in the most recent census.

One day, Haley later wrote, sides were being chosen for kickball, and children split into groups of Blacks and Whites.

“Are you Black or White?” a schoolmate asked.

“I’m neither,” Haley responded, according to her memoir. “I’m Brown.”

Haley’s goal, as she later put it, was that “I just wanted to fit in.”

She later found she fit within the ideology of the Republican Party, and in South Carolina, the Confederate flag was a central part of political life.

The flag had flown atop the State House since 1961, when it was raised as a symbol of defiance of the Civil Rights movement. Even as public sentiment later shifted — with increasing numbers of White people joining Black leaders and marching against the Confederate flag — the state Republican Party remained steadfast. Republican Gov. David Beasley bucked his party by proposing the flag’s removal, an unsuccessful effort that some partly blamed for his defeat in his 1998 reelection bid against a Democrat.

Writing years later, Haley said Beasley’s flag proposal was “career-ending” — a fate she had no interest in replicating.

Racial tensions over the flag remained high when, in 2004, Haley was elected the first Indian American legislator in the state’s House. Although legislators had taken the flag off the dome four years earlier, they moved it to a Confederate statue in front of the State House — and added a provision requiring a two-thirds vote of the legislature to fully remove it.

As Haley announced a bid for governor in 2009, the flag’s prominence remained a major issue, with the NAACP boycott costing South Carolina convention business and NCAA tournaments.

“If she had made the flag a central theme of her campaign, she wouldn’t have won,” said Rick Quinn Jr., a Republican former House Majority leader who blamed his loss in 2004 on his support for moving the flag to the State House lawn.

So as she campaigned for the primary — trailing in polls to two popular Republicans, U.S. Rep. Gresham Barrett and Attorney General Henry McMaster — she first argued the flag was a moot point, because two-thirds of the legislature would not vote to remove it. In February 2010, a Myrtle Beach Sun-News columnist wrote that among the GOP candidates, Haley “gave perhaps the most honest answer” by dropping the “pretense” that the matter was settled and acknowledging that the NAACP boycott was hurting businesses.

Such statements alarmed the Sons of Confederate Veterans and Palmetto Patriots, among the staunchest supporters of keeping the flag at the State House — especially coming from a minority woman who spoke about her battles with racism.

Haley now faced a pivotal decision about whether to engage with the groups. But, critics say, a Republican candidate like Haley really had no choice at all.

“If she would have come out of that meeting and said, ‘I want to take down the flag,’ Nikki Haley would not be governor,” said political commentator Bakari Sellers, who was a Democratic state representative in South Carolina at the time.

So she accepted an invitation to meet with the Confederate groups’ leaders. One was Robert Slimp, a Columbia pastor who had been on the board of the Council of Conservative Citizens, which the Anti-Defamation League has called a white supremacist organization — a claim the council has rejected. (Slimp died in 2021. The other man has not been identified.)

Haley spent nearly 10 minutes trying to win them over in an exchange filmed and uploaded to a YouTube channel run by the Palmetto Patriots. Although Haley said she didn’t see the flag as a “priority,” she also embraced their view that Confederate history should be celebrated. “The same as you have Black History Month, like when you have Confederate History Month,” she said, it should be done “in a positive way.”

Haley at one point said “our Creator endowed the rights of everyone” but she did not mention slavery when discussing the causes of the Civil War. Instead, she said, “you had one side of the Civil War that was fighting for tradition. And, I think, you had another side of the Civil War that was fighting for change.”

Asked whether she would ever change her mind on removing the Confederate flag, Haley responded, “No, I would not,” adding: “I don’t have any intentions of bringing it back up or making it an issue.”

Haley also argued that her identity could help their cause. “I’m the perfect person to deal with the boycott because as a minority female, I’m going to talk to them and I’m going to go and let them know that every state has different conditions and every state has certain things that they hold as part of their heritage.”

Haley did not respond to a question from The Post about whether she followed through and met with NAACP officials during the campaign. Three former NAACP officials interviewed by The Post said they have no recollection of Haley coming to talk to representatives of the group, although it is possible she talked to others associated with the group.

“To my understanding, no, and I think I would have known about that,” said the Reverend Joe Darby, who was first vice president of the Charleston branch of the NAACP during Haley’s 2010 campaign. Had Haley met with him, Darby said, “we would have explained why it was racist and why it was an insult to many of those who pay her salary with tax money in South Carolina.”

Her meeting with the Confederate groups, first reported in 2010 by the Wall Street Journal, garnered little notice during the campaign. The story was published just before she surged to win the Republican primary and then defeated Democratic state Sen. Vincent Sheheen, who did not campaign on removing the flag.

Jackson, the state senator, said he was dismayed that someone with Haley’s life experiences would engage with Confederate groups.

“The thing that upset me most is that I was familiar with her background, a woman of color, someone who, by her own account, had been discriminated against as a child, and [had] a father who worked for a historically Black college,” Jackson said.

As she moved into the governor’s office, Haley faced new pressure from both sides. As the NAACP boycott continued, she was also visited by a leader of the Sons of Confederate Veterans who had not participated in the 2010 interview.

“She promised me that she would not interfere with the Confederate flag on the State House grounds,” said Mark Simpson, the group’s former South Carolina division commander. “I said, ‘Can I tell that to my men?’ And she said, ‘Yes,’ and I did.”

As she sought reelection in 2014, her opponent was once again Sheheen — whothis time decided to make removing the Confederate flag a centerpiece of his campaign, a proposal that Haley’s campaign in response called “desperate and irresponsible.”

Haley doubled down on her opposition to any change. In a debate, Haley reiterated what had become her standard line, saying that she had not had “one conversation with a single CEO about the Confederate flag.” She said the state’s image had been repaired, because “you elected the first Indian American female governor.”

Haley won reelection in November 2014 by a large margin, 56 to 41 percent.

Racial tensions come to the fore

Haley’s national profile hit a new peak after her reelection, with her success as a minority woman at the helm of a Southern conservative state prompting early talk of a presidential run.

But even as she embraced her signature call that “it’s a great day in South Carolina,” racial tensions simmered — and soon would test her in politically perilous ways.

Shortly after beginning her second term, Haley faced an escalating crisis after a bystander’s video showed a White police officer fatally shooting an unarmed Black man, Walter Scott, who was fleeing on foot in North Charleston. The video contradicted the officer’s claim that he fired eight shots because he feared for his life.

Haley was pushed to take action by Clementa Pinckney, a Black state senator who was calling for all South Carolina police officers to use body cameras. Haley embraced the Democrat’s plan, signing the legislation on June 10, 2015, earning bipartisan plaudits for making South Carolina the first with a statewide policy.

But Pinckney was also a leading advocate on another issue that put him in conflict with Haley: calling for the Confederate flag to be removed from the grounds of the State House.

Pinckney “stood with the NAACP, he stood with many in the Black faith community, he stood with Sheheen … that the flag should come down,” said Antjuan Seawright, a political adviser to Pinckney and other members of the South Carolina Senate Democratic Caucus.

One week after the body camera bill was signed, Pinckney, 41, attended a legislative hearing. Then he drove to his job as pastor at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston.

That same day, June 17, 2015, 21-year-old Dylann Roof, also drove to Charleston.He was armed for a massacre against Black people, hoping to start a new race war.

Roof had searched the internet for information about what he later called “black on White crime” and came across the website of the Council of Conservative Citizens — the group whose board members had included Slimp, the leader Haley had met with five years earlier. A spokesman for the council in 2015 “categorically” condemned Roof’s actions and said the group had no direct contact or knowledge of him.

Haley did not respond to questions about her familiarity with Slimp before the 2010 meeting.

Roof later posted a screed in which he wrote that after his online searching, “I have never been the same since that day.” Along with the missive, Roof posted a photo of himself brandishing the Confederate flag and a gun.

On that June day, Roof parked by the church, walked inside and spent an hour listening to Pinckney teach a Bible class. Then he murdered nine people, including Pinckney.

Haley went to every funeral.

Two days after the massacre, Haley was questioned on “CBS This Morning” about increasing calls to remove the flag from the State House grounds. She repeatedly declined to support the idea. “We’ll see where it goes,” she said, saying she hoped for a thoughtful conversation.

“But what’s your position on the issue right now?” anchor Gayle King asked.

She again declined to take a stand, saying, “My job is to heal the people. … You will hear me come out and talk about it. But right now, I’m not doing that to the people of my state.”

Haley later said she was physically and mentally exhausted from dealing with the mass killing. She wrote that her stress had deepened, that she cried herself to sleep, lost her appetite and shed 20 pounds. Her doctor told her she was suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome. But for days, she did not publicly change her position.

As Haley prevaricated, legislators on both sides of the aisle were acting. State Rep. Doug Brannon, a White Republican, appeared on national television to declare that he would introduce a bill to remove the flag. (A Senate version eventually was adopted by the House.)

“Clementa was on my mind,” Brannon said in an interview, recalling that the last conversation he had with Pinckney was about the flag and the economic impact of the NAACP boycott.

It was five days after the massacre, on June 22, when Haley announced her support for removing the Confederate flag.

“I don’t see any way that the flag can continue to fly at the statehouse,” she told her husband, according to her memoir. She added: “I would never be able to look our children in the eye and tell them the flag was still flying on the statehouse grounds.”

In her memoir, Haley sought to explain why she had insisted for years that the flag was not racist. She wrote that she knew the state couldn’t move forward “with the flag literally hanging over us” — but added that “as governor, I couldn’t move the flag on my own.”

Even in calling for the flag’s removal, though, Haley still did not criticize what it represented. Instead, she said that while some viewed the flag as a “symbol of respect,” others saw it as a “deeply offensive symbol of a brutally oppressive past.” She said South Carolina could still be “home to both of those viewpoints. We do not need to declare a winner or loser here.”

However, another Republican, state Sen. Paul Thurmond, son of the segregationist U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond, said in his floor speech that, “Our ancestors were literally fighting to continue to keep human beings as slaves and continue the unimaginable acts that occur when someone is held against their will. I am not proud of this heritage.”

The Senate voted 37-3 and the House voted 94-20 to remove the flag. Haley signed the bill on July 9, 2015.

Fifty-four years after the Confederate flag was raised atop the dome, and 15 years after the compromise put it in front of the capitol building, the flag was removed from the State House grounds and placed in the nearby Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum.

It was a victory long sought by the NAACP, which ended its boycott of the state. Haley’s reversal in the wake of the massacre was widely acclaimed. President Barack Obama praised her “eloquence,” and NAACP President Cornell William Brooks said that Haley showed “leadership and moral courage by changing her position and supporting the flag removal in the aftermath of tragedy.”

Rob Godfrey, Haley’s deputy chief of staff at the time, said it was a defining moment.

“Leadership is defined by how you respond in a crisis,” Godfrey said. “The governor demonstrated incredible leadership, including in the way she dealt with the flag.”

But the years of delay angered those who had gotten nowhere with Haley on the flag issue until after the massacre.

Brannon, the Republican state legislator, said, “After the bill’s introduced, she changes from ‘Leave the flag alone’ to ‘We should take the flag down.’” He said he believes the bill “absolutely” would have passed regardless of her eventual support because the tide had turned in the aftermath of the mass killing.

Gallman, the former South Carolina NAACP president, said that if Haley had spoken up years earlier, she might have gotten the flag removed entirely from the State House grounds — and perhaps sent a message that reached people like Roof.

“I think it would have made a difference,” Gallman said. “When she became governor, there were opportunities, there were a number of legislators who agreed it needed to be done.”

Sellers, who ran for lieutenant governor in 2014 and joined Sheheen in calling for the flag’s removal, said that while Haley’s eventual support is commendable, she had for years been “an impediment to the flag coming down.”

“Nikki Haley did not take the Confederate flag down in South Carolina,” Sellers said. “The blood of Black folk, churchgoing, the best of the best of us, took the flag down in South Carolina.”

Alice Crites and Matthew Brown in Washington contributed to this report."

Nikki Haley let Confederate flag fly at State House until Charleston mass shooting - The Washington Post