August 30, 2015

#Palmetto Primary: Bernie Sanders makes first SC visit as Democratic candidate

photo: O. Kay Henderson, Radio Iowa

Sanders crowd at the Iowa State Fair. photo: O. Kay Henderson, Radio Iowa

Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, has attracted thousands of supporters in each campaign appearance. Saturday, he had another strong showing at the Iowa State Fair.

The next test: does Sanders have as much progressive support in conservative South Carolina? He is stopping by four key regions of the Palmetto State this week:

Friday, August 21
11 a.m. Greenville Rally, TD Convention Center, 1 Exposition Drive, Greenville
Doors open at 10 a.m. The event is free and open to the public. Admission is first come, first served. Tickets are not required, but an RSVP is strongly encouraged.

7 p.m. Columbia Town Meeting, The Medallion Center, 7309 Garners Ferry Road, Columbia
Doors open at 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Admission is first come, first served. Tickets are not required, but an RSVP is strongly encouraged.

Saturday, August 22
11 a.m. Sumter Town Meeting, Sumter County Civic Center, 700 West Liberty Street, Sumter
Doors open at 10 a.m. The event is free and open to the public. Admission is first come, first served. Tickets are not required, but an RSVP is strongly encouraged.

7 p.m. Charleston Rally, Burke High School, 244 President Street, Charleston
Doors open at 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Admission is first come, first served. Tickets are not required, but an RSVP is strongly encouraged.

Racial rallies clash at the SC Statehouse, law enforcement ready (VIDEOS)

Despite Gov. Nikki Haley’s wishes, there was a diverse crowd of protesters, onlookers and hecklers at the Statehouse Saturday afternoon. Two controversial groups with race-based agendas held back-to-back rallies there lasting five hours.

A few blocks away, at weekly Saturday Main Street market, the shopping crowd quickly dwindled at rally time. The popular Soda City
usually sees at least a couple of thousand customers, but Ken Dubard, co-owner of the Congaree Milling Company said today his sales
were down 20 percent.

Today I think we’ve experienced a negative impact on our business because of the violence that is often associated with the Klan, and the Black Panthers,” Dubard said.

“Neither one of them is from South Carolina, so why are they here?” said State Senator Katrina Shealy, R-Lexington, in an interview with SCRN. “South Carolina has handled our issues very, very well and we don’t need somebody else coming here and stirring up problems because South Carolina has shown grace and peace through these whole issues and let’s continue that.”

The protest events happened as planned however, beginning at about noon, with speeches from the Black Lawyers for Justice and the New Black Panther Party.

Jonathon Brooks of Mooresboro, NC, says the battle flag honors those who died for the South, and waves it in the midst of the Black Educators/New Black Panthers event.

Jonathon Brooks of Mooresboro, NC, says the battle flag honors those who died for the South, and waves it in the midst of the Black Educators/New Black Panthers event.

There were a few hecklers in the crowd of about 300– not counting media and pedestrian onlookers– and a handful of people holding the Confederate Battle Flag.

Participants in the earlier rally waved the Pan-African flag, the symbol of black liberation, and shouted “Black agenda united” and “We want justice.”

Former New Black Panther Party national leader and now president of the Black Lawyers for Justice, Malik Zulu Shabazz spoke to the crowd by phone, saying Pan-African, not the American flag was the only true banner to follow. Shabazz says he is unable to travel because he is on a federal watch list.

“I have been detained by the enemy, not the one who has a Confederate flag, but the one that has the red, white and blue, the big enemy,” Shabazz said. He told the crowd he was detained at the airport.

The temperature peaked at 95 degrees and contributed to a handful of people being treated for heat exhaustion.

At one point, a BLJ leader shouted, “I know it’s hot out here, but it was ten times hotter on the plantation!”

Then at 3:00 p.m., black protestors shifted their attention to the south side of the Capitol — when a contingent of Ku Klux
Klan representatives marched up under police protection. They were joined by anti-Klan demonstrators.

Viewer discretion: GRAPHIC LANGUAGE

For the next two hours, there were no formal speeches, just the Klan members, garbed in black shirts, parading the
battle flag in a cordoned off area of the Capitol steps.

The crowd continued to grow, as black demonstrators, youth wearing gang symbols and people carrying anti-racism signs
filled the area around the legislative office buildings at the Capitol complex. What appeared to be between 1,000 and 2,000 people
chanted, held signs and taunted each other:


At one point, a black youth “captured the flag” from a pro-KKK protestor:

At 5:00 p.m., Klan demonstrators left with a police escort made up of State Law Enforcement Division, State Department
of Public Safety Troopers, Columbia Police Department officers and other special agents. As a surveillance helicopter
circled overhead, the group returned to their cars in a public parking garage.

Bystanders reported an attack on a truck flying a confederate flag, at the corner of Gervais and Assembly streets. South Carolina Radio Network reporters saw the police respond and roads blocked off, but Police Chief William “Skip” Holbrook would not confirm the incident.

Holbrook did tell SCRN, as officers cleared the Capitol grounds, that state officials planned for this event for three weeks. “Sometimes it’s organized chaos, luckily, what’s most important is that we did not have any serious injuries.”

About devoting dozens of officers to the protection of the Klan, he added, “It’s what we have to do sometimes.”

Jeremy Urso contributed to the report.

Emanuel AME to SC leaders: Do the right thing

Emanuel AME Church opened its doors Sunday and preached to its largest audience ever: the world.  After nine of its members were slain on site by a self-described white supremacist, church leaders vowed to always keep its doors open.

“No evildoer, no demon in hell or on Earth can close the doors of God’s church,” the Reverend Norvel Goff said from the pulpit.

Entire sermon, Goff thanks the community and visitors for “being whom God has called you to be” and thanks Gov. Haley, who attended the service, Mayor Joe Riley and all law enforcement involved:

CNN broadcast what turned into a celebration and call-to-action by worship leaders. The appropriate response, said Goff, was to be constructive:”Lots of folks expected us to do something strange and break out in a riot. Well, they just don’t know us.”

“We’re going to pursue justice, we’re going to be vigilant and we’re going to hold our elected officials accountable to do the right thing,” Goff said.

photo Jay Harper

Sidewalk memorial outside Emanuel AME.

“The blood of the Mother Emanuel Nine requires us to work until not only justice is served in this case, but for those who are still living on the margin of life.”

Wednesday, the body of Sen. Clementa Pinckney, the slain pastor of “Mother Emanuel,” will lie in state under the Capitol rotunda in Columbia. The confederate flag flies at the foot of the main steps leading to that rotunda, facing Main Street.

That very spot at the Statehouse was the site of a rally Saturday, as about 2,500 people called for the battle flag to be taken down.  READ MORE  about the monument’s history.

Columbia resident Kirby Speas attended and took her young daughter.

“I felt a sense of emergency and immediacy to go and to help support the rally,” she told SCRN. Speas, a white businesswoman, said she and her friends decided “let’s do it, let’s get out of our comfort zone and let’s go down there and support.”

Sellers on CNN

Sellers, now joined by GOP Rep. Doug Brannon, will lead debate in SC House to take down Confederate flag from its prominent position at Statehouse.

Back in Charleston, after Sunday’s worship at Emanuel, state legislator Bakari Sellers appeared on CNN’s State of the Union with Jake Tapper. Tapper paired him with David French of the Alliance Defending Freedom and a writer for the National Review, who defends the role of the flag as an historic symbol, a teaching tool about the “totality” of our history.

“We can begin to understand why we are the way we are, and start to chart a course as to where we should be going,” French said.

In a civil discussion, Sellers, the son of a prominent civil rights leader who was jailed in the 1960’s, rebutted: “I am under no illusion that the Confederate flag walked in and actually pulled the trigger, but it did give this young man a banner under which to justify his actions.”

Republican legislator Doug Brannon from the more conservative Upstate of South Carolina has vowed to sponsor a bill in January, the next session of the General Assembly.

That’s not soon enough for Speas,”Gov. Haley can call a meeting tomorrow and get things rolling and moving and changed,” she said. “Everybody’s hands were dirty at one time, but that flag is still there and still represents that dirt and nobody that wants to keep it up seems to really want to face that point.”

Charleston leaders, Gov. Haley address nation in emotional press conference (AUDIO)

Shortly after a suspect was arrested for a mass shooting in a downtown Charleston church, law enforcement, city leaders and Gov. Nikki Haley expressed their appreciation for the nation’s support. After a photograph and car description blanketed the media, a tip from an observer near Shelby, North Carolina led to the arrest of Dylann Storm Roof of Lexington.

He will be charged in the death of nine people, including the church’s pastor, State Sen. Clementa Pinckney, D-Jasper.

The governor shared her still-fresh grief over the incident. She and longtime Mayor Joe Riley also had messages about the resilience of  South Carolinians. Listen below.


City officials, Gov. Haley share relief as well as grief in response to arrest in Mother Emanuel massacre (Full press conference 18 minutes)

Sen. Graham “testing the waters” to run for president


Graham was first elected to the Senate in 2002.

South Carolina’s U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham made it official today that he’s serious about running for president, creating an exploratory committee that allows him to start raising money.

Graham has dubbed his new presidential exploratory committee “Security Through Strength.” According to a press release from Graham’s office on Thursday, the committee “will fund the infrastructure and operations allowing Graham to travel the country listening to Americans’ concerns, and gauging support for a potential presidential candidacy.”

Graham also announced the move on Fox News Thursday morning, after hinting at it to media and party leaders for weeks.

South Carolina’s senior senator has been critical of the party’s Libertarian faction and fought off a field of Tea Party challengers in the 2014 primary. He then won handily over a Democrat and independent candidate in the general election.

[Read more…]