Seven things I want to believe

putinobama-riding

1) Republican voters are not so completely alienated from the political process that they will actually cast their ballots for Donald Trump.

2) The chances of reaching a deal with Iran on its nuclear ambitions are better than 50/50.

3) Removing the Confederate battle flag from the lawn of the South Carolina statehouse will be the start of a meaningful national dialogue on race.

4) The Grateful Dead are done.

5) Bernie Sanders will force Hillary Clinton to actually compete for the Democratic nomination.

6) FBI arrests of supposed ISIS sympathizers actually foiled July 4th terror plots.

7) The Han Solo origin movie will be awesome.

More great moments in Loyalism

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Welcome to friendly Carrickfergus! (Photo from the Belfast Telegraph)

 

Yesterday it was masked thugs armed with cudgels alongside graffiti threatening Catholics with crucifixion. Today it’s a Nazi banner and a Confederate battle flag flying near a Loyalist bonfire site in Carrickfergus.

According to the story in the Belfast Telegraph story:

Alliance Party MLA Stewart Dickson condemned their appearance as an “incredibly sinister move”.

“Part of the celebration for the Twelfth of July incorporates the memory of thousands of Orangemen who gave their lives during the Second World War,” he said.

“For anyone to put swastika flags around a bonfire as part of their so-called celebration has taken a most sinister turn, and is flying in the face of everything that I ever understood the Orange Order to stand for. This requires the whole community to stand up and say ‘enough is enough’.”

“I would hope that the Orange Order would join me and other community leaders in Carrickfergus and say ‘this is not in our name and we don’t want these symbols of fascism rearing their head in our community’.”

An Orange Order spokesman said: “The Orange Institution is not responsible for the erection of these flags in Carrickfergus. Public representatives, including Mr Dickson, have a role to play and should not shirk their responsibilities if there are concerns within certain communities regarding particular flags and symbols.”

Meanwhile paramilitary flags have also been erected across north Down in a “concerted campaign of intimidation”.

Read the story here.

Meanwhile, back in Belfast …

taigs

The photo above began making the rounds on social media this afternoon. You can read about it here.

As a Belfast friend of mine remarked earlier today: “So. Tell me again about how the peace process has really moved our society along.”

Confederate flag update: Hypocrisy watch

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The flag still has its defenders. (USA Today photo)

By a vote of 37-3, South Carolina state senators voted this afternoon to remove the Confederate battle flag from the grounds of the state house. The measure moves next to the state House of Representatives, where it must also pass by a two-thirds majority before Republican Gov. Nikki Haley can follow through on her promise to take the flag down.

Despite the lopsided vote, there were still some interesting moments from the Senate debate, courtesy of Sen. Lee Bright. While others have pointed out how the good state senator used the opportunity to launch into an anti-gay marriage rant, another of his remarks caught my attention.

Bright argued that calls for the removal of the flag were being driven by an emotional reaction to the misuse of the flag by accused white supremacist terrorist Dylann Roof, who had posted online photos of himself wrapped in the Stars and Bars before slaughtering nine black churchgoers in Charleston last month.  Said Bright:

I’m more against talking it down in this environment than any other time just because I believe we’re placing the blame of what one deranged lunatic did on the people that hold their Southern heritage high.

I wonder if the senator is just as careful not to blame an entire people for the acts of a few when the terrorism is carried out by those who claim to be Muslim.  Somehow I doubt it.