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Colin Powell, first Black secretary of state, dies at 84 from COVID-19 amid cancer battle

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Former Secretary of State Colin Powell died Monday morning due to complications from COVID-19, his family announced, amid an ongoing battle with cancer. He was 84.

Powell, the first Black secretary of state and the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was fully vaccinated, his family said in a post on his Facebook page. But Powell had battled various other health ailments, and had been treated for multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer that affects white blood cells and can severely compromise the immune system. His wife, Alma, also had a breakthrough case of COVID-19, but responded to treatment.

“We want to thank the medical staff at Walter Reed National Medical Center for their caring treatment,” the Powell family wrote. “We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American.”

President Biden ordered flags flown at half-staff until October 22 in remembrance of Powell, calling him “a patriot of unmatched honor and dignity.”

“As a senator, I worked closely with him when he served as National Security Advisor, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and as Secretary of State. Over our many years working together — even in disagreement — Colin was always someone who gave you his best and treated you with respect,” the president said in a statement.

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell speaks during the groundbreaking ceremony for the U.S. Diplomacy Center at the State Department in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014. Secretary of State John Kerry hosted five of his predecessors, including Powell, in a rare public reunion for the groundbreaking of a museum commemorating the achievements of American statesmanship.  

“Colin embodied the highest ideals of both warrior and diplomat. He was committed to our nation’s strength and security above all,” Mr. Biden added. “Time and again, he put country before self, before party, before all else — in uniform and out — and it earned him the universal respect of the American people.”

Born April 5, 1937, in Harlem, New York, to Jamaican immigrants, Powell was a ground-breaking figure in Washington and garnered respect from both sides of the aisle.

Powell joined the U.S. Army after graduating from college in 1958. Across his 35-year military career, he served two tours in Vietnam and was stationed in West Germany and South Korea.

He would go on to serve in top roles under four presidents, first as national security adviser to President Ronald Reagan, and then as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President George H.W. Bush and President Bill Clinton, as the first African-American to hold the role. Powell then was tapped by President George W. Bush as secretary of state.

Powell led the State Department during the September 11, 2001, terror attacks and favored taking military action against al Qaeda. He also supported the invasion of Iraq and appeared before the United Nations to present evidence that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. The chief justification for the war in Iraq, however, rested on bad intelligence.

Powell would go on to call his 2003 speech before the United Nations describing the weapons program in Iraq a “blot” on his record.

While Powell served primarily Republican presidents and was floated as a possible candidate himself, he drifted away from the GOP in his later years. The retired four-star general endorsed former President Barack Obama in 2008 over Republican nominee Senator John McCain, and again in 2012. He backed Hillary Clinton in 2016, and supported Mr. Biden over former President Donald Trump in 2020, and said Mr. Trump “lies all the time” and was not an “effective president.”

Powell is first Black secretary of state and the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

In a statement Monday, Mr. Bush praised Powell as a “great public servant” whose counsel and experience was relied upon by presidents of both parties, and said he and former first lady Laura Bush are “deeply saddened” by his death.

“He was such a favorite of presidents that he earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom — twice. He was highly respected at home and abroad. And most important, Colin was a family man and a friend,” Mr. Bush said. “Laura and I send Alma and their children our sincere condolences as they remember the life of a great man.”

In a statement of his own, Mr. Obama recalled Powell’s endorsement of his candidacy in 2008, noting that he “took the opportunity to get to the heart of the matter in a way only he could.” Appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press” just weeks before the 2008 election, Powell addressed conspiracy theories about Mr. Obama’s faith head on.

“It is permitted to be said such things as, ‘Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim.’ Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim, he’s a Christian. He’s always been a Christian,” Powell said. “But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer is no, that’s not America. Is there something wrong with some 7-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president? Yet, I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion, ‘He’s a Muslim and he might be associated terrorists.’ This is not the way we should be doing it in America.”

Former Vice President Dick Cheney, who was secretary of defense in 1991 when he and Powell oversaw the expulsion of Iraqi troops from Kuwait during the first Gulf War, said he was “deeply saddened to learn that America has lost a leader and statesman.”

“Working with him during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, I saw first-hand General Powell’s dedication to the United States and his commitment to the brave and selfless men and women who serve our country in uniform,” Cheney said in a statement. “Colin was a trailblazer and role model for so many: the son of immigrants who rose to become National Security Advisor, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and Secretary of State.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken paid tribute to Powell in remarks from the State Department, praising him for not only a “legendary” military career, but for being an “exceptional diplomat” who helped modernize the State Department and bolster its resources.

“He was a man of ideas, but he wasn’t ideological. He was constantly listening, learning, adapting. He could admit mistakes. It was just another example of his integrity,” Blinken said, adding he is a “huge admirer” of Powell.

Blinken said he spent several hours with Powell on July 4, during which his “depth of knowledge about world events” and love for the State Department were clear.

“Colin Powell dedicated his extraordinary life to public service because he never stopped believing in America,” he said. “And we believe in America in no small part because it helped produce someone like Colin Powell.”

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin told reporters he lost a “tremendous personal friend and mentor,” and said it’s “not possible to replace a Colin Powell.”

“The world lost one of the greatest leaders that we have ever witnessed,” Austin said, adding Powell always provided counsel to him on difficult issues. “I feel as though I have a hole in my heart.”

Texas Guardian News

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OMG: Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade

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The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on Friday, holding that there is no longer a federal constitutional right to an abortion.

The opinion is the most consequential Supreme Court decision in decades and will transform the landscape of women’s reproductive health in America.
Going forward, abortion rights will be determined by states, unless Congress acts.  Already, nearly half of the states have or will pass laws that ban abortion while others have enacted strict measures regulating the procedure.
“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in his majority opinion. “Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division.”

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Breaking: U.S. Supreme Court strikes down New York conceal carry gun law

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BREAKING: In a major ruling for gun rights, Supreme Court has just struck down restrictive New York gun law. The highest court ruled on its biggest gun rights case in more than a decade and decided that  Americans can carry concealed weapons outside the home. Put simply, this court agreed that there is a fundamental right to carry a handgun in public for self-defense.

New York’s 100-year-old law requires showing “proper cause” in order to carry a concealed firearm, with permits issued at the discretion of local officials. By striking down this law, it would likely mean more guns in public spaces.

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Stephen Curry leads Golden State to fourth NBA championship in eight years

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For the fourth time in the last eight years, the Golden State Warriors are NBA champions after coming away with a 103-90 victory over the Boston Celtics in Game 6 of the NBA Finals at TD Garden on Thursday night. After falling behind 14-2 to start the game, the Warriors ultimately took control of things thanks to a 30-8 run that stretched from the end of the first quarter into the second.

While the Celtics were ultimately able to cut the deficit to single digits in the fourth quarter, Stephen Curry and the Warriors were not going to be denied another championship as they seemingly had an answer for every run Boston made down the stretch. In the end, Curry, once again, led the way for Golden State on the offensive end finishing the series-clinching win with a team-high 34 points, seven rebounds and seven assists adding yet another chapter to his already storied career. The rest of the Warriors offered Curry plenty of help as Andrew Wiggins, Jordan Poole, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson all scored in double figures as well.

On the other end, the Celtics were led by Jaylen Brown who did all he could with 34 points, seven rebounds and three assists but, unfortunately for Boston fans, it wasn’t enough to extend their season one more game. Going forward, the Celtics’ front office will need to figure out a way to push this group over the hump but tonight is all about the Warriors extending their dynasty.

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