Weekly Newsletter

Vol. 39: Charlottesville’s Web

Day 284 P.E. – August 20, 2017

The TrumpShaker Top One
August 20, 2017 – National Radio Day – Day 284 P.E
Charlottesville’s Web

Trump has truly shown himself to be “some pig” in his response to heavily armed supremacists marching through Charlottesville, Virginia.

When The TrumpShaker went to print last weekend, we had just digested Trump’s first statement on Charlottesville. If I recall correctly, it went a little something like this: He’d looked at the protests from both sides now/From up and down, and still somehow/It was Breitbart’s illusions Trump recalled/He really didn’t know hate at all.

On Monday, after the vast majority of the world’s population found his initial statement blaming “many sides” for the violence in Charlottesville lacking, Trump, in a tone reminiscent of a hostage proof of life video, delivered a strong condemnation of the supremacists. From Buenos Aires, Vice President Mike Pence supported the statement, “We have an American president who says what he means and means what he says.” Let’s see how well Mike’s statement aged over the next 24 hours.

Almost immediately after making his statement, Trump’s words and actions began to hint that maybe his statement was not sincere. Fox News reported that Trump was considering a pardon for former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who had been just found guilty of criminal contempt for refusing to honor a judge’s order that he and his officers not be super racist by stopping Latinos and asking them for their documentation. Next, just two days after a white supremacist ran over and killed a protester, Trump tweeted a cartoon of the “Trump Train” running over a CNN reporter.

Then, after hours of rumblings, Mt. Trumpius erupted. On Tuesday, in the lobby of Trump Tower, the same building in which he had called Mexican immigrants “rapists” when he announced his candidacy, Trump held a press conference ostensibly on infrastructure. Instead, Trump did an inarticulate unhinged interpretation of the ending of A Few Good Men, except with more emphasis on Col. Jessup’s “You? Lt. Weinberg” anti-Semitism. Trump shredded his condemnation from the day before. He defended the supremacists, because “You had very fine people on both sides” and sought to blame the counter protestors for not having a permit (they did, but honestly, who cares?) and for “charging, with clubs in their hands.”

You need to watch or read the full press conference and keep reminding yourself that this is the President of the United States to begin to absorb how shocking it is that he strongly defended those that marched with torches shouting “Jews will not replace us.” It is the most impassioned I’ve seen Trump.

As the supremacist rally in Charlottesville was ostensibly about protesting the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee, in the days that followed, Trump began mourning the potential loss of confederate statues. “Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments . . . the beauty that is being taken out of our cities, towns and parks will be greatly missed and never able to be comparably replaced!” Trump is, of course, ignoring that these statues were of people who had “ripped apart” the United States and were often put in place as a statement of white supremacy. The erection of these statues flourished during the Jim Crow and Civil Rights eras.  Also, a reminder, Trump’s administration is currently considering removing truly irreplaceable monuments in our great country — 27 national monuments, areas that have been deemed worthy of protection based on their significant natural, cultural, or scientific features and which could be lost forever without federal protection.

Newton’s Third Law
After two years of spewing constant garbage – mocking a disabled reporter, lashing out at Gold Star parents, defending the size of his penis in a debate, bragging about committing sexual assault, dismissing a debate moderator by saying she was menstruating, taunting a senator for being a POW, questioning the impartiality of a federal judge due to his race, blaming the father of a fellow GOP candidate for killing JFK, declaring the only female GOP candidate wouldn’t win because of her face, demonizing Muslims, scapegoating immigrants, embracing dictators and tyrants, casually threatening nuclear war, accusing President Obama of spying on him, and belittling and encouraging crowd violence against protesters – Trump’s actions have finally started to have an equal and opposite reaction. Supporting Nazis is apparently the one thing that most Americans can still agree is at least slightly worse than not following strict federal work email protocol.

It was even a last straw that helped break the back of a few elephants. Some Republicans voiced objections to Trump’s Charlottesville statement and even to Trump himself. For example, Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), a usually strong Trump supporter, said, “The President has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful.”

What makes this new, growing backlash against Trump significant is that it is affecting what he cherishes most, status and money.

A crack in the dam began with Merck CEO, Kenneth Frazier, resigning from Trump’s American Manufacturing Council. Public pressure began to mount on other CEOs to step down and slowly they began to respond. As momentum built, Trump was at first defiant, tweeting: “For every CEO that drops out of the Manufacturing Council, I have many to take their place. Grandstanders should not have gone on. JOBS!” As the flow of CEOs leaving increased, Trump decided to take his ball and go home: “Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum, I am ending both. Thank you all!” Spokesman for the CEOs, Ross Geller, had the official response to Trump breaking up with them.

Soon thereafter, the members of The President’s Committee on The Arts and The Humanities (of which, Melania Trump is the Honorary Chair) resigned en masse. They did so with artistic flourish, the first letter of each paragraph of the resignation spells “RESIST”.

Apparently shocked into action by the fact that a pharmaceutical CEO taking a moral stand before they did, nine non-profits canceled galas at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort. Organizations such as the Salvation Army, the America Red Cross, The Cleveland Clinic, American Cancer Society, and the Susan G. Komen Foundation cancelled fundraising events, potentially costing Trump millions.

A true measure of how toxic Trump’s Charlottesville stand was, is that even Fox’s James Murdoch, son of Rupert Murdoch, ripped Trump, “I can’t even believe I need to write this: standing up to Nazis is essential; there are not good Nazis.”

Besides non-profits, CEOs, and media elites, most importantly, regular Americans stood against supremacy. On Saturday, a white supremacist rally in Boston Common attracted about 100 supremacists, who were met by tens of thousands of peaceful counter-protesters.

Special Bonus Multimedia Section
A selection of videos to help digest this past week:

An amazing HBO documentary by VICE on the Charlottesville march

Monologues from the Late Night hosts: Jimmy KimmelStephen Colbert, and Seth Meyers

Shockingly relevant anti-fascist video produced by the U.S. Military in 1947

Quick TrumpShakes
One Monument to White Supremacy Taken Down – Following Charlottesville, pressure increased on Trump to take literally the smallest step possible by removing white supremacist enablers from his administration. On Friday, White House advisor and likely Jabba the Hut cosplayer, Steve Bannon, stepped down. While having one less nationalist in the White House is fantastic, don’t celebrate.According to writer Sarah Kendzior, who has unfortunately been correct about most things in the Trump era, striking Bannon down may make him more powerful than we can possibly imagine. He has returned to head the far right wing media organization Breitbart. Bannon said, “Now I’m free. I’ve got my hands back on my weapons. Someone said, ‘it’s Bannon the Barbarian.’ I am definitely going to crush the opposition. There’s no doubt. I built a fucking machine at Breitbart. And now I’m about to go back, knowing what I know, and we’re about to rev that machine up. And rev it up we will do.”

Stop, Thought Police – The Department of Justice is demanding the information of 1.3 million visitors to a website that people use to organize protests against Trump. The web host, DreamHost, is fighting Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III’s and the DOJ’s “highly untargeted demand that chills free association.”

New Infrastructure Policy: If The Good Lord’s Willin’ And The Creeks Don’t Rise – This week the Trump administration repealed a federal standard that required public infrastructure design to consider increasing flood risks. Unsure how this will affect what I am sure to be the administration’s eventual plan to combat sea level rise – a giant ark.

One Month Stay of Execution – The Congressional Budget Office reported this week that if Trump followed through on his threat to end Affordable Care Act subsides to insurance companies, premiums would increase 20%. After this report, Trump backed down and agreed to pay August subsidies. Expect September payments to be a hostage in the discussions to between Trump and Congress as they negotiate the debt ceiling, the federal budget, tax reform and whether to revisit health care.

Make America Glow Again – The EPA said it will rewrite limits on toxic waste from fossil fuel power plants. They didn’t say specifically which way they were going to rewrite it, but I’m pretty sure Julia Roberts should clear her schedule for Erin Brockovich 2.

Appeal (to our collective decency) Denied – The Trump administration continues to contort the Statue of Liberty into the shape of the Heisman Trophy. In last week’s TrumpShaker, I profiled two parents in Oakland facing deportation. Senator Feinstein called to give them the final word this week that their appeal was denied. The longstanding U.S. residents, an oncology nurse and a truck driver, were forced to fly to Mexico City with their 12-year-old U.S. citizen son, leaving their 16, 21, and 23-year-old daughters behind.

Real Americans Burn Fossil Fuels Not Calories – Apparently fearing creeping socialism or just trying to increase its carbon footprint, the Trump administration removed the only bikeshare station inside the White House’s security perimeter.

Trump Pulls Out – Arising from a belief system that God doesn’t want us to stop a pregnancy and that we’re doing the Lord’s work by stopping erectile dysfunction, Trump will soon eliminate the requirement that employee health benefits include contraception.

Featured Articles of the Week

This week’s three articles are personal writings arising from Charlottesville.

The first is a powerful open letter from the father of one of the white supremacists at the rally, renouncing his son’s actions and disowning him until he changes his ways.

The second is a first-hand account of the march from inside Charlottesville’s Congregation Beth Israel.

Third, Samuel Sinyangwe writes, “I’m a black Southerner. I had to go abroad to see a statue celebrating black liberation.”

Action Center
One of the non-profits doing great work in Charlottesville is the Legal Aid Justice Center. Since 1967, the Legal Aid Justice Center has had a mission “to seek equal justice for all by solving clients’ legal problems, strengthening the voices of low-income communities, and rooting out the inequities that keep people in poverty.”
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