Friday, August 18, 2017

Last Call For Grief Versus Cynicism

As Greg Sargent points out, the mother of Heather Hayer, who was killed last weekend in Charlottesville, absolutely destroyed Donald Trump in an inerview with Good Morning America's Robin Roberts today.

Speaking on “Good Morning America,” Susan Bro, the mother of Heather Heyer, said the White House had tried to reach her with “frantic” messages, presumably to set up a call with Trump, but added that she would refuse any communications, now that Trump has suggested a moral equivalence between the racists, Nazis, and white supremacists in Charlottesville and those protesting them.

QUESTION: Have you talked to him directly yet? 
SUSAN BRO: I have not. And now I will not. At first, I just missed his calls. The first call looked like it actually came during the funeral. I didn’t even see that message. There were three more frantic messages from press secretaries throughout the day. And I didn’t know why. That had been on Wednesday. And I was home recovering from the exhaustion of the funeral. So I thought, ‘well, I’ll get to him later.’ And then I had more meetings to establish her foundation. So I hadn’t really watched the news until last night. 
And I’m not talking to the president now. I’m sorry. After what he said about my child. It’s not that I saw somebody else’s tweets about him. I saw an actual clip of him at a press conference equating the protesters, like Ms. Heyer, with the KKK and the white supremacists. …You can’t wash this one away by shaking my hand and saying, ‘I’m sorry.’

White supremacists like Steve Bannon believe that Republicans will continue to dominate out politics as long as Democrats talk about race and that more and more white voters, especially Millennials, will abandon the Dems because they think the Democrats see all white people as the problem in this country.

That's not true, as Heather Hayer proves.

But the perception of that continues to be our political reality heading into the 2018 midterms.

No Longer A Bannon Ship, But A-Bannon Ship!

It was nice to get our Friday News Trump Dump early this week, and it's a doozy: Steve Bannon is history.

Stephen K. Bannon, the embattled chief strategist who helped President Trump win the 2016 election but clashed for months with other senior West Wing advisers, is leaving his post, a White House spokeswoman announced Friday. 
“White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve’s last day,” the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said in a statement. “We are grateful for his service and wish him the best.” 
Earlier on Friday, the president had told senior aides that he had decided to remove Mr. Bannon, according to two administration officials briefed on the discussion. But a person close to Mr. Bannon insisted that the parting of ways was his idea, and that he had submitted his resignation to the president on Aug. 7, to be announced at the start of this week. But the move was delayed after the racial unrest in Charlottesville, Va.

Not everyone is happy to see him go, of course.

The loss of Mr. Bannon, the right-wing nationalist who helped propel some of Mr. Trump’s campaign promises into policy reality, raises the potential for the president to face criticism from the conservative news media base that supported him over the past year. 
Mr. Bannon’s many critics bore down after the violence in Charlottesville. Outraged over Mr. Trump’s insistence that “both sides” were to blame for the violence that erupted at a white nationalist rally, leaving one woman dead, human rights activists demanded that the president fire so-called nationalists working in the West Wing. That group of hard-right populists in the White House is led by Mr. Bannon.

So as I said yesterday, Bannon either dared Trump to fire him (and lost!) or he wanted to get back to Breitbart to help Trump from the outside (which I think it is.)  Don't expect Bannon to go gently into that white supremacist night.

And he may not go alone, either.

Some White House officials also said Friday they expect some of Bannon’s allies inside the administration to exit with him. Bannon works closely with a number of White House officials, including national security aide Sebastian Gorka and assistant Julia Hahn. 

Regardless, he's going to be causing trouble for years.  We'll see who's left standing in this game of musical racists when the tune stops playing.
Continue reading the main story

The Battle Of Lexington, Con't

While Gov. Matt Bevin is doubling down on refusing to remove Jefferson Davis's statue from the State Capitol in Frankfort, the rest of the Bluegrass State is moving on without him.  Lexington's City Council has unanimously voted to follow through with Mayor Jim Gray's request to move two Confederate statues.

Government leaders in Kentucky's second-largest city took a decisive stand Thursday night in favor of moving two Confederate statues from their prominent places outside a former courthouse being converted into a visitors center.

The proposal to relocate statues honoring Confederate officers John Hunt Morgan and John C. Breckinridge won unanimous approval from the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council after nearly three hours of public testimony that overwhelmingly supported the resolution.

The statues will not be moved immediately, CBS affiliate WKYT reports. Lexington Mayor Jim Gray has 30 days to pick a new location. 
The action showed the city is "taking responsibility to do the right thing," Gray said.
"Confronting our history is often difficult ... and uncomfortable," Gray said. "We all know, in many ways, this war is unfinished. It did not put an end to the vicious and violent reach of unrepentant racism. An important step we can take toward finishing it means facing up to our history."

People in the packed council room stood and applauded after the vote. 
The council's action isn't the final word on the issue. The city still has to ask a state military heritage commission for permission.

The problem is 4 of the 5 members of the Kentucky Military Heritage Commission are state officials appointed by Gov. Matt Bevin, and serve at the pleasure of the Governor.

In 2002 the Kentucky Military Heritage Commission was created by an act of the General Assembly as an independent agency of the Commonwealth of Kentucky but attached to the Kentucky Heritage Council for administrative and support purposes. The commission consists of the Adjutant General, the State Historic Preservation Officer, the Director of the Kentucky Historical Society, the Director of the Commission on Military Affairs and the Commissioner of the Department of Veteran's Affairs. 
As a means of protection, the commission is charged with maintaining a registry of Kentucky military heritage sites and objects significant to the military history of the Commonwealth. The commission accepts requests from the public for designation of military heritage sites and objects – including buildings, monuments and community resources – that represent all eras of Kentucky’s military history. Most sites registered by the commission are military monuments and memorials, but the legislation gives the commission some latitude as to what may be considered for recognition.

Once accepted to the registry, these sites and objects by law cannot be damaged or destroyed, removed or significantly altered, other than for repair or renovation, without the written consent of the commission. Failure to do so is a Class A misdemeanor for the first offense and a Class D felony for each subsequent offense.

All but the Director of the Kentucky Historical Society are appointed by Bevin and moving the statues will require at least three members, if not all five.

This same commission stopped the removal of the Jefferson Davis statue years ago, so who knows what will happen now.  The point is the commission was created to prevent cities in Kentucky from doing this in the first place.

We'll see, but I'm betting Bevin's office has already been on the phone to most of these members telling them what he expects.


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