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Day 391 – Letter to Fellow Americans: Are You Feeling the Love From Donny T? Yes? No? Bleh?

Day 391 – Letter to Fellow Americans: Are You Feeling the Love From Donny T? Yes? No? Bleh?

Image from Across the Margin

Dear fellow Americans,

Happy Valentine’s Day!  We wonder how many of you are feeling the love from President Trump? In honor of the day, we made a list (nowhere near complete) of those who might be feeling it and those who are probably not.

Feeling the love

Oil and gas companies:  got a nice permit to drill in the Alaskan Wilderness Refuge and approval to drill offshore along both coasts (although some states are challenging it)

Florida: got an exemption from the off shore drilling approval because the Republican governor asked for it and Trump has urged him to run for Senate next year

Scott Pruitt: Secretary of the EPA spends a great deal of our money on his always first class flights, some on charter or military planes, mostly to tout Trump’s gutting of the EPA; a few examples: $1,641 DC to NY City; $36,068 from NYC to Rome, Italy; $40,000 for a trip to Morocco to increase exports of natural gas, which does not even fall within EPA mission

The Very Rich: under the new tax code, the very rich (those who earn one million or more) will see their taxes for 2019 cut by 80%

The Wall: still in the running for the $18 billion estimate it will cost to build it

Neo Nazis: empowered by Trump’s comment that there are good people among their ranks

ICEImmigration and Customs Enforcement: arresting and deporting immigrants at twice the rate of the previous administration

Ex Sheriff Arpaio: pardoned by Trump for his conviction of criminal contempt, and running for Senate

Vladimir Putin: since Trump has said that he believes Putin’s denials about meddling in our 2016 election, in spite of all the evidence that proves it, and has avoided putting the sanctions against Russia into place that Congress required him to do last summer, Putin can and will continue to undermine our democracy

Not feeling the love

Native American tribes: including the Hopi, Navajo, Ute, and Zuni who call the Bears Ears Monument sacred and who are seeing the lands which contain ancient artifacts and  burial grounds diminished by 85%

Rob Porter’s ex wives: who claim that he assaulted them and have compelling evidence to prove it and were dismissed by Trump who defends and praises his close aide Porter as a fine man who says he is innocent

States and cities: told they will be assuming the major financial burden for Trump’s $1.5 trillion dollar infrastructure plan even as they struggle to meet their own budget needs

Jorge Garcia: Michigan husband and father of two who lived in this country for 30 law abiding, hard working years but was deported to Mexico because he came here at age 10, one year before he could qualify for DACA

Medicaid and Food Stamp: facing deep funding cuts from Trump and his allies, diminishing programs designed to help the poor, disabled, and elderly

Malcolm Jenkins, Chris Long, Torrey Smith: Philadelphia Eagles players who will not attend a traditional  meeting in the White House to honor the teams’ Super Bowl victory because Long says Trump is sexist and racist and because, as Jenkins says, there are more effective ways to advance the social justice work that representatives from all NFL teams are supporting than to attend a photo op with this president

Transgender members of the military: banned by Trump from serving their country (ban has been put on hold by members of the judiciary)

Believers in climate change (a.k.a. believers in science): as a candidate Trump said climate change is a hoax; as president he has indicated that it is not real- as in “why would we be getting so much cold weather if there is global warming”

The Truth, the Constitution, our democracy: all under attack by this president

So, on this Valentine’s Day, 2018, may we all have someone who loves us, may we exhibit individual acts of kindness and grace, and may we continue to RESIST Donald Trump and his allies.

Sincerely,

Trudy J Schulze, Joseph R Schulze

And Letters2Trump

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 217 – A Letter on Charlottesville and the Whiplash-Inducing Flip-Flopping You Have Done. Oh…And Sorry Our Image Forces You To Read, Mr. President.

Day 217 – A Letter on Charlottesville and the Whiplash-Inducing Flip-Flopping You Have Done. Oh…And Sorry Our Image Forces You To Read, Mr. President.

Dear Mr. President,

I was playing Scrabble with some friends the other night and we tried out a board with you as the theme. The results suggested you’re a bit of a loose cannon.  A review of the recent news doesn’t dispel the impression.

I enjoy ping pong as much as the next person, but I’m starting to get whiplash from the constant back and forth of your position on the tragic events that occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia.  I won’t bother with a play-by-play of your numerous contradictory statements regarding who was to blame and whether or not there is such a thing as a “good Nazi.”  In your most recent remarks in Phoenix, you gave it the old college try, though you strategically “rewrote the history of [your] response,” by omitting your most divisive initial comments. I’ll give you a pass on this, for now.

However, you also asserted that all Americans are on the same team and then went on to claim “They’re trying to take away our culture. They’re trying to take away our history.

For starters, let me remind you of the axiom “history is written by the victors.”  To boil it down for your sham “everyman” persona: in war, there are winners and losers, and in this particular war, the confederates lost.  The white supremacists and neo-Nazis violently lobbying for preservation of confederate monuments represent the losers. Frankly, I’m a little surprised to see you advocating for losers of any kind, given your penchant for railing against them.  Regardless, the Union won the Civil War, so this particular past cannot and should not be completely whitewashed with monuments honoring the confederate figures.

And if the United States is a team, you can’t characterize the situation as “us v. them” and pick a side.  That inherently means there’s more than one team.  Moreover, as noted by Maggie Penman of NPR’s CodeSwitch, “[t]he fact that marchers said their goal was to ‘take back America’ seems especially ironic, since they were celebrating one of the very people whose explicit aim was to dismantle the nation.”  Essentially, you sided with the team of defectors.

Most importantly, removal of a statue does not erase history. Returning to the way your Phoenix speech glossed over your contentious comments about “many sides” causing the violence in Charlottesville, we see that simply failing to highlight one of your statements doesn’t mean you never said it.  Similarly, it should be obvious that taking down a monument specifically dedicated to celebrating people and events that came down on the wrong side of history doesn’t mean we deny their existence.  But there’s a critical difference between acknowledging our shameful past and celebrating it.

If we take your professed concern for American heritage at face value, then (as eloquently stated by Yuliya Komska in Philly.com) “the task at hand is to purge the imagery in a way that guards against amnesia, while also transforming the statues from celebratory monuments to objective evidence.”  To do this, we can follow the example of the country where Nazism originally gained traction. Ms. Penman observed, “In Germany, Nazi buildings are extremely hard to come by — nearly all have been destroyed. Yet Germany certainly has not forgotten anything: There’s just a recognition that remembering and memorializing are two different things.

The Komska piece lays out useful tips from Germany’s path to this healing resolution.  But the real lesson is their recognition “that closure was neither tenable nor desirable. Instead, the processing of history is like an open wound that slowly heals only with careful debate about the often-explosive issues at stake.

Thus, it’s imperative that we approach these discussions with mindfulness and forethought, rather than plunging in heedlessly. However, you seem incapable of considering the consequences of your actions. Instead, you make shortsighted decisions based purely on your whims.

A prime example is your recent effort to undermine members of your own political party because they do not unquestioningly support you. When anyone falls short of undying loyalty, you lash out and target them politically.  In your Phoenix speech, you also threatened a government shutdown if the Republican-led Congress doesn’t pass a budget that includes funding for your infamous wall.  “If we have to close down our government, we’re building that wall.” You followed that up by lambasting Republicans who have publicly disagreed with you. Your close advisor, Roger Stone, has encouraged this rash approach. “The president should start bumping off incumbent Republican members of Congress in primaries.” Truthfully, I don’t care much about the prosperity of the Republican Party. But this is emblematic of the hotheaded flavor of your tenure as president.

It also reminds me of a popular meme that repeatedly pops up in my social media, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah’s “Celebrity Appresident.”  In addition to humorous mockumentary-style interviews, your senior advisors are grayed out of a photo array as they leave your administration.

The implication is that you are treating the office of the president like your former career as an attention-seeking, drama king host of a mediocre gameshow.  As funny as this is, running the country isn’t a trifling game that you’re in charge of.  The hallowed halls of the White House were not meant to have a revolving door.

For our national stability, we need you to play the long game, not foment political rebellions. You’re not behaving like a president; you’re more like a resident of the White House.  If you don’t get your temper tantrums and bullying under control, you may shoot yourself in the foot.  According to lobbyist and former McConnell staffer Billy Piper, “The quickest way for him to get impeached is for Trump to knock off Jeff Flake and Dean Heller and be faced with a Democrat-led Senate.”  One can only hope. And if that happens, don’t let the revolving door hit you in the rear on your way out.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

Day 210 – A Letter on the Briggs Family of Detroit and on Not Embracing Racism, Mr. President.

Day 210 – A Letter on the Briggs Family of Detroit and on Not Embracing Racism, Mr. President.

Photograph from Pinterest

Dear Mr. President,

I grew up in a household of considerable privilege. In Detroit, the Briggs name once meant something, and though long removed from prominence by the inevitable grind of time, I wear it proudly.

My great-grandfather was the embodiment of the American dream. He was the son of immigrants, who lifted himself up from poverty to become a multi-millionaire through hard work, acute business sense, and ruthless competitiveness. Briggs Manufacturing was a huge company, designing cars and supplying all manner of parts and sub-assemblies to automakers that included Ford, Lincoln, Packard, Chrysler, Stutz, Hudson and many others. He was an avid baseball fan who was bitterly disappointed that he was unable to purchase a ticket to the World Series in 1908. So he bought into the Detroit Tigers in 1920 ensuring he’d never be without a seat again. In 1935, he took sole ownership of the team, paying to expand Navin Field into Briggs Stadium, a 54,000 seat baseball palace which would eventually be renamed Tiger Stadium. He gifted huge sums of money to the Detroit Institute of Arts. He was a significant patron of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. He helped found the Detroit Zoo. The fieldhouse at Eastern Michigan University and a hall on campus bore my family’s name thanks to his largesse.

During World War II, Mr. President, our family’s factories were converted to supply the U.S. Armed Forces with the machinery necessary to fight the Nazis and fascists in Europe, producing over a billion dollars’ worth of stamped steel and aluminum products. A workforce of 31,000 men and women built a myriad of parts for the “Arsenal of Democracy,” including aircraft gun turrets, doors and bulkheads for the B-26 bomber, outer wings, wing tips, and ailerons for the A-20 bomber, outer wings, wing tips, stabilizers, fins, ailerons, flaps, and ducts for the B-17, flaps, aft bomb doors, forward bomb doors, nose wheel doors, and outer wings for the B-29. Briggs Manufacturing also built tools, dies, fixtures, trucks, cabs and tops, tank hulls, ambulance bodies, and so much more to support the war effort.

And yet, for all he accomplished, for all the good he did for the city of Detroit, the community, and our country, I cannot overlook one fact.

He was a racist.

His factories employed thousands of African Americans, but based on news stories and other historical reports, conditions overall were less than ideal and discrimination against black workers was pervasive.

The Detroit Tigers, his beloved team, was the second to last team in baseball to integrate (the Red Sox own the distinction of being last, sorry Boston). So famous was his disdain for black players that my great-grandfather, Walter O. Briggs, Sr., was dubbed “No Nigs Briggs” by Detroit sportswriters.

This is my legacy. This is my heritage. This is why I can’t coddle a president who ignores the truth and doesn’t have the moral compass to know that all Nazis are evil. This is why I can’t tolerate a supposed leader who doesn’t know that those who fight Nazis today are true patriots, just as they were during World War II. This is why I must speak out against white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the Confederate revisionists who are crawling out from under their rocks to infect our society with hatred and bigotry.

My family’s shame does not weigh heavily on me. It provides me with energy, focus, and hope. I know that my brothers, sisters, and I are kind, loving, and while not perfect, pretty damn good people. I know that my father and mother were the same. In just two generations, we have done our best to shed the darkness of our personal past, and continue to strive to honor the Declaration of Independence and its core belief “that all men are created equal.”

The world can become better. America can become better. I can become better. My family is living proof of this. But it won’t as long as you are our leader. As long as you refuse to face the truth. As long as you won’t call evil by its name. As long as you won’t stand up to people who are antithetical to our nation’s founding principles.

It is time for you to do the right thing and resign so the country can move forward and heal. If not, it is time for Congress to do its job and have you removed.

Thanks for listening.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

Day 209 – The Arc of The Moral Universe Bends Toward Justice, Mr. President. We’ll Keep Helping It Along By Protesting, Resisting, and Calling You Out at Every Turn. We See You.

Day 209 – The Arc of The Moral Universe Bends Toward Justice, Mr. President. We’ll Keep Helping It Along By Protesting, Resisting, and Calling You Out at Every Turn. We See You.

Photograph by Anthony Quintano

Dear Mr. President,

You have the demeanor, temperament and personal style of a late night manager of a low-rent peep show venue.  While you’re in the back using your Art of The Deal skills to haggle with a hooker, the alt-right boys are whooping it up with one dollar bills in the Main Room celebrating their “victory” in Charlottesville.  And why not?  They have the backing of the Supreme Wizard, or whatever they’re calling the presidency these days.

I don’t know if you’re an idiot or a genius.  My money is on an idiot with the street sense of a pimp.  I can tell that by the way you handle the ladies.  How soon before the first cross burning on the White House lawn Donny?

The hearts of Steve Bannon, Sebastian Gorka and Steve Miller are pumping strong these days.  Their Boy is in the White House and they have a clear glide path to The Promised Land.  Bannon just wants the whole edifice to come crashing down.  The shrewd bastard knew who to appeal to and what code words and themes would bring them out from under their hoods to vote and to march.  Breitbart gave them a platform, and they were cultivated with an eye toward conflict and chaos.  He will do all he can to bring this show to an end, never mind what might replace it.

Destruction based on a burning personal ideology only needs an end, not a beginning.  Hitler proved that with the absolute destruction of Germany and most of Europe because of his racial ideas. Six million Jews and untold millions of Russians, Romani, intellectuals and others were sacrificed in pits and camps all over Eastern Europe, so that his “vision” could be realized.  Millions of Nazi and fascist bastards within Germany and Eastern Europe cheered him on and often partook.  Gorky still wears a medal linked to Hungarian Nazi sympathizers.  Pogroms raged across the region once Hitler made it acceptable to hate the non-Aryans and, in particular, the Jews. The press was vilified and any honest journalist was hounded from the Reich or locked away in some concentration camp for political undesirables.  Even The Church got in on the action and tacitly approved The Final Solution.

David Duke congratulated you on “telling the truth” about what happened in Charlottesville after your reverse during the impromptu news conference you held at Trump Tower a/k/a Mordor.  He knows a kindred soul when he sees one.  Make America Great Again means Make America White Again and they know it.  The alt-right boys are saddling up for a slate of events across the nation and will only grow more bold.  Congratulations on your signature achievements: making it fashionable to be a bigot and fascist again; and destroying the truth.  The White House has become the Master’s House on the plantation.

I’d ask you to change Donny, but it’s better to have you in the light along with the rest of the crazy shitheads who look to you as their leader.  I want to be able to see my enemies.  The Moral Arc is supposed to bend towards justice.  I hope so Donny.  For our sake, I hope so.

Good riddance.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

Day 208 – How Are You Still President? Oh…And If It Looks Like a White Supremacist, Talks Like a White Supremacist, and Hangs Out With White Supremacists, It’s a White Supremacist.

Day 208 – How Are You Still President? Oh…And If It Looks Like a White Supremacist, Talks Like a White Supremacist, and Hangs Out With White Supremacists, It’s a White Supremacist.

Photograph by Frankleleon

Dear Mr. President,

I have a confession: I’m unable to watch you speak on television. Your poor word choices, syntax, and lack of substance embarrass me. I mute you whenever you turn up on TV, but unlike others who laugh at your proclamation du jour, my heart races and pounds hard in my chest.

Why is that? Because you exhaust me and for my emotional well-being much of what you say, I try to ignore. But there’s a double-edged sword to that. Either be ignorant, like you, sir, or be so tuned-in to the gibberish that comes out of your mouth that it drives me mad.

During the past seven months, you have had ample time to show the American people that you can be an inspiring leader. Instead, you have spent the majority of that time, flapping that little fish mouth to decry “Fake News!” “Witch Hunt!” “Unfair!”

Sir, you had the opportunity of a lifetime to demonstrate your compassion after this past weekend’s events and you chose to give the horrendous events very little thought.

Charlottesville was an opportunity that was handed to you on a golden platter. You would have shined by condemning the violence of neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and the Ku Klux Klan. If you had gotten on national TV during the weekend and made it clear that as our President you stood for the rights of all people and censuring these hate groups, you would have taken the higher, moral ground. Instead, you appeared churlish and blamed all sides for the violence.

We know that Monday’s comments were forced upon you. It was obvious you felt that what was said over the weekend was enough, but it wasn’t. Yesterday’s remarks were too little too late. But what makes this all the more ludicrous is that you back pedal and complain about the “alt-left” and how closely you followed the rally. Are we seriously supposed to believe that when you have the attention span of a gnat?

I’ve reached a point of exasperation with you, sir. Your ignorance, boorish behavior, misogyny, racism, nepotism, greed, narcissism, and overall stupidity shame and exhaust me. I have one request, sir, take your crew of half-wits and go away because we have all had enough of you.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

Day 208 – Mr. President, You Have Blood on Your Hands.

Day 208 – Mr. President, You Have Blood on Your Hands.

Photograph from @m1523751

Dear Mr. President,

Because of you, racists are alive and well in our country, Mr. President. They are crawling out of the woodwork, and they are looking at you as their leader in chief. You did this. You used a common phrase from Hitler for your own campaign slogan. The White Supremacists were watching and cheering. You incited violence on multiple occasions. The White Supremacists were watching and cheering. You repeatedly attacked President Obama’s citizenship. The White Supremacists were watching and cheering. You failed to distance yourself from the KKK and David Duke and your attempts to later “disavow” were weak at best. The White Supremacists were watching and cheering. Even now, David Duke promises to fulfill your campaign promises. And the White Supremacists? They are ready. You have mastered whataboutism, the common Soviet propaganda move, and the White Supremacists have studied your rhetorical moves and have mastered them, better than you ever will.

They have been emboldened by your words, your behavior, and your inability to call evil by its name:

They are Racists.

They are Bigots.

They are Terrorists.

Because of you, 3 people are dead and 19 are wounded. Because of you, a community has been terrorized. One woman, at a rally counter-protesting the White Supremacists: dead because of you. Two police officers, sworn to protect our citizens and and finally rushing in after so many were injured and bleeding: dead because of you.

You cannot change the subject away from your guilt. You cannot shift the focus away from yourself and your White Supremacist followers by insisting that there is blame “on many sides” and that hatred, bigotry, and violence has been “going on for a long time in our country.” As Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large clearly states,”

“Chalking it all up to a violent political rhetoric that occurs on both sides and has been around for a very long time contextualizes and normalizes the behavior of people who should not be normalized.”

You have normalized the behavior of White Supremacists, and because of this, three people are dead and 19 are wounded. Your more recent statement that “Racism is evilAnd those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans” is a step in the right direction, but it does not diminish the damage you have already caused. It does not assuage you of your guilt.

You have blood on your hands, sir. You may not have driven the car into the crowd, but just like Lady Macbeth, your words caused the deaths of 3 innocent people. You cannot wash this blood away, no matter how many times you wring your hands and change the subject.

If you were truly presidential, you would understand that “The President—whoever he is—has to decide. He can’t pass the buck to anybody. No one else can do the deciding for him. That’s his job.” – President Harry S. Truman, 1953

You have to decide, Mr. President, to look in the mirror and acknowledge: you have blood on your hands. You did this. And it is now your responsibility to stop it. The buck stops with you, Mr. President. It is time for you to own what you have caused. It is time for you to call evil by its name, even when you are looking in the mirror.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

Note on the image: Suspected Murderer James Alex Fields stands in a line with young neo-Nazis and fascists before the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville on Saturday.  He holds a round black shield belonging to Vanguard America, a group who actively recruits college-aged white men and operates under the slogan “the face of American fascism.”

 

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