A National Calamity in the Making: Provoking a Civil War Could Be Trump's Plan for Seizing Power
August 16, 2017 Robert Reich / Robert Reich's Blog & Zach D. Roberts / Nation of Change
The terrorist attack on peaceful counter protesters in Charlottesville was not an isolated incident. The violence is a product of white supremacists and homegrown terrorists. While hateful violence is hardly new to America, never before has a president licensed it as a political strategy. Trump and his consigliere Steve Bannon have been quietly encouraging a civil war between Trump's base of support -- mostly white and worried -- and everyone who's not.
A National Calamity in the Making Robert Reich / Robert Reich's Blog
(August 12, 2017) -- The violence in Charlottesville, Virginia today is a national calamity. It is a product of white supremacists and home-grown terrorists.
Donald Trump responded by condemning hatred “on many sides.” His refusal to call it what it is, and condemn the neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and KKK members who perpetrated this violence, is a dangerous lie that fuels more hatred and violence.
Kudos to the Republican senators who are now calling on Trump to denounce the white supremacists that incited this tragedy. More must join the call. The country needs all our leaders -- Republican and Democrat -- to stand united against hatred and bigotry.
But all of us -- you and I and every decent person in America -- must also stand up against it: Not with violence, but with a firm and visible commitment to decency, tolerance, and the rule of law.
Don’t wait for Donald Trump to condemn it. He unleashed it. It is now up to us. We must not allow this in America.
Making America Hate Again Let's pray the leveler heads in our society
prevent the civil war Trump and Bannon
plan to instigate in America Robert Reich / Robert Reich's Blog
(August 15, 2017) -- Two days late, Donald Trump has finally condemned violent white supremacists. He was pushed into it by a storm of outrage at his initial failure to do so in the wake of deadly violence to Charlottesville, Virginia.
But it's too little, too late. Trump's unwillingness to denounce hateful violence has been part of his political strategy from the start.
Weeks after he began his campaign by alleging that Mexican immigrants were criminals and rapists, two brothers in Boston beat up and urinated on a 58-year-old homeless Mexican national, subsequently telling police "Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported."
Instead of condemning the brutality, Trump excused it by saying "people who are following me are very passionate. They love this country and they want this country to be great again."
During campaign rallies, Trump repeatedly excused brutality toward protesters. "You know what they used to do to guys like that when they were in a place like this? They'd be carried out on a stretcher, folks."
After white supporters punched and attempted to choke a Black Lives Matter protester, Trump said: "maybe he should have been roughed up." Trump was even reluctant to distance himself from David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan.
Since becoming president, Trump's instigations have continued. As Representative Mark Sanford, a Republican from South Carolina, told the Washington Post, "the president has unearthed some demons."
In May, Trump congratulated body-slamming businessman Greg Gianforte on his special election win in Montana, making no mention of the victor's attack on a reporter the night before.
Weeks ago Trump even tweeted a video clip of himself in a WWE professional wrestling match slamming a CNN avatar to the ground and pounding him with punches and elbows to the head.
Hateful violence is hardly new to America. But never before has a president licensed it as a political strategy or considered haters part of his political base.
In his second week as president, Trump called Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the National Rifle Association to the White House. Soon thereafter, LaPierre told gun owners they should fear "leftists" and the "national media machine" that were "an enemy utterly dedicated to destroy not just our country, but also Western civilization."
Since then the NRA has run ads with the same theme, concluding "the only way we stop this, the only way we save our country and our freedom, is to fight this violence of lies with a clenched fist of truth."
It's almost as if someone had declared a new civil war. But who? And for what purpose?
One clue came earlier last week in a memo from Rich Higgins, who had been director for strategic planning in Trump's National Security Council. Entitled "POTUS & Political Warfare," Higgins wrote the seven-page document in May, which was recently leaked to Foreign Policy Magazine.
In it, Higgins charges that a cabal of leftist "deep state" government workers, "globalists," bankers, adherents to Islamic fundamentalism and establishment Republicans want to impose cultural Marxism in the United States.
"Recognizing in candidate Trump an existential threat to cultural Marxist memes that dominate the prevailing cultural narrative, those that benefit recognize the threat he poses and seek his destruction."
There you have it. Trump's goal has never been to promote guns or white supremacy or to fuel attacks on the press and the left. These may be means, but the goal has been to build and fortify his power. And keep him in power even if it's found that he colluded with Russia to get power.
Trump and his consigliere Steve Bannon have been quietly encouraging a civil war between Trump's base of support -- mostly white and worried -- and everyone who's not.
It's built on economic stresses and racial resentments. It's fueled by paranoia. And it's conveyed by Trump's winks and nods haters, and his deafening silence in the face of their violence.
A smaller version of the civil war extends even into the White House, where Bannon and his proteges are doing battle with leveler heads.
National security advisor Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster fired Higgins. Reportedly, Trump was furious at the firing. McMaster was quick to term the Charlottesville violence "terrorism."
Ivanka Trump denounced "racism, white supremacy and neo-Nazis." Reportedly, chief of staff John Kelly pushed Trump to condemn the haters who descended on Charlottesville.
Let's hope the leveler heads win the civil war in the White House. Let's pray the leveler heads in our society prevent the civil war Trump and Bannon want to instigate in America. Interview with De'Andre Harris:
Beaten by White Supremacists in Charlottesville Zach D. Roberts / Nation of Change
(August 15, 2017) -- Google Maps still lists the Charlottesville park, where I was first pepper sprayed this weekend, as "Lee Park." The city disagrees, saying that it's now Emancipation Park.
Either way -- the massive statue of Confederate War General Robert E. Lee still towers over the park, which today is filled with grown men wearing hockey gear and holding home made shields that a 12-year-old LARPer [Live Action Role Player -- EAW] would be ashamed of.
This is, or least was supposed to be, the "Unite the Right" rally. At my other job, I cover comic book conventions and my first impressions of this rally reminded me of those conventions -- just a bit too much to take seriously.
But then there's the tear gas . . . And the home-made weapons . . . And the real weapons, like AR-15's and Glock 9mm's . . . None of that would be allowed into the San Diego Comic Con.
But here I am in the middle of a park named after a guy that fought for the right of Southerners to keep human beings as slaves, and there are a couple hundred people screaming about why this statue needs to stay. They're claiming that its removal is all part of a plan to erase the history of the white people . . .
I'm white, and that's not my history. But if it was, I'd WANT it erased, or at least not memorialized. Less than three hours later I would witness something that I hoped was left in the waste bin of American history: In this "post-racial" America I witnessed De'Andre Harris, a young black man, kicked and beaten nearly to death by racist goons.
No, the terrorist attack on peaceful counter-protesters Saturday in Charlottesville was not an isolated incident. Anyone who says that is lying to you. They're trying to cover for something that has been seething with hatred in the putrid shadows of America.
My skin was burning from something sprayed on me earlier in the day as I followed a march of white supremacists. (There's a metaphor there, but I'm too tired right now to write creatively about it.) After the tiki torch rally Friday night, my entire body ached from trying to keep up with fascists in comfortable shoes.
As the white supremacists marched down Market Street, members of the community shared their opinions of the white men -- yelling at them, "Not in our town!," "You're not welcome here, go home!" Those marching responded with accusations of them being the "reason" for the "death of the white race."
De'Andre and his friends were marching too. Walking alongside, they were yelling for the rally members to go home. They got racial epithets as responses. It was going fine . . . well as fine as something like this can go -- until something out of my vision happened and everyone started running. I followed De'Andre who was clearly already hurt and getting chased by nearly a dozen white supremacists.
De'Andre Harriss, a young man who works as an assistant special education teacher in Charlottesville, was slammed with shield into the parking arm of the Market Street garage and landed hard. This is when he says he lost consciousness.
Seconds later, he woke to fists, clubs and boots. Trying to get up and flee to safety, he was knocked to the ground again by the white terrorists that were attacking him for one reason and one reason: De'Andre is black.
Getting hit time and time again with the broken pieces of the parking arm, he curled into the fetal position. Five or six men continued the assault until De'Andre's friends came to his rescue. The nearly dozen white supremacists that were either actively attacking this young man or standing by creating cover scattered from the scene like cockroaches when the light is turned on.
As I turned to follow De'Andre to see if he was ok and to get his information -- I was confronted with a handgun -- a 9mm Glock to be exact. A white male with a camo hat and military style t-shirt and pants was in the ready position -- ready to â€˜defend' himself. As soon as he noticed me taking photos of him, he holstered the fire arm. Virginia is an open-carry state.
The police were nowhere to be found. That was a continuing thread for a lot of the incidents that happened during this weekend of hate in Charlottesville. Police would convene in large numbers in spaces that were nowhere near the action. They would also not even attempt to make their presence seen when the fascists went on their marches about town.
This is what we call a "stand down order." You see it usually when groups like Black Lives Matter are allowed to march through the street without getting much of a hassle. Police assume that protesters will just tire themselves out and not stick around if there are no confrontations to get riled up about. Typically in these situations, the police will immediately swoop in if they see a crime or violence happening . . .
. . . The Charlottesville PD didn't seem to get that part of the memo. They just stood by and let pretty much anything happen.
De'Andre is still waiting for someone to contact him about the assault. Right after he started to receive help from an antifa street medic, I walked around asking police officers if they wanted my info as I had evidence and witnessed a crime.
They just kept walking and didn't respond. They also seemed uninterested that a man pulled a gun on me and De'Andre's friends. An hour or so later, the entire day would change. Potentially, America would change with it.
Five blocks away, another white man with associations to white supremacist groups rammed his car into a peaceful march, murdering one and injuring many others.
De'Andre Harris received staples in his head, stitches just above his eye, a broken wrist and a chipped tooth. Thankfully, his story, while not reaching the major networks, went viral.
My images posted on twitter and some other videos caught the eyes of millions, and his gofundme page reached over $100k. My guess is that he won't have a lot left over after he pays his medical bills.
But at least he's alive -- and doing as much press as he can, getting the word out that the civil rights era of the 60's never should have gone away. Because the beatings haven't.
NationofChange is a nonprofit organization that provides an online magazine, daily newsletter, and activist platform -- all free to the public.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.