A Valdosta billboard that had a 24-hour lifespan. AJC file

The Jolt: An anti-Trump message is erased in Valdosta

Those of us locked in a discomfiting but necessary embrace with Donald Trump’s Twitter feed couldn’t help but notice these presidential thoughts on Saturday morning:

Social Media is totally discriminating against Republican/Conservative voices. Speaking loudly and clearly for the Trump Administration, we won’t let that happen. They are closing down the opinions of many people on the RIGHT, while at the same time doing nothing to others.....

The Washington Post sums up the background here:

Faced with criticisms from President Trump that Twitter is “shadow banning” and silencing conservative voices, chief executive Jack Dorsey admitted that those who work for the social media giant have their own biases — and that they’re “more left-leaning.”

But the silencing of speech is a two-way street. Especially when it’s on the street. And especially in a south Georgia that’s pro-Trump.

Tom Hochschild of Georgians for the Impeachment of Donald Trump writes that, last Thursday, his group put $400 down for a month’s rent on a billboard that had Trump’s image and the word “impeach.” Less than 24 hours later, Hochschild wrote:

The billboard went up at 805 St. Augustine Rd. in Valdosta, GA on 8/16/18 at approximately 4:00 pm. When I went to make the final payment today, the administrators informed me that they were taking the billboard down immediately, and that they were refunding my money.

Hochschild tells us that the company said their other billboard customers threatened to pull their advertising if it didn’t come down. He says he didn’t accept the refund, and is looking into legal action.

***

But even as Donald Trump was criticizing the media for censoring his supporters, CNN brought in Michael Williams for a discussion about the president and the possibility of recordings in which he uses the ‘n-word.’

The Republican state senator, who in May finished dead-last in the five-man GOP race for governor of Georgia, on Saturday asserted that he wouldn’t consider it a major issue if Trump had used the language.

Williams said there was a difference between using the word as a private citizen, and using the word while president:

"It would matter to me as an individual. It would not matter to me as the person that is running our country. The reason I separate those two -- he has his personal beliefs. But I truly believe he is able to separate those from how he running the country….

“If he goes on TV and uses the n-word, yes, I would have a major problem with that. But if he did it before he was president….”

That’s okay?

“No, I never said that’s okay. It’s always wrong for me, individually…

“I will always say using the n-word is wrong, and it's bad, and should never be accepted in our society. But just because [Trump] might have done it years ago, not as our president, doesn't mean we need to continue to berate him because he used it." 

Seeing the remarks in print really doesn’t do them justice. Watch the video here

***

On the same topic, U.S. Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., was quoted in a Washington Post story over the weekend, defending President Trump’s handling of race. That came as many of his GOP colleagues distanced themselves from the president’s comments calling former African-American aide Omarosa Manigault Newman a “dog.” From the Post: 

Perdue said in an interview that he believes Trump is results-focused and “trying to be ­all-inclusive,” and that Democrats are the ones using race as a political issue.

“Well, I hope they will,” Perdue said. “I have many friends in the African American community and they’re tired of being treated as pawns.” 

***

If scientists can’t convince us that climate change is real, maybe tax assessors and insurance actuaries can. From the Savannah Morning News:

Chatham County lost nearly $7 million in property value growth due to sea level rise flooding from 2005 to 2017, a new analysis suggests. Scientists from the non-profit First Street Foundation looked at losses in home value across five coastal states from Virginia through Florida. While Miami tops the list for value lost, four areas in Chatham County landed in the top 250: Tybee Island, Skidaway Island, Savannah and Wilmington Island. Overall the study found that Georgia lost more than $15 million in property value from sea level rise flooding over the same time period. The study does not tally direct losses from flooding; instead it attempts to pinpoint a subtler effect.

***

There was no more important piece in Sunday’s AJC than this one on the state of rural Georgia’s health care by our AJC colleague Ariel Hart. A taste:


Georgia’s Legislature is once again brainstorming legislation to address the state’s rural health care crisis. Sixty-four of 159 counties have no pediatrician; 79 have no obstetrician/gynecologist; and nine, like Webster, simply have no doctor. That makes Georgia worse than the national average for needy areas short of primary health care providers, according to federal data assembled by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Health outcomes for Georgia patients lag accordingly, with the state ranked among the worst 10 states for most measures.

***

Georgia GOP leaders on Saturday tapped a grassroots activist to fill the spot of Randy Evans as a member of the Republican National Committee. Jason Thompson, 47, was selected by the state GOP committee in the first-round of balloting. He bested former state Rep. Melvin Everson and Chris West of Thomasville. Thompson, an attorney is the husband of conservative analyst Julianne Thompson. He is also chairman of the Seventh District GOP.

***

Lawmakers are raising questions about lead poisoning at Fort Benning and other U.S. military bases after an investigation in Reuters documented dangerously high levels in some of the privately-managed homes on the west Georgia base. U.S. Sens. David Perdue and Johnny Isakson, joined by their Virginia colleagues, wrote to Army Secretary Mark Esper on Friday asking for a briefing shortly after the report was released.

***

We’ve got memorial service details for Powell Moore, who was one of the most influential Georgia Republicans in Washington during the 1970s and ‘80s, and later served as chief of staff to U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn. Powell, 80, died last week.

The funeral will be 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018 at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Milledgeville, Ga., with burial in Memory Hill Cemetery.

A Celebration of Life is planned 11 a.m. Oct. 4, 2018 at Christ Church Georgetown in Washington, DC.

Joseph Gawler's Sons LLC in Washington, D.C. is in charge of arrangements. The AJC has added an online guestbook for friends of Moore.

*** 

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