Trump the divider and serial liar

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Social Media is a collection of wonderful platforms where we can see and read some of the best social commentary of the era. Take Soledad O’Brien’s take down of Bill Mitchell on Twitter. It prompts the quote by Shakespeare, from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, ”Though she may be but little, she is fierce,” Helena talking about her friend Hermia. The play has been made into movies, so please watch one for more context.

YouTube screenshot of Soledad O’Brien on HBO’s “Real Time With Bill Maher”

I don’t really know how small — or big — Soledad O’Brien is and frankly, trying to find personal details about Soledad O’Brien might come off as a little creepy.

O’Brien is one of those journalists who just grew up and out as she spent more time in the usual newsroom settings … as in male-dominated settings. It’s hard to call “Bullshit” on your own boss, knowing your paycheck depends on you putting up with and accepting that very same bullshit.

But now she names names. Like pointing out Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) is the face of foreign interference in elections. He led the effort to strip a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act that would require — REQUIRE — campaigns to report foreign election help. You know the Russians helped Trump get elected to the presidency, maybe they, or the Chinese, can help Rubio do it. The man is thinking ahead, being strategic.

Speaking of very stupid U.S. Senators, Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, actually said, on June 30 during a hearing on the coronavirus pandemic, “We shouldn’t presume that a group of experts somehow knows what’s best for everyone.”

We don’t have to look far to understand why the U.S., with 4% of the world’s population, has 25% of the world’s COVID-19 infections. Thanks to Senator Paul, President Trump and their ilk, we can finally say, with some truth and sincerity, “America! We’re number one!”

C-SPAN YouTube screenshot Rep. Senator from Kentucky Rand Paul speaking to Dr. Fauci during a May 12, 2020 Senate hearing

Don’t forget Paul is the Senator who walked around capitol buildings interacting with dozens of people while waiting for the results of a COVID-19 test that came back positive.

You know, on social media, when you want to let people know you are shouting, you use all caps, like this message for Senator Rand Paul: “YOU FUCKING MORON! IT’S THE FUCKING EXPERTS WHO KNOW BEST HOW TO FIGHT A PANDEMIC THAT IS QUICKLY SPREADING ACROSS AMERICA, NOT SOME DIME STORE CONSPIRACY THEORY NUTS!”

Too bad we can’t bold the all caps messages on social media, like I did here. Gives it more emphasis, more melodrama. Maybe Soledad O’Brien would call me a drama queen. No matter, it’s often true — according to family and friends.

The mayor of Seattle, WA and the rest of the city public servants have had enough of the CHOP, the Capitol Hill Organized Protest, once known as the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ).

To my friends that once said CHAZ was a beautiful thing … it wasn’t. You have to like Utopian sentiments and dreams, but they usually end up as dystopian horrors and the mayor was just preventing the growing horror in her city from deteriorating even more. It just might be true I’m not as progressive and lefty as you think I am.

CHAZ/CHOP reminded me of Haight-Ashbury in the mid-1960s. It looked all peace and love and everything’s swell, but by the time we started using the term “The Summer of Love” for 1967, Haight-Ashbury had become a shit show of drug addiction and crime. Even the Grateful Dead had moved out. But damn, wasn’t it cool when Jefferson Airplane gave us Morning Maniac Music?

These days, with the Black Lives Matter movement to end systemic racism and the subsequent police violence on people of color, along with the looming specter of the climate crisis lurking behind all the other news of the moment; with the deadliest pandemic in 100 years racing across America, killing 130k-plus people (so far), it’s easy to remember the 1960s, and not just the hippie music either.

YouTUbe screenshot of Country Joe McDonald performing at Woodstock Music and Arts Festival in 1969

At Woodstock in 1969 (51 years ago!) Country Joe McDonald — a Navy veteran — led the crowd of nearly a half million people in the “Fish Cheer” before launching into a solo performance of “I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die Rag,” commonly referred to as the “Vietnam War Song.” He came out of Berkeley and San Francisco of the 1960s. I’m not sure what he’s doing today, Country Joe retired in 2017, but it’s likely he supports the BLM movement and a big supporter of fighting the climate crisis.

Back in the day I met Country Joe in Madison, WI, at a Veterans Day celebration at the capitol. He was also there to help demonstrate against then Governor Tommy Thompson who had big plans to lay waste to Wisconsin’s natural beauty.

Of course the way Thompson and his cronies were doing it was by trying to abrogate the treaties with the local Indian tribes, the Ojibwa in particular. The best way to do that — in their eyes — was to stir up sentiment against the Native Americans’ practice of spearing thousands of walleyed pike in Central and Northern Wisconsin.

In reality the Ojibwa were taking a small percentage of the walleyed pike and they had a vigorous restocking program for walleyes and other fish that benefited everyone that fished in Wisconsin.

Anyway, the Republicans were never able to break the treaties, Thompson and his cronies even offered the tribes $50 million to break the treaty so Thompson’s pals in the energy and minerals industries could mine and drill in the pristine areas of Northern Wisconsin — those resources could be worth a thousand times $50 mil. — and for some people the Ojibwa were being unreasonable by saying no.

Reporters for the Crazy Shepherd/Shepherd Express covered the Walleye Wars extensively, including the involvement of the mineral and energy companies that were hoping to profit from all the unrest.

But that was part of the reason Country Joe McDonald was in Wisconsin, which I believe was 1988-89. Country Joe is a stand-up guy, which brings us back to the present. Country Joe is no doubt on the right side of history now, like he was 50-plus years ago. he is one of my heroes.

Hollywood Blvd (YouTube screenshot)

The events of today brought back those memories of the 1960s, especially the anti-war, pro-environment, civil rights movements, and now that those memories come up, the women’s liberation and gay rights movement. And those too continue to this day. All Black Lives Matter.

Women want more than just the right to vote, they want equal representation in the various governments. Women make up about 51% of the population but only about 25% of the U.S. Senate, 26 to be exact. Nine of the women senators are Republicans so very few of them are reliably pro-woman in their philosophy.

Same in the House of Representatives. There are 127 women representatives and territorial delegates, just 23.7% of the house.

Point is women are still not considered equal to men and have a more difficult time getting ahead in their careers or getting elected to public office. Women make just 80% of what men make. African American women get an even lower percentage.

Getting back to the original inhabitants of this continent, on Friday members of the Oglala Sioux and other Native people, along with supporters, demonstrated at Mount Rushmore, in the Black Hills of South Dakota. I’ve been there and it’s a magnificent monument. My sister Cheryl and I took a road trip from Webster, WI to Denver, CO. and stopped to see it. We saw a mountain goat hopping across the faces of the presidents. Sadly I have no photos from that trip, but it was fun. We were almost trampled by bison in the Badlands National Park. We were driving along a road and stopped to watch the bison running across the land and they veered up into our direction and then turned on a dime before hitting us, sitting in Cheryl’s little pickup.

At any rate, the Oglala Sioux want — demand — the Black Hills be returned to them, as was ceded in two treaties in the 19th century. That includes the monument on Mount Rushmore — The Six Grandfathers according to the Sioux — which they also want removed.

PBS YouTube Screenshot of Mount Rushmore, formerly known as The Six Grandfathers by the Sioux

Let’s be real: if there was going to be a total reckoning with the original people of this continent we would have to return every inch of land and drop of water and either leave, or start paying each Native American tribe rent, or buy the land from them. We have broken over 400 treaties with the American Indians, not to mention stolen their land.

None of that is likely to happen, nor do I see Mount Rushmore being given back to the Sioux. I do see years of court battles to find some type of resolution, but Indigenous Americans have most often lost court battles. The Wisconsin Ojibwa in their fight to retain their rights and resources in the northern part of the state a great exception to the usual outcome.

The 21st century might see a different outcome. Trump allowed energy companies to fowl the land and water of the Sioux, starting in North Dakota and going to Illinois with the Dakota Access Pipeline. The courts have not embraced the true sovereignty of the Indigenous Peoples in that battle. The crack down on the peaceful protestors was brutal. Large tanks, law enforcement in battle/riot gear, pepper spray, rubber bullets, against unarmed demonstrators.

Makes you wonder where those tactics were when the Michigan statehouse in Lansing was occupied by armed white men and women who were protesting stay-at-home and mask-wearing orders. Compare the two pictures: the unarmed water protectors at Standing Rock trying to protect their land and water … and a bunch of white people who got butt-hurt because they were told to stay at home and wear masks when outside their homes. The white people can threaten lawmakers with loaded firearms without repercussions, but the unarmed water protectors are subjected to brutal tactics to remove them from their own lands. The very definition of white privilege.

At any rate I can’t go to Mount Rushmore or Badlands National Parks and think about them the same way I did a month ago, certainly not 30-plus years ago. The U.S. must return the Black Hills to the Sioux and find some equitable resolution to the Mount Rushmore monument issue. And now they have to make restitution for the governor of South Dakota inviting President Douchebag to speak in those sacred hills.

PBS News Hour YouTube screenshot of an Ariel View of the area around Mount Rushmore

Not only was it an affront to the Oglala Sioux who said Trump didn’t have permission to enter their land, but it was yet another super spreader event for COVID-19. That dipshit South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem said there would be no social distancing and people could wear masks if they wanted to. They were magnanimous enough to even hand out masks to any person that wanted one.

Just when it looked like South Dakota was getting the pandemic under control …

Trump wanted to make sure the Sioux nations and their supporters standing down the road from Mount Rushmore to know exactly where he stood, in regards to the monument. “I am here as your President to proclaim before the country and before the world: This monument will never be desecrated, these heroes will never be defaced, their legacy will never, ever be destroyed, their achievements will never be forgotten, and Mount Rushmore will stand forever as an eternal tribute to our forefathers and to our freedom.”

Huh … I once learned the hard way … maybe more than once, “never say never.”

PBS News Hour YouTube screenshot of Donald Trump speaking at Mount Rushmore on July 3, 2020

The Orange Douchebag also said “We gather tonight to herald the most important day in the history of nations: July 4th, 1776.  At those words, every American heart should swell with pride. Every American family should cheer with delight. And every American patriot should be filled with joy, because each of you lives in the most magnificent country in the history of the world, and it will soon be greater than ever before.

“Our Founders launched not only a revolution in government, but a revolution in the pursuit of justice, equality, liberty, and prosperity.  No nation has done more to advance the human condition than the United States of America.  And no people have done more to promote human progress than the citizens of our great nation.”

Huh … there is a large portion of our population that is descendant of people who were slaves when this nation was founded and has been living under the boot of oppression ever since slavery was ended in 1865. Then there is that other group, Native Americans, who have had their land stolen from them and were subjected to a westward expansion that included genocide. To this day they are still oppressed and, like African Americans, find themselves most susceptible to the ravages of COVID-19.

It was a precious moment on the highway leading to Mount Rushmore when a white lady Trump supporter told the Native Americans protesting the presence of the Orange Douchebag to go back where they came from. The idiot Trump supporter obviously unaware that the Native Americans were standing exactly where they are from. I would bet that not all Trump supporters are so glaringly stupid … well, maybe I wouldn’t bet, but I’ll just assume not all of them are glaringly stupid.

Let’s not overlook the other brown-skinned people oppressed by the systemic racism of our society. Why would any of these people cheer with delight? Trump was an unwelcome visitor to land stolen from the Sioux — after a treaty had been agreed to giving that land to the Sioux — and shoved that white America monument in their faces. Yeah, let’s all cheer that.

And as if we weren’t aware it was a campaign speech more than anything else, Trump said, “And yet, as we meet here tonight, there is a growing danger that threatens every blessing our ancestors fought so hard for, struggled, they bled to secure.

“Our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values, and indoctrinate our children.

“Angry mobs are trying to tear down statues of our Founders, deface our most sacred memorials, and unleash a wave of violent crime in our cities. Many of these people have no idea why they are doing this, but some know exactly what they are doing. They think the American people are weak and soft and submissive. But no, the American people are strong and proud, and they will not allow our country, and all of its values, history, and culture, to be taken from them.”

Selfie of the author Tim Forkes

Wow, those commie, pinko, anarchist bastards! Oh wait, that’s me … So, people protesting the statues of Confederate soldiers (all of them traitors) are angry mobs, looking to unleash violence in all the cities?

Trump continued his racist, divisive campaign hooey the next day, July 4, in Washington, D.C. “We are now in the process of defeating the radical left, the Marxists, the anarchists, the agitators, the looters, and people who, in many instances, have absolutely no clue what they are doing.”

Actually, most, if not all, of use know what we’re doing. We are in the process of re-ordering America, and putting someone else in the White House who actually knows how to govern, how to deal with a pandemic and how to treat our foreign friends — and adversaries. Joe Biden won’t look the other way if his National Security Advisor tells him Russia — or any other country — is paying the Taliban to kill Americans.

A commentator who I can’t remember, either on CNN or MSNBC, said it would be much easier to count the number of true things Trump said in his July 4 speech.But you know, noting all the lies is a lot more fun!

And that worthless POS of a president was out on the White House lawn in Washington praising the military, all the while knowing he is letting Vladimir Putin slide on the issue of Russia paying the Taliban a bounty for every dead American.

On a lighter note: since the United States is the number one COVID-19 hotspot in the world, the European Union has banned anyone coming from the U.S. from entering Europe. “Yay! We’re number one!”

It’s not like anyone wants to go anywhere, domestically or overseas. With the coronavirus raging out of control — Dr. Anthony Fauci actually said it is out of control — most people would prefer to just hunker down at home and wait out the pandemic.

As of Monday, July 6, we are creeping up on 3 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, some experts say it’s 10 times that number, 132,273 people have died from this disease.

Until there is new leadership in the White House and Senate, don’t expect the response to this pandemic to change for the better.

Top photo is a YouTube screenshot of President Trump delivering his 4th of July Speech