Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic here in the United States we have heard the term “the new normal.” Interesting term, but we should consider this reality: the new normal started the day Donald J. Trump declared his candidacy for president: June 16, 2015.
Remember when Comrade Orange insulted a true American hero, the late Senator John McCain, by saying he prefers people that don’t get captured? It didn’t end his candidacy, he just got more popular. Remember when he insulted a fallen American hero and his family, Army Captain Humayun Khan, mainly because they are Muslim? No backlash at all.
Remember in October 2016 when the Access Hollywood video/audio was released?
Trump: “You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”
“Grab’em by the pussy. You can do anything.”
Within two days there were women walking around the Trump rallies with T-shirts that said “YOU CAN GRAB MY PUSSY” Trump’s own words didn’t matter, for anything. Nothing was too much for the Trump cult. And it appears, nothing was too much for the swing voters that were swayed by then FBI director Jim Comey’s announcement about the fucking investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails. James Comey did just as much to destroy Clinton’s candidacy as the steady stream of misinformation and lies about the former secretary of state who was — and still is — the most qualified person to ever run for president.
Instead of the most qualified candidate, we got Donald Trump, the mega liar, grifter, Russian agent, or as retired Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman labeled Trump, “Putin’s useful idiot.”
Thank you Vladimir Putin. The social media misinformation and criminal hacking was done by the Russians to promote Donald Trump in the 2016 election, as reported in the Mueller Report. We will always wonder: “Would Trump have won without the help of Putin?”
What’s no doubt galling to Comrade Orange is FBI Director Christopher Wray is telling us the Russians are back at it, with more sophisticated attacks that not only target social media, but they are trying to breach our voting systems, especially in the battleground states. They want to manipulate vote counts, disenfranchise voters and otherwise sow doubt and confusion about our election process.
And because Trump is Putin’s useful idiot there is very little, if anything, the executive branch is doing to retaliate. Trump was caught using U.S. aid to try and blackmail Ukraine into creating dirt on Joe Biden and his son Hunter. That was okay with all but one Republican in the U.S. Senate.
I just read in the New York Post comedian Chris Rock is taking the old Trump line that it is the fault of the Democrats that the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S. so hard. His reasoning — Trump’s reasoning — is that the Democrats were focused on impeaching Trump instead of keeping the 5-year old (Trump) in check.
The big problem with that theory: It supposes the Democrats could have done something to force Trump into taking action in January and February when Trump knew COVID-19 was going to hit like a ton of bricks. Hell, Trump’s own party doesn’t even have the desire or ability to hold Trump accountable.
Right now Republican Senators Ron Johnson (WI) and Chuck Grassley (IA) are holding hearings to investigate bogus anti-Biden claims involving Ukraine using information provided by known Russian agents from Ukraine. Two of their fellow Republican senators, Richard Burr of North Carolina and Marco Rubio have warned Johnson and Grassley against using disinformation provided by the Russia-linked Ukrainians, Andril Derkach, Andril Telizhenko and Oleksandr Onyshcenko. So Trump isn’t the only useful idiot employed by the Kremlin.
This new normal is extremely abnormal.
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Once again social media, especially Facebook, is the focal point for anti-Democrat/Biden disinformation. Recently I had to look up the term “Critical Race Theory” because a Koch Brothers financed website called Intellectual Takeout posted an article on FB.
Critical Race Theory, for those who may not know, is the teaching of how the European settlers of the North American continent were racist — that’s indisputable — and that the framework of that white supremacy has been maintained over time in the legal system; perpetuating the systemic racism that is so vigorously being protested now. Obviously, white privilege is derived from the white supremacy of the system that sailed up the Powhatan River in what is now Virginia and renamed it the James River and the settlement Jamestown.
The indigenous people there, the Powhatan, assisted the settlers as first, but after a while things went bad in that relationship and the white folks killed off all the indigenous people in the areas. That was in 1607. Just 12 years later British ships started bringing Africans to Old Point Comfort to be sold as slaves, which was near the Jamestown settlement.
A lot of Americans like to celebrate the conquest of the Americas by the Europeans as a great thing, but for the descendants of the people that were already here, dates like Columbus Day, Thanksgiving, and the anniversaries of the landings at Jamestown and Plymouth Rock are days of mourning. They were robbed of their land — and we see that played out in the Black Hills of South Dakota where Mount Rushmore now stands, and the building of the Dakota Access Pipeline which is now polluting the water of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation.
White Supremacy says “it is our right to build our structures anywhere we want and your tribal lands be damned.”
The native people say it is their land and the white power structure has no right to violate their tribal sovereignty.
That’s just on the “Manifest Destiny,” steal, pillage and plunder side of the white supremacy that has formed the backbone of the United States system. Then there is slavery. People kidnapped in Africa and brought to the colonies to be forcibly enslaved for the benefit of the white supremacists in Virginia and then throughout the South.
Although slavery was officially ended after the Union won the Civil War, the philosophy persists today. White supremacy has remained a pillar of the legal system and the absolutely horrific occurrence of unarmed Black people being abused and killed by the police is just the most visible form of it.
So, educators would like to teach those parts of American history that have been … hidden … from high school text books and college lectures since the beginning of this great nation. Sure, we heard about slavery, but we didn’t learn about the horrible abuses by the slave owners that included whippings, beatings, mutilations, rapes and murders.
Nor did we get any real education about the rise of the Ku Klux Klan and how it wrested control of the Southern states away from the people who were in the state governments at the time. We didn’t learn about how, after taking control of the states they enacted laws to disenfranchise Black people, then hold them down, subjugating them into something less than full citizenship, using terror to do it. We never were told how many African Americans were lynched by the racists, nor how many homes and churches were torched — not until the civil rights movement put it on the evening news, and that didn’t even cover all of the abuses.
Separate schools, hospitals, drinking fountains, restrooms; banned from sitting at lunch counters. And to make sure the Black people understood who was in charge and why, the racist rulers of those states erected statues and other monuments to the Confederate generals and soldiers that fought to keep Black people enslaved — and they adopted the Confederate battle flag, incorporating it into their state flags and flying the racist flag over their capitols.
Schools in the 1950s-60s didn’t even want to teach us about that part of American history as African Americans began to push and protest for basic civil rights, including the right to vote. We didn’t learn about poll taxes and having to guess jelly beans in a jar in school, we learned about all those ways to block the Black vote by watching TV news.
What we did learn about the African Americans protesting was that they were going too far, that they didn’t have any patience, that they were causing trouble, what the late John Lewis called “good trouble.”
Yes, people like John Lewis, the Rev Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, Fannie Lou Hamer, Joseph Lowery, C.T. Vivian, Ralph Abernathy, Andrew Young and a long list of others were agitating for change, for equal rights for Black people and other marginalized and disenfranchised communities.
As bad as the Southern white power structure looked, we were also told these Black agitators were going about it all wrong. Despite the fact that we have the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Sure, President Lyndon B. Johnson gets a lot of credit for his arm twisting and politicking to get both of those bills passed, but the Civil Rights movement put it in front of our faces, via the evening news and the front page of every newspaper in America.
What we learned was the the structures in Southern states were separate and definitely not equal. We had to read newspapers to get that education.
To be sure we learned about the westward expansion of the nation, about the Spanish conquest of Central and South America — Florida for a while — and how we went to war with Mexico to take from that nation what is now the Southwest.
The parts of all that expansion, all that Manifest Destiny, that we didn’t learn about in the high school history books was the genocide of the indigenous people in the Americas. Not just the English and French speaking Europeans, but the Spanish and Portuguese.
Spain had a name for their “explorers”: Conquistadors. They came looking for cities of gold, raping, pillaging, stealing and killing everything and everyone in their way. Europeans had something going for them in their conquest of the Americas: diseases. The Europeans brought diseases for which indigenous people had no immunity, like small pox.
Mainly though, the Europeans conquered the Americas with brutality, imposing white supremacy throughout the continents, especially here in English-speaking North America.
The United States was founded on white supremacy and is still governed by the principles based on it. That is the basis of Critical Race Theory.
So this right wing nut bar website Intellectual Takeout decided to post an article on Facebook decrying the horrors of teaching government agencies and young people the whole truth about American history. What the people on the right, the Intellectual Takeout crowd, truly hate is diversity. For those people, diversity is the great downfall, or at least a giant impediment, to their idea of American greatness.
The right wing has a great disdain for anything that challenges white supremacy. For them diversity, working for racial equality, changing the culture to reject white supremacy is a sickness. They constantly flog Black Lives Matter and they look for reasons why unarmed Black people deserved being killed by police. The young man in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Jacob Blake, has a history with the legal system. Breonna Taylor, who was murdered while she slept in her own bed, is alleged to have dated the drug dealer the cops were looking for when they burst into her home and killed her. Her actual partner was in bed with her. He fired his weapon at the intruders so they fired back, wounding him and killing Taylor.
On August 23 of this year Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back. A few nights later a 17-year-old from Illinois was driven to Kenosha by his mother so he could allegedly help the police protect Kenosha businesses from protestors and rioters. That kid shot three people, killing two of them. He was eventually arrested — why wasn’t his mother arrested for aiding and abetting him — but now there are right wing groups raising money for his legal defense. These groups believe he was within his rights to shoot those people, to kill two of them. It wasn’t even legal for him to be carrying a firearm, especially across state lines.
Yes, I know the kid’s name, but I’m not going to print it here.
For these right wing extremists any challenge to white supremacy — and white privilege for that matter — has to be opposed. The racism is blatant in groups like Intellectual Takeout. And they’ll whine that liberals call everyone like them racists. Well, you know, the shoe fits so wear it.
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This ends on a sad note. The Notorious RBG, Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the liberal giant of the United States Supreme Court, has passed away. She was nominated by President Bill Clinton in 1993 and has served as beacon of diversity and inclusion ever since — ironically what the Intellectual Takeout crowd hates. Rest in peace and power, RBG. We will always remember you.
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The final note, as sad as the previous; Nearly seven million Americans have been infected by COVID-19 and 203,171 have died. The words of Donald Trump when he spoke to Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward On February 7 come to mind: “I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down because I don’t want to create a panic.”
Now we have more than 200,000 dead and counting. Tens of millions are out of work and thousands of small businesses have been forced to close. On top of that, the lack of federal help is forcing many to lose their homes, either through foreclosure or eviction.
Well done Comrade Orange!
Tim Forkes started as a writer on a small alternative college newspaper in Milwaukee called the Crazy Shepherd. Writing about entertainment issues, he had the opportunity to speak with many people in show business, from the very famous to the people struggling to find an audience. In 1992 Tim moved to San Diego, CA and pursued other interests, but remained a freelance writer. Upon arrival in Southern California he was struck by how the business of government and business was so intertwined, far more so than he had witnessed in Wisconsin. His interest in entertainment began to wane and the business of politics took its place. He had always been interested in politics, his mother had been a Democratic Party official in Milwaukee, WI, so he sat down to dinner with many of Wisconsin’s greatest political names of the 20th Century: William Proxmire and Clem Zablocki chief among them. As a Marine Corps veteran, Tim has a great interest in veteran affairs, primarily as they relate to the men and women serving and their families. As far as Tim is concerned, the military-industrial complex has enough support. How the men and women who serve are treated is reprehensible, while in the military and especially once they become veterans. Tim would like to help change that reality.