• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

SPRING FUNDRAISER

Is it time for our Spring fundraiser already? If you enjoy what we offer, and have the means, please consider donating. The sooner we reach our modest goal, the faster we can get back to business as (un)usual. Please, stay safe and we’ll see you down the road.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

No, We Won’t be Raking Our National Forests

Photo Source Nicholas A. Tonelli | CC BY 2.0

By now the worst wildfire in California has been extensively covered, even as rains drown the ashes and bones during the grim search for the missing. Despite their best attempts to deceive the American public and push their commercial deforestation agenda for the timber industry, both President Trump and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s comments about managing our national forests have been widely rebutted by firefighters and scientists who correctly assessed the disaster for what it was — a climate change-fueled urban fire that started in chaparral causing homes, not forests, to burn. And no, the blame can’t credibly be laid on failures by federal forest management agencies or “environmental extremists.”

By now most Americans — and the rest of the world’s citizens — are all-too-well acquainted with Donald Trump’s propensity to lie about issues large and small. But he may have set a new low with his false claim that the president of Finland told him that they have fewer forest fires because they rake their forest floors.

To quote our very stable genius president: “I was with the president of Finland, he said ‘We have a much different — we’re a forest nation.’ He called it a forest nation. And they spent a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things, and they don’t have any problem. And when it is, it’s a very small problem. So I know everybody’s looking at that to that end. And it’s going to work out, it’s going to work out well.”

It was such a blatant misrepresentation that the Finnish president himself had to clarify that he never told Trump any such thing and that, no, the Finnish people do not rake their forest floors.

To anyone with even elementary knowledge of an actual forest, the entire idea of raking the forest is ludicrous. That, of course, would exclude Trump since he’s spent most of his life in high-rise New York penthouses or on manicured golf courses. His understanding of nature and functioning ecosystems is about on par with his claim that he has a “natural instinct” for science. Uh yeah, science is definitely an instinct — unless you’ve actually studied organic and inorganic chemistry, biology, physics and the host of other intellectually demanding disciplines that form the basis for real, not imagined, science.

If Trump had any understanding of the world he may have realized that Finland isn’t California, that a quarter of Finland lies north of the Arctic Circle where the sun never rises for 51 days during winter, that the average summer temperature hovers in the 60s, and their sub-arctic forests are blanketed in snow during the long winter months.

In truth, the forest floor is where the mycelium lives and performs its vital function of turning rotting vegetation into nutrients to return to the ecosystem, where new growth begins and sustains the vast array of flora and fauna necessary to functioning ecosystems.

That Ryan Zinke, who was raised in Montana, went along with Trump’s balderdash is even harder to take because he should know better. Then again, the way to keep a job in the Trump administration is to be, above all, “loyal” — and Zinke will obviously now say anything to keep his job.

But for the rest of us it’s another day, another Trump lie, and another ignorant mandate to “Make America Rake Again” from the bumbling and embarrassing occupant of the White House. Thanks for the great wisdom, Mr. Trump and Mr. Zinke, but no, we shouldn’t and won’t be raking the forest floors in Montana any time soon.

More articles by:

George Ochenski is a columnist for the Missoulian, where this essay originally appeared.

June 01, 2020
Joshua Frank
It’s a Class War Now Too
Richard D. Wolff
Why the Neoliberal Agenda is a Failure at Fighting Coronavirus
Henry Giroux
Racial Domestic Terrorism and the Legacy of State Violence
Ron Jacobs
The Second Longest War in the United States
Kanishka Chowdhury
The Return of the “Outside Agitator”
Lee Hall
“You Loot; We Shoot”
Dave Lindorff
Eruptions of Rage
Jake Johnston
An Impending Crisis: COVID-19 in Haiti, Ongoing Instability, and the Dangers of Continued U.S. Deportations
Nick Pemberton
What is Capitalism?
Linda G. Ford
“Do Not Resuscitate”: My Experience with Hospice, Inc.
Medea Benjamin - Nicolas J. S. Davies
Who Are the Secret Puppet-Masters Behind Trump’s War on Iran?
Manuel García, Jr.
A Simple Model for Global Warming
Howard Lisnoff
Is the Pandemic Creating a Resurgence of Unionism? 
Frances Madeson
Federal Prisons Should Not be Death Chambers
Hayley Brown – Dean Baker
The Impact of Upward Redistribution on Social Security Solvency
Raúl Carrillo
We Need a Public Option for Banking
Kathy Kelly
Our Disaster: Why the United States Bears Responsibility for Yemen’s Humanitarian Crisis
Sonali Kolhatkar
An Open Letter to Joe Biden on Race
Scott Owen
On Sheep, Shepherds, Wolves and Other Political Creatures
John Kendall Hawkins
All Night Jazz All The Time
Weekend Edition
May 29, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Tim Wise
Protest, Uprisings, and Race War
Nick Pemberton
White Supremacy is the Virus; Police are the Vector
T.J. Coles
What’s NATO Up to These Days? Provoking Russia, Draining Healthcare Budgets and Protecting Its Own from COVID
Benjamin Dangl
Bibles at the Barricades: How the Right Seized Power in Bolivia
Kevin Alexander Gray - Jeffrey St. Clair - JoAnn Wypijewski
There is No Peace: an Incitement to Justice
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Few Good Sadists
Jeff Mackler
The Plague of Racist Cop Murders: Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and the COVID-19 Pandemic
Joshua Frank
In Search of a Lost Socialism
Charles Pierson
Who are the “Wrong Hands” in Yemen?
David Schultz
Trump isn’t the Pope and This Ain’t the Middle Ages
Andrew Levine
Trump Is Unbeatable in the Race to the Bottom and So Is the GOP
Ramzy Baroud
Political Ambiguity or a Doomsday Weapon: Why Abbas Abandoned Oslo
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
A Growing Wave of Bankruptcies Threatens U.S. Recovery
Joseph Natoli
Conditions Close at Hand
N.D. Jayaprakash
No Lessons Learned From Bhopal: the Toxic Chemical Leak at LG Polymers India 
Ron Jacobs
The Odyssey of Elias Demetracopoulos
J.P. Linstroth
Arundhati Roy on Indian Migrant-Worker Oppression and India’s Fateful COVID Crisis
Melvin Goodman
Goodness Gracious, David Ignatius!!
Roger Harris
Blaming the COVID-19 Pandemic on Too Many Humans:  a Critique of Overpopulation Ideology
Sonali Kolhatkar
For America’s Wealthiest, the Pandemic is a Time to Profit
Prabir Purkayastha
U.S. Declares a Vaccine War on the World
David Rosen
Coronavirus and the Telecom Crisis
Paul Buhle
Why Does W.E.B. Du Bois Matter Today?
Mike Bader
The Only Way to Save Grizzlies: Connect Their Habitats
Dave Lindorff
Pandemic Crisis and Recession Can Spark a Fight for Real Change in the US
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail