Thursday
May312018

Two Numbers

Don’t act so innocent.

It’s not like you’ve never lost 1,500 children.

Oh, wait… you’ve never lost almost 1,500 children. Neither have I. 

Neither had anybody, really, until this flaming oil spill of a presidential administration managed the truly impressive feat of misplacing 1,475 immigrant kids who were housed with adult Americans.

The administration says that the kids aren’t lost, per se, just “unaccounted for.” So that should make us all feel better.

But really, is it any wonder that an administration that yanks children away from their parents (and then blames Democrats for the idea) is unconcerned about what happens to minors put in its charge? 

There is no question that the Trump team’s sociopathic indifference to humanity, complete disdain for Latinos, and jaw-dropping incompetence have combined to create a situation where we have to ask, “So hey, whatever happened to those kids you nabbed at the border? You know, like well over a thousand of them? Any guesses?”

Of course, the other horrifying statistic that came out this week was the actual death toll of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. No, it wasn’t 64 people who died in the storm, which is the Trump Administration’s official tally. A new study says that the number is just a little, tiny bit higher — more like 4,645.

Yes, that is more Americans than died in the September 11 attacks. It is more Americans than died in Hurricane Katrina (i.e., the last time a Republican president fucked up the response to a natural disaster). In fact, it is almost as much as September 11 and Katrina combined.

But again, we're talking about primarily Hispanic victims here. So it’s not like they really count or anything.

These are just two numbers, just two sets of stats that display the Trump Administration’s contempt for any human who isn’t white.

They are numbers that make you weep.

 

Friday
May252018

The Goal of All This

In my last post, I asked a simple question: What’s behind Republicans’ strong drive to halt immigration and, by extension, to stop economic and technological progress?

Well, it’s clear that the point is not — nor has it ever been — to make America great or to make sure we’re number one on some imaginary list of the world’s greatest countries. 

No, the GOP’s motivation is to make sure that white people in general (and white Christian men in particular) continue to enjoy the cultural dominancethey have enjoyed for a couple of centuries now. All other goals in the modern Republican Party are subservient or incidental to this top priority.

It is the reason that Latino immigrants, black NFL players, and Muslim gold-star families are all the enemy, along with many other demonized subgroups. Trump’s embrace of white nationalism cannot be denied, and efforts to do so are increasingly delusional.

This disturbing moment in history is pivotal because it offers one of the few clear-cut moral choices that defines the nation and its people. Will you support a man who is clearly a hate-filled bigot, peddling soft-core racism? Or will you, at the very least ,object to this charlatan who has made xenophobia acceptable? 

It’s a pretty clear choice.

 

Wednesday
May162018

The Robots Are Coming

You may have noticed recently when a member of most incompetent, corrupt administration in history started talking trash about who does or doesn't have skills.

Yes, our old friend, White House chief of staff John Kelly, said he believes that “the vast majority of undocumented immigrantscrossing the southern border into the US do not assimilate well because they are poorly educated.” Kelly — whose boss is a sociopathic ignoramus who is historically unqualified for the job of president — went on to say that undocumented immigrants “don't have skills.”

And he did this without any sense of irony, grasp of hypocrisy, or inkling of shame.

But it wasn’t just Kelly who says undocumented immigrants are too dumb to fit into America and refuse to learn English, damn it.

Noted right-wing babe Tomi Lahren said, “people who don’t speak English or who come from poverty shouldn’t be allowed to immigrateto the United States.” She insisted that “you don’t just come into this country with low skills, low education, not understanding the language and come into our country.”

Of course, it took a journalist about nine seconds to do a little research and find out that Lahren’s ancestors did exactly that, proving that “people like Lahren continue to push a specious agendathat suggests today’s immigrants are somehow wholly different from previous ones.”

Indeed, it can be pointed out that “nativists can’t keep trying to back up their argument by saying ‘the country doesn’t work this way’ when clearly it does, and has, for their families. So why do they *really* not want these people here?”

To answer that question, let’s look again at the fabled white working class (i.e., the salt of the Earth) that forms the base of Trump’s support and the emotional underpinning for conservative thought in this country.

These non-immigrants are struggling to keep up because (in theory) Latinos have stolen their jobs, the coalmines have shut down, and the assembly line has moved to China.

And it’s supposedly going to get even worse soon, as self-driving carswill eliminate millions of jobs from truck drivers who are overwhelmingly white and uneducated.

So what has been the response to these issues?

Well, most Republicans and many Democrats have sought to assuage the fears of white working class people by telling them that their low-skill jobs are coming back (any day now!), and that they don’t have to change a thing. Nope, they don't have to take a computer class, learn a trade that’s actually in demand, or (heaven forbid) learn Spanish.

The implication, sometimes stated outright, is that too much change is happening, too fast, and we as a nation will make sure that these big mean machines don’t take anybody’s job.

So if you’re keeping track, this nation cannot accommodate immigrants who risk their lives to come here, work like demons, and often perform essential tasks that Americans don’t want to do

However, we can slow down our economy and move our entire society backward to make things a little easier for people who refuse to even acknowledge that it's the twenty-first century.

Interesting.

But I have a question.

Has a society — any society anywhere at any time — willfully stopped progress because the elites were afraid of how it would affect the least-skilled members of that society? I’m not being snarky. I honestly doubt this has ever happened in human history.

Remember that the Luddites failed to stop the machinesfrom taking their jobs. In fact, their doomed insurgency is only remembered today for giving us the adjective for a backward, fearful person who is terrified of technology.

Modern blue-collar workers will not fare any better. Republicans are stoking discontent among the white working class, but at best the GOP is being disingenuous about its ability to stop the acceleration of automation. At worst, Republicans are telling overt lies while laughing their asses off about the gullibility of small-town types.

Because Republicans cannot and will not stop the self-driving cars from coming. By the way, those self-driving cars will most likely “see farther and react faster, so it makes senseto bake computer control into big-rigs, to make them safer and more efficient,” thereby reducing the grim statistic that “crashes involving trucks kill about 4,000 peopleon US roads every year.”

Or we could just sabotage the computer programs and make sure big-rig drivers can continue to be less efficient while killing more people on the road. Because otherwise they might have to, you know, learn a new skill.

Sounds like a fair trade to me.

Oh, and one more thing: all those kiosksthat fast-food outlets have created to take the place of burger flippers? Well, conservatives love to imply that it’s because some cities have raised the minimum wage. But isn’t this just capitalism in action? After all, no company exec would say, “Yes, a machine can do this task more efficiently and for less money, but I really want a bored teenager to do the job.” 

Where does all this GOP concern for workers come from, all of a sudden?

I would think that conservatives — with their supposed love of the free market — would be thrilled with the idea of creating more efficient systems rather than subsidizing a low-skilled worker to do a worse job.

So again, what’s behind this sudden love for halting immigration and, while we’re at it, stopping economic and technological progress?

Well, I’ll talk more about that in my next post.

 

Thursday
May102018

No More Mr. Nice Guy

If you’re some kind of softy Nancy boy who wears his bleeding heart on his sleeve, then you might get a little emotional at the sight of, for example, screaming children being ripped out of their mothers’ arms.

But if you're a true patriot like Attorney General Jeff Sessions, then you know full well that the only way to protect America is to rip families apart and put children in jeopardy.

You see, The United States will now“take a stricter stanceon illegal crossings at the Mexico border by separating parents from children, rather than keeping them together in detention centers.”

The goal is to terrify people into not even trying to cross the border without 47 forms of ID. It’s an interesting theory, especially when one realizes that many people who are trying to enter the United States are fleeing oppressive countries where death is a constant presence, and that traveling to America is already a desperate choice where getting killed en route is a chance many people are willing to take. But hey, why not make things more hellish for them?

Sessions says, “We are dealing with a massive influxof illegal aliens across our Southwest Border” despite the fact that immigration — both legal and undocumented — is down, and that nobody except angry old white men actually still use the term “illegal alien.”

No matter, Sessions unveiled the zero-tolerance policy “with the goal of a 100 percent prosecution rate for all who enter the U.S. illegally.”

Quick aside: It’s interesting how conservatives are big fans of zero-tolerance policies when it comes to, say undocumented immigration and marijuana use. But they are all about forgiveness and mulliganswhen it comes to civil rights violationsand illegal campaign payouts to porn star mistresses. But I digress.

Sessions sums up the new approach with a curt “If you don’t like that, then don’t smuggle children over our border.”

Well, that settles it then. The Trump Administration’s policy can surely be nothing but an effective, but still humane, approach to complex problem — right?

Oh, and by the way, more than 700 children “have been separated from their parents since last October,” and “almost 1,500 migrant children went missingafter federal officials put them in the homes of adult sponsors around the country.”

Makes you proud to be an American, doesn't it?

 

Wednesday
May022018

A Brief List

Never say that I am not helpful — even to people who hate me.

I’m talking about my old friends in the Republican Party, who are currently projected to lose 4,000 seats in Congress during the next midterms. Of course, if the 2016 election taught us anything, it was to not trust the polls completely. But things look pretty bleakfor the GOP right now, even if the economy is defying the odds by continuing to chug along, and North Korea may actually refrain from nuking us.

Still, the Trump Administration has been, for the most part, one long nightmare for most Americans. And the polls reflect this.

So I’m offering some advice to conservatives that they can use in the next election. Here are some helpful hints for you Republicans that will help you make your pitch to voters over the next few months.

For starters, drop the whole party of morality thing. I’m not sure who ever believed this. But it’s clear that after embracing Trump and endorsing Roy Moore, the GOP has absolutely no credibility when it comes to judging ethical behavior. Republicans can talk all they want about virtue and the importance of family, but let’s be honest, after the tenth story of a Republican congressman resigningbecause he threatened his mistress, it gets a bit laughable.

Along those lines, conservatives really have to let get of their image as the bastions of decency. Getting all huffy about what is proper and dignified just doesn’t fly when you gleefully cheer for a guy who boasts about sexually assaulting women and denigrates ethnic minorities. And yes, that means you can’t feign outragewhen a comedienne uses vulgarity to describe the most vulgar man to ever be president.  

Another concept you Republicans can ditch is your image as so-called fiscal conservatives. I mean, did you even read that deficit-busting tax bill you passed a few months ago? Don’t answer that — I know you rushed it out the door and didn’t even bother to check for typos (or huge, glaring loopholes). But take it from me, nobody is going to take you guys seriously ever again when you scream that spending is out of control or that the budget needs to be balanced or that we can’t afford to fund public education. Clearly, the GOP doesn’t care about the budget, and most likely never did. 

Finally — and I know this is going to be the most painful for you conservatives — let’s have no more talk of conservative values or the GOP agenda. You have no values beyond the naked pursuit of power and winning at any cost. You have no agendabeyond making sure that white, straight men are perpetually on top. This is why you guys are very good at campaigning and finding a way to control the government — but not so good at the actual governing part.

So that’s my prescription for the GOP.

Of course, a natural question is to ask is the following: Who am I to offer this unsolicited advice? After all, I don’t have a degree in political science, nor have I ever worked on a campaign.

But that’s the beauty of the Republican Party. The GOP has made it clear that expertise in a given field is irrelevant. Hell, it may even be detrimental.

According to conservatives, you can’t believe those egghead scientists who use data to prove global warming, or those studies that say more guns equals more violence, or those pundits who use fancy facts and actual numbers instead of anecdotal evidence and conspiratorial rants to prove a point. 

Hey, one of Trump’s biggest selling points to his supporters is his total lack of governmental experience and ignorance of policy. And that’s worked out great… except for the constant chaoserupting from the White House and the rampant corruption engulfing the administration.

So take it from me, dear GOP, this is advice you can use.

Trust me.