Oh, Yeah… That Thing…

With all the conniptions about Kavanaugh and the horrible injustices facing rich, white, straight men and the fact that the president is more or less a felonious tax cheat, there is another issue that we all seem to have forgotten about.

Yes, I’m talking about the fact that“in shelters from Kansas to New York, hundreds of migrant children have been roused in the middle of the night in recent weeks and loaded onto buses … for a cross-country journey to their new home: a barren tent city on a sprawling patch of desert in West Texas.”

This is the continuation of the Trump Administration’s nightmarish zero-tolerance approach to border enforcement, which as you recall, led to kids being ripped out of their parents’ arms, Americans becoming horrified at our government’s inhumane behavior, and conservatives shrugging and saying, “Eh, what can you do?”

Even though U.S. courts ordered the administration to reunite immigrant families, the White House missed the deadline, which is essentially just another grotesque fuck-up in a long line of staggering incompetence. Now, with even more kids showing up unaccompanied the border, “the federal government struggles to find room for more than 13,000 detained migrant children— the largest population ever — whose numbers have increased more than fivefold since last year.”

In these tent cities — where there is no education and access to legal services is limited — the average length of time that migrant kids have spent “in custody has nearly doubled … from 34 days to 59 days.”Studies have down that “the longer that children remain in custody, the more likely they are to become anxious or depressed, which can lead to violent outbursts.”

And of course, yanking children out of bed in the middle of the night “without providing enough time to prepare them emotionally or to say goodbye to friends could compound trauma that many are already struggling with.”

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “There must be a good reason why the Trump Administration hasn’t reunited these families and/or developed a halfway decent plan for taking care of these kids.”

Well, the joke is on you — and me and all Americans and every immigrant child in this morass of madness.

Because the truth is that the administration never had a plan for how to deal with this crisis of its own making. Furthermore, the Department of Homeland Security “was not ready to carry out the Trump Administration's family separation policy, and some of the government's practices made the problem worse.”

As such, the White House has basically admitted, “Oh shit, we didn't expect Americans to actually want us to get those kids back to their parents. Our bad.”

Clearly, the president is completely indifferent to the plight of Latinos, immigrants, children, and most especially, Latino immigrant children. This sociopathic blasé attitude toward human suffering is one of the chief characteristics of the Trump Administration. The other is bumbling ineptitude. Put them together, and you have an inevitable dynamo clusterfuck.

In addition, it is only now that the administration is starting to catch on to the fact that destroying families and terrorizing children actually costs money. So the president has “diverted nearly $10 million in funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.” 

As critics (i.e., sane and/or decent human beings) point out, the administration is paying “for this horrific program by taking away from the ability to respond to damage from this year’s upcoming and potentially devastating hurricane season” even as “American citizens in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are still suffering from FEMA’s inadequate recovery efforts.”

In total, the Department of Homeland Security has “transferred $169 million from other agencies to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for the detention and removal of migrants this year.” Documents show that much of the money “was taken from the response and recovery, preparedness and protection and mission support operations budgets, which are used to prepare for emergencies.”

To keep things in perspective, “the Trump Administration would rather separate families and detain and deport parents [than] prepare for hurricanes.”

If one tried, it might be possible to come up with a more costly, delusional, self-destructive, brutalizing system.

But I doubt it.



Recently, my family suffered a devastating, unexpected tragedy.

It is at such times that we are grateful — more than ever — for our loved ones. We are grateful for friends, and we are especially grateful if we are fortunate enough, as I am, to be part of a genuinely close family (apparently, actually liking your family members is often, but not exclusively, a Latino thing).

This site has never been a confessional-type blog, where I express my feelings or reveal my innermost thoughts on personal matters. So I’m not going to start doing that craziness now.

Instead, I will repost, without additional comment, an article I wrote a few years ago about a very special member of my family.

Here it is:

Cousin #1 is the second oldest, after me, and in brief, she is the most popular introvert the world has ever known. Cousin #1 seems to be friends with everyone in our hometown, despite the fact that she would rather chew glass than call attention to herself. How then does she build this social circle?

For starters, she has an absurd amount of faith in the concept of humanity. She makes jaded vatos, stressed single moms, and nonplussed grocery clerks feel like they are the most fascinating people to cross her path in eons. This interest cannot be faked, and indeed, it isn’t.

She came to visit me once when I was living in LA. She took a Greyhound bus in, which anyone can tell you is routinely filled with the most deranged, shrill, deluded, and unstable individuals from the lower forty-eight states who can scrape together enough cash to attempt a new start in Southern California. I told her it wasn’t a good idea to take the bus, but she insisted. When I picked her up in downtown LA (itself a hotbed of shady individuals and wild-eyed schemers), Cousin #1 hopped off the bus with a broad smile, hugged one of her fellow passengers goodbye, and told me that she had “met many friends” on the journey. I thought she was insane for even talking to the assortment of thugs, drunks, and crazies who had hitched a ride with her.

Cousin #1 plays violin, and is by far the most musically talented member of our family. In fact, as a teenager, she performed a concert with our hometown’s symphony orchestra after being identified as one of the city’s promising young musicians. In her adolescence, she could be found intently practicing Mozart, although she was just as likely to be blaring KMFDM and Ministry from her bedroom. 

Cousin #1 was a social worker for years, and she often went door-to-door in poor neighborhoods, checking in on recent immigrants and third-generation welfare moms to see if their children’s basic needs were being met. She put people in touch with the right agencies or translated documents or just listened to them whisper about how America was a much harsher place than they had been led to believe. In one especially tough neighborhood, she was robbed at gunpoint in broad daylight.

She doesn’t eat in Spanish restaurants because of the conquistadors’ cruelty to the El Salvador natives. And it takes little prompting for her to show off the huge Mayan warrior eagle tattooed across her shoulders. It is an inky proclamation of Latina identity and pride that forces those who see the tattoo to consider it a living entity rather than a mere design. 

Because of her chronic compassion, the harshest insult she hurls is “boo-gee,” which sheapplies to items that strike her as inane in their bourgeois popularity. She is often caught between her fierce desire to solve all the world’s problems at once and her drive to accommodate others. 

Cousin #1 is, in many ways then, your typical Hispanic, violin-playing, tattooed social worker who effortlessly makes people happy.



And Then What Happens?

Among the stranger tendencies of progressives are the urge to instill a purity test on their political leaders, and a failure to identify final goals.

For the former, witness the internecine bloodletting that occurred between Hilary supporters and Bernie supporters in the last election. Plenty of progressives vowed never to vote for Clinton because she was, you know, the same as Trump.

I’m pretty sure nobody thinks that anymore.

In contrast, conservatives had no problem biting their tongues and voting for a loathsome maniac who insulted their principles, their preferred candidates, and sometimes, even them personally. They were focused on winning.

Now I’m not saying that Democrats should go to the extreme boot-licking, semi-treasonous lengths that Republicans have. But I am saying that holding a grudge because the presidential candidate isn’t as liberal as you would like is selfish and short-sighted.

Which brings us to the second progressive flaw: the failure to identify final goals.

Again, many conservatives voted for Trump because they knew he would have at least one Supreme Court pick, and probably more. The GOP had its eyes on the prize. And now we have a misogynistic corporate toady and probable attempted rapist headed for a lifetime appointment. 

Yet, liberals are insisting that they can stop the Kavanaugh nomination. They can’t, of course, and even if they can, what happens next?

Does anyone seriously think that Trump will say, “Oh my, that choice offended them. I better pick a nice moderate who respects Roe v. Wade”? No, the guy is going to double down and pick someone just as loathsome and possibly even more reactionary (all part of an effort to stick it to the libs) and continue hammering away until that ninth justice is seated.

Progressives just can’t see the finish line.

Instead, we have focused on stopping Kavanaugh as a final result that, if successful, will result in champagne all around and free puppies for the masses. 

The same mindset infects people who think impeaching Trump is the end of the story. Make no mistake — the president should have been impeached long ago and hopefully will be soon. But it’s distressing to note how many liberals think that impeachment means that we will be rid of Trump.

Way too many people are unaware that impeachment is only the first step of the process. Once the House presents the articles of impeachment, the Senate has to find the president guilty and vote to remove him from office. 

That tiny technicality requires two-thirds of the senators to convict him. This means 67 senatorshave to vote “yes.”

To reach this threshold, Democrats would have to win 18 Senate seats in the mid-terms (they are currently projected to win, maybe, one seat).

Or another way to reach that milestone is if over one-third of Republican Senators agree that removing Trump is in the best interest of the country. Keep in mind that this is the same party that has supported Trump all the way and has been hesitant to even criticize him when he praised Nazis. The Mueller report would have to be one hell of a document to convince almost 20 Senators to yank the president from the White House — an act that, by the way, has never occurred in American history.

So why the hell are many progressives obsessing over impeachment like it’s going to rid of us of this menace? More likely, if Trump is impeached, he will come out of it even angrier and crazier.

Again, where is the end game in that? 

Oh, in the highly unlikely event that Trump doesn’t finish his term, we all get President Pence.

So there’s that.

At some point, progressives are going to have to accept the fact that Trump is most likely going to be around until 2020, and the best we can do unit then is to limit his insanity and shame the GOP enough so that it never — and I mean, never — wins another presidency.

That would at least be a realistic goal.



Just a Small Band of Rabble-rousers

Now that we’ve gone almost a full week without any bizarre allegations or devastating accusations erupting from the White House, we can turn our attention to other illuminating facts about life in Trump’s America.

For example, here’s a fun fact: Did you now that around 11 million white Americans are basically Nazis?

Hmm, I guess that is less a “fun fact” and more of a “holy shit, what the hell is going on” kind of statistic.

But it is, unfortunately, true. A recent study implies that “whether or not they would describe themselves as alt-right,” about 6 percent of white Americans “share the movement’s belief in a politics that promotes white interests above those of other racial groups.”

What this means, statistically, is that if you gather together 100 white Americans, about a half-dozen of them will say, “You know, Hitler had some good ideas.”

Now, for some time now, we’ve been hearing that alt-right goons are a tiny fringe group making a lot of noise. Certainly, there’s mo more than a few thousand zealots out there — right?

Well, no.

Because this study shows that white supremacist ideas “are more popular than it might seem. Large numbers of people think the way that they do, and shape their political identity around a sense of white grievance and identity.”

In case you think the researchers are inflating their numbers, keep in mind that the study took pains to exclude plain old racists and borderline bigots from the final analysis. The study honed in on those who are at the top of the hate pyramid, people who supported the tiki-wielding assholes in Charlottesville last year, even if they never said it out loud.

As the researchers pointed out, such individuals “may not march around the streets yelling, ‘Jews will not replace us!’ but they are extremely receptive to a politics that positions whites as victims and a growing minority population as an existential threat.”

By the way, that figure of 11 million Americans is roughly equivalent to the populations of New York City (8.5 million) and Chicago (2.7 million) combined. It also means there are enough neo-Nazis in this country to fill the entire state of Georgia (the eighth largest state).

And in a truly ironic twist, there are potentially more alt-right supporters in this nation than undocumented immigrants.

Again, the study focused on hardcore white supremacy. So the percentage of white Americans who are at least a little racist is even bigger.

For example, you might be amused to know that almost 40 percent of white Republicans have personally used the n-word in the past five years. Again, that’s not “have you ever used the n-word in your life?” That’s just within the past five years. 

But don't worry, just 27 percento f white Republicans think using the n-word is acceptable… wait, shouldn’t that be 0 percent?

In any case, these findings fit “with a larger body of work finding a sea change” in the Democratic Party’s attitudes toward race “without any corresponding movement on the Republican side. 

Basically, a lot of white Americans — Republicans in particular — truly think there are good people on both sides.



The Options on the Table

Now that Bob Woodward’s career has come full circle — from uncovering the corruption of a bigoted Republican president (Nixon) to uncovering the incompetence of a bigoted Republican president (Trump) — we can focus on where we go from here.

Yes, it’s long been perfectly obvious to every liberal, most moderates, and many conservatives that Trump is a reckless, addled moron who never should be trusted with a houseplant, much less the nation’s nuclear launch codes.

We have books from disgraced reality television stars, smarmy journalists, and Pulitzer Prize winners that all basically say that the United States of America has elected a blithering idiot and hate-filled lunatic as president.

And it is not the looney left that is screeching that Trump is a danger to America. It is the people who are closest to him — who work with him every day — who are verifying his doddering incapacity, chronic dishonesty, and complete inability to handle the job. It is only his most fervent supporters — people who live in a bubble of paranoia and have no idea how the government or the Constitution work — who still think everything is just fine.

The rest of us are trying to figure out who the mysterious New York Times editorialist is, and why he/she thought this article would make us feel better (it sure the hell doesn’t), and why admitting to pulling a presidential coup de têtemakes him/her an “unsung hero.”

By the way, it’s darkly ironic and vaguely hysterical that Trump is correct that a “deep state” is indeed out to thwart his agenda. But it’s not a nest of bureaucrats and sinister liberals. It’s his own people, the ones he appointed. Yes, he created his own deep state and brought it with him to Washington.

And now the calls are coming from inside the house. 

In any case, here is what the Times editorialist should be doing, instead of trying to reassure us that “there are adults in the room” (a pathetically low standard when we’re talking about the Oval Office).

He/she should be going on the record, offering proof of his/her most shocking claims, and resigning from this administration, thereby putting the pressure on the rest of Trump’s enablers to follow suit and for Congress to perform its constitutional duty.

Let’s be blunt. If half of the claims in the Times and Woodward’s book are true, the recourses are impeachment or the 25thAmendment. Removal is the only way out of this mess.

Anything less is a half-ass half-measure that is analogous to letting a crazy man run through your house naked, trashing your possessions, on the condition that he is “contained” to the living room.

As for Trump’s fans, well, they have options as well.

Unless they finally, belatedly withdraw their support, the best that can be said of them is that they are in deep, crippling denial, to the point of delusion.

The other three options are as follows:


They are racists

They are idiots

They are cowards 


The latter category is primarily congressional Republicans. 

The other two categories speak for themselves.