All posts by Michael Valencia

The Trump Administration’s Reaction To The Las Vegas Shooting Vs. The New York City Truck Attack

The Trump administration had markedly different reactions to the Las Vegas Route 91/Harvest Festival shooting and yesterday’s truck attack in New York City.

After Las Vegas, it wasn’t the time to discuss gun control policy. But after yesterday’s attack, apparently it’s the perfect time to discuss immigration policy, as well as attack Senator Chuck Schumer.

Here are segments from the White House press briefing, the day after each event.

What could be the difference? Hmmm…

Trump’s Gestapo Immigration Force

Photo courtesy of family.

Let’s not kid ourselves. The detention and possible deportation of 10-year-old Rosamaria Hernandez is not just an accident or oversight on the part of immigration agents.

It is intentionally done to instill fear and apprehension into the undocumented community.  Which can have deadly consequences, if people are so afraid of being apprehended by immigration agents that they avoid seeking medical treatment.

It is a disgrace that this is what America has become.  If anti-immigrant people saw this child as a person and not a dehumanized number or statistic, they might have a harder time justifying this despicable action on the part of our government.

Cher Insults Trump (Sort Of.)

Cher’s (as Alexandra Medford) insult monologue seems to fit Trump like a glove.

Obama Vs. Trump Regarding NFL Player Protests

At one time, a mere 10 months ago or so, America had an intelligent, articulate, thoughtful and decent man in the White House.

Now we have a white supremacist buffoon.  Lord, what have we done?  When you contrast the viewpoints of Barack Obama and Donald Trump regarding Colin Kaepernick and other NFL players’ refusal to stand for the national anthem as a protest against police brutality, the reality hits home like a brick.

 

 

 

 

If You’re Latino And Still Support Trump…What The Fuck Is Wrong With You?

Trump’s recent pardon of racist asshole Joe Arpaio crossed a line for me, in terms of how I look at the fact that there are Latinos who inexplicably continue to support him.  Up to this point, Trump’s racism, xenophobia and general-assholery has been obvious to anyone without blinders on, but I could always see how self-hating, ignorant Latinos could find a way to look around all of that and think “Trump’s my guy.”

When I think of what goes through the mind of Latinos who are pro-Trump, I think about, of course, the familiar escape mechanisms.  When Trump called Mexican immigrants “rapists,” he was talking about illegals, don’t you know?  If you’re an American citizen, he’s not targeting you.  When he degrades disabled people, women or Muslims – well, if you’re not one of those people, and completely lack empathy and decency, I can see how you wouldn’t care.  I can understand how some conservative Latinos might think that when Trump says “Make America Great Again,” he’s talking about an America that fully includes them.  Which isn’t true, but I get how a person can be deluded into thinking so.

But, unless a person is completely ignorant of what exactly landed former Sheriff Joe Arpaio in violation of the law, I don’t understand how certain Latinos can not only silently accept the brazen racism-acceptance of Trump’s pardon, let alone continue to wear their dumbass MAGA hats and vocally support it.

The list of egregious human rights violations and affronts to decency that Arpaio committed is a long one, but for most of them, if you weren’t an inmate in one of his jails or an illegal immigrant, I can see how you might not particularly care.  After all, Arpaio was only being a monumental dick to incarcerated criminals or people who weren’t American citizens, right?  I guess in some people’s fucked up mindsets, those people deserve to be treated as shittily as possible, so who cares?

But Arpaio was also guilty of targeting and detaining people who were merely “suspected” of being in the country illegally.  If you’re Latino, THAT POTENTIALLY MEANS YOU, ASSHOLE.  I suppose if you have features that allow you to pass for a Caucasian, which many Latinos do, you might not think it’s you.  But ultimately – yes, it still is.  Because as much as you might not want to think so – at the end of the day, after all of the darker people have been harassed – they will come for you next, once they realize that you are of Latin heritage.  You will never, ever fully “fit in” with the racist, conservative white people you want so badly to be.  As much as you might hope, you’re not one of them.  You are only fooling yourself into thinking so.

Of course, you could simply be a glutton for punishment, and actually enjoy being treated like a second-class citizen.  In which case, hey good luck.  But if not, ask yourself, what the hell happened to you in the course of your life, that made you such a self-hating sellout who wants so badly to be accepted, that you would continue to support racist assholes like Trump and Arpaio?  One thing that the age of Trump has really exposed is the degree to which people can delude themselves – into thinking they aren’t racist, for example.  But it also includes people who fool themselves into thinking that Trump really gives half a shit about them, which couldn’t be further from the truth.  This is no better exemplified than by Latinos who think Trump and his supporters view them as equals.

 

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Yes, Anyone Can Be Racist. But It’s More Damaging When White People Do It.

The terror attack in Charlottesville last Saturday, in which Heather Heyer was killed while protesting against racism, and Trump’s subsequent blaming of “many sides” and apparent sympathizing with white supremacists, has spurred a spirited back-and-forth about the topic of racism in America.  And, you know what that means.  Lotta bullshit making the rounds on social media.

One thing I see being said whenever a topic like this is brought up, often by racism deniers, is that there are racists in minority groups as well as among white people.  The point being that it sort of “cancels out” the racism of Neo-Nazis and other assorted tiki-torch wielding assholes, since minorities can hate too.  As a rebuttal to that flawed argument (which I will get to in a moment,) there are also some people who say things like “black people can’t be racist.”  Which, while I understand what they mean when those people say that, I disagree with.  At least in a literal sense of the word, in a hypothetical, neutral universe (and not the current American reality in which we live.)

The sad truth about racism is that yes, anyone can be racist.  Anyone can be a bigot.  Anyone can view and treat others differently (often worse) based on their skin color.  As a Latino, some of the most racist stuff I have heard has been said by Latinos about other races, including about other Latinos.  I remember when I worked as a waiter, talking to one of my co-workers and hearing her refer to “wetties,” and thinking that it was kind of weird to hear a Latino disparaging other Latinos in such a manner.  That kind of self-hate helps to explain the fact that there are some minorities who embrace and defend racists like Trump.  That fact is often pointed to by Trump apologists as a means of demonstrating “see, he’s not racist, minorities like him too.”  But that’s bullshit too.

However, while everybody can be racist, it carries much more weight when white people do it.  And that is due to the fact that our society is still dominated by a white patriarchy.  We often have the illusion of diversity, on television and in the corporate world, but at the core, America has a long way to go when it comes to different races being represented equally and having comparable influence.  For example, you can look at professional sports.  The NFL and NBA in particular are dominated by players of color.  But the situation is much different when it comes to the makeup of the mega-wealthy owners.  Same with corporate America.  Yes, the workforce might be made up of seemingly diverse assortment of races, religions, genders and sexual orientations.  But take a look at the profile of the upper levels of management and CEO’s.  Different story there.  Progress is being made, but we’re not there yet.

When white people are racist, it potentially resonates with a far greater number of people, including people in power or of influence, who can set policy that affects millions of lives.  Keep in mind, this is not simply a “white people thing” in the abstract sense.  It’s simply because numerically, America is still dominated by whites.  When black people or other minorities are racist towards white people, it might be repugnant and offensive, but the difference is, they’re “punching up,” not down.  And that’s the key distinction.  The ironic thing is, white supremacists like the ones in Charlottesville often indirectly make this argument.  Because one of their fears and grievances is that they’re becoming outnumbered.  As if that’s somehow a bad thing (it is.)  The truth is, they know that they are privileged and they’re pissed off because they see minorities making gains, and see it as a threat to their dominance.

Racism is an ugly thing, and people often don’t like to talk about it.  But I think it’s critical that we not only talk about it, but do so with honesty and without fear of saying stuff that makes people uncomfortable.  So yes, in the abstract, anyone can be racist.  But in the actual American society we live in, not all racism is of equal weight.  Far from it, in fact.

 

Photo credit:  Pixabay.com/OpenClipart-Vectors

 

The Two Faces Of Anthony Scaramucci

The new White House Communications Director, Anthony Scaramucci, is full of shit.

However, I’m sure being a lying, unprincipled and no-integrity-having slimeball will make him a perfect fit for the Trump administration.

 

 

Compilation Of Trump Encouraging Violence, Along With The White House Lying About Him Encouraging Violence

One of the things that really chaps my hide is how brazen the Trump White House has been with their lying straight to the face of the American people.  The administration has absolutely no credibility on anything at this point.  And what’s more disturbing is the sheer number of Trump cultists that are willing to go along with the lies with nary a second thought.

It struck me a few weeks ago when White House liar Sarah Huckabee-Sanders claimed that Trump had never encouraged violence.  My bullshit meters went off the charts, so I decided to compile times when Trump has blatantly promoted and encouraged violence, either against protesters or his 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton, along with the White House press conference in which it is emphatically denied.  Enjoy.

Race And Racism Influence Our Reaction To Gun Violence

So I was thinking about the recent shooting of Congressman Steve Scalise and the reaction from the media thus far, and I gotta say – it’s time for some race-baiting.

A country can reveal it’s racism and racial bias in many ways.  Not just in the obvious ways, such as the existence or prevalence of neo-Nazis or Klansmen, etc.  But also in the collective reaction of its media and the talking points that are generated after a violent incident, depending on the race of the shooter.

I have noticed a stark contrast in the conversation which happens, depending on whether the shooter is white or black, Latino or Muslim.  In general, if the perpetrator of a violent crime is a minority, the perceived threat that they and their actions pose become something external, to be kept at bay or controlled with more policing or security measures.  If he’s a Muslim, it’s terrorism – and it brings up the issue of immigrant vetting, not to mention discussion (criticism) of Islam.  If he’s a black person, the issue which makes the media rounds, in particular on state media like Fox News, becomes about “broken homes” and “thugs.”  A Mexican guy would bring up a similar conversation about immigrants and gangs.

Which brings me to the Scalise shooter, a white man named James Hodgkinson.  The discussion thus far, and the issue of what to blame for the violence, has been concerning “political rhetoric,” as well as possible mental illness.  Conservative outlets like Fox have even had the nerve to try to blame “the political Left,” but other mainstream media sources have also raised the question – is our lack of civil discourse to blame?  Is the issue one of the mentally ill having access to firearms?  Are prescription medications making us crazy?  The problem becomes one that reflects an internal societal dysfunction, rather than an externalized threat.  The blame shifts from the shooter himself to a more generalized “have we become too hostile” or “is something making us violent” scenario.

It brings to mind the differences in approach between drug epidemics, depending on the communities that are affected.  The recent problems with opiate addiction and overdose deaths from prescription painkillers are viewed and talked about in terms of a health “crisis.”  Which is not to say that it isn’t.  But look at the difference between that and the way the crack epidemic of the 80’s and 90’s and other drug problems that plague inner cities (black people) are talked about and handled.  In the case of opiates, the issue is seen as one of public health, whereas with the latter, it is a dangerous scourge, and for years has been dealt with by harsh criminal penalties.

One of the problems with talking about race and racism is that far too often, the very idea of it becomes a sort of taboo that is linked with overt and obvious perpetrators.  Nobody wants to be considered racist, and what frequently comes to mind when racism is mentioned are extreme examples, such as the aforementioned Neo-Nazis or white supremacists.  What we often forget is that racism and racial bias can be more subtle and nuanced, and reflected in not only the beliefs and words of racist people themselves, but also in our general, more indirect characterizations of people’s words and actions and how they fit into our view of the way society should function.  Any honest discussion or race should include the latter.  We shouldn’t be afraid to talk about this issue, and we need to be aware of how media can and often does shape our thinking and perceptions.

Photo credit:  Pixabay.com/IIIBlackhartIII