Venting and Other Mixed Metaphors

Every so often I start to feel like a volcano sitting over roiling hot lava that could go off at any moment and vent smoke and ash everywhere until the pressure inside calms. When Trump’s defiance of traditional America norms reaches a peak ‘you can’t touch this’ moment it is difficult to keep my internal pressure gauge from entering the danger zone. But I am not self-destructive. So, instead I sum it up by saying that it is getting to the point where I don’t know what to say anymore, except to beg the universe to please make it stop. Donald Trump, playboy, real estate developer, TV reality show CEO, has turned into an old man I do not recognize as a fellow America. And yet he is our president, the face our nation shows the world.

Of course the difficulty must lie with me and my mind that can not wrap itself around the things this man does. He grew up in the same country as I did, at almost the exact same time that I did but he does not share one idea about how America should work in common with me. How can that be?

I cannot psychologically grasp how his path could take him to where he is now and yet intellectually I do get it. Lots of powerful people surround themselves with sycophants. They get their egos stroked, they have no opposition to their projects, and no one corrects them even if they begin to go off the rails in terms of strict legality.

Compared to Trump I had nothing all my life. He had plenty and he could go back to his father for more anytime. Yet he is so stingy, so small-minded, so locked in his rich white male privilege that he can say things like “America is full”, “we can’t take any more people”. How did a life full of adventures and possibilities make him so limited in his viewpoints?

When he sees people leaving their homes because they are being threatened by thugs and their economy is in freefall due to factors beyond the people’s control, factors like global market changes and climate changes affecting crops, he doesn’t see people in crisis, he sees animals, criminals, undesirables.

Apparently the people who have the most trouble being compassionate are those who have been the most fortunate. They horde their money and grumble that “these people will not get a dime of it”. Of course they don’t only begrudge people from other nations, they do not plan to share a dime with other Americans either. They argue that if you are unsuccessful it is your fault. Perhaps the decisions he makes are made so cynically, out of greed only, that he imagines everyone has similar motives.

He now refuses to signal his underlings that they need to release the Mueller report. I never really thought he would want to see it released. He was unashamedly open about firing an AG and replacing that AG with one who thinks Presidents have absolute powers.

We the people let this happen because we have left the active resistance movement to a handful of passionate people. But it seems all bets are off right now anyway. Petitions, letters, demonstrations, a media message that counters right wing propaganda – none of it seems to make any difference whatsoever. This could be why we are in election mode so early.

While it is true that this special investigator, Mueller, was appointed and tasked by the Justice Department, there were no qualms about using taxpayer dollars to finance the investigation. Our dollars should buy us access to the findings of this investigation. On my Facebook page when my readers respond to my articles they say, “it’s over, give it up”. But I say “not a chance” even though I doubt we will ever see an unredacted copy of this report we paid for.

It is a fairly long tradition to have access to a president’s tax returns. Democrats have the con in the House of Representatives and so they get to ask to see Trump’s tax returns. This should not involve demonizing the Dems and insulting them and making them sound like they are traitors.

Yes political parties have always done some trash-talking but this goes way deeper than that. Demonizing is the correct term and this tactic is only this effective when you have a media outlet that hammers home every pronouncement a president makes all day, every day to an already brainwashed audience of our mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, husbands, aunts and uncles.

People who never before cared two cents about what happens in Israel are now telling me that the Democrats are anti-Semitic. And yet I believe it is still true that most Jewish Americans are Democrats. They got this ridiculous lie straight from Trump. They will fight for him on any ground like a mother fights for her children. They do not see through him. How can they not see through him?

This has gone on for two long years. The details of the chaos change but it all has one thing in common. Either Trump wins or the Constitution and our traditions win; both cannot win with this guy. Dems believe that if at least one party sticks to regular order Trump and the Republicans cannot permanently change the way America is governed. They believe that even though everyone is sounding fairly extreme, somehow the center will hold and perhaps move a bit to the left. Meanwhile the courts are being stuffed with very conservative judges.

Trump is a destroyer. He is a rogue driver of a monster truck. He doesn’t mind physical violence but what he likes best is mental abuse, using the simplest language to inflict the greatest damage. He’s very good at it. He obliterates reason, creates a black hole, and fills it with white supremacy and male toxicity. He embraces those who parrot him and vilifies those who oppose him. Honesty and sincerity are for chumps. He does not admire chumps.

We are damned if we frog march him out of the White House without using Constitutional governance and procedures. We are damned if we leave him in place trouncing our documents and showing us over and over that they have no teeth; that we have handed over too much power to our presidents.

I would love to see the IRS hand over Trump’s taxes. I would celebrate if at least our elected representatives in Congress get to see the unredacted Mueller report. I don’t even know what to wish for at the Southern border but I know it isn’t a wall and it isn’t a big fat zero as the number of asylum seekers allowed to live and work in America. My pressure gauge is likely to continue to get a real workout, but the 2020 election could blow it out altogether. Expect really poisonous rhetoric from Trump and the Republicans and an attempt to hold a democratic election from the Dems.

Photo credit: From a Google Image Search – New York Post



Shine a Light: Is it OK to sign OK

Conspiracy theories and conspiracies come from dark places. Hard to tell if it is best to let them remain in those dark spaces since they seem to keep seeping out into our lives in secret slips or leaks that make them seem tantalizingly real. The human mind loves being privy to gossip, loves to pass on a secret, especially a secret that hides an evil idea behind a veil of exclusivity, a sense of belonging to a private club. However, perhaps it is better to shine a light on the darkest corners of the human soul to make hiding evil impossible.

So I am going to discuss a human activity which looks like it signifies a dark reality. It may be about a private ‘club’ but not one I want to belong to. I am doing this in the interests of shining light on dark spaces. But I am also trying to decide if our President lives in this dark space and likes to signal it surreptitiously to his followers

If you watch Trump speak at a rally you will notice him making a gesture with his thumb and ring finger in a circle, other three fingers upright. We think of this as the sign for OK. That may be true for Trump also. He may just be used to incorporating that OK sign as one of his regular hand gestures. Here is an article with a video of the speech Trump made in March, 2019 at a rally in Michigan. You don’t have to watch the entire thing to see what I am talking about. Make sure to look at around the 41-42 second mark, at 2:51-1, at 3:28, at 4:02-06, at 4:35-36, 4:55-5:00, 5:36-37, 5:50-5:51 and I’m sure it comes up many more time.

It turns out that many sources say this OK signal, once so positive is now used by white supremacists as a sort of secret ‘gang’ sign to show the omnipresence of this group in our culture, especially among Trump supporters. Now Trump is an ‘old school’ kind of guy so his use of this sign or gesture could just be a coincidence. Or perhaps white supremacists noticed that Trump used this gesture a lot and decided to copy it. I have no idea if Trump’s use of this sign signals his America First, white power stance, which he telegraphs but likes to deny, or if it is a gesture so ingrained in his repertoire that he cannot break himself of an old habit that is no longer really culturally appropriate for the President of the United States to use.

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about it:

In 2017, the OK gesture was at the center of an online prank in meme culture related to alt-right and white supremacyoriginating from anonymous message board posts on the website 4chan.[40] The Boston Globe reported that users on 4chan’s “/pol/” (Politically Incorrect) board were instructed in February 2017 to “flood Twitter and other social media websites…claiming that the OK hand sign is a symbol of white supremacy,” as part of a campaign dubbed “Operation O-KKK”.[36] The association of the gesture with white supremacy derived from the assertion that the three upheld fingers resemble a ‘W’ and the circle made with the thumb and forefinger resemble the head of a ‘P’, together standing for “white power”.[41] While some members of the alt-right used the symbol after the launch of the 4chan campaign, it remained ambiguous whether or not it was being used to communicate genuine adherence to white supremacy, or with deliberately ironicmotives.

More sources if you are interested:

Is Trump trolling us, is he bonding with his peeps, or is he just an old guy using a symbol that used to have only one connotation? It’s a mystery as are so many things these days.

Photo Credit: From Google Image Searches, Oxford Brookes University, Emojipedia.jpg

Immigration Policies – Becoming a Police State


Many Americans worry that current immigration policies could turn America into a police state. Everyone always mentions that deportations continued without a break during President Obama’s administration and that is true. Obama abided by the laws that govern the USA. But what is going on in the administration of Trump is different in tone, visibility, invasiveness, and in terms of sheer numbers.

The way Trump deports people cannot help but remind us of similar pogroms in Europe and not just in Germany. There were pogroms in Russia and other nations also. Although the target of these pogroms in those times were Jewish people, the rationalization was that they were somehow inferior because they were not white enough or blond enough; they were not Arians. Sometimes, too, it almost seems that Jewish people were hated because they were successful and overly religious, and this seems like a factor in modern America also.

And although Jewish people are not the target of Trump’s campaigns against “illegal” immigrants, potential immigrants, “chain migration,” and even, as described in a new article out today, legal immigrants who use public benefits, the idea that America needs only immigrants who are whiter, smarter, richer is not that far from the Arian ideal of Adolf Hitler.

This is part of why the Trump take on deportation bothers us. It is against everything we fought for in the second world war. It is against everything America is supposed to stand for (but never actually has). It is blatantly racist because it embraces white supremacy without apology. Trump’s reasoning seems to be that all people of color are inferior to unpigmented people and he asks us to consider the nations they come from, their dysfunction, their poverty, their chaos. He does not take into account that America is responsible for some of that chaos, or that these nations each had thriving cultures at one time. He does not take into account that once people are removed from an environment of deprivation they often become very productive members of their newly adopted countries.

It is clear that Trump believes what he spouts. Look at the way he has embraced Steve Bannon and Steven Miller, two known white supremacists. This campaign represents Trump’s reasoning (if thoughts inspired by fear and a fascist reaction to fear can be called reasoning), concretized before he entered the oval office, about terrorism and his take on the roots of terrorism, and his plan for how to keep America absolutely safe from terrorism. Banning immigrants who do not look European is sort of Trump’s version of child seats, air bags, and seat belts, of the Great Wall of China, and even the Iron Curtain. He is a white supremacist but he is also kind of a chicken, (considering that much American terrorism has been domestic terrorism).

He also is so beloved by his base because he is not agreeing with their ideas on this matter for political reasons. He actually feels the same way his base does. He thinks these immigrants are sucking America dry and costing tax dollars in terms of reliance on public benefits which he begrudges them. A slew of Americans agree with him although the data does not really back them up. They blame immigrants for high “mainstream” American unemployment, for big government, for using tax dollars which are suddenly scarcer than they once were and for destroying the longevity of benefits which are supposed to help “real” Americans. Both Trump and Trumpers like that he will not refrain from using his cudgel mentality to do the deed and that he will not care one bit about the optics.

The dreamers are a special case in this whole deplorable campaign. John Kelly said that many dreamers did not apply for DACA because they were either scared or lazy. Well I go with scared and it looks like we can also go with smart. Dreamers who did sign up handed their personal information including addresses and telephone numbers to the American government because they trusted Obama and they were not looking ahead to who might have the office next. One thing we know for sure about Hillary is that the dreamers would have been safe with her. Now they are not safe and if they stay in school or keep their job the government knows where to find them. They are on a convenient checklist that ICE can use to round them all up. If I were a dreamer I would definitely feel betrayed and frightened, and I would be angry. The Dems are their only hope but right now the Dems don’t have many plays and the ones they do have are not good plays.

What follows is a summary of some of the most visible deportations and some of the tactics ICE and ICE police are using to deport people. Some tactics have been continued from Obama’s administration but have been expanded under Trump. They were questionable when used under Obama and they are still questionable under Trump. Hunting people down, who have taken refuge in America, at places where they are required to be, such as a job, or a courthouse makes us feel that we are living in a police state and is likely to increase sympathy for the plight of these folks. Americans are used to fighting for underdogs, not against them. We worry that what feels like a police state might actually turn into a police state.


A man is detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in Los Angeles on October 14, 2015.   (11/15/17)


n 2016, the Immigrant Defense Project documented 11 arrests or attempted arrests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents around the state. This year the number has spiked by 900%, with most in New York City.



California Labor Commissioner Julie Su says a rise in worker claims of threatened deportation was likely due to employers becoming more empowered to wield ICE as a weapon. (Katie Falkenberg / Los Angeles Times)



ICE raids 7 Elevens

Border Patrol aboard Amtrak trains to ask question about citizenship


When deportation is a death sentence


ICE agents apprehended Jose Mares in California in 2017 before he was deported to Mexico. Mares had entered the U.S. illegally when he was 8 years old.

Erika Pinheiro/Courtesy of Jose Mares

Image processed by CodeCarvings Piczard ### FREE Community Edition ### on 2018-02-06 15:35:47Z | | http://codecarvings.comu¢ Ë2ê¼£


Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents swooped into Central Jersey around 8 a.m. Thursday morning and arrested two Indonesians, Gunawan Liem of Piscataway and Roby Sanger of Metuchen, said Kaper-Dale, who also runs the Deportation and Immigration Response Equipo that tries to intervene in ICE raids.


Raymond Torres is seen in an image posted to a GoFundMe page.


(Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune) Vicky Chavez talks to The Salt Lake Tribune through translators Wednesday at the First Unitarian Church in Salt Lake City, where she and her two daughters seek sanctuary against deportation to her native Honduras.


Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos (left) and her son, Angel Rayos Garcia, and her daughter, Jacqueline Rayos Garcia arrive for a press conference Feb. 9, 2018, at the Kino Border Initiative in Nogales, Sonora. (Photo: Mark Henle/The Republic)


Judges: ICE Can’t Deport 100 Christians to Indonesia (Yet)

Immigrants in New Hampshire and New Jersey ‘fear persecution and torture’ back home.

Deetje Patty lives in New Hampshire, where she and fellow Indonesian Christians moved 20 years ago to flee persecution. (2/6/18)  (2/1/18)


Amer Adi falls to his knees as he reunites with his mother for the first time in 20 years.


“At the same time, I feel so sad of what happened to me. I’m so sorry to tell you what happened is unjust, not right, and everyone back there knows that. What the Trump administration is doing is — you can’t even explain it,” said Adi.

Adi lived in America for nearly 40 years. He has a wife who is a US citizen, and four daughters who are also US citizens. He owns several businesses in his adopted hometown of Youngstown, Ohio. A week ago, he was deported.








Trump and Racism: Guilt by Association?

I would like to think that Donald Trump is a racist and a white supremacist/white nationalist because he has been turned into a pod person á la Invasion of the Body Snatchers (movie) by watching too much Fox News, but after my researches I can see that this that is not the case. All sources seem to agree that Trump’s penchant for making derogatory remarks that arise from the ethnic identities of people (who are classified racially as anything other than white) is a trait that he has displayed quite publicly for decades.

I don’t know why we pussyfoot (do you like the way I worked in the word pussy because Donald Trump is also a misogynist) around labeling Trump as a racist and a white supremacist, but we do. We say that Donald Trump likes to surround himself with alt-right types who are avowed white nationalists which really means white supremacists. But we are loathe to assume that he is one of their company.

White nationalists claim that they do not feel superior to people of color, they simply feel that the United States was founded as a white, Christian nation and they want it to stay that way. White supremacists, of course, do contend that white folks of European descent are superior in every way to all others.

I say that the white nationalists are simply not as honest about their true feelings, but that they truly do believe that whites are superior. They may, however, in their heart of hearts (if they have them) see that white supremacists got a bad name in Nazi Germany and they want to disassociate themselves from the horror people connect with the deeds that white supremacy justified.

Donald, of course, says he does not have a racist bone in his body and I recently remember hearing one of his old acquaintances repeat this claim. It is a specious claim considering that racism is stored in the brain and there are no bones in the brain. And like many things that Mr. Trump says it is a lie, although he has possibly convinced himself through repetition that it is true.

Donald Trump is a 50’s guy who uses inappropriate terms to describe minority people, terms others have discarded because they are offensive. He is proud that he does not bow to the changing norms of what is culturally appropriate and his followers like this about him. But using racist language shows a real lack of respect for the feelings of the people these terms were intended to denigrate. Refusing to adjust his language reflects his refusal to adjust his mindset. Conjugate the verbs; he was a racist, he is a racist, he will be a racist. And he does think white folks are superior.

If my logic is not enough to convince, even though others agree with it, then look at the people he brought into the White House with him. We are not supposed to make someone guilty by association, but I do not know anyone who would be willing to consort with this band of haters. We have Steve Bannon, Steven Miller, Sebastian Gorka and their cohorts outside of the White House, Alex Jones and Richard Spencer, et al.

Steve Bannon

Steve Miller:

Sebastian Gorka

Others that are connected through and the media to Donald Trump:

Michael Flynn

Michael Flynn, Jr.

Alex Jones

Richard Spencer

Milo Yiannopoulos

Things Trump says and does:

Trump on Obama: ‘Why doesn’t he show his birth certificate?’

Trump on Mexican immigrants: ‘Criminals and rapists’

… “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” he said in 2015. “They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”

“And some,” he added, “I assume, are good people.”

Trump on dead Muslim soldier’s mother: ‘Allowed to speak?’

United States Army Captain Humayun Khan was killed in Iraq in 2004. His parents, Americans with Pakistani roots, spoke at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, criticizing Trump’s candidacy and its inherent racism. The father, Khizr Khan, spoke; his wife, Ghazala, stood by him.

Trump’s interpretation of the scene: “If you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say. She probably – maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say.”

Trump on right-wing extremism: ‘Racism is evil,’ or is it?

Trump was at first quiet following last weekend’s violence between left and right-wing protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia. Then the president blamed “violence on both sides,” without explicitly calling out neo-Nazis and other racists. Following fierce criticism at home and abroad, Trump finally made a clear statement: “Racism is evil, and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs.”

However, at a press conference just a few days later, Trump changed course: “You had a group on one side that was bad, and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent,” he said.

Trump’s critics charge that he has not done enough to credibly distance himself from white-supremacist and other right-wing movements. His aide, Steve Bannon, was editor-in-chief of Breitbart News, a mouthpiece of the far-right movement known as alt-right.

Many right-wing activists and groups feel emboldened by Trump’s comments. Critics say he does not do enough to distance himself from white supremacist groups like the Ku Klux Klan or the alt-right movement.


We certainly have had racists in our government before, and even white supremacists who did not perhaps use that label but clearly expressed such views. We have never elected a blatantly racist/white nationalist/white supremacist as our President before, however.

Perhaps this is a backlash-President elected by people who were stunned by having a black man in the oval office as our President. Perhaps it is a reaction to the oft-repeated message that white people will soon make up a minority of the American population.

The roots of racism have always been deep in this nation and hard to extract. We have watched for a recovery from our Civil War which has never really happened. The murmurings sometimes become shouts as they seem to be now during the Trump administration. Perhaps this is because we see an unholy alliance between those who still fight the Civil War and those who resent seeing immigrants of color and immigrants from non-Christian nations, especially those here without proper documents, seemingly “changing the face” of our (supposed) (white) American “exceptualism.”

We need to remember that whenever Trump makes a decision or backs a policy this supremacist strain comes into play, consciously or unconsciously, and he may even have consulted some of these alt-right (racist) cronies to help him set his priorities.

We can see this in his travel ban, his deportation plans, his waffling over DACA, the importance he places on the wall, his reluctance to stick to agreements with non-European nations or contribute to programs that assist non-European nations (with the exception of Israel and, in fact, many Israelis have European roots).

We see this in his unwillingness to give credence to the violent acts, intimidations, and acts of hate that are in the DNA of groups like the KKK that join forces with the newer white supremacy groups; and in his failure to see the difference between Antifa and these alt-right groups.

There is nothing in our Constitution that prevents a racist from holding office, even the office of Presidency. In fact many will argue that since some of the authors of the Constitution and the early leaders in our government owned slaves that this President fits right in with our origins. Public cultural values have evolved since the days of our forefathers and racism is considered ignorant and wrong because our thinking has progressed.

And yet here we are with a racist President who would be happy to have all his jackbooted friends resting with their dogs and guns, feet on the fender of the fireplace, which we can easily picture taking up space in the oval office. And this President refuses to admit that this harmful aberration is a real part of his nature at all.

Do we remain constantly vigilant and resist, even while it all seems so distant and harmless, or do we let the worst be done and then try to clean it up afterwards? I know history swings around, that it is perhaps more like a spiral than a straight line, but knowing what we know now how can we not call out this racism each time it rears its ugly head. How do we accept any future that is not globalist in scope and inclusive of all living things on the planet? This is another one of the facets of Trump that causes us to worry and keeps us feeling that we must be always ready to resist.

Ta-NeHisi Coates

We Were Eight Years in Power

“It is not so much that I logically reasoned out that Obama’s election

would author a post-racist age. But it now seemed possible

that white supremacy, the scourge of American history, might be banished in my lifetime.”