CVIndependent

Mon11182019

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

On this week's tumultously transitional weekly Independent comics page: Red Meat enjoys the holiday; Jen Sorenson examines unhelpful post-election declarations; The K Chronicles ponders what's next for the National Rifle Association; and This Modern World heads over a cliff.

Published in Comics

Whether your candidate for president won or lost, the good news is that the election is over.

Pundits will dig into every nuance of why someone lost or how someone won, but none of that will change where we are now. The system is what it is, and it works how it works. As important as it is to be a “good loser,” it’s even more of a show of character to be a “good winner.”

I tend to be a Pollyanna, someone of irrepressible optimism who thinks good things will always happen in the end. My philosophy includes taking every defeat—losing a job, losing a love or anything else—and figuring out what I need to learn so I won’t repeat it; each learning opportunity is meant to get me ready for an even better experience to come.

Yet I can be blindsided and feel like I took a stiff punch to the gut. That’s how I woke up the morning after the election: stunned, numb and overwhelmingly sad. I admit I cried myself to sleep, exhausted by my profound disappointment that a woman would not be president. At least not yet.

Elizabeth Kübler-Ross defined what are known as the five stages of grief: denial (“This can’t be happening!); anger (“Let’s take to the streets!”); bargaining (”Maybe we can get some things done that will be productive.”); depression (“I just don’t care. I’m done getting involved.”); and, finally, acceptance (“We can make it through this. It’s going to turn out all right.”).

While consoling friends devastated by the election who thought all hope was gone and trying to get them to the fifth stage, I began hearing how some people on the winning side were responding to the election: painting hateful racist and anti-Semitic sentiments on buildings, pulling off women’s hijabs on the street, and telling Hispanic-American students that they should leave the country—their country. I was devastated by a 10-year-old Muslim-American boy who just wanted to know, “Why do they hate me?”

All of this hit frighteningly close to home when a dear friend, Ellie, a Hillary supporter, called to say her home in the San Diego area had been defaced, with the word “ASSHOLE” scratched into her garage door.

“I had no campaign signs, and I don’t even remember talking politics with any of my neighbors,” she told me. “I have no idea who did it. I’m scared.”

The Southern Policy Law Center, which tracks hate crimes, received more than 200 complaints within the week after the election. Time magazine reported that anti-Muslim incidents were more prevalent than after Sept. 11, 2001.

Many people watching demonstrators on TV—including the hundreds who showed up in Palm Springs—or hearing about incidents of hatred and violence may feel helpless. Regardless of who they supported, they want to find a way to reassure fellow citizens that they need not be afraid. But they’re not sure what to do.

Some will begin to politically organize for the next go-round; some will write letters or op-ed columns; some will volunteer to support special-interest organizations; some will find other ways to channel their disappointment into having some positive impact.

I discovered the safety-pin campaign.

After the shocking Brexit vote in Great Britain to leave the European Union—a vote which followed a campaign with racist and anti-immigrant undertones not unlike those during the U.S. presidential-election campaign—similar acts of overt discrimination were reported throughout the British isles. Regardless of how individuals had voted—for Brexit or against—many wanted some way to show their vote was not meant as being against any group of people.

Last June, individuals in Britain came up with the idea of wearing a safety pin as a way for people to quietly and unobtrusively signal that they were a “safe ally”—someone OK to sit next to on the bus, or to ask directions, or to make eye contact with on the street.

Not everyone is an activist, or able to speak publicly, or able to take time off from work, child-rearing or caretaking—and wearing a safety pin is a small way to say “I care.” It’s a way to show you believe we are all entitled to respect, regardless of our political differences. It’s a way of saying, “Hatred and violence is NOT what I voted for.”

In the Colorado Springs Gazette, a woman named Jacquie Ostrom said: “I’m wearing (a safety pin) because I believe in acceptance of all people—all colors, all faiths, all sexual orientation. It’s important … to know that we stand together.”

If wearing a safety pin is still too much of a public statement, there are other ways to get to that fifth stage. My niece, Karen, has connected to a group on Facebook that started with the idea, “What if I committed to one act of justice every day?” This approach is dedicated to making the world a better place one day at a time, and encourages peaceful acts meant to show respect for differences among us.

“I’m committing to do something positive and good for someone else every day,” said Karen. “And I’m committing to educate myself and others so I can better understand issues next time around.”  

Another—somewhat more ironic—approach is to make a donation to an organization that will probably face challenges during the next administration, but doing it in the name of someone else. For example, imagine how your Uncle Joe, a staunch Trump supporter, may feel when he gets a “Thank you!” from the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, or the Southern Poverty Law Center, or Planned Parenthood.

I’ve often said that in evolutionary terms, we’re barely out of the slime as a species. As each new generation takes over, we move ever-so-slowly but inexorably forward. I continue to believe it’s going to be all right. But then, I’m a Pollyanna.

I’m wearing a safety pin.

Anita Rufus is also known as “The Lovable Liberal,” and her radio show airs Sundays at noon on KNews Radio 94.3 FM. Email her This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Know Your Neighbors appears every other Wednesday.

Published in Know Your Neighbors

On the day after Election Day, the biggest newspaper in the oil and gas patch in northwestern New Mexico ran a story headlined: “Trump win has energy industry leaders hopeful.”

Most of the local industry folks quoted by the Farmington Daily Times said that President-elect Donald Trump would relax regulations on drilling on public land. Meanwhile, over on Facebook, energy workers were ecstatic, convinced that a President Trump would put them back to work almost immediately.

They should know better.

The San Juan Basin’s energy-reliant communities have been hit especially hard in recent years. The first blow came in 2008, after horizontal drilling and multi-stage hydraulic fracturing opened up huge shale formations in the East.

Shortly thereafter, oil prices skyrocketed to as high as $150 per barrel, prompting drill rigs to pop up again all over North Dakota’s Bakken formation and, a little later, in the San Juan Basin’s Gallup shale. The fossil fuel mojo was back … until it wasn’t. As global supply increased faster than demand, prices started dropping, and OPEC declined to cut production. In 2014, prices crashed, and the oil boom was busted.

It’s a simple equation: When demand outpaces supply, prices increase. When prices get high enough to make drilling profitable, companies invest in development and put people to work. When all that drilling increases supply, prices crash, as do the drill rigs. Today, oil prices are stubbornly stuck below $50 per barrel.

Just one rig is working in the San Juan Basin, and the vast equipment yards in Farmington and Aztec, N.M., are crammed full of idle rigs. Thousands of workers have lost their jobs.

President-elect Trump promised to “lift restrictions on … energy reserves” and to dismantle environmental regulations. But will the drill rigs go back up as a result? No. Will laid-off energy workers get their jobs back? No. Regulations have nothing to do with this bust. Commodity booms and busts are driven by supply and demand, not regulations.

The only way to kick-start the faltering industry would be to increase oil and natural gas prices. And the only way to do that is to curtail supply or increase demand—no easy task with a global commodity.

Natural gas supply and demand, and therefore prices, would be somewhat easier to manipulate, since the commodity is regional, not global, meaning we export and import very little of the stuff. A president could boost demand by subsidizing a nationwide fleet of natural gas-burning long-haul trucks, which might make gas drillers happy, but not the oil drillers (since it would displace gasoline-burning trucks). He could ram through liquefied natural gas export-terminal permits, opening up foreign markets to domestic natural gas. If foreign demand was high enough, that might do the trick, but Trump’s promise to kill the Trans-Pacific Partnership would damage, not help, efforts to sell natural gas overseas.

A president could regulate power plant emissions in such a way that encourages utilities to replace coal with natural gas in the electricity generation mix. Oh, wait, that one’s already in the works. It’s called the Clean Power Plan, which Trump has pledged to repeal.

The San Juan Basin is also coal country, so at least the workers at the mines and two massive power plants will get to go back to work, right? Wrong. Coal-burning units at both plants have been shut down. The curtailments came from settlements with the Environmental Protection Agency over Clean Air Act violations, and because California didn’t want to buy coal power anymore. Killing the Clean Power Plan—even eliminating the EPA—won’t restore these plants to their former smog-spewing, coal-burning glory.

While the environment and the people who live near the rigs are getting a break during this bust, the economic pain in the oil patch these days is real, and deep. Individuals who just a few years ago were raking in $80,000 or more per year are struggling to hang on. City, county and state governments have watched revenues plummet. It’s the sort of malaise that breeds resentment and that spurs people to vote for the likes of Trump.

It is maddening and tragic to see these people put so much hope in one person, particularly when that person is clearly so unequipped to deliver on his promises, and so likely, in the long run, to make their lives more miserable by removing what few social safety nets exist.

What will they do after Trump has finished rolling back all the regulations, dismantling the rules that keep us safe and our environment healthy—and they still don’t have a job? Who will they blame then?

Jonathan Thompson is a contributing editor at High Country News, where this piece first appeared.

Published in Community Voices

Dear Mexican: Math problem—If there are 20 Mexicans, 20 Indians, 20 Chinese, 20 Puerto Ricans, 20 blacks and one white person in a room, how many people are there whose identity is used as a benchmark to establish the identities of the rest of the people in the room? (Hint: Not a colored person.)

Swimming Upstream

Dear Gabacho: The 20 Mexicans—because everyone else will do everything possible to let the world know they’re not Mexican once the deportation train comes along.

OPEN LETTER TO MEXICANS AFRAID OF PRESIDENT-ELECT TRUMP

Gentle cabrones: fear not. Our raza has gone up against Cortés, Maximilian, Winfield Scott, Porfirio Diaz, the PRI, the narcos, Enrique Peña Nieto, Harrison Gray Otis and Harry Chandler (the founder of the Los Angeles Times and his son-in-law, who owned hundreds of thousands of acres in Mexico and published all sorts of calumny against Pancho Villa, Francisco Madero, and Emiliano Zapata), Maná, the PAN, Joe Arpaio, Pete Wilson, the Salinas de Gortarís, Tlatelolco, the Pastry War, Santa Anna, Victoriano Huerta, Henry Lane Wilson, Álvaro Obregon, Plutarco Elías Calles, NAFTA, Maseca, Rick Bayless, the 1994 devaluation of the peso, the 1985 Mexico City earthquake, Arjen Robben, 7-0 versus Chile in the Copa Ámerica, Landon Donovan, Dos a Cero, Barbara Coe, Hollywood, the Texians, Taco Bell, the pinche rinches, border walls, la migra, the Zimmerman affair, femicide in Juarez, genocide against our indigenous ancestors, the pillaging of our natural resources by the Spanish, gachupines, gringos, Yanquis, Carlos Slim, Jorge Hank Rhon, the Creel-Terrazas family, José Jiménez, the Frito Bandito, “We don’t need no steenkin’ badges,” “Go back to Mexico!,” “beaner,” “wetback,” “illegal alien savage,” “invader,” los científicos, ICE, the health inspector, soyrizo, ¡Ask a Mexican!, Linda Chavez, Ruben Navarrette, Fox News, Lou Dobbs, cholos, Ask a Chola, the Mexican Mafia, vendidos, Tío Tacos, SB 1070, Proposition 187, the Sensenbrenner bill, the fall of Tenochtitlán, that Time magazine cover about “Saving Mexico,” Ben Affleck playing a Chicano in Argo, Matt Damon playing a half-Mexican in The Good Shepherd, Operation Wetback, the Great Arizona Orphan Abduction, Jan Brewer, the Zoot Suit Riots, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the Gadsden Purchase, James K. Polk, John C. Frémont, school segregation, housing covenant, lynch mobs, Pikers, Ann Coulter, The Children of Sanchez, Robbery Under Law, the gentrification of mezcal, the Columbusing of elote, Katt Williams, Adam Carolla, the Republicans, the Democrats, capitalism, colonialism, imperialism, “Come a Little Bit Closer,” John Wayne, the Dirty Sanchez, Vicente Fox, Felipe Calderón, Paul Rodriguez, the Hispanic 100, tortillas and tamales in a can, Drinko por Cinco, Televisa, Univisón, Jacobo Zabludovsky, #tacotrucksoneverycorner and that one girlfriend who broke up with you because her parents thought you were a gang member even though you were a graduate student at UCLA and working a full-time job while their itinerant daughter was mooching off Mommy and Daddy, and many, many other pendejos—and we have not only survived, but thrived.

Are we a bunch of whiny Trumpbros, or are we Mexicans? Pónganse las pilas, y a trabajar, banda.

Oh, and #fucktrump.

Ask the Mexican at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; be his fan on Facebook; follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano; or follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano!

Published in Ask a Mexican

When it started to sink in late Tuesday night that Donald Trump—racist, misogynist, media-basher—was going to clinch enough Electoral College votes to become the next president of the United States, editors and art directors at many of the Independent's alternative-weekly brethren started thinking: How in the hell are we going to properly convey what has just happened?!

Below is a sampling of the amazing work they came up with.

Published in Editor's Note

On this week's weekly Independent comics page: This Modern World reflects on the election; Jen Sorenson looks at real vs. fake during the election; The K Chronicles examines at the point of no return for the sharing economy; and Red Meat discusses a true blood bath.

Published in Comics

Dear Mexican: I found your column about Mexican men and spousal abuse, and my question is: Is there any help for this?

I’ve been with a Mexican man, who is also an abuser of alcohol. He gets angry out of the blue and starts hitting me, and later realizes what he has done and cries. I had to leave him for my protection, but the feelings between us remain, and I don't know what to do with the situation.

Can you provide any comments or help?

Abusada

Dear Abused: Get out of that relationship—now. But before you leave, coat that pendejo’s toilet paper with habanero powder, so he gets the burn in the culo he deserves.

Dear Mexican: How do Mexicans feel about environmental issues—specifically, a population explosion that will cause eventual food shortages?

I am told that procreation is a very macho thing for the Mexican male. You have even mentioned in the past that men do not perform oral sex on women because it’s not important when having children. How does that way of thinking weigh in with regard to the future of the planet?

El Blanco Pedro

Dear Pedro Gabacho: Malthus called—he wants his crackpot theory back. Besides, the gabacho love of suburbia has probven far more toxic to the environment than any 12-child Mexican mom ever did, so vete a la chingada con your faux environmental concerns.

OPEN LETTER TO OUR NEW PRESIDENT

Gentle cabrones: as I write this, the Mexican still doesn’t have a feel for whether Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump (or neither?) will be the next president of the United States. (The Mexican has to file his columna a week early.) In the interest of not looking more pendejo than usual, I will write three open letters to ensure I get the results right. Enjoy!

TO PRESIDENT HILLARY CLINTON

Congrats on beating that pendejo Trump—you’re now the greatest female savior of Mexicans since the original Santa Sabina, the legendary curandera for which the goth-Mex band was named.

But that’s not enough. Do not inherit the title of Deporter-in-Chief from Obama. Realize that the only reason you won is because raza overwhelmingly voted for you—and we want results besides appointments of token vendidos (although please do give a cool gig to Congressman Xavier Becerra, a truly down Chicano). Don’t pay attention to all the Know Nothings who insist on enforcement before amnesty. There are millions of Mexicans who have lived their entire lives in limbo, and it’s your job to save them. And if you do that? We’ll create a new altar to you at Tepeyac.

TO PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP

Congrats on beating that pendeja Killary—you’re now the greatest unifier of Mexicans since Porfirio Diaz. Don’t even try to deport 12 million people, or build that nasty, small-handed wall. Back in the day, raza mostly stood meekly by as presidents from Hoover to Roosevelt to Eisenhower to Obama enacted mass deportations—but those were honorable men. You’re not. We will protest; we will resist; we will struggle; we will take over elected offices the way Irish took over Boston. You hear me, President Pendejo? We ain’t no sleeping giant—we woke, and we’re ready to make your one term more pitiful than Enrique Peña Nieto.

Oh, and #fucktrump.

TO NO RESULTS YET

No mames, America.

Ask the Mexican at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; be his fan on Facebook; follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano; or follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano!

Published in Ask a Mexican

On this newly-released-by-the-FBI weekly Independent comics page: Jen Sorenson wishes the media covered climate change like it covers Hillary's emails; The K Chronicles enjoys residing in a swing state; This Modern World looks at the thing that ate America's brain; and Red Meat shares a tender childhood memory.

Published in Comics

Dear Mexican: Why is it that even though we Latinos have similar backgrounds (Indian-Spanish) across America, there is a lack of unity among us here in the USA? We could be a powerhouse during election times, and definitely obtain a friendlier immigration deal.

El Peruano

Dear Cholo: I usually only answer preguntas about Mexicans, but I’ll make an exception here because of Election Day. And it hierve down to this: Who wants to be united? Latinos certainly don’t. In the Latino world, only Cuba is a country with the same political thought throughout—and look how good it’s working out for them.

Although the Mexican’s politics are Marxist of the Grouch variety, I’m also of the escuela that we need Latino conservatives, anarchists, vendidos, progressives, libertarians, Zapatistas, sinarquistas (ok, maybe not them)—all political thoughts. Such diversity keeps us in balance, teaches us about democracy, and will make us stronger as gabachos continue to align themselves into puritanical camps of caca. Let us squabble away—oh, and #fucktrump.

Dear Mexican: In America, the candidates for president spend millions of dollars in other peoples’ money for a job that could never pay that money back. Is it the same for Mexican candidates, or does it even matter, since those fucking Mexicans can never get the elections right anyway?

Conservative, but #fucktrump

Dear Gabacho: For most of the 20th century, Mexican presidents came from the PRI, and their method of picking a new leader was simple: el dedazo. The finger—not flipping the pájaro, but a symbolic pointing of the finger toward someone.

Yeah, that’s totally corrupt—but at least we don’t spend billions of dollars like fucking gabachos who can never get their elections right anyway, you know? Oh, and #fucktrump.

GET OUT EL VOTO!

Gentle cabrones, the Mexican doesn’t endorse candidates not named Alfred E. Neuman (source of the greatest quote EVER: “English is a language in which double negatives are a no-no!”), but I can tell you who NOT to vote for: Donald Trump, and anyone supporting the pendejo.

He represents the greatest threat to raza since NAFTA, an agreement he claims to hate, but he only says that to gain gabachos’ votes to toss Mexicans across the Rio Grande with a deportation cannon. Hillary Clinton is nowhere near the perfect candidate, and the Mexican won’t be voting for her because she’s the beneficiary of the Democratic Party’s own dedazo system—but even a candidate as terrible as her is un chingo better than Trump. If you vote for her, no hate on my part—just tell her to hold her tacos right.

More importantly, vote in your local elections, and RESEARCH. Don’t just vote for the people with the paisa name—sometimes, our own people are worse to Mexicans than any Trumpbot. And if you can’t vote because you’re undocumented? Volunteer for those politicos who are striving for amnesty and who oppose walls.

May you celebrate Election Day with one giant fiesta instead of tragos amargos. Oh, and #fucktrump.

Ask the Mexican at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; be his fan on Facebook; follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano; or follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano!

Published in Ask a Mexican

On this week's electorally divided weekly Independent comics page: Jen Sorenson analyses the presidential debate analyses; The K Chronicles appreciates a subtle costume at a comics convention; This Modern World exposes the truth behind Donald Trump's hair; and Red Meat refuses to get rid of the meat.

Published in Comics