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Dear Mexican: Tell me one thing Mexico is good for.

MAGA Man

Dear Gabacho: Paying more taxes than Donald Trump. Read on …

Dear Mexican: The other weekend, I met a Mexican girl at bar. Hoping to score some points, I pretended that I, too, was Mexican. Between my nondescript ethnicity (Eastern European and Vietnamese … chabacho, perhaps?), my command of Spanish, and some carefully timed quotes from Blood In, Blood Out, I managed to pull it off … con mucho éxito.

It got me thinking: Do Mexicans ever pretend to be other ethnicities? Do light-skinned jaliscienses ever go undercover as gabachos? Do Mexicans sometimes set aside their orgullo to go the Lou Diamond Phillips route? I’m dying to know.

Carlos Chan

Dear Chinito: All the time! When Mexicans hang out with Middle Eastern folks, we like to boast that we have an uncle who looks just like Saddam Hussein; when we’re with Jews, we say that our grandmother observed weird rituals, like lighting candles on Friday and never preparing pork. The lighter-skinned among us continually claim that we had a Frenchman in our family tree who decided to stay in Mexico after the Hapsburg occupation; Xicanxs with full beards will attend Native American powwows and boast they’re a direct descendant of the last honest tlatoani of Tenochtitlán.

That’s the thing about Mexicans: We’re everything … except Salvadoran.

Dear Mexican: I teach a volunteer class to kids in the ’hood, most of them Latinos (many of them Mexican). I like the kids a lot—but how can I justify teaching kids who may be illegals over kids who are legal? Shouldn’t I cater to kids whose parents have been paying taxes for years? Shouldn’t we “take care of our own” first?

Gabacho’s Moral Dilemna

Dear Gabacho: Since you’re volunteering your time, you have every right to be a pendejo in your private life. But refry the following frijoles: Primeramente, the Supreme Court’s 1982 decision in Plyler v. Doe found it unconstitutional to deny public education to undocumented kiddies, so if you’re doing this via a school, you’d better keep your bigoted views to yourself, lest you get a lawsuit.

Also, don’t forget that “illegals” pay un chingo of taxes; a report released this year by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy found undocumented immigrants pay about $12 billion in state and local taxes despite their lack of legal status. “Undocumented immigrants’ nationwide average effective tax rate is an estimated 8 percent,” the report said. “To put this in perspective, the top 1 percent of taxpayers pay an average nationwide effective tax rate of just 5.4 percent.” That’s probably more than Donald Trump!

Finally, study after study shows that those illegal kids are more driven and smarter than “legal” kids. Besides, these are children we’re talking about; hating on kids trying to get ahead in life is all we need to know about our modern, paranoid 21st-century ’Murica.

With morals like yours, the U.S. deserves our future Chinese overlords sooner rather than later.

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 particularly independent weekly Independent comics page: Red Meat engages in some unconventional bathing; Jen Sorenson ponders George Will's politics; The K Chronicles gets an unexpected check; and This Modern World examines 12 months of Trump.

Published in Comics

Dear Mexican: I have visited other countries. None would appreciate me waving my flag in their country.

It all comes down to this, MI AMIGO: If you enter this country from any other country, you must have the necessary paperwork to allow you to stay and/or work here. If you enter without paperwork, you have committed a crime. It’s called ILLEGAL ENTRY. All over the world, this law will send you back to your country of origin. Why the hell do Mexicans think for a minute that they are excluded from this law?

Donald Trump has some muy loco ideas. There will be no wall or his other mierda. But be prepared: Should he become the boss, he will look very closely at criminals, reoffending, running back to Mexico and coming back—at the very least. It can’t keep going this way.

You will all work yourselves out of your American dream. I’m sick and tired of Mexicans thinking that this land belongs to them. NOT ANYMORE. Get in line in the legal way. Everybody needs to stop using and abusing the American system. We are now in so much debt that poor citizens don’t have jobs and money to support their families. STOP that CRAP NOW. If you don’t belong here, go back to your country.

Tool for Trump

Dear Gabacho: Don’t blame Mexicans for the national debt; blame the Iraq War and Reaganomics. Don’t blame Mexicans for coming into this country, with or without papers; blame NAFTA, capitalism and the people who hire unauthorized Mexicans. Don’t blame Mexicans for saying the American Southwest belongs to them; blame an unjust war. Don’t blame Mexicans for using and abusing the U.S.; blame an American system that has encouraged cheating every step of the way ever since the Boston Tea Party. Better yet, blame EVERYTHING: That’s all Trump supporters do, anyway.

Man, I haven’t come across a whinier bunch of CHAVALAS since hearing Mexicans defending the use of “puto” during soccer matches.

Dear Mexican: How do I keep my Mexican friend from stealing all my shit?

Amigo de Aztlán

Dear Gabacho: Coat your stuff in condoms—that’s like kryptonite to Mexican men!

Dear Mexican: My co-worker donned a poncho and sombrero for Cinco de Mayo and got totally wasted. He said he had no bad intentions and does not understand why Mexicans get so upset when he embraces Cindo de Drinko. Oh, and he does not understand why “Cinco de Drinko” is offensive, because it’s an American holiday, anyway.

Can you help explain why some Mexicans get offended when a gringo wears our attire on Drinko de Cinco?

I’m the Mexican in the Office Who Brings Tamales During Christmas

Dear Pocho: At this point in America’s history, I say let the gabachos dress up as gross caricatures of our raza. They have little else going for them: Birthrates are down; death rates are skyrocketing; and all their daughters are shacking up with paisas. They’re tilting hard for a new identity, so now’s the time to enact the final stage of Reconquista: Get them borrachos while wearing sombreros and bigotes, then sic la migra on them. Just like it was prophesized in the Florentine Codex, you know?

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 mournful Independent comics page: Jen Sorenson watches as pundits spew; The K Chronicles ponders a proposed gun ban; This Modern World considers when America was great back in ... 2000?; and Red Meat celebrates Milkman Dan's new uniform.

Published in Comics

On this week's zesty and zingy Independent comics page: The K Chronicles pays tribute to Muhammad Ali; Jen Sorenson compares Donald Trump and a Muslim cleric; This Modern World ponders toddlers killed by guns and bathrooms; and Red Meat claims it does not know where that smell is coming from.

Published in Comics

Dear Mexican: Cabrón, the Mexican flag: Tell your pals that every time they wave it, that’s 5,000 more votes for Trump.

#fucktrump

Dear Gabacho: Waving the Mexican flag isn’t just a shout-out to our ethnic heritage; it’s a blatant reminder of the failings of this country toward comprehensive immigration reform. Because if there’s anyone to blame for the Mexican-flag flap, it’s conservatives.

As I’ve been saying for more than a decade in this pinche columna, Mexicans assimilate into America, yet many Americans don’t want to believe it—and want to do anything possible to stop it. Talk to those kids waving the bandera, and their culture is wholly American, from their language to steez to music to upbringing—their everything. But when you have morons calling their parents and elder relatives rapists and murderers, and call young Mexican Americans unworthy of the U.S. and want 11 million undocumented folks deported, people wrapping themselves in the Mexican flag is a righteous chinga tu madre to the white supremacy that wants them gone (and, yes, Virginia: Trump-supporting minorities can subscribe to white supremacy, too).

Waving the Mexican flag during rallies isn’t sedition; it’s a bold affirmation that aquí estamos, y no nos vamos—this generation’s “We Shall Not Be Moved,” except it rhymes. And it’s a reminder that Mexicans simultaneously fully conform to and buck American immigration trends. Notice how the red-white-and-green only pops up during times of protests or celebration, when we’re expected to “act” Mexican; during the rest of the year, the Mexican flag is mostly out of sight and out of mind as Mexicans seamlessly return to the trappings of American life until the next protest.

Besides, what else are these young people supposed to wave at this point? They could wear the Stars and Stripes, or even the Gadsden (“Don’t Tread on Me”) flag, and it wouldn’t change the hearts and minds of the true haters—so the might as well unfurl the Aztec eagle to antagonize the haters more, you know?

Waving the Mexican flag doesn’t ruin la causa or push more people into the Trump camp—far from it. For decades, there has been a push-and-pull between the accommodationist segment of the Latino community and the radicals. The former’s mantra—slow and steady and Democrat—rarely gets anything accomplished beyond getting centrists elected and former Mechistas in cabinet positions. The best example of this happened during last decade’s DREAMer years, when undocumented college students were asked to basically serve as photo props for so-called Latino leaders. Those DREAMers eventually started launching direct actions against vendidas like SanTana Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, who infamously didn’t put her name on a congressional bill supporting the DREAM Act until two undocumented activists lost their lives. It’s radical pushes like that, and brandishing the flag of a foreign nation, that’s the needed fuel for an activist fire in the face of conservative lunatics and liberal wusses. Scaring away the middle? Anyone so easily swayed by the choice of a piece of cloth that they’ll wish a Trump on this country ain’t an ally you want.

But that’s the best part about waving the Mexican flag at rallies: We can, because—to paraphrase Mexico’s favorite philosopher, Morrissey—we’ve got Mexican blood and an American heart. We ain’t no fifth column, folks: We’re the pinche foundation that represents the last, best hope against the Trump monster. And we’re ready to wave our freak—and Mexican, and American, and Bob Marley—flags at the ballot box and beyond.

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 very special weekly Independent comics page: This Modern World overloads on Donald Trump; Jen Sorenson gags at the thought of America beer; The K Chronicles celebrates more of life's little victories; and Red Meat hopes a dream comes true.

Published in Comics

The current flap about Hillary Clinton playing the “woman card” is nothing short of ridiculous.

As a woman, I know what it feels like to be trivialized (called “honey” and “girl”), talked down to (“mansplaining”), ignored, talked over, interrupted and denied a seat at the decision-making table.

I also know what can happen to one’s career if one stands up for oneself or responds in kind. So much for the “woman card.”

Why aren’t we talking about Donald Trump playing the “man card”? After all, he’s trying to be some sort of alpha male by appealing to other men who wish they had the guts (and the money) to just say whatever they want. You know—a guy who puts down women based on looks, presumes women have less stamina to pursue their ambitions, makes unwanted physical advances, bullies to get his way, ignores a woman if she’s not a “10” and prefers to hire women without children—all while telling everyone how he respects women. (Trump not too long ago said: “[A female employee] is not giving me 100 percent. … She’s giving me 84 percent, and 16 percent is going towards taking care of children.”) An alpha male never makes apologies or excuses his behavior. He is self-focused, self-justifying—and believes that everyone else is there to help him, serve him, entertain him and sleep with him. It isn’t that the alpha male doesn’t provide opportunities for smart and capable females; it’s that he’ll only do it when it benefits him—and he can’t help seeing women with sexist presumptions about how they should look and act.

If merely being female is playing the “woman card” and gives women some kind of advantage, then why are there so few women in positions of power? Only 12 percent of seats on corporate boards in America are held by women. Women have headed their governments in the United Kingdom, Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Lithuania, Liberia, Bangladesh, Denmark, South Korea, Norway, Chile, Poland and many countries—but not in the United States. Less than 20 percent of congressional seats are held by women, and we are actually losing ground on getting into elected office at the state and local level. In 1998, we ranked 59th in the world in the percentage of women in our national legislature; in 2014, we were 98th, just behind Kenya and Indonesia, and barely ahead of the United Arab Emirates. Less than 25 percent of statewide offices are held by women, barely higher than in 1993.

Women make up half of California’s population but hold less than 30 percent of state, county and local elected offices. Of more than 400 cities in California, only 51 have female majorities on city councils, and 69 cities have no women serving at all. That’s actually better than most other states.

While we’re used to seeing lots of women heading charitable functions and raising money for good causes locally, the statistics on women holding public office here in the Coachella Valley are depressing. In both Palm Springs and Rancho Mirage, just one of the five councilmembers is a woman. Coachella has one of four; Desert Hot Springs, Palm Desert, La Quinta and Indio each have two women out of five councilmembers. As for Cathedral City and Indian Wells … not a single woman can be found on their city councils. At the Riverside County level, there are no women on the Board of Supervisors.

This lack of women in political positions has consequences. Arend Lijphart, a former president of the American Political Science Association, says there are “strong correlations between more women legislators and more progressive policies on issues like the environment, macroeconomic management, support for families, violence prevention, and incarceration.” Worldwide studies that have found women legislators introduce more bills than men regarding civil liberties, education, health, labor and other important issues affecting day-to-day life. In addition, research indicates that nations that elect women to key national leadership roles enjoy increases in economic growth, largely based on a more participatory style and the ability to manage difficult situations requiring cooperative approaches.

Hey, that “woman card” sounds pretty good!

When Donald Trump accuses Hillary Clinton of playing the “woman card,” and attacks her for “enabling” her husband’s womanizing, keep in mind his own philosophy about marriage, as written in Trump: The Art of the Comeback: “I tell friends whose wives are constantly nagging them about this or that they’re better off leaving and cutting their losses. I’m not a great believer in always trying to work things out, because it just doesn’t happen that way. For a man to be successful he needs support at home … not someone who is always griping and bitching. When a man has to endure a woman who is not supportive and complains constantly … he will not be very successful unless he is able to cut the cord.”

Compare that mentality to the fact that Clinton found a way to work through public humiliation to keep her marriage and her family intact. She was supportive in making her husband successful. If the woman card means not living by the alpha male philosophy, then I don’t mind voting for a woman just because she is a woman.

Meanwhile, my woman card apparently got lost in the male.

Anita Rufus is also known as “The Lovable Liberal,” and her radio show airs Sundays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on KNews Radio 94.3 FM. Email her at 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

In the beginning, it isn’t clear if Donald Trump will even make it inside.

It’s around 10 a.m., April 29, on Burlingame’s Old Bayshore Highway—just south of the San Francisco International Airport—and protesters have just finished forming the second of two human fences that they hope will block access to the only road entrances to the adjacent Hyatt Regency, site of the 2016 California GOP Convention.

The protesters forming the fence sit cross-legged across the road, their arms joined through sections of plastic tubes that are penned with slogans such as “Stop Hate,” “Capitalism Kills” and “Love Trumps Hate.”

Trump, the leading GOP candidate, is slated to speak at a 12:30 p.m. luncheon, and Burlingame police officers line the sidewalk nearby, their eyes fixed on the protesters.

About 100 yards north up the road, closer to the hotel lobby, the crowd of activists surrounding the other human fence is far larger. There, dozens of anti-Trump protesters hold signs that read, among other things, “Make America Hate Again” and “Californians Against Trump/Hate.”

A brass band snakes through the crowd, lending an air of festivity to an otherwise tense scene. Tania Kappner, a Bay Area activist, directs much of the action through a megaphone.

“I need about half of you to go support the folks locked down on the other side. Not everybody, just half!” she says. “We need to shut this entire road all the way the fuck down!”

Inside the Hyatt, past the line of police, the mood is expectant, almost giddy. The line to see Trump speak stretches more than 100 feet long, and because he has a Secret Service detail, it moves slowly—aside from a bag check, attendees must pass through a metal detector.

Inside the banquet ballroom, after it is announced Trump made it into the building, albeit a bit late (he was secreted in through the rear), he is introduced by State Sen. Joel Anderson, R-Alpine, who hails Trump as “our next president,” and then gets the crowd involved. “To all the lobbyists who think they can buy our freedom,” he says, and then the crowd joins in, “you’re fired!”

When Trump finally enters, the mood is electric.

“That was not the easiest entrance I’ve ever made,” he says, drawing laughter. “It felt like I was crossing the border.”

Trump then goes on a rambling account of his campaign thus far, how he’s proven his doubters wrong, and how he’s more popular than the other candidates. (Just days later, the other two remaining Republicans would suspend their campaigns, clearing Trump’s path to the GOP nomination.) True to form, he calls Ted Cruz “Lyin’ Ted” and Hillary Clinton “Crooked Hillary.” He mocks John Kasich for eating during news conferences.

Trump says he will be heading to Indiana soon to hang out with coach Bobby Knight.

“He’s a winner,” Trump says. “That’s what we need now, we need winners.”

Aside from trade deals and immigration, Trump avoids talking about the issues, and mostly praises those who support him. He mentions an endorsement he received from 16,500 members of the U.S. Border Patrol, and refers to them as “phenomenal,” “great-looking,” “strong” and “in-shape.”

He also assures the crowd he will have no trouble building the wall he’s promised on the Mexican border.

“It’s so easy,” he brags. “I can just see that beautiful pre-cast plank, good solid foundations, nice and high … ”

One can barely hear his words through the applause.

When Trump finishes, the hotel is on lockdown, with police holding the line against an increasingly riled-up group of protesters. The only way out is a side door leading to the parking garage, and broken eggshells—from raw eggs thrown by protesters—line the walkway as luncheon attendees shuffle uneasily to their cars.

Back inside, the Monterey County Republican Party is the only county party with a booth, as was the case at the state GOP convention last fall. And once again, the table is set up with a “Delete Hillary” cornhole game that aims to bring light to Clinton’s so-called scandals. The game is in keeping with the wireless password for convention attendees: “hillarycantbetrusted.”

Monterey County GOP shotcaller Paul Bruno, the Central Coast regional chair for the Ted Cruz campaign, is sipping a cocktail near the table later in the day.

“We’ve been deleting Hillary, and we’re going to continue deleting Hillary,” he says. Bruno adds that he just got back from a Cruz rally in Indiana, and praises Cruz for being “somewhat of a maverick.” But, he says, all the GOP candidates “bring a lot to the table.”

The evening brings a speech by Kasich, the most moderate of the GOP candidates, who was trailing heavily in the polls. His tone is wistful, as if he already knew that his defeat was sealed.

“I’ve been endorsed by over 70 newspapers,” he says. “Wish it mattered.”

Kasich ended his campaign several days later.


The next morning, the Hyatt is packed with attendees wearing “Team Cruz” stickers. Cruz will be giving a speech at a 12:30 p.m. luncheon. For Cruz, the most conservative of the candidates, it’s been a tough week: On April 26, Trump swept Cruz in five states, and on April 28, former House Speaker John Boehner referred to him as “Lucifer in the flesh.” It would get even tougher in the week that followed: On May 3, Cruz suspended his campaign after getting trounced in the Indiana primary.

But on this day, the excitement in the banquet room is palpable, and Cruz is introduced by former Gov. Pete Wilson, a surprise guest who recently endorsed Cruz.

“Never has the California Republican primary election been so critical to the future of our nation,” he says.

When Cruz finally takes the stage, he is welcomed by rousing applause. “God bless the great state of California!” he says, drawing cheers. After thanking some people, he begins praising Carly Fiorina, who he named as his running mate April 27.

“Carly terrifies Hillary Clinton. I picture Hillary thinking about Carly, tossing and turning, and tossing and turning—in her jail cell,” he says.

He then goes on to describe his platform: Abolish the IRS, rein in the EPA, end Common Core education, “rip to shreds” the Iranian nuclear deal, and repeal Obamacare.

Shortly after Cruz’s speech is a seminar about the Republican National Convention, and the complex set of possibilities that would play out if Trump didn’t win 1,237 delegates—an outright majority that would secure the nomination.

After the seminar, in a men’s room across the hall, a 50-something man tells an elderly man that he didn’t know it cost $900 to become a delegate.

“You know what they say in Poland?” the elderly man says.

“I should let you know I’m Polish,” the other man responds.

“Tough shit-ski. You know what they in southern Poland?”

“I don’t know.”

“Tough shit-ski, y’all.”

Trump, who could barely make his way into his own party’s convention, may actually find his way into the White House.

This piece originally appeared in the Monterey County Weekly.

Published in Politics

On this week's extra-spicy weekly Independent comics page: Red Meat enjoys a long-overdue dinner; Jen Sorenson plays the Woman Card; The K Chronicles wonders what Zoe Saldana is doing in Nina; and This Modern World examines the forever campaign.

Published in Comics