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Mon11182019

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

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

On this week's Trump-tastic weekly Independent comics page: This Modern World checks in again with The Incredible Trump; Jen Sorenson uses an algorhythm; The K Chronicles mourns the passing of Prince; and Red Meat gets in some business trouble.

Published in Comics

Dear Mexican: Dude, can you please write about why Mexicans are voting for Trump?

My cuñado and I were talking about the candidates over dinner yesterday and about how this will be his first presidential vote. He became a U.S. citizen last year. He’s from DF (Mexico City). He started from the ground up in this country and now is a successful business owner. I think he wants to keep the gap between him and other immigrants. He’s voting Trump. Greed is what I sense, but I’m not sure.

I then spoke with my friend (my go-to source for wab news in SanTana), and she informed me that a lot of Mexicans and/or Hispanics are voting for Trompas. Please enlighten us with your take on the matter.

Feeling El Bern

Dear Gabacho: Yeah, the vast majority of Mexican Americans despise Trump—a Los Angeles Times poll found only 9 percent of Latino voters in California (really: Mexican-American ones) liked Trump, while 87 percent want him to become Chapo pozole.

There will always be that self-hating tío who’ll vote for any politician who talks trash on their own kind. But it’s actually not surprising why Mexicans would vote for Trump—he’s the ultimate Mexican presidential candidate. Mexicans can’t stand political correctness, and appreciate powerful people sin pelos en la lengua—“without hairs on the tongue,” a Mexican aphorism when someone speaks their mind. Sure, Bernie Sanders is as straight-talking as Trump, but where he fails as a Mexican candidate, and Trump succeeds, is that the latter also passes himself off as a caudillo—a strongman. Simply put, Mexicans don’t want a perceived pussy in office, and Trump’s bellicose babadas make people think he’s tough, when he’s actually little more than a chavala.

Finally, Mexicans don’t mind corruption in government as long as they get theirs … which is essentially the Trump platform.

Supporting a GOP blowhard isn’t new for Mexicans, by the way: We voted in surprisingly large numbers for pendejos such as Dubya, Arnold Schwarzenegger (when he ran for the California governor’s seat), Reagan and even Nixon way back when. The difference between them and Trump is that they at least pretended to like Mexicans, while Trump doesn’t give a shit—to his detriment.

Hear me, inútil? If you didn’t call us a bunch of rapists and drug-dealers, un chingo más raza would be voting for you, and you would’ve ran away with the presidency. Instead, we’re getting ready to kick your ass come November and deport you back to your suit factory in Mexico.

Dear Mexican: I’m spending this Christmas in Mexico City with my mexicana fiancée’s family. I met them last year, and we get along well. (Whew!) My problem is that I don’t know what to get her father as a Christmas gift. I went all out last year trying to make a good impression, and it worked. But I can’t top last year’s gift (a jersey signed by several players from his favorite Liga MX team), so I write in hopes that you have some ideas. He’s one of those guys who has everything, so I’m stuck.

Any ideas?

Future Negrito-in-Law

Dear Negrito: You really want to give your future father-in-law the ultimate gift? Don’t marry his daughter.

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

Boy, this has been an ugly election cycle. The candidates and their supporters have been dragging some pretty dark parts of our society into the spotlight, and it has not been pretty.

But for me, there is at least one shining green light to be seen: Both parties appear ready to be getting ready to accept cannabis into our “legitimate” society in one form or another—although there are still some fairly stark differences in their stances.

So, with the California primary coming up in June, let’s look at where the remaining presidential candidates stand on cannabis.

The Red Team

A Republican administration is generally viewed as a setback to the legalization movement. But even the Red Team is getting on board with a wider acceptance of cannabis.

GOP front-runner Donald Trump is typically vague regarding marijuana, and has changed his publicly stated views on legalization several times over the years. In 1990, he said that all drugs should be legalized and regulated to end the failed War on Drugs. Now that he’s the GOP Golden Boy (Orange Boy?), he’s hedging his bets regarding legalization for recreational use. In a recent interview with Bill O’Reilly, when pressed on the issue, the closest Trump would come to supporting legalization was to say that “there are some good things about” it. However, Trump did not hesitate to assert his complete support of medical marijuana.

Running a distant second in the GOP race is Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. At the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference, Cruz said he was opposed to legalization for adult recreational use. But earlier this year, he said he would not roll back the laws enacted in Colorado and Washington, so he appears to be softening a little on the topic. He told radio talk-show host Hugh Hewitt: “When it comes to a question of legalizing marijuana, I don’t support legalizing marijuana. If it were on the ballot in the state of Texas, I would vote no. But I also believe that’s a legitimate question for the states to make a determination. And the citizens of Colorado and Washington state have come to a different conclusion.” Cruz also says states should regulate medicinal use without federal interference: “I think it is appropriate for the federal government to recognize that the citizens of those states have made that decision.”

The GOP’s longest lasting also-ran, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, has been completely opposed to cannabis, even for medical use. But even he appears to be loosening up a little. While still generally opposed to legalizing marijuana for recreational use, he said at a town hall in Hollis, N.H., “Medical marijuana, I think we can look at it.” Kasich, who has admitted using marijuana himself several times, recently discussed the topic on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. While he opposes incarceration in favor of treatment for drug-abusers across the board, he explained his opposition to legalization thusly: “The problem with marijuana is this: We don't want to tell our kids, ‘Don’t do drugs, but by the way, this drug’s OK.’”

Colbert fired back with a wry: “Isn't that what alcohol is?”

You can watch the exchange here.

The Blue Team

A Democratic White House is the great green hope for the legalization movement, with Bernie Sanders being wholly in favor of a complete end to the War on Drugs, and Hillary Clinton now stating 100 percent support for medical cannabis.

Clinton’s position is in an evolutionary phase. In 2011, she opposed complete legalization in favor of decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana. But on March 24 of this year, she told Jimmy Kimmel: “I think what the states are doing right now needs to be supported, and I absolutely support all the states that are moving toward medical marijuana, moving toward—absolutely—legalizing it for recreational use.” She continued: “Let’s take it off … Schedule I and put it on a lower schedule so that we can actually do research about it.”

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is the only candidate to receive an “A” rating from the Marijuana Policy Project. Sanders has long expressed support for allowing states to make decisions regarding cannabis legalization, even going so far as to say that he, personally, would vote in favor of legalization in his state. On a national level, he staunchly supports marijuana decriminalization and medicinal use.

While other issues in the election cycle are causing wide rifts, it appears that marijuana’s time has come at last. It’s a new day for cannabis, America!

In Other News

• With California barreling toward expected legalization, the county of Los Angeles is giving itself a time-out, of sorts, to figure out how to handle cultivation in unincorporated areas. The county has banned dispensaries from operating on county land since 2011, and has temporarily banned all cultivation—even by patients. The current ban is in place for 45 days to let the county assess the best way to approach cultivation, including environmental impacts and possible criminal activity. Coupled with the long-standing ban on dispensaries, the ban leaves few options for patient access. The ban can be extended for a year if deemed necessary by the county Board of Supervisors.

• On the lighter side, pizza-delivery app Push for Pizza has teamed with Nikolas Gregory Studio in Queens, N.Y., to produce a pizza box than can be used to make a pot pipe. The brain-child of 25-year-old Nikolas Gregory, the box features a perforated cutout that serves as the body of the pipe. And, y’know that miniature plastic table thing that supports the middle of the box? Well, they’re making it a ceramic bowl that slides into the cardboard body from the box top.

Genius!

Published in Cannabis in the CV

On this week's awe-inspiring weekly Independent comics page: Red Meat leaves a gift on the porch; Jen Sorenson dreams up some presidential candidates we could all get behind; The K Chronicles shares an anecdote from a blind fella; and This Modern World takes another journey to the world of The Incredible Trump.

Published in Comics