El Gringoqueño

All a man needs out of life is a place to sit ‘n’ spit in the fire.

Trumpists’ Cult of Personality

I’m only posting about this to get it off my chest. I know he’s out of office, but the rubble from his destruction is still littered about. I can’t ignore it, especially when I keep tripping on it and when these conversations still happen:

Well, YOUR guy is doing X. It could be Hunter Biden. It could be Andrew Cuomo. It could be Kamala Harris, Alexandria Ocasio Cortéz, Schumer whatever. Whataboutism is alive and well.

You see, those that have gone all in on Trump worship, have connected their entire beings to him. They don’t seem to understand that those that disagree with them on policy and values may not have an equivalent. There’s no liberal cult figure that I can see.

So, I respond. My guy? I don’t have a guy. What are you talking about? If Hunter Biden did something illegal, investigate him and prosecute him. If his dad, the President profited, then burn him too. Investigate them all. Prosecute them all. I am not loyal to a party or a person. I’m loyal to the values of honesty and integrity.

Why is that so hard to understand?

AOC? Okay, I don’t have any particular loyalty towards her. What is it that you don’t like about her? What things do you disagree with? Well, she wants to destroy America. She’s a socialist. Really? How does she want to destroy America? Again, I don’t have any particular loyalty to her, just to values and policy. What is she doing? Invariably, they can’t say absolutely anything except for what the idiot talking heads on Fox News, OAN, Rush Limbaugh, Breitbart say. Which is to say, absolutely nothing besides false innuendo, relying on listeners/viewers laziness to verify for themselves.

Then there’s some sputtering about Clinton, Bill or Hillary, take your pick. I can’t defend Bill. He was rightfully impeached. He should have been removed.

Perjury was a technicality.

What he was really guilty of was using the office of the President to personally enrich himself. He took liberty with his office to “get chicks.” It’s a very dangerous indicator of his personal values of loyalty and fealty to a higher calling, to the responsibilities and duties of the office. Time, I think, has revealed more and more truth about his self-dealings with regard to the Clinton Foundation and his behaviors towards women and his problematic relationship with Jeffery Epstein. I mean, if you want to show pictures of Trump with Jeffrey, you’ve got to acknowledge that Clinton was right up in there too.

So burn them both. Clinton and Trump both violated the public trust, enriched themselves to the detriment of the country and should never ever be trusted ever again.

So, yeah, I don’t have a guy. Go to a Biden rally? What? Are you kidding me. Who’s got time for that. He just needs to do his damn job. I’ll do mine. He should do his.

Shortcut to Waking Up

I love how Foxnews and the like are talking about Dr. Seuss in their ongoing segment, “Libs are trying to destroy America – Endless Culture War edition.” Frankly, the recent news is a gift to radical right wing media. They can’t get enough of the outrage.

But I don’t really want to talk about that, I guess. It’s sort of the context, but I really want to talk about the great white middle class, those with whom Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was so impatient.

Why is it taking so long for us? Why is realizing that society is deeply racist and has been built that way for centuries rolling along in such slow motion? Yes, the arc of the moral universe is long and it does bend toward justice. But why so long, and why is the arc so gentle?

I reflect on my own journey of understanding and the increasing granularity of my own personal discoveries of racist things. I personally wouldn’t have found Dr. Seuss racist growing up. Haha, look at the funny characters. That’s what Chinese people are. Look at the interesting African tribal guys. Oh, that’s what Africans look like. My personal journey didn’t get me very far, because it’s a feedback loop of normality.

Why is your favorite dish something your mom made?

As time has gone on, I, like a lot of other normative white folks, have awakened to the realization that black people and Asians don’t like being portrayed like that, that stereotypes are bad. They would never draw themselves like that or portray themselves like that.

I get it. Now let me continue to take myself on my personal journey toward woke-ness. Bravo. Please let me pat myself on my woke-ass back.

Bah! It’s this personal journey bullshit that’s making it take so long!

But here’s the thing – there’s a shortcut.

Psst. They have been telling us for decades, and sometimes for even hundreds of years.

All we had to do was listen.

When people tell you what you said was hurtful, believe them.

When people tell you a depiction is racist and hurtful, believe them.

When people tell you that police profile and harass them, believe them.

When people tell you their city’s water is full of lead, believe them.

When people tell you they have experienced sexual harassment/assault in public and in their workplaces, believe them.

When people tell you they hurt, believe them.

Really, it boils down to – believe people when they tell you things they experience and don’t filter their words through your own completely different experiences.

Ad Hominem and Silly Arguments

Today’s big story on foxnews.com is a real head scratcher, but it perfectly encapsulates the silly arguments that they and radical right media make to distract, score vague emotional points, and stir up discord in society.

John Kerry’s family still owns private jet as he leads climate fight, FAA records indicate,” they breathless report while clutching their pearls.

Okay, so let’s break this down folks. First, this is a classic ad hominem, attempting to discredit the messenger rather than the message. Most of what Fox News does is attack the person, rather than policy position or relevant actions. What’s more, most of the time the person they are attacking is made of straw, but that’s a whole ‘nother thing.

What are you saying, Fox News? Kerry is a hypocrite? Okay, let’s go down that path. He’s a hypocrite. I agree with you. What now? Are you insinuating that he will not enact or support policy that will promote sustainable energy investment?

Are you saying he’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing?

“Look,” you say, “he says he’s all about conservation, but he flies around in a private jet.” And then you leave that hanging in the air as if that’s it. Case closed, wrap it up boys, we’re done here. Dem discredited!

If we dig a little deeper, we have to ask ourselves if what you’re really saying is that John Kerry is a duplicitous energy wasting bastard who does not support what we, Fox News, support, namely that global warming is an existential threat.

John Kerry is not a serious proponent for real policy change with respect to renewable energy, because he flies around in a private jet.

I do not think your argument means what you think it means, Fox.

It’s Not Just Virtue Signaling

There is an interesting debate currently going on in the world of information technology. Along with de-gendered pronouns and inclusive language, we too have our own internal debates. Currently on the table are the terms master/slave, used to designate among other things the centralized control of communications, a hub configuration. The master controls who may speak in this arrangement.

Soon, the terms blacklist and whitelist came to the chopping block. Isn’t ban list better? Permit list?

Anyway, it’s a conversation that people are having, and the voices of the status quo promptly accused them of being social justice warriors, virtue signaling, creating controversy where there was none.

They’re just words, you’re ruining our history. It’s always been this way. It’s fine. You’re just a liberal snowflake!

It’s funny how, like a fractal, the larger conversations happening in society repeat themselves in other smaller sub-communities, but maybe that’s a topic for another day.

First, words are important.

The words we use have an impact on the way we think and the way we think has an impact on the words we use. Language is recursive in society. If we make the effort to change it, it will in turn shape how we interact with the world. Remember fireman, policeman, and mailman? We changed those, because we wanted a social construct that didn’t default to “man.” There was no reason to gender type those professions. When we realized how archaic it was, that it didn’t reflect our values, we modified those terms and now they sound weird. Congressperson, congressional representative, not congressman. Chairman… chairperson, or just chair.

The master/slave terminology outside of just the obvious ugliness of the relationship, can have a pervasive effect on how we perceive interaction of things. If one thing is always subservient to another, it shapes us. We expect to see this subservience in all things. Bosses have to be on top. Employees at the bottom. There’s got to be this rigid hierarchy in all things, ’cause that’s just the way things are. We see it, we replicate it, we again say that’s how it should be.

What if bosses were just team members or coordinators? They are resource wranglers, interference runners, rather than mandate bringers. The team structure is flat now, all members have a role, and we start to get away from “I’m more important than you are” because I’m the boss. We now see the “boss” as just another resource in the chain. Maybe their task requires more training and education, so they get paid more, but they are not certainly “above” anyone.

Maybe the master/slave language masks other truths when we consider it as part of a system. If we consider one thing as always subservient to the other, perhaps it causes us to not consider that perhaps their communication can flow in two directions sometimes the “slave” taking control. Master/slave just doesn’t cut it anymore and what’s worse it can obscure real truths.

Anyway, it’s a lot, I know, but this stuff isn’t just “libs” virtue signaling. The words we use can have a dramatic effect on how we interact with the world, what structures “make sense,” and how we can make better systems not hindered by outdated ways of thinking.

Glass Cliff in the White House

It’s interesting to see misogyny alive and well in Republican circles. Now, I’m not going to defend her aims, but I can sympathize and recognize when someone has been pushed off a glass cliff. For those unfamiliar with the term, a glass cliff is the cliff that weak men push women off when they need to accomplish something difficult and don’t know how to do it or if it will even work.

Have to do a bunch of layoffs but don’t want to look bad doing it? Bring in a woman, have her fire everybody, and when morale tanks, change her out for someone, “more aligned with our workplace culture.” Bonus points if you can smear her with some salacious detail on the way out. Examples include, Carly Fiorina or Ellen Pao. Anyway, check out this article from vox that goes into greater detail.

“Hey, hire a woman to do it. If she fails, we can fire her and say we tried to be inclusive.”

Chuckle chuckle chuckle. Backslaps all around.

And so we arrive at the 2020 election, and the allegations of fraud. Read this for backstory. Long story short – Sidney Powell has been disavowed, fired, terminated, and downsized with prejudice. None of the machinations of the Trump administration worked, so the guilty must be punished. Never you mind about the buck stopping anywhere but Trump.

Their legal team pawed at every legal door possible and came up empty handed. When things went sideways (because of lack of evidence), they fabricated it and lied about it in the press.

Sidney was there leading the charge, taking one for her President, with the tacit approval of Trump and Giuliani.

Now that things have pretty much completely failed, they’ve decided she’d make an excellent scapegoat.

“Mr. President, it was all her fault. We failed because she was unlikeable, incompetent, and opportunistic. She didn’t have your best interests at heart.”

And so, our little cadre of incompetent, unlikeable, opportunistic men nudged Sidney out of the circle, off the glass cliff, to tumble down and down.

Swing State Government Breakdowns

Just want to leave this here for my own education:

Pennsylvania’s political breakdown goes like this. Governor is a Democrat. State assembly is Republican. Secretary of State is an unelected position appointed by governor (so Democrat).

Arizona’s governor is a Republican. Their state assembly is Republican. Their Secretary of State is an elected position and is a Democrat.

Georgia’s governor is a Republican. Their state assembly is Republican. Their Secretary of State is a Republican.

I would like to know how the all powerful Democrats mustered the ability to affect the outcomes of these elections fraudulently, when every single state legislature is controlled firmly by Republicans and 2/3 of the executives are Republican.

Well, obviously it’s a rhetorical question, because it’s impossible, and if you still cling to the idea that the election was fraudulent, congratulations, you’ve successfully boarded the train to crazytown.

Other Things I Have Learned In Puerto Rico

During the 2000s, Laura and I were election functionaries. We verified the identities of the voters on the rolls, we observed the rule of law concerning the casting of ballots and prohibited electioneering (political slogans and merchandise within a certain distance of the polling place). Each of us inspected and signed the blank ballots for accountability (so that we know how many ballots there were and that some “extra” ballots don’t just show up someplace), helped people with technical problems, and secured the ballots before, during and after the election. We were unable to leave the voting room (except bathroom breaks). Lunch was provided for us. We then counted the ballots and reported the final tally to the election commission.

This was all done on paper, hand counting, hand reporting, signatures, observed by poll workers representing the three major parties here. There were times I fought for the intended will of a voter even when it didn’t agree with my party. A stray mark from a frail hand no where near a candidate should not invalidate an obvious selection. The other poll workers were equally committed to a fair and impartial outcome.

Once the final numbers are reported, the original ballots are sealed in a briefcase and affixed with the final tally. We are then able to watch the precincts report the count and observe ours entered in the total.

You would think, listening to Donald Trump, that elections are a new thing, that hell, trying to steal an election is a new thing, as if no one has ever thought of that. Elections have been going on in one form or another for thousands of years. We have developed very robust chains of trust based on transparency, redundancy, checks and double checks.

I have personally observed and participated in the process as a poll worker, and I can confirm that there is no possible way that there could be fraud in an election.

If someone fudged the vote tally reports, we would know it, because we know what we counted. Votes are not tracked by individuals (of course), but they are tracked by polling place or by precinct or district.

Could an individual with a hidden pen change votes or invalidate them surreptitiously? Yes, it’s possible, but more than likely that person would be caught, and at most they wouldn’t be able to affect more than a few 10s of votes. It could never arrive to the levels required to change the outcome.

I walked away from each election I participated in confident in the outcome, even when it didn’t go my way. I was assured that the process worked and that the will of the people was being heard.

So stop. Please stop. There is no fraud. There could be no fraud. Joe Biden will be the next President of the United States. Stop trying to undermine the will of the people and our democratic system.

Covid-19 in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is a poor nation with crumbling infrastructure, high rates of obesity and diabetes, an aging population (20% is 65 or older), a densely packed urban population, and a very social tightly knit culture that values physical gatherings.

What else can I throw in there?

Puerto Rico ticks all the boxes for an uncontrolled rate of corona-virus infection and death.

And yet as of today, the 13th of November our case numbers are half of what they were 14 days ago, our mortality rate is 1.3% nearly half the rate in the U.S. (and has been since the summer). The U.S., is a nation with access to deep resources, higher per capita income, a more individualistic lifestyle, a decidedly younger demographic on average (14% over the age of 65% according to the US Census), and lower rates of diabetes.

What gives?

I went out today to run some errands for the house. I stopped at a small appliance parts store, a tiny little space nestled deep in the heart of working class Carolina on Campo Rico street. Only two customers were allowed in at a time. They had a mask mandate. They took my temperature. They gave me hand sanitizer. They had protective shields.

This is everywhere. I have never seen anybody without a mask. Every store, no matter how large or small has implemented recommended health protocols, social distancing marked with stickers on the floor, masks, hand sanitizer, and infrared thermometers. People have followed and continue to follow these guidelines. Sure we grumble, but we thank our cashiers and service people for the risk they put themselves in to serve their customers, and the last thing we want to do is put them in more danger by invoking some sort of right to not wear a mask.

It’s impressive to watch a nation with so few resources work together, listen to science and public health officials, and not politicize mask wearing.

The Only Explanation that Makes Sense

Look, Jim, you’re going about this all wrong. We know Donald Trump isn’t a great person. We know he’s intemperate. We know he’s a racist. We know he’s not competent. He’s no diplomat. He’s not empathetic.

None of that matters to us. What we want is someone who is going to tear down the federal government, globalism, and international diplomacy. We don’t give a flying fuck about other countries. Why would we? We don’t want to be beholden to their demands, their values. That’s why our ancestors came here, to get the fuck away from them.

We don’t give a flying fuck about federal agencies, either. They are uninvited guests. They bring nothing but sanctimonious regulations written in big cities among elite idiots that don’t care one whit of what our lives are like.

Leave. Us. Alone.

We don’t give a flying fuck about China. Why are we giving them business, when all they want to do is undermine us? Joe Biden and the rest of those globalists said for years it would be better, that we would have more prosperity, if we shipped manufacturing abroad. How did that turn out, Joe?

We don’t want any more Washington machinations, international gamesmanship, games of Risk involving our country where, we the people, are the pawns. We don’t want any of it. We like our states just fine, and we expect that other states will do what they like.

You do you, we say.

We think California is crazy, but fuck if we care what they do, as long as they don’t shove their shit down our throats.

Who is the best person to pull all this off? A uniter? A diplomat? Someone with 47 years of public service?

Pfft, you’ve got to be kidding.

We want that fucking federal level chess board to be flipped over and leave us the fuck alone to do what we want to do.

Donald Trump is the kind of bull in a china shop we need to tear it all down so the Federal government can get out of our lives after nearly 300 years of encroachment.

Liberals, your mistake is thinking we want Donald Trump to lead us, when in fact we have selected him solely for his incompetence and lack of reverence for tradition and norms.

The more nonsense and chaos he tweets, the better we feel.

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