New Year, New Life?
It would’ve felt good to be able to say that the news forecast for 2019 is not all bad, although Donald Trump usually finds a way to spoil any positive development of hopeful occurrence.
Yet, in the midst of the chaos, confusion and cruelty that are the signature of the Trump administration, a small but significant piece of good news has emerged: Trump’s pet project, the much-ballyhooed border wall he promised his “base” time and time again, is not happening.
Mexico would pay for it, remember? Or was it Congress, that is, you and me, the taxpayers?
“I’ll be proud to shut down the government,” the bluffer in chief said just last week. After finally understanding that Congress will never approve the $5 billion Trump demanded, the administration changed its tune. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders then said President Trump had asked his cabinet secretaries to identify funding that can be used for the wall. Ironically, even though they deny it, if the wall happens, it will be us, the taxpayers who will foot the bill.
“Sanders said today the WH is not looking for the taxpayers to pay for the wall while at the same time said the WH is looking to other agencies to find wall funding. Is @presssec aware that agencies of the federal government are funded by taxpayers?” CNN White House reporter Jim Acosta said in a Dec. 18 tweet.
Yes, Trump’s absurd monument to racism and stupidity will never be built. Yet, predicting this man’s behavior is as hopeless as achieving peace in the Middle East. In what probably is the last gasp of his ridiculous “macho” posture, Trump threatened again on Thursday to shut down the government a few days before Christmas.
According to retiring House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Trump informed House Republican leaders that he would not sign a short-term spending bill passed by the Senate because it did not include the $5 billion for the border wall.
Ryan, in full sycophantic mode, introduced a new short-term spending bill that includes $5.7 billion for border security, even though he is well aware such bill has no chance in hell of being approved. As a result, the news may not have been completely good after all, since the government could have been partially shut last Friday. I’m sorry to say I have no way of knowing if it happened since I am writing this column the day before due to, yes, holiday schedule.
One more piece of very different good news: Cuban baseball players will be able to play legally in the U.S. thanks to an agreement signed on Dec. 19 by Cuba and Major League Baseball establishing that Cuban players will be able to perform in the US professional league without losing their residence in Cuba, nor their link with Cuban baseball.
Until the signing of this historic agreement, Cuban baseball stars, coveted by Major League teams, had been victims of unscrupulous merchants who made millions trafficking them and their talent. The usual, reactionary, despicable Cuban-American suspects, Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Mario Díaz Balart did not waste time in condemning the deal and practically begged Trump not to allow it to go ahead.
Since the blockade against Cuba started in 1962, baseball players on the island have had to defect in order to sign with a major league club. Players like the legendary pitcher Orlando “El Duque” Hernández, Los Angeles Dodger Yasiel Puig, Chicago White Sox’s José Abreu and others had no choice but to follow that dangerous route. Opposite to Rubio and company, all of them have expressed their satisfaction with the new agreement.
“Knowing that the next generation of Cuban baseball players will not endure the unimaginable fate of past Cuban players is the realization of an impossible dream for all of us,” Abreu said in a statement that coveys the feelings of many of the Cuban players. “Dealing with the exploitation of smugglers and unscrupulous agencies will finally come to an end for the Cuban baseball player.”
Keep your fingers crossed for a 2019 in which good news stories, instead of being rare occurrences, become daily events.