Thursday, May 6, 2010

Strange Ideas
The Brits are having elections today. The way they vote is just as weird, socialistic and un-American as they way they take care of sick people.
Imagine if we were subject to the following:
Campaigns are limited by law to four weeks. Worse, spending is restricted to what we would consider pocket change. That means elections remain a so-called civic responsibility. We Americans, of course, have gotten rid of civics, whatever they were. Our elections are a proudly permanent multi-billion dollar industry providing work for tens of thousands of people in politics and the media and contributing to the economy. The Brits are still decades behind on that score. How many of their prime ministers have the practical experience of managing big money from big shots before they take office?
Shockingly, the British system allows for spoilers. They assume that all candidates are entitled to whatever votes they get. By contrast, in our system only candidates of the two major parties are entitled to their votes. Participation by other parties are discouraged by election laws, and their candidates are properly reproved for taking votes from the entitled parties. Thus we eliminate the possibility of unconventional opinion screwing up voters’ sensibilities. Just think if we, like the Brits, ended up with a health care system where insurance execs couldn’t make zillions of dollars a year? Oh, the horror!

Seis de Mayo

We can easily defeat the armies of Mexico, slaughter them by the thousands, and pursue them perhaps to their capital; we can conquer and annex their territory; but what then?--Horace Greeley, 1846, on the eve of the Mexican-American War.

Two lifetimes later, we know “what then?” Our brute force conquest of Mexico gave us Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Utah, Nevada, Wyoming and half of Colorado. It also gave us 110 million neighbors who see no reason to be any more respectful of our border than we have been of theirs.
Indeed, when they cross that border, whether in the oven heat of the Sonora or the muddy bottoms of the Rio Bravo, few feel like they’re really leaving Mexico. Rather, they are entering a lost part of their land that, dios mediante, they may some day reclaim. Why not? Israel is making good on a 2,000-year-old irredentist initiative.
But it’s not dreams of national redemption that have brought millions of legit and illicit Mexicans to the U.S. Rather it is the poverty of too much corn. Bill Clinton was in Haiti the other day, apologizing for the poverty of too much sugar. The empire plays the same game everywhere, though apologies are still lacking in Mexico. Not that they mean much after the damage is done. It’s simple. You target a third world country, then flood it with under-priced mountains of the main commodity it produces. In Mexico, that meant corn, grown by millions of small farmers and processed in local mills serving tiendas that made their own tortillas.
With ultra-cheap corn cascading in from Iowa and Indiana, those Mexican farmers and processors soon went broke. Local food production was replaced by U.S. fast food outlets. The millions who lost their land and their livelihood headed for the overflowing cities in search of scarce jobs.
The human overabundance, like that of corn, kept the price of labor low. Here were millions of Mexicans to work for next-to-nothing in the U.S. runaway factories. Here were millions more to push north across the border, and, by the chump wages paid them, enrich the bottom line of meat packers, agro businesses, hotel and restaurant operators, etc. You visited that new Albanian restaurant in L.A. and found that your meal was cooked by some hard-working chef trying to support a family back in Zacatecas.
Not only could we exploit Mexicans, but we could also demonize them as “illegals” for entering their erstwhile country without an invitation when all they were doing was emulating General Zachary Taylor, the 12th president of the United States.

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