Loony Latino politics

I’VE VOTED IN every Mexican presidential election since I became a citizen in 2005. The first election after that was in 2006. The presidential elections happen every six years, so I’ve only voted in two so far.

Another is coming this summer.

In 2006, things were pretty clear-cut. There were three major parties: PAN (National Action Party, right-wing), PRD (Party of the Democratic Revolution, left-wing) and the PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party, self-serving).

The PRI came into existence in 1929 and rigged elections to keep its presidents in power till the system failed in 2000 and the loudmouth Vicente Fox (PAN) was elected. Following him in 2006 was Felipe Calderón (PAN) and in 2012 we got Enrique Peña Nieto (PRI again). I voted for both Calderón and Peña Nieto.

So I’m batting 1,000.

I’m thinking Mexicans, after electing two PAN presidents and not seeing manna falling from heaven, decided to give PRI another chance, a chance most have regretted. I saw a poll recently in which about 65 percent of all Mexicans said they would never, ever vote for a PRI candidate again, and I cannot blame them.

During this back and forth between PRI and PAN has been the phenomenon of a nincompoop named Andrés Manuel López Obrador who goes by the initials AMLO. He almost won in 2006 and again in 2012 as the candidate of the PRD.

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AMLO

In 2006, AMLO lost by just 0.58 percent of the vote. He’s not a good loser, so he caused lots of demonstrations, especially in Mexico City, for a fair spell after the election. He roamed the nation, calling himself the “legitimate president.”

The bozo ran again in 2012 as the candidate of a political coalition headed by the PRD. After losing again, he and the PRD parted ways, and two years later he formed his own party, the National Regeneration Movement which goes by the initials MORENA, a flagrantly racist come-on.

Morena or its masculine form, Moreno, is Spanish for brown-skinned person, and since 90 percent of Mexicans are brown-skinned people, the none-too-subtle message here is “We are your party!” Forget the issues, vote your skin color.

Yes, American thinking has moved over the Rio Bravo. Just freaking great. Ironically, AMLO is not moreno. He’s just another of those old white guys.

Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard. — H.L. Mencken

After Mexicans voted twice for the PAN and not seeing manna fall from heaven, and then returning to the Devil They Knew, and seeing general corruption get even worse than normal, and that’s saying something, they’re ready for a change.

MORENA is that change, and AMLO currently leads in the polls. Unfortunately, the Mexican system does not require a majority of the votes to be president. You just have to get more votes than any other guy. You can become president with, say, 35 percent of the vote, with 65 percent wishing you’d take a hike.

There are no runoffs of the two top candidates. This is dumb, of course.

AMLO has opposed most every national reform of recent years. Education, Energy, Law. He doesn’t like gas stations from other countries here. He’s one with troublesome teacher unions. He’s a man of “the people,” if you know what I mean.

To quote H.L. Mencken: Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.

* * * *

Get-Out-the-Vote Campaigns

Campaigns to get people registered to vote and to inspire them to vote because it’s their civic responsibility … Lord, what a lousy idea.

We’re seeing a lot of that here.

People who must be pushed to vote should not vote because they lack information and are easily manipulated. Not only should people not be encouraged to vote, the right to vote should be restricted in a number of ways. Universal suffrage is an insufferable notion.

By the way, we have voter-ID cards. No card, no vote. And absolutely no one thinks that getting one is an outrageous imposition.

* * * *

I just wanna license to steal job!

Over the past few years in Mexico, a disturbing trend has emerged. Coalitions of political parties. Back in the olden days, if someone was, say, a PAN candidate you could, with some degree of certainty, know that person was a conservative. If someone was a candidate of the Workers Party (read communist), you could pretty much be assured the person was a nincompoop.

Now, however, there are coalitions of parties that put up a single candidate, and the coalition can include both the conservative PAN and the left-wing PRD, even the commie Workers Party (PT). This is ridiculous.

I read a news story recently of a woman candidate who has been on the ticket of all the major parties and most of the fringe parties as well. She is now a candidate for MORENA, of course. What does she believe in? Getting a political post, and nothing more. It can be a cash cow. (See note at bottom.)

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Election day

We will vote for our next president on July 1. AMLO likely will be ahead in the polls. My vote will go to whomever is No. 2. Alas, there are five candidates on the ballot, and AMLO only has to win more than any one of the others.

With two candidates, he would lose. Five presents a problem. Three of the five are affiliated with major parties. Two are independents. This race is the first time that independents have been allowed to run.

If AMLO loses again, he might become Mexico’s Hillary, touring the nation and world to weep, moan, groan and say it’s just not fair. He’ll blame his loss on deplorable, uneducated peons (Mexican rednecks) who should have known better, and women who couldn’t stand up to their husbands.

With luck, my perfect batting average in elections here will continue.

Let us pray so.

* * * *

(Note 1: AMLO is the candidate of a coalition known as the “Together We Will Make History.” It includes MORENA, the Workers Party, i.e. communists, and something called the Social Encounter Party. Ricardo Anaya, currently No. 2 in the polling, is the candidate of a coalition known as the “Front for Mexico,” which includes the right-wing PAN, the left-wing PRD and a party called the Citizen Movement. José Antonio Meade is the candidate of a coalition called “Everyone for Mexico.” It is made up of the PRI, the Greens, which is a right-wing party in Mexico (Go figger!) and a fringe party called the New Alliance. All of this is pure nuts.)

(Note 2: Candidates in Mexico are legally restricted to three months of campaigning. It started this month. Contrast that to the United States where people can kick off campaigns, officially or not, years in advance. I prefer our system.)

The border wall

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Whoops! Where did this come from?

(The following was written by Kim G. whose blog, El Gringo Suelto, is nearly as much fun as The Unseen Moon.)

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TO THE HORROR of the Republican “establishment” (code-speak for the only people who actually benefit from Republican policies), Donald Trump is now all but the official Republican nominee for the U.S. presidency.

You don’t need me to tell you that. And at the risk of taking a turn into the unpleasantly political, I thought I’d look into one of Trump’s more controversial policies, the one that most obviously affects Mexico. Yeah, the wall.

The “proposed” wall has been described in all kinds of unpleasant language, from ridiculous, to ineffective, to racist, and in a whole lot of other derogatory ways. And I have to confess, I’ve been there along with the wall bashers until quite recently. Today, in fact, when I began to look into it seriously.

hillaryBut the sad fact is that the wall has been discussed in every way possible except truthfully. I hate to break it to you all, but there’s already a wall there.

OK, maybe not a wall exactly, but there’s a very sturdy fence along a large portion of the border, particularly the parts that are easiest to get to from anywhere in Mexico. (And, really, “what difference does it make” whether it’s a wall or a fence?)

It’s already official U.S. policy to wall off Mexico from the mainland. The legislation to build the wall was passed in 2006 during GWB’s second term with large congressional majorities. It was built over the next few years, and discussed endlessly in the press, protested by both the Fox and Calderón administrations, and derided loudly on the Left.

In short, it’s old news, established policy, business-as-usual. But don’t tell the mainstream media. They are (still!) having a field day acting like this is something new, novel, and dangerously radical, brought to mainstream discussion by a maverick Donald Trump. But it’s not.

Everyone already supports its existence, even if only tacitly. Neither Clinton nor her boss ever argued that the wall/fence should be torn down.

Clinton had the opportunity in her 2008 race for the presidency, but I don’t recall her ever advocating such a position. Nor has Obama. Nor have any congressional democrats.

So the only real point of debate across the mainstream American political spectrum is whether it should be extended or not. Is the wall effective? That’s an entirely different discussion, and frankly the one we should be having.

And there are legitimate questions about whether the wall is appropriately constructed. Parts are designed to stop only vehicles. But people can easily still walk through. (Think bollards) Like anything, it’s clearly NOT 100% effective, as any number of tunnels, catapults, and other evidence prove. (Not to mention the inconvenient fact that many illegal aliens fly into the U.S.A. on tourist visas and simply stay.)

However, from what I’ve read, the wall (where it exists) in fact does mostly work. People who’d rather cross into Southern California are now forced farther east where there’s no wall. Sadly, many of them die in the hostile desert conditions there, but that’s not an argument for letting them walk into Chula Vista, California.

Maybe extending the wall would even be a humanitarian thing to do. Publicize the heck out of it, and maybe people who otherwise would have died in the desert stay at home and try to make a go of the lives they have where they are. Or apply for an immigrant visa and get in the old-fashioned way.

So why has no one pointed out the fact that the U.S.A. already has a ten-year-old, established “wall policy”?

trumpWhy did none of Donald Trump’s Republican primary opponents point this out? Maybe Trump was right to call his opponents idiots. There’s not a whole lot of evidence to the contrary.

And as you can now see, this is not going to be an easy issue for Hillary Clinton either. She knows it’s already U.S. policy. Neither she nor her boss ever once suggested tearing it down. And unless she’s very careful, Trump is going to take her apart on this one.

And Mexico needs to stop pretending too that the wall is something new. It’s not.

* * * *

(Note from Felipe: Panama just announced it’s building a wall on its southern border to keep out illegal aliens entering from Colombia. Walls are catching on.)

(Why Trump will win big-time, according to Dilbert.)

(The Thinking Man’s Guide to Donald Trump in The American Spectator. Quite interesting.)

We’re back!

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Enjoying a smoke in the cool mountain air.

WHEN I MOVED south of the border in 2000, nobody asked me if I was afraid because there was no reason to be.

It was great for six years.

Then something happened during the administration of Felipe Calderón, a president I voted for. I believe his hard-nosed approach to the narco issue made things worse.

Violence between narcos and police and military escalated, and violence between narco gangs themselves spiked.

Your average citizen remained safe, however.

It didn’t take many stories — one, actually — of severed heads rolling across cantina floors plus hundreds of Americans* being slain to stop tourism dead in its tracks here.

When we first visited Zihuatanejo on the Pacific coast years ago, there were always cruise ships in the bay. That stopped. We haven’t seen even one in a long time.

My mountaintop town, a 16th century colonial beauty on the shore of a huge lake, lives off tourism. To a large degree, that screeched to a halt too. It was quite noticeable.

But, through those bad years, a tourist’s chances of encountering violence was virtually zero, no more so than what one faces during a winter weekend in Tampa.

Our bad reputation was fueled nonstop by an irresponsible, clueless, American news media with the assist of an absolutely hysterical U.S. State Department whose “travel warnings” were laughable to anyone who lived here.

When President Enrique Peña Nieto took office in 2012 things calmed down considerably, but our ill fame lived on. But now, four years later, things appear to be changing.

In recent weeks, the quantity of tourists to our quaint mountain town has skyrocketed. For those of us who do not depend on tourism, it just means more traffic snarls. But to many others, it means a livelihood.

I am happy about this. Perhaps this is a light at the end of a long tunnel and that clear thinking and rationality are coming to the forefront. It’s a great place to live.

And an even better place to visit.

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Jam-packed central plaza on Sunday.

* The Americans are invariably named Garcia, Torres, Hernandez, never Smith or Jones. They are inhabitants of border zones who get involved in the narco trade, and often end up dead, but they are U.S. citizens. They are not tourists.