Mexican Standoff 2.0

I’m not sure how much accurate news the US media reports about Mexico, but if they’ve mentioned anything about a gas shortage going on south of the border, that is true.

If you weren’t alive and driving a car in 1970’s, you might not know there were a couple of gas crises in the United States.

In October of 1973, OPEC decided to stop exporting oil to the United States in response to President Nixon’s domestic and foreign policies.

There was a second crisis in 1979 when the puppet government of the Shah of Iran, which had been supported by the American government, collapsed and the Ayatollah Khomeini instituted his repressive Islamic rule.

The result of these shortages was soaring gas prices and long lines at filling stations, and they contributed to  major economic downturns in the U.S.

I could elaborate more, but I’m pretty much done talking about American history. If you need to know more about this, look it up on the Interweb.

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The current Mexican gas shortage doesn’t have anything to with pissed off Arabs. The new President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, is fighting a war against organized crime.

Criminal gangs known as huachicoleros have been siphoning gasoline from pipelines for decades, and reselling it. The new Mexican president campaigned on cleaning up the corruption in his country, and made it a priority to stop the gangs.

According to available statistics, the market for cheap stolen fuel cost the government some 60 billion pesos, or $3.14 billion last year.

That’s a whole lots of tacos, baby.

The short-term effect of this has been predictable. Long lines of cars waiting for gasoline, limited/rationed amounts of gas for sale, and a whole lots of pissed off people. It’s actually been closer to standstill than a standoff.

The long-term effects should be considerable. Increased revenue for the government to fund the multitudinous improvements that Mexico needs, and it could weaken the hold of some of the fucking gangs of criminals who have essentially done whatever they want without any fear of repercussions.

If you want to make an omelette, you have to break a lots of eggs. If you want to attack the grip of organized crime, you have kick a lots of gangs in the cojones. Studies have shown that if you kick a guy in the balls, he’ll stop engaging in whatever he was doing and get down on his knees to pray. Or puke. Or both.

I wish Presidente López Obrador the best of success. He seems to be concerned about actually improving his country for the benefit of his people.

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cor·rup·tion
/kəˈrəpSH(ə)n/
noun
  1. dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power, typically involving bribery.

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That’s the one of the definitions of corruption, just in cases you were wondering. To be certain, you don’t have to be in a position of power to be corrupt. In just pays better when you are.

Corruption isn’t a problem specific to Mexico. It’s a global political issue. Fixing it isn’t a huge priority for most governments, mostly because it’s such a huge problem. It appears to be easier to look the other way than it is to try to fix a broken political system.

The Donald was elected President of the United States partially because he promised to clean up American politics and make government work better for those who feel their interests have been neglected by political elites.

He proudly proclaimed that he’s not a politician. And nobody disagrees with him.

Yet, rather than feeling better about progress in the fight against corruption over the past year, a clear majority of people in America now say that things have become worse. Nearly six in ten people now say that the level of corruption has risen in the past twelve months, up from around a third who said the same in January 2016.

If you don’t change the way you do business, you end up with business as usual. This is one of The Donald’s broken promises that he hasn’t lost any sleep over. Trump’s hardcore supporters don’t seem to be upset by that in the least, and that says more about them than any of the things they actually say.

In all honesty, I’m getting tired of pointing out Trump’s shortcomings. I had no intention of writing about him when I started this post, and yet, here we are. Again.

The partial government shutdown is in its 29th day. Trump said he is going to make “an important announcement” later today that will lay out the details of a deal he’s hoping to make with Democrats that will end the shutdown.

It’s a face-saving gesture. The majority of the country blames him for the shutdown, and people remember that shit when they vote.

I hadn’t thought of The Donald’s Great Border Wall in terms of political corruption until recently. I thought it was more of his shortsightedness than anything else.

But if he gets the funding to build his wall, The Donald will be able to hand out government contracts to private companies to build his wall. And those contracts will go to some of The Donald’s rich buddies who support him.

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America is the only country whose lifestyle has been immortalized with a catch phrase.

The American Dream.

No one dreams about living in Haiti. Or Nigeria. Or anywhere else.

People want to go to America because it has promised something no place else offers. A chance for a better life. That’s what the American dream is. That’s all it is.

It’s not that much of a dream anymore. Global opinion of the United States has dropped precipitously in recent years, and remains at an all-time low. And there’s only one reason for that.

Donald Trump.

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It’s abundantly clear that Americans could care less about what the rest of the world thinks about them, or their country. They’re actually kind of proud about not caring. There’s another word for it.

Apathy.

If you don’t know what that means, look it up.

The American Dream is dying. To be sure, it’s dying a slow death, but whether you die swiftly or slowly, you still end up dead.

There’s still time to save it. America just needs to wake up and remember who, and what, she used to be.

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” ~ The Lorax