Tuesday, August 31, 2010
With the arrest of the fairly washed up former drug princepin known as "La Barbie," the blogosphere and the news folks are up in a fluster again about how "Calderon's" drug war / US proxy war in Mexico is destroying the country. Is it so long ago that the indie media (of which I am generally a fan), and the correspondents of the mainstream were all over one of Mexico's truly "bad guy" presidents Carlos Salinas de Gortari for NOT doing enough to go after the cartel butchers? At the end of the day I am no big fan of the PAN or Calderon... not beyond their presence starting a little competition in the Mexican political market. However, Eddie Valdez (La Barbie) did some truly rotten things to both Mexican and US citizens for which he needs to do some serious (life) jail time. Until Mexico and the US either A) invent a time machine that goes back to 1930 and changes narcotics policy; B) they work out an economic system that legitimizes all narcotics and black market items while simultaneously creating a total global free market where everything is legal and offer amnesty for crimes committed in the past by "alternative economy" types; C) they go back to the 1970s model of ignoring narcotics trafficking THEN we have to deal with a reality where a president serious about law enforcement regarding a truly brutal sector of society needs to be engaged.
On both the right and the left the conversation about the rule of law in Latin America has been heated... and in one direction: that it is a cure for Latin American ills. But the slaughter we see in Mexico is a direct result of that transition to the rule of law. So I have to ask, do you really want it or not? And if your answer is to simply change the laws to fit the criminals (make narcotics legal), then is that really the rule of law? And if not narcotics, what is next? At the end of the day this war in Mexico is and will continue to be brutal and Calderon will continue to be mediocre president at best. And while we know he is not the best Mexico can do, is he really the worst?
Friday, August 27, 2010
So, Mexicans immigrate to the United States because Mexico stinks and they want to come to the US and simultaneously take jobs / live on unemployment while not having to live in Mexico while turning the US into Mexico. *sigh* Living in Texas I get to hear all sorts of perceptions about immigration.
Meanwhile, back in Montana, the Center for the Rocky Mountain West appeared in an article in the Missoulian and, shock of shocks, they point out that immigration is a product of supply and demand in the labor market. I am sure all Latin America specialists, business people, and workers are completely baffled by this concept. At any rate, it is a nice article from the Missoulian.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
1) the comments from the readers were overwhelmingly negative, with one commentator on a related story on the temple wondering if the building was a front for drug runners and illegal aliens. LDM is probably Mexico's closest approximation of the sort of Christianity you will find practiced by many in Alaska, such as Palin's former Wasila Assembly of God church. LDM are probably conservative Alaskans' greatest allies in terms of "issues" - but they certainly can't see beyond the racial profiling.
2) Not far from San Antonio the Luz del Mundo maintain a lavish exotic animal park and collection of vintage cars (see the San Antonio News Express story here) - an odd juxtaposition to the 4 year struggle of the Alaska congregation to finish its building. While I appreciate the interesting idea of Mexican wealth needing to prop up insufficient funds in the US, I am also struck by the lack of central planning in an otherwise very tightly controlled centralized church. Perhaps LDM is not the religious juggernaut that I and others have made it out to be. Apparently, according to the ADN story, this is not the only stalled church in the works. Perhaps, of course, I am just reading too much into a policy of asking local congregations to take control of the their own building facilities.
Monday, August 23, 2010
A bullet that flew through a building at the University of Texas at El Paso may have crossed the U.S.-Mexico border during a shootout between drug traffickers and Mexican federal police, authorities said.
University President Diana Natalicio said Sunday a bullet struck Bell Hall sometime Saturday evening. No injuries were reported at the building.
That same evening, a "major gun battle" between drug traffickers and Mexican authorities broke out in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, just 30 yards from the U.S. border at El Paso, Texas, a U.S. Border Patrol spokesman said. Read more here.
Of course, El Paso seems to be simultaneously fulfilling its historical role while missing out on much of the tourist money that could be made from that role. If you ever get a chance to take the self-guided walking tour of El Paso, TX - you MUST do it. It isn't my favorite town, but it is my favorite town in Texas. At any rate, you can still see some buildings where various revolutionary figures drank soda pop, played espionage games, or plotted coups. Most memorable are the hotels that proudly proclaim to the be the places where US Americans lounged about on the roof and watched the revolution. The US voyeurism of violence in Mexico still seems to be a popular pastime.
"A safe and comfortable place to view a Mexican Revolution." The roof garden of the El Paso del Norte Hotel was just one of the many buildings which provided a ringside seat to the Mexican Revolution (El Paso County Historical Society.)
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Under a military dictatorship with people plucked out of their homes and tortured we got nary a peep from the Argentine pastors, but now, under a leftist government and a society embracing abortion and gay marriage, the Argentine Bishops are suddenly all abuzz with the fear of street crime.
The Archbishop / Jesuit / Cardinal Bergoglio (son of Italian Argentine rail workers) is a fairly conservative fellow and probably the closest competition Ratzinger had in the elevation to pope - but essentially just two opposing peas in the same very conservative pod. At any rate, Bergoglio's sudden concern for security as an issue is most likely a ploy to get involved with Argentine politics after the July name calling / mud slinging between himself and Presidente Fernandez de Kirchner (he said gay marriage was from Satan, she called him medieval, etc).
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
The complex issues surrounding immigration are a matter of increasing concern and debate for all in this country.
Elected individuals have the primary responsibility to find solutions in the best interests of all whose lives will be impacted by their actions.
We repeat our appeal for careful reflection and civil discourse when addressing immigration issues. Finding a successful resolution will require the best thinking and goodwill of all across the political spectrum, the highest levels of statesmanship, and the strongest desire to do what is best for all of God’s children.
According to KSL, the Mormon owned media group in Salt Lake, the statement was greeted with thumbs up from both Proyecto Latino de Utah and the Utah Coalition on Illegal Immigration. In the context of the illegal and just mean spirited release of so-called illegals in Utah earlier this summer, perhaps a weak statement just to stay classy becomes a more powerful statement. At any rate, according to my cousins in Idaho the statement was greeted with incredible anger by conservative Mormons in SE Idaho (Holly, you really should have stayed in Montana).
Utah's Latino population - like the US South - has seen an explosion of mostly Latino immigration from outside the US. As Utah's families have become more affluent, teens and adults have abandoned service and agricultural work which are two of the driving forces in the state. And, yes, most of those immigrants remain Catholic or at least non-Mormon (sorry, Lou Dobbs). At any rate, Utah's governor has convened a round table that has generated little results (that I could find) at this point, but two big thumbs up to Luz Robles and Mark Shurtleff for these two comments:
"Reactive legislation, enforcing outside our state purview is not good public policy," said Sen. Luz Robles, D-Salt Lake City.Why should we care? Considering the wealth and power that the LDS community wields in Arizona, California, Nevada, and the rest of the Mountain West, proponents of a a civil discourse need support from US Mormons in the West.
"In 1869, this country was joined together in this state, and the two groups that came together to drive that spike were the Chinese and Irish workers," said Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff. "Immigrants who were not legal at the time."