EPN finally gets to the bottom of something

EPN took to twitter to clear up a big controversy. Unfortunately, it was about whether he knows how to put on a pair of socks!

While we here at CG applaud this as progress, we wonder if EPN might not be better served clearing up more important issues like say, where is Chapo Guzman, or killed those 43 students, or why so many journalists are still dying, or why his wife has a mansion given to her by a big government contractor.

Well at least we all know now that EPN knows the difference between his toes and his heel. He’s still working on distinguishing his butt from a hole in the ground though.

Who’s Killin’ Who?

“Mexico is killing U.S. on trade,”

“They’re killing us at the border and they’re killing us on jobs and trade. FIGHT!”

~ D. Trump

Here’s the data:

mex trade

Looks like a 500% plus increase in total trade, a merchandise trade deficit of around $50 billion and US merchandise exports of around $240 billion.

There is also a $10 – 15 billion US trade surplus in services to consider.

For context, The US merchandise trade deficit with China was $343 billion in 2014 and US exports to China were $123.6 billion.

The US exports twice as much to Mexico as it does to China and its merchandise trade deficit with Mexico is around 6.5 times smaller than its deficit with China.

It is also true that a lot of US trade with Mexico come from an international production process as can be seen below:

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The US imports Motor Vehicles and their parts, oil and gas, computer equipment and audio-visual equipment from Mexico while it exports Motor Vehicle parts, Petroleum products computer equipment and electronic components to Mexico.

****Let us pause for a moment of silence to remember the late, lamented Heckscher-Ohlin theory of trade******

It would be far more accurate to say that US drug laws are killing Mexico than to say that any or everything that Mexico may be doing is hurting the US.

Una de Sangre por una de Lluvia

Amazing video by Vice about the modern version of sacrificing to Tlaloc for a good rainy season.

Tlaloc-4

Besides the rituals, the video also gives a look at life in rural southern Mexico. Calda de cabeza. A “sheriff” who only speaks in boldface lies, heavy drinking……

Hey, I wonder if this would work in California?

Houston, tenemos un problema!

Reuters published an article titled “Mexican ruling party insiders fear embattled president a liability.”  In what has to be the best distillation of the PRI ever printed, PRI lawmaker Francisco Arroyo, deputy speaker of the lower house, states:

“We have a serious problem perception-wise nationally about levels of government corruption.”

Indeed, from the PRI’s perspective, the problem isn’t that there is massive corruption, but rather that the public is on to them!  I wonder if Congressman Arroyo knew just how telling that statement was.

Gender Ambiguity in a Gender-Marked Language

The NY Times published an interesting piece yesterday called “Redefining Gender in Mexico City.”  Micah, a transgender advocate, spoke to the author about the linguistic difficulties of being transgender in a gender-marked language.  Here’s an interesting bit;

“In Spanish there is no gender-neutral pronoun. Whenever you speak, you have to give yourself a gender. Estoy cansado. Estoy cansada. It’s very difficult to say, “I’m tired” without gender. You have to say, “I have tiredness.” Tengo cansancio.Sometimes I wouldn’t say the ends of words. I’d say, “Estoy cansad. … ” Or instead of using cansado or cansada, I’d say, “Estoy muy tired.”

The article goes on to detail just how forward thinking Mexico City has become (unlike the rest of the country) when it comes to gender issues.  Micah transitioned from female to male a couple of years ago and was able to officially change his gender after going through a number of hoops.  Now, he notes:

“The legal proc­ess I went through in Mexico City, over a year with lawyers and doctors, is obsolete today. Changing your gender on your birth certificate is just an administrative matter now. That’s the new law that passed last year.”

Nice to hear some good news coming from the DF!

Murakami meets Mexican buses

Thanks to Elinor Comlay (@ElinorComlay), I learned about a very cool free e-book on the folkloric history of Mexican buses.  Here is the link and it is well worth checking out, just for the incredible photos, if nothing else.  The project is called Subale Hay Lugares, roughly translated as, Climb In, There are Places (we’ll see or go).

Here is the description of the project in Spanish.  It reminds me a lot of a Haruki Murakami novel, which is high praise:

La cultura que gira en torno al transporte público en México es muy amplia. Acercarse a la cultura estética de las diferentes rutas que surcan las calles de las ciudades mexicanas es adentrarse profundamente en la psique del mexicano. Todo es lo mismo, pero diferente. El lenguaje, por ejemplo, es definitivamente críptico. Aunque se utilicen las mismas palabras, los significados están trastocados. El mundo de los camiones y los peseros está aquí, convive con el nuestro, pero es otro.

It’s hard for me to translate it into English without losing a lot of the poetry.  Here are a couple of my favorite Murakami-like parts:

To explore the aesthetic culture of the different routes that cross the streets of Mexican cities is to delve deep into the Mexican psyche. Everything is the same, but different. Language, for example, is definitely cryptic. Although the same words are used, the meanings are disrupted. The world of trucks and buses is here, coexists with ours, but it is another.

Here are a couple great photos from the project:

subale

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EPN, or at least his hair, is unflappable

As more corruption allegations arise, El Presidente seems relatively unruffled, or at least his hair does.  In a very funny, and very important, article, Rafa Fernandez de Castro asks “How does the Mexican president get his hair to look so flawless?

Rafa notes that EPN has lego hair; that is, hair that apparently adheres to the US postal service creed (“neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds”).  Here is the lego version:

lego_hair

The infamous cowlick became a motif when EPN was running for president.  Here are some of his supporters demonstrating their follicular affinity:

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As opposition has mounted to his presidency, the famous coif is now being used against him:

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The public has also taken to social media to debate how he maintains such perfectly coiffed hair.  Responding to a photo of EPN finishing a race, one tweeter wrote: “The cowlick is INTACT [sic] please let us know what gel he uses.

Others hypothesize that he has an acrylic helmet, a wig, or perhaps just glues his hair in place.  I imagine him having a whole row of acrylic helmets on a shelf, just in case.  If only he spent half as much time on issues like murdered students, Mexico might be doing a lot better from a human rights perspective.