Monday, December 3, 2007

Viva North American Union!

No posts in a while, but I'm still here. I'm working on some longer pieces so please check in every so often. Also, come January, this will again be my primary travel journal site.

In a world of ever eroding journalistic standards, I am finding it is dangerous to rely on a handful of outlets to get the news. My weekly uptake includes The Economist, the SF Chronicle, primarily for the Giants coverage, and a smattering of internet sites. The past couple weeks one of my big two really let me down. The Chronicle has been running a series on the Ron Paul presidential bid, mostly to portray the motley array of disaffected Bay Area Paul supporters: anti-war conservatives, libertarian minded techies, and others fed up with run of the mill partisanship. The articles have exaggerated the impact of his Guy Fawkes Day haul of $4.2 million in internet campaign contributions while downplaying the snowball in hell odds that Paul will win even a single delegate in the primaries. I'm not criticizing the spin, journalists get bored with the status quo like the rest of us, and it is interesting to see how extremist campaigns can energize certain slivers of otherwise dormant electorate. Less acceptable is the scant coverage of his actual campaign platform. If you are going to hype a dark horse, at least inform us what the guy would do if elected. All I gleaned from these articles is that Paul is against the war, pro-drug legalization (things I would expect from a libertarian), and anti-NAFTA. Ok, but why the NAFTA slam? Is it because he is an idealistic free trader who does not believe in regional blocs and the compromises that make these pacts politically feasible? Or is he merely pandering to protectionists like the rest of the field?

Which leads to the inexcusable: in these two weeks of Chronicle coverage, not a single article has given me a whiff that Ron Paul is a total NUT JOB. Perhaps they figured the local readership would take it for granted that the views of a Libertarian Congressman from Texas (aside from drug legalization) would be mostly alien regardless of the specifics. It wasn’t until this weekend when an old high school friend, Clay Risen, editor of Democracy, gave me the story the Chronicle might have done better to include along with all the fluff pieces.

It turns out Paul is a believer in a latter day New World Order type continental conspiracy called the North American Union. He maintains that the Council on Foreign Relations along with a raft of lesser-known political groups are scheming for a super-national merger of the United States with Canada and Mexico. NAFTA was just the first step. He claims a NAFTA inspired 20-lane superhighway that would link Mexico with the United States and Canada is currently in the works, though obfuscated, of course, in the dense legislation of various transportation bills and by the machinations of a consortium of big business interests and rogue federal agencies. Once this continental highway is completed, however, it is a slippery slope into continental political union, our loss national sovereignty, and dread, mandatory French lessons.

Lunacy perhaps, but Paul hits a nerve among those dialed in to late night AM talk radio land. He has a rabid following among conspiracy theorists who have grown tired of waiting for the UN convoys to trammel upon our breadbasket with the aid of UFO cruisers (an actual report I heard on “Coast to Coast” in the late 90’s) and have now consolidated their wrath to blame Mexico for something other than her Spanish speaking exodus.

Paul supporter Paul Von Nothaus, founder of the Liberty Dollar, began minting various denominations of gold, silver and copper coins to be used as a competing currency that would simultaneously raise money for the Paul campaign. The Liberty Dollar dovetailed nicely with Paul’s call for a return to the Gold Standard. Thousands of coins were purchased by Paul supporters until the Treasury department took notice and the secret service began seizing the Paul dollars in circulation. You just can’t mock a conspiracy and hope to get away with it.

This is probably news only to me, proof that I’m far from my debate days when I scoured the political wire with the same relish I still mull over the box scores. I had never heard of a NAFTA superhighway nor the North America Union, but upon reflection, I am undoubtedly for both. Twenty lanes of smooth asphalt beats the heck out of the pot-hole riddled Pan American highway. One trip over the craters and the speed bumps awaiting at every three hut village from San Cristobal, Mexico to Guatemala City and I assure you you'll be happy to sign up for what sounds like a transportation-minded union.

And how exactly do these skeptics figure we’ll be throwing away any sovereignty in the deal? Will our thirty three million Canadian neighbors be writing the new rules? Ha! What about the new Southern overlords? The Mexicans have problems controlling their own country, (which at the moment is considerably more dangerous than my next destination, Colombia) and don’t forget our last war with the Sudenos was one of the quickest, most pain-free land grabs of all time. My bet is on Uncle Sam coming out king of the North American Union.

Sounds more like 21st century Manifest Destiny. We triple our landmass, plunder the resources of our hapless northern neighbors, and actively regulate our cheap labor supply to the south. Throw in some free adult language classes along with the mandatory French and Spanish in the new grade school curriculums, and I’m first in line.

So why can I only find anti North America Union bumper stickers on the web? Surely there is a pro lobby in the making. Oh right, the neo-illuminati types. So in the meantime I’ll have to look into getting a seat on one of these secret councils to assure a cush job in the new bureaucracy.

1 comment:

ctw said...

Bill, glad you are still writing. By the way, where are you headed in January for travelling?