Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 513, April 5, 2009

"Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper."

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A Dispatch from the Reality Wars
by Craig Goodrich
craigg -+at+-

Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

Yesterday the President confirmed that the Federal Government has taken over the American auto industry by firing the CEO of General Motors.

OK, fine, after more than thirty years of "fleet average efficiency" regulations forcing the industry to build cars that nobody wants to buy, the Government takes over GM because nobody wants to buy their cars.

Got it.

Now the Feds have given Chrysler a firm deadline to close some deal with Fiat. Lovely. Back in the late '50s and early '60s, when I was a teenager and hence paid a great deal of attention to The New Cars, Chrysler had a reputation for two things:

a) Marvelous engineering, and
b) Wretched quality control.

Now we hear that the Chrysler deal would be great because "Fiat has no presence in North America." Well, if I remember the '70s right, Fiat once had a substantial presence in North America, but it disappeared because Fiats rapidly gained a reputation for falling apart within a year, whether the fancy sports cars or the sensible economy models.

Toyotas and Datsuns looked funny, back then, but they didn't disintegrate before spring. That's why Fiat "has no presence" in North America. Obviously, Chrysler and Fiat is a match made in Heaven. For certain values of "Heaven."

But of course many of the Big Three cars are now assembled in Canada or Mexico. Mexico is having big problems; the Colombian drug cartels have outsourced their operations to our southern neighbor, perhaps because of cheaper labor, and now cartel drug violence is the major domestic problem in Mexico. And of course our Secretary of State has identified the basic causes: American money and American guns.

OK, why is so much American money flowing into these thugs' (possibly secret, in spite of FinCEN) bank accounts? Well, heroin is around $100 a fix, and a chemically identical dose of morphine is $2. Before the April Fool's Day tobacco tax increase, a pound of tobacco was around $10; ask your friendly local hippie how much grass is in a "nickel bag". The absurd profits of the drug trade come from drug prohibition, not from the drugs themselves. The obvious solution to the "money" side of the equation is simply to legalize them; the price drops radically, the quality improves, and the cartel falls apart.

Mexican youth can make more pesos selling tortillas or Big Macs than working for the druglords.

But what about these awful guns? Well, in a report on the recent assassination of some insufficiently-corrupt Mexican official, it was noted that more that 100 empty cartridge cases were found. Now, either the cartels managed to put together a team of more than two dozen assassins, or a much smaller team was using fully-automatic (continuous firing, machine-gun) weapons. A couple of troubling facts (I'm so, so sorry):

a) The only gun mentioned was the AK-47. Now the "AK-47s" sold in the US are SEMI-automatic weapons; they fire no faster than a Remington 750, a respected deer rifle for nearly half a century. They are internally designed to be impossible to convert into machine guns; if they could be easily converted, the ATF would classify them as machine guns and require a lengthy background check and hideous transfer tax (equivalent to—now—four cartons of cigarettes) for you to buy one. The going rate for one of these toy guns is now around $400, rising when Democrats control Congress and falling when Republicans are spending our money.

On the other hand, fully-automatic machine-gun versions (the real AK-47s) are available in the streets of Tirana, Albania, for less than $25. The Middle East, the Balkans, Southeast Asia, and China are awash in these military weapons, these light machine guns. So, you say, the clever cartels are buying the American-market imitations when they could get a containerload of real machine guns for a tenth the price?

OK, how about if Dianne Feinstein puts on her reddest lipstick and sneaks into a gun show. She slinks up to a table and says, "Hi, honey, how about two dozen full-auto assault rifles? I've got the cash in my garter." Give me a break.

b) With typical Gringo arrogance, we assume only we can make guns.

But if you want a really nice handgun, Latin America can supply them without help from New England. Forjas Taurus of Brazil makes both revolvers and "automatic" (self-loading) pistols of very high quality.

The high-end pistol maker Springfield Armory of Illinois bases its fine guns on parts forged in South America. Since 1927, military pistols have been made on original Colt tooling in Argentina. If the Mexican drug cartels have any decent sense of cultural solidarity, they will discover that there is no reason to depend on the stupid gringos for any sort of firepower at all. Just look at a map, for God's sake; Mexico has thousands of miles of unpatrolled coastline.

So the latest round of hot political topical news coverage is based completely on lies and ignorance.

Surprise, surprise.


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