If you didn’t watch Conan O’Brien’s “Made in Mexico” special, it’s worth your time to catch up. Among other things, there’s some top-tier prop comedy by ex-PM Vicente Fox.

It made me surprisingly emotional, and it was fortunate I had kleenex handy. It’s no secret that I grew up in Texas, which was part of Mexico before it was part of the United States. I have a lot of Mexican-American friends, and also a lot of Mexican friends.

I always expected our countries to develop a closer bond – for NAFTA to become something like the Schengen area. It is strange and sad that people at the head of my country talk about Mexicans like they’re enemies or boogeymen. That’s not how I feel. It’s hard for me to accept it’s how most Americans feel. If they do, they’re wrong.

In any case, I’m sorry for the pain we’re putting Mexicans through at the moment. If you think wild Trump statements are only wild and terrifying for the US, imagine being our newly-despised neighbor while investors use the peso as a weird currency hedge.


Pipeline Made of Words

One of the executive orders President Trump signed yesterday re-authorized the Keystone XL pipeline. Which that company (TransCanada) is no longer sure it could build, since the stakeholders have moved on to other projects. In fact, TransCanada are in the midst of suing the US for $15 billion for having blocked the pipeline, and this executive order could be interpreted as us agreeing we need to pay them 15 billion dollars.

However, being a Canadian company, they’re suing us under NAFTA, which Trump has said he’s going to renegotiate.

However, the president of Mexico, one of the NAFTA treaty countries, is rethinking whether he wants to talk about negotiating any of this, or anything at all, since Trump’s building a wall (at an estimated minimum cost of $20 billion).

What’s going to happen? I don’t know. But I do know, from lots of experience, that writing something down doesn’t automatically cause it to occur, even after it’s published nationally. Otherwise I would have a genie buddy, an android research assistant, and a haunted card deck.

Obama, Trudeau, and Pena Walk Down a Hall

Regardless of how you feel about NAFTA or any of their domestic policies (for me, complicated and varying), how implausible was it to have not one but THREE neighboring political leaders slash treaty partners this good looking? This meeting was in June. Not even Roland Emmerich could have gotten away with an implausible shot like this.

Schneider says: There will be no more genuine smiling in presidential photos. Just a look of anguished doom.

Romie: Believe it or not, I’m trying as hard as I can to give Trump the benefit of the doubt. Currently I ascribe to the narrative that Trump is actually the frog prince, but got stuck in an era of widespread democracy, which kept him trapped. He ran a bunch of beauty pageants in the hopes that one of the crowned winners would count as sufficiently princess to give him a kiss and break the spell, but it didn’t work. He got angrier and angrier, and started just grabbing attractive women (can’t help it) because he’s desperate at this point to turn back into a human before he dies of old froggy age.

Eventually, he decided his only chance to meet a (narrowly defined by the spell it seems) real princess is to become a head of state and do major outreach to authoritarian governments. He’s so keen on it he started making foreign policy tweets even before inaguration! Hopefully, a female member of the royal family of Brunei, Swaziland, Saudi Arabia, or Oman will give him a peck on the cheek right after he’s sworn in, and our/Trump’s long nightmare will be over.

Gabriela says: My president makes me puke. I detest him… if you knew the cynisism behind that smile you would too.

Romie: You are correct that I’m commenting on the image rather than the personalities. I never know how much of a slant there is on US coverage of Mexican politics. I’m aware at least of the recent protests, and I’ve heard about a few of the scandals but without the context to understand how serious they are. If there’s anything specific you’d recommend I read, even if I have to run it through Google translate, I’d appreciate the help. He’s out soon, though, right? 6 year max term if I remember right?

Gabriela: Yes, I will send you links.