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The great triumph of capitalism

FeaturesThe great triumph of capitalism

I read that there’s a planet out there that is made of diamonds, and the first thought that came to my mind when I read that is what De Beers would do if one of those spaceships got too close to it. The planet, 55 Cancri e, was discovered in 2004 and the website Space.com says that it is composed mainly of carbon, in the form of diamond and graphite, and that at least a “third of the planet’s mass is likely pure diamond.”

This De Beers, Britannica.com says that in 1871 Cecil Rhodes bought a claim to its diamond mine in southern Africa and, to keep prices high and demand steady, from there he bought up most of the diamond mines in that part of the world. Britannica says that the Great Depression (1930s) depressed prices and forced the closure of a number of mines, and to stimulate prices De Beers hired an advertising company to promote diamonds as a social status thing—and ah, a romance story…and like magic the shiny stone became a girl’s best friend.

Aha, you can’t keep every good thing to yourself, definitely not all of the time; there were/are challengers, but they all work in cahoots to keep the money flowing in for that piece of stone.

It isn’t likely that anyone will be landing on this 55 Cancri e, at least not soon, but you can bet that De Beers and friends will be on the first spaceship that makes a landing there, or they will have negotiated some favorable accommodation. Let’s not be naïve. No De Beers sanction, that deh spaceship plane won’t leave the launching pad, even if it carries the flag with the big star and the four little stars, or the one with the gold hammer, sickle, and little star.

There are laws in some places to break up monopolies, but the game I’m after here today is the savvy of the system. The oil of capitalism is the creation of things, anything, and making people want them/it. A famous circus owner once said a sucker is born every minute. Yap, the smartest people getting less smart people to buy things, some of which they don’t need, is the juice of this capitalism. My, to make a guy need a glittery stone to prove his love to a girl!

Communism and left-leaning socialism could never pull off such scams…it’s crazy, people puling in gobs of cash for singing songs, playing ball, and acting in movies. Bah, very often these people don’t know what to do with the loot. Some get heady. Some male ones only live to buy trinkets to please women, which, you know, dovetails with De Beers scam.

De Beers knows what to do with the loot they collect. Britannica says the company has “interests in explosives manufacturing and chemical manufacturing; in gold, coal, and copper mines; and in (aha) synthetic diamonds.” I bet that synthetic diamonds business is to dissuade the space explorers, a little warning shot across their bows, so they can’t raise the funds to sponsor the ship. How can you sell a planet made of diamonds if De Beers is going to flood the market with fake ones?

But quién sabe, capitalists can sell anything.

Did Dr. Guerra not run because she lost in 2015?

Dr. Guerra has been in the news recently for not renewing her contract as CEO at the Ministry of Natural Resources and for apparently turning down a similar position at the Ministry of Health & Wellness. Without ever meeting the lady or knowing any of the innards of her life, going only with what has been in public view, the pattern here suggests that she is someone who noh tek two from nobody.

Looking at her resume, she has worked in public health, where she held a number of positions, and then she moved on to Mount Carmel Clinic & Pharmacy in 2010, as head physician. I don’t know if she owns or has shares in the clinic; what we all know is that after gaining considerable experience in the medical field she entered the political arena, in Cayo West for the PUP.

In 2015 she was crushed by Erwin Contreras, by nearly 1,300 votes. This was an election which found the PUP still very much divided, and a UDP not only flush with cash because of the Petro Caribe, but also riding high after they cut what then seemed to be a favorable deal with Ashcroft or his friends to settle the BTL nationalization.

It’s an intriguing question, why Dr. Guerra didn’t contest Cayo West for the PUP in 2020. Looking at the division, it had belonged to Erwin Contreras of the UDP since 1998, by massive margins after he won a squeaker over the PUP’s Dr. Amin Hegar in 1998. Erwin sailed through Kendall Mendez in 2003, K Mendez again in 2008, Oscar Sabido in 2012, and Dr. Guerra in 2015. Did she feel she would lose to Erwin again? Did she not feel the powerful winds blowing behind the blue gang last year?

If we judge by the two high-profile positions she has held/been offered in the new government, Dr. Guerra is in good standing with the leading faction of the ruling party. Really, didn’t she want to run again? Was she blocked from running because she lost in 2015? If we joggle our memories just a little, we find that the PUP endorsed Jorge Hegar Espat for Cayo West, in 2020. But Hegar Espat seemed so uninterested in running he hadn’t registered to vote. Too many divisions have been won or lost narrowly for a serious candidate not to know that every vote counts.

We are told the UDP has a stupid rule that a candidate who has lost at the polls thrice can’t run again. Really, serious candidates should stay away from that party when the winds aren’t blowing favorably. I’ve heard the UDP has talked about applying this rule to block John Saldivar from running again, but if they were real it’s a lot more substantial for him to apologize for his choice of donors and accept that area representatives must have better judgment than the rest of us.

Kendall Mendez ran and lost twice, but some good candidates lose heart after a single whipping at the polls. Some are satisfied with one bite at the race, and some get smeared as a loser by opportunists in their party. Intrigue, intrigue, I guess that’s why people like the politics so much; that’s why we want to know Dr. Guerra’s story.

In times of Covid, leaders can go back on their word

Every sailor wants to chart a direct course, to bring their ship to port at a time they promised, but if the wind shifts, they have to tack, and if a storm comes up, they have to reef sails. No government likes to change course, because it makes it look weak, indicates that it hasn’t done thorough research before making its decisions, but in these extraordinary times in which we are living, because of the virus, the best laid plans can be scuttled overnight.

The virus mutates with incredible speed, and when it does we cannot bury our heads; we have to react based on the knowledge we have. The government had planned to reopen the land borders in January, but changed course when all the expert calculations showed that in January there would be a spike in Covid-19 cases. Hmm, the government had also announced, insisted that schools would reopen in the second week of January. Schools have been shuttered for almost two years, far too long, and no one wants the education of our children and youth to be delayed any further. But the Omicron variant seems to be saying it should be for another two weeks, or four.

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