Politically Incorrect Amateur Politicians….Really?

Politically Incorrect Amateur Politicians….Really?

On June 16th Donald Trump ended weeks of speculation and formally announced his candidacy for the office of President of the United States in the style that is unique to Mr Trump and has become his trademark. To say that the speech was full of hyperbole would be an understatement and as expected, the reaction was swift and from the establishment side of both parties, negative. The speech was labeled as a politically incorrect diatribe coming from somebody who wants to dabble in the realm of politics, a realm best left to the professional politicians and Political Science graduates from Ivy League institutions; in other words, “amateurs not wanted or encouraged” Nevertheless, it would be a huge mistake for the establishment to ignore Mr Trump’s candidacy because in that speech, he touched and expanded on subjects and themes that, like the proverbial elephant in the room, everyone is aware of but refuse to acknowledge and, if the latest polls are correct, his message is resonating among GOP primary voters.

It is an established notion that “professionals” always do a better job than “amateurs” and in the light of this it would be worthwhile to compare Mr Trump’s “amateur” record with the record compiled by the “professionals” Donald Trump has established a name that today is a synonym of success in the cutthroat world of real estate and in the process has amassed a fortune estimated at some nine billion dollars and is well-known as a ruthless negotiator.

What have the “professionals” accomplished? How about getting us involved in a series of wars, from Viet Nam to Iraq and Afghanistan? How much American blood has been shed? How many wounded and mutilated? And what do we have to show for it?

How about all those fast track presidential authorizations to negotiate trade agreements, from NAFTA (remember that one?) to GATT? They were sold as economic stimulus and job creators and that they did -in Mexico. The end result was at first a trickle that turned into a gush of American companies moving to Mexico leaving a wide swath of empty factories all along the rust belt. We were told that we were transitioning from a manufacturing economy to a service economy and we are; the only catch is that “service jobs” do not pay nearly as well as the lost manufacturing jobs.

China is booming because we have moved our manufacturing there in quest of cheap labor and because we have “free trade” they can build there and sell here and they manipulate their currency to their advantage and our detriment and we allow it, all in the name of “free trade” The best economic news we have is that our GDP has been revised upwards and instead of contracting -0.7% it only contracted -0.2%. It is like being told that instead of having just two months to live, you now have four. Today, the Senate approved the latest bill that will give President Obama fast track authorization to approve trade deals. Did anyone notice that among its contents is a provision for funds to “retrain” those American workers whose jobs would be “affected” (read lost) by the agreements? Will either McDonald’s or Wendy’s be able to absorb them? It seems that lately our greatest export is jobs.

How about border enforcement? The “professionals” have turned the border into a sieve. Remember the thousands and thousands of unescorted “children” from Central America that came crashing through our borders last year? Well, they are threatening to do it again and we still have no plan to cope with the problem except to keep underlining the “racist” and “xenophobic” nature of those who object to the uncontrolled influx of people we know nothing about; additionally not all who sneak through our border are people just looking for a better life but also include shady characters ranging all the way from drug smugglers to terrorists intent on blowing us up.

The term “Immigration Reform” has been thrown about more times than a puck in a hockey game and still the problem persists. In 1986, the Simpson Mazzoli Act was enacted to fix the problem, but since no border enforcement was included, the problem continued until it has become the Godzilla-sized monster it is. Bear in mind though, that no single party is responsible for this mess; the blame lies squarely on both sides of the aisle. One side wants cheap labor the other cheap votes and in the meantime, it is John Q Taxpayer who has to pay for the schooling, medical expenses, housing and additional police required to deal with the inevitable rise in crime that accompanies unsupervised mass immigration. Yet, the “professionals” keep reminding us that we should be “more inclusive” and that objections to illegal immigration are tantamount to racism, while the Mexican authorities, from the president on down, lecture the US on the way we handle their citizens, the same ones they have failed and actively encourage to go “north” to become our problem because we treat them a sight better than their own government does.

Whether Mr Trump wins the Republican nomination or not or even is the best candidate remains to be seen; the point that should not be lost on the rest of the field is that the speech touched on subjects that no one mentioned out loud before. We lost some 58,000 Americans in Viet Nam and for what? To pull out when we signed the Paris Peace Accord guaranteeing the existence of South Vietnam and then turned our backs and even refused material help when North Vietnam violated that agreement. We spent thousands of lives in Iraq, trained and armed their army only to see it turn tail and run. We have lost the confidence of our allies and the fear of our enemies, we have built the Chinese economy, at our expense, only to have them treat us like chumps, we are practically supporting the Mexican economy, our manufacturing is no more, Wall Street has been turned into a casino, the median household income has contracted, our national debt is fast approaching our GDP, we have more people than ever on food stamps and government handouts and when that number equals the number of people working, that will be the end of the country. All these are the accomplishments of our “professional political elites” and those “Political Science Phds” from prestigious Ivy League universities.

It behooves the presidential candidates to heed the response to Mr Trump’s speech and if they really listened, it was a resounding “YEAH!!” nationwide.

Legends and Tales of Lost Treasures, Part 1

Few things fire the imagination more than the words “buried treasure” do; men have spent lifetimes and fortunes in the pursuit of what saner individuals call quixotic endeavors; yet, those same sane individuals, when their minds wander into the unguarded twilight zone between fantasy and reality, also drift into dreams of riches, adventure and danger -for there is danger and more than one would-be treasure hunter has met an untimely death.

Whether we admit it or not, there is a part of us that craves the thrill of the unknown and the lure of adventure, partly because for hundreds of thousand of years we were hunters, in constant search of prey; some few thousand years ago, we became sedentary creatures and for the last 100 years or so, our lives have become as predictable as the calendar -and as boring.

The following are stories and legends of buried treasures. From time to time, I will post additional entries as they are brought to my attention by my research staff, which unfortunately consists of only the trinitarian me, myself and I.

Are There 17 Tons of Gold Buried in New Mexico? Leon Trabuco’s Gold

On April 15, 1933 or 1934, a meeting was held in the resort city of Cuernavaca, Mexico, to discuss a plan authored by Professor Guzman Morada, economics counsel of the University of Mexico. Present at the meeting were Leon Trabuco, rancher and large scale miner from Chihuahua, Mexico; Ricardo Artega, wealthy rancher from Torreon, Mexico; Carlos Sepulveda, rancher from Chihuahua and last, but not least, Rafael Borega, international banker for Spain and Mexico. It was he who had called the meeting.

Professor Morada’s plan was simple. Because of his connections in the United States, he was sure that the U.S. was getting ready to set the price of gold at least $10.00 above the then current price of $20.67 per ounce; if the group gathered enough gold in Mexico, transported it across the border and waited until the price rose, they stood to make a handsome profit indeed. He had forecast a price as high as $40 per ounce.

The only hitch was that Mexican laws forbade the exportation of gold and likewise, US laws frowned heavily on gold smuggling, but Professor Morada had designed plans to deal with these difficulties.

Leon Trabuco contributed an estimated 12 tons, some 350,000 troy ounces, combined with Ricardo Artega’s gold. In addition, Artega and Carlos Sepulveda provided millions of pesos, in dollar form, to Rafael Borega to purchase more gold from small Mexican private miners who sold gold for cash and in this manner, they accumulated 5 more tons. The group melted the gold and recast it in ingots.

Trabuco, who had become the leader of the enterprise, and his associates, chose the area near Farmington, New Mexico, in the Four Corners region as far enough from prying eyes and set to work locating a secluded ranch and a landing strip. He contacted a crop dusting pilot from Utah named William C Elliot (in other versions of the story the pilot’s name is given as Red Moiser) Elliot had a Stearman crop duster equipped with a 440 hp engine and extra fuel tanks for long runs. He met Trabuco at a small landing strip near Kirtland, half way between Shiprock City and Farmington and agreed to fly the gold. He could only carry 1,500 lbs at a time and he is said to have made 10 flights, landing on a small airstrip a few miles northwest of the town of Shiprock. The strip was adjacent to the mesa where Trabuco had decided the gold was to be buried. The gold was transfered from the plane onto a pick up truck; according to Elliot, he saw the truck going up a narrow dirt road toward the top of the mesa. In one instance, after takeoff and while circling to gain altitude, he made a pass close to the mesa and saw where the gold was being buried.

Six months after the final flight, the Gold Reserve Act of 1934 became law; the price of gold soared but the group decided to wait hoping it would go higher; instead, FDR’s Executive Order 6102 made the ownership of gold illegal. The group owned 17 tons of dead weight.

One by one the partners died of different causes; Borega died in his Mexico office in 1939, Carlos Sepulveda was killed in a car crash outside of Monterrey in 1940 and Bill Elliot, who had enlisted in the Air Force when the war started, was killed in action over Germany in 1944. At the end, only Trabuco was left.

Up to now, the story contains all the classic elements of lost treasure stories: secretive burials, death of all involved, except one lone survivor and no treasure map; however, this one has unexpected twists. Trabuco tried to sell the gold to private buyers but they were all weary of the Gold Act and would have nothing to do with it. In 1946, the Treasury Department opened an investigation. Trabuco hired an attorney to represent him; the Treasury Dept called in the Justice Dept which made a determination that Trabuco and his partners had violated the Gold Act plus US smuggling laws; however, if he came forward and revealed the hiding place and allowed the US Government to recover the gold, he could then sue for rightful ownership and take his chances in Federal Court. Trabuco, being no fool, declined and did not cross the US border. In 1952, the Justice Department turned the case over to the Federal Grand Jury in Los Angeles.

Trabuco sold his mines and ranches in Chihuahua and departed to Spain. In 1962 he visited Mexico City, called his lawyer in Los Angeles and returned to Spain. Inquiries were made in 1974 by his attorneys in Los Angeles to the US Treasury and Justice Departments; the outcomes were not made public and no more has been heard of him. In 1974 he might have been 86 years old. As far as anyone can tell, the gold is still buried on top of a mesa in New Mexico.

Ed Foster, of Farmington, has spent 35 years of his life searching for Trabuco’s gold in the desert around Farmington. He thinks he has found the landing strip on a plateau called Conger Mesa. He interviewed a Ute lady who, as a child, had seen planes landing many times and another who remembered seeing several Mexican men living in the reservation when she was six years old.

20 miles west of the mesa stands a Mexican style house, with windows, a front door and a back door. Ed also found a stone outcropping with some words etched on it, reading “1933 16 ton”. He calls it Shrine Rock and is sure that the gold is buried somewhere within the triangle formed by Conger Mesa, Shrine Rock and the Mexican style house. The problem is that 16 or 17 tons of gold (the amount varies) do not take up much space. In ingot form, 17 tons only occupy some 29 cubic feet.

The only statement that anyone can remember Trabuco making was “The gold is only a few miles from a major New Mexico land mark”

References:

W. C. Jameson “The Silver Madonna and other Tales of America’s Greatest Treasures” Taylor Trade Publishing, Copyright 2003 by W.C. Jameson

W.C. Jameson “New Mexico Treasure Tales” Caxton Press, Coldwell, Idaho, 2003

Ken Hudnall “Spirits of the Border: The History and Mystery of New Mexico” Omega Press, 2005

The Four Corners Story” History and Research

If nothing else, the above mentioned sources make great reading.