Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Loss of American Democracy

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

A primary focus of the Mexican revolution of 1910 was the thirty-one year Presidency of Porfirio Diaz. It was during Diaz's presidency, that power and wealth concentrated in the hands of a ruling elite just as power and wealth was concentrated in the hands of a ruling elite in the U.S. with the ascension of Ronald Reagan. In Mexico, some 100 years ago, the 'common people' were effectively disenfranchised, suffering injustices and deprivation throughout the countryside and in the cities.

Today, in the United States, as in Mexico 100 years ago, just one percent of the entire population owns more than about 95 percent of the rest of us combined. This 'ruling elite' is the result and sole beneficiary of Ronald Reagan's infamous tax cut of 1982. The upward flow of wealth was reversed briefly in Clinton's second term but resumed with additional tax cuts under Bush. It is believed wrongly that tax cuts stimulate investment and thus employment. That is called 'Trickle Down Theory'. In fact, investment in American enterprise has declined following every GOP tax cut and, as a result, employment has likewise declined. The official numbers that prove my assertions may be found at the Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Commerce Dept-Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Reagan's tax cut of 1982, for example, was followed by a depression of some two years in which millions lost their jobs. Residents in 'boomtown' Houston were forced to live in tent cities when their homes were foreclosed upon. Others lived under bridges within view of the gleaming skyscrapers of glittering, corporate Houston. The official stats at the Bureau of Labor Statistics will reveal Reagan to have been among the very worst post World War II Presidents in terms of GDP and job growth. Jimmy Carter, reviled by Reagan-heads, is, in fact, among the best US Presidents, second in terms of both GDP and job growth. In those categories, Carter outperforms all GOP Presidents since World War II.

Back to Mexico, where a new generation hoped that a new election, called for in the Mexican Constitution, would usher in a progressive, more egalitarian era. They were disappointed when the Díaz machine chose to exercise their power indefinitely. Madero demanded that Diaz renounce his power and step down. Madero formed the ''Anti-reeleccionista'' Party and campaigned against Diaz throughout Mexico.

Madero supported democracy and a 'rule of law', in other words, holding a freely elected government to account within the 'strict limits of the law'. Naturally, his success and popularity represented a threat to the entrenched government, the base, elite support behind Porfirio Diaz. Marero dared declare himself the rightful president until new elections could be held. Madero promised a return of lands confiscated by Diaz; he supported universal suffrage, and just one term for the office of President. Madero's call for an uprising on November 20th, 1910, marked the beginning of the Mexican Revolution.

It is at this point that Mexican history and US history diverge. In the United States, the entrenched powers were momentarily threatened by the election of 2000. Florida was Bush territory and the fix was supposed to have been in thanks to Florida Governor Jeb Bush and his ghoulish Secretary of State. How embarrassing it might have been had 'his' state cast its 'electoral votes' for Al Gore --a (gasp) Democrat. A 'White Riot' of GOP brownshirts were bussed to Florida, a trip paid for by the Bush Jr campaign. Their assignment: stop the recount while Bush was still ahead. As the GOP filed suit to stop the re-counters from doing the work legally assigned to them, a sitting Supreme Court justice would issue one of the most absurd if not stupid statements in American history:
Count first and rule upon legality afterwards is not a recipe for producing election results that have the public acceptance that democratic stability requires.

--Antonin Scalia
Excuse me! Elections are the purview of 'states' and the Florida Supreme Court had, in fact, heard the case and had, in fact, ruled upon its legality. What right had SCOTUS to rule upon what is, in fact, a state election to begin with? Scalia's idiocy if not his manhood was appropriately vivisected by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg:
I might join The Chief Justice were it my commission to interpret Florida law. But disagreement with the Florida court's interpretation of its own State's law does not warrant the conclusion that the justices of that court have legislated. There is no cause here to believe that the members of Florida's high court have done less than "their mortal best to discharge their oath of office," Sumner v. Mata, 449 U. S. 539, 549 (1981), and no cause to upset their reasoned interpretation of Florida law.


In sum, the Court's conclusion that a constitutionally adequate recount is impractical is a prophecy the Court's own judgment will not allow to be tested. Such an untested prophecy should not decide the Presidency of the United States.

I dissent.

--GEORGE W. BUSH, et al., PETITIONERS v. ALBERT GORE, Jr., et al. on writ of certiorari to the florida supreme court, [December 12, 2000]; Justice Ginsburg, with whom Justice Stevens joins, and with whom Justice Souter and Justice Breyer join as to Part I, dissenting.
Clearly, SCOTUS had no standing, no right under law, to rule upon any decision by the Florida Supreme Court with respect to its own state laws and the conduct of its own elections.

Surely, if all the votes had been counted, Gore would have won and the nation spared the loss of republic, the wars of naked aggression, oil theft, capital war crimes and atrocities that followed upon Bush's assumption of the 'throne'.

Indeed, a revolution was fought in America and the enemies of Democracy, the treasonous enemies of the American republic, won! GOP brownshirts and 'white rioters' carried the day on behalf of the illegitimate regime of George W. Bush. It would properly be described as a coup d'etat! And the wrong side won! The men in 'white shirts' were neo-Nazis employed by the George W. Bush campaign!

Our fears were justified. Bush represented the interests of just one percent of the nation as Diaz had represented just one percent of the Mexican population in 1910. As might be expected, Bush paid for his support with tax cuts benefiting only the very rich ruling elite. Today, as a result of his policies and payoff, just one percent of the nation owns more than about 95 percent of the rest of us combined. This, likewise, describes the conditions in Mexico just prior to the Revolution of 1910. Things worked out a little differently in Mexico some 100 years ago.
On November 14th, in Cuchillo Parado in the state of Chihuahua, Toribio Ortega and a small group of followers took up arms. On the 18th in Puebla, Diaz's authorities uncovered preparations for an uprising in the home of the brothers Maximo and Aquiles Serdán, who where made to pay with their lives. Back in Chihuahua, Madero was able to persuade Pascual Orozco and Francisco ("Pancho") Villa to join the revolution. Though they had no military experience, Orozco and Villa proved to be excellent strategists, and they earned the allegiance of the people of northern Mexico, who were particularly unhappy about the abusive ranchers and landlords who ran the North.

In March of 1911, Emiliano Zapata led the uprising of the peasants of Morelos to claim their rights over local land and water. At the same time, armed revolt began in many other parts of the country. The "Maderista" troops, and the national anger which inspired them, defeated the army of Diaz within six months. The decisive victory of the Mexican Revolution was the capture of Ciudad Juarez, just across the river from El Paso, by Orozco and Villa. Porfirio Diaz then resigned as President and fled to exile in France, where he died in 1915.

With the collapse of the Díaz regime, the Mexican Congress elected Francisco León de la Barra as President Pro-Temp and called for national popular elections, which resulted in the victory of Francisco I. Madero as President and José María Pino Suárez as Vice-President.

The Mexican Revolution 1910

Abba: Fernando
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Also see: Published Articles on

Media Conglomerates, Mergers, Concentration of Ownership, Global Issues, Updated: January 02, 2009




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