AMLO outside the Senate, Monday, October 26

Worker's Party Deputy Mario di Costanzo Tears Apart Carstens Economic Plan

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Calderon: The Region 4 Bush

For those of us of American descent living in Mexico or naturalized as citizens, the most depressing thing about having to live under the Calderon junta is that, well, we have seen it all before. We have seen it all exactly before. In fact, Mexico's current agonizing descent into chaos is such a precise replay of what Americans have - with heroic stoicism (to be fair) or resigned passivity (to not be) - had to endure since 2000 that one can only wish that the world was such that we would be able to qualify for an exemption the second time around. Or that, as with DVDs, what plays in Region 1 wouldn't work in Region 4. Unfortunately, it looks like we were all fed a pirate version that plays on all machines, however jerky the image or shrill the sound (jerky and shrill: the modern right in a nutshell, ha!).

So here's the script: Bush and Calderón, both mediocre men piggybacking to prominence on the shoulders of their famous fathers (Bush Sr., himself son of a senator*, head of the CIA and one-term president; and Papa Calderón, one of the founders of the PAN, the political party set up in 1939 by oil interests in order to - yep, oppose the nationalization of the oil industry by Lazaro Cardenas). Both boasting of Ivy League degrees of more-than-questionable value (see my post: So Where Did You Go to College, Presidente?). Both rising to power through fradulent elections, using voter-roll manipulation (Florida and the Hildebrando connection in Mexico), vote-rigging (Ohio and the IFE), and the complicity of the judicial branch (the US Supreme Court on one side and the Federal Electoral Tribunal here on the other), beneficiaries of smear campaigns based on exploiting fear and dividing the population (Swift-Boating, for example, vs. 'Peligro para Mexico'). Both, to be blunt, installed in office by energy interests, for energy interests and of energy interests (through the invasion of Iraq and privatization of its oil, and, in reverse order, the privatization of Mexican oil followed by potential US invasion through the Plan Mexico to safeguard its future new holdings), each coming personally from a background replete with energy interests personally (Bush, failed oil man bailed out time and again by the Saudis, Calderón, failed Energy Secretary bailing out family members with contracts). Both the puppets (peleles) of far stronger men (Cheney) and women (Elba Ester) behind the throne. Both, in their puppet/pelele status, serving the interests of counter-revolutionary right-wing movements who see no positive role government can play in society except that of lining their pockets and those with 'preferred partner status' (Haliburton, Repsol...), using free-trade ideology as a convenient smoke screen to cover the construction of ever-more corporatist states (a highway bailout here, a Bear Stearns bailout there; some institutions are just "too important to fail..:"). Both, boxed in by that very ideology, criminally negligent when it comes to situations where government is indeed necessary (Bush in New Orleans, Calderon in the Tabasco flooding). Both flaunting their essentially-fundamentalist religiousness for political gain. Both kept in power through the complicity of a compliant corporatist media. Both presiding over the lower-growth, higher-inflation economic decline of their respective countries. Both benefiting the rich (tax cuts for the rich and tax breaks for the oil industry in the States, tax exemptions and enormous give-backs to individuals and corporations in Mexico) at the expense of the poor (an ever-more regressive tax structure, higher unemployment and price increases on staple goods). Both masking with tough rhetoric the increasing insecurity of their countries (in Mexico, the obvious rise of drug killings and kidnappings; in the US, the long-term, largely-ignored deterioration of its urban areas). Both subject to impeachment, if the ineffectual Congresses supposedly keeping checks on them would ever fulfill their respective Constitutional roles.

Region 1 Bush; Region 4 Calderón. Aren't we lucky to have one foot on both sides?

*Clarification: In my original post, I referred to Bush Sr. as son of a "censured senator", this in reference to his father, Prescott Bush. Prescott Bush was never, in fact, censured by the Senate in the manner of Joseph McCarthy. The controversy swirling around his legacy - and the reason he is often referred to as having been "censured" - is that four of his business interests, the Union Banking Corp, Holland-American Trading Corporation, Seamless Steel Equipment Corp, and Silesian-American Corp, were seized in 1942 under the Trading with the Enemy Act. Brown Brothers Harriman, for which Prescott Bush was a managing director, was the principal US banking partner for Fritz Thyssen, the top Nazi banker, and continued to do business with the regime even after the United States' post-Pearl Harbor declaration of war. Bush was never charged - the war was on and there were other priorities - but it remains an embarrassing black mark that the family has never fully been able to expunge.

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