On October 7, Venezuelans go to the polls. Expect Chavez reelected again overwhelmingly. Expect the freest, most open and fair electoral process in the Americas. Perhaps it's the best anywhere.
On November 6, polls open in America. Voters have no choice. Democrats and Republicans barely differ. They're in lockstep on issues mattering most.
Ordinary people are entirely left out. They have no say. Voting for either major party assures same old same old. Money power runs things. Elections are for show. They're a facade. Venezuelans get the real thing.
Chavez expects pre and post-election mischief. Perhaps it began. In Barinas, one of 23 Venezuelan states, two supporters of opposition candidate Henrique Capriles were shot and killed. Another was wounded.
At issue is what's going on and who's to blame. Chavez supporters are nonviolent. They're not about to shoot anyone. Certainly not to enhance victory on October 7. Point fingers elsewhere. Cui bono matters most. It always does.
This type incident stokes tensions. Capriles condemned the killings. He wants them used to his advantage. Chavez urged calm, saying:
"It's not with violence that we're going to face each other. It's vote against vote. We will not permit the bourgeoisie to take Venezuela down the road to violence. And we should not resort to provocations."
He urged followers not to let them distract from real issues. That's what elections are about.
Justice Minister Tareck Al Aissami said one suspect was arrested. No name was given. Nothing else is known. Opposition candidate Pedro Castillo was close to the scene.
He said no physical confrontation preceded the killings. Nothing suggested this would happen. Smell a rat for good reason. Expect more provocations to follow.
Chavez promises deeper Bolivarianism if reelected. He means it. He'll follow through. Supporters believe him for good reason. He's given Venezuelans more than any former leader in modern times. He's not about to let them down now.
Voters aren't about to sacrifice what they most cherish. Americans can't imagine benefits Venezuelans get. Both countries are worlds apart socially, economically, politically, and constitutionally.
From inception, America has been largely unresponsive to majority needs. Enacted benefits came grudgingly. For decades they've been eroding en route to eliminating them altogether. Venezuela is mirror opposite.
National resources help everyone. America's go for militarism, imperial wars, banker bailouts, and other corporate handouts. Increasingly, ordinary people are on their own out of luck.
"We the people" are only the ones who matter. Constitutional law makes it so. American governance is autonomous, detached, in a realm of its own, and beholden solely to privilege.
Regardless of constitutional or statute laws, US governments are largely freelancing. Checks and balances are absent. Officials do what they please. Constraints don't obligate or bind them. Two-party rule conceals institutionalized money power dominance.
Life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, promoting the general welfare, equity and justice are illusory now and from inception. Rhetoric conceals reality. It's always been that way.
Today it's worse than ever. Tyranny threatens. Anyone challenging institutionalized power is vulnerable. Presidents always flirted with dictatorial powers.
Since George Bush, flirtation ended. Obama exceeded his worst extremism. He heads America's version of murder incorporated. He placed himself atop a system deciding who lives or dies.
Earlier he institutionalized tyranny. He empowered himself to choose who's free or imprisoned. He appointed himself judge, jury, and executioner. Despotism is official US policy.
Diktat authority runs things. Moral or legal considerations don't matter. What he, and those behind the scenes pulling the strings, say goes. It's always been that way, but today more than ever.
The Constitutional law affirms it. Article II, Section 1 says:
"The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America."
Article II, Section 3 adds:
"The President shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed."
Omitted was saying that presidents are virtually empowered to make laws as well as execute them even though nothing in the Constitution permits it.
For good or ill, executive power is concentrated, awesome and frightening. Presidents are military commanders-in-chief able to govern as virtual dictators.
They can make or terminate treaties on their own. The Senate only has advise and consent power. It doesn't ratify as commonly believed.
Presidents can grant commutations or pardons, except in cases of impeachment. They can also order assassinations or anyone they wish imprisoned for any reason or none at all.
They appoint officials, diplomats, and federal judges. They have a huge bureaucracy at their disposal. It covers all functions of government.
They can veto congressional legislation. Doing so nearly always is sustained.
They can make law by executive orders even though nothing in the Constitution permits it. Presidents are constrained only by their own discretion. Otherwise they can do what they please.
Since December 8, 1941, they've waged war on their own. Doing so violates the Constitution's Article I, Section 8. Congress alone has that power. For over seven decades, members surrendered it illegally.
It's pure myth that governance is constrained by limited powers. It's closer to one-man rule. It's practically impossible to impeach scoundrels. No president ever was removed this way.
John Adams was the most distinguished constitutional theorist of his time. He said it would take a national convulsion to remove a president by impeachment. He was right. It never happened.
Venezuela's system is mirror opposite. Its Bolivarian Constitution was approved by national referendum. Doing so followed an initial one on whether to convene a National Constituent Assembly to draft a new document.
That's how democracy is supposed to work. It's never been that way in America. It never will under its current system. Over time, it's gone from bad to worse.
Venezuelans approved a model participatory social democracy. It's not perfect, but it's the real thing. Ordinary people serve as ombudsmen to assure other government branches comply with constitutional provisions.
Everyone is automatically registered to vote from birth. It's constitutionally mandated. National standards apply.
In America, it's worlds different. States make their own laws. They decide who's enfranchised and who's not. Jim Crow lives. Minorities are lawlessly stricken from polls. So are others power brokers want removed.
In all areas of Venezuelan governance, reform remains a work in progress. In America, it's a four-letter word. It's doublespeak baloney to change things but leave them the same.
The spirit of Venezuela's Bolivarian Constitution is stated straightaway in its Preamble:
It's "to establish a democratic, participatory and self-reliant, multiethnic and multicultural society in a just, federal and decentralized State that embodies the values of freedom, independence, peace, solidarity, the common good, the nation's territorial integrity, comity and the rule of law for this and future generations."
It further "guarantees the right to life, work, learning, education, social justice and equality, without discrimination or subordination of any kind; promotes peaceful cooperation among nations and further strengthens Latin American integration in accordance with the principle of nonintervention and national self-determination of the people, the universal and indivisible guarantee of human rights, the democratization of imitational society, nuclear disarmament, ecological balance and environmental resources as the common and inalienable heritage of humanity;......"
Language like this in America is unimaginable in any form. In Venezuela, it's more than words. It's Chavez's commitment to all Venezuelans. It's embodied under nine Title headings and 350 Articles.
It's a first class democratic document. Venezuelans cherish it for good reason. It's little known in the West. Media scoundrels never discuss it.
America is worlds apart. Rule of law justice doesn't exist. Money power decides policy. Police state authority enforces it. Step out of line and taste its viciousness. Mercy isn't in its vocabulary. Nor is assuring right over wrong.
Government of, by, and for privileged elites is policy. So is permanent war. Civil and human rights are non-starters. Increasingly, dissent is criminalized. Fear is generated to check resistance.
Social decay is growing. A culture of violence prevails. Secrecy is intense and increasing. Injustice is tolerated. Media scoundrels operate as thought control gatekeepers.
American society is shameless, corrupted, dysfunctional, broken, and beyond repair.
Bolivarianism empowers Venezuelans. They freely, fairly, and openly choose presidents, legislators, and local officials in independently monitored elections. America's are farcical by comparison.
Chavez brought real change. US leaders prevent it. Institutionalized inequality is policy. So is harshness for non-believers.
Before Chavez was first elected, Venezuelan officials only paid lip service to basic rights and needs. Now they're constitutionally mandated. Universal healthcare, education, housing, employment, indigenous rights, subsidized essentials, and human dignity are enforced, funded and institutionalized.
Article 58 prohibits censorship. It mandates "timely, true, and impartial" information. These notions are verboten in America. Propaganda substitutes for truth and full disclosure.
As a result, most Americans are misinformed and out of touch. They know little about what matters most. They know what policy makers tell them. What they most need to know is suppressed.
Venezuelan law mandates participatory democracy. It's fundamental policy. It's unheard of in America. So is real democratic governance. Illusion substitutes for reality.
Americans are effectively disenfranchised. Venezuelans have people power. They get to decide how they're led and by whom.
On October 7, they'll choose. On November 6, Americans won't have that right. No wonder half the electorate opts out. Why bother voting under a system without choice.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.