Saturday, 28 April 2018

We really know what you all want to hear about...Mexican Presidential Election Analysis to be found below...


    There is a bit of pre-ambulatory stuff, after all it is Mexico.   After the news is through with you-all it would be reasonable that you, as a OROG, would believe that Mexico is something between Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Dresden and all is not lost...or perhaps it just that all is not there.
   Please be aware, the Mexican thing is still alive and well, with lots of problems, but with many more solutions.

    We enter into this campaign period, however, with the ever present menace of a doddering ball of bilge who combines television ad company ideas with Bernie Sanders, the Ortega Brothers of Nicaragua, Che T-Shirts, upside - down American and Mexican flags with chicken poop smeared on them, and chanting Zombies demanding this or that "NOW!!!!".   We refer, of course, to our ever present, and sexennially registered candidate for the Presidency of Mexico, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.  Known affectionately as "that crazy old commie fool",  "worthless demagogue", and other such terms of endearment, he is also the favourite of the university intellectuals, the students whose recent brain scans produced reams of empty blank frames save for a few images still of Pamela Anderson and her grandchildren playing on a beach in Cuba and pictures of a Can o' Bis festival in Sacramento where a transgendered hippopotamus who had just divorce his/her refrigerator had decided to marry himself and a unicorn in a Reformed Islamic Atheist Cosmic Reality Church service.
     We must also remember the one key element in any AMLO campaign for President.   This is the third, and like the other two, this is the one that will finally free the poor and force the rich to render their stolen wealth and feed the oppressed and force the openning of all borders (except Mexico's) to the deprived, starving masses.   These are the "starving masses" who still seem to have enough energy to become "great with child" and aim for the "free medical" services in Mexico, and failing that, the American emergency room, where a child can be born a DACA and not a human-being girl or boy baby.

     AMLO is quick to point out that the United States is a kind and gentle place, but that it needs to
understand that it must "share the wealth".  It is simply not fair that so few have so much and so many have so little.  The ones who stole the "much" must now learn how to share just a little with those from whom so much was stolen.
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, leader
 and nominee of the Movement for
 National Renovation (MORENA)  
     AMLO knows that he must "moderate" in order to keep a large number of common liberals in line.   His marxist handlers and PR people dance on this tightrope daily (and nightly), while at the same time painting the possibility of free-everything and death to the rich to certain sectors of their intellectually low-wattage electorate.  It is a cross between the  Revolution Francaise / National Socialism and Cinderella.   AMLO, as did Fidel and Raul, has people around him who are dedicated radical leftists, completely dedicated to establishing a socialised economy, the re-nationalisation of Mexican heavy industry, and the re-expropriation of private properties in many cases.  The policies of AMLO and Co. are kept well out of view of the general public, although one can judge by the advisors and groupies that nothing short of the pro-Bolshevik offensives of the early 1920s following the horrid "Revolucion de 1910 - 1917" await Mexico should AMLO win and gain a working control of the Upper and Lower Chambers of the Mexican Congress.

     Then we have Pedro Anaya Cortez (referred to as "The Kid" because he looks for all the world like a 10th grader wondering to which university he should apply).   In my opinion, he and his posse foolishly made a pact with the leftist Partidio Revolucionario Democratico (PRD) which in almost all respects is counter to the Anaya's right/centre Partido de Accion Nacional  (PAN) which genuinely eschews government intervention," partnershipping" and such.
Ricardo Anaya Cortez (PAN), who would be at home, were
 he an American or Texian, in the country-club or right
wing crazy section of the GOP, either one.  Very
intelligent, and uncommonly forceful.
      It is actually  a true conservative party.  The PRD is a true socialist democratic party, and they are on the ballot on the same column, as the alliance.  It would be, rather much, like the Republican Party in America uniting with the Green Party and the Socialist Labour Party in order to avoid Hillary and Michelle running for a Peace and Freedom agenda party.
     The one good thing, perhaps, is that the PAN and the PRD have very, very, very few corruption scandals in the districts, States, municipios, and affairs under their control...very few.
  And now those areas under "minority control", chiefly by the PAN, are wondering what to do with all the left-over budgetted monies (a wry, but true political joke).   When there are normal or somewhat normal accounting procedures used, lots and lots of public improvements can be finished in 18 months instead of 18 years.  The PRD has...similar...but not exactly up to the same level, results as the PAN in terms of using public money honestly.

    Next up is the essentially "Lebanese candidate", a truly nice guy, but in this case representing
Jose Antonio Meade Kuribrena, candidate for the the
Partido de la Revolucion Institucional (PRI) 
the old Partido Revolucionario Institucional  (PRI) which ruled Mexico from 1919 through 2000 with an iron hand, covered with a velvet glove during the latter stages.   His name is
 Jose Antonio Meade Kuribrena. 

     Since the year 2000, the PAN has had significant control both nationally and locally, although they narrowly lost the presidential elections in 2012 to the PRI and Ernesto Pena-Nieto.
     Ernesto, and especially his wife of telenovela fame and wealth, started high and fell into the basement quickly after that squeaker of an election in 2012.   This has made the attempt to reinstate the pride and privilege of the PRI by stringing together of another 70 years of political hegemony and inter-group backscratching into what is quite probably an impossible  mountain to climb this time around.
    The presence of Meade, on the other hand, is a strange "odd man out, odd man in", because he has served in two different governments, on PRI and the other PAN, and received applause from local, national, and international groups.   There is none of the tittering gossip about private lives, or set-asides of great wealth that have plagued other PRI candidates, save for Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Leon and Miquel de la Madrid Hurtado.
     The PRI's candidate has the surname Meade due to the fact that his grandfather came to Mexico, I would imagine, in the pursuit of something to do with brews and spirits and business investment.  He intermarried with a Lebanese girl who had come over during the disorders in the Holy Land during World War I, and by contracting  various presentations of her mother's surname and father's surname, they came up with Kuribrena.  However, if you were to wish to call out to him, you would say, "Sen~or Meade!!"  Meade is a Nordic - Gaelic name more closely associated with the northern English pre-middle ages.   Its meaning is associated with something like "beer made from honey" in most probable translations.
      My own family had a great deal of involvement in Ireland back in the 1700s, but they were decided Manx and Anglo, deeply committed to the spirits and brews business...especially grains, and formulas and improvements...etc.   Their surname and ethnicity was English.  They were of the Anglos who moved into Ireland who were associated with grains, and spirits and brews.  The Christian family from which this writer is descended has such people in his ancestry.  They came into colonial America (Massachusetts and New Amsterdam / York)

     As an aside, the upper levels of Mexican industry and to some degree, the political system, is involved and very intertwined with Lebanese and Jordanian and others of the Levant who came into Mexico during the period associated with World War I...(before, during, and after).   Many came, bringing with them the little money they might have, but also the skills of the "business of the bazaar...or 'trade at any cost'".

    They were usually members of Eastern Orthodox Churches, and adapted to the Roman Catholic nature of Mexico's religious complexion, as might an Episcopalian in Rome under similar conditions.   Carlos Slim Helu', and Alfredo Harp Helu' (Carlos's cousin), are two billionaire "Arabs"(in the Mexican vernacular and reckoning) who actually made their money by speculating in the Mexican Stock Market, frequently trading their small inheritances into Mexican industrial stocks until finally a peso turned into many billions of pesos.  As this ethnic group has prospered in Mexico, and elsewhere, they have also waxed numerous and probably compose 600, 000 desendents or so in  these times.
    It might surprise many OROGs, but I have no negative opinion of Mr. Meade.  Were he to win, it would be good...were the PAN candidate to win it would be a bit better for me...but the issue of AMLO is one which gives consternation to all foreigners, structural conservative thinkers, and upper-middle and higher income and position people in Mexico...citizen and investor. 

     So now you know.   The number one guy in the polls is AMLO, the marxist who believes that everyone should made the minimum wage of 23 dollars per day...and turn the lights out at 19:00 hours every night and that all people with considerable wealth need to be taxed at 90% of their overall wealth, annually.  Imagine how long that wealth might last.

     AMLO likes to point out that he was a very popular Governor of Tabasco, but no one is willing to also point out that Tabasco, during his regimen, became a three short years.  The neat thing is, everywhere in Mexico, the United States, and Canada,  there is a leftist press that will applaud and magnify the name of anyone who damages the middle and upper classes.  Those classes...skilled blue collar, professionals, white collar, born-to-wealth people,  investors, and small and large business operators, lost considerably during the administration of AMLO in Tabasco.

    The next problem with AMLO is that he is reluctant to use the military in the fight against trafficking of every indecent thing and horrid substance known to the human race.   He speaks in maleable terms like how it is necessary to have counselling and understanding while people are selling 5 year old girls from Honduras into porno and prostitution and/or importing 2 or 3 tonnes of Red Chinese methaphetamines into and out of Venezuela to keep Maduro afloat.

    AMLO, and his shadowy marxist "handlers" are drawn from almong the same people who foisted "Sub-comandante Marcos" onto the public awareness 25 years ago.  They are also associated with the remnants of the socialist warhorse (also a twice-failed Presidential candidate back in the 1990s and the 2000 election) Cuahtemoc Cardenas, the son of the totally corrupt, socialist demagogue Lazaro Cardenas...the Great Expropriator (1938) of Mexico's foreign oil producing (and foreign) companies from Canada, Germany, Great Britain, Holland, and the United States.   Cuahtemoc Cardenas and his father were sacred leftist cows of the old tri-partite Partido Revolucionario Institucional  (PRI).


ENOUGH!! Cry the OROGs...where is the BEEF??

    Okay, okay...the deal is that we have heard on FOXNews and on MSNBC and on various news sources that, although the election is on 1 July 2018, we shall have to wait for the "run-offs" between the top two finishers in the Mexican Presidential contest in order to know who will command the Ship of State for the coming five year and 10 month term.
   Yes, Virginia, the next term will not be six years, as is normal.  A resetting  of election and inauguration dates for the future will require that the next President be shorted out of his crack at the "...six year drunk followed by the life-time hangover".  The new President will have to call the bar bill after five years and 10 months.

AND, LISTEN UP, FOLKS -  There is no run-off in the Mexican Presidential, gubanatorial, or any such race for an executive such as a mayor or presidente municipal (city/county executive).  Election leader with the plurality takes home all the tortillas in this game.

Now the prognostications:  We show the leader of the pack, the venerable, and returnable, and perpetual candidate for President of Mexico, and if you don't like it, we'll close down all the major thoroughfares in Mexico City for six months after the election and cram the main plaza in the centre of the city with several hundred thousand people and freeze motor and foot traffic there as well.  So there!!!   We've done it twice, and we'll do it again!!  
  1. 46.6%
    Andrés Manuel López Obrador
  2. 27.9%
    Ricardo Anaya
  3. 18.6%
    José Antonio Meade
  4. 3.8%
    Margarita Zavala
  5. 2.8%
    Jaime Rodríguez
The interpretation:

     The percentages shown above with the candidates (the only officially recognised candidates) were current as of 22 April 2018.   Remember that this is Bloomberg, and we rely on Mitofsky, and are only using Bloomberg as an example of how widely samples and processing formats differ.  

    There are 37 different polling companies and groups working the Mexican election.  We have chosen the Bloomberg, not because it is accurate, but because it is predictable.   It you want the best one, try the Mitofsky, which although birthed by a lefty, has attempted over the years to be loyal to its own procedure, which is good, and comes in very, very close to actuals at the end of the hunt.

    The Bloomberg is also good in the sense that one can count on the most left-wing candidate always having greater approval.  The overall methodology and, at least, the striving to do a good and true analysis is also a characteristic of the Bloomberg polls.

     What we point out here, is that the last two times AMLO ran for the Presidency, he began with a bit of a groundswell...and to be sure, it appeared as though he had won the right to the Throne even before the vote had been casted.   But as the "official" campaign period began, in both cases (2006 and 2012), AMLO's share of the vote began to diminish somewhat steadily.

     My perspective is that the percentage AMLO is showing now is his high-water mark.  My surmission that he will settle at or around 33 per cent of the total vote.   The two lowest candidates will probably wind up losing almost all their followers, and Meade will not be able to mobilise much more than what he is showing in this and other soundings.
     Anaya might well have a midnight meeting in McAllen or San Antonio with Margarita Zavala de Calderon (wife of the PAN President who served from 2006 - 2012), and even ex-governor of Nuevo Leon (Monterrey area) Rodriquez and offer whatever emolument, concession, or other legitimate enticement to join the battle, "...for the good of Mexico!!".   It will be interesting.

This graph shows the standings as of the
18th of April...An up-date is available to the
right of the graph
     What is certain is that a majority of the people are opposed to AMLO, but a plurality, especially at this moment, is not.   These percentages are as of 25 April 2018.   It might be of some encouragement to the Anaya group that the last two days of tracking in the Mitofsky poll showed AMLO losing 2% and Anaya gaining about 2.5%, leaving the standings at (According to Mitofsky) AMLO coming down from 31.9 to 30.2 and Anaya coming up from 20.8 to 24.0...even Meade picked up on AMLO by rising from 16.9 to 17.9 . 

     So, one can be certain that these next few weeks are going to be interesting. Battleground States, battleground will be a grand exercise of Mexican democracy only practiced for the last 20 years or so, after the PRI's throat-clutching choke-hold on the voting process and vote counting mechanisms from 1920 until nearly the turn of the last century.

     Presently, all the PAN-type people are storing up wines, beers, and spirits because of the LEY SECA!  It reads, translated for the OROGs thusly for our area at the Quinta and the entire State of Tamaulipas:

   States which enforce the dry law for the full 48 hours (from the first minute of the Saturday prior to the elections until the first moment of the Monday following the elections) include Campeche, Coahuila, Colima, Sonora, Guerrero, Veracruz, Oaxaca, Jalisco, Tamaulipas and Mexico City.

     The elections take place during a 12 hour period on Sunday.  Almost immediately there will be press reports about how AMLO is declaring that precincts are not up and running in the high probable AMLO strongholds and AMLO has proof that PAN and PRD goon squads and PRI thugs and terrorists are closing down precincts and access to voting, especially to women, minorities, the crippled, deaf, and blind and the poor...and the children.
  Last time, there were such announcements and reporters hurried over to one of the grief-stricken casillas (precinct polling places) inquiring about the goon squads and thugs...only to be advised by the workers, who were busy processing voters, that turnout was heavy and everything was in order.

     But, it would be best to have the liquor cabinet and all the beer chests well iced on the Friday before the Sunday of the election, that being the First day of July, 2018.

One last point.  El Universal...a respected, centrist newspaper of record in Mexico City surveyed people immediately after the first debate, earlier this week, and Meade and Anaya tied at 40% each while AMLO was "unimpressive".  It may be turning into a repeat of 2006 and 2012.  We hope.

El Gringo Viejo


Friday, 27 April 2018

The Establishment of Constitutional Law in Texas


We Regret




     This entry comes partly from an earlier year's blog (April, 2010) because much of history does not change, unless successfully re-argued. We attempt at this moment to re-visit these same moments of the Texian Historical Calendar.   These are the profound times, and those were profound times.   Few, in the right, opposed the many and powerful who were in the wrong.   The only thing the few had in abundance was resolve.....and even that was measured by small numbers during the darkest hours.    All men stood to lose their lives and fortunes.   Women would be left with fatherless children, if they were lucky.  Fortunes, small and great, would become nothing overnight should the Presidente-Generalissimo Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna dispose of the "filibusteros y invasores viken~os" (filibusterers and Viking invaders).
     The one person who stood to lose the most was the man pictured below.  He was Lopez de Santa Anna's most vigorous detractors and opponents.   A native of the Yucatan, de Zavala was prominment on the political and social scene throughout Mexico.   This is important, because in those years, the Yucatan Peninsula was clearly a separate identity, socially and politically and culturally from the rest of Mexico.   This is not so odd, because Mexico in reality was essentially a loosely bound geographical area, not too precisely proscribed, consisting of as many as seven or eight different and functionally somewhat autonomous regions and States.
Manuel Justiano Lorenzo de Zavala y Saenz

      It is best to remember that the Defenders of the Alamo never knew that Texas had declared independence and withdrawn from the Mexican Union. The Alamo fell on the 6th of March, 1836, four days later. Their battle flag was the Mexican tri-colour with the number 1824 written on the center white field. Some think that that banner was designed as a statement of desire to seek reconciliation with Mexico. It was and it was not.
      It was first and foremost a statement of total rejection of the person and authority of Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. At best, Texas would never have remained withing the Mexican Union. A commonwealth arrangement was possible. Some dispute the fact that the 1824 flag flew over the Alamo, but it is well documented, even in the diary of Lt. Col. Enriquez de la Pena, XO, First Zapper Batallion, which was the first group to breach the walls. It is said that two flags were taken by the Army, one was the white star/blue field of the New Orleans Blues, Volunteers, and the other the Mexican 1824 flag. Some say the Lopez de Santa Ana had the latter destroyed, some say it was taken at San Jacinto, after the defeat of the main body of Lopez de Santa Anna's army and his capture. Legends say that a collector probably has it to this day, hidden away. I doubt that.


Sixty men signed the Declaration of Independence. Ten of them had lived in Texas for more than six years, while one-quarter of them had been in the province for less than a year.

     The composition of the delegation has been condemned at times, but consider that only 2 of the general officers in the Centralist Government's Army of Invasion were Mexicans by birth....Lopez de Santa Anna and Urrea.  The commander of the considerable Mexican naval force in the western Gulf of Mexico was an American at a slightly later date.   The other five were European, or from elsewhere in the New World.
  Notice also the absence of the name of Stephen F. Austin, the "Father of Texas".....but his absence was due to ill health.   The lack of more Latins comes from two reasons (1)   the English speaking group was already in the vast majority of the Texas population even at the early time, and (2) the greater bulk of the Latin group, which actually did oppose Santa Anna by overwhelming percentage, was mired in the San Antonio - Goliad area, already well "behind enemy lines", making travel north to Washington on the Brazos extremely dangerous.   Especially for the Latin element of the population, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna had brutal solutions for their "treachery".
     The three Latins present, interestingly, had a combined worth equivalent to the 57 others.   Stephen F. Austin was elected finally as President and de Zavala became essentially the Executive Officer, having been elected Vice-President of Texas and serving in the absence of President Austin.

More later.
El Gringo Viejo

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Important Repost - Texas is Independent of the Central Government in Mexico City - this date, 1836


Monday, 20 April 2015

From a previous post: The True Meaning of the Battle of San Jacinto


True Meaning - San Jacinto : We call the OROGs and others, especially the new visitors to A Gringo in Rural Mexico, to be aware that we shall, during the use of any archival posting, up-date with new data, corrections, changes of opinion, and/or the incorporation of new evidence that El Gringo Viejo; thinks would assist the reader in his/her own debate and understanding.  Those changes will be written en bleu  within the existing text.  We invite other evidence, challenge, agreement, and understandings....which we frequently publish if it is a reasonable observation.

     The term "true meaning" of one thing or another.....the Feasts of the Nativity, Resurrection, All Souls and All Saints for instance....has been a sport of intellectuals, analysts, and commentators for hundreds, even thousands of years.   As a compulsive commentator, this means that the OROG knows that El Gringo Viejo is going to be commenting on some matter he considers to be important very soon.

     And, that very soon has arrived.  This time it is concerning the not-so-famous, and generally over-simplified matter of the Battle of San Jacinto, 21 April 1836.

     Texans have been all over the map on this matter.   In and around Austin and a few other precincts of the Republic of Texas, the Battle of San Jacinto represents the best image of the worst people in the world....the Americans, Anglo-Saxons, Southerners, men, and individuals who consider themselves to be sovereign entities.   That is the common opinion held by the University of Texas elites, certain women's and leftist political groups, and their satraps, the ethnic and racial agitators, and various sorts of anarchists.

     But, surrounding the Island of the Bunny's Burrow, is a wondrous circle of Briarpatches ....San Marcos, New Braunfels, Round Rock, Georgetown, Plugerville, in short communities tiny, small, and somewhat larger that are filled with reason.   They range from Stepford-type places, where a person finds Stepford wives, husbands, pets, children, home and lawn, schools, private arts and study classes, the best AAA minor league baseball and dirty-fingernailed, blue-collar types of people and communities where a person has to prove he/she has dirty fingernails and/or calloused hands in order to register to vote or buy a lottery ticket.   Their unifying factor?    Traditionalist, private sector, conservative reliance and practice.

     Most of the rest of Texas, even in the South Texas area, there is, and always has been a mediocre to a fine understanding of the meaning of the victory by the Texian Forces over the Centralist Forces of the government of Antonio de Padua Maria Severino Lopez de Santa Anna y Perez de Lebron, (aka - Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna or more simply Santa Anna).   It is easy to make an ethnic or racial issue of this matter, but in fact it was none of that.   Even the ones who fought the fight thinking that ethnic and racial matters were important to the issue.....were wrong.   It was a much, much bigger issue.

    With reference to the above, we reiterate that which has been written by El Gringo Viejo before, that the Anglo-Irish settlers in the San Patricio Colony, near present day Corpus Christi, sided with the Mexican Centralists and their military during the issue.   While this occurred, another body of Texians north of that point....the Mexican/Spanish rancheros, business people, cattlemen, and farmers sided overwhelmingly with the Texian 1824 resistance effort and  full-statehood cause, and then, fairly early in the game with the move to Independence from the control by Mexico City and its bi-polar political posturing.   The chameleon nature of Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna did no good for Texas, less for Coahuila and Zacatecas, and absolutely nothing for Mexico.

     So, to the point of this analysis and commentary.  The very large and pursuing segment of the Mexican Centralist forces a total of 15,000 in five armies headed by 14 generals and colonels....commanded by the Presidente Generalissimo himself....had hounded a rag-tag "army" that never numbered more than 1,000 effectives, in a single grouping.  The number of Indians, other farmers, ranchers, volunteers arriving perhaps from the United States, other Mexican republicans, might have raised the total, total, total of willing combatants to perhaps as many as 2,000.   On the day of the engagement....this day....on that had at most 920 ready combatants, with no more than 50 rough and ready cavalry.   They would assault a very battle-hardened, fairly well to very well trained, accustomed-to-victory army of at least 1,900 soldiers.   In baseball, this would have been akin to a major league team condescending to play a scrimmage game with a single A or at best AA minor-league team.
    One side had two cannons, known as the Twin Sisters, while the other side had managed to lug 9 cannons literally across almost the entirety of Texas.
       There were 8 more brass Napoleons and the big 12-pounder on-site in the middle of camp.  Another 30 cannons were within a day's arrival distance, along with another 5,000 mediocre to crack, excellent assault forces including the much feared cavalry with their lancers.  Let us say....24 to 36 hours of forced march distant.
     It was Sunday.   Each side knew of the other's exact position and strength.  They were well within direct observation, one of the other.There was no chance for deception save for one thing.   That would be the choice of one side or the other concerning ....."When?".     Houston settled that issue during the early morning hours of the 21st Instant.   Houston began a walk among the troops at 04:00 telling them to form up.
       As the orders went out a few short minutes later that the men muster and prepare for their deployment and orders to advance....fear, joy, excitement, commitment, final bonding between battle-mates, quieting of mounts who sensed something was up, and then....the predictable orders up and down the line...."No firing until the order is firing until the order is given!!!!"  And then, quietly at first, and walking; then, a trotting but still silent advance;  and then the bolting of the small cavalry group in the advance and to the right of the line of infantry....sweeping forward at breakneck towards the enemy still sleeping during the Sunday afternoon siesta period, in the face of the enemy during those "second-dawning" moments.....and then the entrance into the most formidable military encampment on the North American Continent at that moment....carnage of the worst sort...the devastation of the entire Presidential Divisional Forces....hundreds dead and wounded, many drowning in the San Jacinto River and its surrounding swamps.  Official numbers seem to back up these:   Mexican forces had 630 killed, 208 wounded, and 730 P.O.W.  while the Texians had 9 killed and 30 wounded.        
     These figures are corroborated by Mexican estimates, and might even indicate that  the Texian forces were probably over-adrenaline infected.   But it is a very mystical coincidence that the number of Mexican effectives killed very closely estimates the number of Texian effectives who were essentially murdered by order of Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna at the detention in Goliad added to the number that were lost at La Mision del Alamo.
     It was a horrible disaster for the hopes of a Mexican totalitarian's vision of empire stretching from the Arctic Circle to the doorstep of South America.   And, it was a exhilarating moment for the men who had won against all odds and established in Texas some hope for common law, natural law, and the sovereignty of the individual.

    The capture of the man who at once was the head of the government, the army, and the entire Mexican political reality at that time had learned his military craft as a young Royalist officer in the Spanish Army.  He was a white Criollo (Spaniard born in the New World), and learned to relish his time and activity in the Army.   He served in various venues, including during a sweep of Texas many years before where opponents of the Crown were  picked up and executed even after surrender....and their heads removed and displayed for days in prominent viewing areas so as to chill the fervour of those disposed to revolt.  It was his experience and he had enjoyed it.
    Late in the Wars for Mexican Independence he changed sides (one of his more predictable characteristics) and brought his considerable abilities to the service of the Mexicans in their efforts to secure Independence.  By 'considerable abilities' we are not being sarcastic.  One "misunderestimated" Lopez de Santa Anna at one's own jeopardy.  He was one of those few practitioners of the military arts and sciences who could think in Theatre Strategy and battalion level tactics, simultaneously.  Luckily, his biggest enemy was his own ego and sense of self-importance.
    He held various military and political positions, always at or near the edges of power until, around 1830, he began to have irresistible control and effect upon the exercise of political power at the highest levels.  It was his abrogation of the Mexican Constitution of 1824, a liberal reform document providing for an American style tri-partite government with the citizens having certain inalienable rights, that put Zacatecas, Durango, Coahuila y Texas, the Yucatan Peninsula, Guanajuato, San Luis Potosi, Chihuahua and certain other regions into full rebellion against Santa Anna as a person and as a political force.

Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna.jpg
This depiction is near the age of  Lopez
 de  Santa Anna around the time of his
invasion of Texas
     To show how important and improbable this victory by the Texians was. it should be noted that with all it inefficiencies and breakdowns, the forces of Lopez de Santa Anna during the period from 1835 through 1836 had 28 major engagements that could be called battles or at least very significant battalion level engagements.  Lopez de Santa Anna's forces lost only two.   The first one and....the last one.    The decision of General Urrea to acquiesce to the demand that Mexican forces withdraw to the south of the Rio Bravo (Grande) before any consideration of dealing with the captured Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna was also a source of wonderment to historians and contemporaries to the issue.
    There were enough forces to overwhelm the Texians in a second, but some think that Urrea's hatred for Lopez de Santa Anna and his war crimes, arrogance, arbitrary nature, and generally corrupt manner caused him to take advantage of this chance to humiliate the despised generalissimo.   Militarily, had the wish been upon them, Urrea and Filisola and Perfecto de Cos could have easily circled the Texian forces, especially to the north, cutting them off from retreat into Louisiana, and committed a "Fannin's Fool's Mate" upon them.  Houston and Somerville were hopelessly exposed.  There was no cover, little forage save for gaseous swamp grass that did little or no good for ox, mule, donkey, or cavalry charger.  Only the Mexican Centralists had oats, corn, and wheat, mouldy though it might have been.
    Such mould, if fresh, was actually good for the beasts...and to this day....corn mould known in the Nahuatl {Aztec}language at 'Huitlacoche (wui - lah - KO - chei) is considered a delicacy by all classes, especially in the central areas of Mexico.  El Gringo Viejo eats it by is one of those "good bacteria" things like beer, yogurt, sour cream, etc.  Excellent canned varieties can be found in the more elaborate HEBs in Texas and other such stores.
     Urrea would die a few years later during a duel in Mexico City, but Lopez de Santa Anna would live on to torment the Americans and the Mexicans before dying, broke and friendless in June of 1876 at the age of 80.  His death occurred naturally and in solitude.

     But Texas as a continually evolving, conservative, imperfect, common-law, and natural-law political entity lives on.   It is the central beaming, casting light of that airport beacon-light onthe side of the mountain...that most brilliant light within the that shining city that people from around the world wish their side of the mountain could be.   Texas remains a concept that is bigger than reality, bigger than itself, bigger than Hollywood, bigger than any imitator, and a force entirely capable of returning to freestanding status.
     Recent serious surveys had found that a plurality, about 38% of Texans, now seriously believe that Texas should seek a path apart.   Among Latins in Texas 25% favour separation and the re-establishment of the Republic of Texas....that number being roughly equal to the number of Latins who are active and/or self-identifying Republicans.
      That we could have come from San Jacinto against all odds, been annexed, seceded, "Reconstructed", re-admitted, and then arrived back to the point where we began....rejecting an arbitrary, arrogant, corrupt and far-removed central government, is a matter of interest to observers of contemporary as well as historical Texian issues.    (Up-dated polling during the past couple of years indicates that Texians are favouring withdrawal, at this time, by a two X one margin.   My suspicion is that the Latins of the white collar professional, skilled blue-collar, and proprietor class would be in favour to the same or greater degree.)

   So, true meanings?   Until Gabriel plays that last tune, the true meaning of the Battle of San Jacinto is not known.  We should hope, however, that it does not mean that Texas is resigned to be a dull piece of gravel in an recovered aluminium-metal crown that marks the monarchy of fools such as we have in the White House and executive department of to-day's central government.

Thank you all, as always for your time and interest.  We shall try to be "back in the saddle".  
El Gringo Viejo

A Little Better View of the Magueyes..

     Here we will submit another couple of pictures that might give a better perspective concerning the nature of our property and our overall approach to rhyming the wild with the tame in terms of animals, growies, and purposes.

     The orderly people in the civilised world would be very concerned about the old man who let his grounds turn into a wild, unkempt wilderness.   No pride of ownership, no industry, so full of slothfulness, no concern for his neighbours...what a shame.

     BUT!  Please forgive a brief divergence.  There is a "rest of the story"... related to our last submission.   To wit:

SPECIAL UP-DATE:    In our previous Blogpost we displayed photographs of a predominately red and black bird with a bright red collar.   During the entirety of El Gringo Viejo's travels, urban and rural, desert or Tarzan-like mountainous jungles, he had never seen this particular bird.
     While, as we have stated many times, I am not a hard-core (or even soft-core) birdwatcher, my parents taught me the names of birds as they would come by our very nice farmstead north of McAllen, Texas in those times...the late 1940s through the mid-1960s.  Those species began to mount up into the scores and then hundreds.   My brothers and I could name them along with scores and scores of both domesticated and wild-growing flowers, shrubs, and trees.

Crimson-collared Grosbeak

    In any regard, being absolutely ignorant and stumped by the appearance of this bird and several of his brothers (and sisters-in-law), we consulted a very famous and highly reliable authority concerning this bird's nomme de plume (literally ?).   Dr. Timothy Brush,  although still perpetually a young man, is also a long-term student and teacher concerning matters of ornithology.  Many of the blind and ignorant turn to him first for guidance about the birds they have seen or heard.  The good Doctor is a full professor at the University of Texas - Rio Grande Valley.

     He established authoritatively the following:
"Okay, it looks a Crimson-collared Grosbeak, a specialty from northeastern Mexico—Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas, and a not much farther south. Very rarely one will come over to our side of the border in the winter. Fairly secretive birds so you are fortunate to have them come so close!"

     Returning to the original issue concerning the freeze damaged and unkept maguey plants, and our failure to make them disciplined members of an English garden.  We would like such a thing as well or better than even Miss Marple or even Dr. Watson's wife.  But  we require, at this point, the allowance of time for three families of cactus wrens to finish the hatch, rearing, and introduction to the real world of about 10 - 12 baby wrens who presently have very fine habitat.
Cactus Wren fledgling
 feeding time
     One can notice the freeze-burned maguey leaves on the lower areas of the plants.  That damage was from four different episodes of barely freezing temperatures during the months of December and January just past.  Behind the magueys, there were cholla (CHOI - yah) cactus that had been commonly used by the cactus wrens for the past few years.  This winter, being unaccustomed to freezing temperatures, all the chollas were either killed or severely damaged.
     The cactus wrens, however, like stubborn soldiers, refused to abandoned their battlements.  They piled more chaff, leaves, and small twigs and limbs around the eastside base of the magueys.  They especially incorporated their "thatched footballs" with their tunnel entrances into this disorder, making certain that there was quick escape to the fence of our east-side neighbour, Anastacio, about two feet from the nesting compounds.

"Thatched Football" Nest
 with tunnel
   These things, coupled with the stalks ("asparagus") shot up quite suddenly, also tied our hands, because these stalks will soon branch out and flower.  At that point, when the petals of the flowers have fallen, it was customary for the workers on the hennequin plantation to take the flowers and replant them in the same furrows where the producing plant had be stripped of its leaves, and its core squashed for fluids that would be used for making turpentine, mescal, pulque, or tequila depending upon the species of maguey was involved.

      The broad, long leaves, no matter sub-species, always could be used for fibre.   At one time, it is said, over 8 per cent of the Yucatan's land area was taken up in hennequin production.  The area around Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas (near our little place), was also an important hennequin producing area, with several hundred thousand acres in production and fibre extraction operations.

More later...and thanks for investing time in something so hard to explain, but easy to understand, if someone will just explain it.

El Gringo Viejo