Thursday, July 13, 2006


Which side are you on?

The Mexican election has gradually become one of those watershed events, events like Election 2000, like the war on Iraq, like the massive and illegal wiretapping of Americans that pose us with a clear choice, a choice that we must make as to which side we are on. At least for me, it didn't start out that way. As those who know me are aware, I was more or less neutral in the Mexican election. Like most people, I saw Fox's election as a turning point in Mexico's history, in which the historical--and very corrupt-- monopoly of the PRI was at last broken. We all hoped the Mexican people would be able to freely choose between the major parties. The PRD, as is sadly too typical of the Mexican left, seemed naive about how to go about meeting the development needs of Mexico. Those needs, thanks to right-wing Catholics who made birth control a matter for excommunication, are huge. And the failure of the left to defend against the repression unleashed against them in 1988 seemed to symbolize how unprepared they were to govern. That a guy as strange as Subcomandante Marcos could rise to a position of unofficial national leadership spoke of a system broken almost beyond repair. Unfortunately, PAN turned out to be the new name of the party of Mexico's superwealthy: it is PRI's money with a Catholic extremist gloss. Violence against the poor and dispossed has been rising and incomes have been stagnating. And the PRD produced a candidate with solid political experience and high approval ratings from the people of Mexico City. He also picks up support from those who understand that wealth inequality is disastrous for Mexico (See, for example, this piece from a former OC Weekly editor. The Economist quasi-endorsement of Lopez Obrador represented the same sort of visionary stance, of seeing that by keeping the poor in a ditch, Mexico as a whole has to stay there. And then there were a series of events. 1. The attempt of the right to paint Lopez Obrador as identical to Hugo Chavez and (whisper, whisper) Fidel Castro. This is getting old, especially the US-sponsored coup against Chavez. We've seen the campaign by a relentlessly right-wing electronic media in the US and in Venezuela. In Mexico, this lame old approach just looks pathetic. 2. The violence at Atenco, which our resident troll wants to blame on the PRD (in fact, the EZLN, which is in opposition to the PRD, is probably the primary mover in indigenous resistance movements). I challenge all our readers to look at that Wikipedia article. 3. The incredible dishonesty of the Mexican electronic media, as for example reported in the article above, in which they showed footage only of protestors attacking police, not of the initial attack of the police on the flower vendors, the "systematic police violence against reporters," or the police riot that followed, killing several people and disappearing many, many more. People with long memories will immediately make the mental connection to the massacre of Tlatelolco and subsequent hunting down and murders of dissidents by police. 4. The attempt by PAN to bulldoze the opposition into silence on election day. 5. The long count, characteristic of electoral wrongdoing, and the sudden, inadequately explained change of lead. 6. The large number of blank ballots. 7. The response of PAN leadership to cases in which fraud was pretty obviously happening. When honest people see things that look dishonest, they denounce them. But what really fixed it is the systematically dishonest, thuggish behavior of PANistas that I personally witnessed when one of them (Pandaluz) spammed this site, demanding that I view video that "proved" that Lopez Obrador was a liar. Well, I did look at it, and I thought it was baloney. Basically, it showed Lopez Obrador saying that he would respect the electoral process and not launch a street war if he didn't win. Standard political boilerplate. But since no one can promise that they won't protest obvious fraud-- indeed, in one of the great ironies of this election, Fox became the leader of reform when he led marches against PRI fraud-- it was mostly proof of how gullible and shallow these PANistas were. The response was, by Mexican standards, pretty venomous. Mexican standards, traditionally, require a certain level of restraint, circumlocution, and decorum as one informs an opponent that he's a son of a b---h. Failure to do so marks a person as having been raised in a questionable household. I encourage people to look at that thread and decide for themselves what it is about counting votes that has these PANistas in such a panic. Then, as our readers know, one of the PANistas, a guy posting as Manexpat, came over to the blog to post (on a thread devoted to responding to misinformation put out by a different self-inflated personality) to inform me that I was in violation of article 33 of the Mexican Constitution forbidding foreign interference in Mexican affairs, and to order to cease and desist. He lists himself as a Briton. He says that he's glad he's not a Christian because we "sicken him." But he says that's not anti-Christian. As Bob Dole would say, "Yeah, whatever." No Mexican I know would list himself as anything except a Mexican, unless he actually changed citizenship. Lots of Americans still call themselves. No simple agnostic goes around saying that people of a certain religion sicken him unless he's a bigot. If this is starting to sound like a bad soap opera, well, that's Calderon's supporters for you. Having failed to make any substantive point-- and unless this is T. L. Brink-- any germane one, Manexpat has managed to dig himself into a deep hole and forgotten to bring a ladder. Now, Internet flame wars are even cheaper than a dime a dozen and anonymous posters claiming to have certain degrees and affiliations that substantiate their views are like Giffen goods. I am posting his post to me in comments below (yes, normally I would keep such individual posts private, but this is one of those exceptions. There is no real attempt to communicate, there is a definite attempt to avoid exposure of dishonest dealing, and there's some question in my mind as to how far over the line this obsessive behavior is going). Let me be clear: this is only relevant in that the recklessly aggressive, obsessive behavior of Manexpat seems typical of the PANistas I have been dealing with-- and it's very similar to the recklessly aggressive behavior of the leadership that I have been reporting on the pages of this blog. Showing our readers this is the best way I know to get across what's going on in Mexico. It is this kind of behavior that signals to me that this crisis in Mexico has a good chance of morphing into a real breakdown in civil order. Sure, there's political theater in every election, and Mexico has some of the best. But there's something different about the character of what's going on in Mexico that reminds me of 1988 and 1968, when the ruling party talked itself into hysteria and, ultimately, into mass murder. What I have seen makes it suddenly very clear to me which side I am on. It's time for all of us to choose.
Here's the text of the message from Manexpat.

July 13, 2006, 10:13 AM
Subject: Think with a clear head, if you can.
Message: You come across as a sad, sad person, Charles.

You accused me unfairly, you insulted me, you threatened me. And now you presume to teach me Christian values? You presume to know what Jesus would have done in Mexico?

That, my dear Charles, is vanity, worst amongst the deadly sins (the one that damned Lucifer Morningstar himself).

You speak so much of the truth yet, by reading your blog and your comments, it becomes pretty clear that you only want to push what you pereceive to be the truth and don't take the time to compare your perceptions to what is actually happening in the real world.

Again, your assumption that you and only you know what the truth is comes across as vain. Better make a trip to the confession booth soon, Charles.

All in all, it is clear why you quoted the Gospel.

You are trying (yet again) to scare me and (again) you failed.

I am no Christian, but I am pretty sure God is a clever chap who cares little for your petty concerns. The Gospel was written by men who wanted to push their own agendas (pretty much like you are trying to do now) and it is the responsibility of the thinking man to dish out the BS from the facts.

You have failed to meet that responsibility thus far, my dear Charles.

I do not presume to know The Truth. That is God's prerrogative.

But my feeble attempts to approach it are honest and well-researched whereas yours (at least in relation to Mexican Elections) are biased, prejudiced and tinged with personal issues.

I want to believe you are well-meant and honest.

I want to believe you actually think what you say and what you print on your blog is true.

But reading the way you comment and editorialize without really understanding what is it you are talking about is akin to witnessing a 5-year-old attempting to drive a Monster truck.

Good intentions pave the road to hell, Charles. Ignorance is no excuse.

If you want to address Mexican Politics, you'd better start learning more about Mexico because, if one is to judge based on what you have written so far, your knowledge and understanding of the complexities of Mexican History and society are shallow at best.

But I thank you for your insults. I thank you for calling me a "thug" and calling me "sick" and "dishonest".

Insults coming from a man who is untrue are like words of praise for him who is rightous.

I strongly suggest you take a long, hard look at yourself before passing judgment unto others.

Your behaviour does not fit that of a 61 year old.

I respect my elders. I ask you to respect yourself.

(One point I should note: Whenever websites ask for personal information, I enter whatever random numbers come into my head. To paraphrase Martin Luther, sometimes, one must sin boldly. But especially since I have called Manexpat on the issue of his citizenship, I don't want to mislead our readers--or even our trolls-- on the smallest detail.)
Ok, I really shouldn't waste my time with a discussion on semantics but I believe I have to set the record straight:

Here is a list of lies Charles said about me:

Lie #1:

"to inform me that I was in violation of article 33 of the Mexican Constitution forbidding foreign interference in Mexican affairs, and to order to cease and desist."

I said I felt offended by your meddling and suggested you attended to your own business before sticking your nose in hours.

Anyone who reads our conversation in order will notice that I only mentioned Art. 33 of the Constitution after you had already insulted me and declared me "an enemy of the Truth".

Anyone who reads our conversation will notice that I questioned your blog, yes, but only spoke of "meddling" in relation to your less-than-stellar performance at the youtube forum.

Now, if anyone finds anywhere where I "order" Charles to do anything (let alone, "cease and desist") I beseech you, let me know.

I suggested restraint, yes. But that hardly qualifies as "ordering".

Lie # 2:

"He lists himself as a briton."

Big leaps you are making here, my dear Charles.

I did list my country as GB.

((Manexpat Age: 36 Country: GB
Last Login: 8 minutes ago) )

Why? Because I spend most of my time in GB. However, it is a far cry from listing myself as a "briton" which, unless you can prove otherwise, I never did.

Lie #3:

"He says that he's glad he's not a Christian because we "sicken him." But he says that's not anti-Christian."

I said I am glad I am not a Christian because you sicken me, Charles.

You, Charles, not the whole of christendom. It is you who sicken me.

Last time I cheked, being sickened by a sel-rigthous fanatic such as yourself should not be construed as being anti-christian.

But, then again, perhaps the rules have changed and you have been appointed defender of the faith and, thus, not liking you personally equals not liking christianity.


Lie # 4:

"Having failed to make any substantive point..."

Oh, but I provided several links to news stories that confirmed my claims.

You chose to ignore them (predictably) but that does not take away from the fact that I did post them.

One last thing. I was offended by your comments in the youtube forum (something I believe I have every right in the world to be) and came to your blog because you asked us to.

I spoke my mind and you retorted in a pretty venomous way.

I sent you a private message to leave things be and stop this ridiculous internet war and you violated one of the sacred principles of the internet by publishing it here.

I am not sure what to make of it, Charles.

It sure does not speak good about your moral fibre.

I am very much afraid it is you who has dig himself a hole much too deep to fathom.

Having set the record straight, I can gladly tell you you will never hear from me again.

Not because your threats have had any effect but because it is embarassing that two grown ups can embark in such a childish argument.

Someone has to be the bigger man here, Charles.

I guess it will have to be me.

Best of lucks.
Wow, I didn't know they had Cheetos in "GB". What I can't understand, though, is how these guys manage to type so much using only one hand.

I notice that nothing factual in your posts has been successfully refuted.
That's exactly it, Lambert. The guy's even worse than the econ-troll, "John", who has now resurfaced just when he thought we'd all forgot his M.O.
Whatever, Manexpat.



PW: John! The guy who thinks that "middle class" is just a letter jumble, not meaningful words!

They never learn.
Meanwhile, the NYT weighs in against AMLO, calling into question the whether the urn-stuffing video shows what Obrador says it does.

Sounds pretty bad for AMLO, but then I remember that this is the paper of Judith Miller and Jeff Gerth and Stephen Labaton. I'll wait for Charles to do an English-language overview of the latest Mexican news before I make a decision, thanks.
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