Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Mexican Court: Everything was nice and legalish

A number of Mexican commentators have made the point that Mexico's legal system followed legal forms, but not the law in dealing with the Mexican election. One key element of genuine legal proceedings is that they deal with specific allegations, because it is in well-defined issues that truth or falsity can best be determined. What struck me in reading and listening to media is that exactly one paper, La Jornada, covered specific allegations of what had happened. Nor, as far as I can determine, has the electoral court given any detailed explanation of how it arrived at its conclusions. The specifics that I have seen are bizarre: The judges annulled 237,736 votes...The electoral court TEPJF removed 81,080 votes from Calderón Hinojosa and 76,897 votes from López Obrador. Now, some back of the envelope calculations are in order. To give a sense of the magnitude, 237,000 votes in a 9% recount would correspond to about 2.5 million votes if extrapolated over the nation. It's huge. Or, to provide scale, roughly 6-7% of the precincts were so corrupted that the results were impossible to accept. Who among us would not call this a deeply flawed election? But when one looks more closely at these details, there is clearly something very wrong. The challenged precincts were almost all Calderon strongholds. They were NOT overcounting ballots for Lopez Obrador. So, how did the relative change in votes come out so small? Small but, even so, too large. A 5,2004,200 vote shift is uncomfortably large on a recount of roughly 3.5 million votes. Perhaps the closest parallel we have is the Washington State governor's race of 2004. Out of 2.75 million ballots cast, a change of only 1,667 was found on recounting. But the net shift was miniscule: 171 votes, or about 6 votes in 100,000. This is reasonable. A shift of 5,200 votes on 3.5 million, by contrast, is a shift of 1.5 votes more than 1 vote per thousand. That is indicative of fraud. A cartoon from Helguera and Hernandez in Proceso says it all (via SdP): "Monkey sapiens. We need to protect our national symbols and defend and strengthen our national institutions. The Congress as a tank, the Supreme Court as a club, Televisa as riot police, and a cuspidor cannon to spit on the public are among the national symbols. Speaking of Proceso, Álvaro Delgado writes in that publication (my paraphrase) No longer is anything strange: not hypocrisy, not cynicism, nor even shamelessness. Why would one blush if all the immoral acts are committed under the cloak of legality? ... When one fails to understand history, it happens as if in a cartoon. The events of 1988, where the usurper Carlos Salinos was imposed, are being repeated almost two decades later.... One must admit that Televisa has been consistent in its servile attitude, though the employees on the screen have changed. But the tenacious fan of propaganda and obfuscation will recognize its faithful defense of the institutions "which we created at great cost." Televisa has even enjoyed the luxury of sacrificing earnings to give the ultra-right prime time slots. In 1988, they did sit-in strikes led by Manuel Clouthier to promoste openness. Now they enjoy and urge on closure.... The same happened to Fox and PAN, and its acolytes. They attempted to rectify the fraud of the PRI in 1988, and now they attempt to legalize Calderon the same way: by division of the spoils (i.e., sinecures). ...The very same Fox who in effect turned the presidency of the Republic into a joke opposed Salinas's fraud in 1991 when he closed highways, headed sit-ins, blocked the airport of Silao, and sabotaged the swearing in ceremony. ...In the end, the the Electoral Tribunal (TEPFJ) fell away from the principles of liberty, and took on again the hardshell conservatism in the worst expression of the end and abdication of its historical responsibility. All that remains is one step to consummate completely impunity and imposture: formalizing the new boss of the country. For its work in exposing the murderous acts of Echeverria and cohort, Proceso has earned a unique moral stature in Mexico. This OpEd stands, like Balaam's angel, athwart the road to total corruption that Mexico's elite are traveling. El Cid has a summary of English-language viewpoints. The New York Times, as usual, has sold out its editorial viewpoint in the interests of expediency. Gumby doesn't have that much editorial flexibility. _______________________________ Johnny Wendell, speaking about the upcoming US elections, says:
Mired in miserable poll numbers with a cratering housing market and wage depression swirling about his ankles like effluence in the streets of Fallujah, a Hail Mary move right before the midterms would not only be in the works as we speak, but very bloody (pun intended) likely....People say that I have a hyperactive and paranoiac imagination and they're right as rain. But I put nothing past these animales [who] have gone to any lengths and will continue to do so, to dominate and demolish our beloved land...

Of course we knew it would go down this way. It sickens, saddens. How I wish the world would begin surprising me again.
I think you're likely to get your wish, NLX-J.

The US is so far overstretched that things could start coming down in a hurry.

Now, whether you will like it when the world does start to surprise you, that I can't say.
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