Thursday, July 06, 2006

All posts were moved (11/2006) to

When the going gets strange... election (and other) chincanery update

UPDATE (8 PM, 6 July): The official count gave Calderón 15,000,284 votes to AMLO's 14,756,350... barring any changes by the Elections tribunal, it looks like the original PREP count will hold up. I haven't made up my mind what it all means -- though, as I posted here, it looks like PAN will have serious concessions to the left to get anything through Congress, and that Calderón will need to work with a "coalition cabinet'. I may post later... or, maybe I'll take a break from the elections to look at "normal" Mexican weirdness. UPDATE (7:40 PM 5-July -- Mexico City time: IFE is not breaking down votes by state or district yet, but the ballot count results they're releasing now show AMLO in the lead with 36.69% of the votes, to Calderón's 34.65%. Madrazo is far behind at 22.1%, Mercado at 2.71 and Campo at 0.94. Most of the change appears to have been overestimates (intentional or accidental ... maybe a bad statistical model, or really just too close to give an accurate result) for Calderón and Madrazo. STILL... IFE is warning us not to take these as a trend... yet. To quote the Ira Gerswin -- HOW LONG HAS THIS BEEN GOING ON? (5-July) Way back in November 2003, the U.S. Libertarian website, Insight Magazine reported on FBI misappropriation of Las Vegas casino surveillence tapes. It was on one of those tapes -- showing the Mexico City comptroller gambling with city funds -- that an up and coming PANista, Federico Döring, showed on Brozo the Clown's morning TV show... and kicked off the year long attempt to force AMLO out of office (AMLO, of course, survived quite nicely, turning into an even more viable Presidential candidate than he ever was before the outbreak of disafuero-mania back in early 2005). Greg Palast has dug up a whole slew of old information that I knew, but had more or less forgotten about, dealing with more U.S. government misappropriation of Mexican voter data -- also suggesting (unofficial, or at least plausibly deniable) U.S. support for PAN. And, as I noted on 29 June, Carmen Aristegui
acting on a tip from some so-far "unnamed source" accessed voter data herself, using "Hildebrando117" as her password. "Hildebrando" is, of course, Calderón's inconvenient brother-in-law.
Something is going on... while the new report that Calderón only leads AMLO by 0.6% is being reported in all Mexican media sources, there is an excellent report in English in this morning's Los Angeles Times written by Héctor Tobar and Carlos Martínez .
Late Tuesday, election officials added the 2.5 million votes to the public count. Lopez Obrador outpolled Calderon on these ballots by more than 145,000 votes, narrowing Calderon's lead to slightly more than 257,000 ballots, or 0.6 percentage point. Election authorities said that as many as 900,000 votes remained to be added to the official tally because polling station results had not yet arrived at regional election headquarters. An undetermined number are from the remotest rural areas of southern Mexico, which lean toward Lopez Obrador. ... Tuesday's developments were the latest twist in an already strange saga pitting two candidates on opposite ends of the ideological divide. The vote is the closest in Mexican history. ... At a news conference Tuesday, leaders of the PRD repeated and elaborated on Lopez Obrador's charges of irregularities in the preliminary count. Campaign chief Ortega said results from 13,086 polling stations — slightly more 10% of the total — were not included in the initial count released by election officials. Party leaders said results from many stations in the states of Jalisco, Sonora and Guanajuato, strongholds of Calderon's National Action Party, appeared more than once in the preliminary results. Cesar Augusto Morones Servin, a pollster hired by the PRD, said fewer votes were counted in the presidential race than in the races for congressional deputies and senators. Mexicans were voting for all three. Blank or "null" ballots are included in the vote total, and all three categories should have had the same number of votes, Morones said. ... Suspicion among Lopez Obrador's supporters was heightened Monday when the investigative magazine Proceso, citing police intelligence sources, reported that senior Interior Ministry officials had attempted to shape media coverage on election night. Ministry officials called the news directors at Mexico's two leading television networks and requested that they not broadcast the results of their exit polls, Proceso reported. Interior Minister Carlos Abascal did not deny making such calls... "We insist that the electoral process has to be absolutely respected, because it was transparent," Abascal said. "It is characteristic of democracy to have argument and passionate rivalry, but it is also characteristic of democracy to submit unconditionally to the referee and the result."
Of course, one expects the referee to be using the same rulebook for all the teams... and that none of the teams is getting information on the other teams from someone outside the game. AND IN OTHER DUBIOUS NEWS FROM MEXICO...

Bill Masterson, who, when he isn't insulting people posts misleading (or non-existent) data about Mexico on a number of websites, especially the Lonely Planet Thorn Tree Mexico Branch (lately under the names"longford" and "johnq"). As I found out a long time ago, even a fool has his uses. But -- like anyone who has spent time in Mexico -- I have some sneaking admiration for a good con job on the gringos. Who conned who is the question.

The June 11, 2006 Naples (Florida) News has a story by editor Phil Lewis about U.S. immigrants to Mexico. Their source? One "Bill Masterson", who... according to Lewis

writes for the Peoples Guide to Mexico, a Web site for U.S. citizens wanting to retire or seek business opportunities south of the border, has been researching the matter.

Then goes on to quote a February 2002 article Bill WROTE (he hasn't written for that publication since 2002)on U.S. immigration. Even if the facts WERE somewhat plausible in 2002, they aren't based on anything concrete ... and some of what's presented as "new proposals" (like a national identity card) weren't -- to my knowledge -- ever seriously proposed, even back then. AND... IN THE SLICKEST TRICK OF THE WEEK Who do you think is the one clear winner in the election? According to la Maesta, Señora Hoffa, Elba Esther Gordillo... SHE DID!. From her point of view, she had to destroy the party in order to save it. There's some scary stuff going on... so I'll end with something really scary... Elba Esther in the (um... flesh, I think):


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