Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Hard Rain Journal 8-9-06: Lamont & McKinney Stories Underscore Importance of Lopez Obrador's Struggle

Hard Rain Journal 8-9-06: Lamont & McKinney Stories Underscore the Importance of Lopez Obrador's Struggle

By Richard Power

The inspiring victory of Ned Lamont over Lierberman, the Petainist, shows that the discontent stirring in the land is profound, deep, broad-based, and ready to explode.

The tragic defeat of Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) shows that there is no tolerance for those who dare to challenge the sacred cows of the political establishment. She faced the double-whammy. Georgia's vote is wholly compromised by Diebold machines, and the primary was flooded with the outside money. From who? Rovian Republicans? DLC? AIPAC? All of them. She was a marked woman since the day she dared to raise serious questions about the Bush-Cheney regime and 9/11.

Taken together, the stories of Lamont and McKinney underscore the importance of what López Obrador is doing in Mexico. The court-ordered partial recount of 9% of the vote is an inadequate and inappropriate response to a national election in which the "margin of victory" is so narrow and the results are so hotly disputed.

Here is an update on the situation in Mexico. It is composed of stories from Reuters, Inter Press Service, Houston Chronicle, and Bloomberg, and offers some insights into the political struggle, its economic impact, and the potentially decisive role of the Mexican press:

Hundreds of Mexican leftists blockaded a government ministry and threw open highway toll gates on Tuesday in an escalation of protests against alleged fraud in last month's presidential election. It was the first time demonstrators have disrupted federal facilities in weeks of protests to support candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who lost the election by 0.58 of a percentage point to the conservative ruling party's Felipe Calderon. Mexico's government has tightened security around President Vicente Fox since leaders of the civil resistance vowed earlier this week they would organize protests wherever he goes....The recounts will begin on Wednesday and last five days. If they show Lopez Obrador closing the gap on Calderon, they will give him a major boost in his push for a recount of all 41 million votes. Lorraine Orlandi, Mexico left hits ministry, roads in vote protests, Reuters, 8-8-06

Business leaders in Mexico City have lashed out at the camps that protesters supporting the leftist coalition "For the Good of All" have set up in city squares and streets, which are blocking shopping and tourist activities, and they have called for the resignation of leftwing Mayor Alejandro Encinas, whom they accuse of placing political interests before those of local residents and businesses....Speaking to thousands of his followers in the capital's Zócalo plaza, the head of the leftist Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) stated that civil resistance would continue, and apologised to local residents, shopkeepers and the business community for the obstruction of traffic. López Obrador said the struggle he is leading is aiming to prevent a step backwards for democracy in Mexico, which is why he will continue demanding a vote-by-vote recount, which he said is the only way to be sure that no fraud has been committed....The partial vote recount will take place Aug. 9-13 in 26 out of Mexico's 31 states, with the participation of members of the electoral court, Supreme Court magistrates, and representatives of the political parties. The electoral court has until Aug. 31 to rule on legal challenges, and until Sept. 6 to annul the election or declare a president-elect. The inauguration of the new president will take place Dec. 1 in Congress. Adrián Reyes, Left Vows to Continue Pressure for Total Recount, Inter Press Service, 8-7-06

The protests fueled concern that Felipe Calderon, the winner of the vote, will find it hard to obtain a congressional majority to meet promises such as opening up the oil industry to private investment, said Aryam Vazquez, an economist at Informa Global Markets. Speculation that Mexico ``will have a divided political climate is certainly hitting the peso,'' Vazquez said in a phone interview from New York. The peso fell today as much as 0.5 percent to 10.9280 per dollar. The currency pared losses after the U.S. Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged, helping preserve the allure of emerging-market assets. The peso traded 0.1 percent lower at 10.8835 per dollar at 4:10 p.m. New York time....Concerns that protests could turn violent may ``damp capital flows to Mexico and weaken the peso and bonds,'' Vazquez said. Supporters of Lopez Obrador have blocked 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) of the city's main avenue since July 30, costing hotels and businesses about $23 million a day, according to the local chamber of commerce. Mexico's Valerie Rota, Currency Declines as Lopez Obrador Steps Up Protests, Bloomberg, 8-9-06

MEXICO´S Federal Electoral Tribunal flatly rejected candidate Manuel Andres Lopez Obrador´s request for a full recount this Saturday, instead ordering a limited recount of only 9 percent of the voting booths. The world seems to believe that this is the final word with regard to recounting the ballots in Mexico's election. But this is a mistake. As in the case of Bush v. Gore, the final word will come later, when the people conduct their own recount. These results will have a much bigger impact this time around. By the time a consortium of newspapers came up with their findings in the United States, it was after Sept. 11, and the American people were intent on putting Bush v. Gore behind them. And while the newspaper study suggested that Gore might well have won if all of Florida's voters were recounted, this finding was blunted by the fact that Gore himself had never requested a total recount, but contented himself with a far more limited challenge to the balloting. In contrast, the challenger in Mexico, Lopez Obrador, is demanding a complete recount. As a result, a similar conclusion by the Mexican newspapers would have a devastating impact on Mexico's democratic institutions. Without a full recount, a Felipe Calderon presidency will hold a weak hand in dealing with the Mexican Congress, where his party only has a minority. But if the final citizen recount sheds doubt on the Tribunal's decision, this will not only seriously discredit the country's electoral institutions, but lead to demands for Calderon's resignation. The key to this scenario is Mexico's new freedom of information act, enacted only in 2002. Following the example of Bush v. Gore, Mexican media outlets such as Proceso magazine, as well as independent citizens, have already taken advantage of the act's broad coverage and procedural safeguards to request access to the ballots used in the past elections. They are eager to use their new rights to conduct their own recount. It would be illegal for Mexico's electoral institutions to deny these requests. None of the statute's exceptions apply. The ballots don't contain any confidential or personal information. Handing them over would not put national security or economic stability at risk. If the Electoral Institute appealed these exceptions, it would be claiming that popular suffrage itself were somehow dangerous for Mexico. JOHN M. ACKERMAN and IRMA E. SANDOVAL, Last word on ballot results rests with Mexico's people, Citizen recount results will determine election credibility, Houston Chronicle, 8-7-06


Hard Rain Journal 7-30-06: Struggle for Fair Elections, North & South of the Rio Grande

Hard Rain Journal 7-22-06 Weekend Edition: Updates on US Election Fraud and the Dan Rather Watch

Hard Rain Journal 7-18-06: Update on Disputed Mexican Presidential Election

GS(3) Thunderbolt 7-10-06: Will the Disputed Mexican Election Lead to Insurrection? Lessons for Mexico from the US, and Lessons for the US from Mexico

GS(3) Thunderbolt 7-7-06: Mexican Presidential Election Still in Doubt

GS(3) Thunderbolt 7-3-06: Greg Palast on the Case in the Mexican Presidential Election

Hard Rain Journal 6-28-06: NYU Law School's Brennan Center Reports E-Voting Software Attacks are a Real Danger

SPECIAL EDITION: “Until this issue is burning on the mind of every citizen” -- Words of Power Interviews Mark Crispin Miller

Words of Power #22: Election Fraud As Information Warfare, and a National Security Issue

Richard Power is the founder of GS(3) Intelligence and His work focuses on the inter-related issues of security, sustainability and spirit, and how to overcome the challenges of terrorism, cyber crime, global warming, health emergencies, natural disasters, etc. You can reach him via e-mail: For more information, go to

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