By Greg Palast
July 7, 2006 -- And the winner in Mexico's presidential contest is... Senor Blank-o!
The official count of the ruling party is: 36.38% for the ruling party and 35.34% for the challenger.
Or, to put names and numbers to it: The Bush-o-philiac candidate, Felipe Calderon, collected 402,000 more votes than Bush-bashed Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. But the big winner was Mr. Blank -- the 827,000 ballots without a mark for president.
Blank ballots are rarely random - in the USA, nearly 88% were cast in 2004, notably, in minority areas, the result of bad voting machines. That is, Democrats' ballots "spoil" and "blank out" a heck of a lot more often than Republican ballots. What about in Mexico?
I intend to find out. As soon as I saw the "official" vote count, I booked a plane to Mexico City. I'll be there to tomorrow to join our investigators on the ground - and to fill in the blanks.
And what about the "spoiled" vote - ballots rejected, lost, mangled? Well, some are sitting in dumpsters in Veracruz State which is controlled by the old ruling PRI. (There's a darn good chance that the PRI, hoping to stave off its extinction, played a bigger role than Calderon's PAN in shoplifting votes from challenger Lopez Obrador.)
In a prior missive, I noted that the Bush Administration, under the guise of a secret War on Terror contract, hired ChoicePoint Inc. to filch the voter and citizen files of Mexico. These are the same characters (the Bushes and ChoicePoint) who helped purge Florida's voter rolls of African-Americans before the 2000 race. Were the Mexican rolls "scrubbed" with Dubya's help? And what exactly was the International Republican Institute, the imperial arm of the GOP, doing down there? Shouldn't someone ask? Shouldn't someone investigate?
Too many uncounted votes, too many blocked voters, too many statistics missing from the official tallies to jump to the automatic conclusion of US mainstream media, that this election was Mexico's first "clean" vote. It may look clean and neat from the Intercontinental Hotel in Mexico City where reporters shuttle from bar to press conference. But sniffing into the garbage piles and ballot piles of Veracruz, it smells more like Ohio con salsa.
Greg Palast is the author of the New York Times bestseller, "Armed Madhouse." (Media requests for reports from Mexico to Kat(at)GregPalast.com.)
Ken Lay'd to Rest
By Greg Palast
Eleanor Roosevelt, it's said, would rather light a candle than curse the darkness. Ken Lay would rather we light the candle and charge us for the darkness. Dark Vader is gone to where the heat is free and the lights are dim. My condolences.
But a man can't be all bad who, just recently, bought his wife a $200,000 yacht - despite court judgments requiring he pay back tens of millions he filched from the yacht-less. In his defense, he said, "It was difficult to turn off that life-style like a spigot."
Well, they say you can't take it with you - especially if you're an Enron pensioner.
Read "When Ahnold Got Lay'd" from the Class War chapter of "ARMED MADHOUSE."
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