|Progressive Calendar 07.08.06||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Sat, 8 Jul 2006 15:12:01 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 07.08.06 1. KFAI/Indian 7.09 4pm 2. Vets for peace 7.09 6pm 3. Kip Sullivan/book 7.09 7pm 4. Middle East 7.09 8pm 5. Peace church 7.10 6:30pm 6. Grandin/autism 7.10 7pm 7. Full frontal moonity 7.10 7pm 8. Pentel/governor 7.10 7pm 9. Spiritual progs 7.10 7pm 10. Mark Weisbrot - Mexico election vote count under cloud of uncertainty 11. Hall and Root - Mexico: uncounted votes, fears of unrest 12. Laura Carlsen - Mexico's dramatic vote count lacks credibility 13. Joel Sipress - Mexico update 14. Jerome Corsi - NAFTA union-busting super highway: Mexico to Duluth 15. ed - Sin of omission (poem) --------1 of 15-------- From: Chris Spotted Eagle <chris [at] spottedeagle.org> Subject: KFAI/Indian 7.09 4pm KFAI's Indian Uprising, July 9, 2006 We must have healthy minds and bodies if we are to effectively maintain our personal sovereignty and vigorously combat social, political and cultural oppression for our own safety, well being and spirit Ed THE GRIM NEUROLOGY OF TEENAGE DRINKING by Katy Butler, The New York Times, July 4, 2006. Teenagers have been drinking alcohol for centuries. In pre-Revolutionary America, young apprentices were handed buckets of ale. In the 1890's, at the age of 15, the writer Jack London regularly drank grown sailors under the table. For almost as long, concerned adults have tried to limit teenage alcohol consumption. In the 1830's, temperance societies administered lifelong abstinence pledges to schoolchildren. Today, public health experts regularly warn that teenage drinkers run greatly increased risks of involvement in car accidents, fights and messy scenes in Cancún. But what was once a social and moral debate may soon become a neurobiological one. The costs of early heavy drinking, experts say, appear to extend far beyond the time that drinking takes away from doing homework, dating, acquiring social skills, and the related tasks of growing up. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/04/health/04teen.html?_r=1&oref=slogin SPREADING THE WORD ON BIRD FLU by Joy Powell, Star Tribune, July 6, 2006. Minnesota is gearing up to prevent or handle a potential outbreak of lethal bird flu in the Western Hemisphere by taping a public health announcement in six languages, updating a website and offering recorded information over the telephone. The efforts are aimed at people who raise chickens at their residences, as well as others who simply buy poultry. Fears about bird flu have caused poultry consumption to plummet in other countries, though authorities say you can't get it from birds that are properly handled and cooked. Most major poultry producers, from Jennie-O Turkey Store in Willmar to Gold'n Plump in St. Cloud, have long had biological security measures in place. But industry officials worry that migratory birds could infect back-yard flocks, including those that are raised by a growing number of immigrants. Minnesota has an estimated 325,000 immigrants and refugees from 160 nations, and many speak limited English or none at all, said Lillian McDonald, a spokeswoman for St. Paul-Ramsey County Public Health. As part of a strategy to reach diverse new residents, local health departments and other agencies are working together on the program, which will air from 7 to 9 p.m. Aug. 27 on Twin Cities Public Television, Ch. 17. http://www.startribune.com/535/story/535139.html * * * * Indian Uprising is a one-half hour Public & Cultural Affairs program for, by, and about Indigenous people broadcast each Sunday at 4:00 p.m. over KFAI 90.3 FM Minneapolis and 106.7 FM St. Paul. Producer and host is Chris Spotted Eagle. KFAI Fresh Air Radio is located at 1808 Riverside Avenue, Minneapolis MN 55454, 612-341-3144. --------2 of 15-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Vets for peace 7.09 6pm Sunday, 7/9, 6 pm, chapter 27 Veterans for Peace, St. Stephens school basement, 2123 Clinton Ave S, Mpls. 612-841-9141. --------3 of 15-------- From: Madeleine Baran <madeleine.baran [at] gmail.com> Subject: Kip Sullivan/book 7.09 7pm You are invited to an exciting event at Arise Bookstore! Health care reform activist Kip Sullivan will discuss his new book, "The Health Care Mess: How We Got Into it and How We'll Get Out of It" at Arise Bookstore Sunday, July 9th at 7pm. The event is free. Sullivan is a leading national advocate for single-payer health care. His writings have appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Nation, In These Times, and the New England Journal of Medicine. Sullivan sits on the steering committee of the Minnestota Universal Health Care Coalition, and previously worked as an organizer and researcher for Minnesota Citizen Organizations Acting Together. As Sullivan explains, the rapid deterioration of the American health-care system, and the debate about what to do about it, is generating a maelstrom of news stories, magazine articles, and books. But the average person finds it difficult to make sense of this blizzard of information. Because the health-care system is large and complex, and because the symptoms of its decline are numerous, comprehensive reports about the health-care crisis are extremely rare. Comprehensive reports in everyday language are nonexistent. "The Health-Care Mess" was written to fill that void. It assumes the reader knows nothing about health policy. As Sullivan puts it, "The Health-Care Mess" is the book he wishes someone had given to him in 1986 when he, a community organizer, jumped into the cold, choppy waters of the health-care reform debate. At that time, he had no training in health policy. But in the course of studying the health-care system and explaining its problems to thousands of people, he has become a passionate health-care reform advocate and educator. Arise Bookstore is a collectively-run bookstore and resource center located at 2441 Lyndale Ave South, Minneapolis. For more information, please contact Madeleine Baran at: 612-817-7018. --------4 of 15-------- From: humanrts [at] umn.edu Subject: Middle East 7.09 8pm July 9 - Peace in the House. 8pm. Cost: $10. Hamline University Anne Simley Theater, St. Paul Join Voices of Sepharad for a view of North Africa and the Middle East which you will not read in the newspaper. An international cast of artists celebrates the entwined relationship of Sephardic Jews, Muslims, and Christians. Creating a mosaic of music, dance, poetry, and folktale, "Peace in the House" illuminates a history of neighborliness which bound these communities together for hundreds of years. Reserve your Tickets in Advance: 651-523-2240 or nzmora [at] gw.hamline.edu For more information visit www.voicesofsepharad.com. Sponsored by the Hamline University Civic Education Project --------5 of 15-------- From: wamm <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Peace church 7.10 6:30pm Every Church A Peace Church Potluck Dinner Program Monday, July 10, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Plymouth Presbyterian Church, 3755 Dunkirk Lane, Plymouth. Veterans for Peace members Steve McKeown and Jim Steinhagen tell of their spiritual journeys from soldier to peace activist. They present a program based on the statement of Jesus who asked his disciples: "Who do you say I am?" (Matthew 16:13-18) Do we acknowledge Jesus as the Prince of Peace, whose preeminent message was that of love, forgiveness and compassion or as the God of War, who came to bring judgment and retribution? What happens to soldiers as they struggle to reconcile the Christian teachings of their youth with the requirements of the military to kill? How do Christian churches counsel soldiers about this dilemma? Can the United States honestly be described as a Christian nation? Does not the federal budget with 53% of discretionary funds allotted to the military indicate our real priorities? --------6 of 15-------- From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com> Subject: Grandin/autism 7.10 7pm The reading by Temple Grandin which was previously scheduled to take place at the Suburban World Theatre has been moved to Magers and Quinn Booksellers at 3038 Hennepin Ave S in Minneapolis' Uptown neighborhood. The event will take place on Monday, July 10 at 7:00pm as previously announced. Only the location has changed. TEMPLE GRANDIN earned her Ph.D. in animal science from the University of Illinois, went on to become an associate professor at Colorado State University, and wrote two books on autism, including the seminal Thinking in Pictures. She lives in Fort Collins, Colorado. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: David Unowsky 612-822-4611 dunowsky [at] magersandquinn.com Magers and Quinn Booksellers 3038 Hennepin Avenue South Minneapolis MN 55408 www.magersandquinn.com --------7 of 15-------- From: Sue Ann <mart1408 [at] umn.edu> Subject: Full frontal moonity 7.10 7pm [ed head] Coldwater Full Moon Walk Reminder, Monday, July 10, 7 pm Monday, July 10, 7pm Minnehaha Park, 54th Street South, Minneapolis (South End of the Pay Parking Lot). Join in a full moon tour around the Historic Coldwater Spring Area, featuring Henry Fieldseth, coordinator of the Friends School Plant Sale, talking about summer flowers and plants on the walking tour. All are welcome. FFI: www.FriendsofColdwater.org info [at] friendsofcoldwater.org. --------8 of 15-------- From: Ken Pentel <kenpentel [at] yahoo.com> Subject: Pentel/governor 7.10 7pm THE NEXT Ken Pentel for Governor planning/volunteer MEETING. Agenda: --Prepare for petition drive --Inventory supplies (i.e.Petitions, lit, clipboards, voter reg. cards, instructions.) --Identify list of volunteers ready to go. --Select locations to petition Monday, July 10th 7pm Sue Leskela's, 2880 Irving South #2, Mpls, MN (Next to the Mall in Uptown) Agenda: --Update on petition drive --Identify needs in the campaign --8pm fan-out and collect signatures. Contact: --Sue, sleskela [at] mn.rr.com, 612-824-5032 or, --Al, ahancock2005 [at] comcast.net, 763-561-9758 --------9 of 15-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Spiritual progs 7.10 7pm Monday, 7/10, 7 pm (and each month's 2nd Monday), Network of Spiritual Progressives meets, Plymouth Congregational Church, 1900 Nicollet, Mpls. brucelissem [at] aol.com --------10 of 15-------- Mexico Election Vote Count Begins Today Under Cloud of Uncertainty By Mark Weisbrot t r u t h o u t | Press Release Wednesday 05 July 2006 Electoral commission's mistakes undermine credibility of the election. Washington, DC - The credibility of Mexico's electoral process was thrown into question on Tuesday morning when the head of Mexico's Federal Electoral Institute (IFE), Luis Carlos Ugalde, acknowledged that as many as 4 million votes had not been counted in the preliminary vote count that began after the polls closed on Sunday. Mr. Ugalde said some 2.6 million votes were set aside "because the poll reports were illegible or had other inconsistencies," and another estimated 600,000 ballots "might not have reached his offices to be included in the preliminary count" (New York Times, "Vote-by- Vote Recount Is Demanded in Mexico," July 5, 2006). According to the IFE's preliminary results, 827,317 votes - another 2 percent of votes cast - were nullified (http://prep.terra.com.mx/). The total number of votes not counted is thus, according to the IFE, more than 4 million, or nearly 10 percent of all votes cast. This would be equivalent to more than 12 million votes not counted in the US presidential election of 2004. "Calderon's lead in the preliminary vote count appears to be statistically meaningless*, since the excluded votes are more than 10 times as large as his margin over Lopez Obrador," said economist Mark Weisbrot, Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. The preliminary vote count of the IFE showed Felipe Calderon of the conservative National Action Party (PAN) leading left challenger Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) by one percentage point. Weisbrot questioned why the Federal Electoral Institute did not inform the public about the more than 3 million votes not included in the preliminary vote count, until about a day and a half had passed, and only after the PRD has raised the issue of "3 million missing votes." (The 827,317 nullified votes were listed with the preliminary count on the IFE's web site). Until Ugalde revealed the missing votes in a television interview on Tuesday morning, most people, including journalists reporting on the election, understood the preliminary vote count to have encompassed about 98.5 percent of the total, thus making Calderon's one percent lead look nearly insurmountable. The withholding of this important information allowed the Calderon campaign and its allies to create a widespread impression that their candidate was the likely winner - an impression that persists in the media today, despite the fact that the preliminary count was nowhere near complete and therefore could not provide evidence of a winner. All of this is important because it influences the political context in which further decisions about the elections and vote tallying will be made. "The withholding of information about ballots not counted calls into question the impartiality of Mexico's Federal Electoral Institute," said Weisbrot. "At this point, given the long history of electoral fraud in Mexico, the extreme closeness of the vote, and widespread distrust of the process, a full and carefully monitored recount may be necessary to restore public confidence in the result." *The preliminary count would be statistically significant if the votes not counted were a random sample of the total; however, there is no reason to believe that it is a random sample, and a number of indications that it is systematically biased toward PRD voters. For example, the PRD campaign has alleged that in some of the southern states where their support is strongest, there were more votes for congress than for president, an unprecedented and unlikely event, indicating that many of Lopez Obrador's votes in those areas have not yet been counted. The Center for Economic and Policy Research is an independent, nonpartisan think tank that promotes democratic debate on the most important economic and social issues affecting people's lives. CEPR's Advisory Board of Economists includes Nobel Laureate economists Robert Solow and Joseph Stiglitz; Richard Freeman, Professor of Economics at Harvard University; and Eileen Appelbaum, Professor and Director of the Center for Women and Work at Rutgers University. --------11 of 15-------- Uncounted Votes Raise Questions About Projections, Fears of Unrest By Kevin G. Hall and Jay Root McClatchy Newspapers Tuesday 04 July 2006 Mexico City - Discovery of 3.5 million uncounted ballots in Mexico's disputed presidential election cast doubt on early projections showing conservative Felipe Calderon in the lead, raising fears of prolonged uncertainty and political unrest. Hinting at insider corruption and citing a series of voting "irregularities," advisers to leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador are demanding a manual recount of every single vote and did not rule out street protests to ratchet up pressure on federal election authorities. "You cannot come to a final outcome if you do not count all the votes," said Manuel Camacho Solis, a top Lopez Obrador aide. "We are going to demand that the votes are counted ... We have the right to go to the streets and we have the right to express our opinion with full freedom." A simple recount begins Wednesday, but a full-blown election contest could drag Mexico through weeks of uncertainty and tension. Calderon's ruling National Action Party, or PAN, dismissed the allegations of irregularities, portraying Lopez Obrador as a sore loser. The standoff has left Mexico the equivalent of one hanging chad away from a Latin American version of the disputed 2000 US presidential election - only with a greater potential for unrest among the country's poor masses, who already are receptive to the idea of fraudulent elections. There had long been fears that a close election split could spark violent protests and plunge Mexico into a destabilizing crisis. Those fears seemed to ease after early results showed Calderon clinging to a thin but seemingly stable lead. Now the edgy feel is back, even though Lopez Obrador and his advisers have promised to act responsibly and work within established electoral procedures. As of late Monday, preliminary vote totals released by Mexico's Federal Election Institute (IFE) showed Calderon leading with a little more than 400,000 votes, or 1 percent more than Lopez Obrador. A mandatory recount of vote tallies is scheduled to begin Wednesday - and the revelation that 3.5 million votes went uncounted has become Exhibit A in the growing controversy. Luis Carlos Ugalde, head of Mexico's Federal Election Institute, acknowledged that the ballots had not been included in Election Day reports. He stressed in an interview with Televisa that it doesn't matter because an official winner won't be announced until the agency concludes its nationwide recount, perhaps by Friday. He said the tally sheets representing the millions of uncounted votes were set aside on election night because of various "inconsistencies," such as indecipherable markings on the voting booth records. Asked if the tallies will be included in the recount, Ugalde told the Televisa network: "Of course they will. These tallies will have to be reviewed at a table with representatives from all the parties." The elections chief also warned that the preliminary tally, known by the Spanish initials PREP, shouldn't have been taken as projecting a winner. That was a rebuke to both candidates who declared themselves victorious. It's unclear how important the uncounted votes will turn out to be. Some might be ruled invalid. Lopez Obrador would have to win an unusually large portion of the uncounted 3.5 million votes to reverse Calderon's lead. Lopez Obrador aides said the votes were evenly distributed throughout the country and not concentrated in one particular region. "I think that, given the margin, I think it will be very difficult for the vote to overturn," said Armand Peschard-Sverdrup, an expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a center-right think tank in Washington. He was in Mexico to observe the elections. "We still have to wait and see for the counting of the votes and then probably the adjudication process. This is probably going to go until Aug. 31." That's a reference to the deadline the IFE has set for hearing election challenges. By law, a winner must be announced by Sept. 6, officials said. Even if the 3.5 million votes don't swing the election, the PRD says it has other "inconsistencies" that prove the results are flawed, including double voting in a Calderon stronghold. They also say that hundreds of vote tallies show markings in congressional races but inexplicably no preference in the presidential contest. A McClatchy photographer working in the troubled southern state of Oaxaca witnessed discrepancies between the vote tallies posted outside voting stations in the town of Tlalcolula and the data appearing on the IFE's Web site. The photographer also found examples of the presidential vote not counted. PRD officials are also hinting that Calderon may have a conflict of interest in the election agency itself, saying that could explain why computerized returns showed both candidates actually shedding votes in the wee hours of election night. Namely, Camacho, the Lopez Obrador adviser, said the campaign was looking into allegations that Calderon's brother-in-law had been involved in the creation of vote-tallying software used by the IFE. "We are investigating this," he said. Calderon's brother-in-law Diego Zavala has confirmed that he participated in a bid for election-count software but didn't win. The weekly news magazine Proceso on June 11 reported that the top election official overseeing election-reporting software, Rodrigo Morales, is an old friend of Calderon, raising questions of conflict of interest. Arturo Sarukan, a top Calderon adviser, referred questions about election software to the IFE. As for the broader allegations of irregularities and skewed results, he said he was certain that Calderon's victory would hold and that the PRD's drive to discredit the IFE, one of the few Mexican institutions held in high esteem, would backfire. "We haven't seen any irregularities," he said. "They are making a fatal error." Gabriel Guerra Castellanos, a political analyst, columnist and spokesman for former President Carlos Salinas de Gortari, said the IFE's technical work is above question. It's communication with the public and political parties, however, leaves much to be desired. "The IFE has been real slow in terms of providing information. It has allowed this vacuum (on information), he said, adding, "If you give people excuses to question things, somebody is bound to do it." --------12 of 15-------- IRC Americas Program - Jul 6, 2006 http://americas.irc-online.org/am/3344 Mexico's Dramatic Vote Count Lacks Credibility by Laura Carlsen, IRC Mexico's official vote count unfolded more like a suspense novel than an electoral process yesterday. Commentators and common citizens sat poised at television or computer screens as Andrés Manuel López Obrador's two-and-a-half point lead gradually dwindled until at four in the morning the conservative candidate, Felipe Calderón, pulled ahead. The final tally showed an unbelievably thin margin of just over half a percentage point. The operative word here is unbelievable. López Obrador´s Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) and large parts of the population have publicly questioned the results. In a morning press conference, López Obrador announced he will challenge the vote count in the Electoral Tribunal. We cannot accept these results, he stated, citing numerous irregularities to put it mildly. The center-left candidate placed blame directly: Both the government and the rightwing candidate lacked democratic will - and there are many doubts about the role of the Electoral Institute. López Obrador criticized the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) for refusing to open electoral packets and count the ballots individually. Although some electoral packages were opened for a vote-by-vote count, most of the tally was done based on the official tally sheets drawn up at the polling places. His party is demanding a ballot-by-ballot count. This is the scenario that everyone hoped to avoid. A close race opens up doubts about the legitimacy of the winner and leads to protests that the public will has been violated. Under optimal circumstances, where the rule of law reigns and public confidence is high, a single vote lead should be sufficient to declare a winner in a one-round, majority vote like Mexico's. But neither of those conditions characterizes Mexico today. The problem is not just the extremely narrow base of the Calderón victory. It's that many Mexicans feel they have seen this scenario played out before. In 1988, the center-left opposition that eventually gave birth to the PRD apparently won the presidential elections. Its candidate, Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas, showed a lead when the computer system crashed according to official explanations. When it came back up, it was to pronounce Carlos Salinas of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) the winner. Following protests, repression and demands for a real count, the PAN and PRI voted together to destroy the ballots in 1991. The historic memory of that election, along with numerous cases of electoral fraud before and after, has created an understandable scepticism. Scepticism is greatest among the left, which has suffered the brunt of electoral trickery and post-electoral repression. Low Public Confidence in Election Results Even as the votes were still being counted, the PRD and reporters began presenting evidence of instances of alleged errors and manipulation in Sunday's election. López Obrador mentioned two examples to the press: manipulation of preliminary results that showed a consistent but narrowing Calderón lead, and the omission of thousands of polling place results until after the opposition protested. He did not go into detail but promised a full explanation on Saturday at an informative assembly called to be held in Mexico City's central plaza. Although Sunday's voting was peaceful and turnout high, reporters in the streets and letters to the press testify to the thousands of voters who waited in line for hours, only to be told that their polling place had run out of ballots. Thousands more were informed that their names had disappeared from the rolls. These people now complain that they were frustrated in the exercise of their civic duty by a system they suspect of bias. They are joined by millions more who are convinced that the whole process from the campaigns to the countwas riddled with inequities. Many factors feed into this lack of public confidence. The first is the blatant partisan involvement of the president and federal government. President Fox consistently violated a Mexican law that calls for the neutrality of government officials in carrying out their public duties, despite weak admonitions from the elections authorities. The campaigns were not what Mexico's citizenry deserved. Calderón's campaign slogan López Obrador is a danger to México was low-level politicking and worked not to inform voters but to create a climate of fear until it was finally declared illegal by elections authorities. The veiled threats of the Business Council and dire warnings of economic collapse from Calderón were neither grounded in fact nor ethical as a campaign tactic. When fear of loss of jobs, houses, or national stability trumps reasoned choice, it's the nation as a whole that has lost the elections. The PAN also made full use of the tactics of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). Part of the political culture entails delivering votes to the highest bidder the party that brings in building materials, a new basketball court, or cash payments. It is a civic vice that the Mexican political system as a whole has not yet overcome. After years of one-party rule, many citizens still view their vote as a commodity to be bartered and not a principled statement to chart a course for the nation. On the local level where vote-buying is most prominent, none of the major parties has done much to change this view. The flip side of vote-buying is vote coercion, or threatening to cut off goods or services for voting the wrong way. Vote buying and vote coercion are tools primarily used by the government. Fox's government of change, rather than eliminating this vestige of authoritarian rule, has refined it to a science. The first sign that this would be a major part of the PAN campaign came when Josefina Vázquez Mota, Secretary of Social Development was made campaign manager for Felipe Calderón. As secretary, she had access to detailed information on recipients of government assistance programs. An independent report commissioned by the government found that over four million people were susceptible to vote-buying or coercion due to the way government programs were used. During the campaigns, reporters gathered numerous testimonies of these practices in action. The Authorities' Slipping Moral Authority The Federal Electoral Institute has had credibility problems among PRD supporters from the outset. Formed in 1990 in response to the instability and inconformity that were the legacy of the 88 elections, the institute has slowly but surely built up a more transparent and rules-based electoral system. However, the current president and general council were selected in 2003 in a show of force by the PAN and PRI, over the protests of the PRD. In recent weeks the media has been digging up the many personal contacts and political contacts between the PAN candidate and the president of the electoral authority. The electoral institutions created over the past decade are still weak. They were unable or unwilling to stop the PAN from violating electoral laws that forbid smear campaigns and the intromission of government officials in campaigns. Suspicions of collusion between authorities and the PAN were reinforced just days before the elections when Mexican journalist Carmen Aristegui demonstrated on national television that the PAN had developed a secret access code to the national registry of voters. Voter registration data is restricted by law to electoral authorities. The preliminary vote count presented by the Elections Institute only increased distrust. Over 2.5 million votes - the majority in favor of López Obrador - were not counted in the preliminary results and were only tabulated following public complaints from the PRD. That the official tally came up with different figures and showed a totally different behavior from the preliminary results further deepened suspicions that the system was rigged in favor of the conservative candidate. The strange results taint both the preliminary and official tallies. The upshot is that millions of Mexicans do not fully believe electoral authorities when they cite a final count that continues to favor Calderón. The refusal to open up for a ballot count only detracts more from the credibility of the elections. Those who remain unconvinced of the official results - mostly, but not all, López Obrador supporters form a critical mass in a potentially explosive chain of political events. Gap between the Rich and Poor Another link in the chain is the polarization of Mexican politics that has taken place in recent years. The deep divisions did not begin with this year's presidential campaign. The issue at the center of Mexico's 2006 elections has always been the economy, and economic conditions are at the heart of the emotions unleashed during the elections. The enormous gap between the rich and poor that has grown over the past decade has not surprisingly spilled over into politics. While there is some crossover between classes and a divided middle class in between, the poor overwhelmingly support López Obrador and the rich overwhelmingly support Calderón. The political platforms of the two candidates cater to their respective bases. López Obrador's First the poor program falls short of changing the economic model that his party's founding father called a factory that produces poor people. But he has outlined a series of social programs that seek to cover the most pressing needs of vulnerable sectors of the population and he defends the right of the government to redistribute wealth. Calderón has called to continue with the free market policies that widened the income gap and to keep government's role to a minimum. Although he rhetorically recognized the need to address inequality and poverty in his pre-dawn statements, he roots his economic policy in Mexico's ability to compete on the international market and increase macroeconomic growth rates. A full state-by-state breakdown of the vote is still not available, but the reason the Calderón vote rose in the last hours of counting is because the last states to be counted were located in the north and center of the country - PAN strongholds. As the gap between rich and poor has grown, so has the regional gap in Mexico. The north has generally benefited, while the poor and largely indigenous south has suffered. Much of López Obrador's support comes from the south. The exception is Mexico City, which has voted heavily for the PRD in local elections since 1998. In a victory speech before dawn Thursday, Calderón offered reconciliation. I will respond to the yearnings and aspirations of those who didn't vote for me as well as those who did, he stated in speech of premature largesse given to supporters before officially pronounced the victor. But his claim is both unlikely and politically impossible. The political lines drawn correspond to deep fault lines in the social and economic terrain of the country. A new president will have to govern by negotiating these interests but will never be able to fully reconcile them. The King is Dead, Long Live the King! Since Monday's preliminary results gave him the edge, Calderón has been attempting to stitch his threadbare lead into a presidential mantle. He has had considerable help in his efforts, even before the official vote count proclaimed him the winner, from both the PRI and the media. The PRI candidate, Roberto Madrazo, conceded defeat to Calderón before the official results came in. His party was left in ruins after Sunday's vote, decimated by an historic defeat that not only relegated it to a distant third in presidential elections but also eroded its legislative base. Madrazo's premature concession raised suspicions that the PRI is offering its support for the PAN candidate in his difficult task of consolidating legitimacy in return for power within the new government and a chance to recompose itself. Within the PRI, a humiliated Madrazo will be forced to hand off power to his archenemy, Elba Esther Gordillo, leader of the powerful teachers union. Despite its electoral defeat, the party that single-handedly ran Mexican politics for over 70 years still holds many of the practical strings of power in the nation. Much of the mainstream media has also been portraying a Calderón victory as a fait accompli, as part of a communications strategy which posits that repeating a supposition often enough will make it a fact. Their power has been somewhat curtailed by openly biased coverage of the campaigns and access to independent media and Internet as alternative sources of information. Efforts to simply pass the sceptre, as planned by the PAN government, have become enormously complicated. Regardless of intentions, at this point it's difficult to imagine reconciling political divisions that are based on differing economic interests and played out in a context of distrust in the political system itself. A full vote count is a minimum requirement for restored faith in the system. Investigations into what happened must also take place. What has changed much more than the electoral rules since 1988 is the attitude of the citizenry. The citizenry is mobilized and unlikely to desist in its demands for fair elections. [Laura Carlsen is director of the IRC Americas Program in Mexico City, where she has worked as a writer and political analyst for the past two decades. The Americas Program is online at www.americaspolicy.org.] -------13 of 15-------- From: Joel Sipress <jsipress [at] charter.net> Subject: Mexico Update I just finished reading some of today's Mexican press reports. I've summarized some of the key developments below. For background, the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) is in charge of the vote count. They report the count to the Federal Election Tribunal (TEPJF), which makes the final determination regarding the outcome of the election. It is to the TEPJF that challenges to the election and the count can be brought. The TEPJF has the power to order recounts, anul elections, etc. Here are some key developments: -AMLO and the PRD (his party) have alleged voting irregularities in roughly 50,000 of Mexico's 130,000 polling places. The have said that they will present evidence of these irregularities to the TEPJF early next week and will ask the TEPJF for a recount of the ballots from those 50,000 polling places. -AMLO and his representatives have specifically ruled out asking the TEPJF to anul the election. -There's going to be a huge rally in Mexico City's Zocalo (the central plaza) today demanding a recount. AMLO is former mayor of Mexico City and is hugely popular there. -Very little has yet been reported regarding the specifics of AMLO and the PRD's fraud allegations. AMLO is supposed to go public with the allegations at today's big rally in Mexico City. -The European Union had an electoral observer team present for the election. They stated yesterday that they had not seen irregularities sufficient to affect the transparency of or the outcome of the election. At the same time, however, they spoke in favor of conducting a recount in order to provide the maximum transparency for the election. -Felipe Calderon, the conservative candidate, has declared himself the victor. He has called for a national unity government and has offered AMLO a cabinet post. AMLO has declined the offer. A PRD spokesperson pointed out the irony that during the campaign Calderon called AMLO a danger to the country, but now is offering him a cabinet post. That's the big news, as far as I can tell. --Joel Sipress, Duluth --------14 of 15-------- Jerome Corsi - NAFTA union-busting super highway: Mexico to Duluth [NAFTA super highway - another hideous union-busting small-business destroying country-splitting hell-scheme from BushCorpAmerika. Along I-35 - that's us. Now, to work, it demands a lap-dog Mexico; will the jackels at the top let a small thing like elections get in the way? They steal our elections, so why shouldn't they steal Mexico's too? We, the banana republic north of the border, stand for it; let us hope Mexicans have the backbone we lack. -ed] from: Zapatista Solidarity Coalition Hi again, everyone! One more "to all the lists" message, because everyone should know about this. We hadn't heard of this ourselves, until a friend in Peace Action forwarded it to us (Thanks, Chris!). For years we've been hearing about and fighting against the Plan Puebla-Panama industrial mega-project in Mexico. Now we can see how it's all part of a larger plan, which is already being developed north of the border, completely out of the public eye. Capitalism marches on! And for all of those concerned about immigration into the U.S., here is yet another example of how the U.S. government (so tough on immigration!) continues to undermine U.S. business (importing cheap goods from overseas), and labor (bypassing Teamster and Longshoremen's unions). Oh well, maybe they can immigrate to Mexico and find jobs there... --Mario -- Bush Administration Quietly Plans NAFTA Super Highway by Jerome R. Corsi Fri, 16 Jun 2006 Quietly but systematically, the Bush Administration is advancing the plan to build a huge NAFTA Super Highway, four football-fields-wide, through the heart of the U.S. along Interstate 35, from the Mexican border at Laredo, Tex., to the Canadian border north of Duluth, Minn. Once complete, the new road will allow containers from the Far East to enter the United States through the Mexican port of Lazaro Cardenas, bypassing the Longshoreman's Union in the process. The Mexican trucks, without the involvement of the Teamsters Union, will drive on what will be the nation's most modern highway straight into the heart of America. The Mexican trucks will cross border in FAST lanes, checked only electronically by the new SENTRI system. The first customs stop will be a Mexican customs office in Kansas City, their new Smart Port complex, a facility being built for Mexico at a cost of $3 million to the U.S. taxpayers in Kansas City. As incredible as this plan may seem to some readers, the first Trans-Texas Corridor segment of the NAFTA Super Highway is ready to begin construction next year. Various U.S. government agencies, dozens of state agencies, and scores of private NGOs (non-governmental organizations) have been working behind the scenes to create the NAFTA Super Highway, despite the lack of comment on the plan by President Bush. The American public is largely asleep to this key piece of the coming "North American Union" that government planners in the new trilateral region of United States, Canada and Mexico are about to drive into reality. Just examine the following websites to get a feel for the magnitude of NAFTA Super Highway planning that has been going on without any new congressional legislation directly authorizing the construction of the planned international corridor through the center of the country. # NASCO, the North America SuperCorridor Coalition Inc., is a "non-profit organization dedicated to developing the world's first international, integrated and secure, multi-modal transportation system along the International Mid-Continent Trade and Transportation Corridor to improve both the trade competitiveness and quality of life in North America." Where does that sentence say anything about the USA? Still, NASCO has received $2.5 million in earmarks from the U.S. Department of Transportation to plan the NAFTA Super Highway as a 10-lane limited-access road (five lanes in each direction) plus passenger and freight rail lines running alongside pipelines laid for oil and natural gas. One glance at the map of the NAFTA Super Highway on the front page of the NASCO website will make clear that the design is to connect Mexico, Canada, and the U.S. into one transportation system. # Kansas City SmartPort Inc. is an "investor based organization supported by the public and private sector" to create the key hub on the NAFTA Super Highway. At the Kansas City SmartPort, the containers from the Far East can be transferred to trucks going east and west, dramatically reducing the ground transportation time dropping the containers off in Los Angeles or Long Beach involves for most of the country. A brochure on the SmartPort website describes the plan in glowing terms: "For those who live in Kansas City, the idea of receiving containers nonstop from the Far East by way of Mexico may sound unlikely, but later this month that seemingly far-fetched notion will become a reality." # The U.S. government has housed within the Department of Commerce (DOC) an "SPP office" that is dedicated to organizing the many working groups laboring within the executive branches of the U.S., Mexico and Canada to create the regulatory reality for the Security and Prosperity Partnership. The SPP agreement was signed by Bush, President Vicente Fox, and then-Prime Minister Paul Martin in Waco, Tex., on March 23, 2005. According to the DOC website, a U.S.-Mexico Joint Working Committee on Transportation Planning has finalized a plan such that "(m)ethods for detecting bottlenecks on the U.S.-Mexico border will be developed and low cost/high impact projects identified in bottleneck studies will be constructed or implemented." The report notes that new SENTRI travel lanes on the Mexican border will be constructed this year. The border at Laredo should be reduced to an electronic speed bump for the Mexican trucks containing goods from the Far East to enter the U.S. on their way to the Kansas City SmartPort. # The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is overseeing the Trans-Texas Corridor (TTC) as the first leg of the NAFTA Super Highway. A 4,000-page environmental impact statement has already been completed and public hearings are scheduled for five weeks, beginning next month, in July 2006. The billions involved will be provided by a foreign company, Cintra Concessions de Infraestructuras de Transporte, S.A. of Spain. As a consequence, the TTC will be privately operated, leased to the Cintra consortium to be operated as a toll-road. The details of the NAFTA Super Highway are hidden in plan view. Still, Bush has not given speeches to bring the NAFTA Super Highway plans to the full attention of the American public. Missing in the move toward creating a North American Union is the robust public debate that preceded the decision to form the European Union. All this may be for calculated political reasons on the part of the Bush Administration. A good reason Bush does not want to secure the border with Mexico may be that the administration is trying to create express lanes for Mexican trucks to bring containers with cheap Far East goods into the heart of the U.S., all without the involvement of any U.S. union workers on the docks or in the trucks. The Zapatista Solidarity Coalition Member, Campaign Against Unjust Immigration Laws 909 12th St. # 118 Sacramento, CA 95814 Telephone: (916) 443-3424 E-mail: zapa [at] zsc.org --------15 of 15-------- What is so dull as a sin of omission? Sin with commission joy! ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- - David Shove shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments
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