Monday, 12 September 2011

Heading Back Down...

The Old Gringo heads back down to the Quinta for another stay.   This will be a long stay.   The matters  of health with the father-in-law are as stabilized as they will ever be.   He is at home and resting.
     The issues into which the Old Gringo goes are improved in terms of the bad news and improved in terms of the good news.   We hope for continued improvement on all fronts.    The political season is with us in Mexico as it is in the United States and in Texas.   It seems like yesterday that Felipe Calderon Hinojosa was elected by such a slim margin that the issue had to be resolved by an Electoral Court- supervised, National Recount, as required by the Constitution.    Felipe Calderon Hinojosa, the Conservative candidate, eked out a 100,000 vote victory in a three-way race, barely beating the ultra-leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
      Things might be even more interesting again, says Yogi.   A bill in Congress might still pass, which would require a run-off if no national candidate receives 50% plus one vote of the full electorate.   Mexico has no electoral college, and heretofore, under the rules prescribed, the candidate that would come in first place for Governorships or Presidencies....that candidate won the whole pumpkin.   Technically, for instance, if there were 10 official candidates on the ballot (possible but very improbable) and the leading vote-getter had 20% of the vote, and the other 9 divided up the remaining 80% of the votes, then the winner of the election would have been the fellow with the 20%.
[Flag of the PRI -Tricolor with text-]
A somewhat presumptious, but official
emblem of the PRI, using the National
Standard as a Party Medium
       There was no need for many years to worry about these mathematical niceties.   The old PRI would always win by overwhelming majorities all the way up into the 1980s.  Nine to one, five to one...such ratios were common.   During the 1980s, however it became a little more dicey.  The 1982 election was not a cake-walk and there were rumours of massive fraud.   The rightwing PAN actually started winning seats in the lower house of the Mexican Congress.   No one had ever heard of or dealt with such an event.

The "escudo" or shield battle emblem of
the Institutional Revolutionary Party

    The next election in 1988 was similar.   Challenges, strong challenges from both the left and the Right assailed the election of Carlos Salinas de Gortari of the PRI.   Official figures showed him winning with 52% of the vote.   Cuauhtemoc Cardenas, son of Lazaro the Expropriator, threatened blockages, barricades, and barrages saying that he had been robbed of the Presidency.   Manuel Clouthier of the Conservative PAN declared that he had also been robbed.    The press....especially the leftist international press, declared that Cardenas was obviously the true winner. Their thinking? Mexico has a lot of poor people....Clouthier represents the rich and there are fewer of them....everybody hates the PRI in the therefore Cardenas actually won the election.

This is the symbol and shield of the National Action Party.
Said to be the "Party of the Rich"it is actually an amalgam
of skilled blue collar workers,small business people, Country
Club rich, and professionals,and rural fundamental Catholics.
Very complicated nationalConventions as one might imagine.
Correlates to the American Republican Party...with very similar
divisions and point of agreement.

      The actual spot recounts of tabulations authourized by the Federal Election Commission for several thousand precinct revealed, however, that Clouthier probably had won the election, pretty much by the same margin as had his party-mate, Felipe Calderon Hinojosa 18 years later.    In any regard, Carlos Salinas de Gortari was declared the winner....and although a  member of the liberal wing of the PRI, he immediately began ruling from the conservative position.....engendering hatred forever among the Freida and Diego people in Mexico and among the Mrs. Mitterrand Nazi/Communist alliance, Vichy people in Europe.   That is why the pro-communist French bankers started the last international bankers' assault of the peso in 1993 at the end of his term.    It is also why they backed the pro-communist "sub-Comandante Marcos's"  Indian "rebellion" in Chiapas, in 1994.   That "revolt" solved all the problems, forever, again.    Marcos, by the way, refers to himself as a "hammer and sickle, Stalinist, Castro, Hugo Chavez classical communist".

Party of the Democratic Revolution
Partido de la Revolución Democrática
PRD logo (Mexico).svg
This is the Democratic Revolutionary PartyEmblem.
This is the extremely violence prone, communist-lite,
 party.   Same solutions.  Tax the rich and then
 imprison them or drive them out of the country.
 Nationalization of all forms of production,
 transportation, and commercial activity.
All group functions of this party are accompanied
by mountains upon mountains of litter and broken
store windows, bus and auto window, and graffiti.
       Presently the old, old Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) seems to be gearing up for the tailor's fitting, as they say. But, last time, six years ago, the consensus was firm and done. Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador had won the election four months before it had taken place. The Partido Revolucionario Democratico (PRD) was making a list of companies to be expropriated, and what war criminals and oppressors would be brought to trial. The Oppression of the Masses would soon become...unabashedly....the Oppression by the Masses as they said. The only problem was that with the approach of election day, certain irrationalities and arrogance began to show itself. Lopez Obrador eschewed the necessity for submitting himself to participation with the "others" in the televised debates. The reason? The election is already settled. This Al Gore-like attitude did not play well with the literate.
       So, AMLO's ethereal lead did what ethereal leads do so well. In one month's time, he went from a 48% level....ahead of both of his principal opponents by around 20% a 30% level and a fight for his political life. He lost. Even though he cried foul loud and long, the fact is that the votes were essentially counted in public and recounted in public, and like Al Gore before him, with each recount AMLO slid further back. After-election polls showed that virtually all of the PRI votes would have gone to the PAN candidate were there to have been a run-off. That would have left AMLO and the PRD essentially representing a narrow band of ultra-leftist rich and extreme upper-middle class elitist "intellectuals" and a body of the "siempre pobres" (forever poor) who are ever eager to latch onto whatever free crumbs might fall from the table. AMLO tried to maintain himself in position for the nomination this time around of the ultra-leftist PRD, but even they tired of his Fidel and Hugo-like four-hour lectures about secular morality and the evil of being a Gringo and the evil of wealth and America and the evil of religion. He is actively campaigning for the nomination of the minuscule "Party of Labour" , the Partido de Trabajo which is an equally looney but much smaller marxist group.

        This election will be a referendum on the very real war against the drug trafficking Cartels. Felipe Calderon Hinojosa began this war in earnest. It had been picked at around the edges for years. The number of conspiratorial intrigues is astronomical. There are too many big people involved in the business....too many big politicians....too many Roman Catholic Church people....too many of these, those, and thems to ever confront the problem in any meaningful way.
    BUT!    Felipe Calderon Hinojosa and many, many social scientists and just regular people had come to the realization that the drug trafficking business had become much more than just a bother. It had ceased being something that could be seen in the flashy cars, ridiculous ostentation of 60 room mansions with 5 swimming pools and pet elephants in the front tigers....Bentleys....half-witted sluts with $ 1,000,000 body jobs who would always wind up looking like an 87-year old Eleanor Roosevelt by the time they made it to 23 years of age.(...a few even look as bad as Nancy Pelosi during one of her frequent bad-face days.)     People...almost everyone...had looked the other way....tolerated the excesses..."que asi' son" (that's the way they are) and somehow equivilated the drug-trafficking business as an extension of the common everyday corruption that Mexico had lived with from 1917 until nearly the end of the 20th century.
     BUT!    The old classical corruption was typified by an empowered middle or lower level clerk or functionary saying, "Very Well, this is all in order, but there are no official stamps available. You will have to come back in eight days when Sr. Lopez returns.   He is the only one who can put the stamp on". 
    "But, Senorita, I have come in from Yurirria and it was a 14 hour train ride.   I have brought what you said I must the last time I came in and it is extremely difficult now to go back and then return."
     The lower level bureaucrat makes a strained face.."We are very busy here and I am very tired.   It is impossible to make any exceptions.   Come back in eight or ten days.  Next!".
     The petitioner starts to leave and as he reaches the door a nice man comes around the counter and says,"I am between clients.  It is terrible what that girl did to you.   We are all very distressed with the way she treats our fellow citizens.   Look, for 200 pesos, you wait here, and I will take a taxi over to where Lopez is....he's in a bar watching the soccer match, he's not somewhere important.   He's a nobody just like you and me, but his brother is the Congressman for some place up in Chihuahua....he doesn't even live there...but he's the congressman....Imagine.   Lopez carries the stupid little seals with him.   Give me the money, I'll pay him, the taxi, and keep a little for my services and you can be back on the train heading west this afternoon."
     So the hapless citizen sizes up this somewhat corrupt advantage-taker, and decides to fork over the 200 pesos.   The man says, "No, no...outside."
     They go to the "sitio de taxis" on the busy boulevard in downtown Mexico City.   Suit wearing, polished on-call taxi-drivers are reading newspapers, wiping down their cars, gossiping in the midst of the crazy cacophony of traffic, harkers, pedestrians, and general urban madness.   "Luis!  Can you help me for a few minutes?"
     "You need to run to the Bar La Oficina to see Lopez?"
     "Yes, my client is in a hurry to make it back to the train station."
      And so the citizen is left on the sidewalk.   In all the dishonesty and theatre, one wonders if the two hundred pesos will become a "free beer coffee break" for the bureaucrat and the taxi-driver or if there will be some honor at the bottom of the garbage can of humanity.    After twenty minutes, Luis, the taxi, and the bureaucrat come up.   The documents are signed and carry the official seals necessary. The taxi driver has already been paid a generous minimum for a very short drive, Lopez made enough for a few more free beers, the kinder and gentler shake-down artist has his shekels, and the citizen is off to the train station.
      But wait!    The bureaucrat says, "Eh, momento!   Lopez had a toothache.   Take the taxi to the train station....why walk?"   The toothache has reference to the concept of this form of corruption...known as the "mordita" or "mordida" (the little bite), depending upon the context or tense.   If Lopez had a "toothache", it meant that he had decided to take only 50 pesos for doing what he should have done for nothing.   The other fifty pesos?   Well, the gallant corrupt lower bureaucrat "split the difference" and "spread the wealth" by paying for the citizen's "free" ride to the train station with the citizen's same money that had been essentially extorted from him to begin with.    A form of Obamathink.....perfected in Mexico many. many, years before this present batch of marxist bandits came to Washington, D.C.
      That, and variations of that process, is what corruption meant in Mexico.   Sometimes it was for a few pesos.   Sometimes it was for a lot of pesos.   It still goes on, although much diminished from its peaks in the 1972 through 1990 period.    The Cartel people on the other hand, were almost entirely outside of private-public sector debates and relationships.   They offer a is called Plata o Plomo.   One has the choice between silver or lead.    Private people pay money for protection,  or they take money to do things that are illegal....earning the double reward of being paid and not being killed or not having their daughters raped, tortured, and killed.    Public officials also have the same opportunities to "serve"and the same choice of rewards.
      Felipe Calderon Hinojosa threw into this mix the Army, the Naval Infantry, and an increasingly morally more straight than not Federal Police presence.    The Army in the early 1990s had a bit of a stain with the 65th Regiment of Infantry....also known as the 'narco-batallion'....that served up in the Sonora State area for about 3 years.   Its two commanding generals were taken down in an internal investigation conducted by the Army.    Those two officers were sent to military prison.   One has since died.     Almost all Mexicans and all Americans known by the Old Gringo say that the Army is an institution to be admired in Mexico.  The Naval Infantry has also come into that same range of esteem in the past few years.
      The war that Calderon chose to join Mexico into has been difficult.   Most Americans cannot understand what is going on, not because they are stupid, but because the foreign press does not report the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  
        But, Calderon has known.
       After watching his State of Michoacan become a killing field, lorded over by wild-eyed, stoned, crazy killers....turning a decent little dump like Apatzingan, Michoacan into a hell-hole of zombies who worship "Santa Muerte", that all Mexico...even all of North America is at stake.  Obama and his "Justice Department" can play games designed to take down the private sale, possession and use of firearms in America with programs like "Fast and Furious", and Mexican officialdom can play the obligatory "It's America's fault" by saying publicly that they are swamped by private-sale American guns in the hands of the Cartels....but they know the truth and state it privately and with increasing frequency.
      Mexicans also know that the war is not what anybody wants, but a huge majority say, "Pero, que mas nos queda?"   -   What else is left to us?    The period right around April of this year is marked as a turning point....when people began noticing real improvements in social order.   It has been a one step back and two steps forward deal, but the flood of reliable "anonymous denunciatins" has been the cornerstone to the successes of the Mexican military as well as civilian authourity.

     So, while Felipe Calderon Hinojosa cannot run for re-election by Constitutional prohibition, and while he cannot claim victory quite yet concerning this matter, it is very probable that the PAN and their main opponent the PRI will campaign by saying that ".....certain modifications, need t0 be made...."   It is very doubtful that either of these two groups will turn away from the war.     This is because the common Mexican is in favour of the spite of the fact that he does not like the war.    The people like to see the traffickers receive their just rewards.   The press, foreign and domestic, has been stunned by this attitude.    The Mexican press has changed its tune from "combatant neutrality" to "the Military engaged a group of armed thugs".    People go out of their way to complement those in uniform.

      Other gradual withdrawals from subsidies, the continuation of privatization of the Mexican economy, and the gradual shift from organic law to precepts more in line with Common Law are not going to be changed or challenged by either of the two main parties, the PAN or the PRI.    Specifics will be coming out from both Parties.   The Old Gringo will be sifting through positions of the candidates and the parties on the issues and reporting those matters as well as the best and most reliable polling data as we move towards the First Sunday in July, 2012.

Stand by in coming days and weeks for more of the above as well as stories about BeBe the Labrador, the old regular dogs, and more importantly, the cats.   Other social and business matters will be forthcoming as well.    Birds, butterflies, forest animals, rains, flowers, and the like will also grace these pages.

Thanks again for your time and attention.   Your following gives solace to the Old Gringo during these times of problems with the father-in-law.   We have used your blog to wring venom out of the heart and you have been good enough to tolerate our frustrations.
More Later as always.
El Gringo Viejo