Greg Palast's conspiracism isn't helpful …

I've read Palast's books and greatly admire the guy. You might say I'm a fan.

But, on the issue of yesterday's still-too-close-to-call vote in Mexico, he's apparently decided that there's rampant institutional fraud taking place -- aided by the Evil Ones in the Bush administration -- and he's not going to let a bunch of pesky facts get in the way of that narrative.

The problem with that is that he's sending progressives to bark up the wrong tree; as the Institute for Policy Studies' Chuck Collins, an observer with the Global Exchange delegation, reports on the front page, the real issues to watch -- and let's hope any irregularities aren't enough to sway the outcome -- are vote-buying by party operatives, local officials telling poor, rural voters that they'll lose access to public services if they don't vote "correctly" and various forms of voter intimidation.

The last thing anyone needs in what is shaping up to be a hyper-charged post-balloting environment is a bunch of conspiracy theories about the Mexican electoral institutions themselves.

And that's just what Palast's been peddling. Consider this ominous-sounding but substance-free report from Friday:

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