As the Year Ends, Some Silver Linings
Ernest Partridge, Co-Editor
The Crisis Papers
December 20, 2005
We the People of the United States, especially those of us who cherish our
freedom and our political institutions, have endured a terrible year. The
compelling evidence that the 2004 Presidential election may have been stolen
stands unrefuted, albeit ignored by the mainstream media. The looting of the
federal treasury continues, as the nation’s wealth continues to flow from
the vast majority who produce that wealth to the minuscule minority that
controls and owns that wealth. Education, health care and social services
are starved as still more tax cuts are given to those least in need of them:
the very rich. Corruption on a scale unrivaled in all our history flourishes
as legislation and regulatory relief are purchased in an open market. Our
soldiers and innocent Iraqi citizens continue to die in a war that was
launched, and is now sustained, on a pack of lies.
And yet, for all this, the republic survives, albeit in critical condition.
Recovery is possible, though by no means assured. For at long last, a few of
our battered institutions are pushing back.
The criminal justice system to the rescue. While the federal
government and the Congress have failed us, the law, in the hands of a few
dedicated prosecutors, may be providing what might be the final line of
defense of our democracy. The GOP House leader, Tom DeLay, while
undisciplined by his Congressional colleagues, has at last been indicted in
his home state of Texas. Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has nailed
“Scooter” Libby, Dick Cheney’s top deputy. Fitzgerald’s work continues, and
it is likely that Bush’s “boy genius,” Karl Rove will be the next big fish
to be hauled in. Meanwhile, the GOP-lobbyist sleaze coalition is unraveling
as Jack Abramoff faces trial, and still more in his criminal syndicate are
exposed and indicted. The scandal involves numerous GOP members of Congress
– quite possibly, enough to cost the Republicans one or both houses of
Congress. These investigations and prosecutions, largely conducted on the
state and municipal level, are beyond the reach of the Bushistas. Stay
tuned: this could be very big.
The media stirs. The mainstream media are discovering, to
their sorrow, that Lincoln was right: you can’t fool all the people all of
the time. The decline of media credibility reaches to the top of the
industry: the “flagship” newspapers, the New York Times and the Washington
Post. At the Times, Judith Miller’s fables of Saddam’s aluminum tubes and
WMDs finally caught up with her, and so the Times has cut her loose. As for the
Washington Post, the public is losing patience with Bob Woodward’s
Bush-promotion masquerading as “access journalism.”
Right-wing ranting still dominates AM talk radio, as Limbaugh, Hannity,
O’Reilly, etc. draw up to ten times the audience of the liberal Air America
Radio. However, the trend lines are encouraging; the right wingers appear to
be losing their audience while the ratings for AAR increase.
The Bush/GOP lock on the corporate media is loosening as a few newspeople
are beginning to act like real journalists again. Just ask Bush’s Press
Secretary Scott McClellan who, at long last, is finally receiving some
well-deserved harassment from the White House press corps. And just this
week, newspaper editorials from around the country denounced Bush’s domestic
spying with an intensity not seen since the Clinton administration.
The American media has a long distance to travel before it recovers its
once-renowned independence and objectivity and with it the trust of the
public. But at long last, it appears to be moving in the right direction.
The Congress Balks. Throughout Bush’s first term and well
into his second the Congress behaved more like The Supreme Soviet than an
independent branch of the United States government, (with the exception of a
few months of Democratic control of the Senate, following the defection of
Vermont’s Republican Senator Jim Jeffords). The Congress has been so
accommodating to the President that Bush has never seen fit to take out his
veto pen. At long last, the Congress is digging in its heels. First there
was the 90-9 vote in the Senate banning the "cruel, inhuman or degrading"
treatment of prisoners. Then, just last week, key provisions of the Patriot
Act fell victim to the threat of a Democratic filibuster and a failure of
the GOP majority to round up the necessary sixty votes to invoke cloture.
The formerly iron-clad GOP party discipline has been eroded by the legal
troubles of the majority leaders, Tom DeLay and Bill Frist, with presumably
still more to be snared by the metastasizing Abramoff scandals. Add to that
the clear evidence from the November off-year elections that the voters are
fed-up and eager to retire many of the culprits.
At last, the Congress has defied the lame-duck President, and the sky has
not fallen on them. Still more declarations of Congressional independence
are now conceivable, and thus doable.
The Election fraud issue is finally getting attention. Despite
abundant statistical, anecdotal and circumstantial evidence of fraud in the
2000, 2002 and 2004 elections, the mainstream media has placed a near-total
embargo on any mention whatever of the issue of electoral integrity.
Amazingly, and disgracefully, most Democratic politicians and liberal
publications have joined this silence. Apparently the expectation and hope
of all concerned is that the issue, if ignored, would simply go away. Well,
it hasn’t. A determined few independent publications and many dedicated
internet web sites have kept the issue alive, as public opinion polls have
disclosed that a significant minority of voters believe that their votes no
longer count – that the election results are simply what the Republican
manufacturers and code writers of the e-voting machines want them to be.
Now, at long last, the issue of voting fraud is grabbing public and even
media attention. Reports of the unreliability of Diebold’s voting machines
have seriously impacted the company’s stock value, leading to the
resignation of CEO Walden O’Dell and several other officers. In Florida,
Diebold machines failed a “hack test,” wherein the results of a hypothetical
election were reversed leaving no evidence that the hack had taken place. An
anonymous whistleblower employee of Diebold, dubbed “Dieb-Throat,” has
revealed that through an undisclosed “back door” to the machines one person
strategically situated can reverse the results of an election. Finally, a
report from the respected and non-partisan Government Accountability Office
(GAO) confirms the critics’ accusation that electronic voting equipment has
severe security and reliability flaws.
As public dissatisfaction with the Bush regime increases and the 2006
election approaches, the public may become every more receptive to the idea
that, due to fraud in the past elections, the Bush Administration and even
the Republican Congress, have no legitimate claim to power.
Fool us twice? “We can’t get fooled again.” In April,
majority of Americans believed that Saddam Hussein was giving
substantial support to al Qaeda and that Saddam had Weapons of Mass
Destruction. Today, a majority believes the opposite: the established facts
that Saddam had no ties with al Queda and no WMDs. Once again, Lincoln’s
observation is confirmed: “you can’t fool all the people all the time.”
Eventually, truth catches up with the lies, after which the liar can never
recover his credibility. Thus it is that Bush’s approval ratings, in the 80s
right after 9/11, are now in the thirties.
Experienced grifters know that even the best scams have a short life span,
and thus it is prudent to grab the loot and get out of town before the
suckers come to their senses. Bush, Cheney, and the rest may come to wish
that they had left office at the end of the first term, as more and more of
the American people are finally waking up to the realization that they’ve
been had. Polls that had previously reported that a majority of Americans
believed Bush to be honest and resolute, now find him to be dishonest and
A July Gallup poll found that most Americans believe that the Iraq war
will be lost and that Bush deliberately lied to get the US into the war.
An October poll
indicated that half of Americans favor Bush’s impeachment, if it is
determined that he lied to get the United States into the Iraq war.
Another October poll by Pew Research disclosed that 70% of Americans
want the next President to offer policies and programs different from those
of the Bush Administration. These numbers describe a public that is
fed-up and eager for a change, a public that is unlikely to re-discover in
Bush and his regime any of the redeeming qualities that thought they had
The usual Bushevik defenses are crumbling.
The Bush myth was
built upon expert marketing skills and a compliant and cooperative media.
Now hard facts have reduced the old slogans – “compassionate conservative,”
“uniter not a divider,” “reformer with results” – to cruel ironies. The
mainstream media, besmirched by its cozy accommodation with Bushism, has
lost its credibility and an appreciable portion of its customers – losses
which some media critics suggest might be recovered with a renewal of
independence and journalistic integrity. This independence and integrity
becomes ever more feasible as the enfeebled Administration loses its
capacity to punish and retaliate against its media critics.
Bush’s claim to a 2004 election “mandate” is undermined by a growing public
sense that his re-election may have been accomplished, once again, through
fraud. This is a minority view, but there are indications that it is growing
as more evidence comes to light and more media commentators and politicians
are willing to speak the unspeakable.
The Bushista regime is weakened and vulnerable, primarily because it is now
seen by many to be weak and vulnerable. In politics, perception is reality.
However, as some have warned, the wounded and cornered beast is most
dangerous, and Bush, Inc. still has formidable weapons at its disposal: huge
reserves of cash, a significant portion of the mainstream media, the
ever-loyal religious right. The Republicans remain in control of the
Congress, supported by cowed and compliant Democrats, typified by Senators
Lieberman and Clinton and the Democratic Leadership Council – the republican
wing of the Democratic Party.
Most troubling of all is the realization that the initial plunge in public
support and approval of the Bush regime was abruptly and spectacularly
interrupted on September 11, 2001 – the “new Pearl Harbor” that the authors
of The Project for a New American Century recognized as pre-requisite to the
establishment of an American world hegemony.
As public support of the Bush regime declines, and as media criticism and
political opposition increase, can the previous catastrophic “solution” to
Bush’s political problems be completely out of sight and out of mind of the
embattled Bush Administration? With the prospect of a loss of political
power -- and with it the loss of ill-gotten fortunes and, in some cases, the
possibility of criminal conviction and incarceration – just what are these
scoundrels capable of? Things could get very ugly.
A year from now, as 2006 draws to a close, we can expect a country and a
world transformed at least as much as it was transformed in the previous
year. We might experience a further descent into despotism. Or we might find
renewal: a new Congress, enabled at last to restore law and order, civil
liberties, fiscal sanity, honor among nations, and prepared to initiate
impeachment proceedings against George Bush and Dick Cheney.
We need not, we
must not, be idle spectators awaiting the outcome. As
citizens and as patriots, we have the duty to do our utmost to restore the
honor, the justice, the goodness, and the greatness of the United States of
Copyright 2005 by Ernest Partridge
Ernest Partridge's Internet Publications
Conscience of a Progressive:
Partridge's Scholarly Publications. (The Online Gadfly)
Dr. Ernest Partridge is a consultant, writer and lecturer in the field
of Environmental Ethics and Public Policy. He has taught Philosophy at
the University of California, and in Utah, Colorado and Wisconsin. He
publishes the website, "The Online
Gadfly" and co-edits the progressive website,
"The Crisis Papers".