According to Plan?
Ernest Partridge, Co-Editor
The Crisis Papers.
April 29, 2008
The pre-convention Democratic campaign could not be working out better
for the Republicans even if the GOP had planned it this way.
Perhaps they did.
If so, their wholly-owned subsidiary, the corporate media, appears to be
dutifully following their instructions to the letter.
Prolonging the Agony:
The optimum course of events for both the GOP and the media is a
continuation of the Clinton-Obama slugfest for as long as possible. The
media benefits with sustained public interest and inflated ratings,
while the Republicans enjoy the advantage to a severely damaged
Democratic candidate in the November election.
And so, when Clinton entered the primaries a heavy favorite, the media
chatter was all about “Obamamania.” Then Obama won the Iowa primary and
most states in “Super Tuesday” and headed toward New Hampshire, ahead in
the polls. An Obama victory in New Hampshire could have wrapped up his
But instead, Clinton’s campaign stayed alive with an upset win – timely,
crucial, and, as I will suggest below, just a little bit suspicious.
Going into the Texas and Ohio primaries, Obama still had a formidable
lead in pledged delegates. So up crops the Rev. Wright story (“God damn
America!”), and the phony report that Obama surrogates had told the
Canadians not to take Obama’s anti-NAFTA rhetoric seriously. Obama
loses the primaries, and his campaign bogs down.
Then Pennsylvania, disclosure of Obama's "elitism" and comments about
voter "bitterness," and another Clinton win, by 9.2 points, which
the media and the Clinton campaign
spinners somehow interpret as "double digits. Even so, Obama now has a near-mathematical lock on the
convention. With Clinton’s candidacy now on life support, the media must
now keep it alive.
as Thomas B. Edsall puts it, for the media to “jump ship from Obama
In a blink of an eye, the media has jumped ship from
the Obama campaign and become a crucial Clinton ally, pressing just
the message -- that Obama is a likely loser in the general election
-- that Hillary and her allies have been promoting for the past six
The new tenor of media coverage is visible almost everywhere, from
Politico, Time and The New Republic to The Washington Post and The
New York Times.
For Hillary, the shift is a potential lifesaver as she struggles to
keep her head above water; without it, she would, metaphorically,
Obama lead assured all the way to the convention, the pattern of
Clinton-boosting and Obama-knocking is likely to continue on course.
Unless, of course, Clinton, however improbably, takes the lead again.
So who’s ahead? Clinton or Obama? Whoever has the lead can expect to be
beaten back and piled on by the media. If one or another candidate
appears about to wrap it up, there’s likely an “upset” primary dead
ahead. First New Hampshire and then Pennsylvania. Next, Indiana
and North Carolina?
It’s almost as if the Republicans, not the voters, decided the outcome.
However, as we know by now, the media and even the Democrats won’t even
hint of such a thing, much less investigate it.
But consider: the New Hampshire paper ballots that were hand-counted
favored Obama. But the votes that were machine-generated and “contracted
out” to a private firm with GOP ties, and then reported back without
validation, tipped the race to Clinton.
As Kirsten Anderson reported to The Huffington Post: “Clinton
won 46% of the hand-count vote to Obama's 54%. Out of the machine
counts, Clinton took 53% while Obama won 48%.”
In Pennsylvania, Clinton admitted that she had to win to stay in the
race. And in fact, late polls showed that Obama was closing fast, with
some polls reporting a statistical tie. So, sure enough, Clinton did win,
just shy of those essential double digits.
But did she win fair and square? That’s unknown and unknowable, for 85%
of the votes were cast on paperless, touch-screen (“DRE”) machines. And
pointed out immediately before the Pennsylvania primary,
official results will be what the voting machines ... tell us they
are, which is to say what the programmers of the secret machine
codes have told the machines to report. These results may accurately
report the actual totals, or they may be entirely bogus. That's up
to the Republican owners and managers of the private voting machine
companies, who issue instructions to the programmers. They can make
this decision with total disregard of the legal consequences. The
voters have no say in the matter.
Accurate or bogus? We simply and absolutely do not and can cannot
know. The codes that process the votes are secret, and, moreover, it
has been demonstrated time and again that these software codes can
alter the results and leave no trace whatever of the finagling.
These are the plain, undisputed facts of the matter; however the
media and (astonishingly!) the Democrats refuse to face them,
publicize them, much less remedy them...
Accordingly, the announced results of the Pennsylvania primary will
be accepted purely "on faith." If they report the people's choice,
this will be because the programmers have been instructed to make it
so. Or they might be instructed otherwise. There is simply no way of
knowing. What we do know is that the owners and managers of the
private voting machine companies are overwhelmingly committed to the
Republican party. It's on the record.
Do I have
any substantial evidence that any primaries were rigged? I do not.
That’s the way the system is set up: with secret software and no
independent auditable record. But that misses the point by misapplying
the burden of proof. It should not and must not be the task of ordinary
citizens to prove election fraud. Instead, it is the responsibility of
the legislatures, election officials, and the criminal justice system to
assure the sanctity of each citizen’s vote, and to track down, indict
and convict any and all persons who would violate the franchise.
Whenever and wherever DRE voting machines are in use, there is no proof
whatever that the vote totals were correct. And that’s where the burden
of proof should lie.
Meanwhile, there is abundant and compelling statistical, anecdotal and
circumstantial evidence of rigged
elections during the past decade, which you can find
This past week, we have repeatedly heard the complaint, “Why can’t Obama
close the sale?” The answer is simple and straightforward:
“Because the media won’t let him.” The mainstream media and its
corporate GOP sponsors and owners want this contest to continue to boost
ratings and to disable the eventual Democratic candidate.
And what the GOP and media want, the GOP and media get.
Keeping Our Eyes Off the Prize:
In no election in memory have the stakes been higher, the issues
clearer, and the failures of the incumbent political party more apparent
and grave: a war of aggression disapproved by two thirds of the American
people, war crimes, violation of international treaties, looting of the
federal treasury, abolition of civil liberties, dictatorial powers (e.g.
“signing statements”), economic devastation, and a failing health care
system, education and physical infrastructure. And the list goes on.
You wouldn’t know all this by reading or listening to the mainstream
media’s so-called “news.”
Instead, the media’s focus of attention is on the repudiated remarks of
some retired minister, lapel pins, “elitism,” “bitterness,” electability,
and even, would you believe, bowling scores.
Not that any of this is new. Remember? Inventing the
internet, earth tones, Love Canal, “likeability,” swiftboats, philly-cheese
sandwiches, french-look. But rarely Harken Energy, AWOL from the
National Guard, “The Pet Goat,” least of all the above-mentioned issues
of war, the economy, civil liberties, economic justice, etc.
Trifles and distraction.
That’s how the GOP wins elections, and how it might very well win the next
Occasionally, the media’s obsession with paltry distractions is in such
wretched excess that it gets beaten back. Such was the case with “George
and Charlie’s Trivial Pursuits,” aka the ABC “debate” of April 16. The
criticism of that fiasco was severe and well-deserved, and the media
quite properly embarrassed. But now, scarcely two weeks later, it has
been forgotten, and the media’s absorption with trifles is back as if
nothing had happened to interrupt it.
Meanwhile, John McCain is behaving like a world-class Klutz, as the
media continues to give him a free ride. While Obama is still being
stung by the repudiated remarks of Rev. Wright, no notice is taken of
McCain’s embrace of religious-right loonies such as John Hagee and Rod
Parsley. Almost daily, McCain validates his admission that he “doesn’t
know much about economics.” And he continues to articulate an
undiminished appetite for war and distaste for diplomacy.
On Track Toward the Election of John McCain:
Read and listen to that minuscule voice, the authentically “liberal
media,” and you will frequently read and hear the hopeful prediction
can’t lose this time.” The issues are overwhelmingly with us,
we are told, and the public is totally fed-up with Bush, Cheney, and the
This exuberant optimism rests on three assumptions: (a) the media will
give equal and fair access to both sides and will deal with substantive
issues. (b) All who wish to vote may do so. And (c) that all the votes
will be fairly counted.
All three assumptions are indisputably and demonstrably false. Even so,
the “establishment Democrats” simply refuse to face up to these false
assumptions, much less to deal with them. The Democratic National
Committee and the Congressional Democrats are behaving as if they had
learned nothing whatever in the past decade. All that is missing is the
appointment by the DNC of Bob (“zero for eight”) Shrumm as campaign
Consequently, if conditions continue as they are, McCain is certain to
win. All that he needs to do is get about 45% of the vote. Diebold, ES&S
and Sequoia will take care of the rest.
And be assured that this is no ordinary election, whereby the party in
power is prepared to gracefully relinquish power if defeated in the
November election. Bush, Cheney, their accomplices, along with their
sponsors, have much more to lose than their offices and privileges. At
stake is the possession of untold billions of looted public funds, the
reinstatement of just tax rates, and, for many, continuing evasion of the
criminal justice system and federal prison sentences.
How to Derail the “Bomb Bomb Express:”
In an open and fair election, accurately reported, the Democrats would
trounce John McCain in November. But the Democrats’ likely nominee,
Barack Obama, has little chance against the combined opposition of the
corporate media propaganda machine and the privatized election industry.
If the Democrats are to have a chance of winning in November, their
triad of false assumptions – that the media will be fair and unbiased,
that voters will have access to the polls, and that the election returns
will be accurate – must be addressed decisively and soon.
Judging from the behavior of the congressional Democrats and the Obama
and Clinton campaigns, I doubt that there will be any such response.
Absent such a response, we are probably headed straight for a McCain
administration promoting endless wars, provoking international ostracism
and retaliation, and totally incapable of dealing with domestic economic collapse and global
Even so, despair is not an option. In desperate times, astonishing
reversals occasionally appear, suddenly and unannounced. Nor are these
arbitrary "acts of God." Rather, they are brought about by an
angry and aroused public. As I have often said before, our cause
is as hopeless as that of Gandhi in India, of Sakharov in the Soviet Union,
of Mandela in South Africa, and of Martin Luther King in Alabama. Add to that
the hopelessness of Washington at Valley Forge, and the founders in
Philadelphia in July, 1776.
So this is the way out:
The corporate media must be
repudiated by a sizeable portion of the public. We know that this is
possible, for it has happened before: in the Soviet Union, when the lies
of Pravda (“Truth”), Izvestia (“News”) and Gostelradio eventually
destroyed their credibility, and discerning Soviet citizens looked
abroad and at unauthorized publications (“Samizdat”) for news,
information and opinion.
US media is similarly losing its credibility. It is also losing its
income (not a problem with the state-owned propaganda in the USSR) along
with declining circulation and ratings.
Today American citizens, like the Russians under communism, also have a
the internet, and with it, access to the still-free and independent
foreign press, and citizen-based websites.
If the few remaining responsible news organizations, such as McClatchey,
and journalists, such as Keith Olbermann and Dan Abrams, and opinion
networks such as Air America Radio, were to get a sudden increase of
audience share, the shareholders of the captive corporate media would
have to take notice.
The progressives and reform-minded Democrats don’t need equal propaganda
time. The truth will suffice.
is a hugely
underrated issue. If Greg Palast is to be believed,
“caging” and other
modes of disenfranchisement are being actively pursued by the GOP, and
could, by themselves, deprive the Democrats of victory in November.
These practices must be aggressively investigated and remedied in
Congress, as time to do so is running out. And Democratic activists must
intensify voter registration drives.
And finally, the election fraud issue
must at long last break out into the public consciousness. The
mainstream media has kept the lid on this scandal for eight years.
Crimes of this magnitude, involving hundreds of co-conspirators, which
means hundreds of potential whistle-blowers, eventually will “out.”
Unfortunately, this often happens decades later after the criminals have
escaped punishment and died in opulent retirement. Other times, a
tipping point of investigation, disclosure and publicity is reached,
and, as Richard Nixon discovered, the impossible “come-uppence” suddenly
becomes possible, and then inevitable.
The evidence of massive election fraud is out there: ignored, dismissed,
and all the while irrefutable. This evidence must be publicized,
vigorously and relentlessly.
Meanwhile, the Democrats must aim for an overwhelming victory: a tsunami
of votes that will be required to overwhelm the secretly programmed
fraud in the paperless, touch-screen voting machines.
Above all, there must be, throughout the land, an inferno of public
disgust with the crimes and betrayals of the Busheviks, along with
determination to restore the founding principles of the American republic.
Unfortunately, there is, at this moment, little evidence of such fiery determination, as
the public is being drenched with trivia, and the distractions of
personal financial hardship.
But it is just possible that the fuel of discontent is accumulating in
the public, along with the oxygen of hope and aspiration. What is
required to ignite this new revolution is the third element of
combustion: the fire of inspired and courageous leadership.
It is time for our Gandhi, our Sakharov, our Mandela, our M. L. King, to
A year ago, there were many among us who might plausibly fulfill this
Now intervening events have narrowed that selection to just one: Barack
We know that he has the words and the intellect to fulfill that role.
But does he have the courage, the inspiration and the charisma to do so?
And if so, who will follow?
We may soon find out.
Copyright 2008 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".
His e-mail is: firstname.lastname@example.org .