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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 nomination.

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.

Time now, as Thomas B. Edsall puts it, for the media to “jump ship from Obama to Clinton:”

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 weeks.

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, drown.

With an 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 as I pointed out immediately before the Pennsylvania primary,

The 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 here, here,
here, here, and here.

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 election.

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 that “the Democrats 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 Republicans.

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 chair.

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 Republicans, 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 environmental catastrophes.

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 “Samizdat:”  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.


Voter access 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 step forward.

A year ago, there were many among us who might plausibly fulfill this role.  Now intervening events have narrowed that selection to just one: Barack Obama.  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:  A book in progress. 

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: gadfly@igc.org .


Crisis Papers editors, Partridge & Weiner, are available for public speaking appearances