The Bombs in the Basement
August 23, 2005
By Ernest Partridge, The
By all outward appearances, the Busheviks and the Republicans
have it made. They are, as the late Red Barber used to say, "sitting
in the catbird seat." They own the White House, the Congress,
and soon the Federal Judiciary. The mainstream media are safely
corralled, with just enough dissenting voices (such as Krugman,
Rich, Dionne and Oliphant) to give credence to the absurd right-wing
complaint of liberal media bias. Potentially devastating news developments
and issues, such as election fraud, the Downing Street Memos, Plamegate,
political corruption, growing domestic dissent and international
hostility are not refuted in the media as much as they are ignored
– crowded out with trivial reports of runaway brides, disappearing
teenagers, celebrity trials and romances, etc.
For all that, the Bush regime has reason to be nervous. For its
continuing success depends totally on the public's inattention to,
apathy toward, and even ignorance of several potentially explosive
issues which, if brought to light, publicized, investigated, and
then criminally prosecuted, could demolish the House of Bush and
the Republicans. These bombs in the basement of the GOP establishment
are not disarmed. They are fully armed and ready to go off, if only
the opposition can get to them and mobilize the public. And the
Busheviks know this all too well.
I am not referring here to mismanagement or incompetence on the
part of the Bush Administration and the Congress, although there
is certainly plenty of that. Instead, I mean criminal activity –
indictable and impeachable violations of the law. Amazingly, many
of these crimes are no secret, rather they are open and plain to
see by all with eyes to see. What additional crimes lurk beneath
the surface is anyone's guess. Even so, the crimes that are out
in the open do not arouse the media or a significant portion of
the American public. Abroad, its quite another story, as the foreign
press freely reports and comments on these crimes, and international
outrage at the Bushista outlaws continues to grow.
Among these open and confirmable crimes:
- Lying to Congress is a crime.
- Disclosing the identity of a covert intelligence agent is
- Perjury is a crime.
- Influence peddling ("graft") is a crime.
- Torture of prisoners and violation of the Geneva Conventions
is a crime.
- Violation of civil liberties (denial of rights to counsel,
trial, etc.) is a crime.
- Failure to obey a court order (i.e. of the Supreme Court)
is a crime.
- Misprision (i.e., incitement) of a felony is a crime.
- Voting fraud is a crime.
- Obstruction of justice is a crime.
Yet the Congress refuses to investigate, and the mainstream media
refuse to investigate and report, which means that the Congress
and the media are (in an unindictable sense) accessories to these
Each of these is a momentous offense, totally incompatible with
a political order that claims to function under the rule of law.
Yet there they are, recognizable and still unpunished – and tolerated
by a public that appears to be unwilling or unable to appreciate
the gravity of the crimes openly committed by their government.
But for how long? History teaches us that public opinion can be
"turned on a dime," by a catalyzing event. On December
6, 1941, a majority of Americans opposed entering the war. That
all changed the following day, when the bombs fell at Pearl Harbor.
Senator Joe McCarthy had the Congress, the Press, and even President
Eisenhower intimidated until the day that an obscure lawyer, Joseph
Welch, stood his ground and said to the Senator: "Have you no sense
of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?"
The public, as it turned out, was more than willing to listen.
Regimes also die gradually of a thousand cuts. In 1964, Lyndon
Johnson soundly defeated Barry Goldwater by twenty percentage points,
and four years later recognized that he was unelectable. In 1972,
Richard Nixon was re-elected in an electoral college landslide,
carrying every state but one. A year and a half later, he was forced
to resign in disgrace. Soon after the 9/11 attacks, George Bush's
approval ratings were above 80%. Now they are half of that, and
falling – the result of which is still to be known.
And so, if, at last the public at large comes to appreciate the
magnitude of the crimes of this administration, the Bush crime syndicate
will soon be swept from power, despite the best efforts of the captive
media to prop it up.
But can the public be aroused from its slumbers? On that question,
history will turn. In the meantime, uneasy sits the junta in the
mansion atop the unexploded bombs.
However, we, the public, need not sit silently, as helpless spectators,
hoping for a reversal of fortune while our democracy is being taken
from us. In fact, a significant and growing portion of the public
is taking action, as the Bush administration and its bodyguard media
lose credibility. The public is acquiring immunity to the official
lies and Karl Rove's smear machine. They worked against Al Gore,
Max Cleland and John Kerry; but against Joe Wilson and Cindy Sheehan,
the slime does not appear to be sticking. The mainstream media,
having shed its sense of responsibility to the truth and to the
public, is now losing circulation and ratings, while it remains
answerable to its stockholders. That media might thus face the choice
of either becoming irrelevant or, to avoid bankruptcy, practicing
honest journalism again.
There is movement afoot and the public is beginning to stir. As
gas prices and interest rates rise, the disastrous consequences
of Bushenomics are coming into view. Some
conservative pundits appear ready to wander off the GOP reservation.
"The I-word" – impeachment – is heard more frequently.
And yet, amazingly, and disgracefully, the
Democratic Party establishment appears reluctant to play a significant
role in this movement.
Thus it remains the responsibility of each private dissenting
citizen to join the struggle – millions of points of light, to paraphrase
George H. W. Bush's metaphor in a manner he never intended. The
citizen can act with boycotts, letters to editors, demonstrations,
and by supporting progressive voices in the independent media and
the Internet. The citizen can act by being heard in public meetings
and private conversations, and, if sufficiently resourceful and
courageous, with acts of civil disobedience.
But can private citizens make a difference? Ask that question
of the protesters at Camp Casey, and you will find your answer.
Joseph Wilson made a difference. Cindy Sheehan made a difference.
Colleen Rowley made a difference. Who's next? Maybe you. As Margaret
Mead once said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed
citizens can change the world: Indeed it's the only thing that ever
What, if anything, might set off the metaphorical bomb that puts
an end to the Bush regime? Possibly Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation.
He has no shortage of indictable felonies to deal with. The great
unknown is the courage of Fitzgerald, his legal team, and the grand
jury. Also unknown is whether Bush's Justice Department dares to
fire Fitzgerald, possibly igniting a Nixonian fire-storm.
To my mind, the most vulnerable line of attack against the Bush/GOP
machine is voting fraud. The evidence is compelling (see Dennis
Paper Trail Left Behind" and The Crisis Paper's Election
Fraud page). The best that the GOP and the media can offer as
rebuttal is (a) stonewall silence, (b) the laughable, unsupported
and refuted hypothesis of "the reluctant Bush voters"
at the exit polls, and (c) predictably, smearing the election-critics
by calling them conspiracy theorists. Substantive proof that the
paperless e-voting machines and central compiling were totally honest
is non-existent. That's the way the e-voting machines were designed.
Nothing, except perhaps a collapse of the economy, is more likely
to move the public to open revolt than proof, possibly in the form
of criminal indictments and conviction, that their votes were stolen,
and that the administration and Congress in Washington have put
themselves beyond the reach of recall by the voters. Despite the
determination of the mainstream media to ignore the issue of voting
fraud, it will not go away. Occasional doubts of the integrity of
the ballot break through the media's wall of silence: first Keith
Olbermann, and just this week, Paul
Krugman. Citizen doubts must now be relentlessly expressed.
As more White House lies are exposed, as casualties mount in Iraq,
and as the economy darkens, more and more citizens will be open
to the idea that they've been had – at the polls.
Obviously, the Congress and Bush's attorney general will not investigate
the issue of voting fraud. But no matter. National elections are
administered on the state and local level, and thus any state attorney
general or local district attorney is authorized to investigate
and bring charges of voting fraud. One must wonder why it hasn't
happened yet. (Perhaps such investigations are underway and the
media won't tell us about them.) Citizen pressure has more clout
on the state and local level than on the federal level. So that's
where demands for action must be made.
The Bush Administration is energizing a formidable array of opponents:
foreign governments that it is bullying and betraying, ordinary
citizens that it is robbing of social services, health care, and
job security, military personnel that it is sending in harm's way
to Iraq (and who knows, next Iran?), and the grieving parents, spouses
and children losing their loved ones in that atrocious war.
And finally, the Bush Administration is engaged in a contest against
the truth and against reality, as it spins out lie after lie, and
as it rewrites and censors scientific reports. This is a contest
that it must eventually lose. Presumably, the primary objective
of the Busheviks now is to prolong their charade until January 2009,
when they leave office. Our job as responsible citizens is to pull
away the curtain and expose the wizard as soon as possible, to minimize
further damage to our country – to its economy, to its international
reputation, to its honor.
For, to quote the late physicist Richard Feynman in his dissent
to the Challenger Disaster report, "reality must take precedence
over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled."
Dr. Ernest Partridge is a consultant, writer and lecturer in
the field of Environmental Ethics and Public Policy. He publishes
the website, The
Online Gadfly and co-edits the progressive website, The
Crisis Papers. Send comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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