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The Bombs in the Basement

August 23, 2005
By Ernest Partridge, The Crisis Papers

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 a crime.

  • 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 crimes.

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 has."

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 Loo's "No 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: crisispapers@hotmail.com.

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