As the Year Ends, Some Silver Linings
December 20, 2005
By Ernest Partridge, The
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
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
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. But 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
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, 2004, a 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 Qaeda 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 30s.
Experienced grifters know that even the best scams have a short
life span, and thus it is good policy 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 early reported that a majority of Americans believed
Bush to be honest and resolute, now find him to be dishonest and
stubborn. 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
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 previously
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
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
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
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 America.
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. He is at work on a book, Conscience of a
Progressive, which can be seen in-progress here.
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