"Shallow Throat" Tells How Bush Can Be Defeated
"Shallow Throat" Tells How Bush Can Be Defeated in 2004 -- And Who Can Do It
By Bernard Weiner
http The Crisis Papers
The message I got from Shallow Throat was: "Let's talk outside the Beltway. Lubbock airport 3 p.m. Tuesday, on your way back from Houston."
The high-ranking GOP mole, who had provided exceptional information and advice from inside the White House and now in another government agency, didn't want to risk being spotted in conversation anywhere near Washington, D.C. Lubbock, Texas, is not near anything.
Seated across from me in the diner-booth, ST looked disturbed, and launched into an explanation: "Bernie, these Bush guys are so paranoid and desperate right now -- all the Iraq and other lies are coming home to roost, and they see the handwriting on the wall, that they may lose the election and possibly wind up in criminal court, if they're not impeached first -- that they're capable of anything. Mad dogs cornered are especially dangerous. I can't risk it, or my family. So this may be our last conversation for awhile.
"Things simply are too hot now. I've been watched like a hawk ever since I arrived at [the federal agency]. I think I've been made, but am not sure -- either they know I'm the one that's been feeding information out to the public, or maybe they think I'm a plant still working for the White House, who knows? In any case, my phone is tapped."
"I don't want to do anything that would put you, or your family, in further jeopardy," I replied. "I know the risk you've put yourself in to get the truth out about what's really going on inside the belly of the beast. What you've revealed about Bush&Co. motivations, goals, processes has been invaluable in giving those of us in the opposition a better understanding of what we're up against and how to proceed."
"Thanks," said ST. "But I can't help feeling that I've risked my job and maybe my life to get this information out and mostly your liberal and Democrat friends have ignored what I've told them. I've been saying for more than a year now that these Bush guys are bullies who only will back off when confronted by an opposition unafraid to face them head-on, and yet the Dems have mostly reacted like weak-kneed wusses, and the GOP has simply rolled over them. Our economy is in shambles, and people have been dying all over the world, including our young soldiers, because of that."
"The Bush Administration is guilty of so many crimes and misdemeanors," I said, "where does one focus? They flood the zone, so to speak -- have one objectionable program after another, one scandal on top of another one, one foreign adventure after another, one extremist judge nominated after another -- and the opposition has to scramble just to stay on top of them all, with no chance to get the larger picture out to the public. What should we do?"
"For one thing, as I've been telling you for more than a year now," said ST, "quit paying so much attention to Bush -- he's just their front guy -- and focus on Cheney. He's so deep into scandal, hypocrisy, lying, corruption, the blood of innocents, that he should be the obvious target. And probably will be the first member of the Administration to be impeached, if he doesn't resign first, 'for health reasons.'
"If he goes, believe it or not, there's even some wild talk about Bush naming Lieberman, the rightwing Democrat, as his running mate on a 'Unity' ticket -- not as crazy as it sounds. Get some conservative Democrats, and Jewish voters, to move into the Republican column, taking key votes away from whoever the Democrat candidate is. And Lieberman is such an ambitious suck-up, he'd probably take the bait.
"But let's keep our focus here. Cheney and Rove are the nuts & bolts of the operation. Cheney is up to his ears in vulnerabilities, everything from his continuing ties to his old company Halliburton -- despite his denials, he's still getting huge payments from them, and guess who got the large contract for Iraq reconstruction, without having to submit a competitive bid? -- to his refusing to turn over key documents to Congress about his secret energy-policy committee, which may well have dealt with getting control of Mideast oil by military means.
"As the media finally are reporting, Rove probably committed a felony by being involved in the outing of a covert CIA agent, the wife of Ambassador Joseph Wilson. Those two, Cheney and Rove, are just waiting to be plucked -- especially Rove, since the CIA, made to seem the fallguy by the Bush Administration, is out for revenge. If you're smart, you don't piss off the spooks and high-ranking ambassadors. The Bushies aren't smart. They're stonewalling the CIA-outing issue and hope to bury it in Ashcroft's coverup office. Go get 'em!"
"In case you haven't noticed," I retorted, "the Dems are the minority party. They don't have much power to do anything meaningful."
"That's just an excuse!" ST shot back. "Of course you and your Dem friends are not in the driver's seat. But you can get creative, make a helluva lot of noise, set up your own investigations and media outlets, work with independent journalists and internet writers, get out in the streets and force the mainstream media to cover these scandals objectively, get rid of Daschle and Pelosi as milquetoast spokesmen for the Democrats and put bulldogs in charge, start building up your possible presidential candidates more, convince two moderate Republicans in the Senate and 14 in the House to put patriotism ahead of party and become Independents, and so on. Think outside the litter box, for a change."
DEEP INTO THE DOODOO
"For example," ST continued, "the Left has to quit looking for a saint in your candidate. The goal here is not to elect someone with whom you agree on everything; the goal is not perfect purity. The only goal here is to defeat Bush, thus breaking the momentum of the neo-con machine that is rolling over the globe and, under Ashcroft's Patriot Act, shredding our rights under the Constitution -- and spending us into bankrupcy so that America's popular social programs like Medicare and Social Security and Head Start and so on will be defunded and privatized out of existence. Back to pre-FDR days.
"Doesn't matter if the person to defeat Bush is Dean or Clark or Kerry or Gephardt or whomever -- get behind him, hold your nose if you have to, and work your ass off to defeat the Republicans. If you/we fail in 2004, this country is way deep into the doodoo; you thought you saw Bush&Co. extremism in action over the past three years? That will look like a tea party; we're talking in-your-face police-state fascism at home and more imperial wars abroad. These guys are not playing around. Get your act together, NOW!"
"So what about the Democratic candidates?" I asked. "What do you think of Wesley Clark?"
"He's Clinton with stars on his shoulders, a centrist, smart as a whip, wipes out the 'national security/patriotism' card Bush will be playing, and terrifies the neo-conservatives. But he's a novice at national campaigning and is going to keep slipping on the political banana peel for awhile. Not seasoned enough for prez, yet, but always could be on anybody's ticket as veep. Trouble is, generals, even retired ones, don't want to warm the bench; they want to be quarterback. And, given the way the Bush Administration is imploding these days, who's to tell Clark he can't be the next Ike?
"Trouble is, he's a bit of a hustling DLC-type smoothie. Cheerleading the war in Iraq when he was a CNN commentator, anti-war now when he's after the Democrat base. I don't really trust the guy. But my own sense of the man is that he's probably good enough, or at least is mostly saying the right things now. He could take Bush&Co. down, which is why Rove and his minions are out there dishing the dirt, big time, about General Wes. They'd prefer to run against a Kucinich -- or even Dean -- than have to face a popular military man who has a brain above his shoulders.
"Dean, at heart, is a middle-of-the-roader but reads 'liberal' enough. He's got brains and figured out two things early on: how to milk the internet for cash and volunteers, and that he can be the Eugene McCarthy in this race, the candidate who reveals how very vulnerable Bush is on the war. He's got the big mo, and deservedly so -- he stuck out his neck early and proved that a principled opposition to Bush could pay off electorally -- but that was before the general, seeing how good Dean was doing with his attacks on Bush, rode up on his white horse. Dean'll take New Hampshire and Iowa -- and probably force Edwards and Kucinich and Graham out of the race -- but it'll be interesting to see how Dean will handle Clark in the coming weeks.
"Already, there's whispering about an eventual Dean/Clark ticket, or maybe even the other way around, but we'll have to wait and see how Clark looks when the bloom's a bit off the rose, and the hard-hitting exposes begin surfacing. Gephardt and Kerry have some clout with labor unions, but they voted to give Bush a blank WMD check to go to war against Iraq -- thus they'll never energize the anti-war Democrat base. Kucinich is simply too far left for the party to accept right now; Graham, on the Senate Intelligence Committee, knows where the bodies are buried on 9/11 and Iraq, but he's so low-key he never really caught on; Moseley Braun potentially could be a VP contender, though she's got some negatives from her days in the Senate; Sharpton is doing really well, but comes with too much baggage."
"So you really think that if the liberals and progressives and middle-road Democrats unite behind the candidate in 2004 that we can break the back of the Bush juggernaut?" I asked.
"No doubt about it. Bush's re-elect and performance numbers are sliding fast (even among moderate Republicans), the economy is stuck in the doldrums, three million workers have lost their jobs since he was installed in the White House, the polluters are in charge of pollution-control, his huge tax breaks benefit the wealthy while the middle-class is being squeezed, Iraq is a rathole and Bush&Co. are walking a dangerous line of trying to get their corporate looting-system set in place before they have to turn the country back over to the Iraqis, with constant deaths of our soldiers in the meantime. No, the American people are starting to catch on to Bush; he's definitely vulnerable."
AL QAIDA AND THE COMPUTER-VOTING SCHEME
"Finally, a bit of breathing room for optimism," I said.
"But there are a couple of provisos," replied Shallow Throat, with a grimace. "Al Qaida could bail out Bush again, if they're able to launch another huge attack inside the U.S. before next November. But, even if that never happens, the one fly in the ointment is the computer-voting scandal.
"This is a catastrophe waiting to happen on a grand scale; it's already happened on a smaller one. The vote-counting software is child's-play to break into and manipulate -- and the glory part is that you can do it without anybody being the wiser. The computer-voting issue, finally, is getting into the mainstream consciousness and media, and so it won't be as easy to hide the issue anymore. But unless the pressure is unrelenting and the demands so intense to fix this scandal -- the three companies that control most of the software are all tied into the Republican cause -- the results once again could be skewed to give Bush a victory that he didn't win. If that happens, it's political, and maybe actual, civil war.
"So you and your friends have to mount a huge campaign to either fix the system -- insure, by law, that the software is checked out and improved, and build in verifiable paper trails and exit polling -- or, if that doesn't happen, postpone use of computer-voting for 2004 and rely on old-fashioned paper ballots that can be tallied by hand.
"Don't count on the Bushies playing fair; if we've all learned anything during the past three years, it's that you can't trust these guys in the slightest. They'll do anything, and I mean anything, to get and stay in power. Get to work.
"The computer-voting machines are Bush&Co.'s final insurance. I'd suggest that more states at least follow Missouri's example and simply refuse to purchase the computer-voting machines without having complementary technology that provides a verifiable paper trail of who voted for whom. But, even if you have a paper receipt of your vote, the real keys are those vote-counting software codes, which the Republican companies refuse to let anyone near. A technician could tweak them in close races, the machine would spit out a paper receipt of votes cast, and still the outcome could have been rigged.
"If the companies won't permit outside examination and regulation of their vote-counting software, simply refuse to purchase or use the machines. Democracy has to be defended; one person, one vote, each vote counted -- without that, we might as well be living in Stalin's Soviet Union."
NEO-CONSERVATIVES AND THAT $87 BILLION
Finally, Shallow Throat wanted to talk about the neo-conservatives in charge of America's foreign policy and much of its domestic programs.
"The worst part of their extremism is not just the policies themselves -- they're bad enough, and continue to create havoc in the world -- but the utter INCOMPETENCY with which they're rolled out and implemented. This is the gang that not only can't shoot straight, but that can't walk straight. They're like drunks playing with lighter fluid and matches, and our young men and women in uniform, and untold numbers of innocent civilians, are killed, maimed and thrown into poverty and despair because the ideology these guys cooked up in their Pentagon ivory-towers doesn't match the real world in the slightest. It's what their once-and-former allies -- and ten million citizens out there in the streets -- warned them about before the war.
"I think Bush's $87 billion request for more funds to flush down the Iraqi rathole -- or, more accurately, to be distributed to the Bechtels and Halliburtons in Iraq, some of which may well work its way back into the Bush re-election campaign coffers -- finally has awakened a lot of Americans to the clueless nature of neo-conservative policy in Iraq: no 'post-war' plan, no exit strategy, etc. Reeks of Vietnam. These Project for the New American Century boys, instead of bringing credit to the U.S., have turned us into a pariah on the world stage, making us less, not more, secure. In short, they're endangering America's national security.
"Ordinary citizens look around at what that $87 billion (and that's just a down-payment on the full cost!) could do here at home -- in terms of fixing the educational and municipal public-works infrastructure, securing and improving the electrical grid, paying for prescription drugs for the elderly, and so on. The voters are starting to catch on to the enormity of the consequences of Bush Administration policies, and that the middle class is being asked to pay for, forever.
"The rest of the world, by and large -- despite being leaned on, bullied and offered bribes by the Bush Administration out of the Iraq war-budget -- simply refuses to pull the Americans' badly-burnt chestnuts out of the fire. Both because Bush and his neo-conservative minions continue to behave like arrogant bullies, refusing to share any power with anyone -- Bush's recent speech to the U.N. is a good example -- and because they don't like the idea of a single superpower with so much control over their lives, especially one that rampages around the world like Bush's U.S. of A.
"There are calls for the resignation of Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz -- and that's a good cause to support; those two plus Perle and Cheney and Rove and Ashcroft are the most dangerous and repulsive characters in this unfolding tragedy -- but probably will never happen until and if Bush is defeated in 2004.
"The neo-conservatives know the stakes of the game they're playing -- keeping control of the money and power -- and if they go down, they'll willing to take the country down with them. As I've been trying to tell you for a long time, if you want to get them, follow the greed."
SHALLOW THROAT'S SUMMARY
"And if we are able to do all that and get the word out...?" I started to ask.
"The bottom line is that Bush&Co. are vulnerable -- on 9/11 pre-knowledge, on the lies that got us into Iraq, on the outing of a covert CIA agent, and many more scandals -- and they know it. That's why they are even meaner and nastier than before, why they're trying to rig the election as early as they can -- follow their current machinations in Texas and California and Colorado and Florida and other key states -- so that they don't have to risk another election-night like they had in 2000. That wasn't supposed to happen.
"Despite the conglomerate-owned mass-media trying to keep the news from the American people, the citizenry is catching on to how insultingly they were lied to about why Bush wanted to go to war with Iraq -- there was no real threat, no weapons of mass destruction, no mushroom clouds endangering the U.S., just a desire to get a military/economic foothold in that energy-rich area of the world -- and are beginning to ask embarrassing questions, like what else we might have been lied-to about.
"Their anger and resentment have nothing to do with getting rid of Saddam -- good riddance to bad rubbish, we all agree -- but that our brave young American soldiers are being killed and wounded each day by a government that clearly doesn't know what it's doing. And all for profit, control of oil and gas reserves, and a belief in their ominipotent power to force radical change on Islam by force of arms.
"Remember: Follow the greed, keep the pressure unrelenting, demand more objective mass-media reporting, and, for God's sake, get those computer-voting codes out of the hands of partisan companies."
Bernard Weiner, Ph.D., has taught government & international relations at Western Washington University, was a writer/editor with the San Francisco Chronicle for nearly 20 years, and co-edits the progressive website The Crisis Papers ( http://www.crisispapers.org). Additional Shallow Throat articles ( http://www.crisispapers.org/weinerpubs.htm).