Ernest Partridge: A Perfect Storm
A Perfect Storm
Ernest Partridge, Co-Editor
The Crisis Papers
May 9, 2006
A Prince, whose character is ... marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free People.
- Declaration of Independence
“A perfect storm” occurs when several weather conditions – for example, a low pressure area, a cold front, a diversion of the jet stream -- each significant by itself, converge and combine at a particular time and place, with catastrophic results.
Analogously, a perfect political storm may now be gathering over the Bush Administration, with each element intensifying the effects of the others. Heretofore, the Bush regime has been able to handle one element or two at a time, put the emergency behind them, and then move on. Similarly, the problems facing the Busheviks today might be dealt with successfully if they were to appear in sequence. Unfortunately for Bush and the Republicans, they are arriving all at once, and this time they may well be overwhelmed and, come November, overthrown.
The Opposition is being heard. This has been an extraordinary month for speaking truth to power. On April 6, Harry Taylor, an ordinary North Carolina citizen, told George Bush directly that he had “never felt more ashamed of, nor more frightened by my leadership in Washington, including the presidency.” Then, three weeks later, comedian Steven Colbert skewered Bush and the White House press corps, as he stood just a few feet away from the President. And just last week, CIA veteran Ray McGovern called Donald Rumsfeld a “liar” to his face, whereupon Rumsfeld replied with yet another demonstrable lie. And throughout the month, eight retired generals openly criticized Rumsfeld’s (and by implication Bush’s) conduct of the Iraq war.
All these incidents took extraordinary courage. But now that these brave individuals have led, expect many more to follow. And while the mainstream media (MSM) have heretofore failed to report such incidents, now at last they can no longer be ignored -- thanks in no small part to an independent internet.
Which leads to our next point:
The mainstream Media is losing its grip on public opinion. Soon after the 9/11 attacks, 70% of the American public was led to believe that Saddam Hussein was involved in the attacks, and 76% believed that he was an ally of al Qaeda. We now know that both of these allegations were false. These falsehoods could only have been conveyed to the public through the mainstream media. In February, 2002, Colin Powell presented alleged “proof” to the UN Security Council that Saddam Hussein was in possession of weapons of mass destruction and was involved with al Qaeda. The American corporate media was unanimous in its praise of that speech, and in its pronouncement that Powell had “made his case.” Subsequent events have proven that speech to have been a pack of lies, for which Powell has apologized.
Despite the continuing submissiveness of the MSM to the official White House “line,” the public is at last beginning to “get it.” In December, 2005, only 22% still believed that “Saddam Hussein helped plan and support the hijackers who attacked the U.S.” on 9/11, while 42% continued to believe the myth of the Saddam-AlQaeda link
In addition, today Bush’s approval rating is in the low thirties, and that of the Congress down to 22%. A majority of Americans disapprove of the Iraq war and believe that the country is “moving in the wrong direction.” These indicators of public opinion have been arrived at despite, rather than because of, the mainstream media.
As significant as the false reporting has been the non-reporting. The “Downing Street Memos,” the top-secret notes from British cabinet meetings which exposed the treachery of Bush’s decision to go to war with Iraq, were essentially absent from the mainstream news. “Old news,” said the Washington Post. Steven Colbert’s performance at the White House Correspondent’s dinner was initially deemed unworthy of mention by the New York Times, and only a passing comment by the Washington Post. And to this day, there is virtually a complete ban on even mentioning the question of fraud in the 2000, 2002 and 2004 elections. Even so, these issues and more have been “kept alive” by the independent progressive internet.
Clearly, the mainstream media has lost much of its credibility with the public. It no longer leads public opinion. So the question arises: will it now follow public opinion and respond to the public’s increasing demand to be told the truth?
The Law is at last catching up with the White House and the GOP. Karl Rove, Bush’s evil political genius, appears to be on the brink of indictment, and there may be still more in the Bush Administration to be caught in Patrick Fitzgerald’s legal net. The convictions of Randy “Duke” Cunningham and Jack Abramoff are probably just the opening act to what The Progress Report describes as “the most extensive corruption scandal in a century.” At least a half dozen GOP Congressman are believed to be involved.
But far worse than all this perjury, obstruction of justice, bribery and corruption is the claim of Bush, Cheney, Gonzales, et al, to be above the law and the Constitution. The rights of the accused to confront their accuser, to a speedy trial by jury, to habeas corpus (specification of charges), to advice of counsel – all these rights specified in the Bill of Rights – have been casually set aside. The Geneva Conventions: treaties with the force of federal law? “Inoperative.” The Fourth Amendment guarantee of the citizens’ right “to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” Overruled.
The President, along with every federal officer and every member of Congress, all take an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Yet a majority of those members of Congress, including virtually all Republicans, in violation of that oath, choose instead to “support and defend” a President whose willful and flagrant violation of the Constitution is open and beyond dispute – a President who places himself above the law, despite the Constitutional requirement that “he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” (Article 2, Section 3).
Is there no limit to the capacity of these Republican politicians to violate their oaths of office as they meekly submit to an outlaw regime? Or is there, eventually, a breaking point?
The Consequences of “Bushenomics” are being felt in the American households. The GOP raid on the US Treasury, the “reverse Robin-Hoodism” (taking from the poor and middle class and giving to the rich), the “outsourcing” of jobs, all this, the American public has endured in passive silence. But for how long? Now, with gasoline above $3 a gallon and the ripple effect of that increase on other consumer prices, the public is finally waking up. Most Americans have been ruthlessly swindled by this Administration and Congress. To date, few Americans have much appreciation of the extent of this swindle. But now the effects are closing in, and the price of gas at the pump is merely a harbinger of worse to come. Add to this the public’s loss of confidence in and approval of the Bush Administration and the Congress. It is a volatile combination.
The Pivotal question: Will the election fraud issue finally break out? The electronic voting industry is under attack in several states. An epidemic of machine failures in primary elections has been discovered and disclosed, and numerous law suits are being filed against e-voting companies and election officials. And yet, at the same time, thanks to the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), an ever-growing percentage of votes are being cast, recorded and tallied with “black boxes” designed and operated by GOP partisans using secret software and without independent means of verification. Despite the absence of so much as a mention of these problems in the MSM, the public continues to lose confidence in the integrity of the elections.
Suppose that the approval ratings of Bush, the Republicans, and the Congress continue to fall, and that by November, the polls show Bush’s numbers in the high twenties and the Congress in the teens. And suppose that the same polls reveal that the Democrats have a thirty-point lead over the Republicans in the “generic” vote for Congress. Now imagine that the election returns show that despite losses in both houses, the Republicans retain control, thanks to a few “miraculous” upsets in key races, all in favor of the GOP.
Will the public accept this? The voters have accepted the very suspicious results of the 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2005 elections, essentially on the word of the media. But with the declining credibility of the MSM, and a nation-wide clamor to “throw the rascals out,” will the public stand for yet another “miraculous” but unverifiable “upset” by the GOP?
And there is still more.
The hurricane season will soon be upon us. How will the public react if and when another devastating storm strikes and the federal government is once again unable or unwilling to come to the aid of the disaster victims?
The value of the US dollar is sinking in international currency markets, as the rest of the world appears finally to have had enough of Bush’s monetary and fiscal recklessness. This has serious implications for the US economy, and may well signal a recession, or even a depression, in the near future.
Add to this the imminent collapse of the housing market, which could lead to the bankruptcy of millions of middle class Americans, while Bush continues to push for still more tax breaks for the wealthy.
Meanwhile, the Iraq war drags on, the casualty figure mount, as Bush hints of another war in Iran and United States government becomes ever more despised in the international community.
Is there no limit? The Bush Administrations rules through threat and intimidation. When General Eric Shinseki told Congress, contrary to the policy of Rumsfeld and the neo-cons, that more troops would be needed to pacify Iraq, that candor ended the General’s career. When Joseph Wilson correctly reported that there was no evidence of Saddam purchasing uranium ore from Niger, the White House retaliated against his wife, Valerie Plame Wilson, ending her career as a CIA operative.
The Busheviks also rule through fear, with constant reminders of 9/11 and with a permanent and ever-expanding “war on terror.” And when the going gets tough for Bush, Inc., that’s the time to trot out another “terror alert.”
Last February, I compared the political scene to a placid landscape atop an active fault. Below the surface, the tectonic forces accumulate along the locked fault, until eventually it ruptures, irrevocably altering the landscape above. Similarly, beneath a quiet volcanic mountain, the pool of magma ascends until the pressure below exceeds the capacity of the weight of the mountain above to contain it. Then it explodes.
Analogously, below the surface of the Bushevik rule by intimidation, retaliation and fear, the pressure of public opinion, of discontent, of dissent, and political opposition is rising. A myriad of separate factors – economic, political, legal, informational – are converging all at once into a perfect political storm.
Something’s got to give, more likely sooner than later. In the Chinese language, the concept of "crisis" is expressed by combining the symbols for "danger" and "opportunity." This aptly describes this crucial moment in American history. What follows may be horrible, or it may be hopeful. There exists the danger that a new terror attack will sweep away all that is left of the rule of law and the Constitution, and that a dictatorship will follow. On the other hand, this convergence of forces may present us with an opportunity to solidify and unify the opposition whereby, as with Nixon and Watergate, we might re-establish the rule of law and restore allegiance to the United States Constitution as Bushism is peacefully overthrown.
We are all victims of the ancient Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times."
Bio Tag: 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" ( www.igc.org/gadfly) and co-edits the
progressive website, "The Crisis Papers" (
www.crisispapers.org). His book in progress, "Conscience
of a Progressive," can be seen at www.igc.org/gadfly/progressive/^toc.htm