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Ernest Partridge: A Gathering Storm

A Gathering Storm


By Ernest Partridge
The Crisis Papers
September 26, 2006

"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation…want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightening. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters…. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will."
Frederick Douglass

Early last August, I wrote that “The Democrats, believing they have an excellent chance to reclaim one or even both houses of Congress, are almost certainly heading for another huge disappointment in November.” While I am only slightly less certain of this today, some remarkable events have taken place since then that suggest a possible political upheaval after the election. As the criminal behavior of the Bush administration becomes ever more brazen and the international trust in and reputation of the United States continue to plunge to unprecedented depths, a formidable opposition is beginning to coalesce. Today, the various factions of this opposition are separate and uncoordinated, but that could suddenly change. The catalyzing events – the “final straws” – might be the torture scandals and one more “fixed” national election. Or if that is not quite enough, then add another unprovoked war, this time with Iran.

If, despite all this, the elites do not demolish the foundations of Bushism, then the pending inevitable collapse of the US economy will incite the ordinary citizens to do so.

These bold pronouncements are speculative, of course, and require an argument. But before we get to that, let’s review, as premises to that argument, some hard and generally indisputable facts:

  • The election fraud issue is heating up, despite the determined silence of the MSM about the issue and its persistent ridicule of the election critics. A recent Zogby Poll reports that a third of the US population believes that the 2004 Presidential elections was stolen, and an additional fifth has doubts. Computer scientists at Princeton recently acquired a Diebold machine and soon thereafter demonstrated how an election could be “hacked” in a couple of minutes leaving no trace of the crime. Then Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. published an account of how a Diebold Vice President may have done just that in Georgia in 2002. Incidentally, “Diebolding,” like “Swiftboating,” is fast becoming a familiar verb, and that can’t be good news for the Busheviks.

  • CIA professionals have been betrayed with the “outing” of Valerie Plame Wilson, and slandered by the Administration’s persistent attempts to blame the Iraq fiasco on “bad intelligence.” CIA professionals can be very dangerous adversaries.

  • The Iraq War has increased the threat of terrorism at home and abroad. So states a report, just released by sixteen separate government intelligence agencies. This official "National Intelligence Estimate" directly refutes the claims of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the GOP propaganda machine that Iraq is the central stage of the "War on Terror."

  • Forty-five Retired Generals and Admirals, including Colin Powell and four other former Joint Chiefs, have urged the Congress to preserve the Geneva Conventions. Military Judge Advocates General are also protesting the policy. Junior officers and enlisted personnel are complaining about inadequate equipment and the deplorable treatment of veterans returning from Iraq.

  • The torture practices and policies condoned, and now promoted, by the Bush administration are criminal acts as defined by the Geneva Conventions and by the US War Crimes Act.

  • The incarceration of so-called “illegal combatants” at Guantanamo and other military prisons, and of American citizen Jose Padilla in a Navy brig, are direct and explicit violations of the Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States. (Read them!).

  • If the American economy continues on its present course, it is certain to collapse. Herbert Stein’s Law prevails: “That which can not go on forever, won’t.”

Moving next from hard fact to plausible speculations:

  • Wealthy individuals and corporations that thrived during the Clinton Administration are in grave peril if the US economy collapses. It is in their enlightened self-interest to steer economic policy away from its present disastrous course. We’ve not heard much about any rational concern among these elites (that media problem again), but it is hard to believe that the “movers and shakers” can be so naive as to fail to appreciate that they have no enduring stake in Bushenomics.

  • Many informed scholars and statesmen see a potential disaster from a war with Iran. That war would unite the Islamic nations in opposition to the United States and quite possibly seriously curtail oil imports. Almost a quarter of the world’s oil supply passes through the Strait of Hormuz, which Iran might blockade. Hugo Chavez has vowed to shut off all oil exports from Venezuela to the US if Bush launches a war against Iran. Together, these contingencies would devastate the US economy, so much so as to force the US out of the Middle East. And the Iranians know this full well.

  • The United States is becoming an international pariah. In many foreign countries, opinion polls report that the US is regarded as the greatest threat to peace. Because common threats create alliances, US belligerence may well unite the industrial world against the US. The neo-cons seem to believe that, due to our formidable military strength, other nations must meekly yield to our unilateral acts. On the contrary, the rest of the world (95% of the world’s population) can destroy our economy at will by shutting off imports of essential materials, by calling in our foreign debt, and by abandoning the dollar as the prime international currency. (See my “The Vulnerable Giant”).

  • Bush and his accomplices, like many autocrats, are dogmatic, determined and single-minded. They are notoriously deaf to dissenting opinions or warnings. (Cf. the August, 2001 PDB, "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US," and Richard Clarke’s book “Against All Enemies”). Thus they are quite capable of taking “a step too far.” “Social Security reform” was such a step. Perhaps the “aggressive interrogation policy” (i.e., torture) will prove to be a more portentous blunder, the “final straw” that catalyzes a resistance movement that will bring them down.

Because of these circumstances, the Busheviks have made some powerful enemies, both foreign and domestic. As the discontent of these adversaries becomes more evident and manifest, a resistance movement may evolve. Among these dissidents are disaffected moderate Republicans such as John Dean and Kevin Phillips, some of whom, like James Webb in Virginia, are running for office as Democrats. In addition, resistance is forming among members of the federal civil service, foreign investors and creditors, and as noted above, retired military officers and veterans, and CIA professionals. And finally, more and more ordinary citizens are being alerted as the media curtain dissolves, exposing the lies and criminal activities of the Busheviks. To their everlasting shame, the Washington Democrats are not conspicuous among this opposition.

As the November election moves ever closer, it becomes increasingly likely that Karl Rove and the GOP will manage to hold things together long enough to steal one more election – to keep control of Congress, regardless of the will of the voters.

But then what?

What happens if, after the opinion polls continue to show an overwhelming desire by the voters to turn the GOP out of the Congress and the state houses, the Republicans nonetheless remain in power? What if they do so despite statistically impossible upsets, e.g. in Ohio (Kenneth Blackwell, now down by 19 points), and Florida (Kathryn Harris down by 18 points). What if, as before, virtually all these “upsets” are in the Republicans’ favor by means of vote totals that are, by deliberate design, impossible to validate?

Might it finally dawn on the American public and the Democratic Party that elections are now meaningless charades, and that as long as unverifiable paperless e-voting prevails (and what is to stop it?), the United States will be, for all practical purposes, a one-party dictatorship.

In short: what are citizens to do when it is finally recognized and acknowledged that it is impossible to vote the ruling party out of office – when, in effect, that party rules without the consent of the governed?

The founders of our republic, in Congress assembled on July 4, 1776, had an answer:
That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That, whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.... [W]hen a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
So am I suggesting a new revolution or a coup d’etat?

Not exactly, and not necessarily.

First of all, let’s be clear: were a coalition of institutions, elites and citizens to overthrow the GOP autocracy, this would not be a coup. It would be a counter-coup, for the Bush regime came to power in 2000 in a coup which was fraudulently re-instated in 2004. Due to widespread election fraud and a suspension of ballot counting by a rogue Supreme Court, the United States today is ruled by an illegitimate regime. Even if, however improbably, the election returns of 2000, 2002 and 2004 were accurate, we can not know this because e-votes are, by design, unverifiable. An unverifiable vote is an invalid vote. Accordingly, offices obtained through such “elections” are illegitimate. Compounding that illegitimacy are Bush and Cheney’s deliberate violation of their oaths of office, “to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Second, by a “counter-coup,” I do not envision Bush and Cheney frog-marched out of a White House surrounded by tanks and troops in battle fatigues. I devoutly hope that such an eventuality will never take place and fully believe that it is both unlikely and unnecessary. Tanks surrounding a Presidential palace install or replace dictators far more frequently than they remove them. I would trust a military junta even less and fear it even more than I do the ruling Busheviks. Dear Lord, never let it come to this!

Instead, I envision a restoration of our democracy through “people power:” a peaceful “velvet revolution” such as we’ve seen in South Africa, in the Philippines, in Poland, in Czechoslovakia, in Russia, and in the US south in the sixties. It would be a restoration funded by wealthy and progressive individuals, publicized by what remains of a free media and by a mainstream media “constructively pressured.” Propaganda is not necessary, the simple truth will suffice, since, as Steven Colbert correctly noted, “reality has a liberal bias”.

The struggle for restoration would be assisted by agencies and individuals within the governments, federal, state and local. On the federal level, individuals in the CIA and other agencies might disrupt the functioning of the regime (by methods that they know best), and whistleblowers might expose and publicize corruption and abuse of power. Just enough GOP Senators and members of Congress might be “persuaded” to join the Democrats in a coalition of resistance that would reorganize the Congress and then proceed to investigate the crimes of the Bush administration. If so, impeachment, conviction, and removal from office would become distinct possibilities.

State governments might pass resolutions of non-compliance and calls for impeachment, or even, in extreme cases, threaten secession. (Secession would fail, as it should, but resolutions of secession would ignite public debate and publicize citizen grievances). Local prosecutors might, at last, investigate, indict and bring to trial individuals (e.g. politicians and voting machine manufacturers and technicians) guilty of election fraud.

The military, from general officers down to privates, might refuse to obey illegal orders from the White House. For example, orders to continue an illegal war in Iraq, or to commence an illegal war in Iran. If so, they would have the support and sanction of the Nuremberg accords, which have the force of law.

And finally ordinary citizens, in ever-increasing numbers, would, in the words of The Declaration, publicly “absolve” themselves of “allegiance” to the illegitimate regime. As in Alabama and Mississippi in the sixties, the jails would then be jammed with non-violent resisters, and the streets would be filled with angry citizens demanding the restoration of a government that rules with their consent – as in Manila, Johannesburg, Gdansk, Prague, St. Petersburg, Moscow.

It could happen here in the United States of America if We the People finally come to understand and appreciate that redress through the ballot box is no longer available to us. And if, furthermore, this aroused public has the good sense and discipline to renounce violence.

On the other hand, none of this may be attempted or, if attempted, succeed. If so, and if, once again, the will of the majority of American voters is thwarted in November, then the United States will likely descend into a long night of despotism. Then, at last, the rest of the civilized world might unite to bring down what we American citizens have failed to reform. Alliances abroad can crush the despotic American regime by shutting off the supply of essential resources and deflating the value of the dollar.


To avoid this fate, what must we ordinary citizens do today, just six weeks before the election?

First of all, vote! – even in elections fated to be “Diebolded.” Every impossible (“miracle”) GOP victory erodes the credibility of e-voting and by implication the legitimacy of the GOP regime. Conversely, every obviously fraudulent election increases the legitimacy of extra-electoral protest and resistance. And who knows? A flood of votes against Republicans by an angry and alerted citizenry just might overwhelm the Congressional “fix” that is presumably in place.

Support the Democrats selectively – individuals, not the corrupt and complaint national party. Send contributions to individual progressive candidates, never to the Democratic Leadership Council or the Senate or Congressional Campaign Committees. And when the solicitations arrive from the DLC, the DSCC, or the DCCC, let them know why you won’t contribute.

Keep pushing the election fraud issue with letters to the editor, to the media, and to Congress, and in your personal, business and professional contacts. And contribute to the citizen organizations working toward election reform, and listed here.

Boycott the mainstream broadcast media and their sponsors, except for rare mavericks such as Keith Olbermann. And again, write to them and tell them why. Support and distribute the work of progressive print columnists such as Paul Krugman, E.J. Dionne, Bob Herbert, etc.

Support alternative and independent media: publications (The Nation, The Progressive, American Prospect, etc.), broadcasts (Pacifica, DemocracyNow, Air America Radio, etc.) and of course the internet.

Above all we must always remember that this is our country. The regressive oligarchs have taken it away from us. They will not willingly give it back to us. And so, we must take it back.

*************

Copyright 2006 by Ernest Partridge

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 . Send comments to: crisispapers@hotmail.com .

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