The Gadfly Bytes --
December 11, 2007
The Unraveling, At Last?
Ernest Partridge, Co-Editor
The Crisis Papers.
The earth orbits the sun, as it has for four billion years, in perfect
balance of two opposing forces: the centrifugal force which, in
accordance with Newton’s first law of motion, draws the planet outward,
and the centripetal force of the sun’s gravity which draws it inward.
Analogously, political rule remains stable only as long as centrifugal
forces that would overthrow it are successfully resisted by centripetal
forces that contain them. Among these centripetal forces are the rule of
law and consent of the governed in democratic governments, and bribery,
propaganda, intimidation, and brute force in despotic regimes.
History teaches us that while a threatened despotism can
control through a ruthless imposition of force, as with the Russian
revolution of 1905 and the Hungarian uprising of 1956, once the
centripetal grasp of the despot is weakened, and is seen by the public
to be weakened, an ever-accelerating collapse of the regime often
ensues. Then, what begins as an appeal for reform can escalate into
revolution. The American revolution began with appeals to the English
Crown by petitioners who fully intended to remain British subjects.
Mikhail Gorbachev’s efforts to reform Soviet Communism triggered events
that led to the downfall of both the Soviet Union and Communism.
Although we are too close in time to realize it, last week may have
marked the beginning of the downfall of Bushism – the fatal loosening of
the centripetal Bushevik grip – as senior intelligence officials from
sixteen federal agencies finally stood their ground and said to Bush and
Cheney, and to the world, “no more! – we will no longer validate
your lies and be complicit in your war crimes!”
When, prior to the invasion of Iraq in March, 2003, the Bush regime was
determined to “fix” the facts and intelligence to fit the pre-determined policy,
the intelligence apparatus complied, suppressing the compelling evidence
that Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction and was in no way
involved in the attacks of 9/11, 2001. Then followed an illegal war and
occupation in Iraq, the violation of the Nuremberg and Geneva
Conventions, the looting of the U.S. Treasury, and the deaths of a
million innocent Iraqis and four thousand American soldiers and still
An attack on Iran, equally illegal and unjustified, would possibly have
even more drastic consequences. The military Joints Chiefs of Staff are
reportedly opposed to the attack, along with career officials in the
State Department and the CIA. But who will prevent an attack on Iran?
The Bush administration owns the courts and the media. The Democratic
Congress, elected to end the Iraq fiasco, refuses to do so. Neither will
the Congress support a resolution to refuse funding of an attack on
That leaves the intelligence agencies and their primary weapon, the
plain facts and the evidence that supports them. In their National
Intelligence Estimate (NIE), the sixteen U.S. intelligence agencies
unanimously concluded, "with high confidence that in fall 2003,
Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program.” It is reported that several
senior intelligence officers told the White House that if the NIE report
were not officially released, they would take the report directly to the
even if it meant jail sentences for the leakers.
With the release of the NIE report, the primary Bush/Cheney pretext for
an attack on Iran has been discounted, and the likelihood of such an
attack reduced, though not, unfortunately, eliminated.
Bush responded to the NIE report with a package of excuses and outright
lies so absurd and transparent that even the mainstream media had to
take note of it. In a White House press briefing, “spokesmodel” Dana
Perino’s attempt at defending Bush was met with unprecedented ridicule
from the press corps.
It is clear that the Bush/Cheney administration is at a crossroads: if
it is to retain its power, it must initiate some bold and likely
ruthless means of control. If not, a disapproving public, an erosion of
media support, a deteriorating economy, and a revolt within the
administration may lead to a spectacular disintegration of this
misbegotten regime and with it the Karl Rove’s “permanent Republican
Specifically, here is how the opposing forces are now lining up:
The American public has had it with this regime. The
approval rating of George Bush, in the mid-twenties, is at an
historical low. Cheney’s score is in the teens. Equally significant,
a majority of the public “strongly disapproves” of both. There is no
prospect of reversal of these dismal numbers.
As the mainstream media persists in its support of
the Bush regime, it is increasingly at odds with public opinion.
Accordingly, the media is losing its audience and its influence, and
with these losses, its profits. Due perhaps to these pressures, the
corporate media is becoming more critical of the regime, and even
more significantly, is publishing and broadcasting damaging reports
about the administration.
As more information about the malfeasance and
misfeasance of the administration comes to light, more and more of
the public is willing to suspect the worst about the Busheviks: that
the presidential elections of 2000 and 2004 were stolen, that Bush,
Cheney, Rice and Powell lied the country into an illegal war, that
“inconvenient” political enemies were murdered, even that the
Bush/Cheney regime was responsible for the 9/11 attacks on the World
Trade Center and the Pentagon.
personally doubt that last accusation, the widespread support of
9/11 conspiracy theories testifies to an extraordinary public
distrust of the administration.
The dire economic consequences of the Bush/Cheney
policies are becoming ever more apparent to the public.
Paul Krugman reports:
“Americans’ Economic Pessimism Reaches a Record
High.” That’s the headline on a recent Gallup report, which
shows a nation deeply unhappy with the state of the economy.
Right now, “27% of Americans rate current economic conditions as
either ‘excellent’ or ‘good,’ while 44% say they are ‘only fair’
and 28% say they are poor.” Moreover, “an extraordinary 78% of
Americans now say the economy is getting worse, while a scant
13% say it is getting better.” ...
[In contrast,] in the fall of 1998 almost two-thirds of
Americans thought the economy was excellent or good.
Bush and Cheney are being abandoned by their own
party, as their names are virtually absent from the campaigns of the
Republican candidates. There is an epidemic of GOP resignations and
retirements in Congress, and a declining number of voters are
willing to identify themselves as Republicans.
As last week’s release of the NIE indicates, there
is growing resistance to Bushism in the federal government.
noted in July, 2005, when Bush and Cheney “outed” Valerie
Plame Wilson, they may have made some formidable enemies: “of this
much we can be confident; the rank and file of the CIA is
super-pissed-off. One of their own has been trashed, her
operation demolished, and [possibly] dozens of agents and operatives
put in grave danger. Possibly some have been killed. Nor is that
all. The CIA has been asked to take the fall for the Iraq fiasco –
the result of ‘flawed intelligence’ the Bushistas tell us. The motto
on the floor at Langley, ‘The Truth Shall Make Your Free,’ has been
effectively supplanted with ‘The Truth Shall Get You Canned.’
Pissing-off the CIA can be a very dangerous business. These
folks are very good at overthrowing governments.”
International support of the Bush/Cheney regime has
virtually disappeared, as one by one allies of the administration
have been ousted from power: Blair in England, Aznar in Spain,
Berlusconi in Italy, Howard in Australia.
Hendrik Hertzberg reports that “An avalanche of new
international polls... show that anti-Americanism has reached
astronomical levels almost everywhere and has solidified in the
Northern European belt from Britain to Poland.”
myriad forces that are undermining the Busheviks, the capacity of the
regime to retain command and control is still formidable.
Interstate 95/495, “the beltway” that surrounds
Washington, DC, remains a veritable moat, effectively isolating the
“DC society” of corporate lobbyists, pundits, military brass and
politicians from the country and citizens that presumes to “govern.”
The levers of Bushevik control – the compliant
media, the privatized voting devices, the intimidation and
punishment of dissenters and whistle-blowers – though diminished,
remain in place. Some administration retaliations are well-known:
Joseph Wilson and Valerie Plame, General Eric Shinseki, Bunnatine
Greenhouse, Dan Rather. But we can only speculate as to the
pressures exerted “below the surface” and out of sight. Why are the
victims of small aircraft accidents (e.g. Senators Mel Carnahan and
Paul Wellstone, and John F. Kennedy, Jr.) disproportionately
democrats? Why were the Senate Majority Leader, Tom Daschle, and the
Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Patrick Leahy, specifically
targeted with Anthrax letters, and why hasn’t the culprit who sent
them been apprehended? What extraordinary threats may be preventing
the congressional Democrats from responding to the voters’ mandate
that put them in control of the Congress?
If, in fact, Bushevik control has been accomplished
through crimes such as extortion, bribery, intimidation and even
murder, then the regime is extremely motivated to remain in power,
or, failing that, to transfer power to those who will neither
investigate nor prosecute these crimes.
Finally, and most significantly, the administration,
the connivance of Congress, has passed a series of “enabling
acts,” supplemented with uncontested executive orders, which today
gives Bush the virtual powers of a dictator, should he choose to
exercise them. Among these are The PATRIOT Act, the Military
Commissions Act, The National Continuity Policy of May 9, 2007, The
Executive Order of July 17, 2007. (See my
if We Can Keep It.”). Due to the pernicious vagueness of these
acts and orders, Bush can, virtually at his personal say-so,
imprison without charge, counsel or trial, any dissenting citizen
and/or seize all the assets of that citizen. He is presumably
restrained by the likely outrage that such behavior might provoke.
Nonetheless, its all there, “in the books.” All it takes is another
“national emergency,” and perhaps not even that.
“A Criminal Regime:” The phrase is no longer hyperbole: it
conveys a demonstrable truth, clear and incontrovertible to any and all
willing to face the facts.
Aggressive war is a crime. Torture is a crime. Warrantless surveillance
is a crime. Contempt of Congress is a crime. Defiance of acts of
Congress is a crime. Extortion and bribery are crimes. Election fraud is
a crime. The Nuremberg and Geneva conventions, the Constitution of the
United States, and the federal statutes say what they say. The remedy is
unequivocal: “The President, Vice-President and all civil officers of
the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and
conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”
“Shall,” not “may.” (Constitution of the United States, Article 2,
Without question, the Bush regime now rules in disregard
and defiance of the rule of law. Each and every day that passes without
decisive action against this lawless junta, is another day of anarchy.
The courageous senior intelligence officers who demanded the release
last week of the NIE have opened a window of opportunity for the
dissenting activists, journalists, government officials and members of
Congress. We would all be foolish and derelict in our civic duties not
to respond promptly and decisively to this opportunity.
The catalytic moment may be at hand, wherein a mass of individual
dissenters coalesce into a “movement” – when these dissenters look about
and discover that they are participants in a significant political
force; when they achieve perceivable results, perchance minor at first,
but with the realization that significant reform is within reach and
even, through coordinated effort and inspired leadership, irresistible;
when, in short, perception becomes reality.
As I wrote in
February, 2006, although we have come upon evil times, we Americans
are not an evil people. Woefully ignorant at times, and short on
political sales-resistance. But when we sense that we’ve been swindled
and lied to, watch out! Our nation was born in rebellion against
tyranny. We have a Constitution and we have a tradition of liberty and
the rule of law. We have vivid memories of a short time ago when we
lived in a country that was both prosperous and free.
But neither were the Germans or the Russians fundamentally evil people.
Yet they succumbed to evil regimes. The Germans had to be liberated at
horrendous cost. After seventy long years, the various nationalities of
the Soviet Union threw out their oppressors. We may suffer the fate of
the Germans – there are no guarantees.
On the other hand, we the people just might take back our government,
for, as Edward R. Murrow observed in March, 1954, “We will not walk in
fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of
unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember
that we are not descended from fearful men ... We can deny our heritage
and our history, but we cannot escape responsibility for the result.”
As the founders of our republic proclaimed in their Declaration of
Independence, “governments derive their just powers from the consent of
the governed.” If the Congress refuses to act in behalf of the people
and to honor the oath of each member to defend the Constitution of the
United States by impeaching and removing this criminal regime, then it
is time at last for the people to withdraw their consent from the
Congress and recognize it for what it is: bought and paid for vassals of
the corporate oligarchs.
Armed rebellion is not the answer: it is both immoral and impractical.
The Busheviks and the Congress have effectively abolished Posse
Comitatus, which means the that military can now turn its weapons on
the citizens. And if the military refuses, the private armies,
Blackwater, etc., are locked and loaded.
Far better that the public follow the lead of Gandhi, Mandela, Sakharov
and King: non-violent resistance. They have indicated the way with their
words and deeds.
But I must say no more about this, for, according to the new “enabling
acts” of this Congress and this administration, to do so would be a
Copyright 2007 by Ernest Partridge
Ernest Partridge's Internet Publications
Conscience of a Progressive:
Partridge's Scholarly Publications. (The Online Gadfly)
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" and co-edits the progressive website,
"The Crisis Papers".
His e-mail is: firstname.lastname@example.org .