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A Gathering Storm

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Message Ernest Partridge
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"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").

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Dr. Ernest Partridge is a consultant, writer and lecturer in the field of Environmental Ethics and Public Policy. Partridge has taught philosophy at the University of California, and in Utah, Colorado and Wisconsin. He publishes the website, "The (more...)

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