Sure enough, the pre-election polls indicated a likely Democratic victory in the House. But the Senate? That victory was especially sweet, for being unexpected.
Those of us who are convinced that the previous three elections were stolen by means of paperless, "direct record electronic" (DRE) voting machines and compilers, feared that the secret DRE codes would once again frustrate the public will and keep both houses in control of the GOP.
DRE critics such as Brad Friedman ( of "BradBlog") and Mark Crispin Miller, warned us to expect still more e-vote rigging, but further suggested that "the fix" could be over-ridden by a "tsunami" of protest votes against the GOP and Bushism. Turns out, they were right. The Republican software geniuses at Diebold, ES&S, etc. underestimated the size of the wave of public indignation. Just three or four percent vote shifting in Virginia, Montana and Missouri seemed sufficient to keep those seats, and thus the Senate, in GOP control. They were proven to be wrong. The House was a much more difficult assignment: too many individual seats to "fix."
My guess is that in a completely honest election, the Democrats would have won as many as fifty seats in the House, instead of the twenty-nine that (at last count) they have gained. The Democrats would have won Virginia, Montana and Missouri, not "by a whisker," but by comfortable margins, and Senate seats in Tennessee and Arizona might also have been added to the Democratic total.
But never mind all that. The Democrats now have control of both houses of the Congress, and with it the opportunity to halt the Bushevik insurgency in its tracks and perhaps reverse it.
If the Democrats and their liberal and progressive supporters treat the election as a battle won in an ongoing war, they may eventually prevail. If they come to believe that with this election, they have won the war and thus quit the fight, they will lose it. For we must never forget that the Busheviks and their supporters still have the White House, the courts, and the mainstream media in their corner.
The Democrats, for their part, have the Congress and, perhaps most significantly, the accompanying power of oversight and investigation. And the past election has demonstrated that there are limits to the ability of the mainstream media to influence public opinion and political support. Most significantly, the Busheviks are concealing crimes against the state and the people that are so onerous that their exposure and the convictions that might follow could relegate the Republicans to several decades of minority status.
If I were to place my bets on the Busheviks (plus the courts and MSM) vs. a determined, disciplined and tactically astute Democratic Congress, my bet would be with the Congress and the Democrats. But quite frankly, I have serious doubts that we will have that kind of a Congress and Democratic party. After all, when the Democrats briefly re-took control of the Senate in May 2001, they didn't exactly come roaring out of the starting gate. Instead, the following October, a majority of the Senate Democrats voted for Bush's Iraq War Resolution, and all but one Democratic Senator (Russ Feingold) voted for the USA Patriot Act.
Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi has announced that the primary objectives of the new Congress will be a raising of the minimum wage, health care reform, and tax reform. These are all commendable goals. But if these social reforms are to endure and not be undone by a GOP resurgence in 2008, some more fundamental issues must be addressed along with an exposure and prosecution of the crimes of the past six years.
I would like to discuss three of these over-arching issues: restoration of the Constitution, the assurance of electoral integrity, and oversight and impeachment.
Restoration of the U.S. Constitution.
All federal officers and members of Congress take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. There can be little doubt that Bush and his supporters in the administration and the Congress have violated that oath. Read the Bill of Rights (the first ten amendments to the Constitution), and you will find that as many as six of those ten articles have been directly and specifically violated by executive orders of the President or by acts of the GOP Congress. In addition, the Military Commissions Act has selectively abolished Habeas Corpus, which is specified in the Constitution (Article One, Section Nine), and Bush, with his "signing statements," has explicitly violated the Constitutional requirement that The President "shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed" (Article Two, Section 3).
In effect, the Constitution has been nullified by the Bush administration and its collaborators in the Congress. It must be restored promptly and decisively by resolutions stating that the Congress recognizes the Constitution, and not the will of the President, to be the supreme law of the land. And the Congress must immediately pass legislation that nullifies all sections of the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, etc., and all executive orders that violate the Constitution.
No doubt, Bush will veto such legislation, and Senate Republicans will probably prevent an override of the vetoes. But if so, there will be victory in the defeats: the American people then know, who is, and who is not, attempting "to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." Then the fight will move on to the Federal Courts, and to the voters in forthcoming elections.
So long as Bush retains his extraordinary and unconstitutional powers and his claim to arbitrarily ignore acts of Congress, anything else that the Congress might attempt may prove futile if the President, at his own discretion, chooses to make it so. Thus restoration of the Constitution must be the highest priority of the 110th Congress.
In my opening comments, I have assumed implicitly that fraud by means of paperless "black box" e-voting machines was widespread in 2002, 2004, and possibly 2000 (although in 2000, other methods of election fraud and manipulation, such as purging of voting rolls, especially in Florida, were decisive). There is also accumulating evidence that e-vote fraud, registration purges and malicious misinformation were at work in 2006, but they were not sufficient to overcome the "tsunami" of votes that put the Democrats in power in both houses of Congress.
As I have argued repeatedly, the evidence of e-voting fraud circumstantial, anecdotal, experimental, and most significantly, statistical is compelling, and should be conclusive to a critical investigator. But not so, it seems, to the mainstream media, which has been persistently silent about the issue of election fraud. The evidence should also convince most Democrats and their liberal and progressive supporters. Nonetheless, the "official" Democrats, along with with most of their conspicuous supporters, still refuse to touch the issue.
Case in point: Soon after the election, Al Franken remarked on air that "this proves that there was no election fraud, now or in previous elections." Of course, it "proved" nothing of the kind.
Apparently, in his outstanding education at Harvard University, Franken somehow failed to take a course in elementary statistics. For study after study has proven that "chance" deviations in exit polls and official tallies (almost all favoring the GOP) are one in several millions. In effect, impossible, and therefore that some malicious mischief was certainly afoot. (But this is not the place to go into all that. I have other matters to discuss. For evidence, follow the links, above.)
So let's assume that in several identifiable races (e.g., Georgia in 2002, Ohio in 2004, Florida 13th District in 2006, among hundreds of others), elections were "stolen" through non-auditable paperless "direct record electronic" (DRE) machines and the secret software that tallies the votes.
This has been a remarkably successful crime-wave so far. But how much longer can the fraud be sustained? Especially so, when the aggrieved party now controls Congress, and with it the power to subpoena, compel testimony under oath, and threaten indictment for perjury and contempt of Congress?
At the outset of this electoral crime-wave, the perpetrators and their clients were no doubt very encouraged by its effectiveness and apparent "invisibility." At the time, it may not have occured to them to wonder just how long the scam could be sustained, or what the consequences might be when it finally unraveled and was exposed. They seemed to believe that it could go on forever, thus ensuring a permanent GOP majority in Congress and occupancy of the White House.
Now all that may be about to change, as the e-vote conspiracy is beginning to fall apart with incalculably grave consequences for the Republicans, or, on the other hand, prompting draconian countermeasures, as Bush and Cheney apply their newly acquired dictatorial powers to avoid those consequences.
For we must always keep in mind that election fraud is a crime, with severe criminal penalties, and a possible "death sentence" to the career of the politician who benefits from it, and to the party that utilizes it.
Harbingers of the coming demise and exposure of the e-vote fraud may be found declining public trust in elections in general, and in DREs in particular. For example, the Zogby poll reports that less than half of the public is confident that Bush was re-elected fairly in 2004. Add to this, reports of spectacular DRE failures, e.g., in the13th Congressional district in Florida, where investigations are now under way and lawsuits are pending. In fact, further law suits by defeated candidates are likely, and with them, investigations, discovery of evidence and testimony under oath. Add to this ongoing expert analysis of the DRE machines and software and with them demonstrations of simulated frauds. The issue of election fraud has become so "hot" that it is forcing itself into the mainstream media.
Perhaps the Democrats have been silent about the issue because they were powerless to do anything about it, and didn't want to sound like "sore losers" and "conspiracy freaks." Now they are winners, and quite capable of doing something about it.
There is no immediate need for the Congressional Democrats to prove that past elections were stolen, though I suspect that these crimes will eventually be uncovered, followed by convictions. It will suffice for the moment if it is proven that these machines are vulnerable to hacking and fraud, incapable of validation of votes, and thus unacceptable for use in elections. This much has now been accomplished by numerous studies and experiments, most recently and significantly by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, a federal agency.
There is thus more than enough justification, and likely public support as well, for the Congress to pass legislation that might ensure an honest and accurate election in 2008. But this hopeful outcome will not fall onto the laps of the fortunate Democrats. They must fight forcefully to achieve this victory for democracy.
Once the integrity of the 2008 election is secured, there will be time to investigate the stolen elections of the past, hopefully followed by indictments, convictions, and prison terms.
Oversight and Impeachment.
No President and Vice President in the history of the United States have been more deserving of impeachment, conviction, and removal from office. They are guilty of much more than maladministration, though they are surely guilty of that too. They are guilty of crimes too numerous to list in full, but including lying to Congress, violations of the Geneva Conventions against torture and the Nuremburg accords against war crimes (both of which have the status of federal law), failure to obey and execute acts of Congress, violations of intelligence laws (i.e., the Plame case), conspiracy to defraud elections, conspiracy to defraud the government about the grounds for war, and violations of the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Amendments to the Constitution (i.e., the Bill of Rights).
The Bush administration, it seems, has been less an executive branch of government than a criminal enterprise.
Believing all this, I am nonetheless unwilling to endorse demands for immediate bills of impeachment against Bush and Cheney, for the simple and compelling reason that such an approach is less likely to succeed.
Recent history teaches us that the direct route to impeachment may not be the most effective.
Bill Clinton had scarcely taken his hand from the Bible at his 1993 inauguration, before calls of "impeach!" rang out in the halls of Congress. And this was long before the Monica business surfaced. The GOP was out to get Clinton from the get-go, and what followed was a relentless search for a crime to fit the punishment of impeachment. There was Whitewater, Filegate, Travelgate, the Vince Foster suicide, and even a thousand hours of Congressional investigation of Clinton's Christmas Card list. Much of this inquisition was financed by the $50 million directed by the GOP Congress to Ken Starr's offices.
Despite the stoking of the impeachment fires by the mainstream media, the public soon caught on to the phoniness of the travesty. Public opinion supported Clinton and reviled Starr.
Contrast this with Nixon and Watergate. At the outset of the Congressional Watergate investigations, there was little talk of impeachment. But then the evidence accumulated and Nixon stonewalled. The case grew from the ground up, as more and more objective and non-partisan evidence and testimony was added to the foundation. After the word "impeachment" was first heard, the case for impeachment grew from unlikely to possible to probable to irresistible. Then Barry Goldwater and Hugh Scott visited the White House and told Nixon that it was all over: resign or be impeached and convicted.
The lesson: it would be foolish for the Democrats to rush the process and to suggest even a hint of a vendetta. If the Democratic Congress does its job (not a sure bet, unfortunately), then many and possibly most of the above listed crimes will be meticulously and judiciously investigated. And Bush and Cheney are in far more jeopardy than was Nixon when the Watergate burglars were arrested. Many of these crimes are public, on the record, and even acknowledged by the Busheviks. Their only defense is that they are not really "crimes." But the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the treaties, and the law say what they say.
If the Democratic House has the will, and if the investigating committees are relentless, impeachment is likely, because the case is compelling. A simple majority will suffice, and the Democrats have that majority.
However, the Senate would probably not convict and remove Bush and Cheney from office. A vote of two-thirds of the Senate is required for conviction, and it is not likely that enough Republicans will defect to add up to the required 67 votes. But even so, a significant victory might be gained from this "loss," when those Senators who voted "no," along with the no-voters in the House, face their constituents.
Just what did Nancy Pelosi mean when she said that "impeachment is off the table?" Did she mean "categorically and permanently off the table?" If so, she may be making a colossal blunder. But I suspect that she means, "this Congress begins with impeachment off the table. The future will bring what it will bring que sera, sera." If so, she is being very smart, and playing her cards exactly as she should.
Let the investigations begin. That's the most promising road to impeachment and conviction.
These three issues, Constitutional restoration, electoral integrity, and oversight and impeachment, while urgently necessary, are by no means sufficient steps toward an achievement of the promised government "of, by, and for the people." For the sake of brevity, I will limit this discussion to these three, mindful that many additional issues must be addressed by the Congress if we are to attain and secure an authentic peoples' government.
For example, campaign finance reform and media diversity must also be dealt with. But these have the best chance at success with a Democratic President who will not veto reform legislation, and who will appoint reform-minded individuals to such regulatory agencies as the Elections Commission and the Federal Communications Commission.
If the 110th Congress fails to enact legislation that will assure an honest election in 2008, then it will squander this opportunity as the GOP comes roaring back in two years, lavishly funded with corporate cash, propped up again by relentless and skillful propaganda of the mainstream media, and utilizing, as before, the advantages obtained by a supportive, private and unverifiable system of voting and vote compilation.
Civility and accommodation won't cut it. Since 1994, the Congressional Republicans have shown us all just what they think fair-play and bi-partisanship. "Date rape," as GOP honcho Grover Norquist has called it. Time is short and the agenda is long. There is much that must be accomplished if we the people are to have a fair shot at restoring and maintaining a just and honorable government in the White House, the Congress, and eventually the courts.
Copyright 2006, by Ernest Partridge