Why Voting for Dems Is Required: Pre-Election Scenarios

By Bernard Weiner, The Crisis Papers

OK, let’s try to parse this one out. At his press conference last week, Bush hinted at a new flexibility on Iraq, at least with regard to tactics, but announced no new policies; in short, he merely changed the window dressing — emerging with what E.J. Dionne and others accurately call “stay-the-course lite.” So what was really going on?

I see several subtextual agendas in Bush’s recent public pronouncements about Iraq:

First, Bush needed to give the impression, pre-election, that his hugely unpopular Iraq policy might possibly be changing in the immediate future. In other words, a snow job for still-reachable conservative Republicans who might want to vote for GOP candidates if only Bush would shift his direction with regard to Iraq.

Short sum-up: Bush isn’t shifting. Check out these quotes from that press conference: “Our goals are unchanging. … Absolutely, we’re winning…and we will win, unless we leave before the job is done. … We have a plan for victory.” In short, there will be no real policy shift pre-election and probably not any major shift after November 7 either. Those permanent military bases are there for a reason.

WHO “LOST” IRAQ AND WHO WILL BE BLAMED?


Second, in the likelihood that Iraq totally degenerates and America has to depart quickly, Bush is preparing the 2008 ground for the “who-lost-Iraq?” blame game. It isn’t, can’t be, the Bush Administration, since their policy, they would have us all believe, is the correct one. So it must be someone else’s fault. Here are some likely scapegoats:

The Iraqis. The Maliki government, for good reason, senses that it’s being set up to take the fall. The Bush Administration reasoning will be: Well, we gave them the benchmarks and they couldn’t meet them, so it’s their fault. There will be no admission that the American benchmarks are based on a flawed grasp of what’s really happening on the ground in Iraq.

If Maliki gets too far out of line, or continues to prove his ineffectiveness, the CheneyBush Administration could well encourage a military coup to topple him, reminiscent of how the U.S. treated its South Vietnamese government allies in the 1960s and early-’70s. (Bush said of Maliki last week: “We’re with him, so long as he continues to make tough decisions,” i.e., continues to make decisions in line with U.S. policy.)

When client governments fail to do the U.S. bidding or are unable to do so, the usual practice is to install a more amenable puppet into place. If nothing works and you have to exit the country, you’ve got one of your handy scapegoats already on the chopping block.

The American People. Another dastardly group that can be blamed for “losing Iraq” is the Democratic Party and, in a broader sense, the American people. The media will be included in this category of scapegoats, since they dared to report bad news of what was happening on the ground in Iraq. Both the Democrats and the media had the temerity to ask embarrassing questions about the wreck that is Bush’s war policy, therefore — and here comes the spin — they “didn’t support the troops” and thus undercut civilian support for the “war on terrorism.” In short, “unpatriotic” elements helped the U.S. “lose” Iraq (as if we ever “owned” it) and thus made America less secure. It’s “who lost China?” all over again.

The Military. Another scapegoat being groomed for a starring role: the U.S. military. Bush and Rumsfeld claim they always defer to the generals on the ground, though in private they make sure to punish any military officers who venture beyond BushCheneyRumsfeld policy. So it will be “the generals” who got the strategy all wrong, never the occupants of the White House who gave them their marching orders and set the simplistic parameters under which they were forced to work.

In other news:

IRAN WAITING IN THE WINGS

Unless some extraordinary surprise occurs in the days remaining before the November 7 balloting, it seems that the U.S. will not be bombing Iran’s fledgling nuclear-research labs. There are no firm indications of such an immediate intent.

But such action might well take place between the election and when the new Congress is sworn-in in late-January of 2007. If the GOP manages to hang on to power in the House and/or Senate, CheneyBush may decide that have a new “mandate,” and thus have more free rein to attack Iran.

If the Democrats humiliate the rightwing Republicans and take over the House and/or the Senate, CheneyBush may decide to attack Iran both for geopolitical reasons, to be sure, but also because such a war would definitely divert public attention away from the election results and, the Administration hopes, would help rally the public around the “commander-in-chief” for the final two years of his tenure. (Meanwhile, word leaked from Iran last week that it recently doubled its uranium-processing capacity, which remains miniscule at the moment; the best estimate is that even if the Iranians are seeking to develop nuclear weapons, they’re 10 years out.)

It would seem unlikely that Bush&Co. would be lunatic enough to actually invade Iran with ground troops to secure that country’s huge oil fields; the U.S. hasn’t the troop strength or political support back home or internationally to do so, and would risk getting bogged down in yet another Middle East quagmire, battling a huge native resistance. (However, the same thing could have been said about the insanity of invading Iraq, and these reckless ideologues did it anyway. This time, CheneyBush also have to worry about the U.S. being seen as an “international threat to peace,” and be forced to endure retaliation of one sort or another.)

The Administration’s neo-conservatives, forever lodged in fantasy, have said they believe a “shock & awe”-type attack from the air, perhaps using nuclear bunker-buster bombs, will convince the rulers of Iran to bow to the will of the Americans. Such thinking didn’t work in Iraq, but they still seem to believe it will work in Iran.

NEO-CON FANTASISTS STILL ACTIVE

Many of the Bush neo-cons truly believe that “the Iranian resistance” will rise up when the U.S. attacks and will overthrow the hard-line theocratic mullahs who rule their country, and help the U.S. install a more flexible government. Not bloody likely; Iranians of whatever political stripe no doubt would react the same way Americans would if the U.S. were to be attacked by outside forces: they would rally around their leaders, however much they dislike and distrust them.

In any event, the U.S. is actively engaged at the United Nations in trying to strangle Iran’s rulers economically, with sanctions, while it tries to pass Security Council resolutions that, as in the case with Iraq three years ago, might provide a fig-leaf causus belli for some sort of U.S. military action.

During all this, of course, the CheneyBush Administration is adamantly opposed to face-to-face negotiations with Iran’s rulers — even while it seems to be moving slowly toward possibly doing so with North Korea, which actually has an up-and-running nuclear weapons program.

In short, the Bush White House’s foreign policy toward Iran is an ad hoc work-in-progress, with no clear diplomatic strategy for dealing with the over-arching issue of nuclear proliferation by nation-states who stand in opposition to U.S. policies in the world. The U.S. is left with little more it can do other than threaten and bluster and occasionally drop bombs on those weak nations who can’t do much harm to America.

This may explain why so many smaller nations want to possess nuclear weapons; those that have such weapons are treated with much more caution and respect — e.g., North Korea — than those that haven’t yet joined the nuclear club, for example Iran.

STEALING AN ELECTION

Let us imagine that the Republicans can manage a way to steal the election on November 7. How would Karl Rove and his minions have pulled it off?

Rove may well understand that a Democratic landslide is going to be so overwhelming as to preclude any significant fiddling with the election-night numbers in most states. In enough tight races, however, friendly computer geeks can adjust certain numbers here and there and emerge with key district victories that wind up (surprise!) going to the Republicans.

In other key districts, GOP victory can be achieved through massive voter suppression: Purging hundreds of thousands of likely Democatic voters, mainly minorities, from the voting rolls under one ruse or another. Delivering voting machines that don’t work, or whose software is programmed not to work correctly, to largely-minority Democratic precincts; as I write this, in early-voting in Florida and Missouri, e-voting machines are turning Democratic votes into Republican ones. GOP lawyers standing outside the precincts loudly challenging the right to vote of certain individuals, usually the poor and minorities. Engineering long lines that force voters in those areas to stand for hours, with many feeling they have to leave to go to work. Presenting “provisional ballots” to those who were lopped off the rolls but who demand to vote, but those ballots are then never counted. Rumors and flyers warning that anyone with unpaid parking or traffic tickets or child-support payments, or without naturalization documents, will not be permitted to vote and might even be arrested. And so on. All of these tactics, and more, were used effectively in the 2004 election in a number of states.

In the November 7th election in precincts where the voting machines do not provide a way for the ballots to be verified by the voter, with a receipt number that can be checked later, the GOP can pick up a seat here, a seat there. Rove&Co. may not be able to hold back the tidal wave of anti-Republican voting across the country, but using all the many dirty-trick resources at their command — and with little oversight by Democratic lawyers and election officials — they could potentially steal enough seats in the House to remain in power, or figure they can at least maintain their ideological control of the Congress if the Republicans lose the outright majority by allying themselves with conservative Democrats.

One more scheme that might well be employed: the GOP could challenge the election results in enough tight Congressional races to keep Democratic victors from being sworn in (that may be why they’ve raised the issue of a Venezuelan company that owns 17% of the U.S. voting machines); those races would then be decided by the existing Congress, which the Republicans still would control.

PAUSE BEFORE ORDERING THE BUBBLY

In short, if Democrats are ordering the champagne for November 7th post-election celebrations, they’d better exercise some caution. Rove, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the whole crew down in the White House bunker are not going to go easily into that dark night of defeat and humiliation. They sought power, they clawed and cheated their way into power, they are enjoying the fruits of exercising their power, they eviscerated the Constitution in establishing their power, they want more power, and they aren’t going to simply issue a civil smile and concede defeat. They will do anything, ANYTHING, to ensure that they remain in control — if for no other reason than to try to keep themselves out of the federal slammer.

The lesson here is that the American citizenry cannot permit itself once again to be rolled over on Election Day. There should be massive and well-organized exit-polling; there should be Democratic attorneys stationed at each and every likely voting precinct and tabulation center where problems could be anticipated; there should be legal observers (one would hope with some computer smarts) observing the chain of custody of ballots and e-voting computer chips and how the ballots are tabulated, suing if necessary to gain access to the source codes.

Are any of these things being done? I don’t think so, at least not on the massive scale it would take to make those manipulating the voting and vote-counting think twice about what they’re doing. And so, on November 8, the opposition to CheneyBush may wake up to an ongoing nightmare of incalcuable dimensions.

I am convinced that if the election is honest, with votes honestly tabulated, the CheneyBush Administration will be dealt a serious loss on November 7. But that is a mighty big “if,” given the history of how Rove and his supporting cast have behaved during the elections of the past six years.

Let’s be highly cautious optimists, making sure to vote and getting our voters to the polls, standing around (dressed in Democrat blue) outside the voting venues, making sure we pay attention to how our votes are being registered and tabulated, making noise when something seems fishy, and so on. Finally, we all have to be prepared to go into the streets and massively march in opposition if and when it’s apparent that the election has been stolen yet again.

This election is our best chance to begin to turn America around, and back into the light of its better self. Let’s not blow it by letting our hope blind us to the more nefarious realities on the ground. #

Bernard Weiner, Ph.D. in government & international relations, has taught at universities in California and Washington, worked as a writer/editor with the San Francisco Chronicle, and currently co-edits The Crisis Papers (www.crisispapers.org). To comment: crisispapers@comcast.net .

Originally published by The Crisis Papers and Democratic Underground 10/31/06.
http://www.crisispapers.org/essays6w/scenarios.htm

Copyright 2006 by Bernard Weiner

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Published in: on 10/31/2006 at 2:25 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. George W. Bush and the Republican way of cover-ups, lies, and more!
    Bush will get what he wants no matter what.
    Bully.
    Break the law.
    Lie.
    Then come up with reasons why he is right.
    Well guess what?
    Bush is wrong!
    You do not spy on Americans without legal permission.
    That is KGB like.
    The courts are starting to agree.
    You do not go to war with another country without proof of the need for war.
    Iraq was no threat to the United States.
    Yes, Saddam Hussein was evil and had a lot of people killed, but how many Iraqi citizens have been killed since this war started?
    How many of our brave service men and women have been killed in Iraq?
    How many more will die?
    Iraq right now, is in the worst mess it has ever been in.
    This was not the case before Bush started this war.
    Hey Bush: This war is against terrorists, not with countries.
    WMD? Not there!
    Did you know that George W. Bush once made fun of the issue of Weapons of Mass Destruction?
    He did, and in front of some shocked people during a black-tie event in 2004.
    He said…. (While looking under a piece of furniture) “Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be here somewhere.”
    Then, while pretending to look out of a window, Bush laughed as he said….. “Nope, no weapons over there.”
    While he was laughing, there were men and women fighting and dying in Iraq because of WMD.
    George W. Bush should be removed from office because of that alone.
    Face it, Bill Clinton lied about having sex, and was impeached because of it.
    George W. Bush however, did far worse, as he laughed at the very people who are fighting for the United States of America!
    Bush laughs at a lot of things.
    While we were under attack, he just sat there.
    He has no clue about how to run things.
    Speaking of running, that is what many Republicans are doing right now.
    Running from their own corruption.
    How many are in trouble now?
    From Nixon/Agnew to Scooter and Cheney, all we get from Republicans are cover-ups, lies, and more.
    Even President Reagan’s defense secretary, Caspar W. Weinberger, who recently passed away, was so bad, that George H. W. Bush had to bail him out with a pardon to help save the Republican name.
    Face it…. the Republican Party is a disgrace.
    Time for a change.
    It is also time for us to take back our country from the Republican mess that YOU are paying for.

    I am,
    GEORGE VREELAND HILL

    * Here are some tidbits of note:

    President Clinton left us SO MUCH money.
    Bush spent it all.
    The United States is now in debt.
    In fact, we have borrowed money from China!
    Think about that.
    We owe money to China.
    A country that sides with North Korea.
    That is the Bush spending policy.
    Spend, and then owe.
    Bush is an idiot.

    Did you know that some Republicans will not have their pictures taken with Bush?
    True!
    They fear being seen with him.
    The GOP is falling apart.

    Mark Foley, a Republican member (now ex-member) of Congress, has sent many e-mails with perverted sexual content to a sixteen year old boy.
    This is the same man who while in Congress, backed a bill that was meant to protect children from child predators.
    Foley himself, is a man who preyed on a child with lust.
    What is also incomprehensible, is the fact that many Republicans knew of Foley’s behavior, and yet, did not take a hard stand against this until it became public news.
    If I had a teenage son and/or daughter, I would not want them to go near any Republican leader for fear of either or both becoming a victim of a sick Republican pervert.

    Dennis Hastert, is a typical Republican who thirsts for power.
    If he knew of Foley’s perverted actions with underage kids before they became public, then he must step down.
    However, since he thinks in terms of power more than helping people, he will not step down from his position.
    This is the Republican way.
    Personal power over the people.
    Hunger for money combined with cover-ups, lies, tricks, and more so they can keep their power.

    It is sad to see the total mess in Washington and overseas that these Republicans blame on others.
    Blame the kids who run errands for them as if to say…..”If if it were not for the page program, then those kids would not have been here for Foley and others to exploit them.”
    Blame Clinton for not doing enough with terrorists, while Bush keeps sending troops to Iraq while North Korea and Iran build massive weapon’s programs.
    Hey Republicans: If you did not like the job Bill Clinton did, then do something about it.
    After all, you have had six years to do it.
    Blame, blame, blame.
    The real blame is on the Republican Party.
    If they do not take responsibility and handle things, then maybe they should all step down.

    Ever since Bush has been in office, North Korea has been very busy with their missile and nuke programs.
    Because of this, they are now a grave threat to the world.
    Iran is also busy doing the same things, only they are more vocal about what they want to do with their weapons.
    What has Bush been doing during all of this?
    Sending troops to Iraq.
    Ha ha, that is real bright.
    There were no WMD in Iraq, but we are there anyway instead of going to where the WMD really are.
    If Bush just sits there like he did during 9/11, then we will have a catastrophic event somewhere in the world, or a nuke at the doorstep of Los Angeles.
    Bush has lost total control of things, and like Iraq, he has no clue how to deal with it.

    Our Republican leaders have failed to catch bin Laden, even though Bush said that his capture was a top priority.
    When it became evident that bin Laden was not going to be caught any time soon, Bush then said that it did not matter if we capture him.
    Say what?
    The fact is that Bush changed his mind to save face.

    We have left our borders open to let millions of rapists, thieves, loafers, and killers enter our country.
    These numbers are since 9/11.
    Much of California’s bad economy was blamed on Gray Davis, but the fact is, that illegals broke California.
    Why was that not stopped?

    In New Hampshire, during the 2002 election for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Robert C. Smith, the New Hampshire GOP hired GOP Marketplace of Virginia, to jam another phone bank being used by the state Democratic Party in an effort to turn out voters on behalf of then-governor
    Jeanne Shaheen on Election Day.
    John E. Sununu, the Republican candidate, won a narrow victory.
    Wikipedia, a free on-line encyclopedia, states that three men have been convicted of, or pled guilty to, federal crimes and sentenced to prison for their involvement as of 2006. A fourth is under indictment.
    However, investigators and those who have followed the scandal closely believe that there were more people involved at the national level.
    It has been suggested that some high-ranking Republican Senate leaders were aware, and more recently records showing phone calls from the political operative convicted of engineering the scheme have raised questions as to whether officials in the Bush Administration were involved as
    well.
    According to The Raw Story, the fourth man indicted in this phone-jamming scheme, will argue at trial that the Bush Administration and the national Republican Party gave their approval to the plan, so says a motion filed by his attorney.

    CIA leaks.

    Bush giving the finger to people.
    Would FDR have done that?

    Most of us have heard of Rush Limbaugh, the Republican wacko who can’t keep his foot out of his mouth.
    Limbaugh has been busy questioning the severity of the disease that Michael J. Fox is suffering from, known as Parkinson’s.
    Limbaugh based his knowledge on the matter by comparing the condition of Fox to a couple of people who also have Parkinson’s disease.
    Limbaugh is not a doctor, but thinks that he is an expert on Parkinson’s because of what he has seen.
    The fact is that Michael J. Fox supports Democrats and stem cell research, and Limbaugh is trying to make a fool out of him, thus making another voice for the Democrats look small.
    Limbaugh even mimicked the actions of Parkinson’s disease in front of a camera.
    Think about that!
    Limbaugh made fun of Parkinson’s disease.
    He did that to make the Democrats look small, and the Republicans look big and brave.
    Limbaugh, like other Republicans who have questioned the severity of Fox’s condition, are very sick people.
    They laugh at those who are sick if they are Democrats.
    Limbaugh has now blamed the media for the story after millions of people thought his actions to be repulsive.
    This is the same Rush Limbaugh who once make racial comments about Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, Donovan McNabb, who is African-American.
    Limbaugh is obviously an athletic supporter, except he is the kind you wear.
    Limbaugh is a typical Republican who will hurt other people to get what he wants.

    When Arnold Schwarzenegger ran for office, he said that he would fund his campaign with his own money, and not accept money from outside interests.
    Well, as we now know, he took MILLIONS from others while running for office.
    These “other” special interest people have more interest in their pockets and their own standing, than in the interests of California.
    Arnold’s interests are with wealth and fame.
    These “others” and Arnold go hand in hand.
    I think we also need an answer from Arnold as to why he took two jobs with muscle magazines so soon after taking office.
    This was at a time when California needed him the most.
    After all, he said he would be there for the people.
    Again, it seems that Arnold put himself ahead of California.

    Of course we can’t forget that when it gets close to election time, we always see many road signs that support Democrats start to disappear.
    Hum, I wonder what side the sign thieves are on?
    Is this the Republican way of gaining the edge?

    Republicans can’t stand the truth.
    When a topic comes up that exposes them, these cowards will discredit the reporter or change the subject in order to made themselves look good.
    Their tactics no longer work.
    The people are on to these Republican cowards who can’t fess up.

    My thoughts on Iran:
    Iran may be a threat in the future, but it is not a threat now.
    We have time to think about what to do with Iran.
    We need to start thinking about the best ways to solve problems in the Middle East, and not create new ones.
    Because Bush and the Republican Party have no clue how to fix the mess we are in with Iraq, it is best that he and they do nothing with Iran.
    Wait until the voters pick better leaders, and believe me, that will not be a hard thing to do.
    George Vreeland Hill


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