Monday, January 07, 2008

The End Of Silence

[Originally posted at on September 14, 2006]

Today, I am breaking an almost three-month long silence. It's not that I have not had anything to say, or that nothing interested has happened in the last couple of months. On the contrary, the list of interesting events is long:

  • Ned Lamont defeated Joe Lieberman in the Democratic primary in Connecticut, signalling a possible reversal of fortunes for the allies of the administration. Katrina's one-year anniversary came and went without too much clamor. One would have thought that Katrina might have been able to do what three years of the war in Iraq have as yet failed to accomplish: show that the rulers are very good at filling their mouths with proclaims, but less capable of delivering on them. Alas, not a peep to be heard from the mainstream media about the pitiful state in which New Orleans lies thanks to the inaction of a complacent administration. Not even Spike Lee's monumental effort to highlight the stark contrast between promises and facts was able to rouse the MSM from its already proverbial torpor.
  • Katherine Harris, Florida's former Secretary of State, who prematurely ended the 2000 Presidential Election recounts sparking the controversy that ended with the Supreme Court's infamous 5-4 ruling that handed the presidency to George W. Bush, has just won her primary in Florida, where she will challenge Bill Nelson for the governor's seat in November.
  • Sen. George Allen, R-Va., has gotten himself into the spotlight for calling an Indian spectator at one of his rallies "macaca," and welcoming him to the real America (I guess the America in which people gather around a burning cross in hooded, white attire.)
    Katie Couric finally debuted on the CBS Evening News last night. The feather in her debut's cap? The first photograph of Suri Cruise. No kidding. Rush Limbaugh is allegedly slated to make an appearance on Ms. Couric's Evening Extravaganza next Thursday, in a segment called "Free Speech." Free not as in uncensored. Free as in free-of-charge. I was under the impression that political campaigns had to buy airtime. Not in Ms. Couric's court.
  • ABC, another bastion of liberalism according to its Republican detractors, has aired a fictionalized account of 9/11, titled "The Path to 9/11." The screenwriter is a friend of Rush Limbaugh, who has been pumping the movie on his "Excellence in Broadcasting" network. Thomas Kean, the Republican co-chairman of the 9/11 commission, served as an advisor to the film. His Democratic co-chair did not. Not surprisingly, this work of fiction attempted to shift the burden of the 9/11 on the Clinton administration, despite the well-known facts that pin the responsibility on the failure of the Bush administration to follow up on actionable intelligence, epitomized by the congressional testimony of then NSA advisor Condoleeza Rice who acknowledged receipt of a memo, dated Aug 6, 2001entitled, "Bin-Ladin determined to strike in US." There were many other signs that the Bush administration ignored prior to 9/11 that could be easily pinned on the president's closest collaborators. But ABC decided to mark the 5-year anniversary of the attacks by airing a heavy revision of history, penned by people with close Republican ties. (For more on this, read the brilliant piece published last week on
  • Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-ND, recently released a book emphatically titled "Take This Job, and Ship It!", which should be a mandatory read for all supporters of free-market economy. Not those who have a vested interest in perpetuating the illusion that markets left to themselves, with little or no regulation, work best, but those who support the system without knowing the facts. While Sen. Dorgan might have used the help of a more careful editor (there are inaccuracies, to be true), he writes with a passion and with an inside access to congressional records which are hard to match. It is not a painless read, but the pain comes not from the Senator's errors, rather from the truths he uncovers.
  • And we are starting to hear words like dictatorship, and even the F-word--yes, FASCISM--more and more often, in relation to the direction things are taking in this nation. And if you think it is only nutcases who do that, read what recently retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor had to say on the topic in March of this year: The fact that the link to the speech is the Guardian's (U.K.) is not coincidental: those bastions of the liberal media in the U.S.A., The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The LA Times, chose not to report it at all. And while we are on the subject of the supposedly liberal media: during a recent edition of Lou Dobbs' Tonight, CNN had the following banner running under the political reporter du jour: "Are the Democrats using the War in Iraq for political advantage?" Ah, those conniving bastards!

The list goes on, and perhaps I will reprise it in the coming days. For now, these few examples of what happened while I vanished from these pages may suffice.

So what, if anything, caused me to go AWOL? Fatigue, I guess. Apathy, also. And the ominous, lingering sensation that no matter how slanted the polls ahead of the November elections seem in favor of Democrats, things will get worse on Nov. 7. Because no matter how tragicomically the administration blunders about for the next two months, no matter how many feet end up in Republican senators' mouths from here 'til Election Day, no matter how expensive gas gets, or how catastrophically the planet fights back at our insensitivity: nothing will matter, if the people in charge of elections are people like Ken Blackwell, sitting Secretary of State in Ohio, who will also be running for Governor on Nov. 7. Apparently, no conflict of interest is too big for a man who already served as Secretary of State and, simultaneously, as the co-chairman of the "Committee to re-elect George W. Bush" during the 2004 election. No polling hurdle is too big to overcome when the people who manufacture the voting machines (ES&S and Diebold Election Systems) have symbiotic ties with sitting congressmen and women. (There is ample literature documenting the ridiculous flaws and ease of manipulation of electronic voting systems on the sites listed at the end of the article.)

Alas, the fight to regain control of reason and of worthy representation in this country begins with regaining control of the votes we cast. Without public campaign financing, to rid ourselves of the ills of electoral corruption, and without verifiable vote counts, elections are nothing but pageantry. In spite of voices like Greg Palast's, John Conyers, Steve Freeman, Robert Kennedy Jr., and many others, all of whom have cried foul and pointed at the many examples of the corruption of the electoral process, the nation has chosen not to listen. That's why we must add our voices to the chorus. As the saying goes, there is strength in numbers. Indeed, our fight might initially be much like the long upstream journey of a salmon: long, exhausting, and very possibly doomed to fail. Like salmons, some of us may die before we reach our goal. But if we don't fight for what is right, and fair, and just, aren't we dead already? So let your voices be heard, and make a stand for your right to be counted. Begin by spreading the word, because until our cries reach critical mass, nothing will change. If we do not rise in numbers and voice our legitimate demand for clean and fair elections, untainted by corporate influence, we will have lost what so many before us have given so much for, including their lives. But if enough of us join in this fight, we will succeed in spawning our democracy to new life.

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Because action speaks louder than words, visit the sites listed below and see what you can do to bring about change:

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