The effort of the Bush White House and their allies to control the political reality perceived by American voters has reached new lows. Hiding facts from the public are standard operating procedures for the Bush Republican political machine as demonstrated by the Cheney Energy Taskforce cover-up and their manipulation of the 9-11 Investigative Commission. They have no problem with using their powerful allies in the federal courts (like Supreme Court Justice Scalia) to hide their failures and questionable actions from the voters. They have misused the media to gain power and now have their allies in the media to keep needed information from the voting public.

Democrats have been aware of the manipulation skills of the Bush Republican political machine since the 2000 Election Florida Recount. They twisted press images to get illegal votes counted from supposedly military ballots. Some Bush voters admitted to voting twice, some votes seem to be cast after Election Day and hundreds were of so doubtful that they may not have been cast by military personnel.

Tens of thousands of legal Democratic voters were illegally kicked off the voting rolls by Katherine Harris’ and Jeb Bush’s state organization BEFORE the recount. The Bush machine kept that fact from the public during the recount. Republican operatives from Congressmen King (NY) and Delay (TX) staff played key roles in the Dade County Courthouse riot that intimidated the election board from completely their recount. The Bush machine managed to keep that fact from the public during the recount.

Supreme Court Justices Scalia and Thomas had close family connections to the Bush campaign. Thomas’ wife even ran a recruiting website for Bush out of their house during the recount. They should have excused themselves from the Recount cases. They did not or all votes in Florida would have been recounted! Gore would have been in the White House today. We would not have been in the Iraq mess today! The Bush machine covered-up these connections until after Bush occupied the White House.

We have investigative reporter Greg Palast to thank for finally revealing these facts and more. For the full details, read Best Democracy Money Can Buy by Greg Palast.

The way Bush gained power has carried over to the exercise of that power. The distortion of facts by Bush Republicans concerning terrorism and weapons of mass destruction has pushed us into an unwise War In Iraq. The manipulation machine is fully committed to keeping the depth and consequences of this unwise War from the voters.

They are dishonoring our fallen soldiers from this conflict in order to keep from paying a political price in the elections this Fall. Their private sector backers at Sinclair have shamefully refused to carry a “Nightline” TV broadcast that will read the names of each soldier killed in Iraq. Sinclair has given thousands of dollars to the Bush campaign. Sinclair owns 8 TV stations that normally broadcast every “Nightline” broadcast.

Democrats need to challenge the Sinclair broadcast licenses with the FCC over this media manipulation. The airwaves belong to the public. Sinclair uses them for private profit by law under clear guidelines. They should not be able to use them to undermine our Democracy. They are obligated to inform the public instead of politically manipulating the voters. News broadcasting being politicized by the Bush White House is not in the public interest.

The White House is doing the same by stopping journalists from taking photos of coffins returning from the War In Iraq. They are engaging in similar behavior concerning the 9-11 hearings. Beside the outrageous secretive restriction concerning their unprecedented joint testimony before the committee, they are trying to deny testimony by government translators of documents that show that the Bush Administration should have known the 9-11 attacks were coming on “national security” grounds. The information and testimony is essential to the workings of the 9-11 Commission. This cover-up attempt is political and not a real national security issue.

Do we really need these people running our government? Voters need honest, open government. Voters need full information to make an informed vote. We need to see reality the way it is instead of just the illusions being sold by the Bush Republicans as fact.

Written by Stephen Crockett and Al Lawrence (hosts of Democratic Talk Radio ).