Best of TAP Alternate

Best posts from the TAP Alternate Forum (and more)

Saturday, September 27, 2003
Apologies for being so slack on keeping this up. I can only plead excessive busyness.

But here's some fresh meat, David Corn's compilation of just a few of George Bush's many lies:

The Other Lies of George Bush
This article was adapted from the new book, The Lies of George W. Bush: Mastering the Politics of Deception (Crown Publishers).

George W. Bush is a liar. He has lied large and small, directly and by omission. His Iraq lies have loomed largest. In the run-up to the invasion, Bush based his case for war on a variety of unfounded claims that extended far beyond his controversial uranium-from-Niger assertion. He maintained that Saddam Hussein possessed "a massive stockpile" of unconventional weapons and was directly "dealing" with Al Qaeda--two suppositions unsupported then (or now) by the available evidence. He said the International Atomic Energy Agency had produced a report in 1998 noting that Iraq was six months from developing a nuclear weapon; no such report existed (and the IAEA had actually reported then that there was no indication Iraq had the ability to produce weapons-grade material). Bush asserted that Iraq was "harboring a terrorist network, headed by a senior Al Qaeda terrorist planner"; US intelligence officials told reporters this terrorist was operating ouside of Al Qaeda control. And two days before launching the war, Bush said, "Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised." Yet former deputy CIA director Richard Kerr, who is conducting a review of the prewar intelligence, has said that intelligence was full of qualifiers and caveats, and based on circumstantial and inferential evidence. That is, it was not no-doubt stuff. And after the major fighting was done, Bush declared, "We found the weapons of mass destruction." But he could only point to two tractor-trailers that the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency had concluded were mobile bioweapons labs. Other experts--including the DIA's own engineering experts--disagreed with this finding.

But Bush's truth-defying crusade for war did not mark a shift for him. Throughout his campaign for the presidency and his years in the White House, Bush has mugged the truth in many other areas to advance his agenda. Lying has been one of the essential tools of his presidency. To call the forty-third President of the United States a prevaricator is not an exercise of opinion, not an inflammatory talk-radio device. Rather, it is backed up by an all-too-extensive record of self-serving falsifications. While politicians are often derided as liars, this charge should be particularly stinging for Bush. During the campaign of 2000, he pitched himself as a candidate who could "restore" honor and integrity to an Oval Office stained by the misdeeds and falsehoods of his predecessor. To brand Bush a liar is to negate what he and his supporters declared was his most basic and most important qualification for the job.

His claims about the war in Iraq have led more of his foes and more pundits to accuse him of lying to the public. The list of his misrepresentations, though, is far longer than the lengthy list of dubious statements Bush employed--and keeps on employing--to justify his invasion and occupation of Iraq. Here then is a partial--a quite partial--account of the other lies of George W. Bush.

Tax Cuts

Bush's crusade for tax cuts is the domestic policy matter that has spawned the most misrepresentations from his camp. On the 2000 campaign trail, he sold his success as a "tax-cutting person" by hailing cuts he passed in Texas while governor. But Bush did not tell the full story of his 1997 tax plan. His proposal called for cutting property taxes. But what he didn't mention is that it also included an attempt to boost the sales tax and to implement a new business tax. Nor did he note that his full package had not been accepted by the state legislature. Instead, the lawmakers passed a $1 billion reduction in property taxes. And these tax cuts turned out to be a sham. After they kicked in, school districts across the state boosted local tax rates to compensate for the loss of revenue. A 1999 Dallas Morning News analysis found that "many [taxpayers] are still paying as much as they did in 1997, or more." Republican Lieutenant Governor Rick Perry called the cuts "rather illusory..."

...The Environment

One of Bush's first PR slip-ups as President came when his EPA announced that it would withdraw a new standard for arsenic in drinking water that had been developed during the Clinton years. Bush defended this move by claiming that the new standard had been irresponsibly rushed through: "At the very last minute my predecessor made a decision, and we pulled back his decision so that we can make a decision based upon sound science and what's realistic." And his EPA administrator, Christine Todd Whitman, said the standard had not been based on the "best available science." This was a harsh charge. And untrue...

...September 11

As many Americans and others yearned to make sense of the evil attacks of September 11, Bush elected to share with the public a deceptively simplistic explanation of this catastrophe. Repeatedly, he said that the United States had been struck because of its love of freedom. "America was targeted for attack," he maintained, "because we're the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world." This was shallow analysis, a comic-book interpretation of the event that covered up complexities and denied Americans information crucial for developing a full understanding of the attacks. In the view Bush furnished, Osama bin Laden was a would-be conqueror of the world, a man motivated solely by irrational evil, who killed for the purpose of destroying freedom...

...Does Bush believe his own untruths? Did he truly consider a WMD-loaded Saddam Hussein an imminent threat to the United States? Or was he knowingly employing dramatic license because he wanted war for other reasons? Did he really think the average middle-class taxpayer would receive $1,083 from his second tax-cut plan? Or did he realize this was a fuzzy number cooked up to make the package seem a better deal than it was for middle- and low-income workers? Did he believe there were enough stem-cell lines to support robust research? Or did he know he had exaggerated the number of lines in order to avoid a politically tough decision?

It's hard to tell. Bush's public statements do suggest he is a binary thinker who views the world in black-and-white terms. You're either for freedom or against it. With the United States or not. Tax cuts are good--always. The more tax cuts the better--always. He's impatient with nuances. Asked in 1999 to name something he wasn't good at, Bush replied, "Sitting down and reading a 500-page book on public policy or philosophy or something." Bush likes life to be clear-cut. And perhaps that causes him to either bend the truth or see (and promote) a bent version of reality. Observers can debate whether Bush considers his embellishments and misrepresentations to be the honest-to-God truth or whether he cynically hurls falsehoods to con the public. But believer or deceiver--the result is the same...

Thursday, August 07, 2003
Resident Bush issued an executive order two months ago absolving all companies doing business with Iraqi oil of any sort of legal liability.

Bush order may shield oil firms from lawsuits
An executive order signed by President Bush more than two months ago is raising concerns that U.S. oil companies may have been handed blanket immunity from lawsuits and criminal prosecution in connection with their work in Iraq.

...According to the order, "any attachment, judgment, decree, lien, execution, garnishment, or other judicial process is prohibited, and shall be deemed null and void, with respect to the following:

"(a) the Development Fund for Iraq, and

"(b) all Iraqi petroleum and petroleum products, and interests therein, and proceeds, obligations, or any financial instruments of any nature whatsoever arising from or related to the sale or marketing thereof, and interests therein, in which any foreign country or a national thereof has any interest, that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of United States persons."

The order defines "persons" to include corporations, and covers "any petroleum, petroleum products, or natural gas originating in Iraq, including any Iraqi-origin oil inventories, wherever located."

...Devine of the Government Accountability Project suggested that the wording of the order was so broad that it could apply to anything from exploration and production of Iraqi oil to advertising and sales at U.S. gas pumps.

"Let's say I work at a Madison Avenue firm that engages in false advertising" as part of a campaign to market gasoline that was made from Iraqi crude, Devine said. The way the executive order is drawn, it looks as if the ad agency "can lie to consumers as much as they want ... without any recourse by the Federal Trade Commission."

Devine added that if an oil company employee working in Iraq was fired in retaliation for blowing the whistle on wrongdoing allegedly committed by his employer, the executive order could make it impossible for him to collect damages from the company.

Meanwhile, an operator of an oil tanker that suffered a major spill while hauling Iraqi crude could be immune from liability, thanks to the executive order, lawyers said.

"That oil was shipped out of Iraq and it's protected," Apple said. "The company that failed to ensure it was using up-to-date tankers is not going to be held accountable. ... There is nothing that anybody can do for any recourse."
Remember how Bush Sr. issued preemptive pardons to his pals and co-conspirators? Like father, like son, eh?

Sunday, July 13, 2003
The Bush administration lied!

Well, more accurately, the Bush administration lied again. The habit of lying runs deep and strong throughout the Bush administration, not just on the subject of war, but on the home front as well, as Russ Baker writes for Slate.

Bush's Data Dump

The administration is hiding bad economic news. Here's how.
The Bush administration is finally facing tough questions about its selective use of intelligence in selling war with Iraq. But Americans shouldn't just be skeptical of what the president says about WMD. They should be skeptical of what he says about GDP. In economic policy even more than in war policy, the Bushies have successfully suppressed, manipulated, and withheld evidence to serve their policy purposes.

Of course every administration likes to trumpet its good news and hide its bad, but what's remarkable about the Bush team is its willingness to stifle data that had been widely released and to politicize data that used to be nonpartisan.

The administration muzzles routine economic information that's unfavorable. Last year, for example, the administration stopped issuing a monthly Bureau of Labor Statistics report, known as the Mass Layoff Statistics program, that tracked factory closings throughout the country. The cancellation was made known on Christmas Eve in a footnote to the department's final report—a document that revealed 2,150 mass layoffs in November, cashiering nearly a quarter-million workers. The administration claimed the report was a victim of budget cuts. After the Washington Post happened to catch this bit of data suppression, the BLS report was reinstated. (Interestingly, President George H.W. Bush buried these same statistics in '92, also during a period of job losses. They were revived by President Clinton.)
Like father, like son?

The current news spin is to focus on only 16 false words in Bush's State of the Union address, as if that was the only lie that was told to justify the invasion of Iraq. But as this article graphically demonstrates, the whole affair has been a tissue of lies from the start.

20 Lies About the War

Falsehoods ranging from exaggeration to plain untruth were used to make the case for war. More lies are being used in the aftermath. By Glen Rangwala and Raymond Whitaker

13 July 2003
1 Iraq was responsible for the 11 September attacks

A supposed meeting in Prague between Mohammed Atta, leader of the 11 September hijackers, and an Iraqi intelligence official was the main basis for this claim, but Czech intelligence later conceded that the Iraqi's contact could not have been Atta. This did not stop the constant stream of assertions that Iraq was involved in 9/11, which was so successful that at one stage opinion polls showed that two-thirds of Americans believed the hand of Saddam Hussein was behind the attacks. Almost as many believed Iraqi hijackers were aboard the crashed airliners; in fact there were none.

2 Iraq and al-Qa'ida were working together

Persistent claims by US and British leaders that Saddam and Osama bin Laden were in league with each other were contradicted by a leaked British Defence Intelligence Staff report, which said there were no current links between them. Mr Bin Laden's "aims are in ideological conflict with present-day Iraq", it added.

Another strand to the claims was that al-Qa'ida members were being sheltered in Iraq, and had set up a poisons training camp. When US troops reached the camp, they found no chemical or biological traces.

3 Iraq was seeking uranium from Africa for a "reconstituted" nuclear weapons programme

The head of the CIA has now admitted that documents purporting to show that Iraq tried to import uranium from Niger in west Africa were forged, and that the claim should never have been in President Bush's State of the Union address. Britain sticks by the claim, insisting it has "separate intelligence". The Foreign Office conceded last week that this information is now "under review".

Tuesday, June 24, 2003
More dirt about the Bush cabal's reaction to 9/11. Seems that even as Bush was scurrying across the country like a scared rabbit, his handlers were already turning the tragedy into propaganda to serve their plans for war against Iraq.

By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Monday 23 June 2003
...On June 15, former NATO Supreme Commander General Wesley Clark appeared on 'Meet the Press' with Tim Russert. A wretchedly revealing exchange came from the interview:

...GEN. CLARK: Well, it came from the White House, it came from people around the White House. It came from all over. I got a call on 9/11. I was on CNN, and I got a call at my home saying, "You got to say this is connected. This is state-sponsored terrorism. This has to be connected to Saddam Hussein." I said, "But-I'm willing to say it but what's your evidence?" And I never got any evidence. And these were people who had-Middle East think tanks and people like this and it was a lot of pressure to connect this and there were a lot of assumptions made. But I never personally saw the evidence and didn't talk to anybody who had the evidence to make that connection.

Friday, June 20, 2003
The Screwing of Cynthia McKinney
by Greg Palast
Have you heard about Cynthia McKinney, former U.S. Congresswoman?

According to those quoted on National Public Radio, McKinney’s “a loose cannon” (media expert) who “the people of Atlanta are embarrassed and disgusted” (politician) by, and she is also “loony” and “dangerous” (senator from her own party).

Yow! And why is McKinney dangerous/loony/disgusting? According to NPR, “McKinney implied that the [Bush] Administration knew in advance about September 11 and deliberately held back the information.”

The New York Times’ Lynette Clemetson revealed her comments went even further over the edge: “Ms. McKinney suggest[ed] that President Bush might have known about the September 11 attacks but did nothing so his supporters could make money in a war.”

That’s loony, all right. As an editor of the highly respected Atlanta Journal Constitution told NPR, McKinney’s “practically accused the President of murder!”

Problem is, McKinney never said it.

That’s right. The “quote” from McKinney is a complete fabrication. A whopper, a fabulous fib, a fake, a flim-flam. Just freakin’ made up.

Sunday, June 15, 2003
Here's a really clear explanation for the continued popularity of George Bush: his campaign of disinformation is working.

War poll uncovers fact gap

Many mistakenly believe U.S. found WMDs in Iraq.
By Frank Davies
Inquirer Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - A third of the American public believes U.S. forces have found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, according to a recent poll. Twenty-two percent said Iraq actually used chemical or biological weapons.

But such weapons have not been found in Iraq and were not used.

Before the war, half of those polled in a survey said Iraqis were among the 19 hijackers on Sept. 11, 2001. But most of the Sept. 11 terrorists were Saudis; none was an Iraqi.

The results startled even the pollsters who conducted and analyzed the surveys. How could so many people be so wrong about information that has dominated news coverage for almost two years?

...During and after the war, reports of possible weapons discoveries were often trumpeted on front pages, while follow-up stories debunking the reports received less attention

...Bush has described the preemptive attack on Iraq as "one victory in the war on terror that began Sept. 11." Bush officials also say Iraq sheltered and helped al-Qaeda operatives.

"The public is susceptible to manipulation, and if they hear officials saying there is a strong connection between Iraq and al-Qaeda terrorists, then they think there must be a connection," Mann said.

"Tapping into the feelings and fears after Sept. 11 is a way to sell a policy," he added.

...Several analysts said they were troubled by the lack of knowledge about the Sept. 11 hijackers, shown in the January survey conducted for Knight Ridder newspapers. Only 17 percent correctly said that none of the hijackers was Iraqi.

Friday, June 06, 2003
SOP: Once again, on the verge of a ceasefire, Israel murders Hamas members.

Hamas No Choice But Peace If Israel Stops Killings
PM Abbas said last week he was on the verge of a ceasefire deal with Hamas, who said Israel should halt its military aggression against the Palestinian people before the Islamic Resistance Movement is willing to stop its resistance against Israeli occupation.

Two Hamas militants killed in firefight
AFP - Two Palestinian militants from the radical Islamic group Hamas who were allegedly preparing a suicide attack were shot dead by Israeli troops in the northern West Bank, Israeli military sources said.

Israel has broken every ceasfire that has been negotiated in Palestine, often within hours. However, it's no surprise that most Americans blame the Palestinians for the continuing violence, since this is the sort of coverage we get:

We've been down this road before
The threat of peace was also not good for Mr. Arafat, who, seeing his popularity nosediving, decided to walk away from the peace process and restart the Intifadeh. The relentless terrorist campaign of suicide bombings drove the dovish Ehud Barak from power and ushered in Ariel Sharon, who gave Mr. Arafat the fight he was looking for, sending Israeli tanks into the cities of the West Bank and Gaza and assassinating terrorist leaders. Meanwhile, the bombings continue.
But an examination of the record will show that over a hundred Palestinian were killed by the IDF, over the course of a month, before there was even one bombing in Israel at the start of the current Intifada.