bush lies.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

From White House Tries to Rein In Scientists: The administration orders vetting of experts on panels convened by the U.N.'s health agency by Tom Hamburger
The Bush administration has ordered that government scientists must be approved by a senior political appointee before they can participate in meetings convened by the World Health Organization, the leading international health and science agency.

A top official from the Health and Human Services Department in April asked the WHO to begin routing requests for participation in its meetings to the department's secretary for review, rather than directly invite individual scientists, as has long been the case.

Officials at the WHO, based in Geneva, Switzerland, have refused to implement the request, saying it could compromise the independence of international scientific deliberations. Denis G. Aitken, WHO assistant director-general, said Friday that he had been negotiating with Washington in an effort to reach a compromise.

The request is the latest instance in which the Bush administration has been accused of allowing politics to intrude into once-sacrosanct areas of scientific deliberation. It has been criticized for replacing highly regarded scientists with industry and political allies on advisory panels. A biologist who was at odds with the administration's position on stem-cell research was dismissed from a presidential advisory commission. This year, 60 prominent scientists accused the administration of "misrepresenting and suppressing scientific knowledge for political purposes."
[Los Angeles Times, 6/26/04]

From Cheney Defends Use Of Four-Letter Word: Retort to Leahy 'Long Overdue,' He Says by Dana Milbank and Helen Dewar
Vice President Cheney on Friday vigorously defended his vulgarity directed at a prominent Democratic senator earlier this week in the Senate chamber.

Cheney said he "probably" used an obscenity in an argument Tuesday on the Senate floor with Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) and added that he had no regrets. "I expressed myself rather forcefully, felt better after I had done it," Cheney told Neil Cavuto of Fox News. The vice president said those who heard the putdown agreed with him. "I think that a lot of my colleagues felt that what I had said badly needed to be said, that it was long overdue."

The forceful defense by Cheney came as much of Washington was discussing his outburst on the Senate floor in which a chance encounter with Leahy during a photo session in the usually decorous Senate chamber ended in colorful profanity. The obscenity was published in yesterday's editions of The Washington Post.

President Bush had made his vow to "change the tone in Washington" a central part of his 2000 campaign, calling bipartisan cooperation "the challenge of our moment."

"Our nation must rise above a house divided," he said in his victory speech in December 2000. "I know America wants reconciliation and unity. I know Americans want progress. And we will seize this moment and deliver."
[Washington Post, 6/26/04]

Dick Cheney is a nasty, petty, disgusting little man. He is a disgrace to America.

[Also check out this Washington Post editorial on the same subject.]

Friday, June 25, 2004

From Why They Lie – and Get Away With It by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.
Let me propose a solution to a puzzle that has vexed all of us for nearly three years – since 9-11, actually. The puzzle concerns the sheer ubiquity of dissembling in the Age of Bush.

The crazy claims hit us every day: lies brazen, bold, and breathtaking in their degree of misrepresentation; assertions that are perfect inversions of what is true; claims so implausible that believing them would require a level of ignorance that no one who reads the daily newspaper could possess; analysis so twisted, it is a wonder that anyone could spout it without laughing.
To lie on behalf of the local mayor affords you a bit of liberality. People will be more reluctant to call you on your claims. Every one knows this. But let the mayor be kicked out of office, and you are suddenly held accountable. Lie on behalf of your state's governor and you are granted even more latitude and tolerance. People will give you the benefit of the doubt far more than if you were just some Joe on the street.

But lie on behalf of the global empire, and anything you say is treated as serious news, worthy of consideration and deference. The spokesmen for the regime – those who lend their voices to legitimizing the monopolists of violence – are always and everywhere granted credibility that they have not earned, if only because they have the power and you do not. So it has always been throughout history.

This, I submit, is the explanation for OpinionJournal.com, NationalReview.com, and FoxNews.com. They are all mirror sites of WhiteHouse.gov (where you find out that all is going according to plan in Iraq), and insofar as that is true, they enjoy all the privileges of power, including the privilege to spread radically implausible claims with surety and even arrogance.
[Defence Talk, 6/18/04]

And yet, despite all this, the American people do appear to be gradually figuring it out.

From Bush Administration Lied About Secret Saudi Flight
The Bush administration and its right-wing allies are launching an all-out assault on Michael Moore and his new movie, attempting to discredit the film before it is even public. Last month, White House communications director Dan Bartlett said the movie is "so outrageously false, it's not even worth comment" - a comment made despite the fact that the movie was not yet public and Bartlett had not seen the film.

Now the smear campaign is focused on creating the public illusion that Moore lied about a secret Saudi flight that was permitted after 9/11 when most U.S. airspace was closed. But, according to one new report, the Tampa International Airport "confirmed that the flight did take place" - despite three years of Bush administration denials.

According to the St. Petersburg Times, "two days after the Sept. 11 attacks, with most of the nation's air traffic still grounded, a small jet landed at Tampa International Airport, picked up three young Saudi men (including one thought to be a member of the Saudi royal family) and flew to Lexington, Kentucky. From Kentucky "the Saudis then took another flight out of the country." As the newspaper reported, "for nearly three years, White House, aviation and law enforcement officials have insisted the flight never took place and have denied published reports" about the flight.

But now, at the request of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks (9/11 Commission), the Tampa International Airport acknowledged the flights happened. For its part, the Bush administration "is still not talking about the flights."
[Daily MisLead, 6/25/04]

From The War of Error: Unraveling Bush's unwinnable battle by Manuel Valenzuela
The so-called “war on terror” was lost the moment George W. Bush was appointed to the presidency by the Supreme Court. Of course at the time nobody could foresee what the fraud in Florida would help set free. At that moment the clandestine inevitability of the invasion of Iraq became a certain reality whose consequences we will absorb for the next several decades. True, 9/11 had yet to happen, but already fixations with Saddam Hussein were metastasizing throughout the self-righteous Bush administration. 9/11, more than anything else, became, politically, the perfect excuse needed to drag America into a war that had already been preordained by those with axes to grind, scores to settle, empires to expand and profits to make.

The dubiously named “war on terror” was lost the moment the cabal of neoconservatives usurped power in Washington, descending like a flock of vultures from their warmongering flight. At that moment delusion morphed with ideology, ignorance fused with zealotry and the neoconartist dream of an Iraqi invasion, already having been trumpeted for years, was put in motion. Pushed forward by those wishing to fight Israel’s enemies using American financial and military might, the Iraq war was born in dogmatic democratic delusion, historical and cultural ignorance and in criminal apathy for the over 600 American soldiers sent to die for causes having nothing to do with fighting for freedom or democracy or for fighting terror.

Thus was born the War of Error, a war unlike all others, self-defeating and perpetual, that instead of solving problems has and will continue to exacerbate them.
[Axis of Logic, 6/24/04]

Bush shouldn't have lost a second by Daniel Kriwitsky
Regarding the story "7 minutes at Booker -- Principal dismisses new 9/11 film, says Bush's presence was calming":

Emma E. Booker Elementary School Principal Gwendolyn Tose-Rigell wondered if people expected President Bush to run out of the Sarasota County school the instant he learned of the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. No, I did not expect the president to jump out of his chair and run out of the room. I expected that, as commander in chief, he would have taken immediate action when informed our nation was under attack. I wouldn't have expected him to wait seven crucial minutes while thousands of citizens of this country, the country he has been elected to lead, were being murdered.

In the president's own words, "Andy Card came and said, 'America is under attack.'" George Bush knew about the first plane, and he knew about the second plane and was informed that our country was under attack.

Later, he said, "We're at war." Yet, for the first seven minutes of the war, all he did was participate in the reading of a children's story. Is that part of the emergency planning in place in case of war? For the commander in chief to do nothing for seven minutes?

The president is not baby sitter in chief. It is not his job to keep a single elementary school calm. Anyone could have taken over and finished reading the story. Had the president taken charge and issued the orders that the vice president apparently tried to, to shoot down one of the planes, maybe thousands of lives could have been saved. Seven minutes, at a time when the extent of the attack was unknown, is an eternity.
[The Herald Tribune (Florida), 6/25/04]

From Bush should 'fess up about sovereignty: Whatever he wants to give Iraq next week, it comes with strings attached - and he should be honest about America's continuing control by Amitai Etzioni
Here we go again. The United States is about to fall prey to its own propaganda.

President George W. Bush has repeatedly said that we will grant "full and complete sovereignty" to Iraq on June 30. We've said we'll turn over Saddam Hussein for trial and punishment and that the occupation will finally be replaced by Iraqi self-rule. But these grand promises are as unbelievable as they are unattainable.

Already we've begun to qualify some of them: The Iraqis will take "legal" custody of Saddam Hussein, it turns out, but the United States will continue to hold him physically.

Now imagine what could happen next. Suppose that Iraqi judges and jurors acquit Hussein. Would he be released? Would he be allowed to preside over the re-erection of his statue in Firdos Square? Or to restore his regime?

Of course not, you say, we will never let that happen. And right you are. Just as we promised that a war in Iraq would result in a secure and democratic Middle East, we are now making a promise of full sovereignty that we are neither willing nor able to make come true.
What would it mean to Bush's re-election chances if he took back his "full and complete" rhetoric and replaced it with a frank admission that we are far from truly handing over power to the Iraqis? I don't know, but I am confident it would make for a sounder and more responsible U.S. foreign policy.
[Newsday, 6/25/04]

From Praised by Bush, woman said still in debt by John Nolan
A former bookkeeper praised by President Bush for turning around her life with help from a social-services agency still owes at least $300,000 to the company she was convicted of stealing from, according to court records and the business owner.

Susan Morin, owner of Gorman's Supply Inc. in suburban Cincinnati, said she was stunned to see Tami Jordan appear with Bush on television Monday. Morin's company had employed Jordan, 35, as a bookkeeper before she was convicted of theft and forgery in 2000. She was sentenced to three years in prison for having embezzled more than $300,000 from the company, according to court and prison records.
During a visit Monday to Talbert House, a Cincinnati social-service agency that helps former convicts, Bush praised Jordan as a "good soul" and an "inspirational person" who was making the best of her second chance.
[Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 6/24/04]

Right. And John Ashcroft is the best attorney general we've ever had.

From Bush lies and the religious right complies by Dr. Gerry Lower
The result of Bush and Cheney's self-righteous military bungling has produced no substantive progress in the war on multilateral terrorism, although it has produced over 500 American deaths, literally thousands of civilian deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq and it has bred terrorism on an even grander scale. In other words, the religious Bush administration is still "playing into Bin Laden's hands" (Julian Borger, The Guardian, June 19, 2004). In dismissing the 9/11 Commission's Report, George Bush and Dick Cheney have put their entire religion-based agenda on the line in what can only be seen as an act of desperation.

Once again, the Bush administration is asking the American people to disregard empirical and historical fact (what they can see and comprehend in historical context) so as to make their choices based solely on faith in George W. Bush and his Old Testament Roman "morality" (based in legalism, penalism, vengeance and self-righteousness). The religious right complies.

Once again, the Bush administration asks the American people to disregard the Christian values they claim on dotted lines in favor of the religious values that drove British colonialism and prompted the Declaration of Independence and the American Revolution. The religious right complies.

Once again, the Bush administration asks the American people to ignore the values of natural philosophy that birthed Jefferson's democracy in favor of the religious values that have, for over 1700 years, justified imperialism, colonialism and now Bush's crony capitalism. The religious right complies.
[OpEd News, 6/25/04]

From Gore: Bush 'duped' US
Former vice president Al Gore on Thursday accused President George W Bush of duping US voters on purpose by falsely linking al-Qaeda to ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

Bush is "now intentionally misleading the American people by continuing to aggressively and brazenly assert the linkage between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein," Gore said, visibly agitated, during a speech to the law faculty at Georgetown University here.
[News24 (South Africa), 6/25/04]

Where was this Al Gore in 2000?

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

From Did Ashcroft brush off terror warnings? 9/11 commission interviews FBI officials who contradict Ashcroft testimony by Lisa Myers
At issue is a July 5, 2001, meeting between [Attorney General John] Ashcroft and acting FBI Director Tom Pickard. That month, the threat of an al-Qaida attack was so high, the White House summoned the FBI and domestic agencies, and warned them to be on alert.

Yet, Pickard testified to the 9/11 commission that when he tried to brief Ashcroft just a week later, on July 12, about the terror threat inside the United States, he got the brush-off.

"Mr. Ashcroft told you that he did not want to hear about this anymore," Democratic commission member Richard Ben-Veniste asked on April 13. "Is that correct?"

"That is correct," Pickard replied.

Testifying under oath the same day, Ashcroft categorically denied the allegation, saying, "I did never speak to him saying that I didn't want to hear about terrorism."

However, another senior FBI official tells NBC News he vividly recalls Pickard returning from the meeting that day furious that Ashcroft had cut short the terrorism briefing. This official, now retired, has talked to the 9/11 commission.
"When you get two people coming forth and basically challenging a sworn statement by the attorney general regarding a critical meeting in the history of the 9/11 event, you raise serious questions about the Attorney General's truthfulness," says Paul Light, a government reform expert and New York University professor.
[MSNBC, 6/22/04]

John Ashcroft is one of the creepiest members of an administration filled with very creepy people. (Wolfie, Wolfie, lend me your comb.) The vice president thinks Ashcroft is the best attorney general we've ever had. Enough said.

From Bush's Tax Cuts Hurt Schools, Spur Local Tax Hikes
Al Strazzullo, a retired regional manager for the U.S. General Accounting Office, got the good news first. President George W. Bush's $330 billion cut in personal income taxes put an extra $177 in his 2003 government pension.

In March, Strazzullo, 76, got the bad news. The gain was wiped out by a $538 increase in property taxes on his three- bedroom, brick-veneer house in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The bill went to $3,283 from $2,745.

"I'm very unhappy," says Strazzullo, who adds that he wants the city to slash taxes and curtail spending. "A lot of people in town are under financial stress, and you just can't get a break."

That lament is being heard all over the U.S. after Bush's 2003 tax cuts as states, counties and cities boost rates to meet the rising cost of government. Mayors, school officials and taxpayers from Virginia to Oregon say the tax burden in the U.S. is shifting from the federal government to states, cities and counties as local taxes are raised and services are cut.

It doesn't make sense to think that you can balance the federal budget by reducing taxes and then going to war in Iraq," says Cleveland Mayor Jane Campbell, 51, a Democrat.
[Bloomberg News, 6/23/04]

Haven't you heard? The president no longer needs to make sense. It turns out that he is not subject to the rules of logic, as long as national security is involved.

From 9/11 Panel Becomes Cheney’s Nightmare by Joe Conason
With the prescience that often accompanies a queasy conscience, Vice President Dick Cheney opposed an independent investigation of the Sept. 11 attacks from the very beginning. In the spring of 2002, Mr. Cheney sought to intimidate Senator Tom Daschle, then the Senate Majority Leader, from undertaking or authorizing such an investigation. Any probe of the events leading up to the catastrophe might somehow damage the "war on terrorism," he warned.

The Bush administration lost that fight when Congress authorized the creation of the 9/11 commission, officially known as the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks on the United States, and the President reluctantly signed that legislation.
According to a knowledgeable source, the commission has not yet investigated the White House counterterror task force that the Vice President was appointed to chair in the spring of 2001. That task force reportedly held no significant meetings and achieved nothing of consequence during the six months leading up to Sept. 11.

Before the 9/11 commission completes its work and issues its final report this summer, Mr. Cheney should be asked to explain why, despite all the warnings about Al Qaeda, he did so little.
[New York Observer, 6/23/04]

Yeah, why so little, Dick?

From Iraq Trust Gap: You've got a credibility problem, Mr. President
A time comes in most administrations when supporters tell the president he has a problem. Bob Dole told Ronald Reagan he should worry about the deficit. Tip O'Neill told Jimmy Carter he better improve his icy relationship with Capitol Hill. And George W. Bush told his father that White House chief of staff John Sununu needed to go.

The supporters find themselves like skunks at the garden party. They back the president but see a problem. And they decide to speak out.

We find ourselves in that position with President Bush and the war in Iraq. We supported his presidential candidacy. We backed the war in Iraq. But we now wonder: What happened?

U.S. troops have found no Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. And the 9-11 panel says there was no working partnership between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. President Bush presented both WMD and the al-Qaeda/Hussein link as reasons for striking Iraq before it attacks us.

The president has a credibility gap here, and he needs to address it right away. Vice President Dick Cheney tried but failed miserably. He said, in effect, "we know more than you and you better trust us."

The country did just that when we went to war in Iraq, but things aren't working as promised. The administration needs to respond with specifics, not like members of a secret society with keys to the kingdom.
[Dallas Morning News, 6/22/04]

Um, they are members of a secret society.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

From Audience Gasps As Judge Likens Election of Bush to Rise of Il Duce: 2nd Circuit’s Calabresi Also Compares Bush’s Rise to That of Hitler by Josh Gerstein

Benito Mussolini
A prominent federal judge has told a conference of liberal lawyers that President Bush’s rise to power was similar to the accession of dictators such as Mussolini and Hitler.

“In a way that occurred before but is rare in the United States…somebody came to power as a result of the illegitimate acts of a legitimate institution that had the right to put somebody in power. That is what the Supreme Court did in Bush versus Gore. It put somebody in power,” said Guido Calabresi, a judge on the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, which sits in Manhattan.

“The reason I emphasize that is because that is exactly what happened when Mussolini was put in by the king of Italy,” Judge Calabresi continued, as the allusion drew audible gasps from some in the luncheon crowd Saturday at the annual convention of the American Constitution Society.

“The king of Italy had the right to put Mussolini in, though he had not won an election, and make him prime minister. That is what happened when Hindenburg put Hitler in. I am not suggesting for a moment that Bush is Hitler. I want to be clear on that, but it is a situation which is extremely unusual,” the judge said.

Judge Calabresi, a former dean of Yale Law School, said Mr. Bush has asserted the full prerogatives of his office, despite his lack of a compelling electoral mandate from the public.

“When somebody has come in that way, they sometimes have tried not to exercise much power. In this case, like Mussolini, he has exercised extraordinary power. He has exercised power, claimed power for himself; that has not occurred since Franklin Roosevelt who, after all, was elected big and who did some of the same things with respect to assertions of power in times of crisis that this president is doing,” he said.
[New York Sun, 6/21/04]

From Bush's 9-11 Problem by Sydney H. Schanberg
In my research about the alleged Iraq-Al Qaeda link, I came across a document I'd never seen or heard about before, though someone in the vast news machine must have referred to it prior to this. It's not a closely held document—in fact, it's in the public record—and I would like to offer it as a concluding piece of evidence in the debate.

On March 21, 2003, the day after the war began, President Bush sent a letter to both houses of Congress laying out the legal backing and underpinning for his decision to go to war. In the letter's second paragraph, Bush wrote: "I have also determined that the use of armed force against Iraq is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001."

Read his lips. He keeps swearing he never claimed a direct link, but here it is, as the saying goes, in black and white. It is very difficult to think of any interpretation of the above sentence other than that the president of the United States was declaring that Iraq was one of the "nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001."

Still, this debate is too primal to be shut down by the exposure of a single quote. Presidents have lied before. The screaming match will continue. The outcome will be decided only on Election Day in November, when the people will say whether this president's conduct can be tolerated.
[Village Voice, 6/22/04]

Monday, June 21, 2004

From Bush Cheney Lies: Why Do Americans Believe? by Jackson Thoreau
Conservatives like to harp on Clinton’s "Big Lie" that he had sex with a woman who was not his wife; beyond the fact that Republicans, including many of the same ones who condemned Clinton like impeachment committee members Henry Hyde and Bob Barr, have lied about extramarital affairs, Clinton’s lie killed no one.

The lies that Bush and others told to con us into invading Iraq have resulted in thousands of deaths and probably permanent damage to the country’s international reputation.

Bush continues to lie to this day about the threat that Iraq posed before our invasion, despite evidence to the contrary from the CIA and other sources that Hussein was contained and did not have weapons of mass destruction, as the U.S., Israel, and many other countries have.

Americans today are bigger targets for the growing number of terrorists because of the lies of Bush & Co. We are not safer because of those lies.

If Clinton got impeached by the Republican-controlled U.S. House over a lie that killed no one, Bush should get banished from the country for life for his lies. But that won’t happen because Republican hypocrites control Congress. Such is among the many problems when Americans allow one party to dominate our political functions.
[Conspiracy Planet, 6/21/04]

From Cheney in firing line over Nigerian bribery claims by Antony Barnett and Martin Bright
A British lawyer is emerging as a key witness in a $180 million bribery investigation that could lead to the indictment of US vice president Dick Cheney.

Last week, US oil corporation Halliburton cut all ties with a former senior executive, Albert Stanley, after it emerged he had received as much as $5m in 'improper personal benefits' as part of a $4bn gas project in Nigeria. Halliburton also sacked a second 'consultant', William Chaudan in connection with the bribery allegations. At the time of these alleged payments, Cheney was chief executive of the corporation.

French investigating magistrate Renaud van Ruymbeke is examining a stream of payments surrounding the controversial project which was built during the regime of the late dictator Sani Abacha. The judge has uncovered a $180m web of payments channelled through offshore companies and bank accounts.

The Nigerian project to build a huge gas plant was signed with an international consortium that included Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root. Cheney retired from the chief executive post in 2000.

The French judge is considering summoning Cheney to give evidence in his probe to ascertain whether the US vice president knew about the alleged commission payments.
[The Observer (UK), 6/20/04]

Everyone wants to talk to Dick.

From Some 9/11 Commission Staffers 'Flat Out Didn't Believe' Cheney Called Bush to Get His Sign Off On Shoot-Down Order of U.S. Airliners: White House Lobbied Commission to Change Language in Report; One Staffer Says The Report Was 'Watered Down'
The question of whether Vice President Dick Cheney followed proper procedures in ordering the shoot-down of U.S. airliners on September 11 is one of many new issues raised in the remarkably detailed, chilling account laid out in dramatic presentations last week by the 9-11 commission. Newsweek has learned that some on the commission staff were, in fact, highly skeptical of the vice president's account and made their views clearer in an earlier draft of their staff report, Washington Bureau Chief Daniel Klaidman and Senior Editor Michael Hirsh report in the June 28 issue of Newsweek (on newsstands Monday, June 21).

The commission's detailed report notes that after two planes had crashed into the World Trade Center and combat patrols were in the air, a military aide asked for shoot-down authority, telling Cheney that a fourth plane was "80 miles out" from Washington. Cheney didn't flinch, the report said. "In about the time it takes a batter to decide to swing," he gave the order to shoot it down, telling others the president had "signed off on that concept" during a brief phone chat. When the plane was 60 miles out, Cheney was again informed and again he ordered: take it out.

But according to one knowledgeable source, some staffers "flat out didn't believe the call ever took place." Both Cheney and the president testified to the commission that the phone call took place. When the early draft conveying that skepticism was circulated to the administration, it provoked an angry reaction. In a letter from White House lawyers last Tuesday and a series of phone calls, the White House vigorously lobbied the commission to change the language in its report. "We didn't think it was written in a way that clearly reflected the accounting the president and vice president had given to the commission," White House spokesman Dan Bartlett tells Newsweek.
[Yahoo News, 6/20/04]

What if the accounting was, you know, wrong?

From Faux Reagans: The Irony in Bush Borrowing a Legacy by Carrie Parrington
With his popularity dropping, Bush is trying to regain his footing by reaching back to the Reagan years. Just days before Reagan’s death, he compared the war on terrorism to the Cold War. One big difference: during the Cold War, the Soviet Union had real weapons of mass destruction rather than fictional ones.

Lucky for Bush, Reagan passed away so that his legacy could be used freely. On June 12th, just days after the death, a spokesman for Bush’s reelection campaign said Reagan would not be used directly in campaign ads, but his legacy would be invoked in more “subtle” ways. Subtle, meaning they won’t actually bring the former President’s corpse up on stage for every speech, but he will be mentioned and referred to regarding any topic, whenever Bush needs some easy applause.

I was a little wary when I heard that Bush would be co-opting Reagan’s popularity to regain some points in the next approval polls. Despite his flaws, Reagan remains a symbol of strength and optimism. With the nation growing weary of the government’s policies in the Middle East, if we ever needed a “Great Communicator,” the time is now. The irony, of course, is that one of Bush’s major policy platforms – the prohibition of stem-cell research – is in direct conflict with the wishes of the Reagan family.

Bush tactfully rejected all phone calls from the Reagan family and others, pressuring him to ease his funding restrictions on stem cell research. White House spokesman Scott McClellan stated, "The president doesn't believe we should be creating life for the sole purpose of destroying life." Ah, yes. I had forgotten Bush’s strong respect for life. Destroying life is fine, as long as we do not create it ourselves in a lab. Execute as many mentally impaired inmates as you want, bomb as many innocent Iraqis as you can, send as many soldiers to fight a pointless, bloody war as necessary, but God forbid you kill a day old embryo so that others can possibly be cured of terrible diseases. That is unforgivable.
[The Simon, 6/21/04]

"Unforgivable" is exactly the word that occurred to me while reading this article.

From Judicial nominee lacked law license by Carol D. Leonnig
Thomas B. Griffith, President Bush's nominee for the federal appeals court in Washington, has been practicing law in Utah without a state law license for the past four years, according to Utah state officials.
[Boston Globe, 6/21/04]

Heck, that's nothing. Bush has been acting like a president for the past four years without even being elected.

From Fighting a War in Name Only by Andrew J. Bacevich
According to President Bush, the global war on terror is the central event of our time, comparable "to the great struggles of the last century." As prior generations confronted the challenges of Nazism and Stalinism, so destiny summons the present generation to defeat global terror. This has become America's mission — to "defend the peace through the forward march of freedom."

Yet peeling back the rhetoric reveals a different story. By historical standards, the enterprise that some have described as another world war has turned out to be a niggling affair. Bush has asked nothing and required nothing of Americans. And nothing pretty much describes what we've anted up to support the cause.

With the third anniversary of the war on terror fast approaching, the administration has not expanded the armed forces and apparently has no plans to do so. It categorically rejects proposals to revive the draft. It has left untouched the rituals of consumption deemed essential to the American economy. It has studiously refrained from curtailing corporate profits or prerogatives. Old-timers will recall when big wars meant rationing and higher taxes. Not this time. Through deficit spending, we will slough off the cost of war onto future generations.
Real wars — those that engage the passions of the American people — energize politics and subvert the established order. Change is the last thing this administration wants. For despite the high-sounding talk, the overriding aim of this war is not to march toward freedom but to dissuade Americans from peering too deeply at the events of 9/11. Were they to do so, they just might pose discomfiting questions about the competence of our leaders, the organization and purposes of government and the rationale of U.S. foreign policy.
[Los Angeles Times, 6/21/04]

Some are posing such questions anyway.

From U.S. Is Accused of Trying to Isolate U.N. Agency by Christopher Marquis
The Bush administration, which cut off its share of financing two years ago to the United Nations agency handling population control, is seeking to isolate the agency from groups that work with it in China and elsewhere, United Nations officials and diplomats say.

Pressed by opponents of abortion, the administration withdrew its support from a major international conference on health issues this month and has privately warned other groups, like Unicef, that address health issues that their financing could be jeopardized if they insist on working with the agency, the United Nations Population Fund.

The administration also has indicated that it hopes to persuade the United Nations' Latin American caucus to back away from a common position on population and development that was adopted in Santiago, Chile, in March on the grounds that the document's discussion of reproductive rights could be interpreted as promoting abortion.
The administration's position has frustrated some United Nations officials and family planning advocates, who have complained that advances in education and awareness on reproductive issues are being undermined by the United States, where abortion is legal. Those critics, most of whom spoke anonymously because the United States government is the leading contributor to their agencies, charged that the administration was pandering to conservative supporters, and said that doing so placed the United States in alliance with tradition-bound Islamic countries and the Holy See.
[New York Times, 6/21/04]

From U.S. Said to Overstate Value of Guantánamo Detainees by Tim Golden and Don Van Natta Jr.
For nearly two and a half years, American officials have maintained that locked within the steel-mesh cells of the military prison here are some of the world's most dangerous terrorists — "the worst of a very bad lot," Vice President Dick Cheney has called them.

The officials say information gleaned from the detainees has exposed terrorist cells, thwarted planned attacks and revealed vital intelligence about Al Qaeda. The secrets they hold and the threats they pose justify holding them indefinitely without charge, Bush administration officials have said.

But as the Supreme Court prepares to rule on the legal status of the 595 men imprisoned here, an examination by The New York Times has found that government and military officials have repeatedly exaggerated both the danger the detainees posed and the intelligence they have provided.

In interviews, dozens of high-level military, intelligence and law-enforcement officials in the United States, Europe and the Middle East said that contrary to the repeated assertions of senior administration officials, none of the detainees at the United States Naval Base at Guantánamo Bay ranked as leaders or senior operatives of Al Qaeda. They said only a relative handful — some put the number at about a dozen, others more than two dozen — were sworn Qaeda members or other militants able to elucidate the organization's inner workings.
[New York Times, 6/21/04]

From What You Don't See at Olympic Park: Report Criticizing Bush Administration for Funding Shortage Has Not Been Released to Public by Blaine Harden
A federal report says that a shortage of operating funds from the Bush administration is crippling this park, where 3.2 million people last year visited rain forests, alpine trails and one of the nation's longest wild coastlines.

"Core operations of the park are not funded sufficiently to meet the basic goals and mission of the park as defined by Congress," says the report, called the Olympic National Park Business Plan. It says the park receives only about half the money it needs.

But the business plan - a detailed enumeration of the kind of chronic budget shortfalls that are forcing cutbacks in national parks across the United States - has not been released to the public. Handsomely printed copies are gathering dust here at park headquarters.

A National Park Service official, who asked not to be identified out of fear of retaliation, said the report has not been released because the Bush administration "doesn't like bad news. They don't like to see or hear about it or fix it. And they punish the messenger."
"We are worried that some superintendents are not releasing the business plans for fear of retribution or criticism by the administration," said Tom Kiernan, president of the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), a nonprofit advocacy group that monitors the nation's parks.
[Washington Post, 6/21/04]