Tuesday, July 01, 2003

A CRACK IN BUSH'S FACADE - Growing WMD Scandal Could Lead to Impeachment

Mon Jun 30, 5:08 PM ET Add Op/Ed - Ted Rall to My Yahoo!

By Ted Rall

MINNEAPOLIS--Bush lied about the weapons of mass destruction. He lied to us, the United Nations (news - web sites), and the soldiers he sent to die in Iraq (news - web sites). Bush's apologists defend his attempts to sell this obscene war as mere spin, but claiming certain knowledge of something that doesn't exist is hardly a question of emphasis. It's time to stop wondering where the WMDs are. Even if nukes and gases and anthrax turn up in prodigious quantities, it won't matter. Proof of Bush's perfidy, unlike his accusations that Saddam had something to do with 9/11, is irrefutable.

Before he ordered U.S. forces to kill and maim tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi soldiers and civilians, Bush and Co. repeatedly maintained that they had absolute proof that Saddam Hussein (news - web sites) still possessed WMDs. "There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction," Dick Cheney (news - web sites) said in August. In January, Ari Fleisher said: "We know for a fact that there are weapons there." WMDs; not a "WMD program" as they now refer to it. WMDs--not just indications of possible, or probable, WMDs.

Absolute proof.

During the first days of the war, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld stared into television cameras, looked right at his employers (that's you and me), and said that he knew exactly where they were. "We know where they are," Rumsfeld said. "They are in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad."

Uh-huh. So where are they?

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GO Ted!. Read this editorial.


Poll Says Most Believe Saddam-9/11 Link

Tue Jul 1, 9:46 AM ET Add Politics - AP to My Yahoo!

WASHINGTON - Seven in 10 people in a poll say the Bush administration implied that Iraq (news - web sites) and its leader Saddam Hussein (news - web sites) were involved in the Sept. 11 attacks against the United States.

And a majority, 52 percent, say they believe the United States has found clear evidence in Iraq that Saddam was working closely with the al-Qaida terrorist organization.

The number that believes this country has found weapons of mass destruction is 23 percent, down from 34 percent in May, according to a poll conducted by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland.

Prewar assertions by the Bush administration about al-Qaida's ties to the Iraqi government have not been proven, and weapons of mass destruction have not been found since the invasion of Iraq.

CIA (news - web sites) officials have said that two trailers recovered in Iraq were mobile biological weapons laboratories; Bush administration officials have called the trailers the most significant evidence yet that their allegations of Saddam's weapons programs were accurate.

Only four in 10 of those polled, 39 percent, said they thought the government was being fully truthful when it presented evidence of links between Saddam and al-Qaida. But among those who thought the government was not telling the truth, people were more likely to say the government was "stretching the truth, but not making false statements" rather than "presenting evidence they knew was false."

The number who want the United Nations (news - web sites) to take a leadership role in Iraq has grown from 50 percent in April to 64 percent now.

More than 60 U.S. troops have died in Iraq since President Bush (news - web sites) declared May 1 that major combat had ended. But the American public remains committed to sticking with the Iraq mission.

Eight in 10 said the United States has the responsibility to remain in Iraq as long as necessary until there is a stable government.

The poll of 1,051 adults was taken June 18-25 by Knowledge Networks and has an error margin of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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I need a drink. I get kinda worked up over this type of shit.


Blame Bush in State Fiscal Crisis

LATimes.com - Robert Scheer - July 1, 2003

The other day a woman asked me to sign a petition calling for the recall of California Gov. Gray Davis. Why, I asked. Because he bankrupted the state, she said. When I begged to differ that it was the Bush administration and its buddies at companies like Enron that had put the state into an economic tailspin, she said she was being paid according to the number of petitions signed and didn't really care. But voters should care because Davis is being used as a fall guy for problems that are beyond his control.

Remember Enron and those other scandals that cost folks their jobs and their 401(k) savings? They were a result of deregulation, the mantra of the Republicans. Deregulation was most disastrous for California's energy market, in which a crisis cost jobs and threw the world's fifth-largest economy into long-term disruption. This was not the normal workings of the market but the result of market manipulation by officials of Enron and other energy companies, some of whom are on their way to trial.

Still out cruising the boulevards is our president's once close friend, Kenneth "Kenny Boy" Lay. A major contributor to Bush family political campaigns and former Enron chief executive, Lay invented the energy trading game. It was made possible by his successful lobbying for the 1992 Energy Policy Act, signed into law by the elder Bush. That law allowed a minor Texas company to mushroom into the world's largest energy titan before it went poof.

Daddy Bush also tended to Enron's rise by appointing Wendy L. Gramm to head the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which promptly exempted electricity trading from the regulatory oversight covering other commodities. Gramm went on to serve on Enron's board of directors and its so-called auditing committee. Her husband, Phil Gramm, then a GOP senator from Texas, later pushed through legislation further deregulating the industry.

When the younger Bush ran for president, he turned to Lay, who became the single biggest contributor to Bush's campaign. George W. returned the favor big-time by appointing to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission members who looked the other way when Enron and its fellow swindler companies were fleecing California. These appointees insisted that California's problems were of its own making and would have to be solved without the imposition of the wholesale energy price caps that would have saved taxpayers from a crushing burden.

Vice President Dick Cheney emerged from secret meetings with Enron executives and stated that the administration considered wholesale price caps a "mistake" because "there isn't anything that can be done short-term to produce more kilowatts this summer." Either Cheney was lying or his Enron buddies were lying to him because, at the time, Enron was routing electricity from California to sell at a higher price in Oregon. Federal price controls would have prevented Enron and the other companies from playing one state against another.

It is disingenuous for California Republicans to now blame Davis rather than their man Bush for the state's economic problems. Only last week, the Republican-dominated FERC banned Enron from selling electricity as punishment for having severely distorted Western energy markets. Enron and 60 other companies were ordered to show why they should not be forced to return their illegally gained profits.

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The Davis recall effort is all part of the GOP "Destroy GOvernment to Save It" strategy. Only this is the California version.


As 2004 Nears, Bush Pins Slump on Clinton

At Miami fundraiser, President Bush says he "inherited" an economy already in recession.

By Dana Milbank - washingtonpost.com - Tuesday, July 1, 2003; Page A11

With the start of his reelection campaign in the past two weeks, President Bush has revived his pastime of blaming his predecessor, Bill Clinton, for the economic recession.

"Two-and-a-half years ago, we inherited an economy in recession," he told donors at a Bush-Cheney '04 reception yesterday in Miami. He has raised the same accusation in fundraising appearances since mid-June in Washington, Georgia, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

It's a good applause line for a crowd of red-meat political supporters. The trouble is it's a case of what the president has called, in another context, revisionist history. The recession officially began in March of 2001 -- two months after Bush was sworn in -- according to the universally acknowledged arbiter of such things, the National Bureau of Economic Research. And the president, at other times, has said so himself.

The bad news came on Nov. 26, 2001. The NBER, led by an informal economic adviser to Bush, Martin Feldstein, pronounced that economic activity peaked in March 2001, "a determination that the expansion that began in March 1991 ended in March 2001 and a recession began."

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Fing Lying GOP Pukes.