Saturday, January 27, 2007

Bush Bamboozles Democrats Again

By Robert Parry
January 27, 2007

As Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates joins in baiting Iraq War critics for supposedly aiding the enemy, the Democrats have been taught once more the value of handing a bipartisan olive branch to George W. Bush.

In December 2006, ignoring warnings from former CIA officers who had worked with Gates, Senate Democrats embraced his nomination to replace Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. They fawned over Gates at a one-day hearing, spared the former CIA director any tough questions, and then unanimously endorsed him.

Read on.

The Other Iraq War: Son vs. Father

By Ivan Eland
January 27, 2007

There have been pop psychology explanations that attribute President Bush 43’s aggressive foreign policy decisions to a rivalry with President Bush 41—for example, ascribing junior’s invasion of Iraq as a reaction to his father’s writings about the pitfalls of doing so.

Advocates of such explanations must be trumpeting the President’s recent repudiation of the chief recommendations of the Iraq Study Group—a panel stocked with his father’s former associates—to begin withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq and to engage in direct negotiations with Iran.

Read on.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Who's Helping the Terrorists?

By Robert Parry
January 26, 2007

Vice President Dick Cheney’s daughter Liz was given prime space on the Washington Post’s Op-Ed page to question the wisdom and the patriotism of Americans who disagree with George W. Bush’s long war against Muslim militants.

To Liz Cheney, who surely qualified on merit for her former job as principal deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, there’s only one option – to stay the course in Iraq and to remain firmly in line behind President Bush.

Read on.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

No Longer Leader of the Free World

By Brent Budowsky
January 25, 2007

Had George Walker Bush begun his State of the Union speech with the words, "Ladies and Gentleman, I am taking my leave and retiring from the Presidency," there would have been tidal waves of standing ovations from the Congress across the United States to the far corners of the free world.

Instead, after a modest courtly bow to the first woman Speaker and the party that triumphed in the last election, the President continued his contempt for what Jefferson called the decent opinion of mankind.

Read on.

Taking Peace Mandate to Washington

By Nat Parry
January 25, 2007

On Jan. 27, thousands will descend on Washington, D.C., in a massive collective effort to ensure that the voters’ mandate for peace – as expressed in the historic Nov. 7 election – is heard loud and clear by the new Congress, the Pentagon, the national media, and the White House.

The timing of the demonstration couldn’t be more fortuitous, coming on the heels of the President’s State of the Union Address, and immediately preceding the expected request for an additional $100 billion in war funding.

Read on.

Bush's War on the Republic

By Robert Parry
January 24, 2007

From the beginning of the “war on terror,” George W. Bush has lied to the American people about the goals, motivation and even the identity of the enemy – a propaganda exercise that continued through his 2007 State of the Union Address and that is sounding the death knell for the Republic.

Since 2001, rather than focusing on the al-Qaeda Sunni fundamentalist terrorists behind the 9/11 attacks, Bush has expanded the conflict exponentially – tossing in unrelated enemies such as Iraq’s secular dictator Saddam Hussein, Shiite-led Iran, Syria and Islamic militants opposed to Israel, like Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza.

Read on.

Bush's Bait and Switch on Climate Change

President Bush is making headlines today thanks to his surprising mention of global climate change in his State of the Union address and his corresponding proposal to reduce gasoline consumption by 20% in 10 years. As the Washington Post put it,

The energy proposals President Bush outlined last night break new ground for his administration. He combined a call to lower gasoline consumption with new mandates for oil companies and new standards for automakers. And he couched these in the context of enhancing U.S. energy security and addressing climate change.

In a way, though, his conflation of reducing gas consumption and addressing global warming was reminiscent of past speeches in which he mentioned 9/11 and Iraq in the same breath, without actually saying that one was directly related to the other. Of course, burning gas is one of the primary causes of global warming, but by proposing to cut gas consumption by 20%, it seems the president is hoping to gain political points on the global warming issue, without actually doing anything to seriously address its causes.

When it comes to climate change, the real issue is carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and greenhouse gases. These gases are produced by a variety of activities, by burning coal for instance. And as the Post points out, when it comes to Bush's proposal, “Administration officials said that the goal is 20 percent below projected annual gasoline usage, not off today’s levels,” meaning “that carbon dioxide emissions from transportation fuels will drop only slightly from today’s levels; other parts of the economy produce the other two-thirds of greenhouse gases.”

Essentially, Bush's proposal will do next to nothing to address the causes of climate change, and will certainly do nothing to reverse its effects.

Also, as the LA Times points out, "some aspects of the overall plan seemed to contradict each other."

For one, Bush's proposal to save gasoline by increasing vehicle fuel economy standards could be undermined by his call for greater use of alternative fuels. Ethanol, for example, gets less mileage than gasoline and, without a major technological breakthrough, requiring more of it could make it harder to increase fuel efficiency.

Philip E. Clapp, president of the National Environmental Trust, said that the president's request for new legislation "letting him set standards basically model-by-model is something Detroit has pushed for years — as a way to poke more loopholes in the current weak standards."

One irony of Bush's proposal is that it seems to be utterly arbitrary, and one of the main arguments the administration has made against the Kyoto Protocol on global warming has been that its CO2 reduction targets are arbitrary and could adversely affect the U.S. economy. Considering the improbability of the 20% reduction in achieving any results on climate change, the question must be asked what the point of it is in the first place.

For its part, the Sierra Club is urging Americans to use the opportunity provided by Bush's speech to seriously press the administration to take real action on climate change. In an open letter to the president, the organization says,

We want action -- we want to break our nation's oil habit, invest in renewable wind and solar power, and adopt plans that use clean energy technologies to create jobs. We want action taken on global warming.

President Bush, you have a choice -- you can spend the last two years of your Presidency footdragging, continuing to block real action on global warming or you can work with the new Congress to do what the American people want and that's to take steps to solve global warming.

To add your name to the letter, click here.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Plame-gate Plot Thickens

In the opening statements at the trial of former White House aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, new evidence emerged pointing toward a criminal conspiracy at the highest levels of George W. Bush’s White House.

Libby’s defense attorney Theodore Wells described a conversation from 2003 between Vice President Dick Cheney and Libby, his chief of staff, at which a worried Libby complained that “they’re trying to set me up. They want me to be the sacrificial lamb.”

Read on.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Rev. Moon's Anti-Obama Agit-Prop

By Robert Parry
January 23, 2007

If you’ve ever wondered how agit-propaganda works, you might take a look at the latest case study from the Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s media empire – a bogus story about Barack Obama attending a Muslim “madrassah” when he was six years old, a smear that was then attributed to operatives of Hillary Clinton.

The shrewdness of Moon’s Insight magazine story is that it hit two enemies with one anonymously sourced stone, a strategy of slime and divide straight from the textbooks of a spy agency like the CIA.

Read on.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Show Me the Intelligence!

By Ray McGovern
January 21, 2007

Have you noticed? Neither President George W. Bush nor Vice President Dick Cheney have cited any U.S. intelligence assessments to support their fateful decision to send 21,500 more troops to referee the civil war in Iraq.

This is a far cry from October 2002, when a formal National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) was rushed through in order to trick Congress into giving its nihil obstat for the attack on Iraq.

Read on.