Friday, September 10, 2004

Dishonesty defined, When His Lips are Moving

The Dishonesty Thing
"The real issue in the National Guard story isn't what George W. Bush did three decades ago. It's the recent pattern of lies: his assertions that he fulfilled his obligations when he obviously didn't, the White House's repeated claims that it had released all of the relevant documents when it hadn't.

It's the same pattern of dishonesty, this time involving personal matters that the public can easily understand, that some of us have long seen on policy issues, from global warming to the war in Iraq. On budget matters, which is where I came in, serious analysts now take administration dishonesty for granted.


It wasn't always that way. Three years ago, those of us who accused the administration of cooking the budget books were ourselves accused, by moderates as well as by Bush loyalists, of being "shrill." These days the coalition of the shrill has widened to include almost every independent budget expert."


The administration claims to have a plan to cut the deficit in half over the next five years. But even Bruce Bartlett, a longtime tax-cut advocate, points out that "projections showing deficits falling assume that Bush's tax cuts expire on schedule." But Mr. Bush wants those tax cuts made permanent. That is, the administration has a "plan" to reduce the deficit that depends on Congress's not passing its own legislation.


Sounding definitely shrill, Mr. Bartlett says that "anyone who thinks we can overcome our fiscal mess without higher taxes is in denial." Far from backing down on his tax cuts, however, Mr. Bush is proposing to push the budget much deeper into the red with privatization programs that purport to offer something for nothing.


As Newsweek's Allan Sloan writes, "The president didn't exactly burden us with details about paying for all this. It's great marketing: show your audience the goodies but not the price tag. It's like going to the supermarket, picking out your stuff and taking it home without stopping at the checkout line to pay. The bill? That will come later."


Longtime readers will remember that that's exactly what I said, shrilly, about Mr. Bush's proposals during the 2000 campaign. Once again, he's running on the claim that 2 - 1 = 4.

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/10/opinion/10krugman.html


How Many Deaths Will It Take?


"Eventually there'll be a fine memorial to honor the young Americans whose lives were sacrificed for no good reason in Iraq. Yesterday, under the headline "The Roster of the Dead," The New York Times ran photos of the first thousand or so who were killed.


They were sent off by a president who ran and hid when he was a young man and his country was at war. They fought bravely and died honorably. But as in Vietnam, no amount of valor or heroism can conceal the fact that they were sent off under false pretenses to fight a war that is unwinnable.


How many thousands more will have to die before we acknowledge that President Bush's obsession with Iraq and Saddam Hussein has been a catastrophe for the United States?"


One of the reasons the American effort in Iraq is unsustainable is that the American people know very little about the Iraqi people and their culture, and in most cases couldn't care less. The war in Iraq was sold as a response to Sept. 11. As it slowly dawns on a majority of Americans that the link was bogus, and that there is no benefit to the U.S. from this war, only endless grief, the political support will all but vanish.


http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/10/opinion/10herbert.html


War is peace.
Freedom is slavery.
Ignorance is strength.
--George Orwell, 1984

The war, therefore, if we judge it by the standards of previous wars, is merely an imposture. But though it is unreal it is not meaningless. It eats up the surplus of consumable goods, and it helps to preserve the special mental atmosphere that a hierarchical society needs. War, it will be seen, is now a purely internal affair. In the past, the ruling groups of all countries, although they might recognize their common interest and therefore limit the destructiveness of war, did fight against one another, and the victor always plundered the vanquished. … and the object of the war is not to make or prevent conquests of territory, but to keep the structure of society intact. The very word "war," therefore, has become misleading. It would probably be accurate to say that by becoming continuous war has ceased to exist.


If the administration were really proud of how it's grabbing "emergency" powers that skirt the law, it wouldn't do so in the dead of night. It wasn't enough for Congress to enhance Mr. Ashcroft's antiterrorist legal arsenal legitimately by passing the U.S.A.-Patriot Act before anyone could read it; now he rewrites more rules without consulting senators or congressmen of either party at all. He abridged by decree the Freedom of Information Act, an essential check on government malfeasance in peace and war alike, and discreetly slipped his new directive allowing eavesdropping on conversations between some lawyers and clients into the Federal Register. He has also refused repeated requests to explain himself before Congressional committees, finally relenting to a nominal appearance in December. At one House briefing, according to Time magazine, he told congressmen they could call an 800 number if they had any questions about what Justice is up to.
This kind of high-handedness and secrecy has been a hallmark of the administration beginning Jan. 20, not Sept. 11.

http://www.nytimes.com/2001/11/24/opinion/24RICH.html?todaysheadlines&pagewanted=all

con·cept: Dishonesty defined, When His Lips are Moving