Bush Campaign Lies

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Bush Wins - What Were You Thinking? 

For obvious reasons, this will be my last post. And I have only one thing to say to the millions of people who voted for Bush last Tuesday: What were you thinking?

This is only a guess, but I estimate that Bush received at least 20 million votes from people who might have been willing to vote the other way, but decided for one reason or another that Bush was the better candidate.

But how could ANYONE think Bush was the better candidate? What was the one accomplishment of the Bush administration that persuaded them to give Bush four more years? Was it the fact that the worst terrorist attack ever to take place on American soil happened on Bush's watch? The fact that Bush spent the first seven minutes after receiving word of the attacks staring blankly at a room full of elementary school children? The fact that the Bush administration willfully withheld an EPA evaluation on how dangerous the air was in downtown NY after the attacks, so that thousands of people, including unborn children, will have health problems for the rest of their lives?

Was it the fact that Bush resisted the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, and the creation of the 9/11 commission? Or maybe it was the fact that Bush willfully withheld information from the 9/11 commission for months, and refused to testify before the commission in person, and then finally agreed to testify but only if Dick Cheney could come along and hold his hand?

Maybe it was the fact that Bush and friends relentlessly politicized the attacks, using them to cast their Democratic opponents as unpatriotic, using Osama bin Laden's picture in campaign ads in the 2002 midterm elections to smear an incumbent Democrat who had served heroically in Vietnam? Or the fact that they used the attacks to strongarm Democrats into voting for a resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq less than a month before those midterm elections?

Or maybe the war against Iraq was enough all by itself? Was it the way that Cheney and Wolfowitz set up their own intelligence agency, the Office of Special Plans, to cherry pick intelligence reports about Iraq's WMD capability, so that exculpatory data never made it to Bush's desk, but inflammatory and often unreliable data did? Was it the way Colin Powell went before the UN and boldly lied about Iraq's weapons stockpiles? Or the comments Bush, Rumsfeld, Rice and especially Cheney made giving detailed descriptions of Iraq's weapons capabilities, stating unambiguously types and quantities of weaponry when they knew their statements were based on questionable evidence at best and complete fabrications at worst?

Was it the fact that someone in the White House committed a felony by blowing the cover of a CIA operative working on WMD intelligence, and Bush didn't really seem to give a damn?

Maybe it was the fact that David Kay and Charles Duelfer both reported unambiguously that Iraq basically never had WMD (since 1998) and never would as long as the sanctions remained in place, yet until very recently, Bush and Cheney both insisted that the weapons really had been there? Maybe it was the way Bush joked around about our inability to find those weapons, even as our troops were getting killed by Iraqi insurgents at the rate of more than one a day?

Maybe it was the fact that we sent far too few troops to Iraq in the first place, and thus have had to withstand much higher mortality rates than if we had gone in with the recommended level of troops. Or the fact that the Pentagon made up a detailed post-invasion plan to secure the country, and Rumsfeld threw it in the trash, confident that U.S. troops would be greeted with open arms and flowers.

Maybe it was the way we invaded a country ruled by a ruthless dictator with no significant ties to terrorism and made it a terrorist haven. Maybe it was the way we shredded almost all of the international alliances we ever had in the process, thus making success in Iraq much more difficult for this president, and making diplomacy in general much more difficult for any American president for years to come.

Maybe it was the way the Bushies raided the U.S. treasury, slashing billions in tax revenues to lower taxes for everyone a little bit, but for the wealthiest a lot. After all, it is 'our money'. Maybe it's the way that Bush showed his deep concern for spending every tax dollar wisely by indiscriminately doling out multi-billion dollar no-bid contracts to Cheney's Halliburton cronies with no oversight.

Maybe it's the biggest national debt in U.S. history. Maybe it's the fact that Bush is the first president since Hoover to see a net decrease in the number of jobs during his term of office. Maybe it's the fact that Bush was so eager to pursue a meaningless and expensive war of choice in Iraq that he let Osama bin Laden get away. Maybe it's the fact that his administration has done more to damage the environment than any other administration in American history.

Maybe it's the fact that by invading Iraq, we allowed 377 tons of explosives to get into the hands of terrorists. Maybe it's the fact that every counterterrorism expert believes that the war in Iraq made the U.S. less safe instead of more safe. Maybe it's the fact that the administration lied about the cost of the Medicare bill because even congressional Republicans wouldn't have supported it if they had known the true cost, or the fact that they made it illegal for Medicare to use its buying power to negotiate lower drug costs with manufacturers.

Maybe it's the fact that a bunch of liars spent a month smearing Kerry's heroic record of service in Vietnam, and so people decided they'd rather vote for a deserter who to this day consistently lies about his military record.

If anyone is still reading this site, and if they're Bush supporters, they'll call me a sore loser. Damn right I'm sore. We could have gotten this country turned in the right direction with this election. But no. 48% of the people in this country had better sense than you, but because you prefer cheerleading for the Cult of Bush to thinking, we all have to suffer right along with you.

I'm talking to you, West Virginia, and you, Colorado, and you, Nevada. If Kerry had taken those three states, I wouldn't be writing this right now. But it doesn't stop there. Florida went for the incompetent buffoon, and apparently Ohio did, too.

This election shouldn't have been close. Yeah, I'm sore, because I'm trying to raise my kids, and you idiots are going to make this country a much more unpleasant place for them to grow up, just because you think it's more important to make 'flip-flopper' and botox jokes than it is to get a responsible leader in the White House.

And yes, I'm a loser, too. But unless you make over $200,000 a year or work for the Republican party, the oil industry or the defense industry, so are you. 98% of the people in this country are going to be losers, all because of you frat-boy Bush supporters.

Congratulations. I hope you're as happy with your 'victory' three years from now as you are today.

2:14 PM

Friday, October 29, 2004

The Rude One Endorses Kerry 

A common knock against Kerry, from both the left and the right, is that although there may be many reasons to vote against Bush (you may even find one or two on this site, if you look closely), there really isn't any reason to vote for Kerry.

Which is nonsense. I've had at least one faithful reader inform me that this site 'changed her political life' by causing her to realize what a great choice Kerry is (I think it was most of the stuff I wrote debunking the 'Kerry Flip-Flops' canard).

For a more brief, direct, and I'm sorry to say, rude explanation as to why Kerry will be a great president, check out the Rude Pundit's endorsement.

8:31 PM

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Public Service Announcements 


Well, you've no doubt noticed an utter lack of posts over the past few days. Sorry about that. I thought I would be able to continue a hard push through the election, but it turns out I was wrong. Still, there's ample fodder here for you to pick through, argue about, and pass on to undecideds or Bush supporters of one stripe or another.

Two quick notes I want to make sure I get out there with as much time as possible left before the election. The first is a site which recently came to my attention which tries to provide nationwide one-stop shopping for finding your polling place. Pass it on:


The second is the Nation's 100 facts and one opinion against George W. Bush:

The Non-Arguable Case Against the Bush Administration

That may be all for this election cycle. Get out there, argue with people, GOTV, and vote yourself. It's unbelieveably important.

5:14 PM

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Bush Campaign Lie #75: Non-Defense, Non-Discretionary Spending is Less Than 1% 

So lied Bush in Friday night debate. Here's the actual quote:

"Non-homeland, non-defense discretionary spending was raising at 15 percent a year when I got into office. And today it's less than 1 percent, because we're working together to try to bring this deficit under control."
When I heard Bush say this, I didn't know right away that this is one of his biggest campaign lies yet. But according to the Congressional Budget Office (via Kevin Drum), the Bush administration and Republican Congress have overseen a larger rise in non-defense, non-discretionary spending than any of the previous five administrations, at about 8.2% per year.

If Bush tries to call Kerry a 'big government' liberal in the final debate, remember this fact and laugh hysterically.

1:10 PM

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Bush Campaign Lie #74: KerryOnIraq.com 

A commenter to the previous post brought this site to my attention (congratulations, Jacqueline, you're famous!). At first I was dismayed, because I've set myself the ground rule that only public statements by Bush administration or campaign officials, or material from the Bush campaign or RNC is fair game for this site.

But if you navigate away from the main page of kerryoniraq.com, to the 'Submit Your Review' page, there's a tiny notice at the bottom stating 'Paid for by the Republican National Committee'. It's almost like the RNC is trying to hide the fact that they produced the video. Wonder why that is?

The video is a masterful bit of propaganda. It only contains a few artfully edited video clips taking Kerry's statements out of context, while most of them are fairly edited clips, providing a full and complete account of Kerry's words. Such a mix of legitimate and out-of-context video is essential, because it gives the sense that all of the clips you're seeing fairly portray Kerry's point of view. You're so impressed with the faux-fairness of the video that you hardly notice the cutesy 'Flipper' music in the background.

But propaganda it is. For me to thoroughly debunk it would be redundant, since I've answered the video's most 'serious' charges --- especially the tiresome talk of Kerry's infamous vote against the $87 billion Iraq appropriations bill --- here, and here, and here.

But Kerry's position on Iraq is so straightforward, let's just do this. Watch the Kerry On Iraq video --- it runs 12:38, get good and comfy --- then read Kerry's statement from Friday's debate:

"He's trying to attack me. He wants you to believe that I can't be president. And he's trying to make you believe it because he wants you to think I change my mind.

Well, let me tell you straight up: I've never changed my mind about Iraq. I do believe Saddam Hussein was a threat. I always believed he was a threat. Believed it in 1998 when Clinton was president. I wanted to give Clinton the power to use force if necessary.

But I would have used that force wisely, I would have used that authority wisely, not rushed to war without a plan to win the peace.

I would have brought our allies to our side. I would have fought to make certain our troops had everybody possible to help them win the mission.

This president rushed to war, pushed our allies aside. And Iran now is more dangerous, and so is North Korea, with nuclear weapons. He took his eye off the ball, off of Osama bin Laden."
Now, I believe that the following is a fair summary of what Kerry said:

  1. Kerry believed Saddam was a threat at least as far back as 1998.
  2. Kerry wanted to give the President, whether that President was Clinton or Bush, the authority to use force since at least 1998. Please note that authorizing the use of force is not the same thing as saying 'invade immediately', especially not in the case of H.J. Res 114, which authorized the use of force in Iraq.
  3. If military force was used, it should be done 'with a plan to win the peace'.
  4. If military force was used, it should be done with 'our allies (by) our side'.
  5. By focusing on Iraq, Bush has failed to address more serious threats in Korea and Iran, and fumbled our best chance to really squash Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda.
Now, watch the video again, and try to find any instance of Kerry contradicting these points. While you're watching, note also how Kerry continually emphasizes the need to let inspections run their course, and the need to work with the international community.

Next, let's go back to Friday night's debate and review Kerry's criticisms of Bush after the invasion:

"The president stood right here in this hall four years ago, and he was asked a question by somebody just like you, 'Under what circumstances would you send people to war?'

And his answer was, 'With a viable exit strategy and only with enough forces to get the job done.'

He didn't do that. He broke that promise. We didn't have enough forces.

General Shinseki, the Army chief of staff, told him he was going to need several hundred thousand. And guess what? They retired General Shinseki for telling him that.

This president hasn't listened.

I went to meet with the members of the Security Council in the week before we voted. I went to New York. I talked to all of them to find out how serious they were about really holding Saddam Hussein accountable.

I came away convinced that, if we worked at it, if we were ready to work and letting Hans Blix do his job and thoroughly go through the inspections, that if push came to shove, they'd be there with us.

But the president just arbitrarily brought the hammer down and said, 'Nope. Sorry, time for diplomacy is over. We're going.'

He rushed to war without a plan to win the peace.

Ladies and gentleman, he gave you a speech and told you he'd plan carefully, take every precaution, take our allies with us. He didn't. He broke his word."
And yes, you nitpicky trolls, Kerry was technically incorrect when he said that the Bush administration 'retired' Shinseki. In actuality, they merely made him a lame duck by announcing his retirement 18 months early, in the hopes that he would resign. This pretty much amounts to the same thing.

I don't remember who first gave this pithy summary of Kerry's position on Iraq, but it can be summed up like this:

'I gave Bush the authority to use force in Iraq, and Bush fucked it up.'

Is that simple enough to understand? Any video on the RNC site which shows Kerry criticizing the war either includes criticism of Bush's conduct of the war, or has been edited so you don't see it.

Consistently, throughout the whole RNC propaganda piece, Kerry emphasizes the need to allow inspections to run their course before considering military action. And since inspections need to be backed by the threat of force in order to be effective, Kerry authorized the use of force. Of course, we now know that had inspections run their course, we would have discovered that Iraq was less of a threat than it had been before the first Gulf War. And we could have kept our attention on rooting out al Qaeda, or turned our focus to Iran or North Korea. And more than 1,000 American soldiers wouldn't have died. Thousands more would not have been injured. $200 billion could have been spent to fight al Qaeda, or beef up DHS, or fund NCLB, or keep the deficit from growing quite so large.

And America and the world would be more secure.

If the electorate were to focus on these facts, there would be no way for Bush to defend himself, because his record is clearly indefensible. So the Bush campaign has manufactured the myth that Kerry is all wishy-washy and confused, so people will focus on that instead of Bush's incompetence. It's masterful, really.

10:14 PM

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Bush Campaign Lie #73: Most Anything Dick Cheney Says 

So, I just sat down to write up an extensive, well-documented post about the lies that were flying out of Dick Cheney's mouth a mile a minute at last night's debate, but it turns out I don't have to. The dean of liberal blogistry, Kevin Drum, has already done it much better than I ever could.

Actually, Kevin's not alone. Looks like folks all over the media noticed.

It seems that most folks (with the unsurprising exception of the So-Called Liberal Media) believe that Edwards won the debate by a small margin. Take into account the fact that most of Cheney's best attacks were lies, and it turns into a rout for Edwards.

Cheney's performance last night is the final, conclusive proof --- if any was still required --- that the Bush administration doesn't give a damn about the truth, and expects the American public to be sufficiently gullible to believe anything they happen to make up on the spur of the moment.

Clinton's critics were right. The American people should be able to trust their President and his administration. There should be no need for people like me to go around fact-checking everything the administration says. However, this administration has turned that standard on its head: they have lied so often and so shamelessly about so many things that there's no reason to trust a word they say.

Ironically, most of Clinton's critics (but not all) are now playing ostrich with their heads in the sand, pretending that they have a straight-talkin', principled cowboy running the show. I admit, it's a nice fantasy, folks.

But a fantasy is all it is. And if you don't snap out of it by November 2, you'll miss your chance to put a real adult in charge of things.

6:28 PM

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Bush Campaign Lie #72: Bush Does Not Condone Torture of Suspected Terrorists 

This one's pretty straightforward.

Every June 26 is the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. And every June 26, Bush makes a statement condemning torture and voicing his support for the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

This year, he concluded his statement by saying:

"The United States will continue to take seriously the need to question terrorists who have information that can save lives. But we will not compromise the rule of law or the values and principles that make us strong. Torture is wrong no matter where it occurs, and the United States will continue to lead the fight to eliminate it everywhere."
What a great rhetorical statement. Bush is determined to be tough on terrorists, but won't stoop to torture.

Except that he will. And I'm not talking about Abu Ghraib and the allegations that Bush tacitly approved the conduct there. I'm talking about pending legislation in Congress to allow 'extraordinary rendition' of terrorist suspects, legislation which the administration openly supports.

Current law forbids immigration officials from deporting someone to a country where they are likely to be tortured or abused. But Dennis Hastert has introduced a provision in a bill which would allow the U.S. to send 'suspected terrorists' anywhere we want --- even to a country different from their country of origin:

Under the Hastert bill, U.S. authorities could send an immigrant to any country, regardless of the likelihood of torture or abuse. The measure would shift to the deportee the burden of proving 'by clear and convincing evidence that he or she would be tortured' -- a burden that human rights activists say is impossible to satisfy. It would bar a U.S. court from reviewing the regulations, which would fall under the secretary of homeland security.
Legislation which specifically targets suspected terrorists and deports them without regard to the likelihood that they will be tortured sounds quite a bit like condoning the torture of suspected terrorists.

More cynically, Hastert has added this provision to the bill which would implement the recommendations of the 9/11 commission. So when you hear the Bush campaign and Republicans complaining about Democrats who 'oppose implementing the recommendations of the 9/11 commission', look closer. Those Democrats will really be opposing this torture provision.

And of course, only the most naive Bush supporter would believe that this legislation wouldn't be used explicitly for the purpose of outsourcing the torture of terrorist suspects. Obsidian Wings has a more in-depth explanation about what this bill actually does. It also includes an exhortation to contact your representative and oppose this provision, which I would also ask you to do. If you don't know how to contact your representative, you can find contact info at Project VoteSmart.

2:47 PM