Welcome to Left Out, reality-based independent radio on WRCT 88.3FM, and on the worldwide web at leftout.info. Left Out discusses the news from a perspective left out of the mainstream media. Left Out is co-hosted by Bob Harper and Danny Sleator. Today's program is produced by Matt Hornyak. Listeners are invited to call the program at (412) 268-WRCT (9728), or to send email to email@example.com
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The Republican War on Science documents the extensive pattern of abuse of and disregard for science by the Republican Party that, in its current incarnation, started in the Reagan era and is being avidly carried forward by the Bush Administration today. Part exploitative anti-intellectualism, part elevation of ideology over reality, the Republican war on science threatens the foundations of government by disconnecting policy-making from facts.
Topics for today's discussion with Chris Mooney:
On the October 5, 2003 edition of Left Out, we predicted that Dick Cheney's chief-of-staff I. Lewis Libby would turn out to be behind the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame in retaliation for her husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson, exposing but one of the many lies used to justify the invasion of Iraq.
We at Left Out enjoy gloating as much as the next talk show hosts, but the real story here is not that we were right, but that it was utterly obvious at the time what was going on here: who was behind it, and why they did it. Yet our fabled mainstream media hardly touched the story until last week when, at long last, obstruction of justice and perjury charges were brought against none other than I. Lewis Libby.
On the February 17, 2004 edition of Left Out, we pointed out that New York Times "reporter" Judith Miller was serving as a stenographer for the Bush administration's propaganda campaign to justify it's legally and ethically unjustified and strategically misguided attack on Iraq. At the time, and in the year and a half preceding our report, anyone who bothered to look could see that Miller was functioning as a mole within the New York Times, and was playing a critical role in justifying the war on Iraq. Yet no one in the mainstream media would touch the story, and commentators such as Michael Massing were marginalized as "conspiracy theorists". Yet, once again, we in the independent media were proved right, and only now is the mainstream media taking notice.
In his October 31, 2005 column Paul Krugman points out the obvious, the across-the-board incompetence of the Bush administration.
The record of policy failure is truly remarkable. It sometimes seems as if President Bush and Mr. Cheney are Midases in reverse: everything they touch - from Iraq reconstruction to hurricane relief, from prescription drug coverage to the pursuit of Osama - turns to crud. Even the few apparent successes turn out to contain failures at their core: for example, real G.D.P. may be up, but real wages are down.
The point is that this administration's political triumphs have never been based on its real-world achievements, which are few and far between. The administration has, instead, built its power on myths: the myth of presidential leadership, the ugly myth that the administration is patriotic while its critics are not. Take away those myths, and the administration has nothing left.
How is this possible? Because the mainstream news media have actively collaborated in perpetuating the myth of competence and leadership by Bush administration officials, and colluded to obscure and distract from its blatant and catastrophic failures.
The Toronot Globe and Mail quotes New Yorker journalist Seymour Hersh as saying that "[Federal Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald] is going to save America." Hersh believes that Fitzgerald is going deep and will expose the entire neo-con conspiracy that has taken over our government. If wishes were horses ...
I (Sleator) watched Meet the Press this weekend. It started out pretty powerfully, with video clips of Bush and Cheney during the 2000 presidential campaign. In a rousing speech Bush vows to "restore honor and diignity to the White House". And Cheney says:
[We will] restore decency and integrity to the oval office. ... They offer legalisms and carefully worded denials, we offer aother way ... and a stiff dose of truth
So much for the "other way", since the administration (and its supporters) has been doing almost nothing else lately except offering legalisms and carefully worded denials. Actually, they have stopped even denying things now. Now they just refuse to talk about it because it's "under investigation".
Unfortunately much of the rest of the show was spent allowing the viewer to just think this is "business as usual". Brooks, Safire and Beschloss all confidently predicting that "Bush can recover.". Brooks went so far as to exonerate the administration for leaking Plame's name at all! He said that even after two years and with the "full cooperation" of the white house Fitzgerald had concluded that it had not happened. Wait a minute here. Since when is lying, which is what we know Libby (at least) did in great quantities "fully cooperating"? And there's this deliberate attempt to confuse two things. One is what anybody using common sense knows must have happened, and the other is what Fitzgerald is absolutely sure he can PROVE IN A COURT OF LAW. The problem with applying the identity protection act is that you have to PROVE that the leaker KNEW that the person he was leaking was an undercover agent.
But let's get real. Does anybody in their right mind not think believe that Cheney and Rove were not fully involved with this?
I guess it's true that if the mainstream media continues to portray this fraud and deceit as inconsequential, then maybe it will blow over. The glaring inconsistencies and lies put forth by these bozos have not been corrected. But I guess that may not matter.
The fact is, this is worse than watergate. It was an orchestrated campaign of lies whose purpose was to get the US into a war.
(For more on the incrediby stupid media response to the Libby indictment, see this FAIR media advisory.)
Which brings us to what really should happen.
Serious legal minds have looked at this carefully, and Bush has committed a multitude of impeachable offenses. For example, read The President's Impeachable Offenses by MacArthur award winner and founder of afterdowningstreet.org John Bonifaz. An excerpt:
If the evidence revealed by the Downing Street Memo is true, then the President's submission of his March 18, 2003 letter and report to the United States Congress would violate federal criminal law, including: the federal anti-conspiracy statute, 18 U.S.C. - 371, which makes it a felony "to commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose..."; and The False Statements Accountability Act of 1996, 18 U.S.C. - 1001, which makes it a felony to issue knowingly and willfully false statements to the United States Congress.
Also read The White House Criminal Conspiracy from The Nation by Elizabeth de la Vega, a former federal prosecutor.
As you probably know, the Tonkin Gulf Episode, in which the Viet Cong attacked the US in the Tonkin Gulf in 1964 was fabricated. This was used as an excuse to get the US to expand the Viet Nam war. (Sound familiar?) Although this has been know for years by us on the left, the NY Times recently published an article about this. The thrust of the article is that an NSA historian (wow, I didn't know they had these) wrote an article stating exactly this, in 2002. But that the agency refused to let him publish it. Here's one paragraph:
Mr. Hanyok's findings were published nearly five years ago in a classified in-house journal, and starting in 2002 he and other government historians argued that it should be made public. But their effort was rebuffed by higher-level agency policymakers, who by the next year were fearful that it might prompt uncomfortable comparisons with the flawed intelligence used to justify the war in Iraq, according to an intelligence official familiar with some internal discussions of the matter.
It's great that they make the connection to the Iraq WMD scandal. Then they go on:
Both men said Mr. Hanyok believed the initial misinterpretation of North Vietnamese intercepts was probably an honest mistake. But after months of detective work in N.S.A.'s archives, he concluded that midlevel agency officials discovered the error almost immediately but covered it up and doctored documents so that they appeared to provide evidence of an attack.
Interesting how the midlevel people are blamed.
On October 28, Juan Cole (historian, middle eastern scholar, and professor at the University of Michigan) wrote this piece for Salon. Part of the piece analyzes a 1996 article called "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm," which was written by Richard Perle, James Colbert, Charles Fairbanks, Jr., Douglas Feith, Robert Loewenberg, David Wurmser, and Meyrav Wurmser.
The neoconservatives were actually more concerned with Syria initially than Iraq, since it more directly threatened Israeli security. Indeed, "A Clean Break" advocated the removal of Saddam Hussein mainly as a way of pressuring Damascus. The policy paper said, with astonishing ignorance, "Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria. This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq - an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right - as a means of foiling Syria's regional ambitions. King Hussein may have ideas for Israel in bringing its Lebanon problem under control. The predominantly Shia population of southern Lebanon has been tied for centuries to the Shia leadership in Najf [sic] Iraq rather than Iran. Were the Hashemites to control Iraq, they could use their influence over Najf to help Israel wean the south Lebanese Shia away from Hizballah, Iran, and Syria. Shia retain strong ties to the Hashemites: the Shia venerate foremost the Prophet's family, the direct descendants of which - and in whose veins the blood of the Prophet flows - is King Hussein."
This paragraph must be the most absurd, ill-informed and frankly lunatic pieces of prose ever produced by any policy advisor anywhere. It is full of false premises and ignorantr assumptions. Saddam Hussein's branch of the Baath Party was a rival of the Syrian Baath Party, not a supporter. Syria had joined Bush I's coalition against Iraq, allying with the Americans in 1990-91. Removing the Iraqi Baath would more likely strengthen Syria than weaken it. As for the Shiites in Iraq and southern Lebanon, they had been deeply influenced by the ideology of Ayatollah Khomeini, who preached that monarchy is incompatible with Islam. The idea that the old Hashemite monarchy could be revived and reinstalled in revolutionary Iraq was itself absurd. That a Sunni king in Baghdad might have any appeal to the Shiites of southern Lebanon, who favored Hezbollah and Khomeinism, would only occur to someone completely ignorant of the actual politics of Tyre and Nabatiya. The tragedy is that this sort of hallucination appears actually to have underpinned real policy moves by the neoconservatives as they became powerful in Washington under George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.