Tuesday, June 03, 2008

If the Bush regimistas would just quit, admitting they've waged an 8-year war of lies and deceit, we wouldn't have to prove all the lies one by one


Do we really have to keep proving, agency by agency, inspector general by inspector general, congressional inquiry by congressional inquiry, how the Bush regime turned the entire federal government into a vast right-wing propaganda machine for its catastrophic extreme ideological agenda?

"The significance of [Scott] McClellan's book is that his detailed recounting of what he saw from the inside vindicates pretty much all the central pillars of the Bush critique that have been chronicled here and elsewhere for many years now."
--Dan Froomkin, in his washingtonpost.com column yesterday,
"Vindication for the Bush Critique"

It isn't even front-page news anymore when the Bush regime is caught in another web of lies and deceit. On page A2 of today's Washington Post:

Climate Findings Were Distorted, Probe Finds
Appointees in NASA Press Office Blamed
By Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post Staff Writer

An investigation by the NASA inspector general found that political appointees in the space agency's public affairs office worked to control and distort public accounts of its researchers' findings about climate change for at least two years, the inspector general's office said yesterday.

The probe came at the request of 14 senators after The Washington Post and other news outlets reported in 2006 that Bush administration officials had monitored and impeded communications between NASA climate scientists and reporters.

James E. Hansen, who directs NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and has campaigned publicly for more stringent limits on greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming, told The Post and the New York Times in September 2006 that he had been censored by NASA press officers, and several other agency climate scientists reported similar experiences. NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are two of the government's lead agencies on climate change issues.

From the fall of 2004 through 2006, the report said, NASA's public affairs office "managed the topic of climate change in a manner that reduced, marginalized, or mischaracterized climate change science made available to the general public." It noted elsewhere that "news releases in the areas of climate change suffered from inaccuracy, factual insufficiency, and scientific dilution."

Officials of the Office of Public Affairs told investigators that they regulated communication by NASA scientists for technical rather than political reasons, but the report found "by a preponderance of the evidence, that the claims of inappropriate political interference made by the climate change scientists and career public affairs officers were more persuasive than the arguments of the senior public affairs officials that their actions were due to the volume and poor quality of the draft news releases."

And so on and so on.

In public, Chimpy the Prez would say that we need "more study" of the climate-change issue. In private, the storm troopers of the regime were using every available resource to stifle all those inconvenient truths.

I've been saying since the revelations from poor Scotty McClellan's book broke that we weren't likely to gain much knowledge, since all we were likely to get was insider confirmation of what we've already managed to find out. And as much as I normally esteem the judgment of washingtonpost.com's Dan Froomkin, I didn't even bother to read his above-referenced column yesterday. The point -- "vindication of the Bush critique" -- seemed so obvious as to be hardly worth belaboring.

Note that the story of NASA's wholesale rigging of its scientists' research findings isn't new. As the story indicates, it was all aired pretty thoroughly back in 2006 -- and even then, was anyone really surprised? For years now, we've been hearing the same story, agency by agency, about how the managers of the Bush regime distorted or even shut down the agency's rightful functions to turn it into yet another tentacle of the propaganda machine. All that's new is the IG report (at least something about NASA's role in the climate-change issue finally got studied

But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe in fact we need more of these reports, or something to show the American people that the dissatisfaction they're registering in Chimpy the Prez's ghastly poll numbers isn't based on stuff just happening. Their onetime hero didn't just make a bum decision or two along the way, with unfortunate consequences. The regime to which so many Americans for so long showed such unshakable loyalty was always a festering fraud. It was always a hotbed of ideological hooliganism, in cahoots with corrupt corporate profiteers, advancing an extreme right-wing agenda through a combination of secret stealth and public propaganda, including blatant lying.

The job of rebuilding a trustworthy federal government is so enormous, so overwhelming, and it has to be done at the same time as so many ongoing crises have to be managed, that I don't see how we can have much hope of success unless the country faces up to the dimension of the challenge. How can we hope to make progress with the mess in Iraq, for example, as long as anyone takes seriously anything said by anyone involved in the regime's all-deception-all-the-time policies there?

I think back to events as recent as the 2004 presidential campaign, when most of the groundwork was laid for the regime's spectacular fall from public grace, but there were still few visible signs of what was to come. Back then anyone who spoke ill of Chimpy the Prez was still dismissed, even by the so-called mainstream media, as a "Bush-basher." Back then supposedly respectable media types were still insisting that no proof existed that Chimpy had ever "lied" -- the magical "L" word.

I'm not really angling for an apology, though I wouldn't mind one from the hordes of dimwits who jeered at every attempt to penetrate the nation-choking jungle of Bush propaganda as "Bush bashing." But what would be nice would be an acknolwedgment that anyone who wasn't "Bush-bashing" was at very best deluded.

So maybe we do need more independent verification of the truths we've known for years about the Bush regime's commitment to untruth. And in that spirit I've gone back to what Dan Froomkin had to say yesterday. Here's the start:

Vindication for the Bush Critique

By Dan Froomkin
Special to washingtonpost.com

As the response to former White House press secretary Scott McClellan's new book enters its second week, the focus has shifted to the messenger rather than his message.

McClellan is a flawed vessel for any serious communication. From behind the podium, he made a mockery of the press and the public's right to know, most notably by repeating non-responsive and sometimes ludicrous talking points. He has yet to persuasively explain his change of heart. And his insistence that self-deception rather than a conscious disregard for the truth was behind what he now describes as the White House's consistent lack of candor is spectacularly self-serving.

But the significance of McClellan's book is that his detailed recounting of what he saw from the inside vindicates pretty much all the central pillars of the Bush critique that have been chronicled here and elsewhere for many years now. Among them:

* That Bush and his top aides manipulated the country into embarking upon an unnecessary war on false pretenses;

* That Bush is an incurious man, happily protected from dissenting views inside the White House's bubble of self-delusion;

* That Karl Rove's huge influence on the Bush White House erased any distinction between policy and politics, so governing became about achieving partisan goals, not the common good;

* That Vice President Cheney manipulates the levers of power;

* That all those people who denied White House involvement in the leak of CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity were either lying or had been lied to;

* That the mainstream media were complicit enablers of the Bush White House and that its members didn't understand how badly they were being played.

By coming back again and again to the CIA leak story, McClellan also validates a key theme of the Bush critique: That the Plame case was a microcosm of much that was wrong with the way the Bush White House did business.

This is no way to run a country, and it's one of those routine cliches to say that America deserves better. But maybe America doesn't deserve better. At least not as long as we don't own up to the real-world consequences of what we do.

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At 2:32 PM, Blogger tech98 said...

governing became about achieving partisan goals, not the common good

Right-wing ideology doesn't recognize such a concept as the "common good", only the assertion of millions of private greeds somehow resulting in a net gain for everyone.

When people in power lack commitment to the common good, all that remains is looting and manipulation for the benefit of themselves and their cronies -- pretty much what we've experienced for the last 8 years.


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