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Everything You Need to Know

April 2, 2004

Everything you need to know about the Bush administration’s unparalleled vindictiveness, secrecy and deceit is neatly summarized in the April 2, 2004 edition of the New York Times. There are no fewer than SEVEN stories about White House wrong-doing and duplicity. Individually, each is staggering; taken together, they paint a disgusting picture of President Bush’s utter contempt for truth, democracy and the American people.

In no particular order:

 “Bush Aides Block Clinton's Papers From 9/11 Panel”

“The commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks said on Thursday that it was pressing the White House to explain why the Bush administration had blocked thousands of pages of classified foreign policy and counterterrorism documents from former President Bill Clinton's White House files from being turned over to the panel's investigators.

The White House confirmed on Thursday that it had withheld a variety of classified documents from Mr. Clinton's files that had been gathered by the National Archives over the last two years in response to requests from the commission, which is investigating intelligence and law enforcement failures before the attacks…”

 “2 Decline to Testify on Drug Cost”

“A senior White House official and the former Medicare administrator, central figures in a controversy over the cost of the new prescription drug law, declined to appear before a House committee Thursday, defying Democrats who had sought their testimony.

Citing executive privilege, the White House refused to send Doug Badger, special assistant to the president for health policy, to testify before the House Ways and Means Committee. The former Medicare administrator, Thomas A. Scully, who no longer works for the government, wrote the committee a letter saying he had been busy traveling and would be ‘unable to appear’…”

 “Federal Judge Orders Release of Documents of White House”

“A federal judge ruled Thursday that the Bush administration must release thousands of pages of documents related to a White House task force that met behind closed doors to develop a national energy policy.

The ruling, by Judge Paul L. Friedman of Federal District Court here, was a victory for the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental lobbying group, and Judicial Watch, a conservative legal group. The two organizations have been trying to find out whether the task force, headed by Vice President Dick Cheney, was heavily influenced by energy executives and lobbyists…”

 “Prosecutors Are Said to Have Expanded Inquiry Into Leak of C.I.A. Officer's Name”

“Prosecutors investigating whether someone in the Bush administration improperly disclosed the identity of a C.I.A. officer have expanded their inquiry to examine whether White House officials lied to investigators or mishandled classified information related to the case, lawyers involved in the case and government officials say...”

 Paul Krugman: “Smear Without Fear

“On Monday, Mr. Letterman ran a video clip of a boy yawning and fidgeting during a speech by George Bush. It was harmless stuff; a White House that thinks it's cute to have Mr. Bush make jokes about missing W.M.D. should be able to handle a little ribbing about boring speeches.

CNN ran the Letterman clip on Tuesday, just before a commercial. Then the CNN anchor Daryn Kagan came back to inform viewers that the clip was a fake: "We're being told by the White House that the kid, as funny as he was, was edited into that video." Later in the day, another anchor amended that: the boy was at the rally, but not where he was shown in the video…But here's the really interesting part: CNN backed down, but it told Mr. Letterman that Ms. Kagan "misspoke," that the White House was not the source of the false claim. (So who was? And if the claim didn't come from the White House, why did CNN run with it without checking?)

In short, CNN passed along a smear that it attributed to the White House. When the smear backfired, it declared its previous statements inoperative and said the White House wasn't responsible. Sound familiar?…”

 “Senators Fault Mercury Pollution Proposal”

“Forty-five senators and 10 state attorneys general asked the Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday to withdraw its proposal on how to regulate mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants and replace it with a more stringent proposal.

The agency said in December that it would abandon a Clinton administration plan in favor of a market system that would let plants buy and sell the rights to emit mercury…”

 “White House Undermined Chemical Tests, Report Says”

“A report released by a House committee on Thursday describes how the Bush administration worked with the United States chemical industry to undermine a European plan that would require all manufacturers to test industrial chemicals for their effect on public health before they were sold in Europe.

The administration had said publicly that the proposal last year would threaten the $20 billion in chemicals that the United States exports to Europe each year because the cost of testing would be prohibitive. Five years in the making, the proposal, which was revised and is still under consideration, would shift the burden to prove the safety of chemicals onto manufacturers instead of governments…”

If these stories had come out one day earlier, you would no doubt assume it was an April Fool's prank. Unfortunately, the joke is still on us...


Jon Perr
Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

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