WELCOME TO BUSHLIES.NET! 2006 ELECTION EDITION Since January 2003, this site has been dedicated to holding George W. Bush accountable for his countless lies and deceptions. This page list the biggest lies and a more detailed list follows on the remainder of this page and pages focused on Iraq and 9/11. Your comments and suggestions are appreciated. Please spread the word and share this site with others. BUSHLIES.NET TOP 10 20+ LIES LATEST ADDITIONS PRE-ELECTION TRIFECTA #1: IRAQ Stay the Course. During an October 22, 2006 interview on ABC’s This Week, President Bush tried to distance himself from what has been his core strategy in Iraq for the last three years. George Stephanopoulos asked about James Baker’s plan to develop a strategy for Iraq that is “between ’stay the course’ and ‘cut and run.’” Bush responded, ‘We’ve never been stay the course, George!’ Stay the Course. BUSH: We will stay the course. [8/30/06] BUSH: We will stay the course, we will complete the job in Iraq. [8/4/05] BUSH: We will stay the course until the job is done, Steve. And the temptation is to try to get the President or somebody to put a timetable on the definition of getting the job done. We’re just going to stay the course. [12/15/03] BUSH: And my message today to those in Iraq is: We’ll stay the course. [4/13/04] BUSH: And that’s why we’re going to stay the course in Iraq. And that’s why when we say something in Iraq, we’re going to do it. [4/16/04] BUSH: And so we’ve got tough action in Iraq. But we will stay the course. [4/5/04] Insurgents and the Midterm Elections STEPHANOPOULOS: And for the first time the President acknowledged parallels to Vietnam. It came when I asked for his response to ‘New York Times” columnist Tom Friedman’s contention that we’re now seeing an Iraqi version of the Vietcong’s 1968 Tet offensive that turned American public opinion decisively against the war. BUSH: He could be right. There’s certainly a stepped up level of violence and we’re heading into an election. STEPHANOPOULOS: So they’re trying to influence the elections? BUSH: It could be. I don’t know. I haven’t - I don’t have any intelligence that says that. Cheney and Iraq/al Qaeda Connection. Cheney’s statement is a lie. Here’s precisely what the Senate Intelligence Committee found: Saddam Hussein attempted, unsuccessfully, to locate and capture al-Zarqawi and…the regime did not have a relationship with, harbor, or turn a blind eye toward Zarqawi. [p. 109] Insurgents and the Midterm Elections. Vice President Cheney, 10/17/06: I was reading something today that a writer — I don’t remember who — was speculating on increased terrorist attacks in Iraq attempting to demoralize the American people as we get up to the election. And when I read that, it made sense to me. And I interpreted this as that the terrorists are actually involved and want to involve themselves in our electoral process, which must mean they want a change. President Bush, 10/18/06: There’s certainly a stepped up level of violence, and we’re heading into an election. … They are trying to not only kill American troops, but they’re trying to foment sectarian violence. They [Al Qaeda] believe that if they can create enough chaos, the American people will grow sick and tired of the Iraqi effort and will cause government to withdraw. White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, 10/19/06: [I]t is possible, although we don’t have a clear pathway into the minds of terrorists, it is possible that they are trying to use violence right now as a way of influencing the elections. Cheney's Continued Assertion of an Iraq/al-Qaeda Connection Q: Are you saying that you believe fighting in Iraq has prevented terrorist attacks on American soil? And if so, why, since there has not been a direct connection between al Qaeda and Iraq established? CHENEY: Well, the fact of the matter is there are connections. Mr. Zarqawi, who was the lead terrorist in Iraq for three years, fled there after we went into Afghanistan. He was there before we ever went into Iraq. The sectarian violence that we see now, in part, has been stimulated by the fact of al Qaeda attacks intended to try to create conflict between Shia and Sunni. Watch the entire interview HERE PRE-ELECTION TRIFECTA #2: 9/11 AND WAR ON TERRORISM Bush Straw Man Arguments - Part 1 Mr. Bush claimed, quote, "177 of the opposition party said, 'You know, we don't think we ought to be listening to the conversations of terrorists.'" Tuesday, at another fundraiser in California, he had said, "Democrats take a law enforcement approach to terrorism. That means America will wait until we're attacked again before we respond." "If you listen closely to some of the leaders of the Democratic Party," the president said at another fundraiser Monday in Nevada, "it sounds like they think the best way to protect the American people is -- wait until we're attacked again." Bush Straw Man Arguments "One hundred and seventy-seven of the opposition party said, 'You know, we don't think we ought to be listening to the conversations of terrorists,' " Bush said at a fundraiser for Rep. Rick Renzi (R-Ariz.) before heading to Colorado for gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez. Asked about the president's statement, White House aides could not name any Democrat who has said that the government should not listen in on terrorists. Democrats who voted against the legislation had complained that it would hand too much power to the president and had said that they wanted more checks in the bill to protect civil liberties. (Washington Post) Bush's language, though, characterizes Democratic positions through his own prism. Critics of the surveillance program have not argued against listening to terrorist phone calls but say the government should get warrants from a secret intelligence court. Likewise, many critics of the tribunal measure did not oppose interrogating prisoners generally, as Bush said, but specific provisions of the bill, such as denying the right of habeas corpus or giving the president freedom to authorize what they consider torture. (Washington Post) See also " Bush's Imaginary Foes" , "The President and the Straw Man" and "Bush Lies and Knows He's Lying" , "" and "Bush Lies and Knows He's Lying" Rice July 2001 Warning Here’s how the briefing was described by the officials who prepared it, according to McClatchy: One official who helped to prepare the briefing, which included a PowerPoint presentation, described it as a “10 on a scale of 1 to 10? that “connected the dots” in earlier intelligence reports to present a stark warning that al-Qaida, which had already killed Americans in Yemen, Saudi Arabia and East Africa, was poised to strike again… “The briefing was intended to `connect the dots’ contained in other intelligence reports and paint a very clear picture of the threat posed by bin Laden,” said the official, who described the tone of the report as “scary.” Bush Straw Man - Part II Tuesday, at another fundraiser in California, he had said, "Democrats take a law enforcement approach to terrorism. That means America will wait until we're attacked again before we respond." "If you listen closely to some of the leaders of the Democratic Party," the president said at another fundraiser Monday in Nevada, "it sounds like they think the best way to protect the American people is -- wait until we're attacked again." Rice Ignores 9/11 Warning Condoleezza Rice describes her briefing with CIA officials George Tenet and Cofer Black on July 10, 2001 as relatively unremarkable. Here’s how her spokesman Sean McCormack described it yesterday: State Department spokesman Sean McCormack [said]… the information Rice got “was not new'’ and didn’t amount to an urgent warning. “Rather, it was a good summary from the threat-reporting from the previous several weeks,'’ McCormack said in a statement from Saudi Arabia where Rice is traveling. Earlier in the day, Rice questioned whether the meeting even happened and said that it was “incomprehensible” the meeting included a warning that U.S. interests faced an imminent threat from al-Qaeda. September 11th, War on Terror and Torture FOILED TERRORIST PLOTS In his October 6th speech on the War on Terror at National Endowment for Democracy, President Bush said”The United States and our partners have disrupted at least ten serious al Qaeda terrorist plots since September the 11th, including three al Qaeda plots to attack inside the United States. The West Coast Airliner Plot: In mid-2002 the U.S. disrupted a plot to attack targets on the West Coast of the United States using hijacked airplanes. The plotters included at least one major operational planner involved in planning the events of 9/11. The East Coast Airliner Plot: In mid-2003 the U.S. and a partner disrupted a plot to attack targets on the East Coast of the United States using hijacked commercial airplanes. The Jose Padilla Plot: In May 2002 the U.S. disrupted a plot that involved blowing up apartment buildings in the United States. One of the plotters, Jose Padilla, also discussed the possibility of using a "dirty bomb" in the U.S. Most recently, Bush has claimed that "aggressive interrogation techniques" have thwarted terrorist attacks. In his September 6 speech, Bush announced that 14 high-level suspected terrorists had been transferred from CIA prisons to the Pentagon's detention facility at Guantánamo Bay. Bush talked at length about the information gleaned from one of the prisoners, Abu Zubaydah, whom the United States captured in March 2002. Bush described him as a "senior terrorist leader and a trusted associate of Osama bin Laden" and declared that Zubaydah had given the United States information that "turned out to be quite important." From the speech: BUSH: After he recovered, Zubaydah was defiant and evasive. He declared his hatred of America. During questioning, he at first disclosed what he thought was nominal information -- and then stopped all cooperation. Well, in fact, the "nominal" information he gave us turned out to be quite important. For example, Zubaydah disclosed Khalid Sheikh Mohammed -- or KSM -- was the mastermind behind the 9-11 attacks and used the alias "Mukhtar." This was a vital piece of the puzzle that helped our intelligence community pursue KSM. The claim that Zubaydah identified KSM's moniker also appeared in a document summarizing the CIA's "High Value Detention Program" released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) on September 6. Bush further claimed in the speech that Zubaydah "provided information that helped in the planning and execution of the operation that captured" KSM. In the September 6 speech, Bush similarly claimed that the CIA's interrogation of Zubaydah led to the arrest of Al Qaeda lieutenant Ramzi bin al-Shibh: BUSH: Zubaydah was questioned using these procedures, and soon he began to provide information on key al Qaeda operatives, including information that helped us find and capture more of those responsible for the attacks on September the 11th. For example, Zubaydah identified one of KSM's accomplices in the 9/11 attacks -- a terrorist named Ramzi bin al Shibh. The information Zubaydah provided helped lead to the capture of bin al Shibh. In his speech, Bush presented the information extracted from Zubaydah as evidence that the CIA interrogation program "has saved lives; of why it remains vital to the security of the United States, and our friends and allies; and why it deserves the support of the United States Congress and the American people." Bush claimed that when the CIA interrogated Zubaydah using these "tough" procedures, "he began to provide information on key al Qaeda operatives." THE FACTS The plots that Bush claimed his administration disrupted actually had already been abandoned by the time they were discovered. 1. West Coast Airliner Plot. When the plot was disclosed last year, authorities said publicly that they had viewed the claims by captured Al Qaeda chieftain Khalid Shaikh Mohammed with skepticism. They said that, at best, the alleged plot was something that had been discussed but never put into action. By the time anybody knew about it, the threat — if there had been one — had passed, federal counter-terrorism officials said Friday. To take that and make it into a disrupted plot is just ludicrous," said one senior FBI official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in accordance with departmental guidelines. [LA Times 10/7/05] 2. East Coast Airliner Plot - Lyman Faris. Faris was an Ohio truck driver who pleaded guilty in June 2003 to two felony charges of supporting a foreign terrorist organization. He was charged with plotting to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge, but U.S. officials admitted that Faris had abandoned the plot because he deemed it unlikely to succeed. “After scouting the bridge and deciding its security and structure meant the plot was unlikely to succeed, he passed along a message to al Qaeda in early 2003 that said ‘the weather is too hot.’” [CNN, 6/19/03] 3. Jose Padilla. “Paul Wolfowitz, Mr. Rumsfeld’s deputy, stressed on Monday that ‘there was not an actual plan’ to set off a radioactive device in America and Padilla had not begun trying to acquire materials. Intelligence officials said his research had not gone beyond surfing the internet.” Since being detained in O’Hare airport in 2002, Padilla has not been charged with any crime or permitted to talk to a lawyer. [Daily Telegraph, 12/06/02; Washington Post, 9/10/05] Media Matters disects Bush's September 6th speech in detail. A September 7 article by Post staff writers Dan Eggen and Dafna Linzer noted that the CIA had, in fact, learned KSM's alias as early as August 2001: A September 7 by staff writers Dan Eggen and Dafna Linzer noted that the CIA had, in fact, learned KSM's alias as early as August 2001: What the DNI documents also do not mention is that the CIA had identified Mohammed's nickname in August 2001, according to the Sept. 11 commission report. The commission found that the agency failed to connect the information with previous intelligence identifying Mukhtar as an al-Qaeda associate plotting terrorist attacks, and identified that failure as one of the crucial missed opportunities before Sept. 11. Indeed, the 9-11 Commission report disclosed that the CIA unit tasked with finding bin Laden had connected KSM to the alias "Mukhtar" on August 28, 2001: The final piece of the puzzle arrived at the CIA's Bin Ladin unit on August 28 in a cable reporting that KSM's nickname was Mukhtar. No one made the connection to the reports about Mukhtar that had been circulated in the spring. This connection might also have underscored concern about the June reporting that KSM was recruiting terrorists to travel, including to the United States. Ron Suskind documents in his new book, The One Percent Doctrine: Deep Inside America's Pursuit of Its Enemies Since 9/11 (Simon & Schuster, June 2006), how the CIA was in the dark regarding KSM's location until a $25 million reward led an Al Qaeda operative to tip them off. At the end of February 2003 that changed. The CIA got what various officials at Langley called a "walk-in." He was a man who was moving through the al Qaeda ranks, moving in and out of various operations in Islamabad, Pakistan's capital, and Rawalpindi, an old Silk Road trading post that is now a city of 3 million. He contacted CIA, which has one of its largest stations -- with nearly fifty agents -- in Islamabad. Suskind goes on to detail KSM's capture the following morning. A September 8 article, New York Times reporter Mark Mazzetti took issue with Bush's assertion that Zubaydah "identified" bin al-Shibh. Mazzetti noted that U.S. authorities had been aware of bin al-Shibh's involvement in the 9-11 attacks by December 2001: American officials had identified Mr. bin al-Shibh's role in the attacks months before Mr. Zubaydah's capture. A December 2001 federal grand jury indictment of Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called 20th hijacker, said that Mr. Moussaoui had received money from Mr. bin al-Shibh and that Mr. bin al-Shibh had shared an apartment with Mohamed Atta, the ringleader of the plot. Indeed, the indictment states that bin al-Shibh "shared an apartment" with Atta in 1998 and 1999, and that he repeatedly wired money to the 9-11 hijackers in 2000 and 2001. Further, Bush's claim that Zubaydah "helped lead to the capture" of bin al-Shibh is contradicted by Suskind's reporting. In The One Percent Doctrine, Suskind describes how information gleaned from an Al Jazeera reporter and the Emir of Qatar provided crucial leads regarding his location. The reporter, Yosri Fouda, had interviewed KSM and bin al-Shibh in a safe house in Karachi, Pakistan, on April 19, 2002, and subsequently informed the Emir of the likely whereabouts of the two Al Qaeda lieutenants. The Emir in turn disclosed this information to then-CIA director George Tenet and, on September 11, 2002, the CIA stormed the safe house and captured bin al-Shibh. In a September 6 interview on Salon.com regarding Bush's speech, Suskind noted that the Emir -- not Zubaydah -- had provided the "key break" that led the CIA to bin al-Shibh: That was the key break in getting those guys. KSM slipped away; in June of 2002, the Emir of Qatar passed along information to the CIA as to something that an Al Jazeera reporter had discovered as to the safehouse where KSM and bin al Shibh were hiding in Karachi slums. He passed that on to the CIA, and that was the key break. Whether Zubaydah provided some supporting information is not clear, but the key to capturing those guys was the help of the Emir. But Suskind reports in The One Percent Doctrine that the CIA's harsh techniques -- Zubaydah was "water-boarded," "beaten," "repeatedly threatened," "bombarded with deafening, continuous noise," and deprived of his medication -- only led him to disclose a variety of apparently nonexistent plots. Suskind went on to note that the only valuable information gleaned from Zubaydah came when the CIA switched to non-physical tactics. When asked about Bush's characterization of the interrogation of Zubaydah during the Salon.com interview, Suskind confirmed that "we got the stuff of value" through milder tactics. 9-11 WARNINGS In her public testimony before the 9-11 commission, Dr. Rice stated: “I do not remember any reports to us, a kind of strategic warning, that planes might be used as weapons.” After the attacks, Ari Fleischer stated that the President had no warnings of an attack and President Bush explained “[n]ever [in] anybody’s thought processes . . . did we ever think that the evil doers would fly not one but four commercial aircraft into precious US targets . . . never.” In May 2002, Condoleezza Rice claimed, “I don’t think anybody could have predicted that they would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile.” (05.16.02) Dr. Rice: “[W]e received no intelligence that terrorists were preparing to attack the homeland using airplanes as missiles, though some analysts speculated that terrorists might hijack airplanes to try to free U.S.-held terrorists.” (03.22.04) President Bush: “Had I known that the enemy was going to use airplanes to strike America, to attack us. I would have used very resource, every asset, every power of this government to protect the American people.” (03.25.04) Surprisingly, Bush reiterated this comment at an April 13 press conference. “[T]here was nobody in our government, at least, and I don’t think the prior government that could envision flying airplanes into buildings.” THE FACTS Dr. Rice admitted privately to the 9-11 panel that she had “misspoken” when she said there were no prior warnings, but then proceeded to repeat this claim in public. The warnings received (see below) were sufficient for Attorney General Ashcroft to begin “traveling exclusively by leased jet aircraft instead of commercial airlines” because of what the Justice Department called “a threat assessment.” The Justice Department has yet to release this “threat assessment.” Sibel Edmonds, a translator with the FBI, indicates "that it was clear there was sufficient information during the spring and summer of 2001 to indicate terrorists were planning an attack." “President Bush said they had no specific information about 11 September and that is accurate but only because he said 11 September," she said. There was, however, general information about the use of airplanes and that an attack was just months away. (22) Condoleezza Rice was the top National Security official with President Bush at the July 2001 G-8 summit in Genoa. There, "U.S. officials were warned that Islamic terrorists might attempt to crash an airliner" into the summit, prompting officials to "close the airspace over Genoa and station antiaircraft guns at the city's airport." Bush received an August 6, 2001 memo entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” which mentioned bin Laden’s desire and capability to strike the US possibly using hijacked airplanes. The CIA warned that bin Laden will launch an attack against the US and/or Israel in the coming weeks that “will be spectacular and designed to inflict mass casualties against US facilities or interests.” The Bush administration prevented the release of details of the August 6th briefing in the report issued by the Joint Congressional Committee investigating the 9-11 attack. Also that spring and summer intelligence reports indicated that (i) Middle Eastern terrorists were planning to hijack commercial aircraft to use as weapons to attack “American and Israeli symbols which stand out”; (ii) there was a threat to assassinate Bush at the July 2001 G-8 summit using an airplane stuffed with explosives; (iii) al-Qaeda was planning an attack using multiple airplane hijackings; and (iv) that bin Laden was in advanced stages of executing a significant operation within the US. This was included in reports entitled “Bin Laden planning multiple operations,” “Bin Laden’s network’s plan advancing,” and “Bin Laden threats are real” which warned of catastrophic damage. The CIA’s National Reconnaissance Office had scheduled an exercise in which a small corporate jet would crash into an office tower following equipment failure for the morning of September 11th. In February 2001, the Hart-Rudman report warned that “mass-casualty terrorism directed against the U.S. homeland was of serious and growing concern” and that the US was woefully unprepared for a “catastrophic” domestic terrorist attack. President Bush refused to act on this report, preferring to await the findings of Cheney’s terrorist task force which failed to even meet before 9-11. The Bush administration prevented the release of details of the August 6 briefing in the report issued by the Joint Congressional Committee investigating the 9-11 attack. Sources: (1) The Left Coaster 07.14.03, Waterman – UPI 07.23.03, Priest – Washington Post 07.25.03, Dean – Findlaw.com 07.29.03, Ridgeway – Village Voice 07.31.03, Franken – Lies And The Liars Who Tell Them, Daily Mis-Lead 03.11.04, Center for American Progress Fact Sheet 03.22.04, Progress Report 03.26.04, Rice – Washington Post 03.22.04, Progress Report 03.26.04, Daily Mis-Lead 04.14.04; Lumpkin – Associated Press 10.28.03; CAP Fact Sheets 04.08.04 TORTURE We are finding terrorists and bringing them to justice. We are gathering information about where the terrorists may be hiding. We are trying to disrupt their plots and plans. Anything we do ... to that end in this effort, any activity we conduct, is within the law. We do not torture." - President Bush (Nov. 7, 2005). THE FACTS The State Department's annual report on human rights practices worldwide has condemned countries such as Burma and North Korea for the disappearance and indefinite detention of political prisoners without trial; while also condemning Libya, Syria and other countries for engaging in acts of torture that include hooding, stripping detainees naked, sleep deprivation, subjecting detainees to extremes of heat, cold, noise and light, threatening them with dogs, submerging them in water to simulate drowning — which is known as water-boarding — and other acts of physical abuse all of which have occured at U.S. detention facilities. See State Dept. Study Cites Torture of Prisoners: Rumself Approved Similar Practices (Washington Post March 10, 2005). Rumsfeld Approved Similar Practices In addition, post-World War II Japanese war crimes tribunals found that both the Japanese soldiers engaging in water-boarding and the officers who approved it were guilty of war crimes. GUANTANAMO DETAINEES & ABUSE These are people picked up off the battlefield in Afghanistan. They weren't wearing uniforms . . . but were there to kill. (President Bush 06/20/05) These detainees are dangerous enemy combatants . . . They were picked up on the battlefield, fighting American forces, trying to kill American forces. (Scott McClellan 06/21/05) The people that are there are people we picked up on the battlefield, primarily in Afghanistan. They're terrorists. They're bomb makers. They're facilitators of terror. They're members of Al Qaeda and the Taliban....We've let go those that we've deemed not to be a continuing threat. But the 520-some that are there now are serious, deadly threats to the United States. (Vice President Cheney 06/23/05) These are people, all of whom were captured on a battlefield. They're terrorists, trainers, bomb makers, recruiters, financiers, [Osama bin Laden's] bodyguards, would-be suicide bombers, probably the 20th 9/11 hijacker. (Defense Secretary Rumsfeld 06/27/05) Concerns about abuse at Guantanamo are based on allegations made by "people who were held in detention, people who hate America, people that had been trained in some instances to disassemble [sic]." President Bush (05/31/05) THE FACTS Defense Department Data. Counsel for the detainees released a report based entirely on the Defense Department's own data which found: 1. Fifty-five percent (55%) of the detainees are not determined to have committed any hostile acts against the United States or its coalition allies. 2. Only 8% of the detainees were characterized as al Qaeda fighters. Of the remaining detainees, 40% have no definitive connection with al Qaeda at all and 18% are have no definitive affiliation with either al Qaeda or the Taliban. The Government has detained numerous persons based on mere affiliations with a large number of groups that in fact, are not on the Department of Homeland Security terrorist watchlist. Moreover, the nexus between such a detainee and such organizations varies considerably. Eight percent are detained because they are deemed "fighters for;" 30% considered "members of;" a large majority - 60% -- are detained merely because they are "associated with" a group or groups the Government asserts are terrorist organizations. For 2% of the prisoners their nexus to any terrorist group is unidentified. 3. Only 5% of the detainees were captured by United States forces. 86% of the detainees were arrested by either Pakistan or the Northern Alliance and turned over to United States custody. This 86% of the detainees captured by Pakistan or the Northern Alliance were handed over to the United States at a time in which the United States offered large bounties for capture of suspected enemies. National Journal Review of Defense Department Filings in Habeas Petitions. National Journal reviewed the transcripts for 314 Gitmo prisoners and found the following: 1. A high percentage, perhaps the majority, of the 500-odd men now held at Guantanamo were not captured on any battlefield, let alone on "the battlefield in Afghanistan" (as Bush asserted) while "trying to kill American forces" (as McClellan claimed). 2. Fewer than 20 percent of the Guantanamo detainees, the best available evidence suggests, have ever been Qaeda members. 3. Many scores, and perhaps hundreds, of the detainees were not even Taliban foot soldiers, let alone Qaeda terrorists. They were innocent, wrongly seized noncombatants with no intention of joining the Qaeda campaign to murder Americans. 4. The majority were not captured by U.S. forces but rather handed over by reward-seeking Pakistanis and Afghan warlords and by villagers of highly doubtful reliability. 5. Seventy-five of the 132 men, or more than half the group, are -- like -- not accused of taking part in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners. (The 75 include 10 detainees whom the U.S. government "no longer" considers enemy combatants, although at least eight of the 10 are still being held at Guantanamo.) Typically, documents describe these men as "associated" with the Taliban or with Al Qaeda -- sometimes directly so, and sometimes through only weak or distant connections. Several men worked for charities that had some ties to Al Qaeda; one detainee lived in a house associated with the Taliban. 6. Some of the "associated" men are said to have attended jihadist training camps before September 11, an accusation admitted by some and denied by others. The U.S. government says that some of the suspected jihadists trained in Afghanistan, even though other records show that they had not yet entered the country at the time of the training camps. Just 57 of the 132 men, or 43 percent, are accused of being on a battlefield in post-9/11 Afghanistan. 7. The government's documents tie only eight of the 132 men directly to plans for terrorist attacks outside of Afghanistan. 8. At least eight prisoners at Guantanamo are there even though they are no longer designated as enemy combatants. One perplexed attorney, whose client does not want public attention, learned that the man was no longer considered an enemy combatant only by reading a footnote in a Justice Department motion asking a federal judge to put a slew of habeas corpus cases on hold. The attorney doesn't know why the man is still in Cuba. The reports of abuse are not based on allegations by detainees but "accounts by agents for the Federal Bureau of Investigation." The FBI agents wrote in memorandum that "they had seen female interrogators forcibly squeeze male prisoners' genitals, and that they had witnessed other detainees stripped and shackled low to the floor for many hours." Nevertheless, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said military interrogators know "that any detainees [should] be treated in a humane way, and they have been." (Center for American Progress 6/10/05) DOMESTIC SPYING During the 2004 campaign, Bush claimed “Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so.” See video. The Bush administration has offered the following justifications for its spying on U.S. citizens: No Time for Warrants It could not wait to get a warrant because it needed ”to move quickly to detect" plotting of terrorism between people in the United States and abroad. (President Bush 12/19/05) Congress Gave Authority: “authorization to use force, which was passed by the Congress in the days following September 11th, constitutes . . . authorization. . . to engage in this kind of signals intelligence. (Attorney General Gonzales 12/19/05) Eavesdropping Key To Thwarting Terrorist Attacks: "This authorization is a vital tool in our war against the terrorists," Bush said in December. "It is critical to saving American lives." Vice President Cheney claimed wiretapping Americans had "saved thousands of lives." "It is, I'm convinced, one of the reasons we haven't been attacked in the past four years," he added. - A Program "Very Limited In Nature": The NSA program is one that listens to a few numbers, called from the outside of the United States and of known al Qaeda or affiliate people," Bush has said. "[O]bviously I had to make the difficult decision between balancing civil liberties and, on a limited basis -- and I mean limited basis -- try to find out the intention of the enemy." "It is very limited in nature," Scott McClellan claimed - Could Have Prevented 9-11. During his State of the Union Address (SOU), Bush claimed "We now know that two of the hijackers in the United States placed telephone calls to al Qaeda operatives overseas. But we did not know about their plans until it was too late. So to prevent another attack –- based on authority given to me by the Constitution and by statute -- I have authorized a terrorist surveillance program to aggressively pursue the international communications of suspected al Qaeda operatives and affiliates to and from America. -- Previous Presidents Have Used Same Authority. Bush also argued in the (SOU) that "[p]revious Presidents have used the same constitutional authority I have, and federal courts have approved the use of that authority." THE FACTS Campaign Statement: Bush’s statement is false, since he was conducting wiretaps without warrants. No Time for Warrants: The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act allows the President to seek a warrant up to 3 days AFTER initiating the wiretap. The President never sought any such authority after the fact for this program. Congress Gave Authority: The administration requested the ability to conduct warrantless searches as part of the September 11th resolution, but Congress rejected this. In fact, Gonzales admitted that he was told by "certain members of Congress" that "that would be difficult if not impossible.” Eavesdropping Key To Thwarting Terrorist Attacks. A New York Times report debunks the administration's claim that the program is vital to America's national security. In fact, the flood of "unfiltered information" from the NSA program "was swamping [FBI] investigators" in the months after 9/11. "There were no imminent plots - not inside the United States," a former F.B.I. official said. "The information was so thin," one prosecutor said, "and the connections were so remote, that they never led to anything, and I never heard any follow-up." Additionally, "some F.B.I. officials and prosecutors also thought the checks, which sometimes involved interviews by agents, were pointless intrusions on Americans' privacy." A Program "Very Limited In Nature. "The truth is that after 9/11, the "stream" of information from the NSA to the FBI "soon became a flood, requiring hundreds of agents to check out thousands of tips a month." Investigators were overwhelmed by the amount of information pouring into their offices. "After you get a thousand numbers and not one is turning up anything, you get some frustration," said one former FBI official. Today's revelations support a previous New York Times report that found the "volume of information harvested from telecommunication data and voice networks, without court-approved warrants, is much larger than the White House has acknowledged." NSA whistleblower Russell Tice recently told ABC News "the number of Americans subject to eavesdropping by the NSA could be in the millions." Could Have Prevented 9-11. As Media Matters explains "the 9-11 Commission and congressional investigators reportedly reached a very different conclusion: that the Bush administration had information on two of the 9-11 hijackers well over a year before the attacks occurred, and it was primarily bureaucratic problems -- rather than a lack of information -- that were responsible for the security breakdown. According to a January 24 Washington Post article, Cheney and Hayden "did not mention that the NSA, CIA and FBI had significant information about two of the leading hijackers as early as January 2000 but failed to keep track of them or capitalize on the information, according to the Sept. 11 commission and others." The article went on to note that Hayden "also did not mention NSA intercepts warning of the attacks the day before, but not translated until Sept. 12, 2001." Other Presidents Had The Authority. FISA was only enacted in 1978, so what prior Presidents did is irrelevant since after 1978 the President had to comply with FISA. See ACLU, NSA Spying on Americans is Illegal (12/29/2005); Media Matters for America, Top 12 media myths and falsehoods on the Bush administration's spying scandal (12/23/05); The Progress Report (1/17/06) IRAQ In the September/October Columbia Journalism Review, David Greenberg cited BushLies.net as among the few columnists and Web sites that "framed the [Niger] uranium deceptions as part of the President's familiar M.O., which was to utter untruths with such nonchalance that no one could possibly believe he was deliberately lying.” Below are just the biggest or most aggregious lies. See the Iraq Lies section for a complete list. Iraq & 9/11 The Bush administration repeatedly has constantly tried to link Iraq to the September 11th attacks. In fact, Bush submitted the following certification to Congress to authorize the use of force against Iraq: I have reluctantly concluded, along with other coalition leaders, that only the use of armed force will accomplish these objectives and restore international peace and security in the area. I have also determined that the use of armed force against Iraq is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organiza-tions, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001. United States objectives also support a transition to democracy in Iraq, as contemplated by the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 (Public Law 105-338). Mo Jones Interactive Lie by Lie THE FACTS: Both the Senate Intelligence Committee and the 9-11 Commission found “no credible evidence of a collaborative relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda.” The Commission stressed that “it had access to the same information [that Vice President Cheney] has seen regarding contacts between Al Qaeda and Iraq prior to the 9/11 attacks.” This finding led Jon Stewart to quip, “Mr. Vice President, it’s my duty to inform you that your pants are on fire.” (63) At the same time as the release of the 9-11 Report, a former Bush intelligence official revealed that the White House knew there was no basis for the link. Former State Dept. intelligence official Greg Thielman stated that the intelligence agencies agreed on the “lack of a meaningful connection to Al Qaeda” and reported this to the White House.” The CIA, FBI and British intelligence have found no link between Al Qaeda and Iraq. One FBI official stated that “[w]e’ve been looking at this hard for more than a year and . . . we just don’t think its there.” British intelligence reports that Hussein and fundamentalist Bin Laden are ideological enemies. (6) The director of the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence & Research dismissed the alleged link, claiming that the Bush administration “has had a faith based intelligence attitude.” (20) In September 2003, Bush finally admitted that there was “no evidence” linking Iraq to 9-11. (36). Links to Congressional Reports on Iraq Lies Postwar Findings about Iraq's WMD Programs and Links to Terrorism and How they Compare with Prewar Assessments Senate Intelligence Committee Iraq on the Record The Bush Administration's Public Statements About Iraq House Government Reform Committee Minority Staff IRAQ WMD’s The Bush administration religiously chanted the contention that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction as its basis for a war. For example, in his address to the nation Bush said the intelligence “leaves no doubt that . . . Iraq . . . continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.” Vice President Cheney also was part of the chorus and declared that “there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.” THE FACTS The 2006 Senate Intelligence Committee report found that: * Findings do not support the 2002 NIE judgment that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear weapons program. * Findings do not support the 2002 NIE assessment that Iraq's acquisition of high-strength aluminum tubes was intended for an Iraqi nuclear program. * Findings do not support the 2002 NIE assessment that Iraq was "vigorously trying to procure uranium ore and yellowcake" from Africa. * Findings do not support the 2002 NIE assessment that "Iraq has biological weapons. * Findings do not support the 2002 NIE assessment that Iraq possessed, or ever developed, mobile facilities for producing biological warfare agents. * Findings do not support the 2002 NIE assessment that Iraq "has chemical weapons" or "is expanding its chemical industry to support chemical weapons." * Findings do not support the 2002 NIE assessment that Iraq likely retained covert SCUD SRBMs. * Findings do not support the 2002 NIE assessment that Iraq and developed a program for an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle to deliver biological agents. Similarly, the CIA’s Duelfer’s Report Iraq concluded that Iraq: * HAD NO WMD’s. * “had no . . . strategy or plan for the revival of WMD after sanctions” ended * Iraq failed “to acquire long range Iraq’s nuclear program ended in 1991 following the Gulf War.” * “Iraq unilaterally destroyed is undeclared chemical weapons stockpile in 1991. There are no credible indications that Baghdad resumed production of chemical munitions thereafter.” * In spite of exhaustive investigation, ISG found no evidence that Iraq possessed, or was developing BW agent product systems mounted on road vehicles or railway wagons.” This is consistent with pre-war findings: Former Treasury Secretary O’Neil, who was a member of the National Security Council, indicated that “[i]n the 23 months I was there, I never saw anything that I would characterize as evidence of weapons of mass destruction.” In January 2004, The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace report on WMDS in Iraq concluded that the evidence prior to the war indicated that Iraq’s nuclear program had been dismantled and its chemical weapons had lost most of their lethality. In addition, the report concluded that the administration “systematically misrepresented the threat from Iraq’s WMD and ballistic missile programs”. This is consistent with other pre-war reports. For example, in September 2002, the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency concluded “there is no reliable information on whether Iraq is producing and stockpiling chemical weapons, or whether Iraq has – or will – establish its chemical warfare agent production facilities.” Sources: Comprehensive Report of the Special Advisor to the DCI on Iraq’s WMD; Ruben Bannerjee – Al Jazeera 04.06.03, NOW Update 05.22.03, Scheer – AlterNet.org 06.10.03; WMD in Iraq – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; 60 Minutes 01.11.14; Dreyfus & Vest – Mother Jones Jan-Feb 04; Suskind – The Price of Loyalty. WITHDRAWING TROOPS FROM IRAQ (a) Will Withdraw if Asked President Bush said in an interview on Thursday that he would withdraw American forces from Iraq if the new government that is elected on Sunday asked him to do so, but that he expected Iraq's first democratically elected leaders would want the troops to remain as helpers, not as occupiers. . . . But asked if, as a matter of principle, the United States would pull out of Iraq at the request of a new government, he said: "Absolutely. This is a sovereign government. They're on their feet." (b) Iraqi's Oppose Withdrawal Timetable Q Thank you, Mr. President. Could you characterize the worry you heard from Iraqi leaders about U.S. troop levels that you first mentioned on the flight home from Iraq? And here in the Rose Garden a week ago, you said that Zarqawi's death is an opportunity for Iraq's new government to turn the tide in this struggle. After your visit, do you truly believe that the tide is turning in Iraq? THE PRESIDENT: First part of the question? I'm sorry. Q About the worry that you -- THE PRESIDENT: Yes. No question, there are concerns about whether or not the United States will stand with this government. And I can understand why. You know, ours is a society that encourages debate and people are free to express themselves. And they do so; they say, look, this is my view of how we ought to go forward, this is what I think. And the willingness of some to say that if we're in power we'll withdraw on a set timetable concerns people in Iraq, because they understand our coalition forces provide a sense of stability, so they can address old wrongs and develop their strategy and plan to move forward. They need our help and they recognize that. And so they are concerned about that. Rose Garden Press Conference (June 14, 2006) THE FACTS The Bush administration has ignored repeated requests to set a timetable for withdrawal of U.S. troops. June 2005: Eighty two Iraqi lawmakers from across the political spectrum have pressed for the withdrawal of the US-led occupation troops from their country. The Shiite, Kurdish, Sunni Arab, Christian and communist legislators made the call in a letter sent by Falah Hassan Shanshal of the United Iraqi Alliance (UIA), the largest bloc in parliament, to speaker Hajem Al-Hassani, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP). “We have asked in several sessions for occupation troops to withdraw. Our request was ignored,” read the latter, made public on Sunday, June 19. November 2005: Leaders of Iraq's Shiite and Kurdish majority and Sunni minority call for the withdrawal of foreign troops "according to a timetable, through putting in place an immediate national program to rebuild the armed forces ... control the borders and the security situation" and end terror attacks June 2006: When George Bush visited Baghdad on June 13, Iraq's vice president, Tariq al-Hashimi, asked him for a timeline for the withdrawal of foreign forces from Iraq. The following day, President Jalal Talabani released a statement expressing his support for the vice-president’s request. Then in an op-ed in the Washington Post on June 20, Mowaffak al-Rubbaie, the Iraqi national security adviser, called for a significant reduction in US troops this year, with most leaving next year. “We envisage the US troop presence by year’s end to be under 100,000, with most of the remaining troops to return home by the end of 2007,” wrote Dr. Al-Rubbaie. Al-Rubaie said that Iraqis now see foreign troops as occupiers rather than the liberators, and that their removal will strengthen the fledgling government by legitimizing it in the eyes of the Iraqi people. Asked about the article by the Financial Times, the State Department official reaffirmed the US position that withdrawal would be based on conditions, not timelines. The Bush administration’s refusal to set a timeline for withdrawal puts it on a collision course with the Iraqi government, which is increasing trying to “gain its independence from the United States,” as Dr. Al-Rubbaie said in his op-ed. FINDING WMDs BUSH: We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories. [Bush on Polish TV, 5/29/03] POWELL: We have already discovered mobile biological factories of the kind that I described to the Security Council on the 5th of February. We have now found them. There is no question in our mind that that’s what their purpose was. Nobody has come up with an alternate purpose that makes sense. [Powell, 6/2/03] WOLFOWITZ: We — as the whole world knows — have in fact found some significant evidence to confirm exactly what Secretary Powell said when he spoke to the United Nations about the development of mobile biological weapons production facilities that would seem to confirm fairly precisely the information we received from several defectors, one in particular who described the program in some detail. [Wolfowitz, 6/3/03] RICE: But let’s remember what we’ve already found. Secretary Powell on February 5th talked about a mobile, biological weapons capability. That has now been found and this is a weapons laboratory trailers capable of making a lot of agent that–dry agent, dry biological agent that can kill a lot of people. So we are finding these pieces that were described. … This was a program that was built for deceit and concealment. [CNBC, 6/3/03] JOHN BOLTON: And I think the presentation that Secretary Powell made to the Security Council some months ago, which he worked on day and night for four or five days before going up to New York, is actually standing up very well to the test of reality as we learn more about what was going on inside Iraq. He explained to the Security Council and, indeed, showed diagrams of mobile biological weapons production facilities. We have already found two such laboratories. [Testimony before House International Relations Committee, 6/4/03] BUSH: We recently found two mobile biological weapons facilities which were capable of producing biological agents. [Bush, 6/5/03] POWELL: I reviewed that presentation that I made on the 5th of February a number of times, as you might imagine, over recent weeks, and it holds up very well. It was the solid, coordinated judgment of the intelligence community. Some of the things that I talked about that day we have now seen in reality. We have found the mobile biological weapons labs that I could only show cartoons of that day. We now have them. [NBC Today Show, 6/30/03] CHENEY: We had intelligence reporting before the war that there were at least seven of these mobile labs that he had gone out and acquired. We’ve, since the war, found two of them. They’re in our possession today, mobile biological facilities that can be used to produce anthrax or smallpox or whatever else you wanted to use during the course of developing the capacity for an attack. [Meet the Press, 9/14/03] (Center for American Progress) THE FACTS The Washington Post reported an explosive story that a secret, fact-finding team of scientists and engineers sponsored by the Pentagon determined in May 2003 that two small trailers captured by U.S. and Kurdish troops were not evidence of an Iraqi biological weapons program. The nine-member team “transmitted their unanimous findings to Washington in a field report on May 27, 2003.” Despite having authoritative evidence that the biological laboratories claim was false, the administration continued to peddle the myth over the next four months. (Center for American Progress) IRAQ AS IMMINENT THREAT The Bush administration repeatedly claimed that Iraq presented an imminent threat to the US and its allies, although it would later claim: On January 27, 2004, White House spokesman Scot McClellan claimed that the administration never said Iraq was an imminent threat. "the media have chose to use the word imminent" to describe the Iraqi threat. In a February 2004 speech at Georgetown University, CIA Director Tenet revealed that CIA "analysts never said there was an imminent threat" from Iraq before the war. In terms of the administration claims it never said or suggested an imminent threat, below are a sample of such comments: "No terrorist state poses a greater or more immediate threat to the security of our people and the stability of the world than the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq." Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld (09.19.02) "This man poses a much graver threat than anybody could have possibly imagined." President Bush (09.26.02) "The Iraqi regime is a threat of unique urgency. . . . It has developed weapons of mass death" President Bush (10.02.02) "There's a grave threat in Iraq. There just is." President Bush (10.02.03) "There are many dangers in the world; the threat from Iraq stands alone because it gathers the most serious dangers of our age in one place. President Bush (10.07.02) "The Iraqi regime is a serious and growing threat to peace." President Bush (10.16.02) "There is a real threat, in my judgment, a real and dangerous threat to America in the form of Saddam Hussein." President Bush (10.28.02) "I see a significant threat to the security of the United States in Iraq." President Bush (11.01.02) "Today the world is...uniting to answer the unique and urgent threat posed by Iraq." President Bush (11.01.02) "The world is also uniting to answer the unique and urgent threat posed by Iraq whose dictator has already used weapons of mass destruction to kill thousands." President Bush (11.23.02) In January 2003, White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett, when asked “is Saddam an imminent threat to U.S. interests”; he replied “Well, of course he is.” In February 2003, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said “[t]his is about [an] imminent threat.” In May 2003, Ari Fleisher was asked “Didn’t we go to war because we said WMD’s were a direct and imminent threat to the U.S?” He responded, “Absolutely.” THE FACTS The director of the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence & Research stated that "Iraq possessed no imminent threat to either its neighbors or to the United States." A January 2004 report by the Army War College concluded that Iraq was not an imminent threat and characterized the war as "an unnecessary preventive war of choice against a deferred Iraq." The Carnegie Endowment for Peace's report on WMD's in Iraq also concluded that Iraq did not pose an immediate threat to the United States or to global security. Sources: Daily Mis-Lead 02.05.04; Rivers-Pitt – Truthout.org 07.11.03, McGovern –AlterNet 06.30.03, NBC News 07.21.03, Krugman – New York Times 07.22.03; WMD in Iraq – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Bounding the Global War on Terror – Army War College.Daily Mis-Lead 01.28.04, CAP Daily Progress Report 01.29.04 CONGRESS HAD SAME PRE-WAR INTELLIGENCE During his Veteran’s Day 2005 address, Bush charged that “ . . more than a hundred Democrats in the House and the Senate -- who had access to the same intelligence -- voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power. " THE FACTS The Washington Post extensively analyzed this claim, concluding that: “Bush and his aides had access to much more voluminous intelligence information than did lawmakers, who were ependent on the administration to provide the material…Bush does not share his most sensitive intelligence, such as the President's Daily Brief, with lawmakers. Also, the National Intelligence Estimate summarizing the intelligence community's views about the threat from Iraq was given to Congress just days before the vote to authorize the use of force in that country. In addition, there were doubts within the intelligence community not included in the NIE. And even the doubts expressed in the NIE could not be used publicly by members of Congress because the classified information had not been cleared for release.” (Washington Post, 11/13/05) See http://democrats.senate.gov/dpc/dpc-new.cfm?doc_name=sr-109-1-129 This was confirmed by a Congressional Research Service report which found that the “President, and a small number of presidentially-designated Cabinet-level officials, including the Vice President (3) - in contrast to Members of Congress (4) - have access to a far greater overall volume of intelligence and to more sensitive intelligence information, including information regarding intelligence sources and methods.” TROOP LEVELS IN IRAQ Defense Donald Rumsfeld claimed that the number of troops in Iraq is not a decision I make. This is a decision that's made by the military commanders. [Retired] Gen. [Tommy R.] Franks, Gen. [John P.] Abizaid, Gen. [George W.] Casey [Jr.] have decided what those numbers are. And I have yet to hear from our commanders on the ground that they need more troops. President Bush (11/04/04) THE FACTS In fact, substantial evidence suggests that in developing the war plan Rumsfeld rejected the advice of top military commanders who warned that more troops would be necessary to secure postwar Iraq. And even after the end of "major combat operations," Rumsfeld reportedly squelched requests from military commanders -- as well as L. Paul Bremer III, who headed the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority until the transfer of sovereignty to Iraq in June 2004 -- for more troops. Tommy Franks, the former commander-in-chief of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), has acknowledged that he felt more troops were needed in Iraq. He wrote in his recent book American Soldier (Regan, 2004) that he projected that 250,000 troops would be required to secure postwar Iraq, as he acknowledged in an August 16, 2004, appearance on CNN's Paula Zahn Now. In an October 17, 2004, article on the Bush administration's Iraq policy, Knight Ridder reported that Rumsfeld successfully opposed higher troop levels that military planners thought were necessary. The article found that "[t]he administration also failed to provide some 100,000 additional U.S. troops that American military commanders originally wanted to help restore order and reconstruct a country." The article explained: Central Command originally proposed a force of 380,000 to attack and occupy Iraq. Rumsfeld's opening bid was about 40,000, "a division-plus," said three senior military officials who participated in the discussions. Bush and his top advisers finally approved the 250,000 troops the commanders requested to launch the invasion. But the additional troops that the military wanted to secure Iraq after Saddam's regime fell were either delayed or never sent. Most famously, in February 2003, a few weeks before the invasion began, then-Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki, now retired, told Congress that "[s]omething on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers ... would be required" to stabilize postwar Iraq. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz rejected this claim, insisting that he was "reasonably certain that they [the Iraqis] will greet us as liberators, and that will help us to keep [troop] requirements down." Rumsfeld shared Wolfowitz's optimism. "Rumsfeld said the post-war troop commitment would be less than the number of troops required to win the war. He also said 'the idea that it would take several hundred thousand U.S. forces, I think, is far from the mark,' " [CNN, 3/3/03]. Similarly, though he is not a military commander, Bremer, who headed the Coalition Provisional Authority, stated in October 2004 that "We never had enough troops on the ground." Rumsfeld maintained lower troop levels than commanders wanted during the post-invasion period. According to a February 7 article in Newsweek, Rumsfeld has effectively rejected at least one postwar appeal already, from Abizaid and other military commanders. The April 12, 2004, New York Daily News reported that Abizaid "has been repeatedly discouraged from asking for more soldiers," according to a "senior military official." The article further quoted that official: "Rumsfeld has made it clear to the whole building that he wasn't interested in getting any requests for more troops." Following the death of 19 Marines from the same unit in an ambush attack, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer Editors commented: There may be a lesson as well as sorrow in the tragic deaths of 19 Marines from the same Ohio unit last week. Their Marine regiment had been asking for more troops for months, . . . . President Bush said June 28, "If our commanders on the ground say we need more troops, I will send them." The generals reporting to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld apparently cater to his desire to hold down troop numbers. So, if the generals don't ask, Rumsfeld doesn't tell the president, giving Bush a kind of plausible fiction. It's no wonder Americans have grown more skeptical of Bush's words (Media Matters 06/28/05, Seattle Post Intelligencer (08/09/05) Katrina, Taxes & Domestic Policy KATRINA LEVEES I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees. President Bush (09/01/05) It really caught everybody by surprise" and was a major reason for the delay in the government's emergency response. Michael Chertoff (09/04/05) That 'perfect storm' of a combination of catastrophes exceeded the foresight of the planners, and maybe anybody's foresight. Michael Chertoff (09/05/05) THE FACTS Two Days Warning. The White House situation room received a report at 1:47 a.m. the day Katrina hit, predicting that Katrina would likely lead to severe flooding and/or levee breaching. Two days before Katrina hit FEMA predicted that Hurricane Katrina could be worse than Hurricane Pam. [MSNBC 1/24/06] Hurricane Pam? Responding to Bush’s comments on Meet the Press, Dr. Ivor Van Heerden of the LSU Hurricane Center “I didn’t buy that because, you know, we had discussed on numerous occasions that a worst-case scenario would be if we had one of these major hurricanes and then we lost the levee systems.” A White House advisor sat in on the “Hurricane Pam Exercise,” a computer simulation of the possible effects of a Category 3 hurricane on New Orleans. The exercise found that “…a storm like Hurricane Pam would: cause flooding that would leave 300,000 people trapped in New Orleans, many of whom would not have private transportation for evacuation.” [Meet the Press, 9/11/05] CNN.com noted that "officials have warned for years that a Category 4 [hurricane] could cause the levees to fail." The CNN.com article added that in an August 31 interview on CNN's Larry King Live, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) director Michael Brown said, "That Category 4 hurricane caused the same kind of damage that we anticipated. So we planned for it two years ago. Last year, we exercised it. And unfortunately this year, we're implementing it." On Meet the Press, Tim Russert pointed out that the Times-Picayune published a five-part series in June 2002, in which it warned that if a large hurricane hit New Orleans, the city's levees would likely be topped or broken -- resulting in catastrophic flooding and thousands of deaths. Russert added that "last summer FEMA, who reports to you, and the LSU Hurricane Center, and local and state officials did a simulated Hurricane Pam in which the levees broke. ... Thousands drowned." (Media Matters for America 09/08/05) Additionally, as journalist Joshua Micah Marshall noted on Talking Points Memo, National Hurricane Center director Max Mayfield "talked about the force of Katrina during a video conference call to President Bush at his ranch in Crawford, Texas" on August 28 [St. Petersburg Times, 8/30/05]. The Washington Post quoted Mayfield on September 6: "They knew that this one was different. ... I don't think Mike Brown or anyone else in FEMA could have any reason to have any problem with our calls. ... They were told ... We said the levees could be topped." A transcript of this video conference reveals that Mayfield indicated that this was "obviously a very, very grave concern." KATRINA EXCUSES “What I said was not that we didn't anticipate that there's a possibility the levees will break. What I said was, in this storm, what happened is, the storm passed and passed without the levees breaking on Monday. Tuesday morning, I opened newspapers and saw headlines that said 'New Orleans Dodged the Bullet,' which surprised people. What surprised them was that the levee broke overnight and the next day and, in fact, collapsed. That was a surprise." Michael Chertoff (09/04/05) What I was referring to is this: When that storm came by, a lot of people said we dodged a bullet. When that storm came through at first, people said, "Whew." There was a sense of relaxation. And that's what I was referring to. And I myself thought we had dodged a bullet. You know why? Because I was listening to people probably over the airwaves say, "The bullet has been dodged." And that was what I was referring to. Of course, there were plans in case the levee had been breached. There was a sense of relaxation at a critical moment. And thank you for giving me a chance to clarify that...” President Bush (09/12/05) THE FACTS Even accepting as true Chertoff's incredible suggestion that he -- the secretary of Homeland Security -- and the president of the United States relied on the print media for their information on the situation in New Orleans, as Think Progress points out, had administration officials "bothered to read the full text of the three articles they found with favorable headlines, they would have realized that federal government help was needed immediately." Moreover, while Chertoff did not indicate which headlines he was referring to, many newspapers -- in addition to the Times-Picayune -- did report on broken levees and significant flooding. For example, on August 30, the Los Angeles Times reported that a levee break had occurred by late morning August 29, with water from the break "spill[ing] through the area, flooding the town's two main shelters and swamping the local National Guard armory, leaving even public safety officials homeless." Or Chertoff could have turned on the television. On the August 30 broadcast of NBC's Today, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams reported at 7:05 a.m. ET, "There has been a huge development overnight ... the historic French Quarter, dry last night and it is now filling with water. This is water from nearby Lake Pontchartrain; the levees failed overnight." Indeed, Chertoff's and Bush's professed ignorance notwithstanding, the federal government was well aware of the continuing threat of the levees breaking. Just hours after the storm passed on Monday, August 29, FEMA director Brown confirmed that the potential for catastrophic flooding remained. In an interview with Brown, NBC Today co-host Matt Lauer noted, "In New Orleans, in particular, they're worried about the levees giving way or the canals not holding, and they're worried about toxic runoff." Brown responded that even though the storm had weakened, there was still a 15- to 20-foot storm surge causing "the water out of Lake Pontchartrain and the Gulf and the Mississippi continue to converge upon Louisiana." Brown added, "So we're still ready for a major disaster." The National Weather Service issued a detailed message a day before the strike, saying buildings would be leveled, high-rises crippled and most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks, perhaps longer. In addition, and again contrary to Chertoff's claims, FEMA was most certainly warned that the levees could collapse, although even well after the levees failed, FEMA officials continued to downplay how bad the flooding might be. One said, "I don't want to alarm everybody that, you know, New Orleans is filling up like a soup bowl. That's just not happening." But in fact, it was happening. (Media Matters 09/08/05, 09/13/05) SOCIAL SECURITY “CRISIS” "Thirteen years from now, in 2018, Social Security will be paying out more than it takes in. And every year afterward will bring a new shortfall, bigger than the year before. For example, in the year 2027, the government will somehow have to come up with an extra $200 billion to keep the system afloat -- and by 2033, the annual shortfall would be more than $300 billion. By the year 2042, the entire system would be exhausted and bankrupt. If steps are not taken to avert that outcome, the only solutions would be dramatically higher taxes, massive new borrowing, or sudden and severe cuts in Social Security benefits or other government programs." -- 2005 State of the Union Address THE FACTS “This passage contains three statements worth scrutiny. First, the statement that starting in 2018 the government "will somehow have to come up with" extra billions to stay afloat ignores the fact that there exists a substantial trust fund now invested in US treasury bonds and will make up the shortfall for several decades. Second, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has projected the trust fund will be exhausted in 2052; the year 2042 is an older figure that came from the Social Security Trustees, who used a different set of economic assumptions. Finally, even after 2052, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has noted the system could still pay out 80 percent of normal benefits without new taxes or borrowing.” In addition, the head of the non-partisan General Accounting Office testified before Congress that Social Security “does not face an immediate crisis”. Source: Savage, Boston Globe (02/03/05), Associated Press, Los Angeles Times (03/10/05) BUDGET DEFICIT TRIFECTA LIE: As the budget deficit emerged; Bush assured us that the deficits would be “small and temporary”. He also stated “I remember campaigning in Chicago and one of the reporters said, ‘Would you ever deficit spend?’ I said, ‘Only – only – in times of war, in times of economy insecurity as a result of a recession or in times of national emergency.’ Never did I dream we’d have a trifecta.’” The White House repeated this trifecta claim throughout 2002. FACTS: Bush never made such a statement in Chicago nor anywhere else during the 2000 campaign. In fact, these three caveats on deficits were stated on several occasions by Vice President Gore. Bush’s attempt to pin the deficit on the war also is a misstatement, since the cost of the Bush tax cuts is three times the cost of the response to 9-11 and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Source: New Republic 07.01.02 “MIDDLE-CLASS” TAX CUTS LIE: Most of the tax cuts went to low and middle income Americans, and now the tax code is more fair, 20 percent of the upper income people pay about 80 percent of the taxes in America today because of how we structured the tax cuts. FACTS: The top 1/5th of earners receive 2/3rds of all benefits and the bill excluded extending the child tax credit to 4 million low income families who do not qualify. Middle class earners will receive an average cut of $162 in 2005. Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities 04.14.04 PRESCRIPTION DRUG BILL COST ESTIMATES LIE:The Bush administration sold its Medicare prescription drug plan to conservatives in Congress as having a cost of $400 billion over ten years, enabling it to narrowly win passage in December 2003. FACTS: The White House knew the costs were $551 billion - more than 25 percent higher. The administration threatened to fire Medicare’s top financial analyst (Richard Foster) if he released the information. Two months after the President signed the law, the administration revised its costs estimates to $534 billion. One month after passage of the bill, the White House revealed that the program costs actually were $534 billion - more than 25 percent higher. AARP, which worked with the administration in drafting the bill, revealed that these higher estimates were "well known in the fall" but is only now being made public. Taxpayers for Common Sense, a Washington-based budget watchdog group claim Congress got "suckered by a classic financial bait-and-switch by the administration." Source: Kemper & Simon - Los Angeles Times 01.31.04, Pugh - Knight Ridder 03.11.04, Kemper - Los Angeles Times 03.14.04, CAP Progress Report 03.15.04. CLEAN AIR CLAIMS LIE: The Bush administration claims it has imposed “stringent new rules on power plant emissions”. FACTS: The new Bush rules gutted Clean Air Act restrictions to allow utilities to avoid having to install expensive new anti-pollution equipment when they modernize their plants. The EPA’s civil enforcement chief resigned in protest, while another senior EPA lawyer wrote to Christie Whitman that the administration “seems determined to weaken the rules we are trying to enforce. A study commissioned by the administration demonstrated that current policies on power plant emissions led to the death of 24,000 people each year. Source: Center for American Progress 12.13.03, New York Times 06.10.04 BUSH’S PATTERN OF HIDING THE TRUTH Just as bad as lying has been the administration’s efforts to suppress the truth to further its political purposes. FACTS: SEE BELOW. Part 1: BUSH'S PATTERN OF HIDING THE TRUTH The administration's fabrication's and attempts to bury the truth are not limited to its zealous pursuit of war with Iraq. Below is just a sample of recent items the administration has tried to conceal from the American people: * HIDING THE TOLL OF THE IRAQ WAR. The The Bush administration has (i) banned the media from Dover Air Force Base where the bodies of troops killed in Iraq are returned, (ii) under-reported figures for those officially wounded to only include those directly wounded in combat, and (iii) restricted access to military hospitals for professionally trained counselors of the Disabled American Veterans Association – access that the DAV has had for more than 60 years – to only permit closely monitored visits with pre-selected patients; and (iv) failed to attend a single funeral for an Iraq war veteran. (Tom Paine.common sense 03.08.04) * SUPPRESSING PRESCRIPTION DRUG COST DATA BEFORE CONGRESSIONAL VOTE: The White House provided Congress with a cost estimate for the Medicare prescription drug plan of $400 billion even though it knew at that time the costs of were $551 billion - more than 25% higher. The administration threatened to fire Medicare's top financial analyst (Richard Foster) if he released the information. Two months after the President signed the law, the administration increased its costs estimates to $524 billion. AARP, which worked with the administration in drafting the bill, revealed that these higher estimates were "well known in the fall" but is only now being made public. Taxpayers for Common Sense, a Washington-based budget watchdog group claim Congress got "suckered by a classic financial bait-and-switch by the administration." In May, the Congressional Research Service issued a report that the Bush administration violated federal law by ordering Mr. Foster to withhold information from Congress. The report stressed that “the right to receive truthful information from federal agencies to assist in its legislative functions is clear and unassailable.” (Kemper & Simon - Los Angeles Times 01.31.04, Pugh- Knight Ridder Los Angeles Times 03.11.04, Kemper - Los Angeles Times 03.14.04, Progress Report 03.15.04, Pear – New York Times 05.04.04) * SUPPRESSING EVIDENCE OF MERCURY POISONING: Administration officials “suppressed and sought to manipulate government information on mercury contained in an EPA report on children’s health and the environment.” The report, which found that 8 percent of women between the ages of 16-49 have mercury levels in their blood that could impair their children, was buried by the White House for nine months and was only released after it was leaked to the media by EPA. In addition, in issuing regulations on mercury emissions, the administration told EPA staffers “not to undertake the normal scientific and economic studies called for under a standing executive order” to prevent production of evidence that would undermine its weakening of mercury emissions regulation. (Union of Concerned Scientists – Scientific Integrity in Policy Making February 2004, Krugman – New York Times 04.06.04). * CENSORED AND DELAYED 9-11 REPORT: The Bush administration purposefully delayed the release of the report of the Joint Congressional Committee on 9-11 until after the conclusion of the Iraq war to hide facts such as the absence of an Iraq0AlQaeda link. Once released, the administration censored portions of the report that demonstrated that Bush was briefed on August 6, 2001 about Al Qaeda plans for a possible hijacking in the US and the Saudi role in funding Al Qaeda. (Waterman - UPI 07.23.03, Priest - Washington Post (07.25.03). * SUPPRESSING, ALTERING OR MANIPULATING EMPERICAL DATA UNDERMINING THEIR IDEOLOGICAL POSITIONS: More than 4,000 scientists – including 48 Nobel Prize winners and 127 members of the National Academy of Sciences – have accused the Bush administration of distorting and suppressing science to suit its political goals. (Shogren – Los Angeles Times 07.09.04) A report by the Union of Concerned Scientists found that this administration has: o a well-established pattern of suppression and distortion of scientific finding by high-ranking Bush administration political appointees across numerous federal agencies. These actions have consequences for human health, public safety and community well being. Incidents involve air pollutants, heat-trapping emissions, reproductive health, drug resistant bacteria, endangered species, forest health, and military intelligence o The report also found that: o there is significant evidence that the scope and scale of the manipulation, suppression, and misrepresentation of science by the Bush administration is unprecedented. READ THE REPORT! http://www.ucsusa.org/documents/RSI_final_fullreport.pdf A report by the House Committee on Government Reform – Minority Staff reaches the same conclusion, revealing examples such as the administration: o Changing education performance measures to make “abstinence-only” programs appear effect; deleting information on the efficacy and use of condoms from the Center for Disease Control web site; withholding findings on global warming and other negative impacts on wetlands and preventing any analyses on alterative environmental proposals; o using misleading data to suggest that a functioning missile defense system could be deployed quickly; o including information on the National Cancer Institute’s web site suggesting conflicting evidence on whether abortion leads to breast cancer when the scientific community has determined no such link exists; and o preventing research on agricultural practices having a “negative health [or] environmental consequences. READ THE REPORT! http://www.house.gov/reform/min/politicsandscience/pdfs/pdf_politics_and_science_rep.pdf * ERASING EVIDENCE OF RACIAL DISPARITIES IN REPORT ON ACCESS TO QUALITY HEALTH CARE: After a National Academy Sciences panel conducted a Congressionally mandated comprehensive study on racial disparities in access to quality health care and concluded that racial and socioeconomic disparities were “pervasive in our health care system”; that minorities received poorer care and were more likely to die from avoidable deaths (e.g., cancer, cardiac illness) – HHS Secretary Thompson refused to approve the findings and ordered that the report be rewritten. The report released by HHS in December 2003 omitted all findings of racial disparities and instead asserted that claims of minority groups receiving worse care than whites were unproved. (Bloche – Los Angeles Times 02.15.04) * REMOVING INFORMATION ON PRIVATE SCHOOL TUITION: Under the No Child Left Behind Act Administration, if a school is deemed a failing school for three years in a row, students would get vouchers to go to a new school based on their share of federal funding (approximately $2,400 per child). The Department of Education website used to list the private school tuition ($28,500) on its website, but the Bush administration has removed this to hide the disparity between the cost of private school and vouchers offered. (Carville – Had Enough?) * KILLED TREASURY DEFICIT STUDY: The administration “deep-sixed” a 2003 Treasury Department study that projected that “the equivalent of an immediate and permanent 66 percent across-the-board income tax increase” would be required to eliminate a projected $44.2 trillion budget deficit due to Bush’s tax cuts. The study found that the future health care and retirement costs of the baby boomers would overwhelm the treasury. “Sharp tax increases and massive spending cuts are unavoidable if the U.S. is to meet benefit promises to future generations.” The report added that the current financial challenge facing Washington is approximately “10 times the publicly held national debt, four years of U.S. economic output, or more than 94 percent of all U.S. household assets.” (Hollings – Washington Post 06.19.03, Baker – Slate 07.11.03, Ferdinand - Utne Reader 05.2003, Malveaux & McCaughan - CNN.com 05.29.03) * SUPPRESSING EVIDENCE OF RACIAL HARASSMENT WITHIN THE ASHCROFT JUSTICE DEPARTMENT: For over a year, the Justice Department has delayed the release of a KPMG Consulting report on diversity in DOJ. All that DOJ would release is a redacted version that deletes more than half the report including its summary. It is reported that the redacted portions include findings that DOJ faces “significant diversity issues” and that “minorities are significantly more likely than whites to cite stereotyping, harassment, and racial tensions as characteristics of the work climate.” (New York Times 11.04.03) * DELETED FORECAST OF TAX PLAN AS “JOB KILLER”: A Council of Economic Advisors’ forecast showing that the Bush “stimulus” plan would only create 170,000 jobs per year and would be a “job killer” after 2007 was removed from its website. (Baker – Slate 07.11.03) * DELETED FINDINGS OF GLOBAL WARMING: Prior to release of the EPA’s 2003 Environmental Overview, the White deleted a detailed chapter of global warming that found that global warming was due to human factors and that “climate changes has global consequences for human health and the environment”. (CBS News.com 06.19.03) * CONCEALED "CLEAR SKIES" ANALYSIS: An EPA assessment of Bush’s “Clear Skies” plan concealed the fact that a proposal by Senator Carper (D-Del.) would provide greater long term benefits at only slightly higher costs. In June 2004, a research firm hired by the Bush administration concluded that current policies on power plant emissions lead to the death of 24,000 people each year. While the Clear Skies program would reduce this by as many as 14,000 lives, competing proposals would save up to 22,000 lives. (Gugliotta & Pianin – Washington Post 07.02.03, Janofsky – New York Times 06.10.04) * KILLED LAYOFF REPORTS: The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly Mass Layoff Statistics report was killed by the administration in December 2002 and only noted in a footnote in the final report. (President Bush I did the same thing to hide his dismal performance.) After this was discovered by the Washington Post, the reports were reinstated. (Baker – Slate 07.11.03) * DELETED DECLINING MIN. WAGE: A Labor Department report showing the real value of the minimum wage over time (which would show the workers losing ground under Bush since there has been no increase since 1997) was removed from its website. (Baker – Slate 07.11.03) * FORCED SCIENTISTS TO ALTER FINDINGS ON KLAMATH RIVER WATER LEVELS: Karl Rove and Interior Secretary Norton forced National Marine Fisheries scientists to alter findings on the amount of water required for the survival of salmon in Oregon’s Klamath River to enable farms to use a bigger share of the river water. “As a result, more than 33,000 Chinook and Coho salmon died – the largest fish kill in American history.” (Kennedy – Rolling Stone 12.11.03) * RESTRICTING DEMOCRATS ABILITY TO QUESTION ADMINISTRATION: In an unprecedented move, the administration is requiring Democrats to submit all requests for information to Republican chairman of the relevant committee, thereby requiring Republican approval of any such requests. (Milbank – Washington Post 11.08.03) * HIDING BAD NEWS: The Bush administration moved up the release of census data showing increases in poverty and the uninsured for the third year in a row from September to August while Congress was in recess and many reporters and other Americans were on vacation. The administration has a history of releasing bad news late on Friday to minimize press coverage. (The Daily-Mis-Lead 08.26.04). * FUNDING ABSTINENCE-ONLY PROGRAMS – 80% OF WHICH PRESENT FALSE, MISLEADING OR DISTORTED INFORMATION ON REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH. The programs contain false claims on the effectiveness of condoms, the risks associated with abortion and exposure to HIV. Bush administration has used “sensitive but unclassified”, “sensitive security information” (Report: The Content of Federally Funded Abstinence-Only Education Programs.) Read the report - http://www.democrats.reform.house.gov/Documents/20041201102153-50247.pdf * USING SECURITY CLASSIFICATIONS TO SUPRRESS DAMAGING INFORMATION. The Bush administration has used “sensitive but unclassified”, “sensitive security information” or “for official use only” designations to block the release of information showing that (1) the CIA “was involved in preparing a grossly inaccurate global terrorism report”; (2) UN Ambassador nominee was involved in the creation of a fact sheet that falsely claimed Iraq sought uranium from Niger; and (3) the names of US companies that did business with Saddam Hussein under the Oil for Food program. (Letter from Congressman Waxman to Congress Shays dated March 1, 2005.) MIS-LEADER SPECIAL REPORT: HIDING THE TRUTH: BUSH'S NEED TO KNOW DEMOCRACY http://www.misleader.com/pdf/specialreport2_secrecy.pdf Part 2: BUSH LIES FROM A - Z ABORTION LIE: Bush justified re-imposing the Reagan era gag order prohibiting funding to overseas family planning groups that provide abortion services or counseling on the grounds that “taxpayer funds should not be used to pay for abortions”. FACT: The US funds that Bush cut off were only used for non-abortion activities. (David Corn 02.05.01) LIE: Bush withheld $34 million approved by Congress for the United Nations Population Fund Agency (UNPFA) claiming that the program supported China’s one-child policy. FACT: Bush’s own State Department conducted an investigation and found “no evidence that UNFPA has supported or participated in the management of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization” in China. Bush suppressed the report and withheld the funds anyway. Bush continues to withhold these funds despite no evidence of claimed forced abortions in China. (NOW Report – The Truth About George, Richter – Los Angeles Times 07.17.04) LIE: During the debates, Bush claimed he would not seek to overturn the FDA’s approval of RU-486. FACT: Bush stated he would not accept the FDA’s decision and would seek to appoint an FDA commissioner who would “make sure the FDA considered the risk”. (ABC News.com 10.4.02) CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM LIE: After initially opposing McCain-Feingold, Bush jumped on the bandwagon once it was a fait accompli. In July 2002, he cut a deal with Senator McCain to appoint a pro-reform candidate (Ellen Weintraub) backed by McCain to the Federal Election Commission. FACT: As Senator McCain plainly stated, while “the administration wanted to share in the widespread public approval of campaign finance reform by . . . signing the legislation . . . he’s cooperating behind the scenes with opponents of the law in Congress and on the [Federal Election] Commission to weaken it as much as possible.” Bush sat on the Weintraub nomination until the Bush FEC issued regulations creating huge loopholes contrary to the express language of the law to permit (i) party committees to raise soft money through independent committees, (ii) federal officials to engage in fundraising, and (iii) permitting candidates to raise soft money through independent committees. In the words of Senator McCain, “[t]hey flat-out broke their word.” (Arianna Online 12.09.02, Public Citizen Analysis of How FEC Is Undermining the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002) CIVIL RIGHTS & PATRIOT ACT LIE: The Bush administration repeatedly argued that it could not release the names of detainees – even those who had not been charged or accused of terrorism – because doing so would harm national security.” The Justice Department in a sworn affidavit contended that when detainees are publicly identified “terrorist organizations with whom they have a connection may refuse to deal further with them.” FACT: That rule does not apply when the administration needs to make disclosures for political purposes. When forced to come up some justification for its elevation of the threat level immediately after the Democratic convention based on information that was three years old, National Security Advisor Rice stated that the alert was due to the capture of Al Qaeda operative Mohammed Khan. The Justice Department’s affidavit was correct; however, since Rice’s disclosure of Khan harmed ongoing investigations. Once again, politics triumphs over security in the Bush White House. (Daily Mis-Lead 08.08.04) LIE: "By the way, the reason I bring up the Patriot Act, it's set to expire next year. I'm starting a campaign to make it clear to members of Congress that it shouldn't expire. It shouldn't expire for the security of our country." President Bush. FACT: Less that 10 percent of the Patriot Act expires; most of the law is permanent and those portions that do sunset will not do so until December 31, 2005. (Cassel – Counterpunch 04.26.04) LIE: "And that changed, the law changed on- roving wiretaps were available for chasing down drug lords. They weren't available for chasing down terrorists, see?" FACT: Roving wiretaps were available prior to 9/11 against drug lords and terrorists. Prior to the law, the FBI could get a roving wiretap against both when it had probable cause of crime for a wiretap eligible offense. What the Patriot Act did is make roving wiretaps available in intelligence investigations supervised by the secret intelligence court without the judicial safeguards of the criminal wiretap statute. (Cassel – Counterpunch 04.26.04) LIE: "... see, I'm not a lawyer, so it's kind of hard for me to kind of get bogged down in the law. I'm not going to play like one, either. (Laughter.) The way I viewed it, if I can just put it in simple terms, is that one part of the FBI couldn't tell the other part of the FBI vital information because of the law. And the CIA and the FBI couldn't talk." FACT: The CIA and the FBI could talk and did. As Janet Reno wrote in prepared testimony before the 9/11 commission, "There are simply no walls or restrictions on sharing the vast majority of counterterrorism information. There are no legal restrictions at all on the ability of the members of the intelligence community to share intelligence information with each other. "With respect to sharing between intelligence investigators and criminal investigators, information learned as a result of a physical surveillance or from a confidential informant can be legally shared without restriction. While there were restrictions placed on information gathered by criminal investigators as a result of grand jury investigations or Title III wire taps, in practice they did not prove to be a serious impediment since there was very little significant information that could not be shared." (Cassel – Counterpunch 04.26.04) LIE: "Thirdly, to give you an example of what we're talking about, there's something called delayed-notification search warrants. ... We couldn't use these against terrorists [before the Patriot Act], but we could use against gangs." FACT: Delayed-notification - or so-called sneak-and-peek search warrants - were never limited to gangs. The circuit courts that had authorized them in limited circumstances prior to the Patriot Act did not limit the warrants to the investigation of gangs. In fact, terrorism or espionage investigators did not necessarily have to go through the criminal courts for a covert search - they could do so with even fewer safeguards against abuse by going to a top secret foreign intelligence court in Washington. For criminal sneak-and-peek warrants, the Patriot Act added a catch-all argument for prosecutors - if notice would delay prosecution or jeopardize an investigation - which makes these secret search warrants much easier to obtain. The president's sneak-and-peek misstatement clearly demonstrates that the Patriot Act is not limited to terrorism. In fact, many of the law's expanded authorities can clearly be used outside the war on terrorism. (Cassel – Counterpunch 04.26.04) LIE: In announcing his support for the Defense of Marriage Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage, Bush said he was reversing his previous position because of the actions in Massachusetts, New Mexico and San Francisco. FACT: President Bush told the amendment sponsor, Rep. Marilyn Musgrave that he would support the amendment several months prior – before any state actions. (Daily Mis-Lead 03.02.04) LIE: When asked by David Frost about the demonstrators protesting his visit to the UK, Bush responded that “Freedom is a beautiful thing, I would first say, and aren’t you lucky to be in a country that encourages people to speak their mind. And I value going to a country where people are free to say anything they want to say”. FACT: Under Bush, the FBI has been monitoring political demonstrations and other legal activities such as using the Internet for fundraising for the first time since the Nixon-Hoover era. In addition, after 9-11 then White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said that Americans “need to watch what they say, watch what they do.” Similarly, Attorney General Ashcroft labeled any criticism of the Patriot Act as aiding terrorists. (Daily Mis-Lead 11.24.03) LIE: Attorney General Ashcroft told there “is no evidence of racial bias in the administration of the federal death penalty”. FACT: A September 2000 Justice Department report concluded there was racial bias in the administration of the federal death penalty. (People For the American Way – Report on Attorney General Ashcroft’s First Year) CLINTON BASHING LIE: At the 2000 Republican National Convention, Bush claimed that if ‘called on by the commander in chief today, two entire divisions of the Army would have to report, ‘Not ready for duty, sir.’” FACT: This claim was contradicted by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Defense Secretary Cohen and Bush’s own foreign policy advisor Richard Armitage. (Franken – Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them) LIE: The Bush administration spread stories that the outgoing Clinton administration vandalized the White House with obscene graffiti, file cabinets glued shut, phone wires cut and pornography left on fax machines. FACT: The General Accounting Office found no evidence of vandalism, wires slashed, equipment damaged or other evidence to match the allegations. (Boston Globe 05.28.01) LIE: The Bush administration claimed that regulations issued during the final weeks of the Clinton administration were “ill-considered” and “ill-intentioned”. FACT: Virtually all regulations issued during the final weeks of the Clinton administration had been developed over a period of years and are consistent with practices of prior administrations. (Washington Post 06.09.01). DEFENSE & VETERANS AFFAIRS LIE: Bush has lauded the “great courage” of those serving in Iraq and has proclaimed that “[o]ur men and women in uniform give America their best and we owe them our support.” FACT: Bush’s support has been in words only, as he has requested major cuts in the Impact Aid program providing funds for the schooling of 900,000 children of military families. (The Daily Mis-Lead 10.13.03) In addition, one million children living in military and veteran families are denied child tax credit help in the President’s tax cut, including 260,000 of children with parents in active duty. (Center for American Progress 12.13.03) LIE: Bush told the VFW that “Veterans are a priority of this administration . . . and that priority is reflected in my budget.” FACT: In 2003, Bush killed an emergency funding request that included $275 million for Veterans’ medical care, while his 2004 budget requests falls $1.9 billion short of maintaining what the American Legion called “an inadequate status quo.” Bush’s FY2005 budget cuts funding by $13.5 billion over 5 years. (The Daily Mis-Lead 10.21.03, The Center for American Progress 02.04.03) LIE: In June 2001 Bush stated that the US would not deploy a missile defense system “that doesn’t work.” FACT: Bush then proceeded to deploy the missile defense system even though a General Accounting Office report found only “limited data for determining whether the system will work as intended.” (Corn – The Nation 10.13.03) EDUCATION LIE: On a three-state education tour, Bush claimed they the administration has seriously increased funding for education, saying “we’re doing our duty; we understand that people need extra help, and the federal government is responding.” FACT: There is a $72 billion gap between what Bush promised to spend and what he actually sought. Of the states visited, he promised $176MM for Arkansas for disadvantaged children, but only sought $117MM. Bush is seeking to reduce funding for almost one-third of Arkansas school districts. In Maryland, Bush is only seeking $171MM after promising $264MM and in West Virginia he is seeking $106MM after promising $163MM. (The Daily Mis-Lead 05.12.04) LIE: In signing the No Child Left Behind Act, Bush declared “We’re going to spend more on our schools and we’re going to spend it more wisely.” In his 2004 State of the Union speech, he claimed “I refuse to give up on any child and the No Child Left Behind Act is opening the door of opportunity to all of America’s children.” FACT: Bush’s FY2005 budget under-funds the No Child Left Behind (“NCLB”) program by $9.4 billion – or 27 percent less than authorized by Congress. Bush has under funded the NCLB program by $15 billion over his first three years. Most of the under funding is in the area of Title I of the Act which provided funds to schools with low income or disadvantaged students. (The Daily Distortion 10.24.03, New Democratic Network 12.02.03, Center for American Progress 02.03.04) LIE: “I propose larger Pell Grants for students who prepare for college with demanding courses in high school.” (2004 SOU) FACT: The Bush administration has eliminated 84,000 students from the Pell Grants program and reduced grants to another 1.5 million students. Its FY2005 budget freezes Pell Grant awards. (Center for American Progress 02.03.04) LIE: “I’ve always felt that the community college system provides a great opportunity for job training. . . . So we’ve got the money in our budget to help invigorate the community college system.” FACT: The Bush administration has proposed modest increases in job training funds for community colleges but this is offset by over $1 billion cut out of job training programs over the last three years. (Center for American Progress 02.23.04) LIE: In a September 2003 speech, Bush claimed that his budget boosted spending for elementary and secondary education to $53.1 billion -- a 26 percent increase. FACT: Bush’s budget for elementary and secondary education is only $34.9 billion (his entire education budget is $53.1 billion) and the boost he refers to is actually a $900 million cut. (Corn – The Nation 09.15.03) ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT CLEAN AIR LIE: The Bush administration claims it has imposed “stringent new rules on power plant emissions”. FACT: The new Bush rules gutted Clean Air Act restrictions to allow utilities to avoid having to install expensive new anti-pollution equipment when they modernize their plants. The EPA’s civil enforcement chief resigned in protest, while another senior EPA lawyer wrote to Christie Whitman that the administration “seems determined to weaken the rules we are trying to enforce. A study commissioned by the administration demonstrated that current policies on power plant emissions led to the death of 24,000 people each year. (Center for American Progress 12.13.03, New York Times 06.10.04) LIE: The Bush administration claimed its new air pollution standards for plywood manufacturers, which are about “10,000 times less stringent than the level previously used by EPA”, were consistent with public health needs and available science. FACT: In issuing the new rules, the administration relied on studies prepared by the chemical industry and ignored by the National Cancer Institute and National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health that showed exposure to formaldehyde used in manufacturing plywood caused leukemia in humans. (Miller & Hamburger – Los Angeles Times 05.21.04) LIE: I’m a big proponent of clean coal technology to make sure we can use coal in a clean way. (2nd Debate) FACT: In 2000, Bush promised he would increase jobs and spend $2BB over 10 years on clean coal technologies. Bush abandoned this pledge and his FY05 budget substantially cuts funds for basic coal research (30%) and the Clean Coal Power Initiative (70%). (The Herald Dispatch 10/3/00, Department of Energy Budget Request FY2002-2005). LIE: On her final day as EPA administrator, Christine Todd Whitman assured members of Congress that EPA would do required economic and technical studies before proposing a rule to reduce mercury emissions from power plants. After her departure she denied any knowledge that the analysis was not being conducted. FACT: Whitman had knowledge that EPA was not doing the required analysis, as her assurances came in letter to lawmakers concerned about reports that the studies had been tabled by the White House. When the pro-industry rule weakening Clean Air Act requirements for mercury emissions came out, it was discovered that the analyses was not done and, instead, EPA only studied options that would support the White House’s desired outcome. (Miller & Hamburger – Los Angeles Times 03.19.04) LIE: The administration claims that it has offered stringent new rules that will result in dramatic reductions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and mercury. FACT: The administration’s new rules weaken Clean Air Act requirements for mercury emissions by requiring that plants reduce such emissions by only 1/3 of what is required by the Clean Air Act – reducing current emissions from 48 tons to 34 tons by 2010 instead of a reduction to 5 tons by year 2007. The rules also will result in 1.4 million tons more of air pollution. (Daily Mis-Lead 12.05.03, Center for American Progress 12.13.03) LIE: In 2002, EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Air Quality Holmstead told two Senate committees that the proposed rule changes gutting the Clean Air will not “have a negative impact on enforcement cases.” In response to questioning as to whether discussed the impact of the proposed rule changes with EPA and Justice Department enforcement officials, he replied, “Yes, that was one of the primary issues that was discussed. What I can say is, based on numerous meetings that I have had, which included staff attorneys from [the Justice Department’s environmental division) as well as attorneys from our enforcement office, is we do not believe these changes will have a negative impact on the enforcement cases.” FACT: At that time, EPA enforcement agents repeatedly told Holmstead and others that the proposed rule changes would inevitably undermine ongoing clean air enforcement cases, possibly by prompting courts to accept a more lenient standard. EPA’s former chief of enforcement stated that the new rules “substantially complicate current litigation and act as a disincentive for companies to settle.” A General Accounting Report also concluded that the policy will hinder current enforcement actions (Pianin – Washington Post 10.10.03, Shogren – Los Angeles Times 10.24.03) LIE: In promoting his New Source Review rule, which rewrites the Clean Air Act to permit older power plants to upgrade without installing pollution control devices, President Bush stood outside Detroit Edison Monroe Power Plant claiming that existing EPA rules were too complicated to permit the plant to implement upgrades quickly. FACT: The Edison Monroe plant, which is the 8th largest emitter of sulfur dioxide in the US, had received the go-ahead from the EPA to proceed so long as it adhered to its stated intention of not increasing emissions as a result of the project. Under the new Bush rule, Edison Monroe can increase its emissions by 30,000 tons per year or 56 percent. (The Daily Mis-Lead 09.17.03) LIE: A 2003 EPA ad campaign targeted at Hispanics claimed the administrations “Clear Skies” initiative would “create purer air, better health and a more brilliant future for the United States.” FACT: The Bush initiative would allow power plants to discharge additional levels of sulfur dioxide, mercury and nitrogen then currently permitted under the Clean Air Act. Sulfur dioxide and other pollutants are associated with diseases such as emphysema and asthma that disproportionately afflict minority populations (The Daily Mis-Lead 10.20.03) LIE: In August 2003, the EPA denied a petition from environmental groups asking the agency to regulate carbon dioxide and other emissions from new vehicles, claiming that EPA lacked the authority to regulate greenhouse gases. FACT: The claim that EPA lacks this authority is contradicted by case law and the opinion of two prior EPA general counsels. (Zitner, Polakovic and Shogren – Los Angeles Times 08.29.03, Lee – New York Times 08.29.03) LIE: During the 2000 campaign, Bush pledged to impose mandatory emission reductions for carbon dioxide. FACT: Bush abandoned this pledge once elected. (CNN 03.13.01, Washington Post 03.25.02) CLEAN WATER & MARINE LIFE LIE: Bush claimed he is working to “restore, improve and protect at least 3 million wetland acres over the next five years.” FACT: A study revealed that the Bush administration has “allowed developers to drain thousands of acres of wetlands” under new EPA rules. (Daily Mis-Lead 08.12.04) LIE: In 2002, the administration claimed that 94 percent of Americans were served by drinking water that met EPA standards, exceeding the EPA’s performance standard of 91 percent. FACT: The EPA failed to meet its performance standard, since its data failed to include 35 percent of known health standards violations. Instead, it is estimated that only 81 percent of Americans have safe drinking water under Bush in part because inspections have been cut by 50 percent. In contrast, the Clinton administration met the EPA performance standard. (Greenwatch Today 03.22.04) LIE: In 2001, Bush reversed a Clinton administration regulation reducing the arsenic levels in drinking levels from 50 ppb to 10 ppb claiming that the regulation was a last minute decision, with EPA administrator Todd-Whitman claiming the 10 ppb standard was not based on “the best available science.” FACT: The new EPA standard was the result of a decade of work. After the Bush administration reversed the 10 ppb, the National Academy of Sciences found that the 10 ppb standard was not only scientifically justified but that the standard could be less than 10 ppb. Under pressure, the Bush administration reinstated the 10 ppb standard even though the “best available science” suggested a lower standard was warranted. (Corn – The Nation 10.13.03) LIE: President Bush stood before a Snake River dam and claimed credit for an increase in salmon populations in the Pacific Northwest. FACT: Experts stated that he increased salmon was due to weather and tidal patterns in the Pacific Ocean. The increase happened in spite of the Bush administration which has fallen short of court mandated targets to improve salmon habitats and water quality. Wild salmon are still below the levels necessary to ensure their long term survival. In the summer of 2003, the water levels for the Snake and Columbia River violated the targets 93% and 100% of the days, while also violating the Clean Water Act temperature standards 77.5% and 77.4%. (American Rivers 2003 Salmon Migration Report Card 10.03.03, New York Times 10.14.03, Geranios – AP 10.16.03, New York Times.) GLOBAL WARMING LIE: President Bush claimed there is insufficient scientific evidence of global warming as part of his justification for withdrawing from the Kyoto Treaty. FACT: The National Academy of Science’s 2001 report stated that there is general agreement that the observed warming is real and particularly strong within the past 20 years” and that most of the warming “observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities.” Similarly, an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that global temperatures were rising dramatically and this was due in part to human-induced emissions. Most recently, a Pentagon study stated the threat posed by global warming “vastly eclipses that of terrorism.” The study said that climate change should be considered immediately as a top political and military issue and warned catastrophic results between 2007 and 2020. (Revkin – New York Times 01.12.03, Corn – The Nation 10.13.03; Al Jazeera 02.22.04 ) ENERGY CONSERVATION & ELECTRIC POWER LIE: Bush promised to fund research on hydrogen-powered cars so that we will be “less dependent on foreign sources of energy” and “improve the environment.” FACT: The Bush administration has “been working quietly to ensure that the system used to produce hydrogen will be fossil fuel dependent – and as potential dirty – as the one that fuels today’s SUV’s.” Up to 90% of all hydrogen will come from oil, nature gas and other fossil fuels. Bush also is paying for this program by stripping funding for programs that help automakers develop high-mileage cars and other energy conservation programs. (Daily Mis-Lead 04.28.04) LIE: As a candidate, Bush criticized the Clinton administration for not making a greater investment in the nation’s electricity grids and promised he would seek modernization of the grids. FACT: While the Bush White House initially called for steps to modernize the electricity grids, it did nothing to implement them. Even worse, it allowed House Republicans to defeat Democratic efforts to spend $350 million on grid modernization and played an active role in derailing $2 billion in low-interest loans for expanding transmission capacity in the Pacific Northwest. (American Politics Journal 08.16.03; Allen – Washington Post 08.23.03, The Daily Mis-Lead 10.15.03) LIE: Bush claimed that conservation would be part of his national energy policy. FACT: The White House spokesman indicates “that’s a big ‘no.’ The President believes that [unrestrained energy use] is an American way of life.” (ABC 05.07.01) FOREST & NATIONAL PARKS LIE: The Bush administration claims that its Healthy Forest Initiatives will “improve forest health and reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires while upholding environmental laws [and] restoring our nation’s forest”. FACT: Congressional Research Service reported that the initiative may increase the risk of fire since “[t]imber harvesting removes the relatively large diameter wood that can be converted into wood product but leaves behind the small material, especially twigs and needles” that contributes to such fires. The impetus behind the bill was not to prevent fires, but because the timber industry wanted to “increase commercial logging with less environmental oversight.” (Center for American Progress 12.13.03) LIE: Bush campaigned that he would expand the “aims of the Tropical Forest Conservation Act [and] ask Congress to provide $100 million to support the exchange of debt relief for protection of tropical forests.” FACT: Bush has provided no new funding for the program. (Boston Globe 04.10.01) DRILLING & MINING LIE: Secretary Norton told Congress that drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge would not harm the region’s caribou population. She also reissued a scientific report as a two page paper that claimed drilling would not result in a negative impact to wildlife. FACT: Secretary Norton “altered or omitted” key scientific conclusions prepared by federal biologists that contradicted her view. Biologists also found that drilling would harm must oxen, snow geese and polar-bear populations and would violate an international treaty protection bears, but these findings were suppressed. In the words of one Fish and Wildlife Service Official, “to pass along facts that are false, well, that’s obviously inappropriate.” (Politics and Science in the Bush Administration, Kennedy – Rolling Stone 12.11.03) LIE: Vice President Cheney argued that ANWR drilling would only affect 2000, acres of Dulles Airport out of a total 19 million acres. FACT: The 2000 acres Cheney cities are not contiguous. In fact, the oil is located in 35 discrete sites spread across the reserve and to extract oil it would be necessary to have roads and a pipeline covering 135 miles of wildlife habitat. (David Corn 4.13.01) LIE: The Bush administration claimed that drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) was necessary to “secure America’s energy needs.” FACT: A US Geological Survey concluded that drilling at ANWR would yield only approximately two years worth of oil consumption. (Corn – The Nation 10.13.03) LIE: The Bush administration claimed that its regulation of mountaintop removal mining (i.e., leveling mountain peaks to extract coal) would improve environmental protections. FACT: The Bush administration rejected a tougher Clinton administration proposal and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) determined that the administration’s proposals “cannot be interpreted as ensuring any improved environmental protection.” The FWS also found the Bush proposals “belie four years of work and accumulated evidence of environmental harm, and would substitute permit process tinkering for meaningful and measurable change.” In the two decades since the practice began, 724 miles of streams have been buried and 7 percent of the Appalachian forest cut down. (Shogren – Los Angeles Times 01.07.04). LIE: Bush sought to justify oil drilling in Montana’s Lewis and Clark National Forest on the grounds that the people of Montana support it. FACT: The plan is opposed by Montana residents, but supported by outside oil companies. (Missoula Independent 4.26.01) OTHER LIE: Vice President Cheney wrote to Congress requesting that they rein in the GAO’s investigation of his Energy Task Force meetings claiming “documents responsive to the [GAO’s] inquiry concerning the cost associated with the [task force’s] work” have already been provided. FACT: The GAO was forced to go to court to obtain the documents and lost. Cheney only produced 77 pages of useless documents which was not a complete production in response to the GAO’s request. Cheney stonewalled the GAO to hide the cozy deliberations the task force had with energy industry representatives. (Dean – Findlaw.com 08.29.03) LIE: Bush asked Congress to exempt the military from environmental laws protecting endangered species and migratory birds on the grounds that compliance hampered military training. FACT: A General Accounting Office report found little evidence to support this claim. (New York Times 07.09.02) LIE: In 2002 Bush promised Nevada residents that “sound science, and not politics, must prevail” in the selection of a nuclear waste dump. FACT: The Bush administration is proceeding with creating a nuclear waste dump in Nevada despite a GAO report that scientific testing to determine the facility’s viability would not be complete before 2006. (Washington Post 03.25.02, Christian Science Monitor 03.05.02) LIE: During the tight 2002 South Dakota Senate race, Bush appeared at a South Dakotan ethanol plant and pledge that he supported ethanol “because not only do I know it’s important for the ag sector of our economy, it’s an important part of making sure we become less reliant on foreign sources of energy.” FACT: Bush’s FY2004 budget eliminates funding for the bioenergy program at the South Dakota plant. (Caught On Film: The Bush Credibility Gap) ENRONGATE & SEC LIE: Bush attempted to distance himself from Enron’s Kenneth Lay by claiming Lay supported his opponent (Governor Richards) in 1994 and he first got to know Lay only after elected. FACT: Lay gave $37,500 to the Bush 1994 campaign and Lay claims he was “very close” to Bush at that time. (Slate 01.17.02) The Bush-Lay connection goes back much further, as in 1988, Bush lobbied the Argentinean government to award a contract to Enron. (Mother Jones March-April 2000) LIE: Bush pledged to increase SEC enforcement in signing the Sarbanes-Oxley corporate reform legislation. FACT: Bush’s FY2003 budget cuts SEC enforcement by $209 million. (Boston Globe 12.29.02) LIE: In the Enron aftermath, Bush pledged “to do more to protect worker pensions”. FACT: Four month’s later the Bush administration announced plans to permit employers to convert traditional pension plans into “cash balance” plans that lower benefits for long-serving workers. (Caught On Film: The Bush Credibility Gap) FAITH-BASED INITIATIVES LIE: In 2001 the Bush administration promised to create a $700 million “Federal Compassion Fund”. FACT: The President did not allocate a single penny for the fund in his 2001 budget. (Green – The American Prospect 07.30.01). LIE: The Bush administration claims there exists a “widespread bias against faith-based organization’s (FBOs) in Federal service programs” and that complying with federal anti-discrimination employment laws in a major obstacle to FBO participation. FACT: Recent studies have found no barriers to FBOs participation in government programs and “no hard evidence that hiring requirements are keeping [FBOs from applying for government contracts.” (Hudson Institute – Fruitful Collaborations, The Roundtable on Religion and Social Welfare Policy – Government Partnerships with Faith-Based Service Providers). FOREIGN POLICY LIE: Condoleezza Rice claimed “[The President has been] very supportive of the Nunn-Lugar program [which helps secure Russian nuclear materials]. The funding was not cut. . . . All the way back in the campaign, the president talked about perhaps even increasing funding for programs of this kind." --Meet the Press, November 11, 2001. FACT: "The administration's budget request cut the Department of Energy part of the Nunn-Lugar program from $872 million to $774 million and the Department of Defense portion by another $40 million. The "materials protection and accounting" program that safeguards and monitors Russian nuclear materials was cut $35 million; the program to subsidize research facilities for jobless Russian nuclear scientists and keep them from working for terrorists, another $10 million. (Center for American Progress, Claim v. Fact Database) LIE: In his October 28, 2003 press conference, Bush claimed that I was the first president ever to have advocated a Palestinian state." FACT: On January 7, 2001, President Bill Clinton said, "There can be no genuine resolution to the [Middle East] conflict without a sovereign, viable Palestinian state that accommodates Israel's security requirements and demographic realities." (Corn – BushLies.com 10.28.03) LIE: During his Asian tour, President Bush told Indonesian news that Congress has dropped opposition to military training programs for Indonesia and that the US was ready to “go forward with” a new package of training programs. FACT: Congressional opposition to the training programs has increased due to concerns that the Indonesian military may have been involved in the killing of two Americans in Papua. In addition, no new programs have been planned or approved. (Priest – The Washington Post 10.20.03) LIE: White House spokesman Ari Fleischer denied tacitly endorsing the Venezuelan coup by stating that the coup was the “result of a message of the Venezuelan people.” FACT: That is exactly what he said as the White House foolishly backed the overthrow of a democratically elected government and was the only democracy in the western hemisphere that failed to condemn the coup. In addition, the Venezuela government claims to have a videotape of US officials discussing coup preparations with dissident soldiers. (Jonathan Chait 06.04.02, AP 10.22.03) LIE: During the campaign, Bush promised Armenian groups that he would “ensure that our nation properly recognizes the tragic suffering of the Armenian people” who were victims of a “genocidal campaign.” FACT: The Bush administration has refused to recognize the Armenian genocide. (Redding Record Searchlight 04.24.01) LIE: Bush promised Jewish leaders “[a]s soon as I take office I will begin the process of moving the U.S. ambassador to” Jerusalem. FACT: Bush has suspended any action to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. (Washington Post 06.13.01) LIE: President Bush denied blaming the Clinton Administration’s Camp David Middle East peace summit for the Palestinian intifada. FACT: The day before issuing this denial, Bush stated “we’ve tried summits in the past, as you may remember. It wasn’t all that long ago where a summit was called and nothing happened, and as a result we had significant intifada in the area.” (Slate 4.18.02) FOREIGN TRADE LIE: During the campaign, Bush stated he opposed “import fees” and would “work to end tariffs and break down barriers everywhere, entirely”. FACT: As President, Bush has imposed tariffs on steel and softwood lumber increasing costs to U.S. businesses and consumers and risking retaliatory sanctions. (Washington Post 03.25.02, Business Week 03.25.02) HARKEN & HALLIBURTON LIE: In September 2003, when asked by Tim Hussert whether he was “involved in any way in the awarding of [Iraq] contracts” to Halliburton, Cheney replied “Of course not, Tim. . . . And as Vice President, I have absolutely no influence of, involvement of, knowledge of in any way, shape or form of contracts led by the [Army] Corps of Engineers or anybody else in the Federal Government." FACT: Internal Pentagon documents reveal that the awarding of the Halliburton contracts “has been coordinate [with] VP’s office.” An internal Pentagon email reveals that the award of no-bid Halliburton contracts “has been coordinated with the VP’s office.” (Burger & Zagorin, Time Magazine 05.30.04, CAP Daily Report 06.01.04 and 06.15.04). LIE: Bush claims that he “absolutely had no idea [about Harken’s liquidity problems] and would not have sold [his stock] had I known." FACT: Harken’s president warned board members of liquidity problems that would “drastically affect” operations two months before Bush’s stock sale. Harken’s lawyers also circulated a memo warning executives and directors not to sell any stock. Bush sold his stock for $4/share and it quickly dropped to $1.25. (San Francisco Chronicle 07.05.02, Guardian 11.02.02, Washington Monthly 12.02) LIE: Bush claims to have cooperated with an SEC investigation of his Harken transactions. FACT: Bush quashed evidence that Harken’s lawyers advised Bush and other executives against selling their stock and only provided it to the SEC after it had ended its investigation. (Guardian 11.02.02) LIE: Bush signed an agreement in which he promised to hold the Harken stock at issue for six months. FACT: Bush sold the Harken stock two months later. (The Dubya Report 07.18.02) LIE: Bush claimed he timely filed the required SEC disclosure form after selling his Harken stock and asserted that the SEC must have lost it. FACT: Bush did not file until eight months after the deadline for doing so. (Washington Post 07.04.02) LIE: Cheney claimed that while at Halliburton he imposed a “firm policy” against trading with Iraq. “[W]e’ve not done any business in Iraq since the sanctions [were] imposed, and I had a standing policy that I wouldn’t do that.” FACT: Senior Halliburton executives claim there was no such policy. Halliburton’s affiliates signed contracts with Iraq to sell more than $73 million in oil production equipment during Cheney’s tenure, helping Iraq increase crude exports by 450% between 1997 and 2000. Senior Halliburton executives were certain Cheney was aware of this business. Cheney also defended circumvention of a Clinton executive order banning US trade and investment in Iran. (Financial Times 10.05.00, Washington Post 06.23.01) HEALTH CARE & PRESCRIPTION DRUGS LIE: When asked about the flu vaccine crisis, Bush claimed: we relied upon a company out of England [and that] we took the right action and didn't allow contaminated medicine into our country. FACT: That isn't true. Chiron Corp., the company whose vaccine plant was contaminated, is a California company - subject to regulation by the U.S. government - that operates a factory in England. It was the British authorities who, after inspecting the plant, revoked the factory's license on October 5th. [Daily Mis-Lead 10.18.04] LIE: President Bush assured seniors that under his Medicare prescription drug program corporations would not “dump retirees from their existing prescription drug coverage.” FACT: Under a little noticed provision quietly added by the administration, companies providing coverage to retirees are given a new subsidy and retain the subsidy even if they almost completely eliminate coverage for retirees. As a result, 3.8 million retirees are projected to have their coverage reduced or nearly eliminated. (Daily Mis-Lead 07.14.04). LIE: The Bush administration claims its Medicare prescription drug cards will provide “significant price reductions off typical retail prices” for seniors. FACT: A Congressional report found that the drug prices available to beneficiaries using the “discount cards” are no lower than existing prices and even higher than prices available in Canada, under the US Federal Supply Schedule and through discount pharmacies such as Drugstore.com. Moreover drug companies raised their prices by 3 times the rate of inflation immediately prior to the release of the “discount cards.” (Daily Mis-Lead 05.04.04, “New Medicare Drug Cards Offer Few Discounts, House Committee on Government Reform – Minority Staff April 2004, AP – 07.01.04) LIE: During the October 17, 2000 debate, Bush promised a patients’ bill of rights like the one in his own state which included a right to sue managed-care companies for wrongfully refusing to cover needed treatments. “If I’m the president . . . people will be able to take their HMO insurance company to court. FACT: The patients’ bill of rights bill has long been dead and the Bush administration argued before the Supreme Court against the Texas law’s provision permitting such suits LIE: The Bush administration sold its Medicare prescription drug plan to conservatives in Congress as having a cost of $400 billion over ten years, enabling it to narrowly win passage in December 2003. FACT: The White House knew the costs were $551 billion - more than 25 percent higher. The administration threatened to fire Medicare’s top financial analyst (Richard Foster) if he released the information. Two months after the President signed the law, the administration revised its costs estimates to $534 billion. One month after passage of the bill, the White House revealed that the program costs actually were $534 billion - more than 25 percent higher. AARP, which worked with the administration in drafting the bill, revealed that these higher estimates were "well known in the fall" but is only now being made public. Taxpayers for Common Sense, a Washington-based budget watchdog group claim Congress got "suckered by a classic financial bait-and-switch by the administration." (Kemper & Simon - Los Angeles Times 01.31.04, Pugh - Knight Ridder 03.11.04, Kemper - Los Angeles Times 03.14.04, CAP Progress Report 03.15.04. LIE: I haven't yet [decided to ban importation of Canadian drugs.]. I just want to make sure they're safe. When a drug comes in from Canada, I want to make sure it cures you and doesn't kill you. FACT: White House Strongly Opposed Drug Re-Importation Despite Congressional Research Service Reports Concluding Canadian Drugs Are Just as Safe as Those in the US. . In a Statement of Administration Principals issued by the White House Office of Management and Budget on July 23, 2003, Bush stated his strong opposition to drug re-importation. The SAP states, “H.R. 2427 [to allow the re-importation of prescription drugs] is dangerous legislation. It would expose Americans to greater potential risk of harm from unsafe or ineffective drugs, would be extremely costly to implement, and would overwhelm FDA's already heavily burdened regulatory system.” This despite the fact that the Congressional Research Service, a branch of the Library of Congress, issued reports in 2001 and 2003, concluding both times that the Canadian drug supply was safe for importation to the US. The 2003 report stated, "The statutory requirements for approving and marketing pharmaceutical products in the United States and Canada are, in general, quite similar." It found that medications manufactured and distributed in Canada meet or surpass quality control guidelines set by the FDA. [Office of Management and Budget, SAP on HR 2472, 7/23/03, www.whitehouse.gov/omb; New York Times, 6/21/03; Knight Ridder, 11/27/03; USA Today, 8/12/03] LIE: The Bush administration is fighting importation of cheaper prescription drugs from Canada by claiming they are unsafe and thereby protecting pharmaceutical companies who have given over $74 billion (or $2,033 per hour) since 2000. FACT: HHS and FDA officials cannot identify a single American injured as a result drugs purchased from licensed Canadian pharmacies. One of the nation’s leading health experts stated the administration’s argument was “hogwash” since “drugs purchased through the Canadian health care system are every bit as safe as those available in the United States.” (Daily Mis-Lead 02.25.04) LIE: In signing the bill, Bush declared that "some older Americans spend much of their Social Security checks just on their medications. This new law will ease the burden on seniors and will give them the extra help they need.” FACT: Most Medicare beneficiaries will end up paying MORE for their prescriptions. The average beneficiary out-of-pocket expenses would rise from $2,318 in 2003 to $2,911 in 2007 (in 2003 dollars), since the law prohibits the government from negotiating for lower prices (unlike the VA which uses its negotiating power to save billions on drug prices). (Campaign for America’s Future Fact Sheet) LIE: “My drug plan helps those who need it most. The new benefit provides comprehensive drug coverage for people with low incomes.” FACT: The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that “several million of the nation’s poorest elderly and disabled beneficiaries will be made worse off by the new legislation, because they will have to pay more for drugs than they currently pay under Medicaid, will be denied coverage for some drugs they currently receive through Medicaid, or both.” The $600 "transitional" drug benefit that starts in June is not available to the 6.4 million lowest income Medicare beneficiaries who are also enrolled in Medicaid, nor to the 11.7 million seniors who have retiree coverage. In addition, currently millions of Medicare beneficiaries have private insurance to fill the gaps in their Medicare coverage (“Medigap” policies), but the new law prohibits the sale of Medigap policies. According to the Congressional Budget Office approximately 2.7 million seniors could lose benefits more generous than provided under Medicare. (Campaign for America’s Future Fact Sheet; Center for American Progress 02.05.04) The Bush’s Administration’s Medicare Ads LIE: "It's the same Medicare you've always counted on, plus more benefits like prescription drug coverage." FACT: Millions of Medicare beneficiaries will have fewer benefits due to this law. Seniors who have supplemental drug coverage through Medigap must drop it if they want to join the new drug benefit. Employers will drop drug coverage for 2.7 million retirees due to the new drug benefit. Employers will reduce drug coverage for up to 9 million additional retirees due to flawed employer subsidies in the law. 6.4 million seniors who have drug coverage through Medicaid now will be forced to enroll in the Medicare drug benefit. As a result, they will have higher cost sharing and be denied coverage entirely for some drugs. (Center for American Progress 02.05.04) LIE: "You can save with Medicare drug discount cards this June. And save more with new prescription drug coverage in 2006." FACT: Savings are elusive and erode over time. Drug discount cards are not guaranteed to provide any meaningful discounts, may not cover the drugs seniors need, and may change discounts and covered drugs at any time. Medicare is prohibited from maximizing savings by negotiating lower drug prices. Under the drug benefit, some beneficiaries will not save and in fact will spend more than they do now. Seniors will still have to pay up to 100% of drug costs due to the gap in coverage ("donut hole") and ability for private plans to impose strict drug formularies, prior authorization requirements, etc. The value of the drug benefit shrinks much faster than inflation, meaning seniors will have to spend an ever-increasing share of their income on prescription drugs. (Center for American Progress 02.05.04) LIE: "So, my Medicare isn't different, it's just more?" FACT: Less Medicare benefits for higher premiums. Higher Part B deductible beginning in 2005 and each year thereafter. Higher Part B premiums for all beginning in 2005 as a result of overpayments to private plans. Higher Part B premiums for those with incomes above $80,000 beginning in 2007. (Center for American Progress 02.05.04) The Bush’s Administration’s Medicare Mailer LIE: "This new law preserves and strengthens the current Medicare program.” FACT: The bill weakens Medicare by privatizing it, at great cost to beneficiaries and taxpayers. The President estimates the new law will result in an extra $46 billion going to private plans. The Congressional Budget Office agrees with the President that the cost of covering seniors through private plans is "substantially higher" than the cost of covering them through traditional Medicare. (Center for American Progress 02.05.04) LIE: "You will choose a prescription drug plan and pay a premium of about $35 a month." FACT: Premiums will vary and are not limited to $35 or any other amount. Private plans get to decide what premium they want to charge. The premium will vary plan by plan, area by area, and year by year. Over time, the premium rises faster than seniors' income. (Center for American Progress 02.05.04) LIE: "Medicare then will pay 75% of costs between $250 and $2,250 in drug spending. You will pay only 25% of these costs." FACT: There is no guarantee that any senior will get this benefit: Private plans decide which drugs to cover and under what circumstances. Beneficiaries have to pay 100% of the costs for drugs that don't fit the plan's rules. Private plans are required to pay 75% of the costs of covered drugs on average. Actual cost sharing amounts on any particular drug may be much different. (Center for American Progress 02.05.04) LIE: "You will pay 100% of the drug costs above $2,250 until you reach $3,600 in out-of-pocket spending." FACT: The actual size of the gap in coverage ("donut hole") is more than twice the amount this implies. The actual gap in coverage is $2,850, not $1,350. In addition, the gap in each private plan will be set by the plan and not Medicare. Thus, the gap could be even larger. (Center for American Progress 02.05.04) The Bush’s Administration’s Medicare 800-Line LIE: "Extra help will also be available for people with lower incomes." FACT: Many low-income people will be left out or lose coverage. The $600 "transitional" drug benefit that starts in June is not available to the 6.4 million lowest income Medicare beneficiaries who are also enrolled in Medicaid, nor to the 11.7 million seniors who have retiree coverage. Millions of low-income seniors may not get assistance due to eligibility restrictions for those with certain assets. Those seniors who have drug coverage through Medicaid now will be forced to enroll in the Medicare drug benefit in 2006. As a result, they will have higher cost sharing and be denied coverage entirely for some drugs. (Center for American Progress 02.05.04) LIE: "These cards offer a discount off the full retail price of prescriptions. Savings are estimated to be 10 to 25% on many drugs." FACT: None of these things is actually required. The discount cards do not have to offer discounts off all drugs. There is no guarantee of any discount, let alone a discount of any particular amount. Discounts and the drugs that are covered may change at any time. (Center for American Progress 02.05.04) LIE: "Almost everyone with Medicare can choose to join a Medicare-approved drug discount card." FACT: The 6.4 million Medicare beneficiaries who are also enrolled in Medicaid are ineligible for the discount card. (Center for American Progress 02.05.04) LIE: "Plans might vary, but in general, all people with Medicare will have access to a voluntary prescription drug benefit, which will provide significant savings for seniors and people living with disabilities." FACT: Plans will vary. Each private plan gets to decide which drugs it covers, with what cost-sharing, and at what premium. Also, The benefit isn't voluntary. Anyone who misses the initial enrollment period for the new drug benefit may have to wait months to enroll and face significant financial penalties. Finally, the savings are not significant. As the Center for Economic and Policy Research notes, "seniors in the middle income quintile will pay an average of $1,650 a year in out-of-pocket expenses for prescription drugs in 2006 - a figure nearly 60% more than they paid in 2000." (Center for American Progress 02.05.04) LIE: The Bush administration touted the Medicare prescription drug expansion as creating a modern Medicare system that provides “seniors with prescription drug benefits” and establishing Health Savings Account (“HSA’s") which will allow more Americans to save for health care needs and more small businesses to help workers secure health coverage. FACT: The Congressional Budget Office projects that 2.7 million retirees will lose their current drug coverage through their former employer since employers will drop such coverage once the Medicare benefit becomes available. The plan provides little relief for low income seniors and would cost seniors with drug expenses under $835 per year more than they currently spend. Finally, according to studies, premiums for employer-based coverage “could more than double” if HSA’s became widespread. (Center for American Progress 12.13.03) LIE: During the debates, Bush claimed that “all seniors” and not just poor would be covered under his plan. FACT: Only seniors at or below 135% of the poverty level would be covered in full. (ABC News.com 10.4.02) LIE: President Bush has argued that medical malpractice reform and allowing small business to buy group insurance would make “a big difference” in reducing the 43.6 million Americans without health insurance. Vice President Cheney has argued that “medical liability reform” is the key to control health costs. FACT: According to the Congressional Budget Office, malpractice costs account for a very small fraction of total health care spending and even radical reform ‘would have a relatively small effect on total health plan premiums”. In addition, the CBO found that allowing small businesses to buy at group rates would only add coverage for 0.6 million people, as one-third of the nation’s uninsured are employed by large companies. (The Daily Mis-Lead 10.23.03 and 07.06.04) LIE: In banning research on embryonic stem cells, Bush claimed that the ban still would permit research on “more than 60” existing lines cells which “could lead to breakthrough therapies and cures.” FACT: Only 11 cell lines are now available for research, all of which were grown mouse cells making them inappropriate for treating people. (Politics and Science in the Bush Administration) LIE: Bush claimed he “brought Republicans and Democrats together” to enact a Patients Bill of Rights in Texas. FACT: Governor Bush vetoed such a bill in 1995 and when a veto proof majority passed it, Bush allowed it to become law but refused to sign it. (Washington Post 10.18.00, Salon 10.05.02) LIE: Bush bragged about a Texas Children’s Health Insurance Program extending coverage to 500,000 children passed while he was Governor. FACT: Bush fought the program and tried to limit its reach to nearly half its current level. (Salon 10.05.02) LIE: Bush stressed the need to support children’s hospitals at a 2001 appearance at an Atlanta children’s hospital. FACT: Bush’s first budget proposed cutting grants to children’s hospitals by 15% and his FY2004 budget proposes to cut these grants by 30%. (Caught on Film: The Bush Credibility Gap) HOUSING LIE: Campaigning in New Mexico, Bush praised the Indian Housing and Guarantee Fund program, saying it makes “sense to have public policy aimed at helping people own their own home. I can’t think of a better use of resources.” FACT: Apparently he can, because his budget calls for an 80 percent reduction in funding. (Associated Press 8.14.04) JOBS LIE: Bush has bragged about job growth in “high-growth, high-paying industries” to support his administration’s economic policies. FACT: According to USA Today job in lower-wage industries and regions are growing at a faster pace than higher-wage jobs and this “is less potent for the economy because the majority of the new work isn’t accompanies by fat paychecks. . (Daily Mis-Lead 03.09.04) LIE: In March 2004, Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao told Congress that the President did not sign administration’s annual economic report to Congress which promised that the President’s economic plan would create 2.6 million jobs by 2004. FACT: In February 2004, President Bush released a personally signed copy of this report, but the administration has quickly distanced itself from the projections. (Daily Mis-Lead 03.09.04) LIE: “Jobs are on the rise.” (SOU 2004) FACT: While the unemployment rate dropped in December, this was due to the fact that “the economy was so bleak that 255,000 of the jobless simply stopped looking for work”. (State of the Union Response – Center for American Progress 01.20.04) LIE: Bush claimed “I want people to understand that when somebody wants to work and can’t find a job, it says we've got a problem we’re going to deal with.” FACT: When faced with increased out-sourcing of US job overseas, the administration’s approach to dealing with the problem was to praise outsourcing “as a good thing” for international trade. In addition, the Bush administration actively sponsors and participates in conferences and workshops to help American companies put operations and jobs in china. (The Daily Mis-Lead 02.10.04, Center for American Progress 02.10.04) LIE: The White House has made the following claims on job growth: 2002 – projected 3.4 million jobs for 2001-03 2004 – projected 2.6 million jobs in 2004 FACT: The White House has “repeatedly and significantly overstated . . . the number of jobs the economy would create”. Instead of creating 3.4 million jobs in their first three years, the Bush administration lost 1.7 million jobs. The Bush administration already is distancing itself from its February 9th projection of 2.6 million jobs in 2004. (The Daily Mis-Lead 02.18.04; Milbank – Washington Post 02.24.04) LIE: The White House proposed reclassifying low-paid fast food jobs as “manufacturing jobs”. FACT: This is an attempt by the White House to obscure the fact that 2.7 million manufacturing jobs have been lost on his watch. Fast food preparation is not value added manufacturing and fast food jobs pay approximately 21 percent less than manufacturing jobs. (The Daily Mis-Lead 02.24.04) POLLING LIE: At his April 13, 2004 press conference, Bush explained "And as to whether or not I make decisions based upon polls, I don't. I just don't make decisions that way...If I tried to fine-tune my messages based upon polls; I think I'd be pretty ineffective." FACT: "One [White House] adviser said the White House had examined polling and focus group studies in determining that it would be a mistake for Mr. Bush to appear to yield" and apologize for mistakes during the April 13 press conference. (Center for American Progress, Claim v. Fact Database) THE RECESSION LIE: In his December 28th radio address, Bush claimed that the recession began before he took office. Both he and Vice President Cheney have repeated this claim during the reelection campaign. The Administration also unilaterally changed the method for calculating a recession to move the starting date of the Bush recession to 2000. This is even after President Bush is on record that “our economy has been in recession since March [2001]”. (Daily Mis-Lead 09.01.04, Center for American Progress Report 09.02.04) / FACT: The economy was still growing at the end of 2000, despite the incoming administration’s attempt to talk it down. The recession began in March 2001 during the first year of the Bush administration. This is even after President Bush is on record that “our economy has been in recession since March [2001]”. (Slate 12.30.02, Progress Report 03.03.04, Daily Mis-Lead 09.01.04, Center for American Progress Report 09.02.04) SOCIAL SECURITY LIE: I understand that they need to get better rates of return than the rates of return being given in the current Social Security trust, and the compounding rate of interest effect will make it more likely that the social security system is solvent for our children and our grandchildren. (3RD Debate) FACT: CBO: Bush Plan Will Force Benefit Cuts. According to CBO, the President’s plan “would reduce expected retirement benefits relative to scheduled benefits, even when the benefits paid from IAs [individual accounts] under CSSS Plan 2 are included… For example, benefits for the 1980s birth cohort would be 30 percent lower, and benefits for the 2000s cohort would be 45 percent lower.” [CBO, “Long-term Analysis of Plan 2 of the President’s Commission to Strengthen Social Security,” 7/21/2004, page 15 and Table 2] LIE: Thirteen years from now, in 2018, Social Security will be paying out more than it takes in. And every year afterward will bring a new shortfall, bigger than the year before. For example, in the year 2027, the government will somehow have to come up with an extra $200 billion to keep the system afloat -- and by 2033, the annual shortfall would be more than $300 billion. By the year 2042, the entire system would be exhausted and bankrupt. If steps are not taken to avert that outcome, the only solutions would be dramatically higher taxes, massive new borrowing, or sudden and severe cuts in Social Security benefits or other government programs. -- 2005 State of the Union Address FACT: “This passage contains three statements worth scrutiny. First, the statement that starting in 2018 the government "will somehow have to come up with" extra billions to stay afloat ignores the fact that there exists a substantial trust fund now invested in US treasury bonds and will make up the shortfall for several decades. Second, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has projected the trust fund will be exhausted in 2052; the year 2042 is an older figure that came from the Social Security Trustees, who used a different set of economic assumptions. Finally, even after 2052, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has noted the system could still pay out 80 percent of normal benefits without new taxes or borrowing.” In addition, the head of the non-partisan General Accounting Office testified before Congress that Social Security “does not face an immediate crisis”. (Savage, Boston Globe (02.03.05), Associated Press, Los Angeles Times (03.10.05)) LIE: The administration wants people to believe that private accounts will save Social Security. FACT: The administration has acknowledged that the creation of private accounts would have “no effect whatsoever on the solvency issue.” In addition, private accounts would provide no gain to workers unless their Rate of return was three percent above inflation. (Center on Budget Priorities, “An Overview of Issues Raised By the Administration’s Social Security Plan) LIE: Social Security was a great moral success of the 20th century and we must honor its purposes in this new century.. – White House website. FACT: "Conservatives have been trying to gut Social Security since its inception. Both Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan endorsed privatization in 1964. In 1983, the Cato Institute laid out a privatization plan similar to President Bush’s, stating, We will meet the next financial crisis in Social Security with a private alternative ready in the wings.” - Miami Herald, 2/7/05".” (Center for American Progress Claim vs. Fact Database) LIE: As we fix Social Security, we also have the responsibility to make the system a better deal for younger workers. And the best way to reach that goal is through voluntary personal retirement accounts. – White House website. FACT: Analysis of the plan so far does not prove the accounts would be a better deal for anyone not working on Wall Street. Workers who opt for the private accounts would recover forfeited benefits through their accounts only if their investments realized a return equal to or greater than the 3 percent earned by Treasury bonds currently held by the Social Security system.” But CBO factors out stock market risks to assume a 3.3 percent rate of return. With 0.3 percent subtracted for expected administrative costs on the account, the full amount in a worker’s account would be reduced dollar for dollar from his Social Security checks, for a net gain of zero.” - Washington Post, 2/4/05 (Center for American Progress Claim vs. Fact Database) LIE: You’ll be able to pass along the money that accumulates in your personal account, if you wish, to your children or grandchildren. – White House website. FACT: "Most lower-income workers will be required to purchase government lifetime annuities, financial instruments that provide a guaranteed monthly payment for life but that expire at death. Money in these annuities cannot be passed on to heirs. - NY Times, 2/3/05" (Center for American Progress Claim vs. Fact Database) LIE: In the year 2018, for the first time ever, Social Security will pay out more in benefits than the government collects in payroll taxes. – White House website. FACT: "In 14 of the past 47 years, including 1975 to 1983, Social Security paid out more in benefits than the government collected in payroll.” - MSNBC, 1/14/05. Under Bush’s plan, expenditures will begin to exceed revenues even earlier, in 2012. - NY Times, 2/4/05" life but that expire at death. Money in these annuities cannot be passed on to heirs. - NY Times, 2/3/05" (Center for American Progress Claim vs. Fact Database) Report: The Politicization of the Social Security Administration Using SSA to Cry Wolf Over Social Security “Crisis” http://www.democrats.reform.house.gov/Documents/20050228105615-40334.pdf Prior Language Current Language Future of Social Security Booklet. 2000 Version Section: “Social Security Is an Economic Compact Among Generations” Will Social Security be there for your? Absolutely. 2004 Renamed Section: Current Social Security System is Unsustainable in the Long Run New text: Social Security must change to meet future challenges 2001 Press Release – “Social Security Trust Funds Gain One Additional Year of Solvency” By 2003, estimate of program solvency had increased four years, but press release now titled: Social Security Not Sustainable for the Long Term. 2000 Powerpoint for public presentations “There is no immediate financial crisis” and “the baby boom generation’s pressure on the trust funds is not permanent.” 2004 presentation deletes these statements and adds that Social Security faces a massive and growing shortfall. This shortfall could result in benefits being reduced by 33 percent. TAX AND DEFICIT LIES THE BIG 18 LIES: FACTS: #1 In 2000 and 2001 Bush promised that Social Security Funds would remain in a lockbox and that “we can proceed with tax relief without fear of budget deficits even if the economy softens” since his budget projections are “cautious and conservative”. This is a classic case of The Big Lie and fuzzy math. The simple truth is that, due to Bush’s $1.35 trillion giveaway, a $236 billion budget surplus has been wasted and we face a projected record deficit of $307 billion in 2004. Bush’s 2004 budget will increase the national debt by $2-3 trillion and require that the government use the entire Social Security surplus to fund its deficits. (1) #2 President Bush claimed that he requested his 2001 tax cuts because of the recession. The administration also sought to justify cuts on the grounds that the US could only repay $2 trillion of its $3.2 trillion debt over the next ten years since $1.2 trillion would not mature until after that point – therefore why not use the $1.2 trillion for tax cuts. Bush’s 2001 tax cuts are virtually identical to the tax package he campaigned on for more than a year during the end of the Clinton boom. (11) Bush also misstated the limitations on debt repayment. In reality only $500 billion could not be repaid within ten years. (20) #3 As the budget deficit emerged; Bush assured us that the deficits would be “small and temporary”. He also stated “I remember campaigning in Chicago and one of the reporters said, ‘Would you ever deficit spend?’ I said, ‘Only – only – in times of war, in times of economy insecurity as a result of a recession or in times of national emergency.’ Never did I dream we’d have a trifecta.’” The White House repeated this trifecta claim throughout 2002. Bush never made such a statement in Chicago nor anywhere else during the 2000 campaign. In fact, these three caveats on deficits were stated on several occasions by Vice President Gore. (2) Bush’s attempt to pin the deficit on the war also is a misstatement, since the cost of the Bush tax cuts is three times the cost of the response to 9-11 and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. (2) #4 Faced with growing deficits, President Bush and Glenn Hubbard, the chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors, now claim that deficits do not matter and have no impact on interest rates. As recent as 2002 the President said, “I’m mindful of what overspending can mean to interest rates or expectations of interest rates.” As for Hubbard, the 2002 edition of his textbook “Money, the Financial System and the Economy” not only states that higher deficits increase interest rates but also provides a formula to calculate the increase in interest rates per dollar increase in spending or tax cuts. In fact, in July 2003 interest rates on 10-year U.S. Treasuries jumped from 3.1% to almost 4%. Leading Treasury Secretary Snow to call the deficit “worrisome” and express concern that federal borrowing would crowd out private investment. The International Monetary Fund concluded that Bush’s fiscal policies “will make it more difficult to cope with the aging of the baby boom generation and will eventually crowd out investment and erode US productivity growth”; and called for the US to put in place a “credible fiscal framework” with the objective of balancing the budget. (3) #5 In 2003, Bush offers a “stimulus package” that calls for $670 billion in additional tax cuts. Vice President Cheney argues the tax cuts are necessary to prevent a double dip recession. In 2004, Bush claimed “the economic stimulus plan that I passed is making a big difference.” Even the Bush friendly Economist rejects the notion that the $670 billion Bush plan is a “stimulus package.” “Even by the Bush team’s own numbers, this is not an efficient short-term stimulus package: it pumps only around $100 billion of the tax cuts into the economy over the next year. And most of the money goes to richer Americans, whom economists reckon are less likely to spend the additional cash than poorer ones.” (4) A study by Economy.com attributes on 0.9 percent out of the total 7.2 percent growth for Q3 2003 to the tax cuts. (18) #6 Both Bush and Ari Fleischer proclaimed that a report by Blue-Chip economist concluded that the economy would grow by 3.3 percent in 2003 if the President’s tax proposals were adopted. Bush also claimed that the tax cuts would create 344,000 new jobs per month and that it would result in increased incomes and living standards “for American workers”. No such report exists. (5) As of September 30, 2003, there has only been a net gain of 57,000 jobs since the 2003 tax cuts became effective, while the economy lost a net of 2.75 million jobs since passage of the 2001 tax cuts. The Bush campaign now claims that the tax cuts have created 1.4 million jobs, but this is at a cost of $756 billion through 2004 or $540,000 per job. In addition, real wages have declined 1.2% on Bush’s watch. (10) Canada also instituted tax cuts but which were “more modest”, targeted the breaks towards the middle class and left the top rate in place. A comparisons of the results of the Bush and Canadian tax cuts are significant: (1) Job Growth (Jan 01 - April 04) Canada – up 5.6% U.S. – down 1.4% (2) Surplus (Jan 01 - April 04) Canada – surplus unchanged U.S. – went from surplus equal to 1.9% of GDP to deficit equal to nearly 4% of GDP. (21) #7 Bush and the Republicans claim that the 2003 tax cut proposal benefits all Americans and that ninety-two million Americans will receive an average of almost $1,100. “My tax relief plan is a fair one, lowering the rate for all taxpayers.” Even President Bush knows this is false, as he repeatedly asked his advisors “[h]aven’t we already given money to rich people? This second tax cut’s gonna do it again. . . . [S]houldn’t we be giving money to the middle?” His advisors instructed him to “stick to principle.” (12) Nearly one-third (31%) of all taxpayers, would receive nothing and 64 million taxpayers (nearly half [48%]) would get less than $100. The average taxpayer (i.e., taxpayers in the middle fifth 20%) would only get $289 under this proposal. In contrast, the top 1% of taxpayers would get $30,127 while those earning more than $1 million would get according nearly $90,200.(6) “Since 2001, President Bush’s tax cuts have shifted federal tax payments from the richest Americans to a wide swath of middle-class families, the Congressional Budget Office has found.” [Washington Post, “Tax Burden Shifts to the Middle,” 8/13/04] NON-PARTISAN CBO REPORTS BUSH SHIFTED TAX BURDEN TO THE MIDDLE CLASS * Wealthiest taxpayers saw share of federal taxes drop from 64.4 percent in 2001 to 63.5 percent this year. [CBO] * Middle-class families saw their tax burden jump from 18.7 percent of Federal taxes to 19.5 percent of Federal taxes. [CBO] * Bush tax cuts are 70 times larger for top 1 percent of taxpayers than for middle-class families. [CBO] #8 The 2003 tax cuts will help reduce the deficit because the resulting economic growth will offset tax losses. When the deficit for FYE 2003 was reported below projections at $374 billion, White House aides claimed that the deficit was on a “downward path.” The Congressional Budget Office (headed by a former Bush White House supply-sider) found that even under the more favorable "dynamic scoring" methodology the tax cuts would result in more than $1 trillion in deficits over the next five years alone and that the economic stimulus claims asserted by the White House were "not obvious." The Comptroller General found the administration’s claim that the tax cuts would help reduce the federal deficit to be “flat false.” In order to balance the budget by 2013, the government would have to either: (i) raise income taxes by 27 percent and cutting social security spending by 60 percent and defense spending by 73 percent or (ii) cutting all programs except for defense, homeland security, social security and Medicare by 40 percent. The Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation found that the tax cuts would have minimal effects initially and then the positive effects "are eventually likely to be outweighed by a reduction in national savings due to increasing federal deficits." The Committee also predicted job growth of between 230,000 to 90,000 jobs during the first five years, with no growth or job losses in the next five years. (7) The $374 billion deficit does not include $87 billion for Iraq, $400 million for Medicare, $500 billion for increased defense spending and $1.8 trillion to make the “temporary” tax cuts permanent. (9) #9 The Bush administration repeatedly low-balled budget projections in order to persuade Congress to pass its tax cuts. The Bush administration’s projection for FYE 2003 have been as follows: April 2001: $334 billion surplus Feb. 2002: $80 billion deficit Feb. 2003: $304 billion deficit The projections for FYE 2004 have been: Feb. 2002: $14 billion deficit. Feb. 2003: $307 billion deficit. In July 2003, the Bush administration announced that the deficit will reach $455 billion for FYE 2003. Without the Bush tax cuts, however, the deficit would be $278 billion. By 2011, these tax cuts will have cost $3.7 trillion. The $455 billion estimate is deceptive, however, since: (i) it does not even include the costs of U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan which exceed $4 billion per month; but (ii) it does include the Social Security surplus. Without the Social Security surplus, the deficit would total $614 billion plus the costs of the Iraq and Afghanistan operations. For FYE 2004, the Bush administration now projects a deficit of $521 billion. (8) #10 On April 24, 2003, Bush campaigned to make permanent all aspects of his 2001 tax plan stating that while Congress adopted his plan “the problem is they responded with a phased-in program. They said tax relief was important and tax relief should be robust, but they phased it in over a number of years – three years in some cases, five years in others and seven years. Listen, all I’m asking Congress to do is to take the tax relief package they’ve already passed, accelerate it to this year so that we can get this economy started and people can find work.” President Bush requested that the tax cuts be phased in over five year, both when he first offered the plan in 1999 and when he submitted it to Congress in February 2001, in order to minimize the total costs of the tax cuts. In essence, Bush sold a discounted version of his plan for political reasons, but now wants Americans to pay full price. (11) #11 The Bush administration is claiming that it is fiscally responsible. Vice President Cheney said on Meet the Press that both he and the President were “deficit hawks.” The Bush administration also claims it has held spending increases for non-military or homeland security matters to 6 percent for FY2002, 5 percent for FY2003 and 3 percent for FY2004. After Treasury Secretary O’Neil opposed the 2003 tax cuts because of its effect on the deficit and the need to address Social Security, Cheney’s response was “Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter. We won the mid-term elections, this is our due”. (12) The administration’s numbers are bogus. The conservative Cato Institute found increases of 6.8, 8.3 and 6.3 percent for 2002-2004, while the Heritage Foundation projected spending would increase by 9 percent in 2004. (13) #12 In December 2003, Bush claimed that his tax cuts were “geared toward small businesses.” In 2001, he claimed that more than 17.4 million small business owners would benefit from a drop in the top rate from 39.6% to 33%. In 2003 he claimed the second tax cut would give “23 million small business owners an average tax cut of $2,042.” IRS and Treasury Department data indicate that only 3.7 percent of small business owners were subject to the top rates, meaning that for every small business owner who benefits under the tax cuts there are 15 who do not. Nearly 80 percent of small businesses received less than $2,042 and 52% received $500 or less. (14) In addition, the administration has hiked fees for small business loans.(17) #13 In February 2004, President Bush claimed that “the reason we are where we are, in terms of the deficit is because we went through a recession, we were attacked, and we’re fighting a war.” His FY2005 budget declares that “[t]oday’s budget deficits are the unavoidable product of revenue erosion from the stock market collapse that began in early 2000, an economy recovering from recession, and a nation confronting serious national security threats.” In fact, the single biggest cause of the deficits is the Bush tax cuts which account for 36% of the current deficits. This, however, increases over time as the economy recovers. Using the Administration’s optimistic projected 2009 budget deficit of $272 billion, the tax cuts will account for 67 percent ($183 billion) of this amount. (15) #14 Bush’s FY2005 budget claims to half the record $521 billion budget deficit over the next five years. This claim is based on multiple lies, deceptions and omissions. (1) The administration’s budget does not include any funding for military operations or reconstruction in Iraq or Afghanistan even though it concedes our troops will be there beyond 2005. This alone easily adds nearly $50 billion to the deficit. (2) The administration is based on unrealistic assumptions. It assumes record revenue growth of 13.3% in 2005 something not seen since 1981 and even exceeding the growth rate in 2000 during the peak of the stock-bubble capital gains windfall. This is consistent with revenue estimates for 2002-2004 which on average were overstated by approximately 13 percent. The administration also assumes rates for unemployment, inflation and bond yields lower than consensus estimates. (3) The administration budget ends at 2009 when the Bush tax cuts expire. If Congress makes these tax cuts permanent as requested by the administration, the deficit will increase by $936 billion over the following five years. (16) #15 “We cut taxes, which basically meant people had more money in their pocket.” While Bush is cutting taxes for the rich he also is raising fees for government services ($5.9 billion in FYE 2004 alone) and states have been forced to do increase taxes and fees as a the impact of the tax cuts, cuts in aid to states and new unfunded mandates have added a $39 – 98 billion burden to the states. For example: (1) Since Bush took office states have raised taxes $20.2 billion annually (after 7 consecutive years of tax cuts) (2) Tuition at state colleges and universities have increased 35% since 2001 while the administration is cutting education aid. (3) Property tax collections rose more than 10% last year alone to pay for under-funded schools and services. (4) Increased fees for a variety of programs from small business loans to national parks. Under Bush, veterans’ co-payments for prescription drugs are to rise from $2 in 2002 to $15 in 2005. (17) #16 “If you look at the appropriations bills that were passed under my watch, in the last year of President Clinton, discretionary spending was up 15 percent and ours have steadily declined.” Not even close. During his eight years, President Clinton increased domestic discretionary spending by 10 percent. In his last year, discretionary spending was up only 3 percent. Under Bush discretionary spending has increased every single year and is now 31 percent higher than when he took office. He has increased domestic discretionary spending by 25 percent – or 2 ½ times the increase under eight years of Clinton. (19) #17 The Bush administration has categorized its 2004 tax cut as a “middle-class tax cut.” The top 1/5th of earners receive 2/3rds of all benefits and the bill excluded extending the child tax credit to 4 million low income families who do not qualify. Middle class earners will receive an average cut of $162 in 2005. #18 Most of the tax cuts went to low and middle income Americans, and now the tax code is more fair, 20 percent of the upper income people pay about 80 percent of the taxes in America today because of how we structured the tax cuts. In 2004, Top One Percent Will Receive Average Tax Cut Of $35,000; Middle Class Will Receive Average Tax Cut Of $647. The benefits of Bush’s tax cuts primarily benefit the rich. The top one percent of households will receive tax cuts averaging almost $35,000--or 54 times more than middle-class families. Households with incomes above $1 million will receive tax cuts averaging about $123,600. (23) Sources: (1) New York Times 02.04.03, McKenna – Globe and Mail 02.04.03, Conrad & Spratt – Washington Post 02.04.03; (2) New Republic 07.01.02, Washington Post 07.02.02, Alter – Newsweek 07.28.03, Center for American Progress 01.16.04; (3) New Republic 01.13.03, 01.20.03, Editors – Los Angeles Times 07.17.03, Harding – Financial Times 08.07.03; (4) L.A. Times 11.11.03, Economist 11.11.03, (5) Toedtman – Newsday 02.23.03, (6) Citizens for Tax Justice (http://www.cjt.org), The New Republic – 02.10.03, Daily MisLead 01.13.04, (7) New York Times 04.06.03, Washington Post 05.14.03, The Bush Economic Record: Will Short-Term Gain Lead to Long-Term Prosperity or Long-Term Pain; (8) Weisman – Washington Post 07.16.03, Editors - Washington Post 07.16.03, Editors – New York Times 07.17.03; Krugman – New York Times 07.18.03, Los Angeles Times 10.07.03; Milbank – Washington Post 02.24.04 (9) Minneapolis Star Tribune 10.23.03; (10) The Daily Mis-Lead 10.03.03, The Daily Mis-Lead 11.05.03, Citizens for Tax Justice 09.23.03; (11) Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, War Tax Cuts and the Deficit 07.08.03; (12)Noah – Slate 01.10.04, 60 Minutes 01.11.04; Dionne – Washington Post 09.16.03; (13) Weisman – Washington Post 12.26.03; (14) Daily MisLead 12.02.03; (15)Daily MisLead 02.03.04, Washington Post 02.03.04; (16) Gross – Washington Post 02.02.04; Center for American Progress 02.03.04; Washington Post 02.03.04; Harris – Business Week 02.03.04; (17)Center for American Progress 02.20.04, The College Board Annual Survey of Colleges, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities 09.13.04; (18)Center for American Progress – Claim v Fact: The President on Meet the Press, (19) Noah – Slate 02.09.04; (20) Suskind – The Price of Loyalty; (21) Center for American Progress 04.30.04; (22) Daily Mis-Lead 09.24.04 (23) Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 4/14/04 Caught on Film: The Bush Credibility Gap In addition, in February 2003 Congressional Democrats began to press this case, launching a campaign on the Bush "credibility gap" on budget matters. Click Here to View MORE TAX AND DEFICIT LIES LIE: In May 2003, President Bush signed into law tax cut legislation which excluded low and moderate income families from the expanded child tax credit. The White House promised to address this omission. FACT: It has been over six months since the White House’s promise and no action has been taken to date. (Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee) See Running Clock On Failure to Address Child Tax Credit: http://www.dscc.org/welcome/ LIE: During the campaign, Bush claimed that the “vast majority” of the tax cuts go the “those at the bottom end of the economic ladder FACT: The bottom sixty percentile received only 12.6 percent of the proposed tax cut, while the top one percent would receive almost half. (Franken – Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, Corn – The Nation 10.13.03) LIE: The Bush administration reported a $158 billion deficit for 2002 by reporting expenses when paid not when incurred. FACT: Had the Bush administration used accrual method of accounting as recommended by Federal Reserve Chairman Greenspan, the 2002 deficit would increase by 230% to $365 billion. LIE: The Bush administration promised in late 2002 to repeal the loophole that allows US companies who incorporate off-shore in order to avoid taxes to receive contracts from the Homeland Security Department. FACT: Bush has not taken any action on this issue. (Ackerman – Newsweek 07.28.03) LIE: In light of his promise to keep Social Security in a lock box, the Bush administration promised to preserve surpluses “at least the size of the Social Security surplus” as a “threshold condition of public finance.” FACT: Bush's 2004 budget requires the government to use the entire Social Security surplus to fund deficits over the next ten years. (Conrad & Spratt - Washington Post 02.04.03) LIE: “To keep farms in the family, we are going to get rid of the death tax.” FACT: The American Farm Bureau Federation could not cite a single example of a farm