"The Lie Factory." How exactly did we wind up in Iraq again? In a Mother Jones (January/February 2004) cover story, Robert Dreyfuss and Jason Vest detail how a secretive group of neo-conservative ideologues from the Department of Defense shouldered aside career Pentagon analysts to further their agenda of regime change in Iraq. An obsession with toppling Saddam Hussein was just the start for Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith and their allies, who Dreyfuss and Vest report delivered false and unvetted intelligence to Vice President Cheney and ultimately George W. Bush himself (www.MotherJones.com).
"The World's Biggest Tab." Let's see: There's $87 million (for starters) for the war in Iraq; an additional $480 million hole in the 2004 federal budget; and (very conservatively) about $1.4 trillion in projected cumulative shortfalls over the next 10 years. In Harper's Magazine (January 2004), Wayne Biddle tells why the political culture in the administration and its compliant Congress makes it unlikely any of this will change, and how it's related to the war without end that Bush pushes while blithely ignoring "the red ink in his make-believe budget."
"Don't Be Fooled Again: This Isn't An Independent Investigation." "Imagine the heat rising from the shredder machines" the weekend the Justice Department announced it would wait a day or two before formally requiring administration officials to save all documents relevant to the leak that blew the cover of CIA official Valerie Plame, muses Ray McGovern, a career analyst with the CIA, in CounterPunch (Dec. 31). McGovern explores why Attorney General John Ashcroft's decision to recuse himself from the investigation, and the appointment of U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald as special counsel, don't much raise the odds of a fair and full investigation (www.counterpunch.org/mcgovern12312003.html).
"2003: Claim vs. Fact." TOMPAINE.com posts a Center for American Progress report debunking the administration's deceptively rosy Dec. 13 offering titled "2003: A Year of Progress for the American People." Among the topics: Medicare (millions of seniors could lose their current, more generous benefits when the new Medicare policy kicks in); the newly created Health Savings Accounts (likely to cause insurance premiums to rise dramatically); the economy (Council of Economic Advisors projections of job growth sparked by Bush tax cuts fell more than 80 percent short in the first five months alone); and "healthy forests" initiatives (which will increase commercial logging). (www.tompaine.com/feature2.cfm/ID/9654).
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