"Wrong Again." Lest we forget: Most of those "revelations" in the Senate Intelligence Committee's recent CIA report about pre-Iraq war intel failures were actually known even back when Bush was peddling his preemptive strike. In his column in The Nation (Aug. 2-9), Eric Alterman argues that misconceptions such as the exaggerated threat posed by Saddam Hussein had more to do with White House pressure on intelligence operatives for data favorable to their cause than it did with CIA screw-ups. www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20040802&s=alterman
"Refining Graft." For years, the gasoline additive MTBE has been contaminating water supplies. Yet on taking office, the Bushies scuttled EPA plans to quickly phase out MTBE's use. Now, with White House backing, House Republicans are pushing to include in a big-money energy bill a provision giving blanket immunity from liability lawsuits to makers of the additive. "Such an immunity would cost American taxpayers at least tens of billions of dollars and, in exempting polluters from cleaning up a mess they created, would defy a principle of common law dating back to the fourteenth century," writes Jamie Lincoln Kitman in Harper's Magazine (August).
"Who's in Charge Here?" He's a take-charge dude, that square-jawed Donald Rumsfeld. But what was he doing the morning of Sept. 11, 2001 -- when Bush apparently didn't even talk to his Secretary of Defense until an hour after the first WTC tower was hit? In her article in Mother Jones (July 22) about the 9/11 commission's report, Gail Sheehy wonders what we're to make of the fact that the president and his top advisers were effectively missing in action, both on that morning and in the warning-filled months leading up to the attacks.
"TRI 'Public Date Release' Raises Access, Integrity Issues." The most secretive presidential administration in memory doesn't just want to hide the way it makes energy policy; it also wants to protect you from worrying about what polluters are releasing into the air and water. The Society for Environmental Journalists' Watchdog newsletter (July 2) reports that the federal Toxic Release Inventory, the comprehensive guide to such matters, used to run 400-plus pages; this year's, released in June, ran six, and omitted most of the comparative data needed to understand what the report even means. www.sej.org/foia/index7.htm
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