Vanity Fair has new piece up that consists members of the Bush administration and their thoughts, verbatim about their experiences. In other words these people were given the opportunity to speak their mind without challenge, Farewell to All That: An Oral History of the Bush White House
Lawrence Wilkerson, top aide and later chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell: We had this confluence of characters—and I use that term very carefully—that included people like Powell, Dick Cheney, Condi Rice, and so forth, which allowed one perception to be “the dream team.” It allowed everybody to believe that this Sarah Palin–like president—because, let’s face it, that’s what he was—was going to be protected by this national- security elite, tested in the cauldrons of fire. What in effect happened was that a very astute, probably the most astute, bureaucratic entrepreneur I’ve ever run into in my life became the vice president of the United States.
He became vice president well before George Bush picked him. And he began to manipulate things from that point on, knowing that he was going to be able to convince this guy to pick him, knowing that he was then going to be able to wade into the vacuums that existed around George Bush—personality vacuum, character vacuum, details vacuum, experience vacuum.
Wilkerson has proven to be an endangered species, fairly rational as far as modern Conservatism goes. Though to refer to Cheney as an ‘bureaucratic entrepreneur” is kind considering the Cheney record. The Conservativeve media watch dogs over at Newsbusters are on the case, Vanity Fair Attempts Comprehensive Bush Hit Piece, Misfires Badly By Tom Blumer. Blumer is in quite a huff as he attempts to spin the factual record – the history we all know versus the Right’s never ending spin. He calls the Vanity Fair a hit piece. The new definition of a hit piece is recording the conversations of Bush administration officials and posting the transcript.
Scott McClellan, deputy White House press secretary and later press secretary: I remember Karl Rove was out there talking at some events about how we’d use 9/11, run on 9/11 in the midterms, and that it was important to do so.
The bold is not commentary by the authors Cullen Murphy and Todd S. Purdum, they’re the former press secretary’s words. If that is a hit, and it is, it comes from someone who was an integral part of the Bush White House’s communication spin with the public. Newsbusters go on to claim what could be described as reality reported from another universe via a distorted mirror: there were wmd in Iraq, Saddam had yellow cake which justified throwing out weapons inspectors, they’re ever so proud that Bush was the first MBA president – proof that he is an intellectual, Bush’s infamous 16 word manipulation of the truth and the American public was rock solid, those civil liberties we lost didn’t mean squat – leaves out lots of about their legality and wisdom of course, science that Republicans don’t like is automatically false and somehow with a small majority in the House Democrats were so powerful that used the opportunity to push the country into a recession/depression. If only their post was in color and funny it might pass as a net comic strip.
Press Release of Intelligence Committee – Two Bipartisan Reports Detail Administration Misstatements on Prewar Iraq Intelligence, and Inappropriate Intelligence Activities by Pentagon Policy Office
In making the case for war, the Administration repeatedly presented intelligence as fact when in reality it was unsubstantiated, contradicted, or even non-existent. As a result, the American people were led to believe that the threat from Iraq was much greater than actually existed. … Sadly, the Bush Administration led the nation into war under false pretenses.
We know that neocons don’t mind making public the identity of CIA NOC agents and that sites like Newsbusters did their best to spin an alternate reality on behalf of their beloved Bush/Cheney. So no wonder they didn’t believe this CIA press release, CIA’s final report: No WMD found in Iraq
In his final word, the CIA’s top weapons inspector in Iraq said Monday that the hunt for weapons of mass destruction has “gone as far as feasible” and has found nothing, closing an investigation into the purported programs of Saddam Hussein that were used to justify the 2003 invasion.
NB is corect in stating that Iraq did have yellow cake, 1979-1982: Iraq Purchases Yellowcake Uranium, Conceals Full Amount from IAEA.
The total amount of yellowcake uranium secured by Iraq is 563,290 kilograms. The IAEA verifies the amount transferred to Iraq; including the loss of about 40 kilograms from a drum damaged during Iraq’s salvaging and concealment attempts in 1991. Like other uranium transferred to Iraq (see 1979 and 1982), this uranium is verified and accounted for by International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) inspectors, and is kept at “Location C,” a storage complex near the Tuwaitha nuclear research facility in central Iraq. Later inspections show that Iraq has not been fully honest about its uranium purchases; it is not until July 1991 that Iraq declares the full amount of uranium it has received. Furthermore, later inspections will show that “considerable” amounts of uranium cannot be accounted for. By July 1994, IAEA inspectors will verify the complete amounts and dispositions of Iraq’s yellowcake
Yellow cake that was there since 1979, that Reagan, Bush Sr and the IAEA knew about was the reason Bush threw out inspectors in 2003? After the first Gulf war, Bush Sr could have had it removed, but it remained in country under IAEA seal. Newsbusters apparently crossed its fingers and hoped none of their readers would put the historical pieces together. They also seemed to hope that since yellow cake was known to already be in the country, Bush’s infamous 16 words re the Niger yellow cake – by way of the British and a forged document that the CIA had told him not to include – means that statement remains primary evidence of Bush manipulating the facts and the appearance of imminent threat to push the U.S. into war. These little blips of Rightie truth wrangling are like a professional playing tennis against an amateur, their lobs are so easy to knock down.
Eight years of an extreme Right presidency, during six of which Republicans controlled both Houses of Congress. Plus a few years of Republican Congressional under Clinton and only the Right could be delusional enough to think they can blame the financial and housing meltdown on Democrats – we all know that Democrats have investigations and write sternly worded letters – they’re guilty of wasting too many dead trees. They warned us, but US eased loan rules
The Bush administration backed off proposed crackdowns on no-money-down, interest-only mortgages years before the economy collapsed, buckling to pressure from some of the same banks that have now failed. It ignored remarkably prescient warnings that foretold the financial meltdown, according to an Associated Press review of regulatory documents.
“Expect fallout, expect foreclosures, expect horror stories,” California mortgage lender Paris Welch wrote to U.S. regulators in January 2006, about one year before the housing implosion cost her a job.
Bowing to aggressive lobbying — along with assurances from banks that the troubled mortgages were OK — regulators delayed action for nearly one year. By the time new rules were released late in 2006, the toughest of the proposed provisions were gone and the meltdown was under way.
“These mortgages have been considered more safe and sound for portfolio lenders than many fixed rate mortgages,” David Schneider, home loan president of Washington Mutual, told federal regulators in early 2006. Two years later, WaMu became the largest bank failure in U.S. history.
The administration’s blind eye to the impending crisis is emblematic of a philosophy that trusted market forces and discounted the need for government intervention in the economy. Its belief ironically has ushered in the most massive government intervention since the 1930s.
“We’re going to be feeling the effects of the regulators’ failure to address these mortgages for the next several years,” said Kevin Stein of the California Reinvestment Coalition, who warned regulators to tighten lending rules before it was too late.
Many of the banks that fought to undermine the proposals by some regulators are now either out of business or accepting billions in federal aid to recover from a mortgage crisis they insisted would never come. Many executives remain in high-paying jobs, even after their assurances were proved false.
The Vanity Fair piece has this from Henry Paulson, secretary of the Treasury,
I easily could imagine and expected there to be financial turmoil. But the extent of it, O.K., I was naïve in terms of—I knew a lot about regulation but not nearly as much as I needed to know, and I knew very little about regulatory powers and authorities. I just had not gone into it in that kind of detail. This’ll be the longest we’ve gone in recent history without there being turmoil, and given all the innovation in the private pools of capital and the over-the-counter derivatives and the excesses around the world, we figured that when there was turmoil, and these things were tested for the first time by stress, it would be more significant than anything else.
I said at the time, I have a concern that every rally we’re going to have in the financial markets will be a false rally until we break the back of the price correction in real estate. And these things are never over until you have a couple of institutions go that surprise everyone. Bear Stearns can hardly be a shock.
But having said that, it’s one thing to see it intellectually and it’s another to see where we are.
For all his faults Paulson displays a lot more backbone in the accountability department then we’ve seen from the Right’s propagandist. Newsbusetrs also blamed Democrats for passing the bailout and the lack of accountability about where the funds are going, After Backing Massive Wall Street Bailout, McConnell Plans To Block Obama’s Economic Stimulus Plan
McConnell, however, had no problem quickly passing President Bush’s Wall Street bailout, even though that package had almost no oversight safeguards. In fact, as McClatchy reported, McConnell “led the battle” to pass the bill.
Everyone is a little pissed at the accountability aspect of the 700b package, but trying to pass it off as a Democratic problem is pure spin city.
So Rightie blogs and pundits are the first place to turn to for the truth? Not really, The Top 10 Rightblogger Stories of 2008
#7: And Robin is Tony Blair. “A beam of light flashed into the night sky, the dark symbol of a bat projected onto the surface of the racing clouds… Oh, wait a minute. That’s not a bat, actually. In fact, when you trace the outline with your finger, it looks kind of like . . . a ‘W.'” In the Wall Street Journal Andrew Klavan explained why The Dark Knight is “a paean of praise to the fortitude and moral courage that has been shown by George W. Bush in this time of terror and war… Like W, Batman sometimes has to push the boundaries of civil rights to deal with an emergency.” Maybe that explains why the Joker was more popular. (The Journal unfortunately didn’t run Klavan’s other essay about the Hollywood film that celebrated an earlier phase of Bush’s career, Pineapple Express.)
#3: A Megan McArdle Christmas. The Atlantic’s Megan McArdle saw one upside to the financial crisis: “It may break the rat race of constantly ratcheting consumption, which has surrounded most Americans with nice things that don’t really make them happy.”