I was just visiting the McClatchy Newspapers Washington Bureau site and was struck by their headlnes —

Justifications for attacking Iran on shaky ground

Experts skeptical about plans for balanced federal budget

Report questions Bush’s Iraq strategy

The substance of all of these stories is that the White House is lying its ass off about something, and somebody is calling them on it. And of course they’ve also (finally) been called out on their lies about global warming.

Regarding that first story, Kevin G. Hall writes,

On Monday, President Bush will propose a fiscal 2008 federal budget that he says will get the nation out of the red by 2012, but budget experts warn that it’s likely to be based on unrealistic assumptions that won’t yield a balanced budget.

Watch for trap doors in his numbers on tax cuts, war costs and spending reductions. Experience suggests that all three are likely to be unrealistic. Moreover, even if Bush managed to steer the budget toward balance in 2012, the long-term challenge of financing the baby-boomers’ retirement costs threatens to plunge the budget back into deficits that grow worse exponentially each year.

Reporters have gone from explaining what the President is expected to say to explaining how the President is expected to lie.

Many historians will tell you that all presidents have told fibs here and there during their administrations, usually for political reasons, but I think Bush is the first president for whom lies are his standard form of communication.

On Monday Bush will announce that he’ll seek $100 billion more to pay for the both wars through Sept. 30, the end of fiscal 2007. He’s also expected to seek another $145 billion for war spending in fiscal 2008 and $50 billion more for fiscal 2009. Total cost: $772 billion.

And don’t forget — most of the time when Bush asks for money for his war he ask for off-budget supplemental appropriations. It makes balancing the budget so much easier if you don’t figure your real expenditures into it, see.

The president also is expected to propose sharp cuts in virtually all spending that isn’t defense-related or automatic, such as Social Security. Championing fiscal discipline is new for Bush; he and the Republican-led Congress increased government spending by 45 percent from fiscal year 2001 to 2006.

I seem to remember Bush talks about “fiscal discipline” a lot; he just doesn’t do it.

Nevertheless, the president’s spending-cut proposals this year could put Democrats on the defensive to protect their favored programs from reductions without being framed as big spenders.

“Framed as big spenders” by Republicans and rightie media, of course. When Bush pours money into the Iraqi desert he’s being “fiscally prudent; when Democrats act to save Grandma’s Medicare they’re “big spenders. I think most of the American people are starting to see through this charade.

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I’m being slammed with comment spam today and must turn off comments until I figure out how to get it under control. I hope this will be a very temporary situation.

Update: Comments are on but will have to be monitored.