Your Government Is Lying to You, Redux

Monday, July 12th, 2004

As Election 2004 heats up, Pat Lynch reminds us that not only did the White House lie about the real cost of the prescription drug “benefit,” the Bush administration threatened to fire an HHS official for, get this, telling the truth.

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20 Responses to “Your Government Is Lying to You, Redux”

  1. #1 |  AnonT | 

    And this surprises you because….

  2. #2 |  Evan Williams | 

    But Radley forgot to mention the sweetest part of the saga: the Bush Administration recently “investigated” themselves regarding this incident, and found that they did nothing wrong.

    NOW, are you surprised…?

    Yeah, me either.

  3. #3 |  Joker | 

    AnonT, the administration lied for the good of the American People. Why wouldn’t they, after all, facts and reality could harm the American people ;-)

    Oh, by the way, Politics 101:
    “American People” really means “Support in election polls”

  4. #4 |  Evan Williams | 


    Mr. Foster’s boss, Thomas Scully, had threatened to fire Foster if he released the report. That’s right, he threatened to fire the guy for telling the truth. But wait, it gets better!

    Guess who Scully is now working for? He’s now a lobbyist for a group of major drug companies, including Abbot Laboratories and Aventis, and a pharmacy benefits manager. But wait, it gets even better!

    The GAO has decided that while Scully did threaten Foster with firing that the act WAS NOT ILLEGAL! Yep, government officials can deceive the public and essentially engage in fraud and not be prosecuted for it.

    So let me get this straight. Martha Stewart is probably going to get sentenced to jail for lying to the feds, partially on the basis of perjured testimony from a government official related to an insider trading scandal that hurt nobody. And this guy Scully, who clearly committed fraud to the tune of 200 billion dollars by any reasonable definition, cannot be prosecuted?

    Yeah, what he said.

  5. #5 |  roger | 

    While I don’t necessarily disagree with his conclusions, his Martha Stewart comment is a little off-base.

    Insider trading does not “hurt nobody”. All investors are hurt to some degree by it, some more than others.

    That said, the Prescription Drug “Benefit” is a horrible idea that, quite frankly, many conservatives are very much against. I’m not sure how it was even politically beneficial to Bush to sign the bill, since it angered his base and opponents immediately screamed that it “wasn’t enough”.

    Nothing quite like pandering to people who wouldn’t vote for you under any circumstance.

  6. #6 |  Julian Sanchez | 

    Right, but the widespread consensus seems to have been that Stewart definitely wasn’t guilty of the actual insider trading, even if she’d done precisely what the government claimed. So her crime was “obstruction” of an investigation of something that turns out not to have itself been a crime. Not necessarily exculpatory, but it does tend to make one more sympathetic.

  7. #7 |  Rocketman | 

    So, not only is Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny not real but the govt. lies about costs! Say it ain’t so.

    I have some very bad news for some of you.

    Bush didn’t invent this behavior.

    Sucks, I know.

  8. #8 |  Rocketman | 

    So, not only is Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny not real but the govt. lies about costs! Say it ain’t so.

    I have some very bad news for some of you.

    Bush didn’t invent this behavior.

    Sucks, I know.

  9. #9 |  Joker | 

    Rocketman, well it’s ok then. George the Conqueror can carry on since he wasn’t the first anyway.

    BTW, I’m sure you know that Clinton didn’t invent this behavior either, so that makes him innocent, I guess.
    Uh, the guy before him is cleared too – same grounds….

    Just one question, do you believe that people whose salary you pay should be accountable to you or not?

    Personally I think that a small business operator managing a landscaping company demands higher ethical standards from his shovel operators than Joe Voter does from the people he elects.
    And that’s good and bad.

  10. #10 |  roger | 

    Julian –

    I have no problem with the whole “innocent until proven guilty” concept and thus I’m not claiming Martha Stewart is guilty. Frankly, I have little knowledge of the case.

    All I’m saying is that a phrase like “an insider trading scandal that hurt nobody” is inherently incorrect.

    He could have come up with a better example.

  11. #11 |  mark s. | 

    So which is worse: getting lied to about the cost or the fact that the program even exists? It would be nice if libertarian minded people could stay on topic.

  12. #12 |  Ms. Dani | 

    govt welfare sucks. welfare should be handled at the local level

  13. #13 |  maynard james keenan | 

    Someone told me once
    that there’s a right and wrong,
    and that punishment
    would come to those
    who dare to cross the line.

    Consequences dictate
    our course of action
    and it doesn’t matter what’s right.
    It’s only wrong if you get caught.

  14. #14 |  Rocketman | 

    Joker, I agree with all of your post and of course am prepared to be consistent in my attitude.

    I for one hope that fudging govt. spending numbers is the most reprehensible thing Bush ever does and in my opinion that would be the case.

    We all should be concerned about integrity-our own first and then other peoples.

    Also, there’s a lot to be said for the perspective offered in mark s’s 2:37 post as well.

    I would like to point out that Bush has– released the Kay report–cooperated fully with the Plame investigation–discovered the scandal at Abu Graiv(I forget the proper spelling and don’t care)and initiated an investigation–come before the 9/11 “commission” when he really didn’t have to and while I’m on the subject has turned out to be right about the famous “16 words” uttered in the SOTU speech. I don’t recall YOUR remarks about that and am too lazy to look them up but as long as your commenting on Bush’s inaccurate statements, I’m sure you’re only too happy to acknowledg that time has shown the President to be not only truthful, but correct as well. I guess we can now refer to the lefts initial reaction toward those “16 words” as “lies”. Yup, more “lies” from Bushhatred incorporated.

    I don’t know anyone who is morally perfect AND electable which is really the whole crux of my disagreement with our Blog host over this President.

    I’m no authority on history but I have a clear memory of our admins back to Nixon. This President compares well the that group.

    Dubya didn’t invent moral imperfection,as y’all like to point out, he isn’t smart enough(remember?).

  15. #15 |  pat | 

    I would like to point out that Bush has– released the Kay report–

    heavily redacted (as if the country and the world wouldn’t have screamed bloody blue murder if it wasn’t released in some form)

    cooperated fully with the Plame investigation

    He appeared before a grand jury. Big whoop – most Americans don’t have a choice in the matter if a grand jury wants to talk to them. And Bush has done nothing to advance the Plame investigation, despite the fact that he almost certainly could shake the leaker out of the trees if he wanted to.

    –discovered the scandal at Abu Graiv

    what?? Are you watching/reading the same news I am? Or have you forgotten the report of Bush’s annoyance that he had to learn of the scandal when 60 Minutes broke the pictures? The reports of administration officials desparately trying to convince CBS to hold off or not report them at all? More accurately, members of Bush’s administration discovered the Abu Ghraib scandal, and then did their damndest to cover it up for four months, while pretending to investigate it (note that not a single person was charged in the scandal until after the pictures broke).

    and initiated an investigation–

    If he hadn’t initiated an investigation after those pictures, it would be remarkable. Quit lowering the bar to make what ought to go without saying a laudable act.

    come before the 9/11 “commission”

    After resisting as long as he possibly could, after resisting the formation of the entire damn commission and limiting their powers as much as he could (no subpoena, etc), after the entire country started to wonder aloud why he wouldn’t, he finally, grudgingly, agreed to give them a bare hour of his time. Then, when that was questioned, he removed that restriction but insisted that he appear with Cheney, and not under oath. But this President has nothing to hide, right? Once again, you’re lowering the bar and trying to make what should have gone without saying an admirable act.

    and while I’m on the subject has turned out to be right about the famous “16 words” uttered in the SOTU speech

    Well, that all depends on what the definition of ‘is’ is, doesn’t it? After all, it’s not as though the Niger documents suddenly became real and not forged. Or that it suddenly became true that the NSC hadn’t removed those 16 words, twice, from the speech because they knew they were false. Or that the British suddenly admitted that they hadn’t decided that the claims were false. But technically, if you look at the bare words of the speech, Bush was telling the truth. If you ignore everything else the Administration knew at the time.

  16. #16 |  Rocketman | 


    Yeah I must have forgot all about the big scandal over the ‘heavily redacted’ Kay report. With the kind of press Bush is getting I rather think this wouldn’t be the first we’ve all heard of it. Hmm have to put that on the impeachment list I guess.

    As for Plame, it is a sad thing that Bush didn’t come before the grand jury with a signed confession in one hand and his resignation in the other. Of course if the investigation concludes he had nothing to do with it as the President has stated, I suppose you’ll find some room in your heart for forgiveness and understanding. Or have you already selected the only conclusion you will accept as legitimate?

    I’LL publicly commit myself NOW to accept the final conclusion of the grand jury and the courts–WILL YOU?

    ‘and Bush has done nothing to ADVANCE the investigation’

    I eagerly await your list of constructive mature and reasonable additional things Bush could have done. As for “shaking the leaker out of the tree”, I’m sure the President would be flattered to learn of your faith in his ability to conduct an investigation. Sadly others aren’t so trusting. That’s why the President supports the grand jury investigation that is taking place.

    As for Abu Ghraib, the original press story was about the Army’s investigation. They work for Bush. If you recall the story on this thread talks about the white house threatening to fire someone. It wasn’t about Bush directly threatening to fire someone but–someone working for him. We are all holding Bush responsible for the actions of his staff. Seems reasonable to me to credit Bush with the investigation for the same reason.(you later state as much in your post) The fact that Bush admitted to his embarassment that he wasn’t aware of ALL the facts(it was the pictures he learned about on 60 minutes not the entire investigation) would in reasonable eyes suggest more honesty not less.

    No, he didn’t want the 9/11 commission. He seemed to think it might be just a tad partisan. If you didn’t notice the 3 minute “question”s, the treatment of Condleeza Rice,the grandstanding,the fact that Gorelick was on the wrong side of the commission table, then I would suggest you are rather,”determined” if ya know what I’m sayin’. I’ll let the American people judge how constructive and non-partisan the commission was. I’m not worried.

    If Bush and Cheney showed up seperately, all the commission would have done is asked slightly different questions–gotten slightly different answers and then claimed, Bush lied! Bush lied! Bush lied!

    Bush and Cheney show up together and the commission members would be obliged to clear up any apparent contradictions then and there not “leak” it to the WAPO for the next news day’s consumption.

    Nice try though–ROOKIE!

    As for your not particularly clever response to the 16 words, you’re either not current or not acknowledging that Bush also had HUMINT in addition to the documents. The documents were discredited not the HUMINT. Check out Powerline the 13th of this month or this in Financial Times(July 13, 2004)

    “The FT(financial times) has now learnt that three European intelligence services were aware of possible illicit trade in uranium from Niger between 1999 and 2001. Human intelligence gathered in Italy and Africa more than three years before the Iraq war had shown Niger officials referring to possible illicit uranium deals with at least five countries, including Iraq. July 13, 2004”

    Just a final remark about your “lowering the bar” routine. Some may call it that–others may consider it operating in the real world. We’re in the middle of a war for survival,(my opinion–perhaps not yours but certainly Bush’s) I hope you can forgive Bush for thinking he should be re-elected.

    It’s a lot easier to sit at a computer and tap keys on a board than it is to do what he is doing. If taking that into account is lowering the bar then so be it.

    Maybe you should raise YOUR OWN BAR–by comparing Bush to recently past presidents and electable alternatives in the real world.

  17. #17 |  Richard | 

    Read this from Reason, Rocketman-

  18. #18 |  Ann | 

    Getting back to the original post: â??telling the truthâ?? This makes no sense. Weâ??re talking about forecasts. If one weather man says that thereâ??s a 60% chance of rain tomorrow and another says that there is only a 40% chance of rain, is a TV station that fails to report the second forecast hiding â??the truthâ?? I think that the administration should have revealed both forecasts, although I believe by law that they were required to rely on the Congressional Budget Office forecast, which they did.

    Itâ??s not logical to discuss these things in terms of lying vs. â??telling the truthâ?, especially in a forecast of the future cost of a program over 10 years. Perhaps the difference in the estimates is partly a difference in the discount rates when taking the present value â?? in one of my classes I have to spend several boring, painful weeks each semester discussing discount rates, and most of the students still donâ??t get it by the end. Yet itâ??s all so crystal clear to you that you know one side is â??telling the truthâ? and the other is committing fraud by â??lyingâ?. Please fill me in on the details of the exact difference between the two sets of forecasts â?? I would like to finally be able to offer my students universal truths in the area of capital budgeting under uncertainty, since Iâ??ve been â??lyingâ? all these years by telling them that thereâ??s usually no one â??rightâ? estimate.

  19. #19 |  Rocketman | 

    I shall read the link you’ve suggested. Also Radley’s got some interesting menu items in an above post on the same subject. The main course is “Crow” followed by “sour grapes” for dessert. A delightful meal I look forward to savoring when I get the chance.

    For now, off to make the donuts…

  20. #20 |  Rocketman | 


    Sure enjoyed reading the link you suggested and sent a response to your email address. Thanks.