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[P]
They will lie when the truth would serve as well

By Rand Race in Op-Ed
Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 10:14:53 PM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

While I realize the issues involved - war, death, and destruction - aren't as earth shattering as oral sex from interns, it worries me mightily that our current leaders, many of whom were party to the Clinton impeachment (Brett Kavanaugh, Michael Chertoff, Tim Griffin, and Ted Olson for instance) are given a free ride for their own mistruths. From the supposed targeting of Air Force One, to inconsistencies regarding detainees, to today's bizarre false example of equivalency, the current administration seems to have a knee-jerk tendency to lie first without even considering whether it is necessary.


The fact that Bush the Younger has effectively made the doings of the president secret for perpetuity, and by doing so elevates presidential fiat over democratic law, doesn't make me feel any better about the rank untruths spouted as a matter of course for this administration. Starting back in his days as governor of Texas, increasing in fury during the campaign and going on to include whoppers such as Gail Norton's lie of omission concerning the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the administration's blatant fudg ing of the budget, and Bush's rever sal of his earlier claim to support wetland protection, this administration has made quite a track record for itself in the prevarication department.

Our president has even lied about where he was born! For a bunch that so chastised Clinton over equivocating about his sex life (it was about the lies not the sex, remember?), Republicans seem content to lie through their teeth in order to gain the political upper hand, for meanspirited petty vengeance, or for no discernable reason at all. But hell, at least they aren't lying about sex.

Their insane attempts to keep the truth from the American people, such as Dick Cheney's absurd claim that public policy development should not be a public process, the chilling prospect of secret military tribunals (never before invoked without a congressional declaration of war) of those whose actions supposedly led us to the current conflict, and the brazenly "accidental" bombing of a media source they don't like indicate further that the truth is considered the enemy by our current administration. As an informed public is the key to democracy this cavalier attitude towards the truth, especialy as it pertains to government affairs, points towards a disturbing lack of respect for democracy itself.

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Poll
Will we ever know the truth?
o What is truth? 5%
o We know the truth. 1%
o The truth is out there, it will come out. 14%
o Not a freakin' chance. 22%
o No one ever knows the whole truth. 28%
o Truth is a three edged sword... 26%

Votes: 67
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o their own mistruths
o supposed targeting of Air Force One
o inconsiste ncies regarding detainees
o bizarre false example of equivalency
o effectively made the doings of the president secret for perpetuity
o back in his days as governor of Texas
o during
o the
o campaign
o lie of omission
o fudg ing of the budget
o rever sal of his earlier claim
o where he was born
o about the lies
o lie through their teeth
o gain the political upper hand
o meanspirit ed petty vengeance
o for no discernable reason at all
o absurd claim
o secret military tribunals
o a media source they don't like
o informed public is the key to democracy
o Also by Rand Race


Display: Sort:
They will lie when the truth would serve as well | 47 comments (41 topical, 6 editorial, 0 hidden)
I don't get the fixation on party. (3.50 / 6) (#2)
by grout on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 05:31:40 PM EST

Democrats lie. Republicans lie. Greens lie. Libertarians lie. I therefore fail to see how this story is newsworthy.

Now if the point were specifically limited to the President and his appointees and staff, then I could consider it newsworthy. Then it would be about a powerful person and his character.
--
Chip Salzenberg, Free-Floating Agent of Chaos

Who runs the nation? (4.83 / 6) (#5)
by Rand Race on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 08:31:09 AM EST

Democrats lie. Republicans lie. Greens lie. Libertarians lie. I therefore fail to see how this story is newsworthy.

Dems share control of one house of the legislature, Greens and Libs have no federaly elected posts, Republicans control the House of Reps, the Supreme Court, and the Whitehouse and are presently prosecuting a war. Also, as I mentioned, they are the ones who recently attempted to impeach a president for lieing which gives their current actions that sparkly sheen of hypocrisy. I fail to see how anyone could consider such a web of deceit occuring at a self proclaimed time of emergency when reductions in civil liberies are being bandied about to not be newsworthy.

Now if the point were specifically limited to the President and his appointees and staff, then I could consider it newsworthy. Then it would be about a powerful person and his character.

Every one of those links pointed to actions either by the president himself or his administration. This is about a group of powerful people who currently control this nation and their complete and total lack of character.


"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, He must approve the homage of Reason rather than that of blindfolded Fear." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

Civil liberties matter more than honesty (4.00 / 2) (#10)
by grout on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 06:05:52 PM EST

So your point, per se, is about hypocrisy? Since I don't expect absolute truthfulness from anyone, I can't get all worked up about that issue, but I can understand that some people do. "Not that there's anything wrong with that." --Seinfeld

But your article contained at least one point that does matter to me a great deal: The recent changes to rules that affect document disclosure (thank you for that link). That and the civil rights encroachments recently enacted and proposed send up a veritable plethora of red flags about the dangers of the current administration.
--
Chip Salzenberg, Free-Floating Agent of Chaos

[ Parent ]

Democrat hawks (3.50 / 2) (#17)
by I am Jack's username on Sat Nov 17, 2001 at 12:35:23 PM EST

Dems share control of one house of the legislature, Greens and Libs have no federaly elected posts, Republicans control the House of Reps, the Supreme Court, and the Whitehouse and are presently prosecuting a war. Also, as I mentioned, they are the ones who recently attempted to impeach a president
The Democrats are as responsible for the war as the Republicans, in the same way that they totally agreed with the Reps when it came to Kyoto. These fundamental agreements are some of the reasons why Greens often group them together eventho the Reps and Dems are obviously different.

PS: the 1st quoted sentence could have done with some semicolons.
--
Inoshiro for president!
"War does not determine who is right - only who is left." - Bertrand Russell
[ Parent ]

well (4.00 / 12) (#3)
by Delirium on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 07:57:13 PM EST

I was wondering about your birthplace lie allegation, so I looked through the article, and found:

During that race, Bush's campaign brochure also stated that he was "born July 6, 1946 and raised in Midland, Texas," though to be precise, Bush was born in Connecticut.
That's not a lie, though perhaps it is misleading. The brochure made two claims: 1) that he was born on July 6, 1946; and 2) that he was raised in Midland, Texas. This could be misinterpreted as "born and raised in Midland, Texas," but that's not what it says - it says he was "born July 6, 1946 and raised in Midland, Texas."

So Bush lies, Gore lies, and Salon lies. =P

what is a lie? (3.50 / 2) (#19)
by kubalaa on Sat Nov 17, 2001 at 03:10:46 PM EST

Are you telling me that this isn't blatantly encouraging the incorrect interpretation? Where do you draw the line? Not that it's even that important where the guy was born, but rather that this is exactly the kind of technically-correct weaseling that makes politicians so despicable.

[ Parent ]
Re: Whats a Lie (3.00 / 2) (#24)
by RHSwan on Sat Nov 17, 2001 at 10:52:17 PM EST

You mean everytime I have said my version of that I have been lying? Just because my mother's obsetrician (I know the spelling is wrong) chose to work in a hospital in another city? Personally, I think you are so biased against President Bush (maybe with good reason) you are assuming evil intent where probably none exists. Use Occam's razor (to paraphrase, the simplest explanation is usually correct). I am positive President Bush has lied enough in the past and will in the future for you to find these lies without having to stretch the meaning of some phrase where a simpler explanation is available.

[ Parent ]
"assuming evil intent" (3.00 / 2) (#25)
by kubalaa on Sun Nov 18, 2001 at 05:24:07 AM EST

I know, with Bush I have to keep reminding myself, "don't attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity..." ; )

[ Parent ]
haha (2.00 / 2) (#4)
by boxed on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 05:48:16 AM EST

And you think that this is just the Republicans who do this? You guys need freedom of information. And I'm not talking about that silly "Freedom of Information Act" that I've heard americans brag about. It is not even close to as far reaching as it NEEDS to be. You should learn from the type of public insight sweden has.

hoho (3.00 / 3) (#6)
by Rand Race on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 08:48:20 AM EST

And you think that this is just the Republicans who do this?

No, I think the Republicans are currently running this nation though, and I think the Republican Administration is currently asking Americans to make sacrifices in liberty and economy in order to prosecute a war that they will not give us reliable information on.

I agree wholeheartedly that we should accept a model for governmental openness more like that of Sweden.


"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, He must approve the homage of Reason rather than that of blindfolded Fear." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

Swedish governmental openness (3.50 / 4) (#7)
by ubu on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 11:02:27 AM EST

"Open your wallet, we need more government."

Ubu


--
As good old software hats say - "You are in very safe hands, if you are using CVS !!!"
[ Parent ]
spoken like a true capitalist (3.66 / 3) (#12)
by boxed on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 09:17:42 PM EST

The swedish government doesn't cost very much you know, it's the "public sector" as it's called that you pay the high taxes for (free education, free healthcare until age 20 then heavily subsidised, etc). Besides, openness DOES cost money. Someone has to keep track of all the documents and see to it that everyone who requests government documents get them (my mother for example has this very job).

[ Parent ]
ouch (2.00 / 2) (#14)
by ubu on Sat Nov 17, 2001 at 09:06:29 AM EST

How low, how very low of you to call me a "capitalist".

The swedish government doesn't cost very much you know, it's the "public sector" as it's called that you pay the high taxes for

hehehe Right, it's not the State that's so expensive, it's the State. Silly me.

Ubu


--
As good old software hats say - "You are in very safe hands, if you are using CVS !!!"
[ Parent ]
Look up the word "Government" in a dicti (3.00 / 2) (#22)
by boxed on Sat Nov 17, 2001 at 04:45:38 PM EST

It means the body of the state that governs. Get it? It's not the whole state, only a part. A PART.

[ Parent ]
Canada (3.00 / 2) (#32)
by A Trickster Imp on Mon Nov 19, 2001 at 10:27:53 AM EST

Reminds me of a incredible, world-record idiotic statement made some years ago by a public service union leader in Canada during a recession some years ago:

"We didn't cause this recession. Why should we take a pay cut?"





[ Parent ]
Australia (none / 0) (#37)
by cam on Mon Nov 19, 2001 at 09:55:24 PM EST

"We didn't cause this recession. Why should we take a pay cut?"

lol

The Treasurer of Australia, Paul Keating, in the late 1980's went on public television and told Australia ;

    "this was the recession we had to have."

Not sure if Keating was saying he planned the recession or it was the Australian people's fault for the recession. Either way it wasn't inspiring and reeked of arrogance.



cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

Actually, (none / 0) (#39)
by ubu on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 01:10:58 AM EST

Don't know how Keating meant it, but the necessity of recession is a tenet of the Austrian business cycle. Summarily, a boom happens when spending increases, and a bust happens when spending drops. Contrary to "consumer-confidence" doctrine, neither situation is a disaster, they're both simply corrections to the ongoing balance between spending and saving.

What is ironic about the Fed panic and the Bush administration rhetoric is that busts cause booms and vice versa. When busts occur, they signal a general decline in spending in favor of investment. These investments in turn yield long-term gains: research & development, new businesses, more-efficiently consolidated holdings. When booms occur, they signal a general transfer of money from long-term savings to short-term spending.

Busts feel like a downturn, but they are merely corrections. The movement of money from spending accounts to savings accounts is a positive move when it signals an adjustment, because it means the economy is recognizing that the aforementioned money is more productive in investments than in short-term spending. Similarly, when the market is flooded with investment capital, investors will decide that further investment yields diminishing returns, and it may be time to buy a new lawn mower, a golf club membership, or even a new home.

The key thing to watch is how the balance is directly affected by taxes. Sales taxes merely diminish the value of short-term returns; cutting sales taxes increases the value of the consumer dollar and may encourage more spending, but this only increases short-term demand. Capital-gains taxes and income taxes are far more damaging: they change the risk/benefit calculation for new investments and generally swing the economic balance toward short-term spending, since long-term investments are crippled by heavy federal and state levies.

Here is the key: money (like all resources) will naturally flow to its most productive use. If you have $2000 extra dollars, you can either spend them now on personal consumption, or you can lend them to somebody else (a homeowner, a business owner, a corporate R&D department) who can put them to better use and pay you back an additional percentage of the proceeds over your original loan. The money has been put to a more productive use, and both parties have profited by it. This is saving, more or less, and it happens when investments are allowed to mature without excessive tax or regulatory burden.

The moral of the story is: if you want growth, cut capital gains and income taxes. This shortens the boom/bust cycle. Cutting sales taxes -- or increasing capital gains taxes -- lengthens the boom/bust cycle. The Fed's policy of ever-cheaper money -- cutting prime interest rates to the bone -- may increase spending in the short-term, but it merely lengthens the bust phase and hampers the return of capital to long-term investments.

Ubu


--
As good old software hats say - "You are in very safe hands, if you are using CVS !!!"
[ Parent ]
Actually (none / 0) (#44)
by cam on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 01:40:42 AM EST

>Don't know how Keating meant it,

He was an arrogant politician anyway.

>but the necessity of recession is a tenet
>of the Austrian business cycle.

Australian not Austrian. Keating was the Treasurer at the time and later the Prime Minister. I went through that recession, it was brutal.

Some Links :



cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

Excessive taxation (4.00 / 2) (#15)
by cam on Sat Nov 17, 2001 at 10:45:32 AM EST

Ubu wrote;
"Open your wallet, we need more government."

I have no problem with being taxed as long as it goes towards what I consider a wealthy society should support, such as free health and free education.

In the US your access to quality healthcare is largely dominated by your employment status. That is discriminatory IMO. In Australia which has public health, all Australians have the same access to the same level of health care. Those that are wealthier can buy more personalised health care if they wish, but the there is no discrimination on access. The US health insurance system is restrictive as well, the three dealings I have had with have ended up in face-offs with the insurance company over payment in one form or another. My wife see's it as an accepted part of dealing with the health system. Having used Bulk Billing in Australia, I think that system was much easier for me as a health services consumer and as a patient.

Incidentally, the amount I got taxed in Australia before the Howard government brought in the export subsidizing GST, was about the same as what I am taxed in the US now. In the US I get access to a brilliant road system, in Australia I got access to a health system. Americans only really allow their government to build and fund roads. ( Australia's road system is a shocker by comparison )

Pre to 1989 (and after Whitlam came to power) the cost of usage of the Australian tertiary education system by an undergraduate was free. I think that should be returned. That is an area I would pay more tax for.


cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

Read something (3.00 / 3) (#29)
by ubu on Sun Nov 18, 2001 at 07:01:12 PM EST

Taxation is theft. This is a fact that State-lovers expect us to overlook in view of their opinion that taxation brings about an exceptional "public good" which mitigates its fundamental nature.

Alas, contrary to statist preaching, public spending never achieves a "public good"; it only achieves a public waste. What you consider worthy of support by a wealthy State quite literally means nothing, since you are more than free to support those causes yourself. What you really mean to say is that you see no moral difficulty in marshalling the financial resources of others according to your whims.

Ubu


--
As good old software hats say - "You are in very safe hands, if you are using CVS !!!"
[ Parent ]
Eh? (2.50 / 2) (#31)
by A Trickster Imp on Mon Nov 19, 2001 at 10:26:08 AM EST

> In the US your access to quality healthcare is
> largely dominated by your employment status. That
> is discriminatory IMO.

That's kind of a bizarre statement.

Employment status itself is largely determined by quality of worker. Things that diffentiate humans from animals appear because of effort -- significant effort. To say this is discriminatory is to say nature itself is discriminatory, and all you have to do to be discriminated against is to not work hard.




[ Parent ]
Pah! (none / 0) (#41)
by odaiwai on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 04:29:53 AM EST

So people with lower status jobs are naturally of less worth and should be allowed die in the streets?

Even Hong Kong, which is rabidly capitalist, has healthcare available to all (as long as they're residents, anyway). The old granny who lives by collecting cardboard off the street and selling it to the recycler can just turn up at a hospital and expect to get treated for what ails her.

dave
-- "They're chefs! Chefs with chainsaws!"
[ Parent ]
Clinton lied... (3.75 / 4) (#8)
by FriedLinguini on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 12:33:14 PM EST

...under oath. That's a crime, and that's why he got reamed as hard as he did. Politicians often mislead and lie, but they usually at least do so in a way that isn't verifiably criminal. I hate that politicians lie to the people they work for, but there is more going on than just hypocrisy.

The truth? We can't handle the truth! (2.66 / 3) (#11)
by anansi on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 06:06:50 PM EST

I reluctantly voted this up, despite the way my stomach churned with how the title presupposes that the guys currently holding the football are actually responding to a crisis, rather than creating/exacerbating one.

After last year's pathetic joke of an election, it's difficult to estimate how bad things could possibly get with this administration. Just when I think I've got a handle on things, it gets worse.

Stephen Bury's (neal Stephenson and his dad) book Interface opens with the idea of the US national debt being called in: all the corperate powers who have lent the US money (most of our national debt) deciding that the loan has come due, and they will reposess everything they've funded. The rest of the book details one way that civil war might be fought... I think we're witnessing another.

Don't call it Fascism. Use Musollini's term: "Corporatism"

Interesting read... (2.66 / 3) (#16)
by On Lawn on Sat Nov 17, 2001 at 12:34:30 PM EST

From the first article...

Now, of course, we all know that Gore lies, Lott lies, Cheney lies, etc. But the difference between those liars and Bush is the Resident tells us that he is telling the truth when he is lying.

lielielielielie

That's true only if you pretend that the 1978 law isn't already in effect, implemented through Reagan's executive order.

Anyone know what that 1978 [pre-Reagan] law is, and why it is *only* implemented through an executive order?

lielielielielielie

When [Tommy Thompson] challenged about his statement today in the face of the Anthrax crisis and the limited availablility of both anthrax vaccine and Cipro, he reiterated his statment with a stress on the word "respond": "Yes, I said we would be able to RESPOND." You're in a car that crashes at an intersection. Those who see you crash would be sure to RESPOND, but in what way and to what end? --Politex, 10/17/01

Is that a lie? What reponse happens when a accident occurs? Does it save lives?

lielielielielielielie

Democrats should be indicting Bush for turning his back on working families by enforcing austerity in a time of need.

Now austerity is a period of paying off loans and debt. What this quote is advocating is criminal litigation for Bush *not* getting out Uncle Sam's Credit card and charging up the limit.

[Note the link is to a much lenghier work on the same topic by the same author than the provided. Here is another quote from it...

Deficit spending, not debt reduction, should be the order of the day.

...back to the previously cited article]

And they should be taking credit for the tax rebate that people are getting--that was a Democratic idea that wasn't even in the Bush plan.

So not only was it a bad idea for the tax rebate, but it was the Democrats... I picked up on those quotes, becuase Robert L Borosage actually has no meat to his claims that Bush is lying. Not even in the lenthier article.

lielielielielie

The crime here? Rove's penchant for attending meetings on issues involving companies in which he owned stock. He took part in multiple energy policy meetings while owning stock in energy companies such as Enron. And in March, he met at the White House with the chairman of Intel and a pair of lobbyists who were pushing for approval of a high-tech merger the White House endorsed shortly thereafter. Three months later, Rove sold his Intel stock for $110,000.

and

[the White House task force on energy] included a Bush appointee whose wife was raking in $60,000 lobbying for electricity companies at the same time her hubby was helping craft the energy plan.

The Bush Lie?

Two days after taking office, George W. gave his troops their marching orders on ethics: "I expect every member of this administration to stay well within the boundaries that define legal and ethical conduct," said W. "This means avoiding even the appearance of improper conduct."

lielielielielielie

It was obvious from the start that the administration's numbers didn't add up. And in case you were wondering, the administration is still lying.

The proof given...

But here's an easy way to see that the numbers are bogus: O.M.B. claims that the budget will show a surplus of $1 billion this year, and another $1 billion next year. Ask yourself how likely it is that revenues and outlays in a $2 trillion budget would line up that exactly. Then ask yourself how likely it is that they would line up that exactly two years in a row.

lielielielielie

but then again maybe Bush is cutting the military after all... (Damned if he do, damned if he don't)

Though President Bush campaigned for election by promising the military "help was on the way" after what he called years of neglect, his administration is now finalizing proposals this week for making big cuts in the armed forces.... The Pentagon has been laying the groundwork for these changes by saying it is essential to cut forces if the United States is going to realistically meet overseas commitments.

Okay I'm tired now... I'll post more later on the next article in the pile. Am I expecting too much out of K5? Can't we come up with better evidence? Maybe its in the other articles.

You could answer most of your own questions... (4.50 / 2) (#26)
by dachshund on Sun Nov 18, 2001 at 01:54:48 PM EST

Anyone know what that 1978 [pre-Reagan] law is, and why it is *only* implemented through an executive order?

My understanding-- and it's only gleaned from a few minutes of web searching-- is that Congress passed a set of laws in 1978 (the Presidential Records Act), modifying the way declassification is handled, particularly with regard to presidential documents. An executive order was issued the same year (by Carter, obviously), implementing the laws. The upshot of both the legislation and the EO was that people who wanted a document declassified had to go to Congress (actually, first the GSA but then Congress.) In 1982, Reagan passed another EO that also implemented this law, but changed the way these requests were handled. Instead, the request went directly to the NSA, cutting Congress out of the process entirely. This made it somewhat easier to invoke National Security privilege on a document.

I assembled this information from a handful of different sources-- a quick google search will turn up some of it. And no, I have no idea why this is only implemented through executive order-- I imagine that it's very tricky for the legislative branch to enforce its will on the executive, though I suppose they could be blamed for not writing more specific legislation. This doesn't, in my opinion, excuse the issuance of EOs that classify certain documents in perpetuity. Of course, it'll be up to the courts to decide, at some point in the future.

When [Tommy Thompson] challenged about his statement today in the face of the Anthrax crisis and the limited availablility of both anthrax vaccine and Cipro, he reiterated his statment with a stress on the word "respond": "Yes, I said we would be able to RESPOND." You're in a car that crashes at an intersection. Those who see you crash would be sure to RESPOND, but in what way and to what end? --Politex, 10/17/01
Is that a lie? What reponse happens when a accident occurs? Does it save lives?

That's exactly the point. We have no idea what a "response" means. Does it simply mean sending an investigator to a evaluate the site? Or expressing deep concern? Looking at what TT said to Congress, I can't help the feeling that he was implying that HHS could respond effectively, not simply hedging that they would do something or other. Heck, I can "respond" to a crisis-- that's trivial. I don't know if Thompson can be accused of lying-- there's always a semantic argument, which he seems to be hitting pretty hard-- but perhaps he mislead Congress.

Despite those gaps, "people should not be scared into believing they need to buy gas masks. And people should not be frightened into hoarding medicine and food," Thompson stressed.

He said 400 tons of medical supplies, including vaccines and antibiotics, are stocked at eight secret sites around the country that can be shipped within 12 hours anywhere they are needed, and that he hopes to purchase 100 more tons.

"I am absolutely assured we could respond to any contingency," Thompson said.

It's clear that there are plenty of situations that HHS cannot effectively respond to. Our capabilites were strained by the Anthrax scare, we lack critical vaccines and medications, etc. Sure, it's probably literally true that we could respond to anything (whatever that means), so I don't expect to see TT accused of lying to Congress or anything like that. But when you offer a line of testimony regarding your stocks of vaccines, medical supplies, etc.-- then cap it off with a confident declaration that you can respond to anything... Seems to me you'd damn well better make it plain if a "response"-- not necessarily an effective one-- is the only thing you can guarantee. From TT's testimony, I didn't get the impression that he made the potentially limited extent of the response clear to Congress, and that troubles me.

Now austerity is a period of paying off loans and debt. What this quote is advocating is criminal litigation for Bush *not* getting out Uncle Sam's Credit card and charging up the limit.

To "indict" someone means simply to accuse them of wrongdoing, not bring criminal charges. Borosage's language might be a little bit colorful for you, but don't get carried away.

[ Parent ]

Clarify "indict" (3.00 / 2) (#27)
by dachshund on Sun Nov 18, 2001 at 01:59:19 PM EST

To "indict" someone means simply to accuse them of wrongdoing, not necessarily bring criminal charges.

Just in case there's some confusion.

[ Parent ]

thanks for the clarification... (3.00 / 2) (#33)
by On Lawn on Mon Nov 19, 2001 at 10:33:40 AM EST

from dictionary.com...

inĚdict ()
tr.v. inĚdictĚed, inĚdictĚing, inĚdicts

1. To accuse of wrongdoing; charge: a book that indicts modern values.
2. Law. To make a formal accusation or indictment against (a party) by the findings of a jury, especially a grand jury.


Go justify my point a little bit, he said GW "should be indicted..." I would assume then that if he were just advocating accusing GW of wrong doing that he would have just done it, rather than asked for it to be done.



[ Parent ]
Don't be silly... (3.50 / 2) (#34)
by dachshund on Mon Nov 19, 2001 at 03:17:13 PM EST

Go justify my point a little bit, he said GW "should be indicted..." I would assume then that if he were just advocating accusing GW of wrong doing that he would have just done it, rather than asked for it to be done.

Borosage does indict Bush for wrongdoing. And he's calling for the Dems to do the same, in public. End of story.

As Borosage didn't mention any illegal acts, I think he felt pretty confident that nobody would assume he meant criminal indictment. What in the world would the charge be? Illegally "turning his back on working families by enforcing austerity", a clear violation of Section 2011 of the US Code?

[ Parent ]

granted (3.00 / 1) (#35)
by On Lawn on Mon Nov 19, 2001 at 04:05:36 PM EST


Again thanks for the clarification.

[ Parent ]
Overly contraversial (3.00 / 2) (#36)
by On Lawn on Mon Nov 19, 2001 at 04:22:03 PM EST

Not to nitpick, but which of the Anthrax casualties did they know had Anthrax before their death?

I think another danger is in the ambigous categorization of "effective" in probable responses.

A reasoned person would expect a certain degree of effectiveness, but a $8.50 film educated person might expect a much different degree.

In fact I'd press a challenge to find a better phrase to explain what we could or even expect could happen in the case of an emergency.

Also to note, they recently proposed expanding that storage.

[ Parent ]
I don't really want to nitpick... (none / 0) (#38)
by dachshund on Mon Nov 19, 2001 at 11:13:14 PM EST

But if a critical employee of mine told me he could definitely respond to any contingency... Then clarified after the fact that "well, geez, I didn't say I was equipped to actually handle a serious situation, I only said I could respond"... I'd want to know what the hell he was talking about.

And I'd be more than a little concerned.

[ Parent ]

Of course you would... (none / 0) (#40)
by On Lawn on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 01:33:58 AM EST

But would you immediately accuse him of lying or misguiding you? Which response to bio-terrorist attack have they made (or lack thereof) that would make you accuse him of being a delinquent employee?

Educating the public has been a long promoted "best" defence against bioterrorism. (flash version).

Although advocated and personaly endorsed by me, I could see where a well measured response is probably not throwing around a vaccine, however. There are potential risks involved. We may not want hundreds of thousands of Americans to come down with Gulf War Syndrome becuase a few letters were mailed. In order to assertain a grade for their response, ask yourself how many people died again where Antrax was detected while they were living? Were the anti-biotics up to the task? Was the testing up to the task?

Did they save everyone they could have? No. But under the circumstaces what response is best? At the same site, item #3,

I will continue to harp on the need for accurate and rapid sampling of the environment as the most important (by far) technology needed to deal with the offensive use of anthrax. There are likely to be many more envelopes that have already dispersed anthrax spores, but have not been identified yet, because there have (so far) been no cases of illness related to those envelopes, and spores were not seen by the person(s) handling the mail. This means that anthrax spores may be contaminating a number of environments in which they have not been detected. We may not see cases until small animals, children, or people with immune system impairment become exposed in those environments.

Yes the government did a very big and effective response to search large volumes of probable areas of infestation. People were treated, and a vast majority of the lives were saved. This isn't an "um at the least it is a *response*."

In this light, I suspect that this point is being badgered. It was quite a stretch of the imagionation that a public health offcial with tons of medical stockpiles, in the middle of responding to a possible bio-terrorist attack was fluffing us over with a lie like some delinquent employee.

It is an even greater stretch to include it in an article, riddled with "lielielielie" delimiters. Isn't this something we both agree is a semantical stretch?

America is not as prepared as it could and should be, but it is reasonable to expect it would be pretty effective, and was very effective for this round of attacks. I'm glad we are working on making it better. There needs to be better training and laws to handle this, but that isn't evidence for maleficance.

I believe this "indictment" is safely dropped. It is hardly an "insane attempt[] to keep the truth from the American people," or evidence that "indicate[s] further that the truth is considered the enemy by our current administration..." or a case of "Republicans seem content to lie through their teeth..." etc.

[ Parent ]

etc. (none / 0) (#42)
by dachshund on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 10:35:41 AM EST

But would you immediately accuse him of lying or misguiding you?

I don't think he was immediately accused of lying. My impression is that after he testified to Congress, some reporters started asking some pointed questions about his ability to handle major incidents, especially in light of the ongoing Anthrax crisis. When he admitted that his ability to handle certain eventualities was limited, due to lack of personnel and materials, they wanted to know why he'd given Congress the idea that HHS was prepared to deal with any eventuality.

Thompson then adopted a form of semantic CYA that I wouldn't be proud to see in my kids. Essentially he implied that the truthful meaning of his statement was "we can respond to the crisis, but we may not be able to effectively handle it given our resources." And if that's the case, why didn't he make that clear to Congress??

Although advocated and personaly endorsed by me, I could see where a well measured response is probably not throwing around a vaccine, however.

Again, the question is not what government did or did not do with regards to the postal Anthrax scare-- a relatively minor incident. HHS was clearly not in danger of running out of antibiotics or resources for the couple of hundred people affected, although the scare did push local Hazmat teams to the breaking point, and many of the postal sites (New York, for instance) have yet to be cleaned.

What scared the crap out of people was the fact that this even this minor scare seriously strained our response system. Were we to face a serious attack (1000+ people, in a busy area-- worse multiple simultaneous attacks), we've learned that our abilities to cope are a whole lot more limited than we were given to believe. And those limitations aren't really as simplistic as vaccine/antibiotic supplies, but rather to do with organization and manpower.

In this light, I suspect that this point is being badgered. It was quite a stretch of the imagionation that a public health offcial with tons of medical stockpiles, in the middle of responding to a possible bio-terrorist attack was fluffing us over with a lie like some delinquent employee.

To be honest, I don't know if TT was consciously lying; it's fairly certain that he knew that there were circumstances that could easily overload our capacity for effective response. But it's possible that he was just being foolishly optimistic. And all of those explanations are fine by me.

What makes me cringe is that he apparently felt that his statement to Congress was sufficiently misleading at face value that it needed to be legalistically clarified after the fact-- in a way that, to me at least, changes the perceived meaning.

Had TT said "by respond, I mean literally only that we can respond" to Congress in the first place, instead of the newsmedia after the fact, I would feel a whole lot more confident in his a) thruthfulness and b) competence. Of course, had he said that to Congress, they would have (rightly) ripped him a whole new asshole.

I believe this "indictment" is safely dropped. It is hardly an "insane attempt[] to keep the truth from the American people," or evidence that "indicate[s] further that the truth is considered the enemy by our current administration..." or a case of "Republicans seem content to lie through their teeth..." etc.

Given that the government (and TT) had knowledge of the Anthrax cases at the time (or close to that time), but chose not to release the information to the public for a week or more, it's fairly clear that there was some attempt to keep some truth from the American people. Now all of that is probably legitimate given the circumstances-- potential for panic, ongoing investigation, etc.

However, for the same reasons, it's not unlikely that the gov't, and particularly HHS might want to give the people an inflated sense of our ability to handle a bioterror crisis. If HHS were truly unable to handle a major crisis, chances are that they would do quite a bit to keep that information from the American people. On a more personal level, I doubt that any organization head wants to risk his neck in front of Congress by saying that his organization is not ready to handle a major threat-- it goes against the grain.

The problem comes when withholding such an admission actually misleads Congress, and results in an even angrier/more panicked public that wants to know what the hell went wrong.

[ Parent ]

So by pressed, what happened... (none / 0) (#43)
by On Lawn on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 11:20:49 AM EST

It should be noted that TT went from saying "we have adequate supply" to pushing congress for more money for a larger supply. He definately doesn't have any qualms about saying the supply isn't up to snuff.

But your scenario I find unlikely...

it's not unlikely that the gov't, and particularly HHS might want to give the people an inflated sense of our ability to handle a bioterror crisis.

I don't know what he said that was inflated. He mentioned accurate stockpile numbers, gave estimates on what they could handle (along the lines of 100,000+).

Given that the government (and TT) had knowledge of the Anthrax cases at the time (or close to that time), but chose not to release the information to the public for a week or more, it's fairly clear that there was some attempt to keep some truth from the American people.

As far as I know, it takes that long or longer to fully be sure that there is an actual antrax case. Given the screams for caution and need to make plans for accurate presentation of the situation, a week is pretty fast. Not only was the website made, but Colleges all around the country were given detailed briefings on Anthrax. Then this information filtered through the news, to the American people. Even K5 benefited from this education process with one of the best articles on the Anthrax.

To say there was an effort to keep truth from the American people becuase of this delay is like saying he kept a bottle away from his baby for several minutes after the baby was recently fed.

So as far as your point is it could be taken that way, I agree. It could be taken that mr charge-the-american-credit-card really was advocating legal procedings.

But it is simply ludicrous to actually think that is what happened, given the context of response he did say would happen, the ambiguity and extreme nature of the questions hurled at him, and the response they were able to make in an emergency.

You can find better ways to hanle it, I'm sure. But ascribing his semantical use to "pulling the wool over america and congress's eyes" is looking more and more ludicrous.

[ Parent ]

Been a long time now, but... (none / 0) (#45)
by dachshund on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 12:01:29 AM EST

Thought I'd respond to a couple of your points, even though it's been such a long time:

I don't know what he said that was inflated. He mentioned accurate stockpile numbers, gave estimates on what they could handle (along the lines of 100,000+).

Again, you're talking about stockpiles of vaccines and antibiotics. Nobody's arguing that there isn't a large enough stockpile of these things. If you read my post, make no argument as to whether these things were available.

But stockpiles of vaccines does not necessarily equate to the ability to respond to a crisis. As you say, there are many factors involved. First, there has to be identification (which takes a damn long time), then notification of doctors, the public, then finally an agressive response to the situation.

But your scenario I find unlikely...

I'm not really offering much of a scenario. I'm saying that Thompson's response to reporters is pure equivocation. He told Congress that he could respond, but neglected to volunteer the details, or the level of response he could offer. This "yes we can respond" satisfied Congress.

Later on, some reporters start nosing around, ask him how he could respond to a major situation, given how badly our delivery resources were stretched. If Thompson's resources were in place, and he was really confident about his agency's ability to repond, he would then say: "you guys are all wrong, here's how we would mount an effective response." Instead, he begins covering his ass, defining exactly what he meant by response (and apparently he's holding himself to the minimum standard.)

So I'm not going to argue with you about how many doses of Cipro or Vaccine are in place. I just want to know why TT couldn't answer the reporter's questions, and why he held his own agency to such a low standard.

[ Parent ]

I appreciate the response. (none / 0) (#46)
by On Lawn on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 12:19:28 PM EST


I'm glad you brought up the word equivocation. I feel that I understand your position but must keep the idea of a large stockpile and prepared response in the play of field because it would be a blank equivocation otherwise. You see, to me since there is a reasonably well documented response available it is to me adequate political maneuvering. It was in essence public knowledge.

But since we are stuck on whether or not that is relavant we can probably make some constructive ground and agree that it is still *not* a lie as was hyped in the article that was quoted.

You see, when I came to K5 recently, I was unaccustomed to the work of political distortion. I've come from a political circle where people pretty much stuck to the facts and applying emotional trap-words was shunned lest you appeared to be arguing to base emotion rather than intellect. In fact sometimes to a fault, where some reasonable emotions were barred.

Consider my shock then, when I see an article like that written entirely to extort from exageration. It is as if your allowed on K5 to lob just about any attack at the government, however misconstrued. In fact his article, since inaccurate would be considered "lies" and therefore hypocrittical. But to me it is just an example of the blindness that can occure when one wrapps themselves up in political ideologies.

I don't mind being disproven on facts, but its been downright unhealthy the amount of disproving that has happened based on ideology. One person even put something I said in his sig "...there is no american spin involved at all" on a quote that came from an anti-us source. He did this becuase ideologicaly such a thing is preposterous, as if American spin is everywhere and suggesting otherwise is herasy. He think this would obviously invalidate me in the eyes of K5, where I suppose he thinks they would agree. I hope that is not the case. I hope K5 is reasonable and open minded, and if nothing else fair and logical.


[ Parent ]
splitting a hair four ways... (4.00 / 1) (#47)
by dachshund on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 01:54:20 PM EST

I agree that the poster should probably have held their accusations to a less incendiary level, but I feel that it's reasonable to defend their concern, even if the headline did exaggerate (and any harm done by the headline is pretty easily defused by a quick reading of the accusations made in the article.)

Testimony before Congress should be held to a higher standard than any other sort of testimony. For one thing, it's a damn inefficient way for the People to gather information. While a conversation between two people might easily route out the truth, the low-bandwidth and spectacle of Congressional hearings makes it entirely too easy to present a partial or incomplete picture of a situation. I believe (and this is a personal, political belief, not a legal one) that anyone asked to present evidence to the People's representatives-- particularly if the subject is in a position of power within our government-- has a duty to go beyond merely telling the literal truth. They should be bound to present the fullest possible picture, and to insure (to the best of their ability) that Congress is not mislead in any way (ie, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.)

When an individual, particularly an individual in an important government post, betrays that trust-- as it is entirely too easy to do-- they should be held accountable, if only in the regard of the American people. There's really no defense for misdirection, and retroactive equivocation should not be acceptable.

I don't know the correct word for this sort of misdirection. Technically, it may not be a "lie", but it could theoretically be considered perjury (telling something less than the whole truth.) Given that such an accusation might be debatable (not necessarily true, only debatable), when somebody posts an opinion, I can't blow them out of the water for what amounts to a slight misstatement.

[ Parent ]

Some thoughts on this. (3.33 / 3) (#20)
by jd on Sat Nov 17, 2001 at 03:34:57 PM EST

First, Reagan and the Two Bushes, between them, unquestionably created this current crisis. There is no denial of the fact that Bin Laden and his coherts were not born evil. They became what they are, because they grew up in corrupt societies that were largely funded by America, and were then directly trained, paid and equipt by Americans to fight the Russians in Afghanistan. Since that was largely a guerilla war, it seems most likely their training included psychological warfare, terrorism and infiltration.

Oh gosh. I wonder if that training was made use of. Now, can anyone think of any incidents, recently, where such training & tactics could have been used?

Second, if we must hold former President Clinton to a high standard, we must likewise hold the current President to an EQUALLY high standard. The reputation of the office is at stake.

Thirdly, whilst I don't believe lying should be made a crime, I do believe that those in public office should be suspended from duty for lying, until they can establish their credibility as an honest person. When you represent members of the public, and wield considerable power & influence, you should be expected to behave in an honorable fashion. Lying, to save face or to manipulate a situation, is NEVER necessary.

Lastly, we shall have to see how the current acts are implemented in practice. Given that these secret military courts are exempt from any kind of review, what, precicely, is to stop them from being used to secretly convict and terrorise political opponents or human rights activists? Far as I can see, exactly nothing.

If George Bush "skips" an Election or three, for "anti-terrorism" reasons - and he's now got the power to do exactly that, should he so choose, will people still believe that he's acting in our best interests? Or his own?

Yawn.... (4.00 / 2) (#28)
by Otter on Sun Nov 18, 2001 at 02:43:21 PM EST

Why this voter (McCain in the primary, Gore in the chadfest) can't get too worked up over this:

Politicians say things that aren't exactly, entirely true. Sometimes they're even entirely false. I wish they wouldn't do it and I'll reward politicians who are relatively honest, but I'm not going to lose sleep over it.

The Bush White House staffers are another matter. They've decided to continue the Clinton practice about turning every day into a battle for votes by any means necessary. I find that a lot more offensive, especially in the middle of a crisis, and it's all the more insane when the president has a ~90% approval rating. Whose vote are they trying to get -- Saddam Hussein's? Still, if you're going to invoke staffers on the one hand, Fleischer and gang have a long way to go before they catch up with Paul Begala and James Carville.

Also, and this is more a gut feeling than something I can document, my sense is that the dishonesty in the Bush administration comes from the weasels themselves, unlike with Clinton where it clearly trickled down from Bill and Hillary. GWB himself strikes me as someone who might fudge a little while campaigning but speaks to us now with honesty. With Clinton, there was not one word out his mouth that I trusted.

To me, the bottom line with Clinton was this -- you may say things that aren't quite true, but you absolutely may not declare, "I am now telling the truth!", waggle your finger it me and then lie. That crosses the line of tolerability for me.

Either party (3.00 / 2) (#30)
by A Trickster Imp on Mon Nov 19, 2001 at 10:20:07 AM EST

And politicians lying left and right to get your vote is a surprise to any adult anywhere?






[ Parent ]
They will lie when the truth would serve as well | 47 comments (41 topical, 6 editorial, 0 hidden)
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