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jAZ
09-08-2004, 03:24 PM
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/08/politics/08medicare.html

Inquiry Proposes Penalties for Hiding Medicare Data
By ROBERT PEAR

Published: September 8, 2004


WASHINGTON, Sept. 7 - The Bush administration illegally withheld data from Congress on the cost of the new Medicare law, and as a penalty, the former head of the Medicare agency, Thomas A. Scully, should repay seven months of his salary to the government, federal investigators said Tuesday.

The investigators, from the Government Accountability Office, said Mr. Scully had threatened to fire the chief Medicare actuary, in violation of an explicit provision of federal appropriations law.

Accordingly, they said, federal money could not be used to pay Mr. Scully's salary after he began making the threats to the actuary in May 2003.

The conclusion came in a formal legal opinion by the accountability office, an investigative arm of Congress formerly known as the General Accounting Office. The agency applied its interpretation of the law to factual findings previously made by the inspector general at the Department of Health and Human Services.

The Bush administration did not quarrel with those facts, but said on Tuesday that it was unconstitutional for Congress to compel the disclosure of data over objections from the executive branch.

Mr. Scully's salary in 2003 was $145,600, the department said. He would owe the government $84,933 under the legal opinion issued on Tuesday.

Asked in an interview if he would repay the money, Mr. Scully said: "No. I'm not required to. It's a matter of principle. I never did anything wrong, and I am proud of every minute of my three years at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.''

Mr. Scully, who now works for a law firm and a private investment firm, has registered as a lobbyist for Abbott Laboratories, Aventis Pharmaceuticals, Caremark Rx and other health care companies, but says his actions in government were motivated solely by a desire to help Medicare beneficiaries and taxpayers.

The White House had no immediate comment. William A. Pierce, a spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services, said the department would not try to recover the money because Mr. Scully had "acted within his legal authority.''

But Senator John Kerry, the Democratic presidential nominee, cited the report as evidence that "the Bush administration broke the law by covering up the true cost of their phony Medicare bill.''

Senator Frank R. Lautenberg of New Jersey, one of 18 Democratic senators who requested the legal opinion, said the administration had purposely hidden information about "its flawed Medicare plan,'' and he asserted, "This was a corruption of the process at the highest levels.''

President Bush signed the Medicare law, widely seen as one of his major domestic achievements, on Dec. 8. Less than two months later, the White House said the law would cost much more than Congress had assumed - $534 billion over 10 years, as against $400 billion.

Lawmakers of both parties said the law would not have passed in its current form if Congress had known of the higher cost estimates, prepared by the chief actuary, Richard S. Foster, a career civil servant who has worked for the government since 1973 and received an award for outstanding service in 2001.

The law under which Mr. Scully could be penalized says that no federal money can be used to pay the salary of any federal employee who "prohibits or prevents, or attempts or threatens to prohibit or prevent, any other officer or employee of the federal government'' from communicating with Congress.

Similar laws have been on the books since 1912, when Senator Robert M. La Follette, a progressive Republican from Wisconsin, inveighed against "gag rules'' imposed by Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft.

Laura Kopelson, a spokeswoman for the Government Accountability Office, said lawyers there were "not aware of any similar case'' in which a federal official was found to have violated the law. "This is the first time we have been asked to rule on this point of law,'' she said.

The finding is the latest development raising questions about the new statute, which offers drug benefits to all 41 million Medicare recipients and gives private insurers a huge new role in the program. The changes represent the biggest expansion of Medicare since its creation in 1965.

The Government Accountability Office said the Department of Health and Human Services should try to recover the money, just as it would try to secure payment of any debt owed to the department.

The department itself found that Mr. Scully had threatened to dismiss the actuary if he provided information and estimates sought by Congress last year in the heat of debate over Medicare.

But lawyers at the health department and the Justice Department said the law requiring the disclosure of information to Congress violated "executive privilege,'' the constitutional separation of powers and the president's right to control communications with Congress.

The Government Accountability Office rejected that argument. No court has ever held the law unconstitutional, it said, and the cost estimates were neither classified nor privileged. Indeed, it said, Mr. Scully's threats to the actuary were "a prime example of what Congress was attempting to prohibit'' when it outlawed "gag rules."

"Midlevel employees provide much of the information Congress needs to evaluate programs'' and legislation, the Senate said when it adopted the language of the 1912 law as part of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978. Similar language was included in spending bills for 2003 and 2004.

Anthony H. Gamboa, general counsel of the Government Accountability Office, said the administration was "prohibited from paying Mr. Scully's salary after he barred Mr. Foster from communicating with Congress.'' The money appropriated by Congress was simply "unavailable for the payment of his salary,'' Mr. Gamboa wrote.

RINGLEADER
09-08-2004, 03:27 PM
:thumb:

Baby Lee
09-08-2004, 03:44 PM
Come back when you have Scully doing this at anyone's behest.

Donger
09-08-2004, 03:51 PM
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/08/politics/08medicare.html

Inquiry Proposes Penalties for Hiding Medicare Data
By ROBERT PEAR

Published: September 8, 2004


WASHINGTON, Sept. 7 - The Bush administration illegally withheld data from Congress on the cost of the new Medicare law, and as a penalty, the former head of the Medicare agency, Thomas A. Scully, should repay seven months of his salary to the government, federal investigators said Tuesday.

The investigators, from the Government Accountability Office, said Mr. Scully had threatened to fire the chief Medicare actuary, in violation of an explicit provision of federal appropriations law.

Accordingly, they said, federal money could not be used to pay Mr. Scully's salary after he began making the threats to the actuary in May 2003.

The conclusion came in a formal legal opinion by the accountability office, an investigative arm of Congress formerly known as the General Accounting Office. The agency applied its interpretation of the law to factual findings previously made by the inspector general at the Department of Health and Human Services.

The Bush administration did not quarrel with those facts, but said on Tuesday that it was unconstitutional for Congress to compel the disclosure of data over objections from the executive branch.

Mr. Scully's salary in 2003 was $145,600, the department said. He would owe the government $84,933 under the legal opinion issued on Tuesday.

Asked in an interview if he would repay the money, Mr. Scully said: "No. I'm not required to. It's a matter of principle. I never did anything wrong, and I am proud of every minute of my three years at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.''

Mr. Scully, who now works for a law firm and a private investment firm, has registered as a lobbyist for Abbott Laboratories, Aventis Pharmaceuticals, Caremark Rx and other health care companies, but says his actions in government were motivated solely by a desire to help Medicare beneficiaries and taxpayers.

The White House had no immediate comment. William A. Pierce, a spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services, said the department would not try to recover the money because Mr. Scully had "acted within his legal authority.''

But Senator John Kerry, the Democratic presidential nominee, cited the report as evidence that "the Bush administration broke the law by covering up the true cost of their phony Medicare bill.''

Senator Frank R. Lautenberg of New Jersey, one of 18 Democratic senators who requested the legal opinion, said the administration had purposely hidden information about "its flawed Medicare plan,'' and he asserted, "This was a corruption of the process at the highest levels.''

President Bush signed the Medicare law, widely seen as one of his major domestic achievements, on Dec. 8. Less than two months later, the White House said the law would cost much more than Congress had assumed - $534 billion over 10 years, as against $400 billion.

Lawmakers of both parties said the law would not have passed in its current form if Congress had known of the higher cost estimates, prepared by the chief actuary, Richard S. Foster, a career civil servant who has worked for the government since 1973 and received an award for outstanding service in 2001.

The law under which Mr. Scully could be penalized says that no federal money can be used to pay the salary of any federal employee who "prohibits or prevents, or attempts or threatens to prohibit or prevent, any other officer or employee of the federal government'' from communicating with Congress.

Similar laws have been on the books since 1912, when Senator Robert M. La Follette, a progressive Republican from Wisconsin, inveighed against "gag rules'' imposed by Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft.

Laura Kopelson, a spokeswoman for the Government Accountability Office, said lawyers there were "not aware of any similar case'' in which a federal official was found to have violated the law. "This is the first time we have been asked to rule on this point of law,'' she said.

The finding is the latest development raising questions about the new statute, which offers drug benefits to all 41 million Medicare recipients and gives private insurers a huge new role in the program. The changes represent the biggest expansion of Medicare since its creation in 1965.

The Government Accountability Office said the Department of Health and Human Services should try to recover the money, just as it would try to secure payment of any debt owed to the department.

The department itself found that Mr. Scully had threatened to dismiss the actuary if he provided information and estimates sought by Congress last year in the heat of debate over Medicare.

But lawyers at the health department and the Justice Department said the law requiring the disclosure of information to Congress violated "executive privilege,'' the constitutional separation of powers and the president's right to control communications with Congress.

The Government Accountability Office rejected that argument. No court has ever held the law unconstitutional, it said, and the cost estimates were neither classified nor privileged. Indeed, it said, Mr. Scully's threats to the actuary were "a prime example of what Congress was attempting to prohibit'' when it outlawed "gag rules."

"Midlevel employees provide much of the information Congress needs to evaluate programs'' and legislation, the Senate said when it adopted the language of the 1912 law as part of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978. Similar language was included in spending bills for 2003 and 2004.

Anthony H. Gamboa, general counsel of the Government Accountability Office, said the administration was "prohibited from paying Mr. Scully's salary after he barred Mr. Foster from communicating with Congress.'' The money appropriated by Congress was simply "unavailable for the payment of his salary,'' Mr. Gamboa wrote.

Why do you bold certain paragraphs?

jAZ
09-08-2004, 04:07 PM
Why do you bold certain paragraphs?
So that they are easy to read.

Donger
09-08-2004, 04:10 PM
So that they are easy to read.

Really? Weird.

I actually find them harder to read.

jAZ
09-08-2004, 04:14 PM
Really? Weird.

I actually find them harder to read.
Maybe harder to read from start to finish, but easier to read what I want to draw your attention to.

Donger
09-08-2004, 04:16 PM
Maybe harder to read from start to finish, but easier to read what I want to draw your attention to.

You say that as if you think the reader wouldn't be able to figure that out for themselves.

jAZ
09-08-2004, 04:23 PM
You say that as if you think the reader wouldn't be able to figure that out for themselves.
They can't figure out what's in my head unless I indicate it. If I want to draw attention to certain paragraphs, because I think they are important. No one will know unless I give some indication. It's pretty simple stuff, really.

Donger
09-08-2004, 04:26 PM
No one will know unless I give some indication.

Are you sure about that?

Maybe we should have a test?

Why don't you post another article without bolding, and we'll try to figure out what paragraphs you would have bolded.

jAZ
09-08-2004, 04:30 PM
Are you sure about that?

Maybe we should have a test?

Why don't you post another article without bolding, and we'll try to figure out what paragraphs you would have bolded.
Are you high? Or just bored.

You've been picking some really pointless discussions lately.

Donger
09-08-2004, 04:31 PM
Are you high? Or just bored.

You've been picking some really pointless discussions lately.

Bored. And, I guess as implied by you, a little stupid.

Anyhoo, wanna try that test?

jAZ
09-08-2004, 04:34 PM
Bored. And, I guess as implied by you, a little stupid.

Anyhoo, wanna try that test?
Not really.

I'm pretty sure my implication is that you aren't a mind reader... which is not the same as being "a little stupid" I hope. Otherwise I would be "a little stupid" as well.

jAZ
09-08-2004, 04:35 PM
Not really.

I'm pretty sure my implication is that you aren't a mind reader... which is not the same as being "a little stupid" I hope. Otherwise I would be "a little stupid" as well.
That you took it to be an implication that you are "a little stupid" proves my point and negates the need for your test.

Donger
09-08-2004, 04:38 PM
Not really.

I'm pretty sure my implication is that you aren't a mind reader... which is not the same as being "a little stupid" I hope. Otherwise I would be "a little stupid" as well.

I don't think that I need to be a mind reader in order to determine which paragraphs you'd bold. I believe that it would be rather easy to ascertain.

Sorry you won't do it. It would be fun, for you as well I hope.

Donger
09-08-2004, 04:39 PM
That you took it to be an implication that you are "a little stupid" proves my point and negates the need for your test.

What makes you think that?

After reading your other comments today (e.g., 2+2, holding my hand, et al), what elese could I deduce?

jAZ
09-08-2004, 04:40 PM
Sorry you won't do it. It would be fun, for you as well I hope.
I'm not so bored. I am trying to get a little work done while I'm at work. Regardless of what h8er suggests. :p

jAZ
09-08-2004, 04:40 PM
What makes you think that?

After reading your other comments today (e.g., 2+2, holding my hand, et al), what elese could I deduce?
That I'm tired of the socratic games you like to play.

Donger
09-08-2004, 04:42 PM
That I'm tired of the socratic games you like to play.

What games?

Donger
09-08-2004, 04:43 PM
I'm not so bored. I am trying to get a little work done while I'm at work. Regardless of what h8er suggests. :p

Well, maybe next time you post an article you could just not use the ole [ B ] tag. After all, it's more work, right?

stevieray
09-08-2004, 04:44 PM
What games?

he's just transfering his own demons onto you.

jAZ
09-08-2004, 04:44 PM
What games?
Have a good one man!

:thumb:

Donger
09-08-2004, 04:45 PM
Have a good one man!

:thumb:

Have a good what?

jettio
09-08-2004, 04:46 PM
Come back when you have Scully doing this at anyone's behest.


My oh my, situational ethicist arguing plausible deniability, Ollie North , G. Gordon Liddy, and Shug Knight would be so proud of you. :thumb:

DanT
09-08-2004, 05:22 PM
Classic example of big-government thugs and the kind of contempt they have for decent individuals. It's not at all a coincidence that we are running gigantic budget deficits these past few years instead of the budget surplusses that were projected. Threatening to fire a person with over 30 years of experience for providing accurate and nonclassified information about how much a government program might cost. What kind of a person would make such a threat?

That's a helluva thing, messing with someone's life like that.

Baby Lee
09-08-2004, 05:25 PM
My oh my, situational ethicist arguing plausible deniability, Ollie North , G. Gordon Liddy, and Shug Knight would be so proud of you. :thumb:
Translation: I know I'm talking out of my azz. You know I'm talking out of my azz. I actually have no idea why Scully did this, so for now I'll stick to my tried and true 'wink-wink, nudge-nudge' rhetorical campaign.

BTW - The cashier at McDonalds shorted me the ketchup packets I specifcally asked for, and I just know the Heinz-Kerry cabal is behind that!!!

the Talking Can
09-08-2004, 05:34 PM
President Bush signed the Medicare law, widely seen as one of his major domestic achievements, on Dec. 8. Less than two months later, the White House said the law would cost much more than Congress had assumed - $534 billion over 10 years, as against $400 billion.

Lawmakers of both parties said the law would not have passed in its current form if Congress had known of the higher cost estimates, prepared by the chief actuary, Richard S. Foster, a career civil servant who has worked for the government since 1973 and received an award for outstanding service in 2001.



wonderful....let's give these guys 4 more years....the reek of honesty....let me guess, its the CIA's fault....

jAZ
09-08-2004, 05:38 PM
wonderful....let's give these guys 4 more years....the reek of honesty....let me guess, its the CIA's fault....
This is the same bill that under pressure from the Bush administration, Republicans Congressional leaders tried to bribe other Congressmen for "yea" votes. Then when the bribes didn't work, they tried to extort the votes out of them.

It was all just a big misunderstanding though. I'm sure.

Donger
09-08-2004, 05:39 PM
This is the same bill that under pressure from the Bush administration, Republicans Congressional leaders tried to bribe other Congressmen for "yea" votes. Then when the bribes didn't work, they tried to extort the votes out of them.

It was all just a big misunderstanding though. I'm sure.

I'm skeptical of the above. Could you provide a source please?

the Talking Can
09-08-2004, 05:42 PM
I'd like to apologize for this thread not being about the Swift Boat Veterans....I say we suspend posting until Gunther Fan gets us back on track with something both insightful and relevant.

Do I have a second?

the Talking Can
09-08-2004, 05:43 PM
I'm skeptical of the above. Could you provide a source please?

google.com

its an old and widely reported story...

Baby Lee
09-08-2004, 05:44 PM
President Bush signed the Medicare law, widely seen as one of his major domestic achievements, on Dec. 8. Less than two months later, the White House said the law would cost much more than Congress had assumed - $534 billion over 10 years, as against $400 billion.

Lawmakers of both parties said the law would not have passed in its current form if Congress had known of the higher cost estimates, prepared by the chief actuary, Richard S. Foster, a career civil servant who has worked for the government since 1973 and received an award for outstanding service in 2001.



wonderful....let's give these guys 4 more years....the reek of honesty....let me guess, its the CIA's fault....
Things missing from this case;

What reason the Bush admin would have to railroad the lowballing of figures, only to correct them two months later. Do you really think a Republican adminstration wanted an entitlement program SO BAD that it'd arrange a lie about exponential cost overruns?

Scully's term of service as head of Medicaid. We know the sainted Richard Foster is a 'career civil servant.' Why is Scully's pedigree not similarly laid out. How was he appointed? By whom? How long ago?

jAZ
09-08-2004, 06:04 PM
google.com

its an old and widely reported story...
Indeed... the Republican Congressman who was bribed and extorted went on radio the next day and told the entire story.

DanT
09-08-2004, 06:09 PM
A collection of links regarding the lobbying that went on during the consideration of the Medicare Prescription bill was compiled at this website:

http://www.disinfopedia.org/wiki.phtml?title=Medicare_Prescription_Drug_Bill_Vote_Scandal%2C_2003

jAZ
09-08-2004, 06:09 PM
What reason the Bush admin would have to railroad the lowballing of figures, only to correct them two months later.
Because the bill was passed during those 2 months. It wouldn't have passed if the larger cost estimates were public.

Seriously, read just about anything about this bill. It's such a disgusting scandal.

Bush's buds were were the owners of the biggest "discount drug card" companies that were incorporated into the bill. In fact, IIRC, Bush was originally an investor in those drug card companies. It was a major part of Bush's campaign plans.

It's insane how corrupt the entire bill was.

the Talking Can
09-08-2004, 07:03 PM
Things missing from this case;

What reason the Bush admin would have to railroad the lowballing of figures, only to correct them two months later. Do you really think a Republican adminstration wanted an entitlement program SO BAD that it'd arrange a lie about exponential cost overruns?

Scully's term of service as head of Medicaid. We know the sainted Richard Foster is a 'career civil servant.' Why is Scully's pedigree not similarly laid out. How was he appointed? By whom? How long ago?

look, I have no illusions that any republican is hold them accountable for anything...you don't need to waste your rationalizations on me...

whoman69
09-08-2004, 07:13 PM
Is it my imagination or is everything done by this administration covered under executive privilege? Condaleeza Rice going before the 911 commision: executive privilege. Dick Cheney get togethers with his oil buddies: executive privilege. Hiding costs of the administration's prize drug bill: executive privilege. The truth: executive privilege.

Baby Lee
09-08-2004, 07:30 PM
look, I have no illusions that any republican is hold them accountable for anything...you don't need to waste your rationalizations on me...
Translation: "I know what I suspect and it fits my prejudices perfectly, so f@ck the facts."

jAZ
09-08-2004, 08:19 PM
The truth: executive privilege.
:clap:

jettio
09-08-2004, 08:46 PM
Translation: I know I'm talking out of my azz. You know I'm talking out of my azz. I actually have no idea why Scully did this, so for now I'll stick to my tried and true 'wink-wink, nudge-nudge' rhetorical campaign.

BTW - The cashier at McDonalds shorted me the ketchup packets I specifcally asked for, and I just know the Heinz-Kerry cabal is behind that!!!

Do you realize that the House stayed in session all night and twisted folks arms off to pass that bill?

You really have the blind homer glasses on if you think that Bush had nothing to do with all of the BS that went into getting that bill passed.

You are imploding dude.

Act as if you have some decency, I thought you fancied yourself some type of centrist, how are you going to be that if you can't be objective?

the Talking Can
09-08-2004, 09:01 PM
look, I have no illusions that any republican is hold them accountable for anything...you don't need to waste your rationalizations on me...

hey, Baby Lee, I'd like to apologize for this comment....this is exactly why I am trying to stay away from the DC forum, it just brings out the worst in me...

You received the brunt of a frustration that has nothing to do with you.

As this forum has become a playground for feral republicans certain types of response have become prevalent: 1. the republican in question (Gunther Fan, that guy who says "sKerry" all the time, wolfman, etc...) responds with some impossibly dense question creating a kind of white noise around a topic....or, 2. they ask a bunch of minor, technical points in hopes of entangling the discussion in some tangential, and ultimately, irrelevant, squabble...

..this 2nd tactic is what I (wrongly) unloaded on you for....if someone were really interested in the story at hand they would probably already know the answers to their questions (this story about Medicare, for instance, is close to a year old- I think - people SHOULD know about it) or simply google them...that sort of initiative would normally accompany a genuine interest...thus, usually, these questions are only to badger and distract from an issue they don't want to discuss- or even admit- because that would mean holding the candidate accountable for something.

Anyways, you were asking in good faith and I jumped down your throat because it was easy, and because in the last 2 days I've listened to republicans on this board, and in the Whitehouse, say a) that liberals are happy when American soldiers die...b) that if you vote for a democrat the terrorists will attack...and c) that liberals are happy that kids were killed in Russia.

There are limits. A basic decency is missing from these statements. I have a hard time comprehending how people make these statements with a clear conscience. And I know that I have said things on this board I regret, so I'm apologizing to you.

DanT
09-08-2004, 10:24 PM
Things missing from this case;

What reason the Bush admin would have to railroad the lowballing of figures, only to correct them two months later. Do you really think a Republican adminstration wanted an entitlement program SO BAD that it'd arrange a lie about exponential cost overruns?


President Bush came into office with a huge budget surplus being projected for this year and we are now piling up the biggest deficit in our history. Given that the pursestrings are controlled by a GOP-majority Congress and President Bush is a member of the GOP, it is objectively clear that he is in favor of Big Government. So much in favor of it is he, that the Federal Government has spent billions of dollars on no-bid contracts and has gone on military campaigns that, long after you are dead, will be described as what they are, charity from the people of the United States to foreigners way the so-far-away on the other side of the globe.

Your question seems to go at the motive of the executive branch. Motive typically is relevant only if the facts are in dispute. They aren't, are they? The executive branch does not deny that it threatened the civil servant with termination if he were to reveal honest estimates to Congress. The executive branch is claiming that they have a right to do that.

alanm
09-08-2004, 10:34 PM
Please..... It's all they got. But they do remind me of chimps slingling shit at the zoo.ROFL

DanT
09-08-2004, 10:34 PM
Here are the opening paragraphs of Congressman Bob Barr's review of James Bovard's The Bush Betrayal, which was recently published. The review appears in this week's issue of The American Conservative and can be found at
September 13, 2004 issue

http://www.amconmag.com/2004_09_13/review.html

Copyright © 2004 The American Conservative

New Era of Big Government

The Bush Betrayal, James Bovard, Palgrave-Macmillan, 330 pages

By Bob Barr

If someone described for you a national incident involving unprecedented loss of life, poor government planning, the failure to hold any government official accountable for mistakes, and Congress responding to the crisis by throwing money at the problem, chances are you’d conclude they were speaking about the causes and aftermath of 9/11. Actually, they could just as well be describing the siege and invasion of the Branch Davidian Compound at Waco, Texas, in 1993, during President Bill Clinton’s first term.

Now, if that same person were to ask you which recent president’s term in office was characterized by support for the so-called assault weapon ban, a huge increase in deficit spending, bigger budgets for virtually every domestic program—including Americorps and the National Endowment for the Arts—and signing into law a massive increase in federal government regulation of political speech, whose administration would you suspect they were describing? That of Democrat Bill Clinton? Nope. They’d be talking about the first term of Republican President George W. Bush.

The fact is, the records of these two presidents, Democrat Bill Clinton and Republican George W. Bush, are much more alike than either man would likely feel comfortable admitting. With Bill Clinton, a record of Big Government and lack of accountability, which is precisely what we witnessed from 1993 to 2001, was pretty much what most of us expected; we got what we deserved when we elected him president. With George W. Bush, however, what we have gotten is not what we bargained for—that is if we hoped for a president committed, as Bush said he was during the 2000 campaign, to smaller and more accountable government. Has America been betrayed by President George W. Bush? In his most recent book, The Bush Betrayal, James Bovard poses and then answers this question with a resounding “yes.”

Coming out as it does in the immediate aftermath of the extensive, if still incomplete, post-mortem of the 9/11 disaster, and while American troops and civilians are still dying in the dust of Iraq, there may be a tendency to minimize Bovard’s book by considering it as simply an analysis of the Bush administration’s sleight-of-hand in getting us involved with a war in Iraq. To be sure, the author does take the current administration to task for the basis on which the war in Iraq was predicated and on which it continues to be prosecuted; Bovard labels this Bush’s “greatest abuse of power” (a characterization with which I disagree—not that it isn’t an abuse of power, but it isn’t the worst one).

The importance of Bovard’s book, which, incidentally, follows and builds upon his outstanding 2003 volume, Terrorism and Tyrrany, goes far beyond an analysis of the Iraqi War or even the response by this administration to the terrorist attacks of 9/11. The importance of The Bush Betrayal lies in the author’s impeccably researched exposition of what may very well be the central theme underlying modern politics in America: despite promises, regardless of rhetoric, and irrespective of party label, once a politician is in power, what We the People get—and which we’ve got in the current administration—is, in Bovard’s words, “Washington business as usual.”

Bovard lays out a convincing case. With the thoroughly researched and footnoted style that has become his forte, and with the heavy doses of relevant anecdotes and dry humor that have become his trademarks, the author has compiled a virtual almanac of American political abuse. And while it’s not a pretty picture he paints, we ignore Jim Bovard’s work at the risk of being repeatedly seduced—“betrayed”—by the siren songs of presidential candidates of both parties.

Each administration, it seems, must have a central theme around which its policies and actions revolve, and which provides a constant excuse for or explanation of why it does what it does. Who can forget the constant invocations by the Clintons that whatever the former president or his administration did, it was “for the children”? For the current administration of George W. Bush, any program, policy, or power grab—domestic or foreign—is justified because it furthers the War on Terror. Both the current and the immediately past administrations have fallen back on this ploy whenever criticized or attacked for their actions. After all, rather than bother to defend their actions as consistent with a core philosophy, it is much easier simply to label critics as “extreme” by claiming that if they are opposed to something the president or his employees are doing or have done, then by definition those critics must be against children or don’t support fighting terrorism. Shibboleths make such handy shields.

the Talking Can
09-08-2004, 10:59 PM
. Motive typically is relevant only if the facts are in dispute. They aren't, are they?

well said, we're not dealing with a hypothetical here....this happened

Baby Lee
09-09-2004, 06:10 AM
The executive branch does not deny that it threatened the civil servant with termination if he were to reveal honest estimates to Congress. The executive branch is claiming that they have a right to do that.
Where in the world does it say that 'the executive branch admits THEY did this?'
I see where it says that Scully did this.
Now it's possible that Scully is a Bush lackey who took instruction.
It's also possible that Scully is a career administrator of entitlement programs who has long exercised his power, regardless of who is in the WH, to maximize entitlements and entitlement funding.

WE DON"T KNOW.

As a rule, my BS-o-meter rises when the narration goes from specific to vague right before a conclusion is enounced. In this case, we get a detailed resume of Foster and a detailed recounting of the arm-wringing tactics, but all we get about Scully is his name, . . . and a wink-wink, nudge-nudge head bob in George's direction.

KCTitus
09-09-2004, 06:23 AM
Is it my imagination or is everything done by this administration covered under executive privilege?

Yeah, like, that's never happened before...

jettio
09-09-2004, 07:06 AM
Where in the world does it say that 'the executive branch admits THEY did this?'
I see where it says that Scully did this.
Now it's possible that Scully is a Bush lackey who took instruction.
It's also possible that Scully is a career administrator of entitlement programs who has long exercised his power, regardless of who is in the WH, to maximize entitlements and entitlement funding.

WE DON"T KNOW.

As a rule, my BS-o-meter rises when the narration goes from specific to vague right before a conclusion is enounced. In this case, we get a detailed resume of Foster and a detailed recounting of the arm-wringing tactics, but all we get about Scully is his name, . . . and a wink-wink, nudge-nudge head bob in George's direction.

Perhaps a Google search will help one to learn of these unknowable mysteries.

http://www.hhs.gov/about/bios/cms.html

Biography of Thomas A. Scully
Administrator, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Tom Scully was confirmed by the United States Senate and was sworn in as the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in May 2001. As the Administrator of CMS, Tom serves as CEO of the largest health insurance organization in the world. CMS is responsible for the management of Medicare, Medicaid, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program and other national healthcare initiatives. CMS has the second-largest budget outlay of the federal government. The organization is directly responsible for $1 out of every $3 spent on healthcare in United States. The organization insures approximately 25 percent of the U.S. population – more than 70 million beneficiaries – including the elderly, disabled and some of the lowest income individuals in the country. CMS processes more than 1 billion claims each year and it contracts with approximately 1 million providers.

Prior to assuming responsibility as CMS Administrator, Tom served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Federation of American Hospitals, the trade association representing the nation’s 1700 privately-owned and managed community hospitals and health systems from January 1995 to May 2001.

Previously, Scully was a partner in the Washington, D.C., law firm of Patton Boggs, LLP. His practice focused on regulatory and legislative work in health care. Before joining the law firm, Scully worked at the White House as Deputy Assistant to the President and Counselor to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) from 1992-93, and as Associate Director of OMB for Human Resources, Veterans and Labor from 1989-92. In these positions, he oversaw the fiscal policy and regulatory review of the Departments of Health and Human Services, Education, Labor and Veterans Affairs. He also advised President Bush on health care policy, Medicare and Medicaid payment reform.

In 1988, Mr. Scully served on the communications staff of the Bush-Quayle campaign and as Deputy Director of Congressional Affairs for the President-Elect’s transition team. From 1986-88, he was an attorney with Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, LLP. He also worked on Capitol Hill from 1981-85 as staff assistant to U.S. Senator Slade Gorton (R-WA), and from 1979-81 at the Federal Election Commission. Scully served on the Board of Directors of Oxford Health Plans and of DaVita Corporation, two of the nation’s largest healthcare service providers prior to assuming his position as Administrator of CMS.

Mr. Scully holds a Juris Doctor degree from Catholic University and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia.


Last revised: November 10, 2003

jettio
09-28-2004, 04:34 PM
Where in the world does it say that 'the executive branch admits THEY did this?'
I see where it says that Scully did this.
Now it's possible that Scully is a Bush lackey who took instruction.
It's also possible that Scully is a career administrator of entitlement programs who has long exercised his power, regardless of who is in the WH, to maximize entitlements and entitlement funding.

WE DON"T KNOW.

As a rule, my BS-o-meter rises when the narration goes from specific to vague right before a conclusion is enounced. In this case, we get a detailed resume of Foster and a detailed recounting of the arm-wringing tactics, but all we get about Scully is his name, . . . and a wink-wink, nudge-nudge head bob in George's direction.


You have some nerve suggesting that my criticism of the B*sh Adminstration's cynicism and incompetence is "blind".

Re-read this thread you truly "visionary" GOP down your throat apologist.

jettio
09-28-2004, 04:44 PM
Translation: "I know what I suspect and it fits my prejudices perfectly, so f@ck the facts."


You are such a phony criticizing people for not presenting evidence that Scully is not a career guy who did not cynical motives for threatening this guy with termination.

You should know how to look up information. But you act as if you can criticize people for not presenting rebuttal information to arguments not made.

Well your description of Scully was the one that was proven to be totally fanciful and made up by your imagination alone.

But after the actual govt. approved biographical information is presented you retreat from your heroic stand demanding that things be irrefutably proven against your head up your azz hopes that your adminstration is not cynical incompetents.

Why did you retreat from your "how could it possibly be known" BS arguments. You actually wangled an apology for talking can for challenging your baseless challenge to the premise in the thread. Hopefully, he can learn that a phony like you should get no quarter.

Don't you dare try to tell me who I am. You are so phony, you don't even know yourself.

Mosbonian
09-28-2004, 09:42 PM
As this forum has become a playground for feral republicans certain types of response have become prevalent...

You would be closer to the truth if you were less biased and changed the above to:

"As this forum has become a playground for feral republicans & democrats certain types of response have become prevalent...."

mmaddog
*******

DanT
09-29-2004, 11:10 AM
Originally Posted by DanT
The executive branch does not deny that it threatened the civil servant with termination if he were to reveal honest estimates to Congress. The executive branch is claiming that they have a right to do that.
Where in the world does it say that 'the executive branch admits THEY did this?'
I see where it says that Scully did this.
Now it's possible that Scully is a Bush lackey who took instruction.
It's also possible that Scully is a career administrator of entitlement programs who has long exercised his power, regardless of who is in the WH, to maximize entitlements and entitlement funding.

...


The article includes the following two paragraphs as well as others describing the facts of the case and the legal arguments advanced by members of the Executive Branch:

The conclusion came in a formal legal opinion by the accountability office, an investigative arm of Congress formerly known as the General Accounting Office. The agency applied its interpretation of the law to factual findings previously made by the inspector general at the Department of Health and Human Services.

The Bush administration did not quarrel with those facts, but said on Tuesday that it was unconstitutional for Congress to compel the disclosure of data over objections from the executive branch.


The DHHS is part of the Executive Branch: its head is appointed by the President and is a member of the President's Cabinet. The Inspector General of DHHS found that, as a factual matter, the threat to fire the chief actuary had been made. There is a positive finding from members of the Executive Branch that the threat has been made and there isn't anyone in the Executive Branch claiming that the threat was not made. Indeed, Scully seems to be proud of the fact that he made the threat. The lawyers arguing the Executive Branch's side of the case are claiming that they have a right to keep honest information dutifully found by their taxpayer-funded employees from the public. That's the answer to your question, "where in the world does it say that the Executive Branch admits THEY did this."

DanT
09-29-2004, 11:21 AM
http://www.whitehouse.gov/government/cabinet.html

President Bush's Cabinet


The tradition of the Cabinet dates back to the beginnings of the Presidency itself. One of the principal purposes of the Cabinet (drawn from Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution) is to advise the President on any subject he may require relating to the duties of their respective offices.


The Cabinet includes the Vice President and, by law, the heads of 15 executive departments-the Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs, and the Attorney General. Under President George W. Bush, Cabinet-level rank also has been accorded to the Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency; Director, Office of Management and Budget; the Director, National Drug Control Policy; and the U.S. Trade Representative.

Lightning Rod
09-29-2004, 11:41 AM
While this is not entirely a new story I have to tip my hat to you libbies on this one. This is this first time in quite a while where the story seems clear and not some half truth innuendo BS about what Bush and or Kerry may or may not have done 30 years ago. Frankly this is exactly the kind of stuff that then Dems should have been focusing on during the campaign. Sneaky and creative accounting to push a bloated spending program does through not sit well with fiscal conservatives. There are a plethora of able conservative debaters on this site. Ones that much like their Liberal counterparts, can grasp with the tenacity of an anaconda on any insignificant phrase, connotation or implication and twist it to support their agenda. There are masterful examples of this on virtually every topic. The silence of the right shows a clear unobstructed shot to the chin has been landed on this one. Frankly it is about time, the conservatives have done quite well lately.


Never fear I kick Kerry in the nuts next time.

jettio
09-29-2004, 12:29 PM
The article includes the following two paragraphs as well as others describing the facts of the case and the legal arguments advanced by members of the Executive Branch:


The DHHS is part of the Executive Branch: its head is appointed by the President and is a member of the President's Cabinet. The Inspector General of DHHS found that, as a factual matter, the threat to fire the chief actuary had been made. There is a positive finding from members of the Executive Branch that the threat has been made and there isn't anyone in the Executive Branch claiming that the threat was not made. Indeed, Scully seems to be proud of the fact that he made the threat. The lawyers arguing the Executive Branch's side of the case are claiming that they have a right to keep honest information dutifully found by their taxpayer-funded employees from the public. That's the answer to your question, "where in the world does it say that the Executive Branch admits THEY did this."


If you are expecting Baby Lee to demonstrate any dignity, you might have to wait for him to get hit by a B*sh-Cheney Coachliner.

Brock
09-29-2004, 01:11 PM
If you are expecting Baby Lee to demonstrate any dignity, you might have to wait for him to get hit by a B*sh-Cheney Coachliner.

Get prostate cancer.

jettio
09-29-2004, 01:17 PM
Get prostate cancer.

Join the military. You could do more for them than you do here.

Mosbonian
09-29-2004, 04:58 PM
If you are expecting Baby Lee to demonstrate any dignity, you might have to wait for him to get hit by a B*sh-Cheney Coachliner.

You lecturing someone about dignity is like Greg Robinson lecturing Bill Belichek about Defensive schemes.

mmaddog
*******

Inspector
09-29-2004, 08:54 PM
Translation: I know I'm talking out of my azz. You know I'm talking out of my azz. I actually have no idea why Scully did this, so for now I'll stick to my tried and true 'wink-wink, nudge-nudge' rhetorical campaign.

BTW - The cashier at McDonalds shorted me the ketchup packets I specifcally asked for, and I just know the Heinz-Kerry cabal is behind that!!!

Well, it was ketchup wasn't it? I see a definite link to Heinz-Kerry.

Baby Lee
09-30-2004, 03:31 PM
The article includes the following two paragraphs as well as others describing the facts of the case and the legal arguments advanced by members of the Executive Branch:


The DHHS is part of the Executive Branch: its head is appointed by the President and is a member of the President's Cabinet. The Inspector General of DHHS found that, as a factual matter, the threat to fire the chief actuary had been made. There is a positive finding from members of the Executive Branch that the threat has been made and there isn't anyone in the Executive Branch claiming that the threat was not made. Indeed, Scully seems to be proud of the fact that he made the threat. The lawyers arguing the Executive Branch's side of the case are claiming that they have a right to keep honest information dutifully found by their taxpayer-funded employees from the public. That's the answer to your question, "where in the world does it say that the Executive Branch admits THEY did this."
So as I see it, they are refusing to hold him account, which I don't support. But that is still different than knowing he did it, or instructing him TO do it.
It's analogous to the difference between knowing your son killed someone, but refusing to alert the authorities to his whereabouts, and instructing and conspiring with your son to kill someone.
This remains a maneuver with no upside for the administration. If they knew about the doctored numbers, they also had to know the numbers would eventually come out. Condoning the hiding of those numbers, in conjunction with the arm-wringing, would only serve to compound the eventual fallout.
These events do not carry the hallmarks of either Bush's or Rove's MO.

DanT
09-30-2004, 08:16 PM
So as I see it, they are refusing to hold him account, which I don't support. But that is still different than knowing he did it, or instructing him TO do it.
It's analogous to the difference between knowing your son killed someone, but refusing to alert the authorities to his whereabouts, and instructing and conspiring with your son to kill someone.
This remains a maneuver with no upside for the administration. If they knew about the doctored numbers, they also had to know the numbers would eventually come out. Condoning the hiding of those numbers, in conjunction with the arm-wringing, would only serve to compound the eventual fallout.
These events do not carry the hallmarks of either Bush's or Rove's MO.

Let me get this straight. You accept as a factual matter that a threat was made by a Bush appointee to keep the Chief Actuary quiet or else lose his job, but you are questioning whether there is any upside into getting a bill showering exhorbitant benefits onto the elderly, a key voting block in Florida and several other states, by having someone inside the Bush administration deliberately instruct another Bush appointee to make such threats, lest the information about those numbers come out after the bill has passed?

That's pretty interesting. Me, I don't put much stock into the unobservable. When I was a social sciences undergrad at the University of Chicago, I was properly taught to go on what can be verified and observed objectively. I would sure pity anybody that had to have their life depend on debating the supposed repercussions that would befall dishonest political administrations in case their shenanigans were exposed months after the fact. Political administrations constantly get away with distortions and omissions of fact, as well as, outright lies.

DanT
09-30-2004, 08:28 PM
I mention my background as a social sciences (psych) graduate of the University of Chicago because there I had a course with one of Leo Strauss's main disciples (Professor Joseph Cropsey) and observed how other Straussians and future-Straussians regard poltics and truth. Here's a piece about Leo Strauss and Deception from Jim Lobe, a person whose work I see posted at www.lewrockwell.com a lot:

http://www.alternet.org/story/15935

Leo Strauss' Philosophy of Deception

By Jim Lobe, AlterNet. Posted May 19, 2003.


Many neoconservatives like Paul Wolfowitz are disciples of a philosopher who believed that the elite should use deception, religious fervor and perpetual war to control the ignorant masses.

What would you do if you wanted to topple Saddam Hussein, but your intelligence agencies couldn't find the evidence to justify a war?

A follower of Leo Strauss may just hire the "right" kind of men to get the job done – people with the intellect, acuity, and, if necessary, the political commitment, polemical skills, and, above all, the imagination to find the evidence that career intelligence officers could not detect.

The "right" man for Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, suggests Seymour Hersh in his recent New Yorker article entitled 'Selective Intelligence,' was Abram Shulsky, director of the Office of Special Plans (OSP) – an agency created specifically to find the evidence of WMDs and/or links with Al Qaeda, piece it together, and clinch the case for the invasion of Iraq.

Like Wolfowitz, Shulsky is a student of an obscure German Jewish political philosopher named Leo Strauss who arrived in the United States in 1938. Strauss taught at several major universities, including Wolfowitz and Shulsky's alma mater, the University of Chicago, before his death in 1973.

Strauss is a popular figure among the neoconservatives. Adherents of his ideas include prominent figures both within and outside the administration. They include 'Weekly Standard' editor William Kristol; his father and indeed the godfather of the neoconservative movement, Irving Kristol; the new Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence, Stephen Cambone, a number of senior fellows at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) (home to former Defense Policy Board chairman Richard Perle and Lynne Cheney), and Gary Schmitt, the director of the influential Project for the New American Century (PNAC), which is chaired by Kristol the Younger.

Strauss' philosophy is hardly incidental to the strategy and mindset adopted by these men – as is obvious in Shulsky's 1999 essay titled "Leo Strauss and the World of Intelligence (By Which We Do Not Mean Nous)" (in Greek philosophy the term nous denotes the highest form of rationality). As Hersh notes in his article, Shulsky and his co-author Schmitt "criticize America's intelligence community for its failure to appreciate the duplicitous nature of the regimes it deals with, its susceptibility to social-science notions of proof, and its inability to cope with deliberate concealment." They argued that Strauss's idea of hidden meaning, "alerts one to the possibility that political life may be closely linked to deception. Indeed, it suggests that deception is the norm in political life, and the hope, to say nothing of the expectation, of establishing a politics that can dispense with it is the exception."

Rule One: Deception

It's hardly surprising then why Strauss is so popular in an administration obsessed with secrecy, especially when it comes to matters of foreign policy. Not only did Strauss have few qualms about using deception in politics, he saw it as a necessity. While professing deep respect for American democracy, Strauss believed that societies should be hierarchical – divided between an elite who should lead, and the masses who should follow. But unlike fellow elitists like Plato, he was less concerned with the moral character of these leaders. According to Shadia Drury, who teaches politics at the University of Calgary, Strauss believed that "those who are fit to rule are those who realize there is no morality and that there is only one natural right – the right of the superior to rule over the inferior."

This dichotomy requires "perpetual deception" between the rulers and the ruled, according to Drury. Robert Locke, another Strauss analyst says,"The people are told what they need to know and no more." While the elite few are capable of absorbing the absence of any moral truth, Strauss thought, the masses could not cope. If exposed to the absence of absolute truth, they would quickly fall into nihilism or anarchy, according to Drury, author of 'Leo Strauss and the American Right' (St. Martin's 1999).

Second Principle: Power of Religion

According to Drury, Strauss had a "huge contempt" for secular democracy. Nazism, he believed, was a nihilistic reaction to the irreligious and liberal nature of the Weimar Republic. Among other neoconservatives, Irving Kristol has long argued for a much greater role for religion in the public sphere, even suggesting that the Founding Fathers of the American Republic made a major mistake by insisting on the separation of church and state. And why? Because Strauss viewed religion as absolutely essential in order to impose moral law on the masses who otherwise would be out of control.

At the same time, he stressed that religion was for the masses alone; the rulers need not be bound by it. Indeed, it would be absurd if they were, since the truths proclaimed by religion were "a pious fraud." As Ronald Bailey, science correspondent for Reason magazine points out, "Neoconservatives are pro-religion even though they themselves may not be believers."

"Secular society in their view is the worst possible thing,'' Drury says, because it leads to individualism, liberalism, and relativism, precisely those traits that may promote dissent that in turn could dangerously weaken society's ability to cope with external threats. Bailey argues that it is this firm belief in the political utility of religion as an "opiate of the masses" that helps explain why secular Jews like Kristol in 'Commentary' magazine and other neoconservative journals have allied themselves with the Christian Right and even taken on Darwin's theory of evolution.

Third Principle: Aggressive Nationalism

Like Thomas Hobbes, Strauss believed that the inherently aggressive nature of human beings could only be restrained by a powerful nationalistic state. "Because mankind is intrinsically wicked, he has to be governed," he once wrote. "Such governance can only be established, however, when men are united – and they can only be united against other people."

Not surprisingly, Strauss' attitude toward foreign policy was distinctly Machiavellian. "Strauss thinks that a political order can be stable only if it is united by an external threat," Drury wrote in her book. "Following Machiavelli, he maintained that if no external threat exists then one has to be manufactured (emphases added)."

"Perpetual war, not perpetual peace, is what Straussians believe in," says Drury. The idea easily translates into, in her words, an "aggressive, belligerent foreign policy," of the kind that has been advocated by neocon groups like PNAC and AEI scholars – not to mention Wolfowitz and other administration hawks who have called for a world order dominated by U.S. military power. Strauss' neoconservative students see foreign policy as a means to fulfill a "national destiny" – as Irving Kristol defined it already in 1983 – that goes far beyond the narrow confines of a " myopic national security."

As to what a Straussian world order might look like, the analogy was best captured by the philosopher himself in one of his – and student Allen Bloom's – many allusions to Gulliver's Travels. In Drury's words, "When Lilliput was on fire, Gulliver urinated over the city, including the palace. In so doing, he saved all of Lilliput from catastrophe, but the Lilliputians were outraged and appalled by such a show of disrespect."

The image encapsulates the neoconservative vision of the United States' relationship with the rest of the world – as well as the relationship between their relationship as a ruling elite with the masses. "They really have no use for liberalism and democracy, but they're conquering the world in the name of liberalism and democracy," Drury says.

Jim Lobe writes on foreign policy for Alternet. His work has also appeared on Foreign Policy In Focus and TomPaine.com.

WilliamTheIrish
09-30-2004, 08:35 PM
I like DanT's articles better. They don't have bolding...