The lies never stop. They lie not only to you and me, but also to their
friends and colleagues, Republicans as well as Democrats.
I speak (as you might guess) of those masters of deceit in the Bush administration.
A few months ago they told our senators and representatives that their
bogus Medicare prescription drug bill would cost $400 billion over the
next 10 years. Now that the bill has become law, they've revised their
estimate: Now it's $724 billion.
Two questions: Why is the difference in estimates important, and why
do I call the drug bill "bogus"?
The bill barely squeaked through Congress. The biggest objection to it
was its cost. In the end, it passed only because it was deemed, at $400
billion, affordable. Had its cost been higher, it almost certainly would
What is bogus about the law? Three things: It prohibits the importation
of drugs from Canada and other countries; it prohibits the government
from negotiating with drug companies for lower prices; and it provides
benefits for everyone, regardless of income or financial status. Do the
heirs of Sam Walton really need our help buying their prescription drugs?
That drug law should be repealed immediately. It's not an effort to help
seniors at all. In fact, it's nothing more than a scam designed to enrich
pharmaceutical companies. Sen. John McCain, the one Republican who acts
like a Republican, calls it "outrageous." He's right.
By the way, almost immediately after the drug benefit bill became law,
the price of prescription drugs went up. These people have no shame.
In vaguely related news, the Queen of Chutzpah, our lovely secretary
of state, Condoleezza Rice, has just completed a whirlwind tour of the
known world in which she tried to convince everyone she met to fear and
loathe the nation of Iran.
From all appearances, the Bushies are developing plans to take over Iran
and kill a lot of beautiful Persian women and handsome Persian men in
the process. The reason (which has nothing to do with oil, wink-wink)
is that Iran has a nuclear energy program that could evolve into weapons
production, making Iran as much as a threat to the United States as other
nations with nuclear weapons, say, like Pakistan or Israel.
The Bush propaganda campaign against Iran is under way. At the moment,
it lacks one Iranian leader who we can learn to hate, but you can be assured
one will be identified soon. Already we're being told that Iran is stubbornly
pursuing its nuclear energy program, in spite of our wishes to the contrary.
The American press, compliant to the end, will dutifully spread the Bushies'
propaganda. The liberals in the media, fearful of being called unpatriotic,
or worse, liberal, will give the Bushies the slant they crave. The conservatives
in the media will cheerfully continue on their flag-waving, apple-polishing
way. They'll parade their red, white and blue "patriotism" much like a
hooker with a cross around her neck parades her virtue.
To prove to the world how virtuous they are, the Bushies will soon go
to the United Nations and ask for its cooperation in letting us throttle
Iran. Their request will be couched in terms making it impossible for
the U.N. to comply. When the U.N. rejects the insincere entreaty, the
Bushies will badmouth it, and then declare that circumstances have become
so dire that America must once again go it alone.
And then the bombs will burst in air, and the rockets will red glare.
I dearly hope I am wrong in my predictions, but it seems that history,
and the pathological predilections of the Bush administration, make an
attack on Iran inevitable.
But we were talking about Condoleezza Rice.
The thing I admire most about her, I think, is her brazenness. When Sen.
Barbara Boxer pointed out Rice's dishonesty at a committee confirmation
hearing, Rice stiffened and, with as much self-righteousness as I've ever
seen in a person, attacked Boxer for questioning her integrity.
(Bill Clinton tried to affect the same kind of self-righteousness when
he told us he did not have sex with "that woman," but Clinton is an amateur
compared with Rice when it comes to righteous indignation.)
Rice is as brazen and as cagey as her boss. She put her brazenness to
work again over the past fortnight by urging our former allies in Europe
and elsewhere to put the past behind us. It's time to move on, she said.
You gotta love it! For four years the Bushies been sticking it to the
rest of the world, and now that they want some help they're asking the
people they dissed to "get over it."
The image this brings to my mind is a cartoon image of a bank robber
pleading his case before a judge. The robber is saying something like,
"We can't wallow in the past, Your Honor. It's time for us to put the
past behind us. I recommend you dismiss the charges, so we can all start
over with a clean slate."
Why is it that only the guilty want the past forgotten?
Rice displayed her caginess when a reporter asked about the possibility
of a pre-emptive U.S. strike against Iran. Her response: "The question
is simply not on the agenda at this point in time."
"Point in time"? In other words, we're not going to attack Iran at this
moment, but circumstances change ... and perhaps at a future "point in
time," like maybe 10 minutes from now, we'll have a new agenda and be
forced to go to war again.
The lies never stop.
Harley Sorensen is a longtime journalist. His column appears Mondays
in the San Francisco Chronicle. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
© 2005 San Francisco Chronicle