Thursday, June 13, 2013

Last Call For Repeal And Replace

Kevin Drum points out the obvious flaw in Republicans coming up with a plan to improve health care coverage (after they do everything they can to break Obamacare so badly that the public will demand an alternative):   Republicans don't want to fix health care.

I don't blame [NRO editor Ramesh] Ponnuru and others for trying to get conservatives to embrace some kind of healthcare plan. I think they're kind of crazy to think their proposed plan would (a) work, (b) be politically attractive, or (c) be popular, but maybe that's just my liberal bias talking. What's not my liberal bias talking, however, is the plain fact that conservatives don't care about expanding access to healthcare. As [American Prospect writer Paul] Waldman says, the evidence on this score is overwhelming. They opposed Medicare. They opposed CHIP. They've opposed every expansion of Medicaid ever. Only brutal strongarm tactics got them to support their own president's prescription drug plan, despite the sure knowledge that killing it would likely lose them the White House the following year. And of course, they've opposed every Democratic attempt to pass universal healthcare legislation in the last century.

And this goes back to the basic argument about Republicans in general:  the second they prove government can work better than the free market, they lose forever.  Obamacare has to be repealed in the GOP mindset because Republicans are terrified that it will work, much like Social Security and Medicare.  Gosh, that's why they are trying to get rid of those programs, too.  The goal is if enough people hate it, they can kill it and get away with it.  It doesn't matter what it gets replaced with, but the Democrats will certainly suffer if that happens, and that's what does matter to them.

Republicans want to run government so they can take government out of government.

Time To Change The Story Again, Glenn?

Surprise, Glenn Greenwald keeps changing his story on NSA leaker Edward Snowden and did it again last night on All In With Chris Hayes.  Here's the transcript, from LGF contributor simoom:
HAYES: In terms of the revelations that we’ve gotten so far, and they fall into a number of different categories, but I do want to ask you, before I let you go, there’s been some push back on the reporting, particularly about the PRISM program, and there’s another program codenamed BLARNEY, that come from those power point slides that use the phrase directly from the servers, direct access, and there was push back by the tech companies who are listed in those slides saying we didn’t give any direct access.

And there’s some question, I think, about what exactly that phrase means or could mean. And I just want you to clarify your best understanding of what the reality is about the nexus between how the NSA is working with these private tech companies.

Now, to Hayes's credit, this is exactly the question to ask.  Greenwald has changed his story on a number of occasions prior to last night's interview, and the factual component of his story doesn't hold up to scrutiny.  Greenwald's response is telling:

GREENWALD: Sure. We’ve published four stories so far. The only one about which there has been any questions raised is the one that the Washington — the only one the Washington Post also published which is the PRISM story

Again, that's not true.  The first story, the Verizon carrier story, has also been disputed in the above link, and for good reason.  Bob Cesca and Chez Pazienza have been all over Greenwald on this.  It's a pattern of walk-backs.

Our story was written differently than the way the Post wrote theirs, which is why they’ve had to walk back theirs. Our story was the following: we have documents, a document, from the NSA that very clearly claims that they are collecting directly from the servers of these internet giants. That’s the exact language that this document used. We went to those internet companies before publishing and asked them, and they denied it, and we put into the story very prominently that they denied it.

Our story is that there is a discrepancy between the relationship that these, that the private sector and the government has, in terms of what the NSA claims and what the technology companies claim. 

Except the real issue is with what Greenwald claims both sides are saying.  And he's just admitted that there's issues with it, so now he's changing his story (which is now "well, at least I'm not the WaPo!")

What is definitely true, and follow-up reporting by the Times has proven this, is that there have been all kinds of negotiations about back door access. They have agreements in all sorts of ways to share data with the government. I don’t think anybody knows at this point exactly what the nature of those arrangements are and the reason we published our story and reason we presented it as this discrepancy is precisely because, whatever the tech companies and the government are doing, in terms of turning over data to the government, should be done in public

So, he admits that he doesn't have details or evidence on these "data sharing programs" but it sure as hell doesn't stop him from rampant speculation on what those programs are because Greenwald has decided that they are wrong, so he's going to report on them.

That's not reporting.  That's blogging.

We should know what agreements they’ve reached. We should know what the government has asked for and what they’re negotiating with now, in terms of access. What we do know for sure, is that the government has a program that targets the communication over these companies, that huge numbers of people around the world use to communicate with one another, and we think there should be accountability and transparency for whatever those exact agreements are.

That's Greenwald's opinion.  And he's pushing it as fact now, substituting umbrage for details.  "We don't know but they should tell us!" is a fine opinion to have, but it doesn't make Greenwald's account factual when he doesn't know the facts.  He's telling us what he thinks should happen.  Whether you agree with him or not, that's not reporting.  So when he's writing articles for the Guardian now as a reporter, and not doing any reporting, there's a problem.

Also a problem is Spencer Ackerman,who is a national security reporter, and who did have a reporting gig at Wired's Danger Room for years, is Greenwald's editor at the Guardian.  He's not much of an editor, apparently.

Finally, Chris Hayes refused to call Greenwald out after that nonsense.  Doesn't do much for his credibility, either.

As a final note, Greenwald keeps saying the story's not about him, it's about the NSA and our "national security state" but...the story keeps being about him.  Funny how that works.

Big Dog Blows It Up

And Bill Clinton happily sides with John McCain on the opinion that President Obama isn't doing enough to get us into war with Syria.

Bill Clinton told Sen. John McCain he agrees that President Barack Obama should act more forcefully to support anti-Assad rebels in Syria, saying the American public elects presidents and members of Congress “to see down the road” and “to win.”

At another point during a closed-press event Tuesday, Clinton implied that Obama or any president risks looking like “a total fool” if they listen too closely to opinion polls and act too cautiously. He used his own decisions on Kosovo and Bosnia as a point of reference.

The former president also said commanders-in-chief should avoid over-interpreting public opinion polls about whether the United States should get involved in crises overseas.

His remarks came during a question-and-answer session with McCain, who has been among Obama’s harshest critics over what he calls a failure to take “decisive” action in Syria. Obama has come under growing pressure to step up American intervention by sending military and other assistance to the rebels.

“Some people say, ‘Okay, see what a big mess it is? Stay out!’ I think that’s a big mistake. I agree with you about this,” Clinton told McCain during an event for the McCain Institute for International Leadership in Manhattan Tuesday night. “Sometimes it’s just best to get caught trying, as long as you don’t overcommit — like, as long as you don’t make an improvident commitment.”

"What's the big deal?  It's just a Syrian civil war.  Let's arm the rebels and let the next guy worry about the blowback.  It worked for me and Bush!"

And people wonder why I wasn't thrilled about a second Clinton presidency.  Yeesh.


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