Sunday, August 09, 2009

This Week's Lunatic Claim

The latest idiocy from the unhinged Right can actually be traced back to a single source: the somewhat ridiculous John Cornyn (R-What Else?). If there's an earlier source, feel free to correct me, but Cornyn seems to be winning the award as the Partisan Tool of the Week ®.

See, what happened is, the White House, rather than sitting meekly and allowing the GOP to continue to spread ridiculous rumors about the healthcare plan, decided to combat them. And in order to get as many of these rumors as quickly as possible, they released a request to the American people:
There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to
Simple, right? Kind of like the "Fight the Smears" website they set up during the campaign.

Well, you would think that John Cornyn would be relieved that, under Obama's proposed health plan, hydrocephally related to inbreeding would no longer be considered a "pre-existing condition." But sadly, he decided to start immediately lying about the intentions of the President.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) sent a letter to President Obama on Wednesday to express his concern about "a new White House program to monitor American citizens' speech opposing your health care policies"...

Cornyn wrote that he could think of no other incident of a president asking American citizens to report on their fellow citizens' political speech. He said that "citizen engagement must not be chilled by fear of government monitoring the exercise of free speech rights."

Furthermore, Cornyn wrote, the collection of e-mails could amount to the White House amassing various forms of personally identifiable information.

"By requesting that citizens send 'fishy' emails to the White House, it is inevitable that the names, email addresses, IP addresses, and private speech of U.S. citizens will be reported to the White House," he wrote. "You should not be surprised that these actions taken by your White House staff raise the specter of a data collection program."
Now, let me see if I've got this straight. In 2005, when Cornyn was told about Bush's domestic wiretapping program and he said it didn't matter, that was nothing to worry about. But when Obama fights back against liars and smear merchants, and Cornyn makes up crap about "he's gathering ISP's!", that's cause for alarm?

So real spying is OK, as long as it's done by a Republican? But imaginary spying is something to worry about, if it's imagined that it will be done by a Democrat?

How many "forward this to twelve friends" spams do you fall for?

"Ah," but our GOP friends try to claim, "there's a big difference between intercepting international communications to catch terrorists, and trying to compile an enemies list!" (Trust me, they claim this. I've talked to a lot of them this week.)

There are actually two parts to my reply here. First, Bush's wiretapping program was huge and unprecedented, and it was, in fact, the type of massive government conspiracy that the GOP is trying to promote here. Unlike the imaginary one that Cornyn are trying to claim. And no, Bush's program wasn't just intercepting overseas communications:
President Bush and his aides have confirmed that the NSA, beginning in late 2001, monitored electronic communications between the United States and overseas without warrants in cases in which one of the parties was believed to be affiliated with al-Qaeda. But administration officials have recently acknowledged that the NSA program was broader, and intelligence sources inside and outside the government have described a vast effort to collect and analyze telephone and e-mail communications that were later scrutinized by the government for desired information.
See? That's the kind of thing that people should have been upset about, if they'd been paying attention two years ago.

Now, just for giggles, let's try to consider this whole scenario logically. You are the President of the United States. You have the full weight of the United States government to call upon: the NSA, CIA, FBI, all of it. And the best way you can think of to compile an "enemies list" is to ask people to send anti-healthcare-reform emails to the White House? Not only are you going to openly place yourself right in the middle of a clandestine intelligence-gathering operation, but you're asking people to send you 600,000 copies of the same seven emails from FreedomWorks (Dick Armey's group) and "Americans for Prosperity" (which as been industry-funded from the beginning, and is currently chaired by billionaire David Koch). Both groups, incidentally, also orchestrated the "tea parties" earlier this year; if you don't know that you're being manipulated by the healthcare industry, maybe you should do your rearch.

(Oh, and let's not forget "Conservatives for Patients Rights," the ironically-named group organized by Richard Scott to fight against universal health care. Funny thing about that. The group claiming that government-run healthcare will ruin America is being run by the former frontman for HCA, which was fined $1.7 billion dollars for defrauding Medicare - which makes them an enduring symbol of everything that's wrong with American healthcare.)

I mean, right off the top of my head, I can come up with dozens of different ways to compile the dreaded "enemies list" (which, incidentally, is something Obama isn't doing - that's just a fevered fantasy from the stunted imagination of John Cornyn). For example, you have the voting records - why don't you just pull out all the Republicans?

Too many? Cross-check them with the tax records, and pull out all the rich Republicans.

Still too much of a random search for you? Fine. Conservatives for Patients Rights, Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks are all registered with the US government. That means you have access to their payroll information. And you have the NSA: hack into their computers, and get copies of their mailing lists. Hell, while you're at it, take over a few conservative websites like Free Republic and National Review, and get their membership and mailing lists, too.

Or you could just "mine" a bunch of conservative websites and backtrace the commenters.

Any of these ideas would be considerably more efficient than going through the same lying emails to try and tease out personal information one person at a time.

It's time for reality, folks. Or to take your medication and shuffle back to your padded cell. Your choice.


Jeff said...

I don't think it is good when the government spies on anyone. The Bush issue included, but you have to look at the fact that the wire tapping was used to fight a war. Wait no, Bush wants to spy on us. We was using the war as a pretense to spy on big threats like us bloggers. Watch out.

Obama, the one, wants to pass health care and take care us, man. He has got to counter all of the lie coming from those evil insurance companies. BA Da. Capitalism is bad. BA DA. Like you never will believe. GOvernment is good. Taken care of us. BA DA. Let the one do his thing so he can take care of us. BA DA. How dare you get in his way. Report those who dare disagree with me. Call the White House for the truth. The capitalist said universal Health care will take my freedom away. I called the White House and they said no no. We want to take care of you. Now I am straight. About got worried. Sorry I can't help it.

Seriously I don't think what the white house stated is all that bad and evil. But it does reveal. Big Brother, in a sense, is here to stay. Coming from both sides.

Nameless Cynic said...

Seriously I don't think what the white house stated is all that bad and evil

OK, you're almost there... you've almost got it...

But it does reveal. Big Brother, in a sense, is here to stay.

AAaugh! So close!

Come on. You seem like a reasonably intelligent person. (I mean, aside from those "ba da's") Are you seriously going to try to claim that Obama couldn't come up with a better method of compiling a list? Even if he was going to do so (which he isn't, by the way. It's the GOP that plays those little games).


Diogenes said...

As for "We was using the war as a pretense to spy on big threats like us bloggers" let Endward R. Murrow answer you: "We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home."

ToeJamm said...

Hey! You never responded to me saying that I seem like a reasonably intelligent person! Is it my picture? I knew I should have changed that...

ToeJamm said...

By the way, I hope you know what your Kanji stands for. I knew a guy that thought his tattoo said devil dog and it turned out saying dirt mut. If you are going for "I want to be a lemming"(reading your blog, I would assume so), I would make sure it doesn't say something like,"I like it from behind"(although these don't mean much different).

Diogenes said...

WHy is it that rightwingnuts have all these repressed homosexual fantasies?

Nameless Cynic said...

Well, ToeJammer, the reasonable answer would be to explain Taoism to you.

But I don't feel any particular urge to be reasonable, since you never have.

I do have a question for you, though. Since you brought up the subject of getting anally reamed, what, exactly, was going on when that picture of you was taken? Because you don't seem to be enjoying it.

(Is that what it means in your profile when you describe yourself as "bad ass"?)

ToeJamm said...

No, I'm an American bad ass because I work hard, served in the military, earn my wealth, I'm committed and dedicated to my wife and son, I own a home at the age of 24 with no help of anyone else, and I own a big fuckin gun.

Nameless Cynic said...

Funny, you didn't answer the question "what was going on when that picture of you was taken?"

So, haven't come out of the closet yet?

ToeJamm said...

I'm not sure I understand the question. But, if I get where you're going to, you must be telling me this is the way people look when they get rammed in the ass?

ToeJamm said...

Is this what everyone looks like at a democratic convention?

Nameless Cynic said...

No, just Saturday nights at the ToeJamm house. (Hey, it's your picture, pal. Nobody forced you to use it... unless that's what they're doing back there...)

Diogenes said...

Does a double-wide technically qualify as a "home"?

And do you play with your big gun? Should we be impressed, or frightened, or what, exactly? What's your point, or are you being pointless again?

Hey, NC, when you mentioned Taoism, it reminded me of when I used to teach World History: did you ever read "The Tao of Poo"? It is a really amazing introduction to the philosophy of Taoism, using Winnie the Pooh, Christopher Robin, Eeyore, etc as the epitome of taoism. Yo oght to check it out, if you haven't: it's kinda cool, and the kids eat it up with a spoon.

Nameless Cynic said...

Read it. Also read the followup, The Te of Piglet (not as well done, but still a good read).

Never tried to feed it to children, though. A spoon, you say?

ToeJamm said...

Funny, you didn't answer the question."Is this the way people look when they are getting rammed in the ass?"

So you haven't come out of the closet yet?

Nameless Cynic said...

Well, to tell you the truth, I didn't answer because I wouldn't know. So why don't you tell me?

And I guess you could say that I never came out of the closet, because I've never been in it.

Jeff said...

I know this is from a right wing nut case, but I found this interesting.

"As for "We was using the war as a pretense to spy on big threats like us bloggers" let Endward R. Murrow answer you: "We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home."

The terrorist attacks of 911 have forever changed America. I don't like the government spying on us, but this information was used to fight a war. I am sure it was directed towards those that they had a reason to listen to. Giving up some freedoms during war is nothing new. I believe it was necessary, but with some negative side effects. The alternative to not gaining intelligence could have been another terrorist attack. I believe that Bush did what he felt he had to do to protect America.

Diogenes said...

Silly response, even for a rightwingnut: "I am sure it was directed towards those that they had a reason to listen to."

What makes you so sure? Remember we're talking about Georgie Porgie Puddin'and Pie here. (Well, actually, we're talking about The Big Dick, but the idea's the same.)

So tapping phones without a warrant is OK as long as it was directed aainst prople who deserved it?

Double double doublespeak.

The Keeper Of Odd Knowledge (KOOK) said...

well I must say you do grasp the point, although you blindly steam past full speed ahead and damn the torpedos.

I did not feel in danger of the Patriot act because I knew I was not plotting the destruction of my country. THe wiretapping issue was to catch bad people doing bad things.
The Fishy Directive was to catch dissenting americans...well...dissenting.

See the difference is on one hand we were trying to catch criminals, and on the other hand we are performing a civic duty.

oh well...never try to teach a pig to sing...

Steven K said...

In response to KOOK:

"you blindly steam past full speed ahead and damn the torpedos."

Project much?

"THe wiretapping issue was to catch bad people doing bad things"

Problem was, "bad people doing bad things" was defined very, very, VERY loosely. I strongly suggest you read the article that NC linked to (click on the highlighted text "President Bush and his aides") to find out how Dubya and his pals grossly abused their authority.

"The Fishy Directive was to catch dissenting americans...well...dissenting. See the difference is on one hand we were trying to catch criminals, and on the other hand we are performing a civic duty."

Ah yes, the "It's OK If You Are a Repbublican" argument. Just where, pray tell, was your support for dissent as practiced by, say, Tim Robbins and the Dixie Chicks?

"oh well...never try to teach a pig to sing..."

Back atcha, pal, right back atcha.