Today's White House briefing is just more evidence there is no effective media left in this nation. Yeah, Bob Schieffer, the lovable dunce, confirmed it on Howie Kurtz's show over the weekend by admitting the press was smitten with Obama and probably didn't cover him like they should have, but the WH briefings confirm it almost every day.
Josh Earnest must have used the words "professionals" and "tools" in regards to the lapsed Patriot Act a hundred times today--in nearly every reply. They are clearly key words designed to enhance his talking points and make the opponents look unprofessional or unpatriotic. He didn't hesitate blaming the GOP for politicizing the lapse. But there was not one mention of Ron Wyden.
Earnest also would not admit the country was less safe, despite some decent prodding by Fox News and CNN (they should have ganged up on him over it) because that would be an admission the lapse was on Obama since the buck supposedly stops with him. Now, if an attack comes, they WILL blame it on Paul (both sides) and get away with it. There will be no video of the White House admitting they failed the public, etc.
In that same regard, Earnest got mildly caught in a lie about Obama's authority. Remember that Bush put this program together in secret after 9/11 with no help from Congress. It was an EO. As we've seen, Obama is not shy about using his imperial phone/pen, so he could have altered the PA language any way and any time he wanted. But doing so would put his exclusive BO stamp on it, and that was a bridge too far politically. Best to lay back and blame Rand Paul. Nobody in the briefing pointed out the White House was playing their own politics. Another bridge too far.
As to the program, let's face it--Bush lied about the bulk collection data. Obama lied about it. Had Snowden not come out there would be no national debate with Obama trying to take credit for reform. Zilch. The American people should be just a little upset that ALL meta phone records are being kept by the NSA, whether the voice part was there or not. Having the phone companies keep the data, allowing government access with a valid warrant is better, so long as they don't use it as leverage against them in other ways or the data doesn't get hacked.
From my view, there are parts of the PA that need reauthorization. The bulk collection is another animal and it needs to be done differently, but the issue here is public understanding and acceptance of the trade off. Obama has said the wars are over and AQ is diminished and ISIS isn't coming here tomorrow, so why do we need such a program anyway? Of course few believe that. All sides cannot resist playing politics, but they should put on their big boy pants and do some leading.
For instance, come clean and explain that we either give up some liberty and trust the NSA and others not to abuse this power (James Rosen comes to mind) or give up some security for the sake of liberty and freedom, which might mean we get hit again. If we do and its because the government didn't know everything about everybody, including bank records, well, it's not their fault, it's the terrorists' fault. Whether the public at large is even able to understand such a concept much less accept it is perhaps a question I don't want to know the answer to.
Anyway, you now know what some inconsequential blogger thinks. Does anyone know where Hillary comes down on this? Has anyone even asked? Where is the Scooby Van?