I’m Not Sure What He is Saying

I think this piece about Gruber might be the sloppiest post by Glenzilla I’ve ever read from him, and I’ve gone through all the updates and I’m not quite sure what exactly he is advocating (admittedly, this may be the fault of the Percocets and the throbbing shoulder). You’ll have to read it for yourself, because it is far too long to quote, but for the life of me I can not figure out his point.

If all he is saying is that Gruber should have repeatedly disclosed his grant, I have no problem with that, but it sure seems like he is going a lot farther. The Armstrong Williams/Maggie Gallagher comparisons make no sense whatsoever, because unlike Gruber, they were paid to covertly push the company line, while Gruber was not- he was paid because he is the go to guy in the field. In fact, he goes to great length to point out all the ways he agrees that Gruber is not the same as Williams/Armstrong. If you are going to make all those caveats, maybe the comparison should never have been used in the first place. The military scandal makes even less sense as a comparison. Likewise, this passage was confusing:

What will make it impossible to effectively call out wrongdoing by future corrupt administrations (by which Krugman seems to mean: Republican administrations) is the willingness of some people to tolerate and defend corruption when done by “their side.” The next time we have what Krugman calls a “genuinely corruption administration” which, say, secretly pays people they’re holding out as “independent” experts, the administration’s defenders will say: “how can you possibly object to our doing this when Obama did it, and not only did you fail to object then, but you defended it?”

Nowhere has Glenn stated that Gruber is corrupt, but now those defending Gruber are defending corruption? What is Greenwald actually saying- that no one can receive grants from the government and be independent? Is he asserting that Gruber has somehow bent the truth or tweaked his work to satisfy the government and retain his grant. Is he arguing that Gruber’s academic reputation is suspect? Does Glenn have any evidence that Gruber has been doing biased work simply to please his masters? Is Glenn stating that it is completely impossible to be “objective” and “independent” if a scientist receives grant money- because that is absurd. Does that mean that every single medical study somewhat funded by federal money is now somehow suspect as having the outcomes guided to a government preferred solution? That is absurd. All of the people advocating regarding global warming are somehow tainted if they work for an organization that received money from the government? That is crazy.

Again, I agree he should have disclosed his relationship more clearly, but I reject the idea that he is somehow incapable of being independent or objective, and calling him on that seems to be jumping the gun when you have provided no evidence that he is somehow incapable of being independent or objective. If Glenn’s new standard is what describes “corruption,” we might as well simply shut down the relationship between the government and academia, because anyone who has ever taken a dollar from the government to pursue and advance lines of research is now no different from Armstrong Williams.

I reject that.

*** Update ***

Good discussion in the comments.






932 replies
  1. 1
    Lisa K. says:

    I thought you were going back to bed.

  2. 2
    clone12 says:

    Not one of Glennzilla’s best takedowns.

  3. 3
    dmsilev says:

    You forgot the link to Glenn’s article.

    That minor bit of copyediting aside, you’re absolutely right and Glenn is apparently ignorant of how academic research (across a wide range of fields) is funded.

    -dms

  4. 4
    Mr Furious says:

    File Under: Reading this so I don’t have to…

    I find even Greenwald’s BEST takedowns tedious, so there’s no way I’m going to invest in reading one in which he’s—essentially—wrong AND malicious.

    As valuable as he is, GG seems to enjoy dipping his foot into the firebag pool to easily.

  5. 5
    BTD says:

    Look, it’s not that Gruber could not be “independent,” it is that he was NOT independent. And that should have been disclosed.

    He was getting paid by the Obama Administration to work on the health bill. Was it just technical modeling? Sure it was. But that makes him not independent.

    You accept that point. Not sure what else there is to this.

  6. 6
    Demo Woman says:

    John, You are the master when it comes to using only your left hand to post.

  7. 7
    Emma says:

    Is Glenn stating that it is completely impossible to be “objective” and “independent” if a scientist receives grant money- because that is absurd. Does that mean that every single medical study somewhat funded by federal money is now somehow suspect as having the outcomes guided to a government preferred solution? That is absurd. All of the people advocating regarding global warming are somehow tainted if they work for an organization that received money from the government? That is crazy.

    It does seem that is what he is saying. But you shouldn’t be surprised. The basic argument for a lot of these people seems to be “Gruber HAS to be corrupt because I don’t like his research results.” It’s the same thing Republicans have been doing to scientists for more than a decade. Never let it be said “progressives” don’t learn from their enemies.

  8. 8
    Walker says:

    @BTD:

    Then, as John pointed out, no federally funded scientist working on climate change can be independent. Do you really want to use that definition of “independent”?

  9. 9
    SGEW says:

    Additional context, if anyone wants it:

    Krugman’s original blog post that Greenwald is responding to here.

    Brad DeLong’s reaction here.

  10. 10
    Notorious P.A.T. says:

    All I can say is, I agree with you, John.

    With that taken care of:
    http://images.google.com/image.....038;tab=wi

  11. 11
    Max says:

    I reject that.

    Obama phrasing. O-bot. Obama blogger. Not a “real” dem.

    Yeah, BTD is here to condescend to all of us and diagram our sentences and tell us how much better Hillary would have been as president. PUMA!

  12. 12

    Looks to me like the real point here is this:

    Cass Sunstein’s proposal to “cognitively infiltrate extremist groups” by employing covert agents and secretly paying so-called “independent” analysts to tout the government line,

    A jobs program for the vast legion of unemployed rightwing teabagger trolls without ever leaving your mom’s basement.

    Enjoy.

  13. 13
    BTD says:

    And let’s be clear, this was not a “scientist” getting an apolitical government grant to research cancer. This was an economist getting paid to work on a specific piece of legislation that was at the center of the political discussion.

    It’s a pretty simple proposition – Gruber and the Obama Administration should have disclosed Gruber’s relationship with the Administration instead of touting him as an “independent” expert. With that of course they could have said that his conclusions were consistent with his previously held views.

    I do not get what you do not get.

  14. 14
    Clifton says:

    Be careful John. Jane is one thing but questioning Glenn is a whole other animal. But good for you and the Balloon Juice readers for calling BS with this group of people. I really don’t see an end in sight for the level “poutrage” for the next three to seven years.

  15. 15
    Ash Can says:

    The confusion in Greenwald’s article could be stemming from an attempt to write something that would appeal to disparate audiences. Or it could indicate uncertainty in his own mind over whether he actually agrees with the viewpoints he’s discussing. I’m just guessing, though.

  16. 16
    BTD says:

    @Walker:

    Of course they can work on it. But if they get money from the Administration, that should be disclosed.

    I am not sure what is difficult about that concept.

  17. 17

    It’s wasn’t a takedown so much as a casual comparison that Krugman took umbrage with, that within the previous piece that discussed Cass Sunstein’s idea of having paid government agents “cognitively infiltrating” internet groups to tamp down conspiracy theorists.

    At that point Greenwald did an explication directed at Krugman’s objections. To me the two seem perfectly similar. Armstrong Williams took money to push “No Child Left Behind” and Gruber took money to push the healthcare bill. If anything, more people relied on Gruber as an expert in the field than paid attention to Williams, which means that the Dems got more mileage out of their scam than the Repubs did. Gruber was fronted as an independent expert, which he wasn’t.

  18. 18
    Glenn Greenwald says:

    I’ll help you out, John:

    I think this piece about Gruber might be the sloppiest post by Glenzilla I’ve ever read, and I’ve gone through all the updates and I’m not quite sure what exactly he is advocating.

    There’s only one update. It references the NYT Public Editor who criticizes Gruber for failing to disclose his payments, and criticizes the NYT for publishing his Op-Ed and quoting him without disclosing it.

    It also references Yves Smith, who says that anyone who defends Gruber’s non-disclosures — such as Paul Krugman — has adopted an amoral “ends justifies the means” argument.

    The NYT itself published an Editor’s Note, apologizing for publishing Gruber’s Op-Ed without disclosing his payments from the administration, and saying it would have either insisted on disclosure or not published the Op-Ed.

    Administration ally Ron Brownstein said much the same thing.

    What could possibly be confusing about this? And who could possibly defend this behavior?

    If all he is saying is that Gruber should have repeatedly disclosed his grant, I have no problem with that,

    That’s exactly what I’m saying. How many different ways could I possibly have made clear that the issue is NON-DISCLOSURE? I even put that phrase in bold several times.

    but it sure seems like he is going a lot farther. The Armstrong Williams/Maggie Gallagher comparisons make no sense whatsoever, because unlike Gruber, they were paid to covertly push the company line,

    You’re simply wrong about this. I linked to Armstrong Williams’ contract. He wasn’t required to express specific any opinion at all – only to offer commentary on No Child Left Behind. He could have bashed it and filled his obligations under the contract. Did you actually read the Williams contract?

    The Gruber comparisons to Williams, Gallgaher and military analysts (who weren’t even paid) are obvious: they had relationships with the Government that (a) called into question their independence and yet (b) remained undisclosed.

    while Gruber was not- he was paid because he is the go to guy in the field. In fact, he goes to great length to point out all the ways he agrees that Gruber is not the same as Williams/Armstrong. If you are going to make all those caveats, maybe the comparison should never have been used in the first place.

    Different situations can nonetheless share a common trait. Here, the common trait shared by all of these situations is non-disclosure, for the purpose of casting a false impression of independence. That’s why you can’t rationally criticize Williams/Gallagher/Military analysts while defending Gruber — as Krugman did.

    The military scandal makes even less sense as a comparison.

    Why? If anything, one could say that wasn’t as serious since – unlike Gruber – the retired Generals weren’t being paid anything by the Government. The problem was that they didn’t disclose their relationship to the Government – just like Gruber.

    Nowhere has Glenn stated that Gruber is corrupt, but now those defending Gruber are defending corruption?

    Pretending that someone is independent and objective by concealing the fact that they’re being paid by the party whose plan they’re advocating is deceitful . . . and corrupt.

    What is Greenwald actually saying- that no one can receive grants from the government and be independent?

    Stop saying he received a “grant.” That’s totally false. A “grant” is money paid by the government to an educational institution. He received direct payments to him personally.

    And yes, I’m saying that someone who is commenting on a government plan that they were PAID to help design BY DEFINITION is not “independent.” It doesn’t mean they’re dishonest or lack credibility – but they’re not independent.

    Is he asserting that Gruber has somehow bent the truth or tweaked his work to satisfy the government and retain his grant.

    No – I specifically said I was willing to believe he didn’t change his opinion. But that’s also true of Williams, Gallagher, the retired generals, etc. Nobody suggested they changed their views because of the payments.

    The point is that being paid several hundreds of thousands of dollars by someone with a vested interest in your opinion is a factor in weighing someone’s credibility.

    If Glenn’s new standard is what describes “corruption,” we might as well simply shut down the relationship between the government and academia, because anyone who has ever taken a dollar from the government to pursue and advance lines of research is now no different from Armstrong Williams.

    You have a completely false understanding of what Armstrong Williams did. He’s a loyal conservative and Bush follower. He would have been defending Bush no matter what. That’s what he always did. The scandal wasn’t that he said things that he didn’t believe – he had been advocating “reforms” like that for a long time.

    The scandal was that he pretended to be offering commentary that was independent while concealing the fact that he was paid by the same administration whose policies he was praising. Sound familiar?

  19. 19
    John Cole says:

    It’s a pretty simple proposition – Gruber and the Obama Administration should have disclosed Gruber’s relationship with the Administration instead of touting him as an “independent” expert. With that of course they could have said that his conclusions were consistent with his previously held views

    Did you not read what I wrote? Because I think I pretty clearly stated I agree with that and there should have been more disclosure. Having said that, I reject that receiving a grant to do research kills a scientist’s independence.

    And my problem with what Glenn wrote is that he appears to go far beyond calling for more transparency and appears to be asserting corruption, which is just absurd.

  20. 20
    Lavocat says:

    It’s simple, John. In a word, it’s about “transparency”. Or, to out-Freud Freud: sometimes a magical unity pony is just a magical unity pony.

    I’d blame it on the percocets. However, my favorite poison is liquid hydrocodone. It’s bliss.

  21. 21
    Glenn Greenwald says:

    The basic argument for a lot of these people seems to be “Gruber HAS to be corrupt because I don’t like his research results.”

    This is unbelievably dumb, and really the heart of the matter.

    I don’t have any views of Gruber’s actual research. I’m not opposed to the health care bill and haven’t advocated its defeat.

    Some people are actually capable of applying the same ethical rules and standards to those that they like and agree with as those whom they dislike and disagree with.

    Shocking, I know, but that’s how ethical rules retain meaning.

  22. 22
    Folderol and Ephemera says:

    The Glennzilla has landed. All hands on deck!

  23. 23
    BTD says:

    @Walker:

    Of course they can work on it. But if they get money from the Administration, that should be disclosed.

    I am not sure what is difficult about that concept.@John Cole:

    See my comment 13.

  24. 24
    John Cole says:

    @Glenn Greenwald: The problem with the Armstrong Williams comparison is that Armstrong Williams was not doing anything that can be independently verified- he was just a political hack. Gruber is a scientist- his work can be reviewed.

    There simply is no comparison between the two. Williams was a hack being covertly paid to be a hack and shill. Gruber is an economist who was paid openly (but failed to be transparent enough) to do independent research, regardless of the outcome. They are not the same thing at all, and you do a disservice to all scientists to claim otherwise.

    Again, if all you are saying is that there should have been more disclosure, we agree. But your piece went on to discuss corruption and other stuff- this most assuredly was not corruption, there is no evidence that Gruber shaded his results, etc.

  25. 25
    Bill H says:

    The money that Gruber receives and its source is irrelevant. It is his connection of thinking that is the issue. The Administration used Gruber as an advisor in the process of crafting their policy, and then turned around and used him as a backup to “prove” that their policy was sound. Of course he is going to support a policy that he helped shape, and that is Glenzilla’s issue.

    Not everyone is corrupted by money, and corruption is not even the point. The issue here is that we have a self licking ice cream cone, and the Administration is not admitting that the tongue licking the cone is their own tongue.

    Usually advisors are on the President’s staff and their bias as being part of the policy is self-evident. This guy was in HHS to begin with IIRC, but served to advise on the policy from that position, and quite properly so. The problem arises when he is then used as “independent support” of that policy, as if he’d had nothing to do with it originally and then had it handed to him for review after it was fully shaped.

  26. 26
    flounder says:

    So if I take something like the mortgage interest deduction, does my special relationship with the government make me biased?

  27. 27
    Glenn Greenwald says:

    One last point: John Cole is my friend, and I have a huge amount of respect for how he comments on political matters.

    We disagree on several issues — typically surrounding the rational reaction to Obama and the failings of Democrats — but I actually think exchanges like these where there’s mutual respect can be far more enlightening than similar exchanges among political enemies, where the goal tends to be mutual destruction.

  28. 28
    John Cole says:

    Glenn- Here is where I think the Williams/Gruber comparison breaks down. Independent analysts can review Gruber’s data set and statistical methods. The same can not be done with Williams, because he was just a paid hack being a paid hack.

  29. 29
    BTD says:

    @flounder:

    This is actually an interesting point. If there was a proposal to end the mortgage deduction and you were writing an Op-Ed for the NYTimes, would your personal circumstances require disclosure?

    I would argue No, in that you did not receive any 3rd party payments to work on the proposal to end the mortgage deduction.

    But consider the alternative view that has often been stated regarding Pete Peterson. For all of his so called fixation with government deficits, never do his organizations advocate for raising taxes. Many people believe it is relevant to point out that Mr. Peterson is an extremely wealthy man and that raising taxes on the wealthy would have a very negative effect on him personally. do you think that is a fair criticism?

  30. 30
    mr. whipple says:

    but I actually think exchanges like these where there’s mutual respect can be far more enlightening than similar exchanges among political enemies, where the goal tends to be mutual destruction.

    Agreed. Thank both of you.

  31. 31

    Glenn I find your writings mainly finger pointing, you rarely if ever suggest alternatives.

    When you write on any other topic I’ve learned to skip over them – they are simply shrill.

    I have tremendous respect for those who can critique and propose both broadly and deeply. You rarely get beyond raw imbalanced ahistorical critique.

  32. 32
    Emma says:

    So there’s no objection to his results, but we’re going to cast doubt on the bill by inference by implying that there might have -could have -possibly may have been something at some point by some reason wrong?

    I see.

  33. 33
    Parole Officer Burke says:

    @Pococurante: I’m a little shocked that someone would still use the word “shrill” in this context.

    Were you being ironic?

  34. 34
    Phaedrus says:

    Glenn has been very clear.

    And he is right, this would be a huge scandal if it were on the other side… why the hell do you think people print list of the corporate funding of global warming deniers?

    You’ve got a new boogey man – anyone that criticizes this administration – and I’m tired of it. Get your head out of your ass and recognize careful, consistent criticism when you see it.

  35. 35
    BTD says:

    @Emma:

    You mean Glenn has no opinion right? Many have disagreed with Gruber’s proposals, for many reasons.

    Glenn objected to the non-disclosures.

  36. 36
    Notorious P.A.T. says:

    John Cole is my friend

    Be careful: If John keeps injuring himself you might find yourself the guardian of a cat who eats like a bottomless pit.

  37. 37
    AhabTRuler says:

    If the issue is disclosure vs. non-disclosure, I don’t see how one wouldn’t wish to err on the side of disclosure.

  38. 38
    Chad S says:

    Armstrong Williams/Gallagher took federal money specifically as a payoff to push a preferred narrative for an administration. The contracts were to promote policy goals(and explicitly said so in the contracts). Gruber took federal money to do actual work for HHS(as he did in the Bush years when he took about a million dollars in federal contracts). There’s just no comparison.

  39. 39

    Clifton, are you infiltrating?

    It’s real simple. Gruber, who was presented as independent, was getting money from the Administration. We can presume that his presentations were consonant with what the Administration wanted or they wouldn’t be paying him.

    Gruber’s explanation that taxing Cadillac plans will lower costs and put that money in employees’ pockets is ludicrous. It’s unlikely in collective bargaining situations and the concept is laughable in jobs where employees don’t have a direct say in benefits packages. It avoids the fact that older employees with families may actually need more healthcare. The example I’ve heard is a teacher’s union that represents lots of women from child-bearing age to retirement, but you could use a union that represents mostly workers who do physical labor and wear down over the decades. They need good health care, not higher deductions.

    That doesn’t make Gruber much more than a salesman in my eyes. Apparently organized labor didn’t buy it either, as they just cut a deal to be excluded from that Cadillac tax.

    But whether Gruber was delivering divine wisdom or garbage is really irrelevant. He was doing it as a paid agent for the Administration. The only point here is that he was on the payroll and that should have been known when he was trotted out to expound on health care.

  40. 40
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    Okay, someone answer this question. Did Gruber or the Obama administration at any point in time, reveal that Gruber was getting paid by the administration to do this work? At least once.

    If that is affirmative, albeit he should have done it every time he wrote or spoke on the matter, then one of Greenwald’s opening lines stating, and implying it was not disclosed is false.

    And that makes the rest of the piece a poison fruit tree..

  41. 41
    Lavocat says:

    It’s all about FULL DISCLOSURE and its likely failure to be honored (where there’s an axe to grind) that is the root of the problem.

    Simple ethics 101. If in doubt, DISCLOSE.

    If your intent is to enlighten, full disclosure is a must.

    If your intent is to propagandize, then you can continue with your attempted bamboozlement. And you will. Until you get called on it by Glenn Greenwald.

  42. 42
    Fern says:

    @BTD:

    The alternative would be that the Obama administration would not be able to use the knowledge of subject matter experts in the field. That hardly seems like an improvement.

  43. 43
    Chas says:

    I’m really quite surprised by you, John.

    I think GG’s article is very easy to understand and is very straight forward.

    You both essentially agree. The issue is about transparency. You said you’re fine with that part of his article. But that is the whole point he’s making. He is just taking a stronger line than you.

    You can suggest that he is being a bit over the top. But it’s good to have people who are over the top about non-partisan ethics claims. It makes a nice change. And i thought he argued quite effectively.

    By contrast, the whole second last paragraph of your post was essentially horse sh!t. Every single question completely missed the point of his post, even though GG had been unusually careful to be precise in his wording.

    And as far as the word “corruption” that bothered you so much – is it so hard to see that GG is referring to a slippery slope? GG’s saying if the Dems don’t take a hard line on light breaches of ethics, when heavy breaches of ethics come along from Repubs, Repubs will accuse us of “double standards”. Yes it will be bullshit. By why even open the door? (And yes, i know they’d do it anyway. I know how Repubs work. But I’m just explaining GG’s point to you since it clearly went straight over your head).

    The FDL guys are driving me crazy too, John. But this is a completely different scenario, so take a deep breath. We need you sane.

  44. 44
    BTD says:

    @BTD:

    Relatedly, politicians are generally looked to to disclose all their personal holdings, during elections and while in office. Many use a “blind trust” to avoid appearances of impropriety.

    What is the view on that?

  45. 45
    Notorious P.A.T. says:

    Glenn I find your writings mainly finger pointing, you rarely if ever suggest alternatives.

    I couldn’t disagree more. And the alternatives to law-breaking and corruption are obvious enough to go without saying.

  46. 46
    cyd says:

    The money that Gruber receives and its source is irrelevant. It is his connection of thinking that is the issue. The Administration used Gruber as an advisor in the process of crafting their policy, and then turned around and used him as a backup to “prove” that their policy was sound. Of course he is going to support a policy that he helped shape, and that is Glenzilla’s issue.

    There’s a point here that I don’t think you, or Glenn Greenwald, has caught. Here’s Gruber’s description of the work he did (from Krugman’s blog):

    When designing a policy like this, policy makers want to consider a million different permutations: different AVs, tax credit amounts, employer assessments, etc. Basically, in a perfect world, we would all just rely on CBO for all these permutations. But CBO has limited resources and can’t work directly with the administration. So I provided the administration & congress (mostly senate finance) with the kind of modeling that CBO does to help them narrow options to a more manageable list that they could send to CBO.

    What this sounds like to me is that the government turned to Gruber as a mini-CBO for predicting the effects of different health care policies, not as a source of the policies themselves. In other words, they weren’t asking him “What should we do?” but “If we do this (or this or this), what will happen?” (Note that the CBO, which gets asked the same questions, is considered an independent organization despite the fact that it is, obviously, government funded.)

    This is so far removed from Armstrong Williams/Maggie Gallagher that even bringing those cases up disqualifies you from making any kind of serious argument, IMO.

  47. 47

    Here is what this really comes down to, is this a “scandal”, or not? Marcy Wheeler and others at FDL aren’t just saying this was about Gruber’s failure to disclose his financial arrangement, they are saying its a “scandal”. Krugman actually AGREES with them on this disclosure issue and had this to say.

    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.c.....an-gruber/

    Should Gruber have made a fuller disclosure? Yes — I think he was being too much of an academic, taking for granted that everyone understands the difference between being a political hired gun and receiving a research grant. Should he disclose the contract every time he writes anything? Well, maybe — but a brief mention should suffice. When you’re writing 800-word op-eds, you need to reserve as much space as possible for real content.

    snip

    What the folks at Firedoglake should ask themselves is this: do you really want to become just like the right-wingers with their endless supply of fake scandals?

    The bottom line is this: Jon Gruber is a technical expert, some of whose research has been supported — entirely properly — by government agencies. And we need his input into policy.

    Now Glenn may not want the Senate Health Care bill to go down but there is no doubt that many of the good folks at FDL do and he supports them, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But in the link to the FDL post that Krugman was responding to Marcy wasn’t just talking about disclosure, she also tried to tie it to specifics parts of the bill they don’t like.

    He is one source for the claim that the excise tax will result in raises for workers (though his underlying study is in-apt to the excise tax question). He is the basis for the argument that the Senate bill reduces families’ risk–even if it remains totally unaffordable. Even Politico stenographer Mike Allen points to Gruber’s research.

    Now why is that graf in her post but to cast aspersions on whether or not he made staked out those positions because he had been paid to?

    Admittedly Glenn kept his mention of Gruber in the context of disclosure but then he brought in a comparison to the Armstrong Williams situation which really WAS a scandal. Glenn backs up his analogy by saying Williams was being paid to promote positions that he himself would have advocated for anyway, ala Gruber, but there is no way of knowing that. You are comparing a spectrum of issues that Williams was being paid to back the Bush administration on and I don’t think anybody ever went back and studied whether he had flip flopped on any issues after he started getting paid. Gruber on the other hand has years of academic papers and pronouncements which everyone seems to agree were consistent with what he is saying now.

    So the bottom line is Krugman and Glenn both agree that Gruber should have disclosed the financial relationship, what they don’t agree on is if the Armstrong Williams analogy is apt. And Krugman’s MAIN point is that this isn’t a scandal about the Health Care bill, if anything its a scandal about disclosure. But that sure as hell isn’t what FDL is trying to make it about.

    And that all goes to show how hard it is nowadays being on the side of FDL. It is what it is.

  48. 48
    BTD says:

    @Fern:

    Why wouldn’t they be able to use them? Are you saying disclosure would prevent them from doing so? Why?

  49. 49
    Zach says:

    Greenwald’s evidence of corruption are announcements of awards that have been publicly available to anyone harnessing the power of the Google for half a year. Greendwald’s jumping on one of the pre-fab scandals that opponents of the bill are sitting on to roll out one by one every time an important vote comes up. The ECU climate thing was the same deal… right before Copenhagen it comes out; obviously the “news” wasn’t discovered until that moment, right? Greenwald needs to go next level in his conspiracy hunting and realize how manufactured all of these scandals are.

    I mean did the Times think Gruber was working without grant support? That he just puts out working papers in his spare time and distributes them to HHS instead of publishing them? This is why they hire fact checkers. The egg’s on their face and not on Gruber’s or the administration’s.

    On an unrelated note, Gregory just introduced Halperin as “the author of Game Change” on the MTP roundtable and Bob Woodward looked like he was gonna throw up.

  50. 50
    Walter Glass says:

    @John Cole: You’re right that this comparison doesn’t stretch very far. But no one that I can see, least of all Glenn, is trying to draw the comparison of Gruber and Williams that you’re arguing against. The point of comparison is the non-disclosure. Period.

    And yes, the non-disclosure in and of itself is corrupt. And yes, publicly attempting to mitigate the non-disclosure just because we agree with Gruber’s results (or because we just trust him more) is morally bankrupt.

  51. 51
    Glenn Greenwald says:

    The problem with the Armstrong Williams comparison is that Armstrong Williams was not doing anything that can be independently verified- he was just a political hack. Gruber is a scientist- his work can be reviewed.

    Are you trying to claim that scientists have lesser disclosure requirements than non-scientists? That makes no sense.

    There isn’t any such thing as different disclosure standards for different kinds of people. That’s called a “double standard,” which is exactly what is being applied here.

    Gruber specializes in a very complex and esoteric type of modeling. Few people are capable of “checking his work.” If anything, then, it’s MORE IMPORTANT to know that he’s being paid by the very people whose plan he’s defending, since one is basically required to rely on his independence and credibility.

    Gruber did a lot more than just engage in scientific analysis. He was an active participant in debates, opining on the desirability of Obama’s health care bill. It’s false to pretend that everything he said was subject to scientifically certain corroboration. Much of it was just garden-variety opining.

    Again, if all you are saying is that there should have been more disclosure, we agree. But your piece went on to discuss corruption and other stuff- this most assuredly was not corruption, there is no evidence that Gruber shaded his results, etc.

    When the WH called Gruber “objective” and Kerry depicted him as being independent — all without disclosing his payments — was that honest and accurate?

    If so, why did the NYT issued a “correction,” and why did the Public Editor say today that it was misleading not to disclose his relationships? It’s precisely because it means he was NOT objective or independent. Describing him as such — as the WH did — is misleading, and misleading the public is definitely a form of corruption, is it not?

  52. 52
    gbear says:

    I foresee this thread choking to death on it’s own vomit. Time to go back to bed.

  53. 53
    Allan says:

    You’re simply wrong about this. I linked to Armstrong Williams’ contract. He wasn’t required to express specific any opinion at all – only to offer commentary on No Child Left Behind. He could have bashed it and filled his obligations under the contract. Did you actually read the Williams contract?

    If Glenn Greenwald is naive enough to believe what he wrote in the penultimate sentence in this quote, he is simply incompetent to comment on US politics.

    And I know he’s competent.

    Therefore he is being willfully obtuse and disingenuous.

    In other words, Glenzilla.

  54. 54
    demkat620 says:

    OT, but can somebody please teach W a new word? “We are surging material to Haiti.” Good god.

    And if you are a GOPer you gotta be just thrilled this asshat is back on tv to tell us what his job is.

  55. 55
    BTD says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    I am not perfectly sure, but I know that on many occasions, as Glenn documented, the Obama Administration and Dems held Gruber out as an independent analyst.

    They should not have imo.

  56. 56
    RSA says:

    I think that for this to be an issue of corruption, the idea of deliberate action needs to be considered. Was Gruber’s consulting arrangement deliberately kept from the public eye? If so, that’s a big problem. If not, it’s an oversight, with its seriousness open to judgment.

  57. 57
    Johnny B says:

    Thanks, John. As much as I love Glenn Greenwald, I thought his attempt at an analogy between Williams and Gruber was way off base.

  58. 58
    Emma says:

    BTD: Mr. Greenwald says he doesn’t oppose the bill, and I take him at his word.

    But it does seem interesting that opponents of this bill are hammering at the nondisclosure loudly while whispering that it doesn’t affect Mr. Gruber’s results. I wonder which part they want us to hear. And the media notoriously will broadcast the one that fits with their narrative. Guess which one.

  59. 59
    flounder says:

    @ BTD
    IPeterson funds research that says deficits are bad, and the best way to control them is to cut Social Security and also taxes for the rich. If he wants to do that that is fine with me. The problem becomes when a “media” outlet he creates pay the Washington Post to publish articles by his media organization that reference back to his in house research without noting that he is paying for both ends. Or when his flack is on NPR touting cutting Medicare and they don’t disclose who is funding the source.
    To this extent I think the failing is with the Washington Post, NPR, et al. more so than anyone like Peterson or Gruber (and I am a scientist who thinks Gruber played loose with disclosing his funding and did more harm to himself by getting cute than if he had simply been upfront, but is no straight-up hack like Armstrong Williams). Ultimately the media just doesn’t fucking care who discloses what and Amity Shlaes gets to call herself an “economic historian” on Marketplace as a result even though there is no evidence that she has taken a single economics or history class in her life and Barbara Comstock get to write about how awesome Scooter Libby is even though she is involved in his case and we are left to untangle all this in internet backwaters.

  60. 60
    Malron says:

    Now now, John. You failed to remember two important points:

    1) The “Poutrage Club”, as Al Giordano affectionately calls them, will miss no opportunity to defend each other – no matter how ridiculous, divisive and marginalized their point of view may become. (See BTD in this same thread.)

    2) Any failure to defend the Poutrage Club by questioning their premise, bemoaning their tactics or standing with the president earns you an official one way ticket on the “Obamapologist Express” to O-botistan with the rest of us. (See Greenwald’s diss of Krugman for an example.)

    The Hamshers of the Left have their meme and they’re sticking with it, damn the facts.

  61. 61
    BlizzardOfOz says:

    Bruner should have disclosed the payments from the govt. Dems shouldn’t have pretended he was independent. Is that complicated? Sheesh.

  62. 62

    Chad S, so Armstrong Williams took “a payoff to push a preferred narrative for an administration”. Gruber received a stipend to work for HHS, which included pushing a preferred narrative for an administration”.

    They did the exact same thing. If you want to create separate categories between when “good guys” and “bad guys” do it, then the division belongs to you.

    I’m not even saying that getting the money is necessarily wrong or illegal (although in some cases it may be). Williams believed in “No Child” and Gruber believes (presumably) in what he’s pushing. It’s the secretive relationship between government and individual that’s more important, and not mentioning that when presenting Gruber (or Williams) as an independent spokesperson.

  63. 63
    Glenn Greenwald says:

    One last question for Gruber defenders:

    If — in the midst of an extremely contentious policy dispute — the Bush administration had repeatedly pointed to a right-wing expert or Professor who supported the White House’s policy, and kept touting him as an “independent, objective expert” . . . only for it to be discovered that — at the very same time — they were paying him hundreds of thousands of dollars to consult on that very policy, would all of you be defending the Bush White House, insisting it was “no big deal” and not at all corrupt?

    Please.

  64. 64
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    My problem with Greenwald is that since some of his good work on revealing the Bush crimes, he has fuzzed issues by promoting toxic terms to claim or insinuate that Obama is doing the same with things like rendition, state secrets, eavesdropping, etc…. Or, that if “rendition” was abuse by Bush to torture people, then any rendition by Obama must be, or could be doing the same. When rendition has be a means of international extradition for many decades. As has the extraordinary kind in specific instances like with Adolph Eichman. It is a subtle dishonesty that persists and is misinformation to apparently keeping his cult like follower fed their red meat of government malfeasance or lawbreaking.

    edit – and the same is true with FISA and insinuating it is still being done illegaly when it is not, or with no evidence it is by current law.

  65. 65
    Demo Woman says:

    Shorter Glenn Touche!

    One last point: John Cole is my friend, and I have a huge amount of respect for how he comments on political matters.

    John’s post simply had to do with the comparison to Armstrong Williams and corruption.
    IMO Glenn’s post would have been better if he just spoke about transparency.

  66. 66
    BTD says:

    @Allan:

    This is also an interesting point. I agree that the idea that Armstrong Williams was free to go out and bash the Bush Administration and KEEP his contract is ridiculous.

    But I think it is also rather silly to think that Jon Gruber would not have been constrained to air his differences with Obama policy after working with them on the health bill.

    There is one point I wrote about this morning that I really would like to know more about — Gruber stated to the NYTimes ombudsman that the Obama Administration opposed the excise tax in July 2009, when he wrote his NYTimes Op-Ed in favor of the excise tax. I am unfamiliar with any public expressions by the Obama Administration against the excise tax in July. In fact, I am pretty sure Peter Orzag said many positive things about the excise tax around that time.

    As a defense of Gruber, this would be the best factoid. Does anyone have more info on that?

  67. 67
    Chad S says:

    @Glenn Greenwald: And Gruber took money from the Bush administration to do the same modeling that the Obama administration gave him a contract for. Gruber took at least million dollars during the Bush years from HHS for this modeling. And he publicly endorsed parts of both McCain and Obama’s health plans during 2008. Sounds like Gruber is a non-partisan expert that both parties look to for help on health care cost modeling and the fact that his contracts weren’t disclosed really doesn’t matter since no one thinks that he’s biased. Except those ultra-liberals who would rather stamp in the mud and kill the reform bill because they didn’t get exactly what they wanted in it.

  68. 68
    Demo Woman says:

    @Glenn Greenwald: I’m sorry but please point out where someone defended Gruber’s lack of transparency? That is something we can all agree to, at least I can.

  69. 69
    BTD says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    As someone who has strongly disagreed with Glenn on those very issues, I think you confuse honest disagreement with “promoting toxic terms.”

    Glenn writes what he thinks. I often think he is wrong and write so when I do. But it seems silly to me to criticize him for expressing his views honestly.

  70. 70

    @Glenn Greenwald:

    So, um, what? If disclosure is really all this is about, it’s knon now, the Times and Post have covered their asses, and you’re…still flogging it.

  71. 71
    Sly says:

    @Glenn Greenwald:

    The scandal was that he pretended to be offering commentary that was independent while concealing the fact that he was paid by the same administration whose policies he was praising. Sound familiar?

    Gruber was paid to offer technical expertise to the Senate Finance committee so they could expedite the scoring process. I’m honestly having a hard time seeing how this, in anyway, gives the appearance that his objectivity was compromised.

    Nobody suggested they changed their views because of the payments.

    In terms of the Pentagon Pundits, it most certainly is the case that they changed their views. Several participants in the program harbored private doubts even as they promulgated DoD talking points, for the simple reason that they feared the private defense contractors they worked for would suffer if they didn’t completely tow the line. They were also being paid to contravene the observations of retired military personnel who were expressing reservations (and later condemnations) of DoD policy.

    I know of no healthcare economist of Gruber’s level of expertise who has been issuing opinions that contradict what Gruber has been saying. From what I’ve been seeing, healthcare economists have been backing up his observations.

  72. 72
    Emma says:

    Mr. Greenwald: I would have — and did, several times, because the scenario you posit is one that happened repeatedly in the last eight years in one variation or another — checked out the man’s work with people I respect. If the man’s work held up, and what he was telling the White House was part and parcel of what his work in toto showed, it was fine.

    But I’ve spent too many years in the ivory towers to look at it differently.

  73. 73
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @BTD: Well, I heard Marcy Wheeler say the other day that they did, initially, but had neglected to in some other cases.

    Greenland should have stated that with his overarching claim it was not disclosed. This is the problem with Mr. Greenwald, and why I no longer trust him. There is a big difference in my mind from never disclosing the payment, or working agreement and failing to do it every time. And I agree he should have done it every time, but is a far lesser misdeed in my book, than to have never revealed it.

  74. 74
    Chad S says:

    @Glenn Greenwald: If the expert in question had also gotten the same contracts from the Clinton Administration for the same work, any such hypothetical complaining wouldn’t hold any water. But I’m sure you would write 500 words complaining about his “bias” anyways.

    @Bob In Pacifica: No they didn’t. Gruber got money for the exact same thing during the Bush years and still was publicly pushing for the exact same things he’s doing now. So, Obama’s HHS gives him a contract for the same work and he’s biased now? Thats moronic.

  75. 75
    Glenn Greenwald says:

    ALAN:

    If Glenn Greenwald is naive enough to believe what he wrote in the penultimate sentence in this quote, he is simply incompetent to comment on US politics.

    Your failure to understand the basic issue is so complete that it actually illustrates the point I’ve been wanting to make better than anything I’ve said:

    OF COURSE it’s totally unrealistic to think that Armstrong Williams would have bashed Bush’s bill, even though he had the contractual right to do so.

    Why?

    Because it’s extremely rare for someone who is getting paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to criticize the policy of the person who is paying them.

    That’s exactly why such arrangements must be disclosed, and why it’s deceitful to instead depict the payee as “independent.”

  76. 76

    @Glenn Greenwald:

    If so, why did the NYT issued a “correction,” and why did the Public Editor say today that it was misleading not to disclose his relationships? It’s precisely because it means he was NOT objective or independent. Describing him as such—as the WH did—is misleading, and misleading the public is definitely a form of corruption, is it not?

    Either that, or the NYT has a ridiculous corrections policy, and the ombudsman isn’t much better. I agree that there should have been more disclosure, but citing when the NYT does and does not make a correction is just dumb, given that all of the evidence suggests that they are completely clueless on the subject.

  77. 77
    burnspbesq says:

    @Glenn Greenwald:

    Your fundamental error in everything you have said about Gruber is the apparent assumption that compensation always skews research results.

    As lawyers, we get paid to say what our clients want us to say, and we do that, so long as it can be done within the bounds of the facts, the law, and our ethical rules.

    Academics are fundamentally different. The get paid to call it as they see it. For an academic economist to skew results is tantamount to career suicide.

    Is there even one scintilla of evidence that Gruber’s results were influenced by the fact that he was being paid? I’m not going to suggest that the corrosive influence of money is overstated; instead, I am suggesting that it has to be evaluated on a case by case basis, and the case against Gruber hasn’t been made.

    Brad DeLong’s take on this is the one you haven’t yet effectively rebutted.

  78. 78
    Warren Terra says:

    Only two types of expert exist: academics, funded by gov’t grants, and plausibly honest; and think tankers, funded by Phrma. This was the least bad option. Shoulda disclosed more – but “corruption”?

  79. 79

    @Phaedrus:

    To point out the obvious, a corporation contiually funding “research groups” whose research consistently affirms the corporate party’s vested interest, as well as running counter to the broader body of scientific opinion, is not at all, not even remotely, the same as a government department contracting an academic expert to do technical work modeling the likely effects of a piece of legislation. This is why Krugman doesn’t take the criticism seriously, because ultimately it boils down to drastically misrepresenting what Gruber was being paid to do. Like comparing it to the Armstrong Williams controversy.

  80. 80

    Here is a question for you Glenn

    Do you find Marcy Wheeler trying to make Gruber’s non disclosure be about his work on the Senate Health Care bill to be kosher? If you are going to defend Marcy you can’t just abstain from that debate because that is what she is intimating. Do you believe that Gruber’s nondisclosure invalidates his findings on the excise tax?

    That is really what this debate about isn’t it?

  81. 81
    BTD says:

    @Chad S:

    “The fact that his contracts weren’t disclosed really doesn’t matter since no one thinks that he’s biased.”

    That seems a weak argument to me. Couldn’t anyone make that argument for non-disclosure? The “everyone knows I am an honest man ” argument? In fact, I think that gets to the heart of Glenn’s objection to Krugman’s piece – it was an “everyone knows Jon Gruber is an honest man” argument. I do not know Jon Gruber. I have no reason to doubt this is true. But disclosure does not work that way.

    With regard to his contracts with the Bush Administration, I do not recall Gruber’s involvement in any Bush health care proposals, so I am not sure where that comes into play here.

  82. 82
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    Totally off topic, but there are Canadian students who know about balloon juice, and read it often. be happy/scared as is your preference. i’m back in the states tonight.

  83. 83
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @BTD: All I know is people show up here citing Glenn with these misconceptions and then get pissy when we correct them. And opinion is fine, if it is in well stated terms of what is actually occurring and that Glenn personally opposes any form of say rendition.

    Maybe his readers are reading into his remarks more than what he is saying. But this current issue of Gruber is an example of him not being honest up front on his charges and analysis.

  84. 84
    Chad S says:

    @Glenn Greenwald: Except that Gruber wasn’t being paid for his opinion, he was being paid to model data. Even though that modeling might be complicated, that modeling could be checked by independent sources to see if he had his finger on the scale, which is what you want to imply.

  85. 85
    burnspbesq says:

    @Bob In Pacifica:

    We can presume that his presentations were consonant with what the Administration wanted or they wouldn’t be paying him.

    No, you can’t presume that. If you want to discredit Gruber’s work, you have to PROVE that. And so far, no one has.

  86. 86
    jeffreyw says:

    Dammit, take the time for a bit of breakfast and my vow to be frist! falls aside into the dust bin of history.

  87. 87
    BTD says:

    @Sly:

    Uwe Reinhardt has disagreed on Gruber’s pronouncements on the transference of health care benefits to wages.

    Larry Mishel makes an even better point – wage economics is not Gruber’s field and he oversold his expertise on that issue.

  88. 88
    BTD says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    That’s not Glenn’s fault. Of course, citing to Glenn is a form of appealing to authority, especially here since John has such respect for him (and rightly so.)

    Citing to Gruber is also an appeal to a different type of authority.

  89. 89
    Chad S says:

    @BTD: Thats because Bush never really proposed any serious health care bills, only payoffs to the prescription drug industry. His contracts with Bush are relevant since its clear that both sides of the aisle see Gruber as an expert in his field and HHS(regardless of partisan leadership) would like his modeling analysis. Glenn wants to try and claim that Gruber got paid off to endorse whatever bill the President was behind. He knows he has no evidence of that, so he’s reduced to trying to impugn Gruber with innuendo.

    As for disclosure: Gruber did disclose his contract. In his academic articles, he fully disclosed his contracts with HHS.

  90. 90
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Chad S: THIS exactly. It is like the Gruber detractors are claiming he is providing THE solution, instead of just another opinion for Obama to consider. Every one gets paid to do these things, and should disclose by whom and how much at least once, and the safe way is to do it every time. But that is not a major scandal imo. Though criticism to some degree is warranted.

  91. 91
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @BTD:

    especially here since John has such respect for him (and rightly so.)

    I used to respect him. And now I disagree with Cole. I think Greenwald has read too many of his press and blog clippings and cuts corners with clear facts on defining the difference between abusing something that existed legally, and it’s mere existence and proper use by Obama, or anyone else.

    Speaking for me only.

  92. 92
    burnspbesq says:

    @Glenn Greenwald:

    If—in the midst of an extremely contentious policy dispute—the Bush administration had repeatedly pointed to a right-wing expert or Professor who supported the White House’s policy, and kept touting him as an “independent, objective expert” . . . only for it to be discovered that—at the very same time—they were paying him hundreds of thousands of dollars to consult on that very policy, would all of you be defending the Bush White House, insisting it was “no big deal” and not at all corrupt?

    Your hypothetical doesn’t accurately describe the current situation.

    Substitute “the acknowledged premier academic expert on the subject” for “a right-wing expert or Professor,” and now you have a fair hypothetical. To which I would respond as follows: every case gets evaluated on his own merits. There is no per se rule. And I absolutely reject your implicit suggestion that there should be a per se rule, because at the end of that street lies the complete inability of the Government to get useful information from outside experts. Is that what you’re really advocating?

  93. 93
    BTD says:

    @flounder:

    But should Peterson’s personal circumstances be included in coverage of what Peterson’s “research” shows? That is the question.

  94. 94
    Glenn Greenwald says:

    BURNSBPESQ

    Is there even one scintilla of evidence that Gruber’s results were influenced by the fact that he was being paid?

    Is there one scintilla of evidence that long-time GOP loyalist Armstrong Williams wouldn’t have supported Bush’s education bill in the absence of payment?

    Is there one scintilla of evidence that long-time social conservative Maggie Gallagher wouldn’t have supported Bush’s “pro-marriage” policies in the absence of payment?

    Is there one scintilla of evidence that the retired Generals wouldn’t have been every bit as supportive of Bush’s war policies had they not been meeting with the Pentagon?

    The answer is no.

    Everyone in non-disclosure scandals always claims that the undisclosed payments didn’t alter their opinions, and that’s often true.

    That’s totally irrelevant. Disclosure is imperative because people are entitled not to be deceived into believing someone is “independent” when they’re, in fact, not independent.

    Brad DeLong’s take on this is the one you haven’t yet effectively rebutted.

    Brad DeLong didn’t say a single thing I disagree with. In fact, I found his post somewhat bizarre, since most of what he said purportedly to refute what I wrote was, in fact, what I explicitly included in what I wrote:

    Nobody suggests that there’s anything wrong with hiring Gruber to perform modeling analyses and paying him to do so. That’s all perfectly appropriate; I’m all in favor of the Government’s retaining genuine experts (as Gruber is) for analysis. Nor has anyone claimed that Gruber changed his views because of these payments. The issue is the non-disclosure, and — most serious of all — the misleading attempts by the White House and others to depict him as being “objective” and independent rather than disclosing that he was being paid a significant amount of money by the very party whose interests his advocacy was advancing.

  95. 95

    @Glenn Greenwald:

    And again, you just totally miss the point. Even though I don’t really see what the problem would be in that scenario, other than maybe why people are being paid to “consult” on policy, “consulting,” as I take you to mean it, simply isn’t what Gruber was doing. Rather he was running different policy variations through a model to predict likely effects. He was essentially acting as a healthcare CBO.

  96. 96
    BTD says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    That’s your right. Obviously, even though I have found myself disagreeing with him a lot this past year, I do not agree with you.

  97. 97
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    I’m curious how long it would have taken someone who was citing Gruber – the MSM – to look up who he was and how he was being funded. If I understand correctly, not much, since he wasn’t hiding his funding.

    Gruber’s scandal is that he failed to start every speech and every editorial with “I’m getting paid by the NHS” (“Harriet Jones, former Prime Minister” ). But we’ve heard of this type of scandal before. When climate scientists first presented the “hockey stick” graph regarding climate change, Joe Barton asked them who there funding was coming from, which, according to Glenn and BTD, means that their testimony was suspect.

    The difference between Gruber and Williams to me is that Gruber was doing modeling and presenting his results, where Williams was making guesses. I have trouble impugning a guy because he doesn’t start his sentences with his employer; it’s those that actively hide their affiliation I have trouble with. As others have pointed out, if no one who receives government money is impartial, then only those who work for Wal-Mart, Exxon, and BCBS will be “independent” sources for policy making. The real question is what was (s)he doing.

  98. 98
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @BTD:

    Citing to Gruber is also an appeal to a different type of authority.

    I have no idea what Gruber cites, and I don’t think this thread is really about that. He did some analysis and got paid for it. He is cited as an expert in this particular field of modeling, maybe the top one, but his ideas, like all economists are not always known for their unfailing accuracy. And I am certain Obama knows this.

  99. 99

    @Glenn Greenwald:

    The CBO puts out scores the majority party doesn’t really want to see uite regularly.

  100. 100
    Glenn Greenwald says:

    BURNSPESQ

    And I absolutely reject your implicit suggestion that there should be a per se rule, because at the end of that street lies the complete inability of the Government to get useful information from outside experts. Is that what you’re really advocating?

    Please look up at the word “disclosure” – I just don’t know how to make the point any clearer than that.

  101. 101
    BTD says:

    @Chad S:

    Gruber did not confine himself to academic circles, he chose to engage in the public debate taking place in the Media. That is where the non-disclosure issue lies.

    In addition, the Obama Administration and Democrats chose to inject Gruber’s views into public debate and labeled him an “independent” voice, failing to disclose that he was being paid to work on the health bill.

    Again, I for one have looked at the information and do not think the contract colored his views. but everyone should have the information and the ability to make their own judgment on that.

  102. 102
    Glenn Greenwald says:

    BELAFON

    Gruber’s scandal is that he failed to start every speech and every editorial with “I’m getting paid by the NHS”

    This is completely false. As both the WP and the NYT said, they ASK everyone who writes an Op-Ed if they’re being paid by any parties with interests in the subject matter, and Gruber — falsely — said he wasn’t.

    Indeed, as the NYT wrote in the note they appended to his Op-Ed: “Professor Gruber signed a contract that obligated him to tell editors of such a relationship,” yet failed to do so.

    Moreover, the WH and its allies were affirmatively describing him as “objective” and depicting him as “independent”.

    So this has nothing to do with the fact that he failed to announce the payments every time he spoke. It’s about misleading the public about his relationship with the administration.

  103. 103
    SGEW says:

    [This] is not a major scandal imo. Though criticism to some degree is warranted.

    I think that this puts a finger on a major point of contention here – where one chooses to place one’s marker on the scale of “major,” whether or not it’s a “scandal,” and to what “degree” there should be criticism.

    John Cole appears to be on one end of the spectrum (there should have been more disclosure, but, in context, it’s nothing like the Williams or Gallagher affairs, which were truly scandalous), and Glenn Greenwald may be closer to the other end (non-disclosure itself, in this form, is definitionally corrupt; such corruption is inherently scandalous; and this deserves as much criticism as every other past incident of such non-disclosure).

    Perhaps this is about the specific and tactical use of certain words (“scandal,” “corruption,” “abuse,” etc.), and where one draws the line between ideal forms and pragmatic political strategy; a subject that has been endlessly kicked around in here.

  104. 104
    gwangung says:

    That seems a weak argument to me. Couldn’t anyone make that argument for non-disclosure? The “everyone knows I am an honest man ” argument?

    That seems to me a distortion of the arguments. It’s more along the lines of, “It’s consistent with his work in the past and you need to check the current analysis to see if it holds up.”

    Yes, there needs to be heightened scrutiny, but if the analysis holds up after the scrutiny, it holds up. Objecting to the analysis solely because of the funding is more of a short-cut than actual analysis (e.g., with anti-AGW paid shills, you can point to flaws in their analysis–that’s the real bone of contention, and not just their paid connections).

    Uwe Reinhardt has disagreed on Gruber’s pronouncements on the transference of health care benefits to wages.

    You can summarize that argument, of course?

  105. 105
    BTD says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    Gruber’s modelling prowess is not the basis of citing to him. He is cited as a top expert on health economics (which is true.)

    One bad cite to Gruber was John Kerry citing him as an expert on the transference of health care benefits into wages. He clearly is not an expert on that point. Indeed, if we are looking for discrepancies in his views, pre- and post- government contract, this is the area where it lies.

    Personally, I do not think the government contract influenced him in that area, but mileages may vary.

  106. 106
    Michael says:

    Greenwald is a legend in his own mind.

    I’m still trying to figure out whether he’s accomplished anything, ever, besides running his fucking mouth.

  107. 107
    valdivia says:

    This point has been made a few times on this thread and probably much better by the likes of Krugman and DeLong–academic research is most of the time funded by govt grants that go to the University to pay for one’s leave that term and for travel, research assistants etc. Every single respected academic be it in hard science or social science receives at some point in their career a govt grant.

    So are Greenwald et al now saying NO American academics are to be considered independent and have their research be considered credible because of a govt grant? This is just total ignorance of how academia works and projection of experience via the legal profession and think thank pseudo intellectuals onto the very structured way research is conducted by people within the ivory tower. The reason the hacks (well not all the people at think thanks are hacks) end up outside of academia is *precisely* because they have an agenda that would not pass muster in academic circles.

  108. 108
    BTD says:

    @gwangung:

    “Consistent with his work in the past” would generally lead to no disclosures, and seems only a variant on the “he is an honest man” argument . Consider Michael Chertoff. He made the same argument regarding his statements on the need for body scanners while he was receiving money from body scanner companies.

  109. 109
    Mary says:

    @BTD: And Glenn Greenwald has financial ties to Jane Hamsher and is pushing the same line as FDL. He should disclose those ties in all of his communications defending the FDL line. As he implies with Gruber, to not do so is…corrupt.

  110. 110

    @Glenn Greenwald:

    And, in a nutshell, this is why I’m not a big fan of your work; your lawyerly writing is often just transparently insufferable. To wit:

    A. You claim upthread that people being paid don’t generally say things those paying them don’t want to hear, implying, at the least, that Gruber had incentives to skew his results to be favorable to the administration.

    B. Someone points out that this isn’t true at all, because if Gruber was caught doing this, or if there was even strong suspicion he did this, his academic career would be over. At the very least, this strongly mitigates the incentives we’re supposed to see.

    C. Instead of doing the academic/intellectually honest thing and admitting to the hole in your logic, you waive your hands and move the topic to Armstrong Williams, a political hack and right-wing mouthpiece, instead of Gruber, a respected academic, to keep flogging the point.

    And, again, the continued comparisons to Williams leave your assertion that it’s “only about disclosure” ringing awfully hollow.

  111. 111
    BTD says:

    @Mary:

    Maybe he should. I do not know if that is still true though.

    I suppose I should disclose that I like Greenwald and communicate with him regularly.

  112. 112
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @BTD: Someone showed up here the other day with a Krugman quote that Gruber was maybe the best at modeling reform. That is what I based it on. Economics gives me migraines, or at least when it ventures into the weeds of wonk. :-)

  113. 113
    Chad S says:

    @BTD: Politicians and pundits asked him for his opinion on various proposals. He offered his opinion on whether they would work or not. I don’t see why he would be obligated to tell every pundits who quoted him that he did modeling work for HHS when he was doing that under the Bush admin especially since every single academic piece he did had the disclosure on it.

  114. 114
    BTD says:

    @gwangung:

    Probably not particularly well. Google would probably be more helpful than I on that.

  115. 115
    Quiddity says:

    How about the fact that Gruber is a bullshitter? From his Washington Post op-ed praising the Senate bill’s excise tax:

    “… most experts and Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation assume that most companies would not end up paying this tax but would instead reduce their insurance spending to below the threshold for the tax. And when firms reduce their insurance generosity, they make it up in higher pay for their workers.”

    Gruber has backpedaled the last assertion. Now he says that it’s something that most economist “believe in their hearts”. That’s faith, not economics. His empirical evidence? That health care costs were fairly stable during the late 90’s while wages went up (which was largely a tech-bubble time). That’s thin, and not a good data set, which Gruber now admits.

    And, as we’ve argued endlessly recently, Gruber thinks it’s great to tax the upper middle class instead of the rich. Why? Because some of those upper middle folks have a tax advantage. Gruber says that’s progressive. He wrote:

    “It would also be progressive, in that it would take from those with the most generous insurance to finance the expansion of coverage to those without insurance.”

    Many people, myself included, find the argument that the Senate bill is “progressive” to be absurd since it ignores the House bill’s taxation of millionaires. I read Gruber in December and thought that something was “off” with his op-ed. Now I learn that he didn’t disclose his relationship with the Feds, and the natural inclination is to view his op-ed as paid propaganda.

    What has happened to Balloon Juice and its commenters? Lately, I’ve seen a wild defense of Obama and a lashing out at any dissent, all in an uncivil manner. Tons of snark (I’m looking at you General Winfield Stuck), This blog used to be much less polemic and more measured in its tone. Greenwald made an unobjectionable post. Why does John jump on it? Cole is looking for enemies within the camp to extinguish, and I can tell you that it’s a total turn-off.

  116. 116
    Mary says:

    @BTD: I like Greenwald myself. I’m just calling it like I see it. And I have serious issues with his financial ties to Hamsher, who is the one responsible for manufacturing the Gruber scandal.

  117. 117
    BTD says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    “Suspect” is a loaded word. I prefer the word “context.”

  118. 118
    tim says:

    I am hoping it’s the Percocet, John.

    This isn’t a hard issue to understand. Gruber did not disclose the money he was accepting from the administration, despite having numerous opportunities to do so. Why the hell not? Just disclose and proceed.

    The fact that he didn’t do so raises the suspicion that there is something to hide. ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS, make full disclosure. It is not hard to do.

    And also, are there no qualified experts who are NOT on the government take who could have been quoted and consulted? Jeez.

    But you’re in one of your cranky, know it all moods, during which you should have learned by now given your past, to STFU.

  119. 119
    Osceola says:

    @John at 19:

    ” Having said that, I reject that receiving a grant to do research kills a scientist’s independence.”

    You are exactly right, John. And Gruber has a grant to study Medicare Part D. It was awarded to NBER with Gruber as Principal Investigator, and no one expects this grant to affect his academic and scholarly independence. The NIH granting mechanism assures this. I know because I have applied for and received NIH and other kinds of scientific grants.

    But Gruber did NOT get a grant for this particular work. He got a sole source consulting contract to use his “statistically sophisticated proprietary model” that has great “flexibility.” Those are weasel words that should make the bullshit detector of any scientist or layman to go to DefCon 4. What they mean is that a desired result can be obtained depending on the input, and “proprietary” means that we cannot independently evaluate the model. It matters not that Gruber is a respected and competent academic economist. He is. But that was not his role as a very highly paid consultant, and it should have been made clear that he was working on HCR as a paid consultant, essentially for the administration in the form of HHS. Instead, he was promoted by the Administration and John Kerry as an “independent” scholar. Again, he is exactly that when working on his NIH Grant, but not when he is working as a consultant. That does not mean that he is being dishonest as the consultant, but it does mean that he has a vested interest in the outcome of his work product. Or a very real conflict of interest, as it were, to any objective observer.

    Then there is the money. His NIH Grant will pay for student stipends, equipment, computer time, and part of Gruber’s salary at NBER or MIT. Aside from this and the prestige of having the grant and providing his institution with generous indirect costs (overhead), for a tenured professor that is a small financial reward. The consulting contract was awarded to Gruber directly. It was for more money than most people make in 20 years. Neither MIT nor NBER have anything to say about what he does with that money, aside from the fact that he probably must divulge the contract. A “proprietary statistically sophisticated flexible model” is a good thing for a consultant to have. And it is not unreasonable for anyone to wonder at how $780,000 might influence a consultant, while the outside payment of part of his salary might not have the same effect.

    And here is the thing: All Gruber, or the White House, or John Kerry had to do was make sure everyone knew, every time he was mentioned, that Gruber was an independent academic at one of our best universities working as a consultant on HCR. That would have protected Gruber and the WH from any controversy, ensured that Gruber was explicit about how he was not using his flexible model a little too flexibly, and given the rest of us the necessary information to evaluate Gruber’s input and output. It has been noted that at some time Gruber did disclose his relationship. But he doesn’t have the right to do that only some of the time. It is up to him to disclose all of his potential conflicts of interest every time. Don’t take my word for it. Ask the New York Times and Ron Brownstein. It is not up to us to check up on him.

  120. 120
    BTD says:

    @valdivia:

    Gruber was not engaged to do academic research.

    He was engaged to work on the health bill in Congress.

  121. 121
    Ash Can says:

    It occurs to me that what we have here, essentially, isn’t a difference in principle but a difference in degree.

    this would be a huge scandal business as usual if it were on the other side…

    Do I have a double standard? Damned right, I do. If a double standard can be defined as looking at two similar things in different ways, I have one in spades. Why? Because I’m far too shell-shocked by the venality of the previous three-ring trainwreck of an administration to be able to muster anything resembling outrage at one — as in single, as in individual — instance of questionable behavior that may or may not have had dishonesty as its impetus. I feel like I’m being asked to draw comparisons between a dog turd on the sidewalk and a landfill. The very thought of it makes my eyes glaze over, not to mention my ass thoroughly tired.

    Glenn Greenwald deserves kudos for coming here and discussing and clarifying his points, but he and his more earnest defenders lose me with the talk of corruption. I can see the “corruption” point on a technical basis; an instance of being coy with facts that have a direct impact on one’s message would meet the dictionary-definition standard of “characterized by improper conduct,” to quote Merriam-Webster Online. But is this something on par with the W Admin hackery? Bitch, please. This, I have a feeling, is the real reason the comparisons break down.

    Should we all be vigilant in regard to instances of wrongdoing by the Obama Administration? Absolutely. Should those instances be called out if and when they occur? I should certainly hope so. But to even imply, at such an early stage and in the face of considerable evidence to the contrary, that the current administration is similarly corrupt in comparison with the previous one, is simply ludicrous.

  122. 122
    gwangung says:

    “Consistent with his work in the past” would generally lead to no disclosures, and seems only a variant on the “he is an honest man” argument

    I think you STILL do not understand the argument. “Consistent with his work in the past” means that his current work builds on the past work. It extends it and furthers it. In a scientific context that is a HUGE thing, because all new work must be put into the context of past work, answering old questions and raising new ones.

    My point is that your objections are less substantive and more process oriented. It has more application to the future than to this particular instance; it has less power to this instance because you HAVE looked at the work and shown where it is wanting.

  123. 123
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    I will add, that I think Greenwald is a gifted and relentless dedicated researcher and did some good work during the Bush years. I just think he strays from facts, often in small ways, but important ones that steer his arguments into the fuzzy world between rigorous research methodology and opinion. Some recalibration could return his work to credible and serious, at least in my Obot mind. Just my opinion.

  124. 124
    AhabTRuler says:

    @Osceola:

    Those are weasel words that should make the bullshit detector of any scientist or layman to go to DefCon 4.

    I think you mean DefCon 2:

    DefCon 4: This refers to normal, increased intelligence and the heightening of national security measures.

    Common mistake, but pretty major.

  125. 125
    El Tiburon says:

    Shorter Glennzilla: This isreally about NON-DISCLOSURE. Let me repeat: NON-DISCLUSURE. Let me repeat for the slow learners out there: THIS IS NOT ABOUT GRUBER BEING CORRUPT, THIS IS ABOUT NON-DISCLOSURE

    Shorter Balloon-Juice: Why does Glenn insist on insisting Gruber is corrupt? Also right-winger crazy.

    Seriously people, OPEN your eyes, take a deep breath and read the original post. It is not that difficult.

  126. 126
    Demo Woman says:

    @tim: Did you actually read John’s post??? Reread it again because John said there should be transparency but the comparison to Williams was wrong… Gee.

  127. 127
    burnspbesq says:

    @Glenn Greenwald:

    So what is the appropriate amount of disclosure?

    If the awarding of the contract is appropriately disclosed by the contracting officer, in accordance with the applicable regulations, is that enough? I would say yes; the information is out there, and anyone who cares can go find it.

    My guess, based on what you have written here this morning, is that you would say no. So what do you want? The first footnote in the study? A footer on every slide of every PowerPoint presentation?

    Because what you are doing if you take a hard line on the quantum of required disclosure – whether you care to admit it or not – is creating a construct where the source of the funding supersedes the quality of the work as the subject of the public discussion. And whether you care to admit it or not, if that is the construct, then the result is as I stated earlier – the government is effectively precluded from getting the benefit of outside expertise unless the experts agree to provide it for free.

  128. 128
    Zach says:

    @Glenn Greenwald:

    only for it to be discovered that

    There’s the problem. His memo was published under his name without his department in the byline. It was funded by someone. 30 seconds on Google would’ve shown that he’d received several hundred thousand dollars from HHS and that HHS had identified him as the sole source of his variety of expertise prior to awarding the grant. Clicking on a link from there would’ve shown that his analysis was what he was paid for and that opinion pieces in NEJMed and newspapers weren’t funded by anyone; his position didn’t meet NEJMed’s requirements for disclosure within the text of his letter even though he did disclose it to them. Generally, academic journals have higher standards for this stuff than newspapers.

    It’s not Gruber’s fault that Politico doesn’t see fit to hire a fact checker or two to figure out where the stuff they regurgitate comes from. And given that WaPo routinely publishes opinion pieces with misleading or simply wrong author affiliations, I’d defer to the NEJMed’s practices. It’s not like they would’ve published this disclosure if they don’t see it fit to point out that the husband of one of their writers is the foreign minister of a country she’s defending.

    Also, WaPo’s letter submission page doesn’t say anything about disclosing conflicts in your letter; their automated reply upon submission does. And “no” was the correct answer to the question they asked; Gruber doesn’t identify the White House or HHS in his letter to the Post.

  129. 129
    Glenn Greenwald says:

    BRIEN JACKSON

    Instead of doing the academic/intellectually honest thing and admitting to the hole in your logic, you waive your hands and move the topic to Armstrong Williams, a political hack and right-wing mouthpiece, instead of Gruber, a respected academic, to keep flogging the point.

    Thanks for the laugh. So normal people are incentivized to opine in a way that accommodates the interests of those paying them hundreds of thousands of dollars — but not academics! They’re special and different. And no academic has ever engaged in intellectual dishonest for financial or ideological reasons – that doesn’t happen, so disclosure is unnecessary for those in such a pure and rarefied profession!!!

    Nobody is talking about fabricating data outcomes. Gruber did a lot more than just add up numbers. He was actively opining and participating in the health care reform debate — in ways involving both objective and subjective matters and much that was in between.

    I can’t even fathom the level of leader-loyalty necessary to claim that someone’s receipt of several hundreds of thousands of dollars from an administration whose policies he’s publicly defending need not be disclosed or isn’t a factor in assessing his credibility.

    Even Ron Brownstein, a fervent Obama-lover, said it was. The NYT published a Editor’s Note over it. That paper’s Public Editor described the non-disclosure as “embarrassing.”

    But in Obama-is-the-Infallable-Leader land, there’s nothing at all relevant about the receipt of hundreds of thousands of dollars, and nothing misleading about describing the recipient as “objective” and independent — because the guy was defending the Leader’s policies and, therefore, can do no wrong.

    Why not? Because he’s an academic!

  130. 130
    mikkel says:

    Whatever you think of Glenn’s comparisons generally, where is this “I guess his argument means that NO academics can be trusted” crap coming from? Anyone that has actually had a grant knows that you have to list funding sources on any work that is meant for public consumption. Period. Or they can take away your funding.

    Also I fail to see how it makes it better that he merely crunched numbers for specific policy proposals…doesn’t that make it worse?

  131. 131
    Why oh why says:

    Does that mean that every single medical study somewhat funded by federal money is now somehow suspect as having the outcomes guided to a government preferred solution?

    Economists are not scientists, and very few scientists (none?) in the whole country get hundreds of thousands of dollars directly from the White House.

    So this is not about some graduate student in physics getting a fellowship paid partly by government grants, through independent academic institutions. The amount of money Gruber received, and the way he received it, seem very unusual.

  132. 132
    MBunge says:

    “So this has nothing to do with the fact that he failed to announce the payments every time he spoke. It’s about misleading the public about his relationship with the administration.”

    Uh, is anyone actually aruging that more disclosure shouldn’t have been made? Is anyone saying that Gruber shouldn’t have stated he was being paid to do some modeling work for the government?

    The dispute is over how big of a deal that non-disclosure should be, specifically how much it should discredit or invalidate Gruber’s commentary on the health care issue. You can’t make a huge fuss over the non-disclosure without making an implication about Gruber’s credibility on health care. THAT’S what people are objecting to Glenn, though I suspect you’ll continue to be deliberately ignorant of that.

    Mike

  133. 133
    BTD says:

    @gwangung:

    In the discussion regarding Gruber’s practices related to disclosure when writing Op-Eds and otherwise engaging in the public debate on the health bill generally, and the excise tax specifically, yes my objection, which I understood most agreed with, was process oriented – Gruber failed to diligently disclose his contract with the Obama Administration.

    I have substantive DISAGREEMENTS with his policy prescriptions with regard to the excise tax. I agree with his policy prescriptions regarding the mandate, though as a political matter, I would advise that the mandates be sunsetted to allow the health care issue to be revisited in the future.

    This is a debate with many parts to it.

    I have engaged in parts of the debate.

    With regard to whether Gruber should have disclosed in his newspaper pieces and other engagement in the public debate, I thought everyone has sort of reached a consensus, he should have.

  134. 134
    Glenn Greenwald says:

    ZACH:

    It’s not Gruber’s fault that Politico doesn’t see fit to hire a fact checker or two to figure out where the stuff they regurgitate comes from.

    But it is Gruber’s fault that he breached his contract with the NYT and the WP which, as the NYT put it, “obligated him to tell editors of such a relationship.”

    How do you defend his doing that?

    And it is his fault that he submitted numerous Op-Eds, and comments continuously to reporters, on the President’s health care plan without revealing that he was paid a significant amount of money to work on that very plan.

    How do you defend that?

    And it is the WH’s fault that it described him as “objective” — and John Kerry’s fault that it depicted him as “independent” — at exactly the time he was working FOR the administration and the Senate Finance Committee in exchange for money.

  135. 135
    Mary says:

    @Glenn Greenwald: Your frothing at the mouth putdown of those on the opposing side of this debate detracts from your own credibility, sir.

  136. 136
    Osceola says:

    @AhabTRuler

    Thank you. It’s been a long time since I saw “War Games.”

    That would be DefCon2.

  137. 137
    AB says:

    I dunno, I find both Glenn’s and Krugman’s posts a little confusing. I guess I’m wondering what exactly the character of the money paid was. I think it does depend. For example, a scientist receiving a grant from the NSF to study climate change shouldn’t need to disclose that every time s/he talks about the need for climate change action (though it is generally the practice to enumerate grants in research papers published in scientific journals). And many people seem to be arguing that this was a mathematical modeling payment rather than one that involved crafting the policy.

    If it was his job to make health care policy, and he was cited as an independent expert to “approve” of it, then that’s an ethical violation, but if it was his job to do mathematical simulations, then its more of an appearance of a violation than an actual one.

    But again, I don’t really understand either of the posts too well, and I read Brad DeLong’s, too. And that guy at FireDogLake.

  138. 138
    Glenn Greenwald says:

    MBUNGE:

  139. 139
    Glenn Greenwald says:

    MBUNGE:

    The dispute is over how big of a deal that non-disclosure should be, specifically how much it should discredit or invalidate Gruber’s commentary on the health care issue.

    That’s ludicrous. Many unethical people can still make valid and insightful points.

    Did Armstrong Williams’ contract prove his opinions were invalid? No. Did Maggie Gallagher’s contract prove hers were? No. Did the retired generals’ involvement in the Pentagon program prove their claims were false? No.

    The issue — just like with Gruber — is that it was unethical not to disclose those relationships.

    And, in the Gruber case, it’s unethical for the WH to have depicted him as independent and objective when he wasn’t.

    Whether his conclusions about health care are correct or persuasive is a totally different issue.

  140. 140
    Ash Can says:

    @SGEW: In other words, and in short, this.

  141. 141
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Glenn Greenwald:

    But in Obama-is-the-Infallable-Leader land,

    Trademark Greenwald hysterical hyperbole. Newsflash, the difference between your – they are all corrupt land – and we here in the reality based community is that we don’t accept dissent ponies until there is good reason to, you know, like substantial evidence. In your realm any old swayback nag will do for wanking Obama fail.

  142. 142
    DCLaw1 says:

    I previously broke down into elementary pieces what I thought was the crux of Greenwald’s argument, which many still seem not to get. While there are certainly varying degrees of “corruption,” this sort of surreptitious payment and advocacy scheme does qualify as such because it does the following:

    (1) retains the public relations power of a seemingly independent, non-government observer, while simultaneously –

    (2) it provides the ostensibly independent observer with the additional financial capability or freedom to more profusely and thoroughly advocate the desired positions, with the added dynamic that –

    (3) despite any preexisting alignment of the advocate’s views with those of the government, human nature makes it nearly impossible not to be influenced by substantial outlays of money, influence which can take the form of skewed conclusions, elimination of doubt or inconsistent data, or increased enthusiasm for the desired position, all of which benefit the government’s goals in the arrangement.

    On point three, it matters not that a very limited class of experts could peer review Gruber’s work, because such spats among experts – except in rare instances where one expert’s conclusions are blatantly skewed – generally do not get much traction with the general public. What instead matters most to the public are the ultimate conclusions and opinions expressed by the administration expert, and, most importantly, the degree to which that expert has been held out as independent.

    Ultimately, doubters here really need to consider whether they would have engaged in similar minimizing tactics if the Republican mirror image of this had occurred under Bush.

  143. 143
    Phaedrus says:

    Summary :

    Glenn : when Armstrong did what Gruber did the left wing freaked out!

    Others : they’re not the same because Gruber is right.

    Glenn : it’s not about right, it’s about disclosure.

    Others : but Armstrong was a hack, Gruber is an academic.

    Glenn : see above.

    Others : you’re making too big a deal about it.

    Glenn : I’m comparing your response to the two.

    Others : they’re not the same thing – Armstrong was wrong….

    Glenn : *sigh*

  144. 144
    Jim says:

    Somehow I doubt that Hamsher and Wheeler and co. would have done their groundbreaking shoeleather work on Gruber if the bill was for single-payer and all else remained constant. To the contrary, I’m virtually certain they’d be citing “MIT expert and leading health care economist Jon Gruber” in just about every single post made on the topic.

  145. 145
    eemom says:

    @Glenn Greenwald:

    Since you’re such a passionate advocate of disclosure, how about responding to Mary’s point above:

    “Glenn Greenwald has financial ties to Jane Hamsher and is pushing the same line as FDL. He should disclose those ties in all of his communications defending the FDL line. As he implies with Gruber, to not do so is…corrupt.”

    How about a full disclosure of your financial relationship with FDL and its sources of funding, Mr. Greenwald?

  146. 146

    @El Tiburon:

    And again, methinks the lady doth protest too much. Because no one that I’ve seen, certainly not Krugman, has come down on the side of less disclosure. Everyone has agreed that Gruber should have been more diligent in disclosing the contract, the disagreement is in regards to how important that is.

    And please, Greenwald is calling Gruber corrupt. Remember, Glenn’s a lawyer; you have to pay close attention to how he turns his words. So where someone might imagine the non-disclosure as an honest slip, Greenwald has characterized it as an attempt to mislead the public. And government, or people working in the public sphere in general, deliberately attempting to mislead the public is corrupt. At least I consider it to be. And of course there’s the comparison to Williams and Gallagher. So while no, Glenn hasn’t actually said “Gruber is corrupt,” when you unpack everything else he’s actually saying, he’s calling Gruber corrupt, albeit without coming out and saying it, hoping the reader will draw that conclusion on their own. It’s a good lawyer trick.

  147. 147

    This is not on Greenwald and Gruber, but General Winfield Stuck’s comment. The General posited: “My problem with Greenwald is that since some of his good work on revealing the Bush crimes, he has fuzzed issues by promoting toxic terms to claim or insinuate that Obama is doing the same with things like rendition, state secrets, eavesdropping, etc….”

    A lot of what Bush’s Administration did Obama and the Dems seem to be comfortable with not changing. Or even prosecuting. The “Obama” Justice Dept has defended some of the Bush Admin’s more odious intrusions on civil liberties. Not only with the continuation of the wars, but also with the lack of prosecution of what used to be violation of law (like torturing and murder). Maybe you can parse a difference between torturing and not prosecuting for torture. At a certain point it either means that you are going along with the policy or you don’t have the power to change the policy. This goes for federal benefits for gay couples, etc.

    So Democrats with sixty votes in the Senate can’t pass a single-payer, can’t apparently pass anything but health care that is more favorable to insurance companies than citizens. Obama seems unable or unwilling to change Bush policies that have been deleterious to individual liberties. The Republicans could pass just about anything they wanted with fifty votes and a cussing VP stumbling across the Senate floor. Meanwhile, Obama’s policies have favored Wall Street over the average worker (but, oooh, he got angry at banks the other day). We’re still in double-digit unemployment.

    As far as eavesdropping and if it is or isn’t occurring under Obama, has the NSA sent you a report on who they are or aren’t listening in on? It wasn’t Bush who was personally tapping people’s phones.

    This is epic fail. If being Republican Lite is Obama’s strategy, you might notice from the various elections around the country that it isn’t working. When people are told to be patient, that the bankers got their billion-dollar payouts but it may take a couple more years until there’s a job for you, there will be some people who will think that the mythologies of the Republican Party are more soothing than the shoulder-shrugging that’s coming from the White House. That’s how fascism works, a failed “leftist” party and eschatological promises from the right. “I know there’s a heaven because I’ve been to hell”.

  148. 148
    BTD says:

    @Jim:

    This is possible, even probable. In terms of disclosure, surely the position of Wheeler on the excise tax has been fully disclosed.

  149. 149
    Bill H says:

    Nobody is saying that Gruber was paid by the Obama Administration to say anything. Try this scenario.

    Obama Administration goes to Gruber and asks what its policy should be on inverterbrate flagellates. Gruber, who is an expert on those things, says, “I think you should sterilize all inverterbrate flagellates.”

    The Administration publishes a policy of sterilizing all inverterbrate flagellates, and it turns out to be very controversial. So It says to the public, “Well, don’t take our word for it. Here’s an independent expert on inverterbrate flagellates. Ask him what he thinks,” and names Gruber.

    Gruber says, “I think we should sterilize all inverterbrate flagellates.”

    The Administration then says, “See, that proves we had the right idea.”

    Gruber wasn’t paid to change his mind, or paid to say anything, and there is no “corruption” per se. What is corrupt is that the Administration is leading you to believe that there are two ideas here, their’s and Gruber’s, when in fact there is only one, Gruber’s which they have adopted, and this is Greenwald’s complaint.

  150. 150
    FlipYrWhig says:

    You know what’s _really_ scandalous? Sometimes high-ranking military officers go on TV and tout the benefits of military action!

  151. 151
    Zach says:

    @Glenn Greenwald:

    This is completely false. As both the WP and the NYT said, they ASK everyone who writes an Op-Ed if they’re being paid by any parties with interests in the subject matter, and Gruber—falsely—said he wasn’t.
    The WaPo says Gruber responded, “no.” when asked if he had, “received any funding, for research or otherwise, from organizations or persons identified in the column.” This was the correct answer. His Times piece was exclusively about his ongoing quest to point out that the health benefits tax break is stupid; a quest that stretches back well before the Obama administration, a period in which he’s received numerous government contracts to do the exact same thing.

    And, of course, the Cadillac tax was never the Obama administration’s preferred funding mechanism. If they felt like bribing a supposedly independent expert, they would’ve found one to support their preferred method (capping charitable deductions) or their second most preferred (surtax on the wealthy). Had Gruber been hired by Max Baucus there’d be a more reasonable objection here.

  152. 152
    Glenn Greenwald says:

    How about a full disclosure of your financial relationship with FDL and its sources of funding, Mr. Greenwald?

    Sure – zero. I’ve never received a penny from Jane Hamsher, FDL or any of FDL’s “sources of funding”.

    I have no idea what this little innuendo is about. I do recall from the Bush years how critics of the Leader would endure all sorts of nasty discrediting campaigns from the Leader’s most slavish followers, so it’s very unsurprising to see the same behavior repeating itself here.

    But neither Jane Hamsher nor FDL provide me with a single cent and never have. The very suggestion is stupid.

  153. 153
    DCLaw1 says:

    Zach –

    If they felt like bribing a supposedly independent expert…

    Greenwald has never made or implied this assertion.

  154. 154

    “Greenwald is calling Gruber corrupt.”

    Anyone have a citation on that? I must have missed it. That suggests a little hypersensitivity here. As soon as we begin to start constructing straw men we might want to step back.

    +++

    By the way, the “Cadillac tax” was rejected by organized labor. Are they being dumb? I mean, if they are passing up lower health insurance costs and higher wages for their members they’d have to be real stupid, right? And Gruber is a scientist so he must be right, eh?

  155. 155
    Mary says:

    @Glenn Greenwald: You and Hamsher started the AccountabilityNow Pac to collect money, which Hamsher was using to pay herself. You most certainly do have financial ties to Hamsher and your lawyerly denial makes me lose respect for you.

  156. 156
    Demo Woman says:

    @Glenn Greenwald: No one is disagreeing about transparency. Gruber should have disclosed federal funding and by not doing so he has caused some on the left and right to question his findings. So, question his findings but don’t make silly comparisons.

  157. 157
    eemom says:

    The very suggestion is stupid

    .

    Wow, there’s a measured and professional response.

    So, who/what does fund your, uh, “work”? We have a right to know, don’t we?

  158. 158
    FlipYrWhig says:

    I’m really fucking fed up with Glenn Greenwald’s pose as The Last Honest Man, and how everyone else is thoroughly corrupt, either with money or with fandom or with sundry unsound ideas. It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase Extreme Unction.

  159. 159
    Zach says:

    @Glenn Greenwald:

    But it is Gruber’s fault that he breached his contract with the NYT and the WP which, as the NYT put it, “obligated him to tell editors of such a relationship.”

    I’d like to see the contract and don’t really get the Times mea culpa. For another article, Gruber disclosed his contract to a Times reporter and they didn’t publish it because it wasn’t important. If disclosing this contract required full disclosure, Gruber would also be required to disclose every other bit of funding he’s ever received to study the effect of eliminating the health benefit loophole.

    And his July Times Op-Ed, which was probably written before he’d completed any analysis under his contract, came before the Cadillac tax was even up for debate.

  160. 160

    @Glenn Greenwald:

    people are incentivized to opine in a way that accommodates the interests of those paying them hundreds of thousands of dollars—but not academics! They’re special and different.

    There you go again. Of course, I didn’t say they were “special and different,” I pointed out that you were misidentifying Gruber’s incentives in the interim term, which wouldn’t seem to me to risk throwing away his career.

    And no academic has ever engaged in intellectual dishonest for financial or ideological reasons – that doesn’t happen, so disclosure is unnecessary for those in such a pure and rarefied profession

    And, again, no one is saying things shouldn’t be disclosed.

  161. 161
    maye says:

    @Glenn Greenwald: Do you hold any positions (steering committees, etc.) on any FDL fundraising groups?

  162. 162

    eemom, that was silly.

  163. 163
    SGEW says:

    I didn’t think it was possible, but this thread is taking an ugly turn.

  164. 164
    gwangung says:

    @SGEW: Oh, I think it was distinctly possible. Even probable.

  165. 165
    eemom says:

    @Bob In Pacifica:

    so are you, Janebot.

  166. 166
  167. 167
    maye says:

    I’m just holding him to his own standard. Is that bad?

  168. 168
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Bill H:

    What is corrupt is that the Administration is leading you to believe that there are two ideas here, their’s and Gruber’s, when in fact there is only one, Gruber’s which they have adopted, and this is Greenwald’s complaint.

    That’s really “corrupt” to you? Even if this is how it worked, why isn’t that tantamount to saying “We designed our policy after talking to the leading experts in the field, and those experts would be happy to tell you why this is the right path”?

  169. 169
    MBunge says:

    “And, in the Gruber case, it’s unethical for the WH to have depicted him as independent and objective when he wasn’t.”

    Again, who’s denying that? The argument is over how much that behavior should discredit or undermine Gruber’s commentary on health care. In comparing Gruber, a noted academic, to a political hack like Armstrong Williams, you’re clearly arguing that it should discredit Gruber a great deal. If you’d just admit that’s what you’re doing, it would clear up any confusion felt by people like Cole.

    And to pretend that you don’t understand the significance of a possible financial relationship between you and Hamsher or FLD in this discussion is what is truly ludicrous.

    Mike

  170. 170
    AhabTRuler says:

    I didn’t think it was possible, but this thread is taking an ugly turn.

    Everyone pretty much had their opinions set before they walked in the door. This is about personality, not policy.

  171. 171
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Bob In Pacifica:

    Maybe you can parse a difference between torturing and not prosecuting for torture. At a certain point it either means that you are going along with the policy or you don’t have the power to change the policy. This goes for federal benefits for gay couples, etc.

    First off there are is a special prosecutor investigating what happened as we speak. And I think 3 or 4 others of one kind or another on the subject. I know it was announced for excesses to the Bybee memo, but these investigations will need be thorough to what and all that happened, to make any decisions on prosecuting anyone. It was good politics to call it that.

    Second of all, for Obama to pull the plug on the Bush era lawsuits because Glenn Greenwald, or you, want him to, would be due to political pressure. Or, just like Bush would have done. They were in the Judicial system and the judicial system will decide their fate. As they should, devoid of political pressure. I am actually heartened and pleased with this decision by Obama to return separation of powers.

    As far as anyone knows, eavesdropping is being done by current law like it was done before Bush, or the recent FISA legislation, which means that the FISA court is involved. Though if you oppose that current law, as I do, then it will sunset in 3 or so years and then we can raise hell to get it changed.

    Otherwise, get back to me when there is evidence that Obama is torturing people systematically like Bush, or rendering them for same, or anything else illegal. Or covering up crimes by invoking State Secrets, the State Secrets that have been used since around 1950 or so and are considered legally acceptable. Unless covering up crimes. And there is pending legislation to hopefully make that harder to do. Along with about a thousand more bills to clean up Bush’s mess. Takes time, It just does.

    So you don’t like what Obama is doing, or how he is doing as president. That’s cool. But when making specific charges of malfeasance, you will need to provide evidence.

  172. 172
    Phaedrus says:

    From above :

    So, who/what does fund your, uh, “work”? We have a right to know, don’t we?

    I’m really fucking fed up with Glenn Greenwald’s pose as The Last Honest Man

    hmmmmm.
    I’ve found Glenn’s opinions well researched and consistent. I find his detractors opinions generally off topic, full of straw men, mis-attributions and obnoxiously partisan. This thread is a perfect example of Glenn repeatedly – and I mean repeatedly – refuting his critics positions directly and clearly. Their last refuge is ad-hominem attacks.

  173. 173
    Mary says:

    @SGEW: Of course this thread is taking an ugly turn. The same argument that Greenwald is making, that we can assume that Gruber is unethical and corrupt, can be turned on Greenwald acting as FDL’s backstop on the manufactured Gruber scandal. Greenwald and Hamsher have their own financial ties which he does not disclose even though he acts like he’s all about disclosure. It makes us question his objectivity, especially when he throws out a lawyerly denial of those financial ties.

  174. 174
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Also very scandalous: Al Gore speaking out on climate change. Of course he wants to make you worried about climate change! He makes money from it! It’s not that he believes in what he’s saying and wants to get his ideas in circulation, IT’S ALL A SCAM! [anguish] [resigned sigh]

  175. 175

    maye, do I smell the tar bubbling?

    If Glenn turns out to be funded by Jane Hamsher’s personal slush fund, then shouldn’t that be an issue?

    And if Gruber got a contract last summer from HHS, then became a spokesperson for the Democratic Party’s various health care financial mechanisms, shouldn’t that be an issue?

    You can’t have one without the other. By wanting to ride Greenwald out of town for an imagined connection between people of similar opinions, aren’t you admitting that disclosure is important?

  176. 176
    Glenn Greenwald says:

    MARY:

    Do you hold any positions (steering committees, etc.) on any FDL fundraising groups?

    No, and I never have.

    Keep tossing crap in the hope that something will stick — generally, the way it’s supposed to work is that you have knowledge, and THEN make accusations: but when there’s a critic of your Leader who needs to be discredited, feel free to invert that process.

    I spent years enduring this kind of slime from Bush followers, and it’s no different when it comes from Obama followers.

  177. 177
    eemom says:

    @maye:

    and he’s gotten awfully quiet all of a sudden.

  178. 178
    Sean says:

    What is really inexcusable is that Greenwald utterly fails to mention that the Armstrong Williams payments were illegal payments for propaganda according to the GAO:

    Armstrong Williams Payments Illegal, Says GAO
    Submitted by Benton Foundation on October 3, 2005 – 7:29am
    Last updated: February 20, 2008 – 9:22pm

    The Government Accountability Office says Bush administration payments to broadcast commentator Armstrong Williams to promote its “No Child Left Behind” policy were illegal, according to Rep. George Miller (D-CA), ranking member of the Education and Workforce Committee and one of the leading critics of the Department of Education’s PR contract with Williams. In a report requested by Sens. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), the GAO found that the payments–around $250,000–violated prohibitions on funding “covert propaganda.” The DOE’s own investigation found no illegality in the awarding of the contracts, though it found problems with oversight that the department pledged to address, leaving it to GAO to rule on the legality of the practices cited. GAO also found a Ketchum Communications media analysis of public attitudes toward the Bush administration and Republicans illegal, said Rep Miller Friday.

    Does anyone think that Gruber was an illegal propagandist? The it is inexcusable that a lawyer would fail to address this point. Greenwald’s equivalency is completely intellectually sloppy and dishonest.

    If Glenn caught somebody who was on the opposite side of an argument being this misleading he would be absolutely merciless. Will he hold himself to the same high standard? Doubt it.

  179. 179
    eemom says:

    @eemom:

    And I’m still waiting for an answer to this.

  180. 180
    AB says:

    Oh well, I guess this thread got internet-ized.

    Who is up for cookies.

  181. 181
    Mary says:

    @Phaedrus: Wrong again. Greenwald poses as so squeaky clean that he discloses that he is a consultant to ACLU when he pushes their line. But he does not disclose his ties to Hamsher when he pushes her line. It is absolutely legitimate to question this discrepancy.

  182. 182
    gwangung says:

    maye, do I smell the tar bubbling? If Glenn turns out to be funded by Jane Hamsher’s personal slush fund, then shouldn’t that be an issue? And if Gruber got a contract last summer from HHS, then became a spokesperson for the Democratic Party’s various health care financial mechanisms, shouldn’t that be an issue?

    Um, isn’t their point that Glen ISN’T funded by a slush fund and that it’s similar to Gruber?

    Let’s not distort things more than it’s already being done.

  183. 183
    maye says:

    @Bob In Pacifica Review:
    Both sides have stipulated that disclosure is important. Greenwald takes it further into “corruption,” and Cole says that’s too far.

    Mary says Greenwald has ties to Hamsher’s PAC. He denies the charge.

    Did I miss anything?

  184. 184
    Step2 says:

    Is there one scintilla of evidence that long-time GOP loyalist Armstrong Williams wouldn’t have supported Bush’s education bill in the absence of payment?

    Is there one scintilla of evidence that long-time social conservative Maggie Gallagher wouldn’t have supported Bush’s “pro-marriage” policies in the absence of payment?

    Is there one scintilla of evidence that the retired Generals wouldn’t have been every bit as supportive of Bush’s war policies had they not been meeting with the Pentagon?

    The answer is no.

    That is all true, but it raises the question of whether or not Gruber has been critical of the health care reform legislation for not doing enough to contain costs. The answer to that is yes.

  185. 185
    Mary says:

    @Glenn Greenwald: The bottom line is that you do not deny your ties, financial and otherwise, to Hamsher through the AccountabilityNow Pac. You should disclose this information just as you disclose your ties to ACLU if you want to maintain your squeaky clean reputation.

    And the Dear Leader stuff…knock it off. I would have hoped you were better than that.

  186. 186
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Phaedrus: Glenn works hard, which is cool, and is generally on the right side. But oh my God does he believe in his own righteousness, where to disagree with his view is a tragic flaw indeed. That’s why every piece is _so long_, so that it can look towering and irrefutable. He needs a big dose of self-doubt and humility.

  187. 187
    Glenn Greenwald says:

    MARY:

    You and Hamsher started the AccountabilityNow Pac to collect money, which Hamsher was using to pay herself. You most certainly do have financial ties to Hamsher and your lawyerly denial makes me lose respect for you.

    I founded Accountability Now right on my blog – as publicly as possible. I’ve written multiple times about the work I do in managing it. Jane and I — along with an Executive Director — are the only three people ever to work for it, all of which is fully disclosed. Every time I’ve ever mentioned Accountability Now, I link to my founding of that group and the fact that I continue to run it. That’s what “disclosure” means.

    If I wrote about a candidate who had been recruited and was supported by AN without mentioning my position with the group, that would be a non-disclosure failure. I never have and never would.

    I also consult with the ACLU. Nobody would ever claim that I only began caring about civil liberties once I began consulting with them. I’ve been working on — and writing about — civil liberties for many years, long before I began consulting with them. Nobody could possibly suggest that I’ve changed my opinion one iota as a result of my contractual relationship with them.

    Despite that, I regularly disclose that relationship on my blog, and do so when the ACLU is the topic of my post.

    That’s not because anyone could suggest that that relationship alters my opinion on the ACLU or civil liberties – it plainly doesn’t. It’s because that’s what honest disclosure requires — when you are being paid by someone with an interest in what you’re publicly advocating, basic honestly compels transparency about it.

    Go try your sleazy Bush tactics — critics of the Leader must be personally discredited — somewhere else.

  188. 188
    BTD says:

    @Mary:

    Problem is Greenwald apparently has nothing to disclose. he has answered every query in this thread.

  189. 189
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Glenn Greenwald:

    I spent years enduring this kind of slime from Bush followers,

    Yes, woe unto thee, another episode of torment in The Passion Of The Greenwald. So much have you endured for our many sins.

  190. 190
    Mary says:

    @maye: Greenwald does not deny that he has ties to Hamsher through the AccountablityNow PAC. He merely issues a lawyerly denial that Hamsher or FDL paid him. Nowhere does he address the issue of the AccountabilityNow PAC.

  191. 191
    CaseyL says:

    @Glenn Greenwald:

    But in Obama-is-the-Infallable-Leader land, there’s nothing at all relevant about the receipt of hundreds of thousands of dollars, and nothing misleading about describing the recipient as “objective” and independent—because the guy was defending the Leader’s policies and, therefore, can do no wrong.

    And that “… in Obama-is-the-infallable [sic]-Leader-land” crap is where you lost me for good, because that reveals (inadvertently, I’m sure) what your agenda is.

    Here are the issues we keep raising that you keep refusing to respond to:

    Gruber did state that he’d gotten federal funding. Just once, yes, but once is enough: I don’t need or want researchers who have otherwise sterling credentials and blameless reputations to sound like they have Tourette’s Syndrome and bleat who they get funds from every time they speak on a subject. Anyone who needs to know Gruber’s funding source can find it with a minimum of fuss and bother; it’s not like Gruber was actively concealing his funding source.

    Gruber is also a scientist and a researcher and SFAICT no one has accused him of actual dishonesty in his data or in his interpretation of it. Are you? Are you saying that he willfully skewed either his data or what the data mean? If not, then you have no issue.

    Actually, you do in fact have no issue. With the magic words “But in Obama-is-the-Infallable-[sic]-Leader land” you showed, not that that Gruber has an agenda, but that you certainly do. No one here is defending Gruber in order to defend Obama; we’re defending Gruber because we understand that federal research money does not, in fact, taint the people who get it – and, in fact, anyone who insists that taking federal research money does taint the research has just delegitimized, oh, about 75 years of scientific research in general and medical research in particular. Which is of course ridiculous on its very face.

    And so: By revealing your astonishing ignorance about research, federal funding of; and by tying our defense of said research into an assumed defense of Obama; and, accordingly, by dismissing our disagreement of your charges as defending “Obama-the-Infallable[sic]-Leader,” you have fatally undermined whatever point you’ve been oh so laboriously trying to make.

  192. 192
    MBunge says:

    “Keep tossing crap in the hope that something will stick—generally, the way it’s supposed to work is that you have knowledge, and THEN make accusations”

    Uh, Glenn? Does that describe your comments on the supposed corporate “deal” between Fox News and MSNBC to eliminate the back-and-forth criticism between the two? I seem to recall you saying a bunch of stuff based only on reports which Keith Olbermann blasted as flatly untrue.

    And I love how asking The Last Honest Man for the same information he demands of others is “tossing crap”.

    Mike

  193. 193
    Phaedrus says:

    @mary
    The same argument that Greenwald is making, that we can assume that Gruber is unethical and corrupt,

    Perfect example of stupid. Glenn has made the exact opposite argument – that Gruber’s work is sound and good. How do people like you function in the real world? Do you try to drive your washing machine to work? It boggles my mind what people will say when they just simply don’t like the messenger.

    Glenn’s point was that the same people who spoke out about Armstrong Williams, the Pentagon group, etc., remained silent or even defended Gruber.

    He’s repeatedly shown how their actions were the same, repeatedly stated how he’s not taking issue with Gruber’s actual views or models, and all that’s left is shit throwing.

  194. 194
    Sean says:

    Glenn says:

    I also consult with the ACLU. Nobody would ever claim that I only began caring about civil liberties once I began consulting with them. I’ve been working on—and writing about—civil liberties for many years, long before I began consulting with them. Nobody could possibly suggest that I’ve changed my opinion one iota as a result of my contractual relationship with them

    Funny but if you substitute “HHS” for “ACLU” and “healthcare” for “civil liberties” Jonathan Gruber could defend himself using the exact same words.

  195. 195
    Mary says:

    @BTD: Greenwald needs to answer the very direct questions posed to him about the AccountabilityNow PAC, which directly ties him to Hamsher.

    We’re waiting…

  196. 196
    What Constitution? says:

    The “Armstrong was wrong and Gruber is right” meme, along with the conscientious avoidance of the the NYT’s observation that Gruber was contractually obligated to disclose his interest and answered “none” falsely here, seems oddly reminiscent of the way the “failure to pay taxes” problems of several Obama appointees was ignored by many who would have pounced on a Republican. “Oh, I was supposed to pay taxes on that income? I forgot” was basically accepted.

    Of course, if no amount of additional corroboration of the illegality of the Bush torture regime is sufficient to cause anybody to revisit the “settled” policy of ignoring flagrant illegalities because they were “in the past”, who is to complain about merely failing to disclose a potential bias that is not demonstrably coupled with actual academic fraud. Right, Krugman? Ethics are relative and their applicability is dependent upon whether you like the result. Like — as the Bush presidency postulated and the Obama presidency is accepting — law itself.

  197. 197
    gwangung says:

    Frankly, I disagree with Greenwald. But I understand his reasoning; it’s his conclusions I disagree with, and that, only mildly. It’s certainly not anything to get huffy about.

  198. 198
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Glenn Greenwald:

    Keep tossing crap in the hope that something will stick—generally, the way it’s supposed to work is that you have knowledge, and THEN make accusations: but when there’s a critic of your Leader who needs to be discredited, feel free to invert that process.

    The supreme arrogance of this is a thing of wonder. This is who you respect Mr. Cole. Not I./

  199. 199
    AhabTRuler says:

    Frankly, I disagree with Greenwald. But I understand his reasoning; it’s his conclusions I disagree with, and that, only mildly. It’s certainly not anything to get huffy about.

    With that attitude the entire blogosphere might wither away.

  200. 200
    Parole Officer Burke says:

    @gwangung:

    It’s certainly not anything to get huffy about.

    Everything is something to get huffy about on the internet.

  201. 201
    MBunge says:

    “I founded Accountability Now right on my blog – as publicly as possible. I’ve written multiple times about the work I do in managing it. Jane and I—along with an Executive Director— are the only three people ever to work for it, all of which is fully disclosed. Every time I’ve ever mentioned Accountability Now, I link to my founding of that group and the fact that I continue to run it. That’s what “disclosure” means.”

    So, why exactly did the question have to be asked repeatedly before you would deign to answer it?

    Mike

  202. 202
    Desert Mouse says:

    The problem I have with Mr. Greenwald is his sanctimony and very thin skin. He will never admit he might have gone a little too far in impugning the character of a very highly regarded academic. He simply doubles down on his righteousness and anyone who dares criticize simply has blinders on for our “dear leader.”

  203. 203
    Mary says:

    @Phaedrus: Greenwald argues that both Gruber and the White House are unethical and corrupt for failure to disclose the financial ties. We are simply asking him to disclose his own ties to Hamsher in all cases where he is pushing her line (as he never fails to do with the ACLU) as it was Hamsher’s shop that manufactured this scandal. He won’t do that. Instead, he issues lawyerly denials and has his groupies point to long ago disclosures (which Gruber also has!).

    And his Dear Leader argument is disappointing in the extreme.

  204. 204
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Phaedrus: So it was all just another installment in the never-ending Greenwald series, “Everyone’s A Hypocrite But Me.”

  205. 205
    DCLaw1 says:

    Now that Greenwald has shown that he adheres to the same disclosure standards he expects from the administration (and past administrations), will the people making unfounded allegations (1) admit that they were wrong and (2) acknowledge that they have implicitly embraced Greenwald’s original point?

    Somehow, I doubt it.

  206. 206
    MBunge says:

    “Glenn’s point was that the same people who spoke out about Armstrong Williams, the Pentagon group, etc., remained silent or even defended Gruber.”

    But those people have defended the quality of Gruber’s research and the credibility of his views, NOT his lack of disclosure.

    Mike

  207. 207
    Glenn Greenwald says:

    MBUNGE:

    I seem to recall you saying a bunch of stuff based only on reports which Keith Olbermann blasted as flatly untrue.

    From Keith Olbermann:

    I honor Mr. Greenwald’s insight into the coverage of GE/NewsCorp talks, and have found nothing materially factually inaccurate about it.

    Now, what were you saying?

  208. 208
  209. 209
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Desert Mouse: He _has_ to do the “Dear Leader” stuff because it’s what proves that he is very honest and brave and clearsighted, unlike the rest of us, who are corrupt, cowardly, blinkered partisans. Only to know the Tao of Greenwald is to avoid the taint of this wretched world.

  210. 210
    Jamey says:

    Glenn- Here is where I think the Williams/Gruber comparison breaks down. Independent analysts can review Gruber’s data set and statistical methods. The same can not be done with Williams, because he was just a paid hack being a paid hack.

    True, but not the point Glenn was trying to make, at least not as I grokked it. Williams would have reached his conclusions irrespective whether the Bush II admin paid him–and that is the reason they paid him. But they did not pay him to espouse a particular point of view. Splitting hairs, but then we’re talking about the folks whose political forbears coined the phrase, “plausible deniability.”

  211. 211
    Mary says:

    @MBunge: Good. We expect to see Greenwald disclose his ties to Hamsher each and every time he pushes her line, just as he does with the ACLU. This is a point we should all agree on.

  212. 212
    BTD says:

    @Mary:

    Fairly sure he did. But YMMV.

  213. 213
    tomvox1 says:

    @Glenn Greenwald:

    Sure – zero. I’ve never received a penny from Jane Hamsher, FDL or any of FDL’s “sources of funding”. I have no idea what this little innuendo is about.

    Well, as a co-founder with Hamsher of “Accountability Now PAC,” it is a reasonable question to ask, especially if, as has been asserted around these parts previously, Hamsher does use some funds from that PAC for her own travel and personal (I assume advocacy-related) expenses.

  214. 214
    eemom says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    The supreme arrogance of this is a thing of wonder. This is who you respect Mr. Cole. Not I./

    Indeed, especially considering that his esteemed colleague and Act Blue partner Jane Hamsher is a veritable platonic form of She With Whom You Dare Not Disagree, not to mention slinging shit with no evidence.

  215. 215
    DCLaw1 says:

    The strikingly personal direction in which some have taken this thread regarding Greenwald, when there is nothing substantively justifying it, is both unfortunate and indicative of the weakness of the positions of the people taking it.

  216. 216
    AhabTRuler says:

    The fact that the Obama administration isn’t in the same league as the prior one in terms of corruption (they’re plainly not), or that the Gruber matter isn’t a “huge scandal” (it isn’t), is irrelevant. If it’s wrong, it’s wrong, and in terms of exposing and condemning it, that should be the end of the consideration.

    Admittedly, it’s from the end of the article, so some people may have missed it.

  217. 217

    General, your argument seems to be that it takes awhile to turn around ocean liner. What I see is no public attempt to change many odious policies from the Bush Administration. If you want me to google specific Bush policies that either haven’t stopped or been publicly repudiated then you’ll have to wait. I’ve got seven hours of football ahead of me.

    But you criticize Greenwald for criticizing Obama, and his criticisms are along similar lines to my criticisms. In times of economic dislocation (eight years ago it was “in times of the terrorist threat”) what criticism is appropriate? Criticism you agree with?

    Did the Democrats, like Kerry who promoted Gruber on the Senate floor, know that Gruber was getting a few hundred thousand dollars from HHS? And if Kerry knew that Gruber was hired for a couple hundred thou last July wouldn’t it have prudent to acknowledge that he was a government employee?

  218. 218
    Demo Woman says:

    @Mary: He did answer at #186. Shorter Glenn he and Jane founded the pac.
    It’s all about transparency.

  219. 219
    Glenn Greenwald says:

    MARY

    We are simply asking him to disclose his own ties to Hamsher in all cases where he is pushing her line (as he never fails to do with the ACLU) as it was Hamsher’s shop that manufactured this scandal. He won’t do that.

    I’ve directly and fully addressed every slimy, reckless, false accusation you’ve tossed at me — which is far more than you deserve:

    First, you claimed I was getting paid by FDL, Hamsher and/or FDL’s “funding sources”; asked me if that was true, and I said it wasn’t.

    Then, you asked if I was on FDL’s steering committee, and I said I wasn’t (I didn’t even know they had one).

    Then, you asked me about Accountability Now, and I detailed my involvement in that group at great length — all of which has been fully disclosed many times before: by me, on my own blog. I founded the group RIGHT ON MY BLOG. I have sole managerial responsibilities for that group, though Jane has managed it with me in the past and we have an Executive Director. Any time I have ever mentioned Accountability Now, I’ve linked to my founding of it. I’m quoted in media accounts frequently as its founder and a manager – how could it be more public?

    Yet you keep repeating that I refuse to answer your questions and am failing to disclose something. It’s sleazy innuendo on your part and any minimally honest person can see that.

  220. 220
    Mary says:

    @eemom: I don’t believe Hamsher has ties to Act Blue. I thought she did at one point but I don’t believe she does. God knows she has tainted everyone and everything to which she has ties so it’s important to keep Act Blue out of it.

  221. 221
    Mary says:

    @Glenn Greenwald: Glenn, we’re looking for the same level of disclosure of your ties to Hamsher as you exercise with respect to ACLU and which is the entirety of your argument against Gruber. I trust we’ll see this in the future since you are not really disagreeing with me.

    In addition, please do not attribute to me comments that I did not make. It’s unfair and unethical.

  222. 222
    MBunge says:

    “Now, what were you saying?”

    Exactly what I said before, that your commentary on the subject was based on reports which Keith Olbermann blasted as flatly untrue, which he again states in the essay to which you linked. Keith obviously figured out that telling you everyone else was lying EXECPT YOU was the right way to handle you.

    Mike

  223. 223
    Folderol and Ephemera says:

    By the way, what the hell do Jane Hamsher, FireDogLake, or Keith Olbermann have to do with the substance of Glenn Greenwald’s article?

  224. 224
    terry chay says:

    The dangers of FDL’s argument are obvious. It’s basically a form of ad hominem that taken to it’s logical conclusion gives anyone a broad brush to discount any research ever done.

    Academics like Krugman have seen this happen before and know it’s consequences—it’s a nuclear option. Thus, they’re more likely to take umbrage. When you think of the network of trust involved in academia, you realize that people abusing it is a high crime. It’s also explains why they get so incensed on implications of plagarism, faked data, etc. There morals are such that they must always honor the big “T” Truth, first.

    Lawyers like Glenn Greenwald live in a world high on ethics and low on morals. It is their world to use the best argument to advance their position, without considering the consequences: a responsibility of judge and jury. Honestly, it matters little to him what the truth is, that’s for the court of public opinion to sort out.

    We don’t know the truth, but there is no indication that Gruber did anything different than he would usually do, nor any indication that HHS had anyone better to pick to do the study. If Gruber were more politically savvy, he’d have disclosed his relationship, but that’s it.

  225. 225
    Phaedrus says:

    @Mary

    Greenwald argues that both Gruber and the White House are unethical and corrupt for failure to disclose the financial ties

    Do you disagree? please explain your answer….

    He’s made it very clear, repeatedly, that Gruber broke contractural requirements for disclosure – is that not unethical?

    He’s also made it clear that the administration and Kerry’s classifying Gruber as independent, while paying him hundreds of thousands dollars, was unethical.

    Those were the points of the original post and they stand on their own merits.

    If you have evidence of monetary compensation Greenwald has gotten from someone who benefits from his writing (aside from Salon) – then out with it.

  226. 226
    eemom says:

    @tomvox1:

    bingo, and it is exactly this which reveals the disingenuousness behind Mr. Greenwald’s sneering dismissal of our inquiries.

    “I have no financial connection to Jane Hamsher! I just happen to partner with her in control of a fund to which exactly one other person has access, and with respect to the expenditures from which neither she or I provides a word of accountability to our readership, EVER.”

    Yep, that’s disclosure for ya.

  227. 227
    MBunge says:

    “I’ve directly and fully addressed every slimy, reckless, false accusation you’ve tossed at me—which is far more than you deserve”

    How the hell are the questions you’ve been asked either “slimy” or “reckless”? You might not have liked the tone, but they were simply asking you for the same disclosure you’re throwing a fit about in others. The fact the questions had to be asked more than once before you substantively answered them is your fault.

    Mike

  228. 228

    DCLaw1 wrote: “The strikingly personal direction in which some have taken this thread regarding Greenwald, when there is nothing substantively justifying it, is both unfortunate and indicative of the weakness of the positions of the people taking it.”

    I am now a Hamsherbot, or something, because I believe in public disclosure. Do I now get a bit of her huge slush fund or is Greenwald going to hog it all?

    Meanwhile, let’s walk past that big contract to Gruber. Nothing to see there.

  229. 229
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    Until Glenn Greenwald discloses everyone who gives him money to do what he does, I am of the mind to say STFU. Ditto Jane Hamsher, Andrew Sullivan, etc. Show us your pay stubs, you pristine MFers.

  230. 230
    LT says:

    @SGEW: I think you get it just right.

    John Cole appears to be on one end of the spectrum (there should have been more disclosure, but, in context, it’s nothing like the Williams or Gallagher affairs, which were truly scandalous).

    I think many people here need a lesson in why non-disclosure itself is very important. That whole “He failed to disclose, I agree. So?” stuff is very hard to understand.

  231. 231
    Desert Mouse says:

    Mr. Greenwald, you have made it personal by implying that those of us criticising your hit job on a highly respected individual are simply blinded by our loyalty to our “dear leader.” I have seen you do it time and again to anyone who dares criticize your writing. I don’t believe I have ever seen you admit you could be wrong or that you may have gone too far.

  232. 232
    DCLaw1 says:

    Yet again we see that one way to ignore and forget about inconvenient features of one’s own team is to fixate on the imagined imperfections of people pointing out those inconvenient features.

  233. 233
    eemom says:

    @Mary:

    I meant Accountability Now, sorry.

  234. 234
    Mary says:

    @Phaedrus: I’m sorry, did Greenwald deny that he is taking money out of his and Hamsher’s PAC? I must have missed that.

  235. 235
    Irrelevant,YetPoignant says:

    Glenn Greenwald must immediately disclose his connection to Mary Elizabeth Williams’ sycophantic coverage of Conan O’Brien in Salon!

  236. 236
    Citizen_X says:

    Just for reemphasis, AB posted Gruber’s public (ahem!) contract announcement from the government (it’s right here).

    Now for comparison, here is the letter from the GAO to Lautenberg and Kennedy, which Glenn linked to, about Armstrong William’s contract.

    These two things are not alike. Gruber is hired to produce “a technical memorandum on the estimated changes in health insurance coverage and associated costs and impacts to the government under alternative specifications of health system reform.”

    Armstrong, on the other hand, was paid to produce

    two television ads and two radio ads “promoting NCLB,” to be broadcast during Armstrong Williams’s radio and television shows…for the Secretary and other Department officials to appear from time to time as studio guests to discuss the NCLB Act; a 6-month advertising campaign in “The Right Side” with Armstrong Williams, with “bonus ads” during Black History month and on Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday…[and that] Mr. Williams “utilize his long term working relationship with America’s Black Forum, where he appears as a guest commentator, to encourage the producers to periodically address the No Child Left Behind Act.”

    The latter, as the GAO complains, “violated the publicity or propaganda prohibition.” Gruber was doing an analysis. He should have disclosed it more diligently in public, but he was not directly paid to be a propagandist like WIlliams.

  237. 237

    By the way, I’m expecting everyone who attacked Greenwald here to produce detailed copies of their income too. That’s fair, right?

  238. 238

    @tomvox1:

    Out of curiousity I checked AN’s website this morning, and it turns out they haven’t had an update sine April 30, and have announced no candidates they’re backing. Not even Winograd.

    Bang up job, real hardcore activism that.

  239. 239
    eemom says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    He plainly will NOT tell us who gives him the money to do what he does, since I’ve asked that twice already and haven’t gotten so much as a “Dear Leader”ish smear of a response. He’s talked about Accountability Now and the ACLU, but he seems not to want to answer that one very simple question. Interesting.

  240. 240
    Osceola says:

    @CaseyL

    “Gruber did state that he’d gotten federal funding. Just once, yes, but once is enough: I don’t need or want researchers who have otherwise sterling credentials and blameless reputations to sound like they have Tourette’s Syndrome and bleat who they get funds from every time they speak on a subject.”

    Wrong. If a scientist gets any outside financial support for his or her work this must be disclosed every time the work is presented. It is not up to his audience to check on this. And if the support comes in anything other than a GRANT from a disinterested source (NIH, NSF, AHA, ACS, MDA, March of Dimes) the obligation is actually heightened. In this case HHS is the equivalent of Lilly/GlaxoSmithKline/Pfizer funding any kind of pharmaceutical research or ExxonMobil funding energy research. Besides, your appeal to authority (“sterling credentials and blameless reputations”) is not something any legitimate scientist would ever accept, so why should you? I have heard hundreds of scientific talks in my time, both formal and informal, and I cannot remember a speaker ever failing to acknowledge his or her sources of support and funding.

    “Gruber is also a scientist and a researcher and SFAICT no one has accused him of actual dishonesty in his data or in his interpretation of it.”

    Gruber is a scientist and researcher, and apparently a very good one as far as that can be true of a discipline such as economics, where starting conditions have such an impact on results (unlike, e.g., physics, chemistry, genetics). But he was also a very well paid consultant on this matter, and he must disclose this so that his interlocutors can take this into account.

    “And so: By revealing your astonishing ignorance about research, federal funding of; and by tying our defense of said research into an assumed defense of Obama…”

    This is not about federal funding of research, and it is not Glennzilla who is demonstrating ignorance about federal funding of science here. It is about a consulting contract and the work product from that contract. That HHS paid for the consulting contract does not magically turn the resulting work into “federally funded research.”

  241. 241
    Why oh why says:

    By the way, what the hell do Jane Hamsher, FireDogLake, or Keith Olbermann have to do with the substance of Glenn Greenwald’s article?

    They’re all traitors: they criticize Obama when all he’s trying to do is fight AlQaeda and Republicans, with the help of noble “independent” “scientists” like Gruber.

  242. 242
    MBunge says:

    “Gruber was doing an analysis. He should have disclosed it more diligently in public, but he was not directly paid to be a propagandist like WIlliams.”

    This.

    Mike

  243. 243
    DCLaw1 says:

    Bob in Pacifica –

    I’m still waiting for people to demand I disclose any money or financial incentives I’m getting from: Glenn Greenwald, Salon, Joan Walsh, FDL, Jane Hamsher, Jane Hamsher’s friends, Accountability Now, or any other person or entity that has ever made an argument similar to the ones I have made here.

    Then, if I don’t answer instantly, as their repeated and increasingly frantic demands pile up, I will be held up to suspicion for “refusing to answer” for so long.

    I mean, where there’s hallucinations of smoke there’s fire, right?

  244. 244
    eemom says:

    @Bob In Pacifica:

    We’re not public commentators and high profile political activists, dearie. You’re being silly, just like me.

  245. 245
    BTD says:

    @eemom:

    Um, pretty sure his blog is at Salon. Pretty sure Salon pays him.

  246. 246

    eemom, do you have your W-2s ready to show all of us? Fair is fair, right?

    Or do you believe that your revenue streams have nothing to do with this discussion?

  247. 247

    @AhabTRuler:

    And, again, the lady doth protest too much.

  248. 248
    Zach says:

    @Bob In Pacifica:

    Meanwhile, let’s walk past that big contract to Gruber. Nothing to see there.

    Hop in a time machine and go back to mid-June 2009 when Gruber’s contract began. The Obama administration was pushing for capping charitable donations to fund health reform. The TriCom House bill decided to tax people making more than $350k per year. By mid-July, policy wonks and economists like Gruber were grumbling that neither house of congress would ever compromise with the other on this, and that eliminating the benefit loophole was a better idea and would bend the cost curve.

    How in the world was the grant something suspicious given that Gruber opposed the plan they preferred when HHS first drew up its funding proposal in May? How was advocating this plan in his self interest vis-a-vis his contract with a department that had other aims? Go check the Google timeline for “Cadillac tax” … there’s basically zero discussion of it as a likely outcome of the health debate until the Finance negotiations started up.

  249. 249
    burnspbesq says:

    @DCLaw1:

    Do you have a substantive point to make? If so, make it. If not, back under the bridge with you.

  250. 250
    LT says:

    @Ash Can:

    Glenn Greenwald deserves kudos for coming here and discussing and clarifying his points, but he and his more earnest defenders lose me with the talk of corruption.

    What about Gruber’s contract with the NYT? I don’t see how anyone can say that doesn’t at least the look of corruption. Did it slip his mind?

  251. 251
  252. 252
    R. Porrofatto says:

    I can’t believe I read this entire thread. Gruber should have disclosed his work for the administration. One line disclaimer. End of story and shouldn’t be near the deal it’s being made.

    But this is totally untrue:
    And [Greenwald] is right, this would be a huge scandal if it were on the other side…

    From a Dem perspective maybe. But the certainty of death doesn’t come close to the certainty that you will never, ever, see a thread like this on a conservative web site about something similar one of their own might have done. Never. It’s why we lose a lot even when we win.

  253. 253
    DCLaw1 says:

    eemom:

    We’re not public commentators and high profile political activists, dearie.

    Yes, but how are we supposed to know that if you don’t immediately disclose all your financial relationships?!

    You must answer immediately with all such disclosures to avoid further suspicion.

  254. 254

    eemom, go digging and find out all about Greenwald’s money. And then EXPOSE him. I’m especially interested in the Hamsher angle. Do you think her slush fund is as big as HHS’s budget?

  255. 255
    Mary says:

    @Brien Jackson: As one of the donors to the AccountabilityNow PAC, I do feel that I have the cred to express my revulsion and disappointment that it appears to have been operated as a giant slush fund for Greenwald and Hamsher and their pals.

    And I take great offense at Greenwald telling me, a donor, that I do not deserve any answers on these issues.

  256. 256
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Bob In Pacifica: The right to criticize runs both ways. I don’t get whiny when people disagree with me. And make statements implying I am not being tolerant of those people. I haven’t told anyone to shut up, or accuse them of trying to destroy an Obama supporter, at least I don’t think I have. It is only Greenwald who is crying about us trying to destroy critics of Obama. The way I look at it is that it’s all a political free fire zone. No one gets banned here, and everyone has the ability and right to counterattack those who have attacked them.

    Though I do think criticizing a president you supposedly support with dubious and half baked accusations is destructive for the cause of keeping wingnuts out of office. And unless I am mistaken, the blogs owner sees it the same.

    And yes, for me to take you seriously with your broad charges against Obama, you will have to provide examples of Obama lawbreaking, which are, by the way, the “odious” practices of Bush that I am concerned with. Otherwise, it’s just a disagreement with policy. And if you don’t like Obama’s style or practice, then you should find another candidate that does. You can voice your dissent all you like on this blog and others, but I reserve the right to disagree in the way that suits me, as you are free to do. Free country and all that.

    And Yes it does take a long time to turn around this large ship of state called America. It should be obvious.

  257. 257
    Phaedrus says:

    @mary :
    Greenwald came with evidence – do you have any? Link to it, I’ll read it.

    See, that’s called doing the ground work.

    “When did you stop beating your wife?… What? I’m just asking a simple question” – see, that’s called smearing. If you don’t have some sort of evidence, it’s fishing, smearing, throwing shit (there’s lots of names for it). It’s what you’re doing right now.

    Early on you disagreed with Greenwald’s premise that Gruber and the Admin acted unethically and corruptly. I’m waiting for your explanation on what points he’s wrong (this is the third time I’ve asked for it).

    The real point, of course, was that there was a left wing freak out about this behavior (Glenn participated in that) – and now many of the same people want to defend Gruber because… well, he’s one of “us” (Glenn is not participating in that).

    Partisan behavior is a pet peeve of my own, and I think that is what attracts me to Greenwald. While I have not always agreed with him, I do not find his views changing in the least with the party affiliation of his target.

  258. 258
    Bill Arnold says:

    Glenn,
    The argument is that the level of importance, as scandal, of non-disclosure when disclosure is mandated, can vary depending on the profession of those involved. (This is distinct from any legal ramifications of failure to disclose).

    Follow-the-money is always a useful heuristic, but, for example, if one has 15 minutes to determine the beliefs and biases of an academic it is usually more useful to spend that time skimming abstracts of their last 10 papers plus their web site plus any recent public statements. These can have more predictive value than funding sources.
    This applies to any profession where consistency of the contents of the body of work is important. To a much lesser extent, yes, it applies to Williams or other pundits.

  259. 259
    Why oh why says:

    – Bush has tortured people to death; Obama covers it up, and secretly kills civilians all around the world too.
    .
    – Yes, but have you ever smoked marijuana? That’s against the law too. So? Answer the question! Criminal!

  260. 260
    maye says:

    @Bob In Pacifica:
    No, because we are not claiming to be holier than thou.

  261. 261
    burnspbesq says:

    @Osceola:

    If a scientist gets any outside financial support for his or her work this must be disclosed every time the work is presented.

    Sez you and who else? If this is a known requirement of some body that has the authority to promulgate standards, that’s one thing. If it’s some aspirational thing that you wish for, that’s quite another. Which is it?

  262. 262
    AntonC says:

    @burnspbesq

    Do you have a substantive point to make? If so, make it. If not, back under the bridge with you.

  263. 263

    @Phaedrus:

    I thought Glenn wasn’t accusing anyone of corruption?

  264. 264
    Mary says:

    @Bob In Pacifica: Well, there were in fact hundreds of thousands involved in the AccountabilityNow PAC, since you brought it up. Not that the amount matters, as Greenwald would be the first to argue.

  265. 265
    BTD says:

    @Zach:

    You write

    Hop in a time machine and go back to mid-June 2009 when Gruber’s contract began. The Obama administration was pushing for capping charitable donations to fund health reform. The TriCom House bill decided to tax people making more than $350k per year. By mid-July, policy wonks and economists like Gruber were grumbling that neither house of congress would ever compromise with the other on this, and that eliminating the benefit loophole was a better idea and would bend the cost curve.

    Do you have a link for that? I have been trying to run down the basis of Gruber’s claim that the Obama Administration opposed what he wrote in his July 2009 NYTimes Op-Ed.

  266. 266
    DCLaw1 says:

    burnspbesq –

    The fact that you don’t like what I’m saying doesn’t make it insubstantial.

    Here’s a good example of an insubstantial comment, however: implying that someone is merely a “troll,” without saying anything else.

  267. 267

    burnspbesq, while we’re throwing out ad hominems to limit dissent here, can you define what you believe is a troll? Someone who disagrees with you?

    And burnspbesq, I haven’t seen you around here much. How can you prove that you aren’t one of Cass Sunstein’s paid political internet operatives?

  268. 268
    The Sheriff's A Ni- says:

    Obviously we need a Sarbanes-Oxley for government-funded academics and internet bloggers to force them to disclose everyone who ever paid them ever every time they open their mouth, otherwise they’re dishonest, scanadlous people you can’t trust because they’re just As Bad As Bush.

    Meanwhile, Citizen_X just made two-thirds of the thread irrelevant in one fell swoop. Not that it will sway the manic progressives.

  269. 269
    BTD says:

    @Mary:

    Have you made a formal request to Accountability Now for the information you seek? Have they refused to provide it?

  270. 270
    Warren Terra says:

    Greenwald and Hamsher are marketers of outrage. This is fantastic when there are real outrages, and the Bush administration was exceptionally rich in them. The Obama administration isn’t free of them, either, and with a little bit of ability to discriminate, Greenwald and Hamsher could be incredibly useful. But remember that old line about “this one goes to eleven? Greenwald starts at eleven, and goes up from there. And the problem is, when everything is apocalyptic then nothing is especially bad.

    The especially ironic thing in this thread is that Greenwald (and Hamsher, etc.) are asserting out that Gruber should be discredited because he gets his money from the government. Well, Greenwald and Hamsher get their money from fomenting outrage – especially Greenwald, because his readers have to work up a real head of steam to work their way through to the ends of his interminable posts. Does the same argument therefore discredit Greenwald, because his financial interests dictate that he must always be proclaiming the end of the world as we know it?

    BTD, on the other hand, is just a troll. It takes some doind to get banned from the GOS, but Armando doesn’t lack for the requisite talent or determination. I do like the ludicrously inapt name he has given himself (or more precisely renamed himself), though. Is he sticking to the acronym because the incongruity and hypocrisy of the full form simply became too insupportable?

  271. 271
    eemom says:

    @Bob In Pacifica:

    “Do you think her slush fund is as big as HHS’s budget?”

    Oh, I’m sorry, I must have misunderstood. I thought we were talking about principles here.

  272. 272

    Phaedrus at 253: Yes.

  273. 273
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Bob In Pacifica:

    Um, last I checked, eemom wasn’t the one calling people out for their financial connections. If you’re going to go down the financial influence road, you need to be willing to lay out those w-2s. I admire a lot of what glenn greenwald does, but I also think he has weak spots, just like we all do.

    Re: w-2s – I am paid by a large midwestern state university which shall remain nameless.

  274. 274
    LT says:

    @Mary: Mry you are, from this view, the one doing the @Glenn Greenwald:

    Sure – zero. I’ve never received a penny from Jane Hamsher, FDL or any of FDL’s “sources of funding”.

    Mary? Mary?

    I sense frothing.

  275. 275
    maye says:

    @Mary:
    If it’s a PAC, doesn’t it have to file annual reports with the FEC? Does it have to breakdown admin. outlay?

  276. 276
    BTD says:

    @Warren Terra:

    Everyone markets something. Let’s not pretend the bloggers you like don’t.

  277. 277
  278. 278

    @DCLaw1:

    Well considering we’re to take that Greenwald’s issue is solely regarding something no one has of yet taken any particular disagreement with, then yes, questioning the veracity of the argument is rather important.

    And I don’t see anything wrong with asking Glenn to outline his standards for disclosure in these matters.

  279. 279
    Zach says:

    @burnspbesq: He’s right, generally. You’re required to disclose who funded the research you’re presenting and whether you have any competing financial interests. Individual institutions also have internal rules… I have to disclose if I own more than 5% of any company, for instance. As with similar things, this requirement is often glossed over in less formal settings than academic publications. Almost any hour-long presentation you go to on a college campus will include one slide where the researcher thanks “the money” for about 0.2 seconds.

    The problem is that Gruber had no competing financial interests and, in the July editorial that the Times is so embarrassed about, was not discussing research results but simply trying to educate Times readers that eliminating the health benefit loophole is not a tax. When he discussed a particular plan that his research had covered in the New England Journal of Medicine, he disclosed his employment.

  280. 280

    @Citizen_X:

    Exactly. The idea that the problem with the Armstrong Williams deal was simply disclosure is laughable, and drawing the comparison requires me to conclude Greenwald either isn’t familiar with what Gruber or Williams were doing, or that he’s intentionally being disingenuous with his claim that it’s “only about disclosure.”

  281. 281
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    BTD, on the other hand, is just a troll.

    Regardless of the past, I must dissent with this. BTD, or Armando has handled himself admirably when he visits BJ. He is often wrong, imo, but has been respectful. Almost to a fault, cause it makes me act decent when I don’t feel like acting decent that is my default in these matters.

  282. 282
    burnspbesq says:

    @AntonC:

    See, e.g., comments 77, 92, 127, and 260 on this thread.

    There is a difference between advancing the conversation and trollery. Those of us who try in good faith to advance the conversation have earned the right to call out what appears to be trollery.

  283. 283
    Arun says:

    I’ll note that nowhere did Greenwald call Krugman a hypocrite, and yet anyone who read the essay, including Krugman himself, would get the implication. Similarly there is the implication of Gruber’s corruption.

    Krugman’s charge of FDL creating a fake scandal was on the mark – I did receive a Jane Hamsher email with the title like huge scandal brewing, and claiming that this Gruber business undermined the entire health care reform bill. Greenwald writes that he never even saw the letter. (I received the letter presumably because either I had once made a donation or I signed one of their petitions.) He implies, but does not explicitly state that he does not endorse the ideas in that letter.

    The whole issue of disclosure – which virtually everyone agrees was needed – is muddied by extreme comparisons, and all the attendant implications and connotations, which Greenwald simply doesn’t admit are there.

  284. 284
    Mary says:

    @BTD: I have perused the FEC returns, BTD, and I am comfortable in making the argument that the FEC returns to date indicate that the AccountabilityNow PAC was operated as a giant slush fund for Greenwald and Hamsher and their pals.

    How very tea-partyish. In fact, I no longer wonder why Hamsher put out the call for the tea partiers to join her cause.

  285. 285
    LT says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    Keep tossing crap in the hope that something will stick—generally, the way it’s supposed to work is that you have knowledge, and THEN make accusations: but when there’s a critic of your Leader who needs to be discredited, feel free to invert that process.

    The supreme arrogance of this is a thing of wonder. This is who you respect Mr. Cole. Not I./

    Hey, unfair. Mary is throwing unfounded accusations out there. Totally called-for response.

  286. 286
    DCLaw1 says:

    @Brien Jackson:

    And I don’t see anything wrong with asking Glenn to outline his standards for disclosure in these matters.

    Nobody – not even Glenn, I would imagine – would disagree with “asking Glenn to outline his standards for disclosure in these matters.” The problem, rather self-evidently, is when people make unfounded and reckles insinuations about him when he has repeatedly shown a high degree of transparency in his own affairs and professional relationships, particularly as a tactic to minimize or distract from the substantive point he was making.

  287. 287
    burnspbesq says:

    @Zach:

    Thanks for the info.

  288. 288
    BTD says:

    @Mary:

    That is a pretty serious charge, Do you plan to do anything about it?

  289. 289
    The Sheriff's A Ni- says:

    @Mary: Are these available online?

  290. 290
    maye says:

    @Mary:
    Have you filed a complaint with the FEC?

  291. 291
    LT says:

    @Sean:

    I don’t know if it was an accident, but you left off the point GG was making:

    I also consult with the ACLU. Nobody would ever claim that I only began caring about civil liberties once I began consulting with them. I’ve been working on—and writing about—civil liberties for many years, long before I began consulting with them. Nobody could possibly suggest that I’ve changed my opinion one iota as a result of my contractual relationship with them.

    Despite that, I regularly disclose that relationship on my blog, and do so when the ACLU is the topic of my post.

  292. 292
    AhabTRuler says:

    @Mary: Then by all means prepare a report, or at least a blog-post, laying out your argument with some documentation.

  293. 293
    Zach says:

    @BTD: It’s a little difficult because the Obama administration was in its doomed “hands off and let Congress sort it out” stage as far as public advocacy on the health bill went. The charity cap was what was in Obama’s budget. Obama came out in favor of the Cadillac tax in his September address.

    Here’s an article discussing funding options Finance was looking at in May, when HHS decided to fund Gruber’s analysis:

    Non-health-related items remain in the mix, including capping the deduction on charitable donations, which received a chilly welcome on Capitol Hill after President Barack Obama proposed it in his budget.

    Baucus gave one of the clearest signals yet that limiting the tax-free status on employer-based insurance remains a serious option. Obama opposed it during the campaign and repeatedly went after Republican John McCain for making it the centerpiece of his health care plan. Labor unions are also against it. Yet the idea is attractive because of the money it could generate: $250 billion annually if the deduction was lifted altogether.

  294. 294
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @LT: Mr. Greenwald and his article are the subject of this thread. Not Mary. Besides, the quote by Mary that prompted GG’s response was just a question, and a fair one, I think.

  295. 295
    BTD says:

    @Zach:

    I remember like that, except I can not pin down the date when Orzag endorsed the excise tax, which was, as I recall, the first time the Obama Administration took a view on it.

    In short, I think Gruber is overstating the case when he says that the Obama Administration was opposed to the excise tax in July 2009 when he penned his NY Times Op-Ed.

  296. 296
    Mary says:

    @maye: I’m not litigious. I gave them $50. I am hardly going to litigate over that. I am, obviously, ticked off and I think my questions have been entirely legitimate. For Greenwald to say that I don’t deserve any answers just further irritates me.

  297. 297

    General, the next election is Tuesday. It would be nice to see a little more activity. At least moving around a few deck chairs. If the Democrats lose in Massachusetts that should at the very least be a wakeup call. Even if they manage to pull it out (which I think is what will happen) it should be a yardstick for how poorly the message is being received.

    That’s not my opinion. And no, I am not deluded enough to think that my criticism of the Administration for not doing enough (or Hamsher’s or Greenwald’s criticisms of Obama) makes any dent in the general perception of fail. Most people on the street don’t know or care about FISA. They care about their paychecks.

    That a bunch of people here at Balloon Juice are so offended by criticism of Gruber’s non-disclosure of financial arrangements reveals a sensitivity and protectiveness of Obama that strikes me as bordering on true-believer-ism.

    When you start criticizing someone for pointing out obscure financial relations you might as well put your fingers in your ears and start yelling, “Shut up! I don’t want to know.” The vituperativeness of the chorus is telling.

  298. 298
    BTD says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    She’s gone quite a bit further since then. She is now accusing Greenwald of running a slush fund (presumably for personal gain) through Accountability Now.

    That is a very serious charge. If she truly believes that, she should substantiate it imo.

  299. 299
    Mary says:

    @AhabTRuler: I’m not a blogger, just a commenter. My understanding is that the press is already looking into these issues and that more information will come to light when the 1/31 or 2/1 reports are published.

  300. 300
    John Cole says:

    I see this thread went to hell during my nap.

  301. 301
    eastriver says:

    @Chas:

    100% agreement.

    You’re becoming a knee-jerk knee-capper, JC. Deep breath.

    Glenzilla speaks simple truth.

  302. 302
    R. Johnston says:

    High profile academic researcher accepted government grant money!

    This is a “disclosure” along the lines of me disclosing that I breathe air. Maybe if I ever write an op-ed I should disclose that I’m not an artificial intelligence program.

    Glenn is so far off base here that he’s reminiscent of Posada and Cano having a meeting near third. The worst case scenario for what happened here is a clerical error, and the idea that Glenn’s column is all about non-disclosure is a farce, because the nondisclosure here is so benign that no one writing in good faith about this nondisclosure would ever spend a few thousands words harping on it. Glenn is engaged in defamation, pure and simple, and he owes many people an apology. As a lawyer, Glenn should know better and should be disciplined by the bar.

    Glenn, you should be ashamed of yourself. And readers of Glenn should be ashamed of him until such time as an extremely contrite apology is issued.

  303. 303

    That a bunch of people here at Balloon Juice are so offended by criticism of Gruber’s non-disclosure of financial arrangements reveals a sensitivity and protectiveness of Obama that strikes me as bordering on true-believer-ism.

    Except no one’s “offended” by criticism of the non-disclosure; where people are taking umbrage with Greenwald is in the implicit accusation of corruption he makes, his criticism of Krugman’s criticism of FDL, and indirectly, FDL’s attempt to cultivate a scandal in order to hurt the effort at HCR.

  304. 304
    Mary says:

    @BTD: What would you call a PAC that turned all of its donations back around to founders and friends? I would call it a slush fund. The tea-partiers did this too.

  305. 305
    Sean says:

    @LT

    Did Glenn disclose his working relationship with Jane Hamsher in his post on Gruber. I didn’t see it. Please correct me if I’m wrong. Maybe that’s why he quickly switched to discussing the ACLU rather than Hamsher.

  306. 306
    burnspbesq says:

    When you wade through all the craziness on all sides (including my own), this is really a theological argument between different beliefs about the corrosive effect of money on public discourse.

    Greenwald and his followers appear to believe (he has never said this explicitly, but I think it is a reasonable inference from his body of writing) that because man is corruptible, all men must be presumed to be corrupt, and the burden of proving lack of bias is on the person receiving money to do research or analysis.

    I accept that man is corruptible, but I am inclined to believe that there are an institutional culture and a set of institutional incentives that mostly constrain academic researchers from being whores for whoever wrote the last check. If you believe as I do, then you say they should disclose where their money comes from, but should be judged on a case-by-case basis as to whether money has improperly influenced their work.

    And in this case, on the totality of the known evidence, I find Gruber not guilty.

    YMMV.

  307. 307
    Osceola says:

    @burnspbesq 261

    “Sez you and who else? If this is a known requirement of some body that has the authority to promulgate standards, that’s one thing. If it’s some aspirational thing that you wish for, that’s quite another. Which is it?”

    The “body that has the authority to promulgate standards” is the scientific and academic community at large. Is there black letter law on this issue? I’m not aware of it. But…

    All peer-reviewed scientific journals require this. Popular scientific journals (e.g., Scientific American) require this, too. All agencies that fund peer-reviewed research require this; if you write about it or talk about it you must acknowledge your sources of support, if only as a matter of courtesy. Disclosure is a nearly universal practice at scientific meetings where work is presented in poster form; this is generally much more informal than publication, but disclosure/acknowledgment is expected. If you are funded by an organization that has a vested interest in the outcome of your work and you are found to have neglected to mention this fact, your results will be heavily discounted. Which is not to say that your results are wrong, but that the burden of proof on you has become much heavier. This is the mess in which Gruber finds himself, and most people understand this. He was working on something of interest to the Administration and was paid by the federal government for his work product. He was working as a consultant, not as an independent scientist, even though he is also that in other contexts.

    I don’t expect you to believe me without checking. Numerous scientific journals are available online for free. Look at them. You will notice that all individual articles acknowledge their sources of funding. The “Instructions to Authors” frequently detail this requirement, too, along with asking for a description of the work done by each individual author. Try here: http://www.biomedcentral.com/browse/journals/
    In medical journals in particular, potential conflicts of interest absolutely must be disclosed.

  308. 308
    Zach says:

    @BTD:

    In short, I think Gruber is overstating the case when he says that the Obama Administration was opposed to the excise tax in July 2009 when he penned his NY Times Op-Ed.

    This might be a little more clear; Bloomberg’s take on Obama’s position when John Kerry started pushing the tax:

    Obama opposes taxing health benefits for middle-class Americans and many Republicans and Democrats have said they won’t accept a plan to tax the policies of the wealthiest.

    “In a July 20 interview with the PBS’s “Newshour with Jim Lehrer,” Obama indicated he may be open to an excise tax. “It may be an approach that doesn’t put additional burdens on middle-class families,” he said.

    Basically, in July he was tentatively open to an excise tax that with an exception carved out for the middle class, which he’s consistently defined as <250k/family. At the time he wasn’t signaling support to the plan we have now.

  309. 309
    LT says:

    Did you read GG’s response? He receives zero money from JH or FDL. What exactly is there to disclose?

    Mary’s accusations – not backed up at all – mean nothing here.

  310. 310
    BTD says:

    @Mary:

    I would need to know the facts Mary. Can you provide them?

  311. 311
    BTD says:

    @Zach:

    Thanks Zach. that was what I was looking for but my google searches were proving fruitless. Well done.

  312. 312

    arguingwithsignposts, I’m living solely on my federal pension, mostly from carrying mail for the Post Office, although I’ve also got time with the VA as a clerk and with the army as a race relations specialist. During my working years I served two two-year terms as an officer with my union but receive no compensation from them in retirement. I get about $2100 a month after deductions. It doesn’t go very far in the SF Bay Area. I get presents from my elderly mom for Christmas. She’s a lifelong Republican and has called me a Red but still loves me. My girlfriend gave me a fifty-dollar gift certificate for Christmas, but she doesn’t know who Gruber or Greenwald are.

    How about you?

  313. 313
    terry chay says:

    BTW, I think Glenn Greenwald’s argument is slightly different from FDL’s and the distinction is important to understanding why he is so defensive.

    Greenwald’s argument is not that he skewed results because of the money, but rather, that he was chosen because his views would advance the administrative position. I don’t know if that was always his position, or he has somehow twisted himself into it, but his example he uses (and has used) is Armstrong Williams. Are we honestly going to claim that a man as far to the Right as Williams would have advanced anything other than the administration line on NCLB? Ergo, Greenwald isn’t arguing that Williams somehow skewed his “results”, but rather he was “paid to play.”

    He then applies that same criteria to Jonathan Gruber and asks us why we are hypocrites.

    It’s a weird twist that is highly suspect because it’s logically unsound. The reason is that the basic argument on Gruber (not advanced by Glenn but by FLD) are actually an ad hominem— the results are corrupted, not that he was chosen because of any personal bias. In fact, as Krugman argues (and Glenn seems immune to because he really don’t understand how peer-reviewed academia works), the only other logical choice was even more likely to be taintable. His contract with HHS was very clear, he was paid to run a computer program, not to give his opinion. His opinions on this topic were just as clear long before any HHS contract.

    To my knowledge, nobody knew Williams’s position on NCLB he was paid to pundit NCLB (and what he was paid for was to be paid to pundit NCLB). The same is true of Maggie Gallagher and the healthy marriage initiative. Even more damning in Gallagher’s case was she testified before Congress without disclosing this.

    Both the latter are paid pundits. Gruber is a paid academic.

    Both the latter had their payments disclosed only because of documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, the information on Gruber was already public, and Gruber himself had disclosed this information before on a peer-reviewed scientific publication. The circumstantial evidence is large that Gruber’s crime was just not in being savvy. He felt when the standards are high (medical sciences) that he should disclose even a hint of bias, and when the standards were not as explicit (honestly, if an academic were and good and were required disclose every grant they got, when it can so easily be looked up, half of their opinion columns would be taken up by disclosure).

    The consequence of the latter was that they were declared illegal in the court of law. The consequence of the former was that a retraction was put in the column.

    No one was arguing that Gruber did not have an ethical lapse. Just that the ethical lapse was not serious.

    Greenwald asks us why we don’t apply the same standards, and the answer is we do and his law does. He then asks us if we’re hypocritical and why we’re being defensive.

    We take offense because we could reply to his statement and ask why the law doesn’t apply the same standards in both cases and asks if the law is hypocritical?

    And then let’s see if he takes offense to that.

    He’s a lawyer and calling into question the fundamental standards of the Law is clearly both lazy and crass.

    And yet, I’m supposed allow him to say call into question the fundamental standards of peer-reviewed academia? And I’m not supposed to be offended because he’s just asking if I’m a hypocrite? Especially since I come from a world which takes hypocrisy much more seriously than his.

    After all, you never see an academic claim being high on ethics but low on morals.

    I think John is calling Glenn out because he is an academic also. Glenn sees things differently because of his differing background. We just wish he’d have an ounce of empathy here to realize that he’s crossing the line.

    But if he did have that empathy and didn’t cross that line, would we have ever be calling him here, teasingly, “Glenzilla”? ;-)

  314. 314

    LT, I think that Mary’s comments are filled with meaning. They mean that the Emperor is actually wearing a wonderful outfit, thank you, and she doesn’t want to hear otherwise.

  315. 315
    Mary says:

    @Sean: According to Glenn, Gruber is unethical and corrupt for not disclosing his HHS payments each and every time he spoke or wrote. I’m just asking why the same standards don’t apply to him, that he should disclose his ties to Hamsher each and every time he backs up her line? He does it with the ACLU. Why not the same level of transparency and disclosure with respect to Greenwald’s ties to Hamsher?

    Here’s what I think. Citing his ties to the ACLU burnishes his credentials. Citing his ties to Hamsher tarnishes them. That’s why applies those different levels of disclosure to himself.

    I submit that Greenwald’s ties to Hamsher make him less than objective in these matters. He doesn’t help himself when he puts down his critics as slavering followers of “Dear Leader.”

  316. 316
    DCLaw1 says:

    @Mary:

    I’d like to go back to what looks like your first comment comparing Greenwald’s critique of the Gruber issue to what you think is a financial relationship between Greenwald, Hamsher, and Accountability Now that requires further disclosure.

    Comment # 109:

    And Glenn Greenwald has financial ties to Jane Hamsher and is pushing the same line as FDL. He should disclose those ties in all of his communications defending the FDL line. As he implies with Gruber, to not do so is…corrupt.

    Is it your contention that mere agreement with FDL compels complete disclosure by Greenwald of all of Accountability Now and FDL’s financial inner workings, to reveal whether there is any financial interconnectivity – even the most indirect that results merely from shared organizational efforts – that undermines some claim of independence by Greenwald tantamount to the administration’s and Gruber’s claims of independence on that topic?

    Greenwald’s and FDL’s work together on some political issues has been openly advertised from the very beginning of those efforts, and often repeatedly. To raise a confluence of opinion between them to a level of suspicion requiring even more detailed financial disclosure seems an awfully drastic leap to me. It is simply incomparable to the Gruber situation, in many fairly obvious ways.

  317. 317
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Bob In Pacifica:

    When you start criticizing someone for pointing out obscure financial relations you might as well put your fingers in your ears and start yelling, “Shut up! I don’t want to know.” The vituperativeness of the chorus is telling.

    Strawman. Cole nor I, nor anyone else here is claiming Gruber faultless for not disclosing more often than he did. It is that GG is taking it too far with claims of corruption.

    And I find it curious, that Mr. Greenwald himself has not responded to any of my countercharges. Or at least the first one that he started out his article stating Gruber had NEVER disclosed his payment arrangements, or at least not making it clear that initially it was disclosed, but thereafter not, which seems a fair criticism.

    But never, or not disclosing it, and GG claim as such, set the tone of his entire article which was falsely painted as corrupt. It is a common tactic he uses, even when the facts that follow are solid. It paints a false meme.

    As far as Mass being a wake call on electoral politics for the dems and Obama, I said exactly that yesterday. But the reasons why it will be close are not that Obama is fucking up, as claimed by you and Hamsher, among others is absurd.

    It has to do with choosing a poor candidate, and history of the opposition being energized in early elections of new presidents making big changes in policy, not as you think, for not being liberal or progressive enough, or being too much like Bush. You just don’t understand electoral politics very well, and you are not alone, unfortunately.

    But by all means, keep attacking Obama for whatever you can dredge up, that should make the dem boat float better in 2010.

    And you didn’t offer any concrete evidence on Obama doing Bush’s odious business, and until you do, your allegations are simply bullshit.

  318. 318
    Zach says:

    @BTD: No problem. I’m not naive enough to think that the administration hadn’t already figured out internally by summer ’09 that something like what came out of the Senate was inevitable, though.

    For the uninitiated, Google timeline (search->show options->timeline) is a very useful tool.

  319. 319
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    This is unbelievably dumb

    I wish I’d gotten out of bed a few hours sooner.

    Glenn, I don’t know if “dumb” is the right word. What has solidified over here at Balloon Juice is a form of derangement. Anything resembling criticism of the direction of current Dem policy receives fusillades from several angles. Sometimes the criticism is waved off as stupidity or mental defect. Sometimes it’s a sinister plot conceived with the demon seed of No Quarter and hatched in the tumid uterus of Firedoglake. However it is seen, it is less and less being engaged on the merits and more and more hiding behind simple tribal boundaries and talking points.

    I have a huge amount of respect for how [John Cole] comments on political matters.

    I agree. I can be sarcastic just like he is, so maybe my comments don’t come across as friendly advice, but it is sometimes honestly meant that way.

  320. 320
    LT says:

    @Bob In Pacifica: Well, as much s I think Mary deserves the scorn, I’m going to try and be a pacifier, for what it’s worth.

    You “emperor” comment is akin to GG’s “Dear Leader” comment – and comments like those result in very strong emotional responses. I think those responses are overreactions. I think the people who overreact should take them as descriptive, and not accusative, if that’s makes sense.

  321. 321
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @BTD: Maybe so, maybe not. But my comment was based on earlier questions.

  322. 322
    Osceola says:

    @R. Johnston

    “High profile academic researcher accepted government grant money.”

    Again, no. Gruber accepted a sole-source consulting contract in this instance, sort of an earmark. It was indeed from the government, but it was not a grant. The two are not the same and the expectations on the consultant are not the same as on a grantee, which Gruber is on his Medicare Part D project. Look it up if you want to (google NIH Reporter).

    Part of the general obtuseness on the part of Krugman and others may well be that consulting contracts are the life blood of economists. In other basic sciences, certainly, not so much except for medicine. And that gravy train is getting derailed across the board. Slowly.

  323. 323
    tomvox1 says:

    The problem, rather self-evidently, is when people make unfounded and reckles insinuations about him when he has repeatedly shown a high degree of transparency in his own affairs and professional relationships, particularly as a tactic to minimize or distract from the substantive point he was making.

    The real problem is Mr. Greenwald’s and his choice of a close professional relationship with Ms. Hamsher, someone who has clearly become unhinged by her own ego and is now engaged in a Stalinesque purity pogrom that includes the tactic of cozying up to the Norquists of the world to achieve her malevolent intentions towards the Obama Administration (that’s not delusional “Dear Leaderism;” that’s just fact).

    The best thing for Greenwald to do is to run away from his demagogue partner as fast as possible. The longer he remains professionally linked to Hamsher, the greater the drain on Greenwald’s credibility as a legitimate voice of conscientious criticism of our government’s dangerous excesses. And, yes, I think that would be very bad outcome, as truth-to-power advocates like Greenwald are hard to come by these days.

  324. 324
    Sean says:

    @ Mary

    Here’s what I think. Citing his ties to the ACLU burnishes his credentials. Citing his ties to Hamsher tarnishes them. That’s why applies those different levels of disclosure to himself.

    I think you hit the nail on the head. For all his moralistic posturing, I think Greenwald is ethically challenged.

    He selectively discloses conflicts of interest and frequently attacks by innuendo, attempting to maintain plausible deniability that he ever said what he strongly implied.

  325. 325

    By the way, I don’t necessarily so much blame Gruber as I do the Democrats like Kerry who promoted him as some independent thinker. A bigger question would be what did Kerry know? It’s possible he didn’t know about Gruber’s contract, which then leads to the question, “Who was promoting Gruber to Kerry as an independent?”

    What would have been wrong with the Democrats promoting Gruber to say, “We like what the professor is saying, so we hired him, and here’s what he has to say…”?

  326. 326
    kay says:

    @Mary:

    Hi Mary. I didn’t donate to Greenwald, Hamsher or Accountability Now but is sounds like you did.

    Here’s what Open Secrets has for 2008 cycle expenditures.

    DMDM Enterprises $16,090
    Breakthematrix $15,841
    Hamsher, Jane $12,318
    Auburn Quad $6,874
    Mcnee, Marisa $4,894
    Stoller, Matt $4,000
    Firedoglake $3,196
    1050 Assoc $780
    Adminstrative Business Services $650
    Fedex Kinko’S $590
    King, Tabitha $250

    DMDM is a strategic consulting outfit, near as I can tell.

  327. 327
    Mary says:

    @Bruce (formerly Steve S.): You’re quite wrong that, at least with respect to me, we are slavishly jumping to defend the Obama administration. We would certainly like to get back to fair and balanced criticism, as opposed to manufactured scandals like the argument that the Gruber situation calls into question the entirety of healthcare reform and means that the Obama administration is unethical and corrupt. That’s just Hamsher-levels of craziness and we are disappointed to see Greenwald keep banging the FDL drum.

  328. 328

    Mary, why do you fear Greenwald so much that you smear him?

  329. 329
    burnspbesq says:

    @Osceola:

    Fine. That’s not significantly different from what I am supposed to do when I submit comments to the IRS on proposed tax regulations. If a particular client paid me to write the comment, I’m supposed to disclose it. In the absence of that, a simple disclosure that I have clients who might be affected by the proposed regulations is considered sufficient.

    However, on the facts of this particular case, I still don’t see what the big deal is. HHS hired Gruber to do modeling, because he has the modeling chops to accurately predict how CBO will score various proposals. It is entirely appropriate for the Administration to want to know in advance how CBO will score various proposals, because of the importance that Congress and the public place on how much various proposals will cost or save. In my view, that is completely independent from whatever views Gruber may have on the merits of various proposals, and as near as I can tell there is no compelling evidence that Gruber shaded any public statement on the merits of any proposal based on the fact that he was being paid by HHS to do modeling.

  330. 330
    eastriver says:

    @Warren Terra:

    And B-Juice isn’t a manufacturer of rage? Really? (It wouldn’t be any fun if it wasn’t.)

  331. 331
    Mary says:

    @kay: What are DMDM Enterprises and Break the Matrix?

    More disclosure, please, AccountabilityNow PAC. Or don’t your donors deserve answers?

  332. 332
    DCLaw1 says:

    @burnspbesq:

    If you believe as I do, then you say they should disclose where their money comes from, but should be judged on a case-by-case basis as to whether money has improperly influenced their work.

    This is does not contradict anything Greenwald has said from the start. Not only does the first portion of your sentence agree with his main thesis, but he has repeatedly addressed the second portion of your sentence in acknowledging that the lack of disclosure is not itself proof that Gruber’s work had been improperly influenced.

    The point from the beginning, which should have been obvious upon any fair reading, was that it was the lack of disclosure – not the supposedly skewed results – that rendered the relationship innately corrupt. I attempted to put the reasons why, from my perspective, in very plain language, at comment # 142.

  333. 333
    eastriver says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    And you, Generally Stuck, are not always so respectful. Just sayin’.

  334. 334
    LT says:

    @DCLaw1: I’m having a hard time understanding this, too. It’s like saying if JCole ever did electrical engineering work for Mr. Smith – and he also agrees with him on political issues – Cole should disclose that he once did electrical contracting work for Mr. Smith.

    That’s not perfect, but the request is just weird. And she has no evidence in any case.

  335. 335
    kay says:

    @Mary:

    Additionally, I think you’d want to find out who’s behind DMDM Enterprises, prior to donating again, if that’s a concern.
    The PAC has an executive director. He’s listed in the FEC filing.
    I’m not pursuing this any further, because I have to work :)

  336. 336
    Warren Terra says:

    What are the numbers from Accountability Now?

    If you look on Open Secrets, all you see is that in the current 2010 cycle they’ve raised $57k, spent $90k, and gave nothing to federal candidates. The total expenditures itemized there are $949; the rest will presumably be disclosed at some point. Clearly looking at the 2010 cycle isn’t going to tell us much, unless there’s a better place to look.

    In the 2008 election cycle, they raised $172k, spent $65k, and gave nothing to federal candidates. All of this $65k appears to be itemized (via the same link, looking at the 2008 cycle):

    DMDM Enterprises $16,090
    Breakthematrix $15,841
    Hamsher, Jane $12,318
    Auburn Quad $6,874
    Mcnee, Marisa $4,894
    Stoller, Matt $4,000
    Firedoglake $3,196
    1050 Assoc $780
    Adminstrative Business Services $650
    Fedex Kinko’S $590
    King, Tabitha $250

    So that’s about $15k in two years for Jane and her blog; $16k (and their second-biggest outlay) for some weird fringe libertarian media mill, which seems wasteful and possibly distasteful but doesn’t seem to obviously benefit Hamsher or Greenwald corruptly; and, in their biggest expenditure, $16k to “DMDM Enterprises”, an apparently fictional group (it has absolutely no web presence Google can find, and a GOS commenter asserts that it’s not even registered as a corporation, in the first hit you’ll find if you Google “DMDM Enterprises”).

    What is DMDM? Does it benefit Greenwald? Is it Greenwald? Because right now it looks like Hamsher gets about 25% of Accountability Now’s funds, the mysterious organization DMDM gets another 25%, a weird libertarian propaganda organ (currently backing Ron Paul for 2012) gets a third 25%, and office, hosting, and marketing expenses take about 12%. Candidates get zippo. Recognizable media outlets, advertising companies, or organizations get nada. The small remainder goes to three individuals – though, sadly, apparently none goes to BTD. Yet.

  337. 337
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    Do you believe that Gruber’s nondisclosure invalidates his findings on the excise tax?

    Oy. The vastly more important issue is what the nondisclosure says about the Administration and its policies. Obama specifically ran on policy proposals other than Gruber’s, and against one that was similar to Gruber’s. A few months later they are quietly contracting with Gruber to help craft policy. It should go without saying that we should expect our public officials to be completely above board on matters like this.

  338. 338
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    I am amazed to no end that this has become an issue. This is your purity, trolls.

  339. 339
    Mary says:

    @Bob In Pacifica: I don’t fear Greenwald. I mourn his what I see as his demise as a principled commentator. I am allowed to do that, you know, both as a reader from Day One of Unclaimed Territory and as a donor to his PAC.

  340. 340
    Desert Mouse says:

    As far as I can tell, this is not a “point of view” argument. Greenwald implied that Gruber, a renowned academic in his field, may have skewed his results because he was paid. The implication is there. This is unacceptable and he should be called out for it. He calls those of who find this unacceptable blind followers of our “dear leader.” This is arrogant in the extreme. Just like Larry David on “Curb Your Enthusiasm”, he may start out with a valid point, but then goes way over the top to prove his point. When Larry David does it, it’s funny. When Greenwald does it, not so much.

  341. 341
    kay says:

    @Mary:

    Mary, I have to work :)

    You were just driving me bonkers because it’s a legit question you’re asking, you’re a donor and you’re pissed off, absolutely legit inquiry, I know you looked at the FEC filings (I read your posts) but I can’t pursue it.

    I googled Break the Matrix. It looks like (correct me if I’m wrong, please) some sort of libertarian media-focused org. They have a site.

    I’m going to leave you to your investigatory work :)

  342. 342
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @eastriver: Correct. go fuck yerself.

  343. 343
    Zach says:

    @Bruce (formerly Steve S.):

    I wish I’d gotten out of bed a few hours sooner.
    __
    Glenn, I don’t know if “dumb” is the right word. What has solidified over here at Balloon Juice is a form of derangement. Anything resembling criticism of the direction of current Dem policy receives fusillades from several angles.

    I pointed out several NY Times OpEds that should be criticized under the same standard @208. They all involve public policy (and the authors have as much or more self interest in the matter as Gruber does). Why isn’t GG attacking those people in the way he’s attacking Gruber for nondisclosure (John Kerry calling Gruber independent is a separate issue)? It’s hard to get around the fact that Gruber is criticized half a year after what he supposedly did wrong only after opposing his position becomes the cause du jour.

    Also, I don’t see the point in trying to engage people in a discussion while calling them deranged.

  344. 344
    Tsulagi says:

    @John Cole:

    Gruber is a scientist- his work can be reviewed.

    Yeah, apparently even by himself. At least according to Mr. Calculator/Pocket Protector Peter Orzag at whitehouse.gov encouraging site visitors to read “An Insightful Article on Health Care Costs.” Take it away, Pete

    Brownstein reads the bill, examines these pillars, and then calls up many of these economists to get their take on the Senate bill. MIT economist Jonathan Gruber — who calls himself “sort of a known skeptic on this stuff” — says, “Everything is in here….I can’t think of anything I’d do that they are not doing in the bill.”

    Let’s see, did Pete or Brownstein in his glowing article disclose “known skeptic” Gruber’s contractual relationship with the WH Office of Health Reform

    The basis for restricting competition is the authority 13.106-1(b) because only one source is reasonably available to satisfy agency requirements. The anticipated contract period will be for one year.
    __
    ASPE requires technical assistance in examining the impacts of alternative health policy reforms on insurance coverage and costs to the government. The information will facilitate the Office of Health Reform’s efforts to develop proposals to increase access to affordable health insurance for all Americans.

    Nope, but likely Brownstein didn’t know of it. Not only for pimps, but it’s hard out there for transparency. But that’s okay, no-bid, sole-source contracts tend to have bipartisan support. Well, depending on who has the power to award.

    @burnspbesq:

    Your fundamental error in everything you have said about Gruber is the apparent assumption that compensation always skews research results.

    Your fundamental error and of others is that has not been Greenwald’s point. His point has been…

    @Bill H: Gruber wasn’t paid to change his mind, or paid to say anything, and there is no “corruption” per se. What is corrupt is that the Administration is leading you to believe that there are two ideas here, their’s and Gruber’s, when in fact there is only one, Gruber’s which they have adopted, and this is Greenwald’s complaint.

    That sounds about right.

  345. 345
    kay says:

    @Warren Terra:

    I think they’re a 527. They can’t give to candidates, if that’s true.
    Pursue the executive director angle for the DMDM payments. I ran a state PAC and that’s what I’d do. We were not a 527 so we turn all receipts every year to candidates, so our filing was easy. “X” in and “X” out, by January.

  346. 346
    DCLaw1 says:

    @tomvox1:

    The real problem is Mr. Greenwald’s and his choice of a close professional relationship with Ms. Hamsher, someone who has clearly become unhinged by her own ego and is now engaged in a Stalinesque purity pogrom that includes the tactic of cozying up to the Norquists of the world to achieve her malevolent intentions towards the Obama Administration (that’s not delusional “Dear Leaderism;” that’s just fact).

    Are you suggesting that Greenwald’s mere association with Hamsher, and what you dramatically characterize as Hamsher’s “Stalinesque purity pogrom,” is more important than the substantive point Greenwald has made regarding Gruber?

    Relatedly, but more broadly, don’t you think it’s vitally important that members of a party (and supporters of a president) apply the same ethical, moral, and political standards to their own party and president as they have to the opposition party and president? And if they don’t, is there not a substantial danger of inviting further excesses, and forclosing future criticisms of the other party for the same transgressions?

  347. 347
    Mary says:

    @kay: You have absolutely furthered the inquiry. Thank you for that.

    I think an important point to draw is that Ron Paulian libertarians have long been a constituency of Hamshers. It makes her call to the teapartiers that much more understandable.

  348. 348
    LT says:

    @Desert Mouse:

    As far as I can tell, this is not a “point of view” argument. Greenwald implied that Gruber, a renowned academic in his field, may have skewed his results because he was paid. The implication is there.

    That is just wrong. GG did not imply that. He went out of his way to say the exact opposite.

    I cannot believe that people do not understand why non-disclosure itself is a real problem.

  349. 349
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    We would certainly like to get back to fair and balanced criticism, as opposed to manufactured scandals

    We good! They bad!

    Please don’t insult our collective intelligence with this drivel.

  350. 350
    Warren Terra says:

    @eastriver:

    And B-Juice isn’t a manufacturer of rage? Really? (It wouldn’t be any fun if it wasn’t.)

    Balloon-Juice does this, certainly. It also does other things, some of which aren’t remotely political. And it doesn’t just register, or manufacture, outrage: it has some sense of discrimination, and some gradation in its responses. It can do gentle mockery as well as hellfire – unlike some.

  351. 351

    LT @ 320: Fair enough. My comments have been getting more personal as the thread goes on, in large part a reaction to some of the ad hominems being tossed around.

    I find the outrage against Greenwald to be equal to the hate at Booman Tribune over Hamsher. I feel like there’s a clapping quotient that Greenwald somehow isn’t meeting.

    I’ve spent much of my life as a union activist and have found the same tactics used by right-wingers to be sadly incorporated into leftist argumentation too.

  352. 352
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Glenn, as a long time participant in the Balloon Juice community, I’d like to apologize for the nasty attacks. Balloon Juice was better than this back when it was a snark site. The sorts of tactics you are seeing used to be primarily in the purview of a handful of rightwing trolls but with the influx of a lot of new commenters, presumably to lobby for the Senate version of the health care bill, there is much less snark and much more ugliness.

  353. 353

    @LT:

    But that’s also pretty much what Greenwald is alleging with Gruber, when you actually bother to acknowledge what it is that Gruber was being paid to do.

  354. 354
    terry chay says:

    @Quiddity: Specifically to the two quotes you Gruber quotes you cite.

    “It would also be progressive, in that it would take from those with the most generous insurance to finance the expansion of coverage to those without insurance.”

    This is a statement of fact because “progressive tax” has a very clear definition in economics, distinct from the political definition of “progressivism.”

    You argument, from a “progressive tax” policy is simply that it is not as progressive as the House bill. That argument is not necessarily true since they’re both progressive taxes, where, depending on the which cohort are more or less progressive than each other.

    (Personally, your objection to the Senate too-high taxing of the middle class seems to have been noted, and I believe this thing is being resolved in committee as we speak.)

    “… most experts and Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation assume that most companies would not end up paying this tax but would instead reduce their insurance spending to below the threshold for the tax. And when firms reduce their insurance generosity, they make it up in higher pay for their workers.”

    This is not a fact, but it is an economic truth. Basically in most cases (not all), labor supply is highly inelastic. What this means is no matter what the nominal tax burden (or relief) is, the bulk of it will actually be borne by the employer, not employee.

    If it were perfectly inelastic, then the entire reduction of insurance spending would be entirely returned to the employee by a corresponding compensation. It is reasonable to think that this compensation would most likely be in the form of wage increases. If it were perfectly elastic, then the employee would receive no alternate compensation at all.

    But, labor supply is highly inelastic, not elastic.

    Why do you think companies give health insurance plans as part of the compensation in the first place?

  355. 355
    burnspbesq says:

    @DCLaw1:

    The point from the beginning, which should have been obvious upon any fair reading, was that it was the lack of disclosure – not the supposedly skewed results – that rendered the relationship innately corrupt.

    You’re right, the point is obvious. It’s also ridiculous. The relationship is either corrupt or it’s not, and no amount of disclosure can change that. The most you can credibly say is that the lack of disclosure is grounds for suspicion.

    If you are willing to go directly from non-disclosure to “corrupt,” without stopping to determine whether there is any actual corruption, then you’ve shown that you don’t care about the actual facts. And if you don’t care about the actual facts, then the logical inference is that you’re out to lynch Gruber because you don’t like what he’s saying.

  356. 356
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Bruce (formerly Steve S.):

    We would certainly like to get back to fair and balanced criticism, as opposed to manufactured scandals

    If you took that remark as “we good, you bad” then your collective intelligence is sorely lacking, or your problem lies with lack of integrity, whichever.

  357. 357
    burnspbesq says:

    @Bruce (formerly Steve S.):

    A few months later they are quietly contracting with Gruber to help craft policy.

    No that’s factually incorrect. They contracted with Gruber to provide insight on how CBO would score various policy proposals. That is not, in any meaningful sense, “crafting policy.”

  358. 358
    Phaedrus says:

    @mary : said…
    According to Glenn, Gruber is unethical and corrupt for not disclosing his HHS payments each and every time he spoke or wrote.

    This is just wrong, wrong, wrong. Mary, you have no credibility – I’ve asked you four times now to explain how Glenn’s points are incorrect – and all you respond with is mis-statements and accusations (no backing yet).

    Once again – Glenn has NOT said that Gruber was right or wrong, just simply that he didn’t disclose his financial ties with the administration and should have. And that this exact situation caused a rucous when the Republicans did the same thing.

    People have argued that somehow there was a difference because Gruber was an academic, or because he really believed in what he was saying, or because what he was saying was right. Glenn has proven all those wrong and called bullshit.

    What we have now is a continued (intentional) misrepresentation and rehashing of points Glenn has addressed, and unsubstantiated attacks on his credibility. Mary, put up or shut up. Address the substance of Glenn’s post (fourth time I’ve asked) and/or put up some substance to your claims that he is somehow financially benefiting from what he writes.

    One more time, his point is hypocracy – if it was bad when the Reps did it, it is bad now.

  359. 359
    kay says:

    @Mary:

    I think you can ask these questions, Mary. It’s the reason I jumped in.
    I ran a small-potatoes state PAC and I had no problem with revealing anything and everything to donors.
    If the expenditures to Hamsher are expenses, I think you’d want a break down of that, and if they’re compensation for administering the PAC, you’d want to know that too. I didn’t charge anything for running our little PAC, and neither does the person who replaced me. I don’t think there’s a thing wrong with asking for any of that, so you go ahead.

  360. 360

    @Bruce (formerly Steve S.):

    A few months later they are quietly contracting with Gruber to help craft policy.

    No, they weren’t. And this is why the Greenwaldian posture is so difficult to respect, to say nothing of agree with.

  361. 361
    The Raven says:

    Gruber is a scientist- his work can be reviewed.

    But, in fact, it hasn’t been. The only other people who are doing similar work is an insurance-industry consulting firm, the Lewin Group, and they are apparently entirely captive. (Krugman on the state of the field.)

    To my bright beady eyes, a bigger issue than disclosure is that there is no peer review of Gruber’s work. In other words, Gruber’s work for the administration, though based on scientific knowledge, isn’t itself science–it’s policy analysis. Bottom line: I think the Administration found a consultant who generally agreed with them, and hired him. In that light, I think Gruber’s non-disclosure has added significance.

    It isn’t research when you already know the answer.

    Croak!

    BTW, for some real research, I recommend Bernd Heinrich’s Ravens in Winter.

  362. 362
    Osceola says:

    @burnspbesq

    Exactly. But to me the “big deal” here is that Gruber did his work here as a consultant and was then was held up by the Administration as an “independent academic analyst.” That he is the latter in his grant-funded research does not necessarily cut any ice for his consulting work, except that he should have the expertise to consult on this matter. But I would imagine that several other health care economists have equivalent expertise, even if they are not at MIT. So why the “sole-source” contract to Gruber? His “flexible proprietary statistically sophisticated model”? In my work I have to justify any sole-source/sole-vendor purchase seven ways from Sunday, precisely because that means that I will not direct a contract/purchase to anyone for any reason other than the vendor really is the only source. It is not unreasonable to wonder whether the White House/HHS had a preconceived notion that Gruber was the “right” consultant for this particular job. Which does NOT mean I think he has been dishonest, btw. Simple disclosure at all times would have rendered any such criticism moot. Until we started asking about what is in his proprietary model, that is.

  363. 363
    Mary says:

    @kay: According to the FEC returns, the payments to Hamsher are for strategic consulting, as are the payments to DMDM Enterprises. Natch.

  364. 364
    DCLaw1 says:

    @burnspbesq:

    If you are willing to go directly from non-disclosure to “corrupt,” without stopping to determine whether there is any actual corruption, then you’ve shown that you don’t care about the actual facts. And if you don’t care about the actual facts, then the logical inference is that you’re out to lynch Gruber because you don’t like what he’s saying.

    For someone so ostensibly concerned with facts and logic, you do not appear to have bothered to read my explanation at comment # 142 why I believe that a lack of disclosure such as this is innately corrupt (although by no means the severest form of corruption).

    You also drastically weaken your own credibility with the completely groundless insinuation that I make these arguments because I’m “out to lynch Gruber because you don’t like what he’s saying.”

    These are, ironically, the tactics of a person who has emerged from “under a bridge.”

  365. 365
    DC says:

    re: Glenn Greenwald’s PAC, DMDM Media appears to be the LLC through which he publishes. So much of the PAC’s money goes to Hamsher, FiredogLake, a libertarian organization (breakthematrix)–and Glenn Greenwald.

    If you look at Greenwald’s books on Amazon.com, they are published by DMD Media.

    http://www.balloon-juice.com/?p=32653

  366. 366
    maye says:

    Isn’t a PAC supposed to give $ to candidates? Why else would you call yourself a PAC? The E in FEC stands for Elections.

  367. 367

    @The Raven:

    When you hire an electrician to fix the wiring in your house, do you pressure him to do it wrong because you think it looks prettier?

  368. 368

    Tsulagi @ 344: Yes. I agree.

  369. 369
    Mary says:

    @maye: Well, it looks like the only discernable ties to date to a candidate that Hamsher’s and Greenwald’s AccountabilityNow PAC has is to Ron Paul 2012. That’s certainly good to know. Not.

  370. 370
    LT says:

    @burnspbesq:

    You’re right, the point is obvious. It’s also ridiculous. The relationship is either corrupt or it’s not, and no amount of disclosure can change that.

    Just unbelievable.

  371. 371
    The Raven says:

    @Osceola:

    But I would imagine that several other health care economists have equivalent expertise, even if they are not at MIT.

    Krugman says not. It’s his field and he would know.

  372. 372
    burnspbesq says:

    @Osceola:

    So why the “sole-source” contract to Gruber?

    As someone who has first-hand knowledge of how Federal contracting works (I used to hire expert witnesses when I was a litigator for the Office of Chief Counsel of the IRS), I may have some insights that you don’t.

    If you want to use a particular person for something, and/or if the work is time-sensitive, you have to do a sole-source contract. Otherwise, you will only get the person you want by fortuitous accident, and you won’t get them until it’s far too late for their work to be useful.

    There is nothing inherently evil in the fact that Gruber’s contract was sole-source, and anyone who tells you otherwise should be required to disclose what axe they are grinding.

  373. 373
    McGeorge Bundy says:

    Shameful.

  374. 374
    AB says:

    this thread got really fucking dumb and embarrassing.

  375. 375
    burnspbesq says:

    @DCLaw1:

    I’ve read your 142 repeatedly, and I continue to find it theological rather than factual. Sorry. We just have to agree to disagree.

  376. 376
    tomvox1 says:

    @DCLaw1:

    Are you suggesting that Greenwald’s mere association with Hamsher, and what you dramatically characterize as Hamsher’s “Stalinesque purity pogrom,” is more important than the substantive point Greenwald has made regarding Gruber?

    There is nothing “mere” about Greenwald’s and Hamsher’s association: they are co-founders and directors of Accountability Now PAC, i.e. close professional associates. So I am suggesting that when Marcy Wheeler at FDL makes some interesting points about Gruber’s possible conflicts of interest and then Hamsher makes that the focus of her newest fund-raising pitch to try to “Kill the Bill” and subsequently Greenwald picks it up and argues that it is another Bush Lite moment for Obama…well, you can say that it’s all happenstance but for me the association and their potentially related motivations are troubling, yes.

    Relatedly, but more broadly, don’t you think it’s vitally important that members of a party (and supporters of a president) apply the same ethical, moral, and political standards to their own party and president as they have to the opposition party and president? And if they don’t, is there not a substantial danger of inviting further excesses, and forclosing future criticisms of the other party for the same transgressions?

    I absolutely do. Which is why it is important for commentators the quality of Greenwald to be able to do so without anyone questioning their objectivity or motives. Which is what I am saying Greenwald can no longer do due to his professional partnership with the non-objective and dangerously unhinged Hamsher. Period.

    A professional divorce from Hamsher is Greenwald’s best option to maintain continued belief in his impartiality in these sorts of debates.

  377. 377
    DC says:

    re: DMDM Enterprises/Accountability Now PAC

    http://www.theleftcoaster.com/archives/012375.php

    Click the DMDM Enterprises link and you go straight to Greenwald’s Amazon page.

  378. 378
    McGeorge Bundy says:

    BREAKING NEWS: Jane Hamsher indicted for illegal war, torture, warrantless wiretapping. Full story at 6:00 on CNN.

  379. 379
    The Sheriff's a Ni- says:

    @DC: To quote Artie Johnson, ‘verrrrrrrrry interestink’.

  380. 380
    Mary says:

    @DC: So DMDM Enterprises is Greenwald. So, BTD, are you still bothered by characterizing the AccountabilityNow PAC as looking like a giant slush fund for Greenwald and Hamsher and their pals? Not to mention the ties to a Ron Paul 2012 front, at which Greenwald’s and Hamsher’s progressive minions should recoil in horror?

  381. 381
    DCLaw1 says:

    @burnspbesq:

    I’ve read your 142 repeatedly, and I continue to find it theological rather than factual. Sorry. We just have to agree to disagree.

    Apparently so, because in you employ the rather, um, “theological” tactic of making a conclusory characterization of what I said without addressing it substantively in the slightest bit.

    You have an odd habit of attributing to me traits that you display here repeatedly. By all means, let’s disengage, because you’ve shown a clear refusal to allow our conversation to be fruitful, instead taking refuge in empty chanting that I am the one uninterested in facts or logic.

  382. 382
    The Sheriff's a Ni- says:

    @McGeorge Bundy: BREAKING NEWS: AccountabilityNow PAC to rename itself to AccountabilityForEveryoneButOurselves PAC. Film at 11.

    Seriously though, if I had told you a group openly allying with Grover Norquist, Teabaggers, and a Ron Paul fan club was against the current health care reform package, would you seriously think they were ‘progressives’?

  383. 383
    Warren Terra says:

    To be clear, I don’t think there’s anything unusual, or even necessarily wrong, about a PAC that exists entirely to fund the lifestyles – and by extension the political activities – of its officers. Assuming DC is right, and DMDM is Greenwald, then an eighth or so of Accountability Now’s spending goes to overhead, a quarter or so goes to some weird Libertarian online newsletter, Hamsher and Greenwald get a quarter each, and the rest is split among two or three other bloggers.

    Now, this is actually a pretty efficient way of funding Hamsher and Greenwald (compare it to that Republican hornswoggle organization TPM crucified last cycle, which regularly raised money for charismatic no-hopers and took about 95% for themselves; Accountability Now gives nearly two-thirds to its main recipients, and another quarter to their weird pet cause). But is it what people thought they were doing when they gave to Accountability Now?

    I honestly can’t remember whether I’ve ever given to Accountability Now. I’ve certainly pledged money to some effort or other through FDL at some point, back when I thought they were on the side of the angels. And if they’d asked me to simply give them money to support their lifestyles or their blogs, I might have done so – I’ve certainly done it for this blog (at a laughably low level), and for others. But I doubt they ever asked for the money in those terms.

  384. 384
    Mojotron says:

    For someone so ostensibly concerned with facts and logic, you do not appear to have bothered to read my explanation at comment # 142 why I believe that a lack of disclosure such as this is innately corrupt (although by no means the severest form of corruption).

    I read it; your point #3 basically says that anyone who accepts money is corrupt and will fudge data, regardless of whether they disclosed it. You’re using some definition of “corrupt” that isn’t commonly accepted or IMHO correct. Appearance of impropriety and actual impropriety are two different things. Glenn admits that he thinks in this case it is smoke (an ethical lapse of non-disclosure) without a fire (corruption) while in the Armstrong and Gallagher cases there was smoke and fire, which is also what Krugman and JC think. The difference is in how serious of a lapse this is. I happen to be in the Krugman camp but understand his point. But his column and Hamsher’s letter do sound like they’re crying “fire” here.

    (Sorry about the terrible analogy and thanks Glenn for addressing this even with all the personal attacks, It’s funny that both sides are pointing fingers and saying “no, YOU’RE the one acting like the Bush administration!”)

  385. 385
    Comrade Kevin says:

    @Mary: I have a copy of Great American Hypocrites in front of me now, and it is Copyright 2008 by DMDM Enterprises, LLC.

  386. 386
    The Sheriff's a Ni- says:

    In the interests of full disclosure, this anonymous Internet commentator has donated cash to the campaigns of Howard Dean, Joe Cimperman, Sherrod Brown, and Barack Obama.

  387. 387
    McGeorge Bundy says:

    @The Sheriff’s a Ni-: Perhaps misguided progressives. I don’t like the current health care bill, and though I’m not sure whether I support it or not (I’m probably closest to Chris Hayes’s position), I can see why some progressives would want to kill it and start all over again. (I don’t think that’s how it would play out, but hey.)

  388. 388
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    They contracted with Gruber to provide insight on how CBO would score various policy proposals. That is not, in any meaningful sense, “crafting policy.”

    In your first sentence you paraphrase rather nicely part of the process of crafting policy. Yet, your second sentence is a complete non sequitur.

    The dishonesty around here is reaching astounding levels.

  389. 389
    Mary says:

    @Mojotron: Boo hoo hoo to being upset that we’re finally unravelling the financial ties binding Greenwald and Hamsher. Giant slush fund plus ties to Ron Paul 2012 front. Sniff.

  390. 390
    Zach says:

    I would say that if you really want to indict Gruber for anything vis-a-vis nondisclosure, go check out his testimony to the Senate Finance Committee in November 09 wherein he discusses the results of his model without disclosing who’s paying him to run it.

    I still don’t think that it’s an issue warranting concern (the fact that he receives public & private funding from numerous sources for developing his microsimulation thing is obvious from his introduction, and I don’t see the HHS contract as fundamentally different). However, this is way more damning than editorials in July if you’re troubled by those.

  391. 391
    DCLaw1 says:

    @tomvox1:

    Your formulation seems to regard as intrinsically suspect any political advocacy and organizational alliances among individuals who substantively agree on the objectives of such.

    Also, the latter portion of your response seems to indicate that, for you at least, this is much more about what you see as Jane Hamsher being ” dangerously unhinged” than it is about Greenwald or what he is actually saying.

    I think that’s unfortunate.

  392. 392
    maye says:

    I’ve learned a lot today. Thank you all. I hope some contributor or news outlet will call for an FEC audit of this so-called PAC.

  393. 393
    clonecone says:

    @Mary: DMDM is Greenwald. DMDM holds the copyrights on his books. Unfortunately, New York LLCs don’t have to disclose their shareholders, but would he really turn over his copyright to someone other than an incorporated version of himself?

    Salon has a clear policy on conflicts of interest.

    http://www.salon.com/about/codeofconduct/

    Conflicts of Interest
    You should avoid situations in which your personal, family or financial interests conflict or even appear to conflict with those of Salon or compromise its interests. You should handle all actual or apparent conflicts of interest between your personal and professional relationships in an honest and ethical manner. Conflicts are not always clear-cut. Examples of actual or potential conflicts of interest are set forth on Appendix A. A “cconflict of interest” exists when a person’s private interest interferes in any way withthe interests of the Company. A conflict situation can arise when an employee, officer or director takes action or has interests that may make it difficult to perform his or her Company work objectively and effectively. Conflicts of interest may also arise when an employee, officer or director, or a member of his or her family, receives improper personal benefits as a result of his or her position in the Company.

    Appendix A

    The following are examples of actual or potential conflicts:

    * you, or a member of your family, receive improper personal benefits as a result of your position in the Company;

    * you use Company’s property for your personal benefit;

    I looked through all of the articles in which he mentions or links to Accountability Now. In several of them he specifically asks for donations. He does not ever mention that he is receiving payments from the PAC. In fact, he denies taking payments. On 7/18/08, Glenn said: “Yeah – you exposed me. It’s so much fun to work 18 hours a day on a political project for no compensation that I’m just doing it for my own amusement, just to raise lots of money with no intent to spend it on things that can matter, because . . . well, there must be some reason I’m doing that.” http://letters.mobile.salon.co.....dex15.html

    We know based on FEC filings that DMDM Enterprises was paid $3813.74 less than a month later on 8/12/08. Was that payment for any consulting prior to the 7/18 statement? If not, what changed between 7/18 and 8/12 to prompt such a large consulting fee?

  394. 394
    BTD says:

    @Mary:

    Very much bothered. Until you can tell me who DSDM is, who owns them and what they do, you make leaps of allegation that are unsupportable.

    I do not know who they are, nor what they did, nor what they charged for.

    Facts are necessary imo before accusing someone of fraud.

    YMMV.

  395. 395
    clonecone says:

    @Mary: DMDM is Greenwald. DMDM holds the copyrights on his books. Unfortunately, New York LLCs don’t have to disclose their shareholders, but would he really turn over his copyright to someone other than an incorporated version of himself?

    Salon has a clear policy on conflicts of interest.

    http://www.salon.com/about/codeofconduct/

    Conflicts of Interest
    You should avoid situations in which your personal, family or financial interests conflict or even appear to conflict with those of Salon or compromise its interests. You should handle all actual or apparent conflicts of interest between your personal and professional relationships in an honest and ethical manner. Conflicts are not always clear-cut. Examples of actual or potential conflicts of interest are set forth on Appendix A. A “cconflict of interest” exists when a person’s private interest interferes in any way withthe interests of the Company. A conflict situation can arise when an employee, officer or director takes action or has interests that may make it difficult to perform his or her Company work objectively and effectively. Conflicts of interest may also arise when an employee, officer or director, or a member of his or her family, receives improper personal benefits as a result of his or her position in the Company.

    Appendix A

    The following are examples of actual or potential conflicts:

    * you, or a member of your family, receive improper personal benefits as a result of your position in the Company;

    * you use Company’s property for your personal benefit;

    I looked through all of the articles in which he mentions or links to Accountability Now. In several of them he specifically asks for donations. He does not ever mention that he is receiving payments from the PAC.

  396. 396
    SGEW says:

    This thread has become very strange.

  397. 397
    The Sheriff's a Ni- says:

    @McGeorge Bundy: I can see why some would want to kill it too. It doesn’t seem incredibly logical to me, but I can understand where you’re coming from.

    Where I draw the line, however, is where you actively align yourself with those that would sooner see a public option or single-payer relegated to the same bathtub you want them to help you drown the current bill in. That makes no sense at all.

  398. 398
    clonecone says:

    @Mary: In fact, he denies taking payments. On 7/18/08, Glenn said: “Yeah – you exposed me. It’s so much fun to work 18 hours a day on a political project for no compensation that I’m just doing it for my own amusement, just to raise lots of money with no intent to spend it on things that can matter, because . . . well, there must be some reason I’m doing that.” http://letters.mobile.salon.co.....dex15.html

    We know based on FEC filings that DMDM Enterprises was paid $3813.74 less than a month later on 8/12/08. Was that payment for any consulting prior to the 7/18 statement? If not, what changed between 7/18 and 8/12 to prompt such a large consulting fee?

  399. 399
    clonecone says:

    In fact, he denies taking payments. On 7/18/08, Glenn said: “Yeah – you exposed me. It’s so much fun to work 18 hours a day on a political project for no compensation that I’m just doing it for my own amusement, just to raise lots of money with no intent to spend it on things that can matter, because . . . well, there must be some reason I’m doing that.” http://letters.mobile.salon.co.....dex15.html

    We know based on FEC filings that DMDM Enterprises was paid $3813.74 less than a month later on 8/12/08. Was that payment for any consulting prior to the 7/18 statement? If not, what changed between 7/18 and 8/12 to prompt such a large consulting fee?

  400. 400
    DC says:

    I’m finding the http://www.breakthematrix.com link to Greenwald’s PAC most disturbing. I had no idea of his connection to Ron Paul, but in light of his hatred for the current Democratic adminstration (which is anything but libertarian), it starts to make sense. Also starts to make Hamsher make sense. Perhaps they hate “big government…” like a lot of right-wing Republicans. It makes sense…and why suddenly FDL and Greenwald are so far left, they’re right.

    Old post from Greenwald defending Paul:

    http://www.salon.com/opinion/g.....index.html

    “I’m not trying to be Paul’s advocate”…indeed.

  401. 401
    Osceola says:

    @burnspbesq

    “If you want to use a particular person for something…you have to use a sole-source contract…” Yes, it was time-sensitive, too. But how have you not just made my larger point for me?

    @Raven

    Yeah, I read that from Krugman, too. I think Krugman is a treasure. He is many things, but polymath isn’t one of them, and I am unaware of his previous professional work as a health care economist. Not that he is not one, but that he hasn’t been viewed as such. I’d be more impressed with Krugman’s “testimony” if Gruber was at Michigan State instead of from the relatively small orbit of Krugman’s world. Yeah, I know. MIT/Harvard/Princeton are the seat of great learning. But having spent considerable time at an equivalent Eastern university, I do know that it is not necessarily true of individuals at these places.

  402. 402
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Bob In Pacifica:

    I feel like there’s a clapping quotient that Greenwald somehow isn’t meeting.

    There is an overwhelming countertrend for which I find Greenwald an apt representative, and it’s the notion that all support is slavish and cultlike support, and all dissent is noble and principled; thus if you attack in a spirit of dissent and get pushback, it just proves how much more righteous you are, because your opponents are brainwashed and only you can see clearly. He does this on every single issue. To disagree with him is to reveal your own corruption, literally in this case, metaphorically in every other case. It’s obnoxious. It’s the thing I like least about Olbermann, too.

  403. 403
    clonecone says:

    On 7/18/08, Glenn said: “Yeah – you exposed me. It’s so much fun to work 18 hours a day on a political project for no compensation that I’m just doing it for my own amusement, just to raise lots of money with no intent to spend it on things that can matter, because . . . well, there must be some reason I’m doing that.”

    http://letters.mobile.salon.co.....dex15.html

    We know based on FEC filings that DMDM Enterprises was paid $3813.74 less than a month later on 8/12/08. Was that payment for any consulting prior to the 7/18 statement? If not, what changed between 7/18 and 8/12 to prompt such a large consulting fee?

  404. 404
    Mary says:

    @BTD: I think it’s been proven beyond a reasonable doubt in this thread that DMDM Enterprises is a Glenn Greenwald concern or did you not follow the links set forth in this thread? As far as I’m concerned the case is proven.

  405. 405
    clonecone says:

    On 7/18/08, Glenn said: “Yeah – you exposed me. It’s so much fun to work 18 hours a day on a political project for no compensation that I’m just doing it for my own amusement, just to raise lots of money with no intent to spend it on things that can matter, because . . . well, there must be some reason I’m doing that.”

    We know based on FEC filings that DMDM Enterprises was paid $3813.74 less than a month later on 8/12/08. Was that payment for any consulting prior to the 7/18 statement? If not, what changed between 7/18 and 8/12 to prompt such a large consulting fee?

  406. 406
    Phaedrus says:

    @Mojotron :

    “I read it; your point #3 basically says that anyone who accepts money is corrupt and will fudge data, regardless of whether they disclosed it.”

    I have a different take. Seems like Glenn is saying that money has a corrupting influence and hence the need for disclosure. I think he’s made it quite clear, repeatedly, that he doesn’t think the money changed (corrupted) Gruber’s stance on these issues.

    I also think he’s made a really strong case that Gruber should have disclosed his financial ties in his public opinions pieces and other public policy comments – and not doing so, when contracturaly required to – was unethical.

    Finally, the fact that the Administration was paying Gruber and then using him as an “independent” source was bad, but the real scandal was the inequity of the response by the Left, who were outraged by the same behavior under Bush but now excuse it.

  407. 407

    @Bruce (formerly Steve S.):

    Yeah, now you’re just talking out of your ass.

  408. 408
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @AB:

    Yup, it started out with a Cole thread doubting the veracity of Greenwald calling the non scandal Gruber thing as corrupt. Then a I’ll show you mine, if you show yours.

    My final word is until GG or his defenders explain why his article started out without mentioning the payment was made public initially, leaving the clear impression that it was constructed to be secret and underhanded from the get go, which would call into question the intent. Versus ethical lapses thereafter, while worthy of criticism, but not worthy of claims of corruption and scandal.

    Then all the wanking this way or that means nothing to me. Disclosure runs both ways, for the accused, and the accuser. And I don’t care much who funds who. I do care when a critic makes charges onto Obama, or anyone else while not giving the whole story, and painting a false meme from an incomplete one.

    That’s what we used to have wingnuts for. Now it’s being outsourced to left wing hero’s, or something.

  409. 409
    McGeorge Bundy says:

    @The Sheriff’s a Ni-: I don’t want to kill it. I think the benefits, marginal as they are, outweigh the negatives, which are many.

    I think their position is calculated upon simple expediency: How can we best work to kill the bill? Allying themselves with the Paulnuts seems like the clear #1 choice.

  410. 410
    John S. says:

    The dishonesty around here is reaching astounding levels.

    Your continued presence makes sure of that. I’m not sure at what point you decided to be the arbiter of all things good and pure around here, but that takes a lot of balls coming from someone with your commenting history.

  411. 411
    The Sheriff's a Ni- says:

    @DC: I’ve always understood Glenn to be far more libertarian than he’s ever been liberal. He’s big on rights first, foremost, and always, which is why he’s a treasure. Its when he starts to drift off that reservation that, well, you get this thread.

    @Mary: I wouldn’t go that far. All we know is that DMDM owns the copyright on Glenn’s book(s). Like I said, my inner Artie Johnson just donned his stahlhelm, but my inner Ben Bradlee still wants more.

  412. 412

    Just Some Fuckhead @ 352:”…The sorts of tactics you are seeing used to be primarily in the purview of a handful of rightwing trolls but with the influx of a lot of new commenters, presumably to lobby for the Senate version of the health care bill, there is much less snark and much more ugliness.”

    Cass Sunstein’s minions? (And my comment isn’t all snark either.)

    A longtime poster over at Booman Trib privately told me the exact same thing was happening over there: an influx of true believers with their knives out and ready to shiv anyone not onboard fully with Booman. That an Obama insider (Sunstein) would write a paper suggesting what a swell idea it would be to troll sites to knock down what are deemed to be political enemies suggests that big thinkers in the Obama camp could think that it might just be worthy of someone’s chump change to hire people to do similar beatdowns. And that should at least be noted.

    There are a number of people posting here who aren’t paid assassins, and I’ll wear any fuck-you from General Winfield Stuck proudly, but I find the overall reaction here to be disturbing.

    There are few absolute parallels in anything. Armstrong Williams is not exactly Gruber. But it’s enough to note, which was all Greenwald initially did. (I used to be bugged back in the 80s when Noam Chomsky would say that Reagan’s intervention in Nicaragua was exactly the same as the USSR’s invasion of Afghanistan.) But the best way to counter false analogies is to point out where they are the same and where they are different. That went on for a little bit here, and then the knives came out.

  413. 413
    Warren Terra says:

    @BTD:

    Until you can tell me who DSDM

    Assuming you mean DMDM, they’re a company that gets a quarter of Accountability Now’s outlays – a share equal to Hamsher’s – for the same service Hamsher provides to Accountability Now. DMDM doesn’t have any apparent web presence (suggesting that they aren’t exactly looking for business from other clients, but are instead used to receive funds only from people who know who they actually are). And — oh, yeah — they hold the copyright on Glenn Greenwald’s book.

    I have at best a lay knowledge of the way copyright works, but I think it’s a pretty good guess that any organization holding the copyright to Glenn’s book is actually just Glenn by another name. I just pulled a random book off my shelves, and while it’s got a major publisher the author retains the copyright and states so on the title page (in fact, the author of the foreword separately retains their own copyright), and I believe this is completely standard.

    I suppose all these admittedly indirect signs are wrong, and DMDM isn’t actually Glenn. But I doubt it.

    To be clear: I’m not calling for an investigation, because I don’t think this is either illegal or unusual. But isn’t it distasteful? Were their fundraising efforts misleading?

  414. 414
    DCLaw1 says:

    @Mojotron:

    I read it; your point #3 basically says that anyone who accepts money is corrupt and will fudge data, regardless of whether they disclosed it. You’re using some definition of “corrupt” that isn’t commonly accepted or IMHO correct. Appearance of impropriety and actual impropriety are two different things.

    First of all, thanks for engaging me substantively. I think reasonable people can disagree on my third point, but that was (of course) not my only point. Also, I rather explicitly avoided saying that “anyone who accepts money is corrupt and will fudge data” – I said it was neary impossible to avoid some degree of skewing, minimalization, or emphasization when one is taking money from an entity whose position on the subject is clearly known. This is not necessarily the case, however, which I acknowledged.

    That said, I need to go back to what Glenn said originally on this: there have been plenty of instances under Bush where people known from the start to have views friendly to the administration were paid by that administration without disclosure, and this was rather uncontroversially labeled as “corrupt” by many Democrats.

    I do not think it matters materially that we are talking here about technical analysis (and resulting opinion) and not simply opinion, because the objective is not merely research and analysis of an objective phenomenon (as in the case of global warming, for example), but to take a qualitative stance on an already-known policy proposal eminating from the paying body.

    This can go deeper. I’m abbreviating my response for now. I’ll just say that, even if you have issues with my third original point, the others stand on their own.

  415. 415
    rollotomasi says:

    The issue in a nutshell:

    1) Individual personally contracted to perform work (not a grant) for government.

    2) Individual defends government policies in arena for which he was contracted.

    3) Individual does not disclose financial relationship with government in this arena.

    4) Government holds individual out as independent, disinterested party and also does not disclose relationship.

    Now substitute “investment-rating agency” for “individual,”” banking/investment firm” for government,” and “gives high rating to bond that investment firm is marketing” for “defends government policies in arena for which he was contracted” and you may get the idea of what Greenwald is talking about. The high rating may be justified, but do you trust that rating as much when you know the relationships? Should you trust that rating as much? And we have indication now that these ratings agencies, for decades highly-respected pillars of objectivity in investment matters, gave flattering ratings in order to maintain and solidify relationships with firms who hired them.

    You cannot have gradations of disclosure based on the perceived attributes of the opinion sources, and, as with the rating agencies, you cannot assume that those with seemingly the most impeccable credentials are going to behave responsibly or honorably. Disclosure is about parties being upfront about their relationships and letting the public judge and the chips fall where they may.

    One point here that Greenwald and others made that seems not to be sticking is that more than not disclosing the relationship, the government touted Gruber as an independent, disinterested source throughout the debate. If this relationship were disclosed, Gruber could still have argued his case, DCLaw1 noted above.

    Greenwald’s original piece Friday was about government getting into the propaganda/disinformation business. The Gruber matter only came to prominence at Glenn’s blog when Paul Krugman perceived the Friday piece to be an attack on him, and Glenn responded; and here when John Cole passive-aggressively went after Greenwald today, and Glenn responded.

    — One of Glenn’s / FDL’s highly-compensated operatives from the secret slush fund diverted from AccountabilityNow.
    (Full disclosure and all.)

  416. 416
    Phaedrus says:

    @FlipYrWhig
    “To disagree with him is to reveal your own corruption, literally in this case, metaphorically in every other case”

    This is horseshit. Glenn engages his critics on the arguments, read the opening portions of this thread. A little over half way through you can see the unfounded accusations/smears arrive with mary, et. al., and now your voice has joined them… I understand you don’t like Glenn, but does that give you license to lie so freely? For god sakes, it is so easy to refute.

  417. 417
    Mary says:

    @The Sheriff’s a Ni-: Fair enough. DMDM being an LLC means there will be a paper trail to further prove the case.

  418. 418
    The Sheriff's a Ni- says:

    @McGeorge Bundy: Oop. Sorry, mate!

    The thing is, if I was a liberal who wanted to kill the bill, I’d be running to Dennis Kucinich first. Going to Grover brings to mind the words ‘Faust’, ‘Daniel Webster’, and ‘Well, on the last bill you sided with the Club For Growth…’

  419. 419
    BTD says:

    @Mary:

    I’m not even sure what you think has been proven. Much less beyond a reasonable doubt.

    This is really a fascinating thread.

  420. 420
    Mary says:

    @Bob In Pacifica: You’re in the Twilight Zone now, dude. I don’t have any ties, directly or indirectly, to the Administration, although I did contribute to the campaign in the same amounts that I contributed to Kerry’s campaign.

  421. 421
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Phaedrus: He engages his critics on the arguments, then gets tired and cranky and starts saying that his real offense is daring to criticize Dear Leader. “Dear Leader” is a reference to totalitarian brainwashing. Thus the reason why people disagree with Glenn Greenwald and continue to do so after he has deigned to respond… is that they’re brainwashed.

  422. 422
    McGeorge Bundy says:

    @The Sheriff’s a Ni-: I’m with you on that one.

  423. 423
    The Raven says:

    @Osceola:

    He is many things, but polymath isn’t one of them, and I am unaware of his previous professional work as a health care economist. Not that he is not one, but that he hasn’t been viewed as such. I’d be more impressed with Krugman’s “testimony” if Gruber was at Michigan State instead of from the relatively small orbit of Krugman’s world.

    He is very widely read, though. I wonder why this very important area isn’t more studied in US academic economics. I suspect it has something to do with the power of conservatism in US academic economics, but that is a SWAG.

  424. 424
    BTD says:

    @Warren Terra:

    Suppositions are not facts. Of course, I also wrote more than you quote. But no matter.

    Fascinating thread.

  425. 425
    The Sheriff's a Ni- says:

    @rollotomasi:

    1) Individual personally contracted to perform work (not a grant) for government.

    2) Individual defends government policies in arena for which he was contracted.

    3) Individual does not disclose financial relationship with government in this arena.

    4) Government holds individual out as independent, disinterested party and also does not disclose relationship.

    The thing is that you’re painting with a broad enough stroke that any academic work done for the government falls under it. Again, are talking about the need for a Sarbanes-Oxley for academics now?

  426. 426
    John Cole says:

    This thread sucks.

  427. 427
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @BTD:

    This is really a fascinating thread.

    No, it’s embarassing. Thanks for at least trying to keep it classy.

  428. 428
    John S. says:

    the notion that all support is slavish and cultlike support, and all dissent is noble and principled; thus if you attack in a spirit of dissent and get pushback, it just proves how much more righteous you are, because your opponents are brainwashed and only you can see clearly

    Very well said.

    That is what I find the most tedious about Glenn. Well, that and the fact that in all the years he’s been blogging and political personality, there are few instances in which he has been wrong about something – particularly since he joined Salon.

    The thing I like most about John Cole is that he has no problem admitting he is wrong. The man has keen insight into a lot of issues, but when something is outside of his grasp he isn’t afraid to admit it. Greenwald doesn’t seem to think that he is ever wrong about ANYTHING. But I guess when your crusade is always noble and just, it doesn’t really matter if you’re wrong or right.

  429. 429
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @John S.:

    I think It is becoming painfully clear that a chunk of the internet left is busy as little bees building an Obama fail meme. When people are in this mode, then details and facts come second to somewhat accurate. And when you ask them to produce those facts and details, all of them, they scream hater, and spontaneous immolate like water on wraiths, and the whining is deafening. And it is a complete mind fuck to me that these are dems, or libs, or on our side supposedly.

    I think they want Obama to fail at this point, and someone else to run in 2012. And for many there is little doubt in my mind it be H. Clinton.

    And it is comical the attempted use of the dem side shield to protect them from counter claims. Or, you are just destroying honest critics. I say bullshit, a thousand times over. They are doing the GOP work for them, and fuck em to hell for that treachery.

  430. 430
    Phaedrus says:

    @Mary

    Troll. I don’t like to throw that label around, because it is so easily used to simply shut down debate (has happened to me, very frustrating).

    Troll. You refuse to deal with the substance of the original post, you simply attack the messenger, rinse and repeat.

    Troll

  431. 431
    Mary says:

    @BTD: Greenwald’s ties to Hamsher, AccountabilityNow being little more than a personal slush fund…I mourn when a respectable lawyer like yourself is so obtuse.

  432. 432
    Mary says:

    @Phaedrus: Whatever. A lot of answers about Greenwald’s ties to Hamsher have come out in this thread. Sorry you’re unhappy about that. Sniff.

  433. 433
  434. 434
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @John Cole: As far as all the funding for Greenwald stuff, yea, I agree. Otherwise, it seems about par. unless you would like to clarify what you mean.

  435. 435
    terry chay says:

    @MBunge: This.

    When you read the entire thread straight through, I’d say that Mary laid a nice rhetorical trap that Glenn Greenwald walked right into.

    I don’t think any of us here on BJ actually believe that Greenwald is corrupted by his association with AccountabilityNow. Just that the standard that he’s all in a Glenn-typical rage over is an absurdly high one to have—one which he, himself, cannot. When it came to the ACLU, he does indeed fit within his standards, but continual disclosure to a small group like AccountabilityNow is exactly the sort of oversight someone can honestly make. The problem is that Greenwald’s absolutism precludes it from ever being made in any instance. Therefore it must not be a mistake (though it clearly is since Jane Hamsher and FDL is the sole originator of this “controversy”).

    Granted, Glenn can still claim that Gruber has a breach of contract with the NYT, and that there was no such contract between him and BJ (and he’s within the disclosure requirements between him and publishers of his blog).

    But reading his denials straight until he discloses that yes, indeed he does have a relationship with Jane Hamsher), sure makes his argument look flimsy! (And the argument that it was always public flimsier still since the same could be said of Gruber and a paid relationshop to the HHS—which predates even the Obama administration!)

    But that’s for us, who see the degree of the punishment should fit the degree of the ethical lapse:
    Williams/Gallagher (not just ethical, but declared illegal) >> Gruber (correction (but not not retraction) in a newspaper of record) > Greenwald (amused laughter by BJ commentariat and a slight shock at how freely he throws around words like “unbelievably dumb”, “totally irrelevant,”, “completely false” “Obama-is-the-Infallable-Leader land” “ludicrous” “tossing crap” “sleazy tactics” “slimy tactics” “slimy, reckless, false accusation” “sleazy innuendo”—Aside: the Glennzilla does likes those adverbs, huh?)

    Glenn wants to draw the bright line between him and Gruber, but really, that’s a small line to cross (after all, Gruber is massively incentivised not to corrupt his work with his opinions, had disclosed his relationship with HHS in the NEJM and to a Times reporter who ignored it, maybe he didn’t realize that he had to disclose it again to the Times editorial board).

    The law draws a bright line, between Gruber and Williams.

    I’m no lawyer (ironically and perhaps damning to others in Glenn’s case, he is), but I tend to draw my line there. It may not be bright, but the gap is wide enough for it to be clear.

    We do not impugn Glenn’s ethics, but we do find offense that he so “freely, totally, and recklessly” impugns ours.

  436. 436
    Phaedrus says:

    FlipYrWhig :

    “He engages his critics on the arguments, then gets tired and cranky and starts saying that his real offense is daring to criticize Dear Leader. “Dear Leader” is a reference to totalitarian brainwashing. Thus the reason why people disagree with Glenn Greenwald and continue to do so after he has deigned to respond… is that they’re brainwashed.”

    Look at the early thread. He repeatedly, repeatedly states he is not commenting on the substance or accuracy of Gruber’s work, that he is making a comparison between Gruber’s situation and that of Armstrong, etc. And yet, here we are, 400+ posts in and people are still arguing over the accuracy of Gruber’s work. I’m tired and cranky too, what’s one to think. I mean, there are only so many explanations that can account for the this behavior – what must be a deliberate mis-representation of Greenwald’s views, smear attempts etc, whenever he criticizes this admin, specifically over HCR.

    He’s made his points clearly, engaged his critics and defeated them on the merits and then started to get smeared, so he threw some back. Yeah, he’s a real ideologue.

  437. 437
    Zach says:

    @Bob In Pacifica:

    But it’s enough to note, which was all Greenwald initially did.

    This isn’t just noting a concern:

    People can characterize the magnitude of the failings here however they want (“huge” or otherwise), but the indisputable fact is that Gruber was running around publicly and favorably commenting on the President’s health care plan — while the White House and its allies were centrally relying on him and characterizing him as an “objective” analyst — at exactly the same time that the administration, unbeknownst to virtually everyone, was paying Gruber many hundreds of thousands of dollars. The DNC alone sent out 71 emails touting Gruber’s analysis without even once mentioning the payments. Those are just facts.

    He’s implying that he’s not objective, and that he only started running around pushing the White House’s agenda once he got paid. However, GG’s primary example of when Gruber should’ve identified himself was in a NY Times OpEd in which he was promoting a policy — closing the loophole or capping it at a bare minimum — that the White House completely opposed at the time and partly opposes today.

  438. 438

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    I think the “disclose all of your ties to Hamsher” stuff is pretty silly (although I do get the point, especially when considering how Greenwald preens about his involvement with the ACLU whenever he writes about them), but the Accountability Now stuff is pretty interesting. Not so much that Greenwald and Hamsher have taken money from it, but that the only apparent non-administrative/personnel expenditure has gone to a fringe glibertarian group that supports Ron Paul.

  439. 439
    The Sheriff's a Ni- says:

    @terry chay:

    I don’t think any of us here on BJ actually believe that Greenwald is corrupted by his association with AccountabilityNow. Just that the standard that he’s all in a Glenn-typical rage over is an absurdly high one to have—one which he, himself, cannot. When it came to the ACLU, he does indeed fit within his standards, but continual disclosure to a small group like AccountabilityNow is exactly the sort of oversight someone can honestly make. The problem is that Greenwald’s absolutism precludes it from ever being made in any instance. Therefore it must not be a mistake (though it clearly is since Jane Hamsher and FDL is the sole originator of this “controversy”).

    This.

    The law draws a bright line, between Gruber and Williams.

    And this.

  440. 440
    Mojotron says:

    Phaedrus, I’m in agreement with you about Glenn’s take on it, that response was solely to DCLaw1. DCLaw1, I disagree about the “nearly impossible to avoid fudging data when accepting money” part; I think the nearly impossible task is proving a conclusive link in those cases when someone does fudge data, which is why full disclosure and transparency are necessary so others can judge for themselves.

  441. 441
    BTD says:

    @Mary:

    Well. I like to be careful on accepting charges of fraud.

    As I recall this discussion, the original question was whether Greenwald’s post OVERstated the seriousness of Gruber’s disclosure issues (everyone, at one time anyway, agreed, he should have been more forthcoming).

    I was of the view that Greenwald’s post, while mainly about the bizarre Sunstein article, was not about whether Gruber’s situation was a serious lapse (he appeared to concede it was not), but rather whether in haste to minimize the lapse, Krugman had gone too far.

    I thought Glenn had a point.

    Where YOU took it, and I think the questions themselves started off fair, was to an accusation of fraud and slush funds. In my mind, those are very serious accusations – much more than has been made by ANYONE against Armstrong Williams, much less Gruber.

    Leaving aside the issues of who is what, do you have any idea what DSDM was paid for? I do not. I would like to know before I start accepting assertions of “case proven.” To me, your reaction is the equivalent of saying Gruber was paid for his opinions by the Obama Administration.

    I would reject any statement like that as well.

    A more interesting question to me is this – what disclosure did Accountability Now, and organizations like it, owe its contributors regarding the use of funds donated to them? I think that is an interesting question. It would make for an interesting discussion.

  442. 442
    Phaedrus says:

    @Mary :

    Troll. I’m going to keep calling you out.

    Troll. You’re point here has been to try and smear Glenn without addressing the merits of the post.

    Troll. Your characterization of his comments was incorrect and slanted.

    Troll

  443. 443

    Look at the early thread. He repeatedly, repeatedly states he is not commenting on the substance or accuracy of Gruber’s work, that he is making a comparison between Gruber’s situation and that of Armstrong, etc.

    And, again, there simply is no comparison. Anyone making the comparison either doesn’t understand the two situations, or is trying to smear Gruber. Period.

  444. 444
    radish says:

    You can’t make a huge fuss over the non-disclosure without making an implication about Gruber’s credibility on health care.

    Er, why not exactly? Seriously. This is not a rhetorical question.

    To clarify, what I’m wondering is how this is different from saying that we shouldn’t ticket people for running a red light unless they would also have run the light even with a child in the middle of the intersection. Yes, the fundamental reason that we enforce traffic laws is to prevent accidents. But the benefit of enforcing traffic laws doesn’t require that we only enforce them if we suspect the intention to commit vehicular homicide. It doesn’t even require that we enforce vehicular homicide laws as such. And this is equally true of norms as well as laws.

    I can understand the argument that the various failures to disclose Gruber’s contract were all minor infractions of the traffic-light variety, which are receiving more attention that they deserve. I may not agree with it, but I understand it. However I do not understand the argument that they should not receive any attention because Gruber didn’t tweak his results. This is why Greenwald’s comparison with Armstrong and Gallagher is relevant. If the question of disclosure is separate from the question of corruption, then it’s just as relevant for Gruber as it was for Armstrong. Armstrong didn’t tweak his results either. If it’s not separate then we’re back to the question of why it’s separate for running red lights vs hit and run, but not separate for disclosure vs corruption.

    BTW I wish people would stop calling this a grant when in fact it was payment for services rendered, and I also wish people would stop talking about Gruber as though he was engaged in some sort of of novel research. What he was doing was economic modeling, and he was using a propietary (meaning not peer-reviewable) model. In other words, he was doing the exact same thing that all those “quants” on Wall Street were doing before the crash. Like David Li, Gruber’s results were consistent, he was “the best” at it, and he was “universally respected by his peers.”

    I love modeling, and I particularly love agent-based modeling. I think there’s a lot we can learn from it about How The Universe Works. But it’s a completely different process than experimental or observational research.

  445. 445
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    No, they weren’t.

    What an astonishing lie, even for you.

    You read Gruber’s own description above, right? That he is working for “policymakers”?

    And you read my exact words, right? That policymakers contracted with Gruber to help craft policy? Which is exactly what Gruber says he does?

    Truly astounding.

  446. 446
    Mary says:

    @Phaedrus: My point was simply to draw attention to Greenwald’s ties to Hamsher, who is the original manufacturer of the Gruber scandal, so that interested readers could factor that information into their assessments of Greenwald’s objectivity, as well as his own levels of disclosure. Call me a troll if you wish. I’ll be licking my wounds over that.

  447. 447
    The Raven says:

    @Brien Jackson:

    When you hire an electrician to fix the wiring in your house, do you pressure him to do it wrong because you think it looks prettier?

    People alter building systems for aesthetic reasons all the time. Extraordiary example.

  448. 448
    FlipYrWhig says:

    I still don’t see what the big underlying issue even is. Yes, you can sinister it up, but isn’t the substantive difference between Gruber and Armstrong Williams that Gruber is an acknowledged expert in the field of health care economics, whereas Williams isn’t an expert in anything, just a pundit? The administration conferred with an expert, who had some level of input, and then the expert said he liked the administration’s approach. I don’t see what the problem with that is. The _implication_ is that he’s out there saying he likes the administration’s approach _because_ he was paid to like it, or that there’s an _appearance_ that might be true, but those really aren’t troubling to me. Perhaps the reason is because I respect experts and want them to be involved in policymaking.

    But IMHO this whole to-do is sort of like saying that because Jonathan Turley is critical of various constitutional-law stances the Obama administration has taken, and is invited on MSNBC to talk about those, and is under contract to NBC News, that NBC News is conspiring with Turley to take down Obama.

  449. 449
    Miserable Jake says:

    A couple questions I’d like to see Glenn Greenwald answer:

    If I, as a research scientist, receive a research grant from the Health and Human Services Department, am I no longer considered to be an “independent” scientist? Am I being funded “by the White House”, since HHS is part of the executive branch?

    It seems that if the answer to either or both of these questions is “yes”, then there are virtually no independent research scientists in this country. In the academic world, anyway. The vast majority of research funding in universities comes from one government agency or another (EPA, NSF, FDA, NIMH, etc.).

  450. 450

    I can understand the argument that the various failures to disclose Gruber’s contract were all minor infractions of the traffic-light variety, which are receiving more attention that they deserve. I may not agree with it, but I understand it. However I do not understand the argument that they should not receive any attention because Gruber didn’t tweak his results. This is why Greenwald’s comparison with Armstrong and Gallagher is relevant. If the question of disclosure is separate from the question of corruption, then it’s just as relevant for Gruber as it was for Armstrong. Armstrong didn’t tweak his results either. If it’s not separate then we’re back to the question of why it’s separate for running red lights vs hit and run, but not separate for disclosure vs corruption.

    Again, no. Because “disclosure” wasn’t the problem with Williams and Gallagher; the fact that the contracts themselves were illegal was the problem. Disclosing the payments wouldn’t change the fact that said payments were illegal, which is why comparing Gruber to Williams is offensive/ignorant.

  451. 451
    DCLaw1 says:

    @Mojotron:

    I think the nearly impossible task is proving a conclusive link in those cases when someone does fudge data, which is why full disclosure and transparency are necessary so others can judge for themselves.

    Actually, I completely agree with that. This points back to the question of potential fudging of data or opinion, however. That is, the reason why we insist on the transparency necessary to judge for ourselves whether results or processes were skewed by payment is because we understand that human nature tends to work this way.

    The way that this problem is often avoided when government awards grants to educational or scientific entities is not just through disclosure, but by the government making the greatest effort not to broadcast to the recipient the specific outcomes it wants. This is admittedly difficult in many cases.

  452. 452
    The Sheriff's A Ni- says:

    @Phaedrus: Ooh, I can play that game too!

    Troll. You never commented here until the Juicers got up into Glenn’s righteous fury.

    Troll. When explained why we’re all ‘WTF mate’ about Glenn drawing lines where there aren’t any, you continue to play the victim card about how we’re all piling on poor misunderstood Glenn.

    Troll. When Mary starts asking inconvenient questions that lead to even more inconvenient answers, you start repeating ‘troll’ over and over as if we’ll all cast her out as a heretic or something.

    Troll.

    … Is it working yet?

  453. 453
    terry chay says:

    @Warren Terra:

    The especially ironic thing in this thread is that Greenwald (and Hamsher, etc.) are asserting out that Gruber should be discredited because he gets his money from the government. Well, Greenwald and Hamsher get their money from fomenting outrage – especially Greenwald, because his readers have to work up a real head of steam to work their way through to the ends of his interminable posts.

    This. :-D

  454. 454
    minachica says:

    All I can say is that I’m shocked and disappointed that 15K from AccountabilityNow went to BreakTheMatrix, a “new media” group that tried to recruit members and donations from, of all places, StormFront.
    http://www.stormfront.org/foru.....62250.html
    (Click warning: this is a link to StormFront, but this particular link merely contains “mild” raciscm, not the stomach-turning vileness found on other pages on the site.)

    I guess I’m too naive. :(

  455. 455
    Phaedrus says:

    @Brien Jackson writes :

    “And, again, there simply is no comparison … trying to smear Gruber. Period.”

    What to say. My mind is boggled. The similarity of the situtations have been laid out again and again.

    – Admin finds someone who agrees with them, pays them to help spread the message (Gruber was paid for his simulation work, I know, but that wasn’t his only capacity.)

    – That person flacks a certain policy position preferred by the administration (that he held this position prior to funding is not in question) without disclosure.

    – Admin then cites his work as objective support for their own policy.

    These seem to be the facts stated by Glenn – and supported by even his detractors. So, yeah, just because all these things apply to both – you’d have to be crazy to think they’re similar.

    It’s that kind of logic, coupled with unfounded mudslinging, that makes people (me) think that the real problem here is not the meat of Glenn’s argument but something deeper.

  456. 456
    DCLaw1 says:

    OK, this is getting ridiculous now.

  457. 457
    AC in BC says:

    If Gruber’s paycheck depended on the stance he was taking, Greenwald would have a point. But Greenwald conveniently elides this, because it undercuts his pious outrage. I take Krugman’s characterization as the honest one: Gruber has a research grant from “HHS, not the West Wing”, just like thousands of other academics, to pursue important research. Under the Bush Administration, it’s possible that such a grant would be implicitly contingent on delivering results the Administration wanted. But that was because the Bush Administration was corrupt. Under normal rules, there is nothing unseemly about a scientist expounding on his expertise simply because he happens to have a research grant. Putting “independent, objective” in scare quotes, as Greenwald does, does not change the fact that in fact, Gruber is both.

  458. 458

    Wow, BTD and Glenn in one thread. I’ve never seen shrill and disingenuous look so harmonious and disingenuous.

  459. 459
    DC says:

    @minachica

    I’m with you. I’ve been following the civil war between the FDL/Greenwald camp and the (for lack of a better word) more pragmatic side of the left (that believes, for example, the HCR bill should be passed and improved upon instead of killed). I know a fair amount about libertarians. They deeply believe that government cannot solve any problems–it’s *all* the free market. If Greenwald and Hamsher have ties to Ron Paul, I can’t help but wonder how much of the outrage on their side is really a covert attempt to blow up anything that is a true government solution to problems. Hamsher has openly criticized Bernie Sanders and even suggested he should be “primaried” (not understanding that an independent can’t be). Yet Sanders got community health clinics–the seed of a single-payer system–into the Senate bill. What are the true motives, here? The witchhunt against Gruber is a tempest in a teapot–yet they keep pushing it…

  460. 460

    @Phaedrus:

    A. Yes, running the simulation was Gruber’s only capacity.

    B. Again, it seems everyone agrees Gruber should have disclosed the contract to the NYT Editorial board, but the claim that there was “no disclosure” is just false. Gruber disclosed it to the NEJMED as well as a NYT reporter. Of course, ignoring that is critical to implying that Gruber’s lack of disclosure in some cases was motivated by nefarious intentions as opposed to an erroneous, but benign, judgment.

    C. What Williams was paid for isn’t at all remotely similar to what Gruber was paid for.

    D. The GAO found the contracts with Williams and Gallagher to be not only unethical, but illegal. That’s a mighty big difference, IMO.

  461. 461
    eemom says:

    I appreciate the info that has been provided re Accountability Now, and I REALLY don’t get the meme that Mary’s and others’ questions to Greenwald about his financial relationship with Hamsher are somehow inappropriate — especially when his first response way up above was to essentially deny that he had ANY financial relationship with Hamsher (albeit, as others have noted, couched in carefully lawyerlike words).

    The key question here is what DID people think they were paying for when they contributed to Accountability Now? I can’t answer that because I’ve never paid attention to Hamsher’s fundraising efforts, but somehow I doubt that “paying me and Glenn Greenwald and some Ron Paul libertarians” is how she described the Accountability Now “mission.”

  462. 462
    Phaedrus says:

    @mary : “My point was simply to draw attention to Greenwald’s ties to Hamsher”

    no, it wasn’t. You opened with a dishonest portrayal of what Glenn was saying. You refuse to engage on the merits. You are a troll.

    @The Sheriff’s A Ni-
    no – see, I engage on the merits. Glenn has stated why and how he compares Armstrong and Gruber, but people insist on mis-interpreting it.
    Mary’s questions need to be backed with something – I’ve asked her to provide links and evidence and so far nothing. That’s just smearing. Smearing + ignoring the real argument = troll. But maybe that’s just me.

    @Jackson – That the payments to Armstrong were found to be illegal is a valid point (Glenn?) but only insofar as the scandal around Armstrong was about illegal payments. As I recall, alot of the storm was about the Admin secretly paying someone to flack their policy in the newspaper (which tracks pretty closely to the pertinent Gruber issues). Glenn provided a couple of other examples of Left Wing outrage (Pentagon pundits). Put all together I think he has a strong case that the people who were happy to crow about non-disclosure when it was a Republican, have chosen to remain silent in a similar situation for a Democrat.

  463. 463
    The Sheriff's A Ni- says:

    @Phaedrus: Troll. Once again you’re painting with a broad brush that covers anyone who’s ever been hired to academic work for the government.

    Troll. Once again you’re ignoring the points brought up repeatedly showing the very glaring differences between Gruber and Armstrong Williams.

    Troll. And now that we’ve repeatedly brought inconvenient facts to your attention, you’re now going j’accuse on us much like you turned on Mary when she pointed out Glenn’s potential financial association with the Firebaggers.

    Troll.

    Hey, this is easy and fun! I should try it more often!

  464. 464
    Warren Terra says:

    @Brien Jackson:
    This.

    And, I fear, possibly also this, from DC. During the Bush administration, people on the left made common cause with sensible people of all stripes against illegal war, in defense of civil liberties, etcetera. This was great, and we should continue to do so. But misconstruing some people who allied with progressives on these issues as being progressive leaders can be a mistake. Hamsher and FDL were absolutely fantastic, even indispensible, on Scooter Libby, and have been great on some other issues. But that doesn’t mean necessarily that Hamsher’s goals align with those of progressives on every issue, and I fear that people who came to trust her because of her leadership on important issues under Bush do not understand this. Similarly Greenwald.

  465. 465
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @eemom: Well, for me, it is hard to argue against charges that Gruber and Obama and the funding arrangement lends to fudging or lying or whatever, that leads to general charges of corruption, and then turning around and attacking Greenwald for the same thing. Though I see the effort to bring out hypocrisy in general, in this case, I would rather stick to what GG is actually writing and the veracity of that. And besides, that was the thread topic after all.

  466. 466

    @Phaedrus:

    But, again, Gruber did disclose the contract at other junctures. That’s a very key point that you, Greenwald, etc. keep ignoring. I’m willing to concede that Gruber should have disclosed it when he submitted an Op-Ed to the Times, if for no other reason than the Times said he should. But the fact that he disclosed it at other times also leads me to believe the non-disclosure was an honest mistake, not some nefarious attempt to mislead the public. That, I think, is the issue here; whether you believe the non-disclosure was an honest mistake or concious bad faith.

  467. 467
    The Sheriff's A Ni- says:

    @Phaedrus:

    no, it wasn’t. You opened with a dishonest portrayal of what Glenn was saying.

    What’s dishonest in pointing out Glenn’s potential financial ties to the Firebaggers?

    no – see, I engage on the merits. Glenn has stated why and how he compares Armstrong and Gruber, but people insist on mis-interpreting it.

    And when told why he’s drawing the wrong implication, we get ‘Dear Leader’ in response.

    This isn’t engaging on the merits. This is delivering a sermon and getting bitchy when the congregation refuses to go ‘Amen’.

  468. 468
    cyd says:

    Interesting and amusing thread. Coming back to the Glenn Greenwald statement:

    But neither Jane Hamsher nor FDL provide me with a single cent and never have. The very suggestion is stupid.

    I suppose this could be factually correct, if you make a Clintonesque re-definition of the word “me”. After all, if AccountabilityNow gave money to DMDM Enterprises, which appears to be a Glenn Greenwald concern, then that is not exactly the same as giving to Greenwald himself.

    But do we know for sure if DMDM Enterprises is owned by Glenn Greenwald? Alas, we do not. Now, if only there was a PAC we could donate to that would push for transparency issues of this sort…

  469. 469
    henqiguai says:

    @burnspbesq (#261):

    @Osceola:

    If a scientist gets any outside financial support for his or her work this must be disclosed every time the work is presented.

    Knew there was something bothering me about one of the assumptions in this ~debate~. I was under the impression that the noise was about a Gruber opinion piece, not a presentation of his body of work. His opinion is, I would hope, informed by his work, but that’s not the same thing.

    Or am I off in some other space on this silliness ?

  470. 470
    Phaedrus says:

    @Brein Jackson :

    “Yes, running the simulation was Gruber’s only capacity.”

    This is just, simply, false.

    “He was actively opining and participating in the health care reform debate—in ways involving both objective and subjective matters and much that was in between.”

    The real issue here, one you’re trying to obsfucate, is the disparity of response from the left for the lack of disclosure when Republicans vs Democrats do it.

  471. 471
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    What a long thread that I’m never going to read through in its entirety, except to say that at the point that Jane Hamshre BTD or Glenn Greenwald actual WIN A FUCKING ELECTION AND SERVE IN OFFICE then they can lecture us about conflicts of interest.

    until then, your concern is duly noted. MY GOD, people, this is not that important.

  472. 472
    Osceola says:

    @AC in BC

    “I take Krugman’s characterization as the honest one: Gruber has a research grant from “HHS, not the West Wing”, just like thousands of other academics, to pursue important research.”

    Indeed, Gruber does have a current grant from HHS (NIH). But it is to study Medicare Part D, in the amount of $284,613 (total costs, including overhead to NBER). The link is here: http://projectreporter.nih.gov/reporter.cfm. Just put Gruber in the Principal Investigator blank and click. And there is no reason to doubt his academic integrity.

    But that is not what we are talking about here, despite what Krugman has written. Gruber got a sole-source consulting contract from HHS to model HCR for the Administration, basically the White House. That money went directly to him: $780,000. He was not assiduous in disclosing this, which makes reasonable people wonder if his “proprietary statistically sophisticated flexible model” (these terms are in the contract) was used in some way for his personal financial benefit. It would take quite a remarkable human being to remain objective and detached under those circumstances. He surely knew what the Administration was looking for. In any case he was advertised as an independent academic analyst. On the Medicare Part D GRANT, not contract, that is assuredly true. On the consulting contract, maybe not so much. That he, among other things testified to Congress in November without mentioning his very lucrative consulting gig from HHS, is curious. No?

  473. 473

    “He was actively opining and participating in the health care reform debate—in ways involving both objective and subjective matters and much that was in between.”

    But he wasn’t being paid for that.

  474. 474

    @John Cole: It seems like the inevitable conclusion Mr. Cole. You’ve been egging these people on for months, with 20 +/- posts a week calling out anyone who disagreed with administration positions/tactics/decisions. No opposing position or critique was considered legitimate, but rather “leftys shooting themselves in the foot”, or “progressives whingeing with no cause” and how you hated them all.
    What did you think was going to happen?

  475. 475
    eemom says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    but the question of WHY Greenwald wrote what he did is hardly irrelevant to the topic of what he wrote, no?

    Especially when the evidence is pretty irrefutable that the motivation of his financial bedfellow in pushing this ridiculous Gruber “scandal” is to torpedo HCR, and has fuck-all to do with disclosure standards.

    And this “fund” of theirs, we now learn, pays money to so called “libertarians” who not only oppose HCR of any kind, but don’t believe the government should have any involvement in the matter of who pays for health care at all — no Medicare, no Medicaid, NOTHING.

    And all this from the self-professed champion of the public option.

  476. 476
    Phaedrus says:

    @The Sherif’s a Ni-

    See, this is what is so frustrating….

    My initial disagreement came from this post of Mary’s characterization of Glenn’s arguments, stating that he was unfairly calling Gruber and the administration unethical and corrupt.

    He’s not “implying” a bad relationship… he’s documenting it. Everyone agrees, now, that Gruber and the admin should have disclosed more. His point was two fold – one, that if this had been Bush, the left would have jumped on it (instead, they ignored it), and two, that Cass actually subscribes to this type of behavior.

    So, now I’ve set the record straight, let’s deal with Glenn’s issues – not make believe. And stop talking about his financial imporpriety without proof.

    … and take the troll thing back. It really hurt my feelings :)

    (I really hate being called a troll, that’s why I save it for someone like Mary)

  477. 477
    patroclus says:

    I don’t think Mr. Greenwald’s failure to disclose his financial ties to Ms. Hamsher and Accountability Now necessarily resulted from corruption or a dearth of ethics; I think it was more likely a harmless oversight. Further, he (or his LLC copyright holder) wasn’t directly paid for these particular views and, notwithstanding the heretofore undisclosed financial ties, he should be able to continue holding himself out as an “independent and objective” pundit.

  478. 478
    terry chay says:

    @The Raven: Let’s be careful here. Krugman’s field is economics, but it’s trade, not health care economics.

    Just a tiny correction as I believe the the argument is correct: there are few people qualified to do the work Gruber did for the HHS, and the alternatives are more tainted than he.

    BTW, I keep mentioning the HHS thing since that is a government grant for consulting analysis distinct from the regular granting process for academic research. (This is why I dislike Krugman’s analogy of an HHS grant being the same as an NIH one. The analogy is flawed, but world’s closer than comparing Gruber to Armstrong Williams!) Let’s be careful to make that distinction since the argument should not be that the work is a peer-reviewed academic one (it isn’t), but rather that he is part of a peer-reviewed academic community. The consequences of impropriety in the academic community—just look at the politically manufactured (and sometimes outright false) outrage over scientific fraud in the 90’s—are much greater and more extreme than the legal or ethical consequences.

    You may be making insinuations that can destroy someone’s career—an insinuation was all it took to destroy Nobel-prize winning David Baltimore’s career for a decade. Something, non-academics should be well aware of before bandying terms like an ethical or contractual breach which may or may not have occurred in an op-ed somewhere.

  479. 479
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @eemom:

    but the question of WHY Greenwald wrote what he did is hardly irrelevant to the topic of what he wrote, no?

    Maybe, maybe not. But you have to examine what he actually writes before you can make that claim. Just casting aspersions of corruption based on who gets paid by whom and in this case GG gets paid for writing stuff, without a solid and completely factual accounting that bias exists, is what we are criticizing Glenn for. It is a two part process, that Glen is walking past the first part to squall about the second and insinuating or claiming corruption in the first part. And I think we need to do both parts to be credible and not be guilty of what we say he is guilty of. See the conundrum?

  480. 480
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Task Force Ripper:
    Your concern is duly noted as well. FWIW we are all of a mixed mind about Obama and his administration, but hardly any of the readers of BJ have gone all the way over to crawl in the bed and spoon with Grover FUCKING!! Norquist like Jane Hamsher has.

    So suck on that. Greenwald has gone down the road that David Sirota went down a couple of years ago, where he went so far left that he’s useless. And he doesn’t see his own conflicts of interest there either.

  481. 481
    John says:

    If all he is saying is that Gruber should have repeatedly disclosed his grant…

    Gruber had a contract, not a grant. There’s a significant difference.

  482. 482
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @eemom: See, I don’t think Greenwald particularly wants to torpedo health care reform; but I do think he has _a lot_ invested in continuing to find occasions to demonstrate his own incorruptibility. The meta-issue on this, IMHO, isn’t health care, it’s the idea that no one has political principles, they’re all just bought off, or con artists, or gullible. Except him. He has principles he never sullies.

  483. 483
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @terry chay:

    You may be making insinuations that can destroy someone’s career

    Unfortunately, that doesn’t work in the non-academic world. John McCain being exhibit 1. George Will, exhibit 2. etc,etc, ad infinitum.

  484. 484
    moe99 says:

    The New York Secretary of State Corporations (Department of State, Division of Corporations) has this on a DMDM LLC:

    http://tinyurl.com/yfy2ztc

    the state of Washington usually has more information publically available about corporations and LLCs, including individuals associated with them, so this may not be helpful, but thought it was worth a mention. Could check Delaware’s Secretary of State too.

    And here we are:
    4360520 DMDM ENTERPRISES, LLC

  485. 485
    Phaedrus says:

    @FlipYrWhig

    “He has principles he never sullies”

    That’s just bullshit. He’s gone back and rethought some of his positions before. What is your problem? I’m not blindly supporting Glenn, but his consistency of principle appeals to me. If you’ve got some proof of Glenn being wrong and refusing to admit it – I’m listening, post the link, whatever.

    But jeepus, people, you understand that just because you don’t like someone doesn’t make him wrong – or give you license just to make shit up… you do see that, right?

    *sigh*, I have a sinking feeling about what answer I’ll see in the comments…

  486. 486
    Ailuridae says:

    @Bob In Pacifica:

    Are you arguing in good faith? I need to know before I address what you have written.

  487. 487
    Osceola says:

    @Terry Chay

    “You may be making insinuations that can destroy someone’s career—an insinuation was all it took to destroy Nobel-prize winning David Baltimore’s career for a decade.”

    Which brings up something that has puzzled me. Why did Gruber allow the Administration and its supporters to hold him up as an “independent academic analyst” when he knew that the work he did for them was consulting? I’m not saying he was dishonest. I sincerely doubt it. But he had to appreciate the distinction between consulting and independent research, and by not shouting it out he may have damaged his reputation as an independent scholar. But maybe not.

    I followed the David Baltimore case closely. John Crewsden was wrong from the start, but the case dragged on largely because of Baltimore’s initial reaction, which can be roughly paraphrased as, “How DARE you impugn the character and motives of me, David Baltimore?”

  488. 488
    moe99 says:

    You have to pay to get more information from the Delaware Secretary of State’s office ($10 for status, $20 for “more detailed information”), but it does note that DMDM Enterprises LLC’s incorporation date was 5/29/07.

  489. 489

    Remember, it’s all about disclosure. Just disclosure:

    To explain why this is important let me make a suggestion that I can’t prove, but which is the reason I started looking at this in the first place: because someone as credible as Gruber made certain claims about the excise tax, others in his field did not examine his claims in timely fashion.

    http://emptywheel.firedoglake......-analysis/

    To be fair, that’s obviously not Glenn. But I do think he should state clearly whether he endorses these views.

    And go on, tell me FDL is different than wingnuts.

  490. 490
    terry chay says:

    @John Cole: I don’t know. Personally, John, I find the AccountablyNow stuff dug up by commenters in this thread fascinating. If I donated to it, perhaps I feel that it sucks to find this out. As it is, while nothing illegal was going on, but it sure make you appreciate the careful parsing you have to do with Glenn’s creative “denials”—letter vs. spirit of the law and all that…

    Then again, I don’t like it people slow down for car wrecks, so I guess my interest in this thread shows I’m a hypocrite. :-)

  491. 491
    Ailuridae says:

    @Osceola:

    The argument is that he was doing the modelling for them over various scenarios. That modelling is independent of his advocacy for one program or another. Surely his modelling informs his decisions because he is a member of the RBC.

    Interesting question? Gruber took a deal between 300K and 900K to do technical work for HHS. What would Humana pay him to remain silent? What would Humana pay him to advocate for them?

  492. 492
    Warren Terra says:

    Then again, I don’t like it people slow down for car wrecks, so I guess my interest in this thread shows I’m a hypocrite. :-)

    Wouldn’t it be truly awful if other peoples’ packets had to wait while you read the thread?

  493. 493
    terry chay says:

    @John S.:

    The thing I like most about John Cole is that he has no problem admitting he is wrong. The man has keen insight into a lot of issues, but when something is outside of his grasp he isn’t afraid to admit it.

    Except in one instance… which is what made the “Jane Hamshers of the Left” thread so memorable.

    Ahh… Good times!

  494. 494
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Phaedrus:

    But jeepus, people, you understand that just because you don’t like someone doesn’t make him wrong

    Tell your friend Glenn that. Also that just because you think someone else is wrong doesn’t necessarily mean he’s on the take or being played for a fool.

  495. 495
    Ailuridae says:

    @Brien Jackson:

    To be fair, that’s obviously not Glenn. But I do think he should state clearly whether he endorses these views.

    Eeee. I think Glenn is in the wrong here in some smallish way but I think asking that everyone answer for the thoughts of their compatriots and friends (and Marcy is both to Glenn) is unfair. Glenn was pretty clear in his initial posting that he didn’t agree with Marcy on every piece of policy; he was defending Marcy against what he felt was an unfair attack on her methods by Krugman (and again, I think Glenn is incorrect to do so in some minor way)

  496. 496
    John Cole says:

    What I think is odd about this whole thread is I think Glenn and i basically agree that there should have been more disclosure, all that we disagree about is the comparison to Gallagher and Williams.

  497. 497

    @Ailuridae:

    Well Krugman’s criticism of FDL and Marcy specifically was that they were looking to generate a fake controversy, so if Greenwald was defending them from that accusation, I don’t see how he doesn’t need to let his readers know whether he continues to think it unfair nor that Marcy is explicitly peddling far fetched conspiracy theories about Gruber’s work.

  498. 498
    Osceola says:

    Hope you are feeling better today, John. Love the Tunch art work.

  499. 499

    @John Cole:

    I think everyone seems to agree that there should have been more disclosure. Personally, the fact that the Times says it should have been disclosed is enough for me. Where the split comes, it seems, is that I tend to think the oversight was an honest mistake, based primarily on the fact that Gruber disclosed the contract in other venues, including to a Times reporter. Grenwald is allging it to be a willful attempt to mislead the public, and stretching to draw an equivalence between Obama and Bush.

    But I haven’t seen anyone come down on the side that Gruber was right not to disclose the contract at the time.

  500. 500
    licensed to kill time says:

    I’m just waiting for this thread to hit 500 and then I’ll start reading it!

  501. 501
    Ailuridae says:

    @Brien Jackson:

    I understand your point and am, clearly, sympathetic. FDL has been incredibly disingenuous in this entire debate. Frankly its fucking scumbaggy.

    But Glenn defended Marcy from Krugman’s attack about Gruber. He was wrong to do so but asking him to answer for larger issues that Marcy’s advocacy on HCR is simply unfair.

    There are plenty of facts to indicate the FDL is being dishonest here.

  502. 502
    John Cole says:

    @Osceola: Thanks, but I feel worse. Pain is getting worse and I had to stop taking percs because I loathe how they make me feel.

    Dunno how anyone gets addicted to them.

  503. 503
    eemom says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    I agree with that. But his partner in a PAC that pays money to hard core “libertarians” most definitely does want to torpedo HCR, and if he’s going to defend her manufactured “scandal” about Gruber which is one of her means to that end, he should, if you’ll pardon the expression, be held accountable for that.

    Then there’s the question of how the libertarian funding and other expenditures that were itemized above promoted the cause of “accountability” in any way, but that’s another, longer story.

  504. 504

    @Ailuridae:

    Well that’s fair, so let me rephrase it: now that Marcy has moved on to concocting wild conspiracy theories about Gruber, it would be interesting to know if Greenwald stands by his original defense.

  505. 505
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @John Cole: yea, but Glenn didn’t posit any disclosure at all in his piece that I could see. Maybe I missed it, but the entire gist of the thing was it was all done under the table, which isn’t true. And that made his argument more salient toward untoward possible corruption. Not a small thing in my book.

    but then, i are a lowly Obot. what does I know

  506. 506
    eemom says:

    @John Cole:

    Actually, most of the thread was spawned by the fact that GG couldn’t endure to be disagreed with even about that point, and had to drag his sanctimonious ass over here to set you straight.

    I’m sorry that you are feeling worse, and I’m prepared to shut up about this now if that would help. : )

    If you don’t like the percs you should ask your doctor for something else. Morphine pills, for instance — I had those after my spine surgery last year.

  507. 507
    Ailuridae says:

    @Brien Jackson:

    Ahh, I misread you. My apologies.

  508. 508
    terry chay says:

    @Phaedrus:

    Everyone agrees, now, that Gruber and the admin should have disclosed more.

    You may not have intended this, but you make it sound like that before some event (possibly Greenwald’s response that is the topic of this BJ thread), that most people didn’t agree with that.

    And yet, from the outset (in Krugman’s article that Greenwald is responding to, as well as in the original post by John Cole, and in almost every post by people on both sides of the debate, this was being said, not just “now.”

    The point many people are making is if it is truly only about disclosure than why here (on John Gruber and not in at least 3 other documented NYT op-eds that had nothing to do with HCR)? Why did Glenn Greenwald not disclose his relationship with FDL (in fact, he denies it in a manner that is factually correct, but definitely not as “emphatically” no as he implies), certainly when he has no trouble disclosing his ACLU ties (the major difference is I think most people—certainly most of his readers—find the ACLU thing a credit but 1/3 funding to some Ron Paul outfit distasteful)? Why the refusal to bring up, or even acknowledge (like you do), mitigating factors (previous disclosures of the same thing (NEJM, NYT, and the implied disclosure when he refers to himself as doing consulting work), the academic community standards against this, the fact that HHS is not the same as the Obama administration, the timeline of events, historical consistency of Gruber’s opinions) and focus like a laser on one non-disclosure in an opinion piece written half a year ago?

    As for Mary’s tone, I too wish it had not escalated so aggressively. But she said she plunked down $50 to AccountabilityNow, I did not. She’s entitled to a little allowance at being emotional. If I put in money to something I felt was misrepresented to me, I would do well to dispose of myself half as reasonably as Mary has.

    As a commenter above aptly said, would that there was a PAC we could donate to that would actually apply some accountability to PACs like AccountabilityNow. :-D

    In the meantime, in typical BJ fashion, I’m going to donate to Haiti relief and vote for Bitsy.

  509. 509
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @John Cole:

    Dear Mr. Cole, this is Dr. Stuck making his script fo you. As someone who has dealt with severe chronic pain for a number of yars. If you start with ibuprofin at max dosage, or 800 mg.. And take one every eight hours or thereabouts, or no mo than 2400 mgs in a day, and do it without missing doses, it will take care of yer pain almost as well as opiates. But you have to keep that steady stream in yer bloodstream.

    I work cheap. A couple of Charlie pic posts on yer fine blog will suffice for services rendered, I hereby disclose.

  510. 510
    John Cole says:

    @eemom: He came over to argue because I emailed him and said I disagree with you on this. I really like Glenn, and think his work is really important, and am always emailing him stuff. Unlike some people (who I will not name), I think Glenn’s criticisms are usually quite useful and productive and serve as a good watchdog on government. I never get the sense he is just blowing shit up to get attention or out of vindictiveness.

    I just disagreed with him about the Williams comparison.

    What doesn’t change for me is that Gruber has a data set and methodology that can be reviewed to see if he is fudging the numbers or being a shill. What doesn’t change is that Gruber was paid to give an honest assessment of the data, and did.

    Williams, on tyhe other hand, had no expertise to bring to the table, never disclosed he wasbeing paid, and was in fact just being paid to be a shill. The comparison of Gruber to Williams just makes no sense to me.

  511. 511
    Phaedrus says:

    I have not been up to speed on the FDL issues, but I’m picking up some real hostility towards them. I find myself on the same side of some issues (I don’t support the HCR I think it’s a bad bill) without being affiliated in any way – but people are quick to jump the gun and paint me with the Obama fail brush. Same sort of thing that Glenn was doing with the “Obama our Leader” comments earlier. It really shuts down substantive discussions, though maybe those have already taken place and people are now at the entrenched phase where we’ve heard each other’s arguments, can anticipate them, and just start flinging poo.

    Anyway, group hug.

  512. 512
    Comrade Doctor General Willibro says:

    As Mr. Spock would have said: Fascinating.

    John Cole posts a comment saying he is puzzled by Glenn Greenwald’s allegations about a certainly-unethical, possibly-corrupt, non-disclosure of a paid relationship between the White House and a pseudo-independent consultant. Glenn Greenwald posts comments explaining what he meant.

    400 comments later, the entire thread is now about whether the relationship between Glenn Greenwald and Jane Hamsher is corrupt and unethical.

    Meanwhile, Cass Sunstein’s

    …truly pernicious paper proposing that the U.S. Government employ teams of covert agents and pseudo-“independent” advocates to “cognitively infiltrate” online groups and websites — as well as other activist groups — which advocate views that Sunstein deems “false conspiracy theories” about the Government…

    is still available to read. Frankly, I’d say it’s an open question whether we’ve just seen a demonstration that this paper’s recommendations are now operational.

    Paranoia certainly strikes deep, don’t it?

  513. 513
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @John Cole:

    Unlike some people (who I will not name),

    I must confess, though not the only one fer sure.

  514. 514
    terry chay says:

    @Osceola: I totally agree with you on both Gruber and Baltimore.

    It’s just hard for me to get worked up to righteous anger at them (I am not accusing you of being worked up over it, BTW), since I know it’s a human failing, and I, like you, am human.

  515. 515
    Ailuridae says:

    @Phaedrus:

    I heart your handle. And not in a ZAMM way.

    I can’t speak to anyone else but my problem with FDL is that they are using right wing framing and tactics to argue against the Senate bill and health care at large.

  516. 516
    Mary says:

    @General Winfield Stuck: I think you misread John. I don’t believe he is referring to his commenters here, but rather to more high-profile blogger types.

    And, yes, Greenwald has been a valuable government watchdog. Let’s hope he remains one. And he has never claimed to be progressive. So there’s that.

  517. 517
    Ailuridae says:

    @Comrade Doctor General Willibro:

    Cass is an ass hole. And his kids are miserably behaved. I don’t think anyone around here spends days defending Cass Sunstein. Pretty sure that’s an example of the good and needed work people think Glenn does.

  518. 518
    terry chay says:

    @Warren Terra:

    Wouldn’t it be truly awful if other peoples’ packets had to wait while you read the thread?

    Yeah, we used to call them dial-ups and the thread BBS’s. ;-) Thankfully, the internet is not just some dump truck, it’s a series of tubes.

  519. 519
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    Admin finds someone who agrees with them, pays them to help spread the message…That person flacks a certain policy position preferred by the administration…Admin then cites his work as objective support for their own policy.

    Prof. Gruber’s role in this whole thing is of secondary importance. Yes, he should have been more forthcoming about his contract, but what he did isn’t close to the biggest deal in this whole thing.

    Prof. Gruber has long been known by policy wonks as the go-to guy for health care policies that Barack Obama specifically campaigned against.

    Prof. Gruber was contracted by the Adminstration to do work for “policy makers” who were “designing a policy,” in his own words.

    The Administration didn’t make explicit when signing the contract that policy objectives might be evolving in a way that employing Prof. Gruber suggests. The Administration wasn’t forthcoming about the apparent come-to-Jesus moment they were having on the excise tax and individual mandate, though they did finally get around to telling partial truths in the big health care speech in September:

    “under my plan, individuals will be required to carry basic health insurance… Likewise, businesses will be required to either offer their workers health care, or chip in to help cover the cost of their workers.”

    This much is pretty honest and straightforward, props to him for fessing up to it. But there was also this:

    “nothing in this plan will require you or your employer to change the coverage or the doctor you have. Let me repeat this: nothing in our plan requires you to change what you have.”

    True only insofar as the weasel word “require” is inserted. He’s not telling us here that the plan will include a disincentive for some to continue the “coverage… you have.” Finally, the excise tax money shot:

    “This reform will charge insurance companies a fee for their most expensive policies, which will encourage them to provide greater value for the money – an idea which has the support of Democratic and Republican experts. And according to these same experts, this modest change could help hold down the cost of health care for all of us in the long-run.”

    Nice little feat of legerdemain, eh? Note the implication that it’s nothing more than a “fee” on the evil insurance companies, which will encourage them to offer “greater value for the money” in unspecified ways. As we all now know, the “fee” is specifically designed to encourage companies and individuals to switch to lower-priced plans.

    First the double emphasis that you will not be required to change plans. Later he slips in some vague proposal that I presume is about the excise tax, which of course is specifically designed to encourage people to change plans.

    As I said, Gruber’s role in this isn’t a big deal. The persistent lack of straightforward honesty from the Administration is.

  520. 520
    Tsulagi says:

    400 comments later, the entire thread is now about whether the relationship between Glenn Greenwald and Jane Hamsher is corrupt and unethical.

    Yeah, looking forward to the intel coming in about Greenwald’s countertops. That should blow things wide open.

  521. 521
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Mary: Drat. You spoilt my confession. I still do not like the stillers though. We do disagree on that.

  522. 522
    Ailuridae says:

    @Bruce (formerly Steve S.):

    The disincentive to continue coverage is already there for employers. Obama’s plan may or may not lessen that disincentive but if health care costs continue to grow far past inflation more employers will drop health care. On a separate not thats a different argument about the excise tax – its true that a higher percent of plans will be affected in coming years but the aggregate total of plans affected doesn’t see that same rate of growth as far fewer employers will offer halth insurance to their employees.

  523. 523
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Mary: As long as doesn’t grind any faux axes, Greenwald can watch any dog he wants. My job, as an Obot, is to make sure no one makes shifty claims of corruption and accusations that Obama is doing Odious Bush like stuff, absent clear and convincing evidence to support it. All of the facts, just the facts.

    It’s because I hate republicans that much, and less so that I like Obama, though I do, with caveats of disagreements from time to time.

  524. 524
    kay says:

    @Tsulagi:

    Yeah, looking forward to the intel coming in about Greenwald’s countertops. That should blow things wide open.

    Oh, baloney. Mary was repeatedly asking about Accountability Now so I posted the numbers from their FEC filing. I’ve never given to the PAC, and I could care less who they pay or where they spend money. I have and had no idea who was paid, they’re all listed as “strategic consulting”, and I have no idea who’s behind the LLC. I assume it’s a 527, and that’s why they don’t donate to candidates.

    The PAC is named Accountability Now. I am mystified why posting their FEC numbers is so offensive and distasteful.

    I’ll happily take responsibility for what I did and why I did it. I simply responded to Mary’s (I thought good) question.

  525. 525
    Uriel says:

    @John Cole:

    Pain is getting worse and I had to stop taking percs because I loathe how they make me feel.

    You need to be careful about that- pain isn’t the only issue, there’s also the associated inflammation and involvement of other muscles due to the pain, especially in an area so central to movement and such.

    Disclosure: I’m not a doctor, but I did once have a rib crack badly the sternum. I didn’t take pain pills cause of the effects, and within a week, I had shooting pains all along that side of my body and lost the strength in my tricep to even lift a 16 oz. can of peas. It took a full year, with lots of painful phisical therapy, before I even regained 50% of my strength in that arm.

    So, you know- caution.

  526. 526
    Zach says:

    @Bruce – “Encourag(ing) companies to switch to lower priced plans” is what Obama means by “hold down the cost of health care for all of us in the long run.” That’s what it does, and that’s what Democratic and Republican experts agree on.

    When in the world did Obama promise that health care would be exactly the same after reform? What do you want him to say? “In my plan, I punish greedy people who get large health benefits!”

    We all knew that the fee was to (1) raise revenue and (2) encourage lower cost plans (and drive down their costs with increased pool size) to keep total health expenditures down. It’s not something we’ve only figured out any time recently; the whole point of Wyden-Bennet was to axe the loophole to incentivize increasing value. Anyone who’d passingly paid attention to the debate knew that this funding option had been discussed for months by that point and knew exactly what Obama was referring to. Or anyone who’d followed the Presidential election for that matter.

    Pretending that Obama was selling snake oil in September is ridiculous. Given that he doesn’t control what comes out of Congress, what he asked for is remarkably similar to what’s in the bills. As far as his “weasel word” goes, his opponents are (with unfortunate success) claiming that the bill will create death panels and socialize all medicine and destroy domestic drug development. What do you expect him to say?

  527. 527
    Osceola says:

    @Terry Chay
    The only thing I am remotely worked up over is the conflation of “research grant” with “consulting contract” and I blame Professor Krugman for much of that. He should know better, but I think he feels the need to circle the wagons to protect one of his own. Alas. Of course, since economists, business school professors, and many academic physicians live very well by consulting, maybe he doesn’t understand the difference and needs to consult with the eminent biologist Shirley Tilghman, who is President at Princeton. She could explain it to him and he might even listen.

    @Ailuridae
    I’m not sure I get your point, but if Gruber modeled for Humana and that became public no one would believe a word of it. Except for the denizens of K Street, that is, who would have no doubt paid him more money (although $780,000 seems like a lot for a part-time consultant to me). Which is why this current situation is a problem. He was working for someone with a dog in the fight, not doing independent, disinterested, academic research even though he is a well respected MIT health care economist. He needed to make that clear at all times. It is not OK after the fact to say that he would have done the same thing even without getting paid so much money.

    @John Cole
    I had a similar injury once and I took Tylenol #3 (i.e., with codeine). The pain didn’t go away, but the stress associated with it disappeared pretty quickly as I became disassociated from it. Codeine is old-fashioned but it did work.

  528. 528
    Comrade Doctor General Willibro says:

    @kay:

    Oh, baloney. Mary was repeatedly asking about Accountability Now so I posted the numbers from their FEC filing….I’ll happily take responsibility for what I did and why I did it. I simply responded to Mary’s (I thought good) question.

    Baloney yourself. You’ll do no such thing. You’re an anonymous poster on a public blog. You could be just some random idiot who knows how to do a search on Opensecrets.org, which would take someone with serious brain damage all of five minutes to learn. Or you could be Mary’s paid partner in an op of the type Sunstein proposed. In either case, we’ll never know.

    What you can take responsibility for is assisting Mary in making Greenwald’s and Hamsher’s associations and finances the entire focus of the thread, for at least 100 comments. The whole inquiry was ad hominem, guilt by association, and McCarthyite crap. And there was precious little of that going on in the thread until you two showed up.

  529. 529
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    When in the world did Obama promise that health care would be exactly the same after reform?

    Note the persistence of some symptoms of derangement. I say something very plainly, mostly using the President’s own words, and you hear something completely different.

    One more time, the President:

    “nothing in this plan will require you or your employer to change the coverage or the doctor you have. Let me repeat this: nothing in our plan requires you to change what you have.”

    Now Jon Gruber on the “Cadillac” tax:

    “It would reduce the incentives for employers to provide excessively generous insurance, leading to more cost-conscious use of health care and, ultimately, lower spending.”

    What part of this isn’t sinking in? The President says nobody will be required to change plans. Then he introduces a policy that is designed to encourage the changing of some plans.

    Do you really feel like you’ve been told the whole, unvarnished truth when somebody employs cute little rhetorical tricks like this?

  530. 530
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Comrade Doctor General Willibro: In defense of kay, she was lookin-at-ya-without-really-seein-ya half crazy before the odious mary ever showed up.

  531. 531
    kay says:

    @Comrade Doctor General Willibro:

    I think that’s ridiculous. She asked a question, I posted the FEC filing. No “guilt by association” about it. It’s a PAC. They file with the FEC.
    No, I guess you’ll never know if I’m secretly paid by Cass Sunstein. It’s absolutely ridiculous, but I guess intimating that I’m some sort of paid operative based on nothing is completely fair game, while posting a public record is MCarthyism.
    Incidentally, I think naming your PAC Accountability Now and then objecting to a donor’s question about it is ludicrous, and, “embarrassing”. If they don’t want questions from donors, they shouldn’t collect contributions.
    But, as I said, I don’t care. I don’t donate.
    Relax. I won’t be back to sully your threads with responses to what I still maintain was a good and fair question, one that was treated with absolute disrespect and disdain by the PAC’s co-founder.

  532. 532
    Warren Terra says:

    @Comrade Doctor General Willibro:
    Mary went overboard alleging fraud, in my opinion. But it’s slightly interesting that Greenwald emphatically insisted that he wasn’t paid by Hamsher, when it appears that he gets as consulting fees 1/4 of all the spending from a PAC they run together. OK, so he’s not technically lying: she’s not paying him, nor even is their PAC paying him under his own name (it’s paying “DMDM enterprises”); but (assuming the entity holding copyright on his books is in fact Glenn) they’re still in business together, and he is making money from it, even if there’s never money handed directly from Hamsher to Glenn.

    And when you look at that PAC, at that business they run together, it basically does three things: it keeps itself going (1/8); it funds some wacko pro-Ron Paul libertarian mini wurlitzer (1/4); and it pays money to Greenwald (1/4), to Hamsher (1/4), and to some other bloggers (1/8). There are real questions about whether the people from whom they raised the money for “Accountability Now” understood this was the money’s purpose; not, I think, questions of criminal misrepresentation, but still real questions. There are questions about why Greenwald denies that he makes money off of Hamsher, and why “DMDM enterprises” is so far from transparent. In the end, there are questions about his credibility.

    Now, none of this need have any thing to do with the questions Hamsher and Greenwald are asking about Gruber: those questions should be addressed on their own merits. Greenwald could be the least credible person in the world, and if he had good facts with solid cites on his side then he’d deserve to win the argument. But the converse is also true: just because the “who pays Glenn” question was a bit of a threadjack doesn’t make it less of a good question – especially when the whole thread is about pecuniary motives for peoples’ opinions.

  533. 533
    kay says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Fuck off. You know goddamn well I’m not some operative, nor am I some lobbyist for the senate bill.
    You accountability sticklers are pretty fucking touchy on accounatbility, I will say that.
    Enjoy your pristine thread. Sorry to sully it up with numbers.

  534. 534
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @kay: I said that, retard. I came to your defense and you are too fucking crazy to see that.

  535. 535
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Comrade Doctor General Willibro:

    The whole inquiry was ad hominem, guilt by association, and McCarthyite crap. And there was precious little of that going on in the thread until you two showed up.

    While I agree that it makes me uncomfortable and really not the topic of the thread, this comment by you is way overdone. Conflicts of interest are fair game for a paid columnist, as I assume GG is by someone. If he is now doing this for free then that would be different, but not much since he is the one making accusations of corruption in general based on non disclosure of funding.

  536. 536
    kay says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    And you’re as exactly as knee jerk defensive of Greenwald as any “Obamabot”.
    I’d be surprised if he’d have a problem with posting his PAC numbers, but maybe he would. I have no idea why, but I don’t really care either.

  537. 537
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: So now you are calling Kay retard. Nice coming from an ignorant puss like yourself. Go back to telling jokes dude, it’s the only thing you have to offer.

  538. 538
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @kay: I’m not. I think he just makes a more compelling case in this particular situation than your side does. I think we can be better and we should be better.

  539. 539
    burnspbesq says:

    @Osceola:

    “If you want to use a particular person for something…you have to use a sole-source contract…” Yes, it was time-sensitive, too. But how have you not just made my larger point for me?

    No, I don’t think so. I thought that one of the few things on which all sides agreed is that Gruber is clearly the best person for the job for which he was engaged. Is your larger point a problem with hiring the best person for the job?

  540. 540
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @General Winfield Stuck: Stuck, do I have to get Betsy to swat yer hillbilly ass again??

  541. 541
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: And who is Betsy. WTF are you jabbering about now.

  542. 542
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @General Winfield Stuck: U been like a fucking wart on this place for how long now and you don’t even know people’s fucking names? Maybe you could excuse yerself when we refer to the balloon juice community.

  543. 543
    kay says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    I could care less about the whole issue. I didn’t read Greenwald’s piece and I have never read one thing ever written by Cass Sunstein, except an excerpt where he said something about animal rights.
    Mary has been asking for weeks about the PAC. I answered a question. I wasn’t aware I needed permission to do that. I actually thought it exonerated Greenwald, and I come back tpo find I’m Joseph McCarthy.
    It’s not even true that it wasn’t part of the discussion. Greenwald addressed it directly, when Mary asked him.
    You know what? I don’t apologize. If you’re going to start a PAC, expect to be asked where the money goes.

  544. 544
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @kay: Yes, and I pointed out to one of the generals that you’re not “with” her.

  545. 545
    JSD says:

    What doesn’t change for me is that Gruber has a data set and methodology that can be reviewed to see if he is fudging the numbers or being a shill. What doesn’t change is that Gruber was paid to give an honest assessment of the data, and did.

    @ John Cole, whether Gruber is being honest or not is completely irrelevant. The reason he got dinged is that he failed to disclose his monetary ties to the work he was opining on. No one should be forced after reading an op/ed or having a politician hold some one up to have to go and research that person to see if he’s got some kind of some financial ties to said opinion. No one has time for that. Transparency has as much to do as accessibility to that info as it does to the existence of said info. That’s only point.

  546. 546
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: I do remember a Betsy, and I like her. She can swat my ass anytime, and I am sure she would NOT appreciate you dragging her into to fight your battles. What a putz you are fuckhead. geesh. go chat with Cole some more, to get your mind right.

  547. 547
    radish says:

    Holy crap, this is still going!? I thought I was arriving at the tail end of it 3 hours ago…

    @Brien Jackson:

    Again, no. Because “disclosure” wasn’t the problem with Williams and Gallagher; the fact that the contracts themselves were illegal was the problem.

    Obviously I didn’t explain it clearly enough. The point of the traffic analogy was that if you have two rules — one which is designed to prevent harm, and another which is designed to punish harm, then enforcing the first rule only when it causes actual harm defeats the purpose of the rule.

    You’re saying that in the Williams/Gallagher cases it’s not a problem that they didn’t disclose the contracts — only that the contracts were prima facie illegal (though it’s worth mentioning that nobody was prosecuted). In effect, you’re pointing out that Williams and Gallagher mowed down some kids while blowing through red lights. It’s not clear to me how this forms the basis for an argument against ticketing other people who blow through red lights but do not run over any children.

    Disclosure rules exist not because every conflict of interest is an instance of corruption (just as not every traffic infraction is a threat to public safety). They exist because the enforcement of disclosure rules reduces the overall incidence of corruption, and thereby reduces the amount of effort that needs to be expended to identify, correct, and punish it.

  548. 548
    Osceola says:

    @burnspbesq
    I will certainly grant that the WH thought Gruber was the best person for the job. He has a deserved reputation. If Gruber had always disclosed his consulting contract to the NYT, Congress, and the intelligent public I would believe it, too. As would just about everyone else. Such disclosure would have been independent evidence, as it were, of Gruber’s academic bona fides even while working as a consultant. However, his fumble makes me wonder whether he was chosen because he is the best person for the job of analyzing this particular aspect of HCR, or whether he was the best person for the WH’s job of getting a plan they wanted. These are two different questions, that’s all.

  549. 549
    emptywheel says:

    @John Cole: One of the frustrating things about this whole affair is that Gruber’s claims WEREN’T individually challenged–at least not by his peers–until his payments were disclosed.

    I started look at the whole excise tax thing because the claim that employers would pass on savings to employees seemed farcical.

    Gruber has–since his ties to the Admin have been revealed–admitted he oversold this claim (and Krugman, before he discovered Gruber’s conflicts, suggested Gruber had been exaggerated).

    So that’s at least one claim Gruber made that doesn’t stand up to analysis. I list two more that I think are suspect (one of which, I suspect, Krugman would agree with me on) and would love other economists to examine.

    Now, that still doesn’t mean Gruber tainted his analysis and I’ve never claimed such. Rather, it means that because Gruber endorsed these policies so strongly (and, presumably, bc they didn’t know those policies were his policies based on his assumptions to begin with), other qualified economists didn’t check his work. I only hope they do now.

  550. 550
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @emptywheel: Jeebus, this is idiotic. Would you like to comment on you saying that these payments were disclosed at least once. I am certain I heard you say this on one of Shuster’s segments. Or did I hear wrong?

  551. 551
    Mary says:

    @Warren Terra: Just so you know, I don’t believe I ever made any allegations of fraud on Greenwald’s part. I merely asked about Greenwald’s financial ties with Hamsher and his disclosure of that. I have never believed that Greenwald defrauded me. If I said otherwise, please show me where I did that and I will correct myself.

  552. 552
    emptywheel says:

    @sgwhiteinfla:
    Um, you do know that Gruber has admitted he oversold precisely the claim that I listed in my introduction?

    In other words, I was right to find that claim suspicious. Yet no one thought to take my concerns (or those of a number of others) seriously until they double checked Gruber’s work.

  553. 553
    The Raven says:

    @John Cole:

    What doesn’t change for me is that Gruber has a data set and methodology that can be reviewed to see if he is fudging the numbers or being a shill.

    If we make law based on Gruber’s advice, and on later review it turns out the advice was wrong, how long do you think it will be before the law is changed to bring it into line with the corrected work? It took nearly 100 years before the observation that eyewitness evidence is unreliable began to change judicial practice and the reforms are far from complete. (Look up Hugo Münsterberg, or try here.)

    Croak!

  554. 554
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    Would you like to comment on you saying that these payments were disclosed at least once.

    crickets

  555. 555
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    Gruber has—since his ties to the Admin have been revealed—admitted he oversold this claim (and Krugman, before he discovered Gruber’s conflicts, suggested Gruber had been exaggerated).

    links would be nice.

  556. 556
    Cat Lady says:

    Wow! Two + hours to read through this whole thread, and it’s like reading medieval angelological analysis regarding the numbers of angels that can dance on the head of a pin. Purity is for losers, left and right.

    By the way for those who are interested in DMDM LLC, like privately held corporations, ownership interests aren’t required to be disclosed in the public record. LLCs have members which are equivalent to stockholders, which are never named in public records (hence the word private) and sometimes managers are named, who may or may not be members. LLCs provide a liability screen like incorporation does, but with certain statutory and tax advantages. You won’t find a public record with the owner of DMDM LLC. That’s the point of having an LLC. So, don’t pay Delaware or NY Sec. State for the records. Nothing to be gained.

  557. 557
    emptywheel says:

    @sgwhiteinfla: Wow. That totally overstates what I have said.

    I have long suspected the claim that the excise tax would get workers raises to be suspect. When I found them, I pointed to benefits consultants and EPI analysis fleshing that out.

    But I have also said, from the start, that I don’t doubt that Gruber believes what he has said. (I’ve been very clear that the only thing I find he did in bad faith was discussing affordability w/o mentioning the affordability problems in the MA plan, on which he is an expert.)

    My problem is that no one has been checking Gruber’s work. As I pointed out above, Gruber has now–since his whole disclosure thing came out–admitted to others he oversold precisely this claim.

    So, good, someone checked his work and found it to be less strong than it had been sold as. Can we now check his work on a few more dubious claims?

  558. 558
    kay says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    You know what Fuckhead? I don’t show deference to Glenn Greenwald. He’s one lawyer. I read his site and that’s all I ever think: “one lawyer’s opinion”.
    I’m not going to start showing deference either, so forget it.
    Furthermore. I don’t think Mary has any duty to show deference to him. She’s a PAC donor. She can ask. I can answer.

  559. 559
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    and these are the people that get on my teevee.

    Seems Marcy will only communicate with fellow FDL’ers on

    John Coles blog. how uncool is that.

    case closed for lack of response to simple and fair questions.

  560. 560
    Warren Terra says:

    @Mary:

    I have never believed that Greenwald defrauded me. If I said otherwise, please show me where I did that and I will correct myself.

    After skimming the thread (again – long thread!) and doing some searches, I apologize for the imputation. I thought I remembered someone making ominous statements that someone should investigate the behavior of Accountability Now for possibly fraud, that its apparent use as a slush fund was a legal violation of some sort, and I thought this person was you. The closest I’ve come to finding such was a comment by “maye”, not by you – and two comments by “BTD” (for example) accusing you, mary, of launching accusations of fraud at Greenwald. I may well have been responding to BTD’s portrayal of your comments rather than to anything you actually said.

  561. 561

    General Stuck back @300 something:

    Gruber was not “independent”. He was getting paid. Dems presented him without that important fact that he was hired by the Administration. This was only brought up by Greenwald because he was talking in his previous post about an Obama insider’s paper (Sunstein) about putting covert people on the net to infiltrate the opposition.

    As far as whether I like Obama or not, I think I still have that right. I see the Obama Administration as following the same DLC playbook that Clinton followed. Being more attached to the organized labor wing of the Democratic Party I find his lack of action for the issues of working class Americans to be very disappointing and ultimately destructive to the Party.

    Yes, Coakley isn’t a very good candidate. But people out there are desperate. People stay home when they view politics as useless.

    And no, I don’t worry that not clapping hard enough will impinge on Obama’s success. Actually, I’m beginning to believe what Obama thinks is success has nothing to do with most Americans.

    May I suggest everyone, if they haven’t already, read Luke Mitchell’s “Understanding Obamacare” in Harpers. Easily googled.

  562. 562
    clonecone says:

    @emptywheel: Why don’t you just post a picture of Gruber in blackface and be done with it.

  563. 563
    The Raven says:

    @emptywheel:

    Now, that still doesn’t mean Gruber tainted his analysis and I’ve never claimed such. Rather, it means that because Gruber endorsed these policies so strongly (and, presumably, bc they didn’t know those policies were his policies based on his assumptions to begin with), other qualified economists didn’t check his work. I only hope they do now.

    One thing that’s itching the academics here is that there’s a distinction being missed. There’s academic research, which goes through a review process, and there’s policy advice based on academic research, which does not. What Gruber was contracted for was policy advice. Nothing wrong with that. But to make reliable policy, more than one advisor and more than one model are usually needed.

    Of course, this goes against the “pass the bill now so that Democrats can look like winners” politics. But if the policy work harms the public, they’ll only look like winners until the policy actually comes into effect, and then everyone will hate their guts. I think the people who wrote the Senate bill know the policy work is wrong, or at least suspect it might be. It only comes into force during Obama’s second term.

    Croak!

  564. 564
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @kay: Go over there and get him then, tiger. He ain’t hiding from you crazy fucks and you aren’t taking him down by stinkin up Balloon Juice with yer innuendo and gestapo like tactics.

  565. 565
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Bob In Pacifica: I don’t know what comment of mine you are responding to, but it was not at 300. And I don’t believe I ever used the word “independent”. And I wish you would quit whining as I have stated to you that you are perfectly within your rights to diss Obama for anything you want, and I can ask for evidence of your charges and say what I want. Would people please quit saying they are somehow not allowed to state what they want here. Jeebus christ on a pogo stick.

  566. 566

    Can we please start the thread over? I have been busy doing tile work most of the weekend and I have missed all the good buttkickings.

    Thanks!

    By the way, after this weekend, I am hiring myself out to do do regrouting of floor tile. It beats the hell out of the nerd-o computer work I have been doing forever.

  567. 567
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Bob In Pacifica:

    This was only brought up by Greenwald because he was talking in his previous post about an Obama insider’s paper (Sunstein) about putting covert people on the net to infiltrate the opposition.

    wut the fuckety fuck fuck?

    I am departing this crazy motherfucking thread.

  568. 568
  569. 569
    eemom says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    “He ain’t hiding from you crazy fucks and you aren’t taking him down by stinkin up Balloon Juice with yer innuendo and gestapo like tactics.”

    if he ain’t hiding from us, why did he beat a hasty retreat when we found out his financial relationship with Hamsher that he denied having?

    You really are a fuckhead.

  570. 570
    Laura W says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: Do you ever think that you and I are the only two people who understand each other in this here asylum?
    Me neither.
    I can’t believe we’ve come this far in this thread with not one pet, food, or music link. BJ is definitely on its last legs.
    I’ll take care of that right now.

  571. 571
    emptywheel says:

    @General Winfield Stuck: My point on Shuster was that Gruber was very selective about where he disclosed this. He disclosed it in late November for a form for the New England Journal of Medicine–something that the general public is not going to see. Then, a month later, he did not disclose it to the WaPo. The WaPo claims that they asked him directly and he didn’t disclose it; Gruber claims he told anyone who asked. I’m agnostic about whether the WaPo (which has its own well-documented disclosure issues) is right on this fact. But the point I was making on Shuster is that after the point–late November–when Gruber realized he should reveal this, at least within academia, he later specifically did not disclose it for a more general audience.

  572. 572
    emptywheel says:

    @General Winfield Stuck: There was a link to my post which had a link. But here’s a link to a Larry Mishel comment, saying:

    I do think Gruber’s claim about the wage impact of lower health care inflation in the 1990s (and the reverse trends in the 200s) was wrong: The simple tale seemed to support his policy desire to curtail health care costs via the excise tax but digging into the details shows that health care costs have not driven wage trends. This does not mean that lower health care costs might not lead to better wages, just that the scale of the impact won’t move wages appreciably.

    I may differ with many of you on the site though in that I don’t impugn Gruber’s motives. I don’t think there’s much of a scandal regarding his contract with HHS. I think his error in the case I’m criticizing is that he’s a health care economist and doesn’t know the details about wage trends. I, on the other hand, have been studying wages for thirty years or more. Gruber clearly over-reached with the argument about health care driving wage trends and has acknowledged that to me privately (yesterday).

    Here’s where Krugman, linking to an EPI report listing Gruber as the primary guy making the excise tax=raise claim, said those making the claim had exaggerated.

  573. 573
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @eemom: He didn’t “beat a hasty retreat” you stupid cow. He took more than his share of undue abuse while making his points over and over again, before leaving. And he was only here at the behest of John.

    I’m sorry I ever said anything nice to you. You are a hideous person.

  574. 574

    General, let me disabuse you of one thing. I was permanently excluded from TalkLeft (I believe by Big Tent Democrat) because I happened to point out H. Clinton’s hypocrisy over the Michigan delegate issue. (I know, it seems so long ago.)

    Of the three major Dem candidates I supported Edwards because he gave a better populist talk. I didn’t have all that much faith in any of them, but a little more in him than the other two. He dropped out before the California primary so I moved to Obama.

    I have no faith in H. Clinton to do the right thing. I didn’t like the campaign she ran, I didn’t like all the CIA detritus who did dirty work for her campaign and I suspect her connections to the wheels of power extend deeper and farther back than anyone here would be capable of imagining.

    I just find Obama’s work to in any way rescue the collapsed working class to be desultory. Is it better than what a Republican would do? Sure. A little.

  575. 575
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Laura W: Mrs. Blaylock didn’t have anything on these people.

  576. 576
    gbear says:

    @gbear:

    Looks like I called this one right back at comment 52.

  577. 577
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @emptywheel: Well then, it seems to me that you and Greenwald need to disclose that he did in fact make a disclosure, but later didn’t. Instead of writing breathless blog and mag posts that he never did, or not describing that he did once, or how many times it was. Disclosure runs both ways, doesn’t it.

    And further that anyone reading your blog or Glenn’s could well get the impression this was purposely kept completely secret when it wasn’t. And give the further impression of ill intent by Gruber or Obama. That is all I am saying.

    edited due to response.

  578. 578
    emptywheel says:

    @The Raven: Yes, and I have absolutely no problem with any of Gruber’s academic work. I did a post–based on the word of Uwe Reinhardt–noting that I accepted that the sole source contract, based on his academic work, was totally appropriate.

  579. 579
    emptywheel says:

    @General Winfield Stuck: I’ve disclosed it in multiple posts.

    So, I agree with you, and have in fact disclosed it. As well as–as I pointed out earlier–a post affirming that his sole source contract was appropriate.

  580. 580
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Bob In Pacifica:

    General, let me disabuse you of one thing. I was permanently excluded from TalkLeft (I believe by Big Tent Democrat) because I happened to point out H. Clinton’s hypocrisy over the Michigan delegate issue. (I know, it seems so long ago.)

    Never said you were but disabuse away if it makes you feel better.

    And you don’t like what Obama is doing, I get that already. I don’t agree with most of your complaints, but I agree that you have a right to make them. Though when it comes to specific allegations of foul play or anything illegal by Obama, I will request proof, every time, no exceptions.

  581. 581
    eemom says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    and you’re a sick, pathologically angry asshole.

    “Gestapo like tactics,” eh? Maybe you ought to join with the teabaggers and their pictures of the bodies at Dachau. They seem like your kind of crowd.

  582. 582
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @emptywheel: Well, that is good that you have disclosed it. But since disclosure is expected of Gruber every time he writes or speaks about his work for Obama administration, then I think you and Glenn should do the same in slamming him for not doing it every time. Seems fair to me. I await your corrections on writings on Gruber where you neglected to do this, if you did at any time.

  583. 583
    Dick Hertz says:

    Funny how it went from a discussion of fine points of disagreement on a side issue (Gruber as hired gun is as x,y, and z were hired guns) from a completely different topic (Sunstein’s longing for what the CIA already does) to “lynch GG and Hamsher for talking to people we don’t agree with and wanting to get paid for what they do!”
    It’s kind of sad to see so much glee taken in attacking people on more or less the same side but with different feelings and opinions. That’s the internet, I guess, the alternative to actually doing something.

  584. 584
    scudbucket says:

    @emptywheel: I have absolutely no problem with any of Gruber’s academic work.

    Emptywheel, some of us here know this . Others can only focus on the ‘implication’ of what you report. It’s a new form of firebagging: flaming a legitimate criticism of Obama because of what that criticism ‘implies’.

  585. 585

    General. I said at 300 something. It was 317.

    @563: “wut the fuckety fuck fuck?” Yeah, so you came to bury Greenwald, not read him? Go back to the column before, the one that actually got Krugman’s panties in a bind, you know, Greenwald’s first mention of Gruber. The column about Sunstein’s paper. Yeah, that fuckety fuck fuck paper. Why that’s so wacky let’s all choose not to believe that it exists.

    As far as Obama continuing Bush’s policies, how about Iraq and Afghanistan? And if a half trillion a year killing brown people for Big Oil isn’t continuing his policies then what is?

    Oh yeah, you’ve left the building. Fuckety fuck fuck.

    +++

    And no, Mary, even though an Obama insider wrote a paper suggesting infiltrating blogs, I don’t think he’s paying you.

  586. 586
    Arun says:

    emptywheel wrote “I think his error in the case I’m criticizing is that he’s a health care economist and doesn’t know the details about wage trends. I, on the other hand, have been studying wages for thirty years or more. Gruber clearly over-reached with the argument about health care driving wage trends and has acknowledged that to me privately (yesterday).”

    In the meantime, politico.com has the following quote from Jonathan Gruber:

    I am known in economics as one of the leading experts on the impact of health insurance costs on wages – indeed, I wrote my thesis on that topic and have written extensively since on the fact that health insurance costs are fully translated into wages. I was asked by the editors of the Handbook of Health Economics, a review of literature in this area, to write the review article on this topic.

    Sorry, I’m not a regular here, just who is Emptywheel? How is someone who wrote his PhD thesis on effect of health insurance on wages and the author of a major review article on the topic, admitting in private they “overreached”?

  587. 587
    Ailuridae says:

    @emptywheel:

    Really? He was selective? I knew he was doing work for the federal government six months ago and suspected he would be doing it in late 2007 when it was somewhat apparent who are President was going to be.

    I love that when those pissed with the exclusion of the public option start arguing they bring out the best witnesses on their side: a Joe Lieberman here, a WaPo there. Do you have any integrity?

    Let me ask: if the Post were asked a critical question of disclosure about, say, torture would you even be conditionally submitting it to buffer your argument.

    But, really the issue of suggesting somebody goosed numbers here is akin to arguing that a SABRmetician was misrepresenting Andre Dawson’s statistics in HOF balloting.

    So its now been. what. 10 days since you all produced this juvenile mini-scandal. Which economists are now challenging his number that weren’t before? Greg Mankiw? Are you going to host his blog now?

  588. 588
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @eemom:

    Maybe you ought to join with the teabaggers and their pictures of the bodies at Dachau. They seem like your kind of crowd.

    Wow, maybe you and kay should become detectives like the Hardy Boys. That’s pretty insightful stuff there.

  589. 589
    John Cole says:

    My problem is that no one has been checking Gruber’s work. As I pointed out above, Gruber has now—since his whole disclosure thing came out—admitted to others he oversold precisely this claim.
    So, good, someone checked his work and found it to be less strong than it had been sold as. Can we now check his work on a few more dubious claims?

    For the life of me, I can’t figure out why you think anyone would have a problem with this. In fact, implicit in my strenuous objection that Gruber is little more than a paid hack a la Williams and Gallagher is that THERE IS A DATA SET AND ACCOMPANYING PROCEDURES THAT CAN BE CHECKED.

    That is my problem- the false equivalence between Gruber and Williams. It isn’t the same thing, no matter how many times people say otherwise.

  590. 590

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    But since disclosure is expected of Gruber every time he writes or speaks about his work for Obama administration, then I think you and Glenn should do the same in slamming him for not doing it every time. Seems fair to me.

    So Marcy and GG should disclose that Gruber once disclosed his admin connections and payments to a small gathering but failed to do so subsequently to the extent the NYT’s Ombudsman penned a piece about it – but calling Gruber himself out on the issue of disclosure is somehow bullshit?

  591. 591

    @eemom:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    and you’re a sick, pathologically angry asshole.

    Based on your previous comments in this thread I did not think you were able to formulate such trenchant analysis. But that is trenchant as hell.

    She’s nailed you there JSF.

  592. 592
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Bob In Pacifica:

    Nah, I’m still here. And the fuckety fuck fuck was a response to what seems to be a rank conspiracy theory of some kind and I admit I don’t understand it’s relevance to Greenwald not disclosing Gruber had in fact disclosed his payment , at least once. All this other stuff is stuff I am not arguing about.

    Obama is moving to withdraw from Iraq, maybe a little slower than planned in the campaign, but still withdrawing, and Afghan is the war he promised to fight during the campaign. you and I may not like it, but it is generally what he said he would do. You have a right to gripe about these wars, I know I do at times. But you can’t reliably claim he is breaking his campaign promises, if you voted for him. If you are disappointed, then maybe you should have voted Nader instead.

    Why that’s so wacky let’s all choose not to believe that it exists.

    I plan to do just that, until reliable evidence to the contrary. Is this the sort of thing you want to plant your flag with Greenwald on? Oh well, different strokes I guess.

  593. 593
    emptywheel says:

    @Ailuridae: Two points. 1) I have said, repeatedly in the past, that “I don’t doubt he believes what he has said.” I have never accused him of goosing his numbers. 2) I raised the WaPo here to suggest that I was NOT assuming we should believe the WaPo when they say they asked him whether he disclosed this or not. I was (because of WaPo’s own disclosure problems) giving him the benefit of the doubt (or rather, not implicitly trusting the WaPo’s accusation that they asked him whether he had conflicts).

  594. 594
  595. 595
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Task Force Ripper:

    She’s nailed you there JSF.

    And without even seeing my countertops! I’ll put our new Malkinites up against anyone else’s Malkinites any day of the week.

  596. 596
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Task Force Ripper:

    – but calling Gruber himself out on the issue of disclosure is somehow bullshit?

    Read my comments first. I did not say it was wrong to call out Gruber for not stating his payment and work status with the Obama administration, every time he spoke of published on it. Only that not disclosing the fact that he did disclose it should have been present in the Greenwald article that is the subject of this thread. There now, strawman knocked down. Go find another.

  597. 597
  598. 598
    Ailuridae says:

    @John Cole:

    You think she’s arguing honestly. Its plain that she is not.

  599. 599
    Arun says:

    Re: Emptywheel’s telling us about something that Gruber admitted in a private email – if the email is really private, then telling us about it is wrong – just what is the meaning of private? If it isn’t really private, then provide the email so we can judge the context in which Gruber made his admission. Or if Gruber said – just tell the world I overreached, but nothing more of this email, Emptywheel can quote that.

    Remember – the whole premise of this kerfluffle is that we can’t trust – so why should I trust Emptywheel?

    Anyway, there is a problem when someone writes about a very public argument – “I am right and he is wrong, and he admitted so in private.”

    A pox on all of you, and no insurance coverage for it.

  600. 600
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @John Cole: Not entirely.

  601. 601
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @John Cole: Trolling, you kidding me. Calling female commentors stupid cows, is just trolling. I don’t think so John Cole. It is a different horse of another color. But it’s yer blog.

  602. 602

    @Cat Lady:

    Yes, I think he is the cousin of Jack Hoff.

  603. 603
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @General Winfield Stuck: Aw… is Lil Arnold tellin on me? How old are you again Stuck?

  604. 604
    Ailuridae says:

    @emptywheel:

    This is absurdly stupid. He published his data and methodology. If you or FDL broadly has a problem with his results challenge the results. Its cheaper than push polling so don’t make the argument that you don’t have the money.

  605. 605

    D. Hertz at 379: Funny how it went from a discussion of fine points of disagreement on a side issue (Gruber as hired gun is as x,y, and z were hired guns) from a completely different topic (Sunstein’s longing for what the CIA already does) to “lynch GG and Hamsher for talking to people we don’t agree with and wanting to get paid for what they do!”

    I’m responsible for bringing in Sunstein’s paper, but as a matter of establishing context, since it was in Greenwald’s piece about the Sunstein paper that he first mentioned Gruber, and it was that article that got Krugman upset, which led to Greenwald’s next post on Gruber and the brawl rolling into Balloon Juice.

    And yes, the CIA has been doing this a long time, as well as the FBI. When I was in anti-war groups back in the sixties those groups were being infiltrated under the FBI’s COINTELPRO or the CIA’s CHAOS (I think it was). And there were military intelligence people, state police undercover agents, etc. Looking back I can only hope that they were all as bored with endless discussions of candlelight vigils in front of the school library as I was.

    Which means that if Sunstein thought his idea was original he was really out of touch.

  606. 606
    emptywheel says:

    @John Cole: I think there are distinctions between Gruber and Armstrong Williams. (The only time I have raised Williams wrt Gruber is when Gruber used precisely the same excuse as Williams did to excuse his non-disclosure.)

    But my big point right now is that as soon as Gruber’s non-disclosure became clear, it took no time for him to back off this claim and for economists to examine it more closely. That is, I think the chances that people WOULD have examined his claims would have been greater had he disclosed that he was working for the admin.

    Again, I’m just hoping that happens now, because there seem to be assumptions that Gruber and JCT have both made that Krugman, at least, wouldn’t necessarily agree with, and if those assumptions are wrong, the entire revenue model in the excise tax is wrong.

  607. 607
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Fuck you fuckhead,.you sexist piece of shit. And all around piece of shit.

    edit – and your about dumb enough to think Arnold is my real name. It isn’t sorry piece of shit.

    It is the name of my uncle who was a fellow paratrooper who died on the first day of D-day. I use it in his honor.

  608. 608
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @General Winfield Stuck: Do you walk with an Igor-like hunched over shuffle? Because I have a bet riding on this.

  609. 609

    General at 588.

    Sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite.

  610. 610
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Bob In Pacifica: Do I have anything to worry about from all those covert Obamabot ninja operatives? I do have my plastic Unicorn to clutch.

    Otherwise, we are cool, you and me :-)

  611. 611

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    I did not say it was wrong to call out Gruber for not stating his payment and work status with the Obama administration, every time he spoke of published on it. Only that not disclosing the fact that he did disclose it should have been present in the Greenwald article that is the subject of this thread.

    So something like, “Full disclosure – Gruber disclosed his ties to the admin, the contract he is fulfilling and the hundreds of thousands of dollars he is being paid at a smaller forum but at every other subsequent event, forum or medium of consequence he failed to disclose he was earning hundreds of thousands of dollars due to a contract with the admin.” ?
    I agree, they should definitely disclose that every time they write about Gruber.

  612. 612
    emptywheel says:

    @Arun: You don’t have to trust me. You have to choose whether or not to trust Larry Mishel, who got the email. You also have to decide whether you trust Paul Krugman, who clearly said those who made this claim were exaggerating when they made it. Or,you can compare what Gruber said before his contract became known and what he said to an NYT reporter afterward, when he took a much more measured approach.

    Or you can choose to ignore all three of those data points. That’s okay to me. My goal is not to get you to believe me, it’s to get qualified economists to review Gruber’s assumptions in his reviews of the Senate bill.

  613. 613
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Task Force Ripper:

    I agree, they should definitely disclose that every time they write about Gruber.

    Absolutely goddamn right. They are attacking a mans rep, whether justifiably or not, they should provide all the facts, not just the ones that will cause the most outrage.

  614. 614
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    Well I misread that. sorry, you actually agreed. My bad dude. Commenting to too many folks, I guess@Task Force Ripper:

  615. 615
  616. 616
    BTD says:

    @Warren Terra:

    Mary said it was “case proven” that Accountability Now was a slush fund for Greenwald and Hamsher.

  617. 617
    BTD says:

    @Warren Terra:

    Mary wrote:

    “As one of the donors to the AccountabilityNow PAC, I do feel that I have the cred to express my revulsion and disappointment that it appears to have been operated as a giant slush fund for Greenwald and Hamsher and their pals.”

  618. 618
    Phaedrus says:

    Let me recap :

    Glenn pointed out the hypocrisy of throwing a fit overArmstrong but excusing Gruber.

    John and others said it was apples to oranges.

    Mary and others said Glenn shouldn’t talk because they think he might have an LLC that gets money from a PAC that also hase Jame Hamsher as a member – or something, that part is kind of hazy.

    emptywheel has shown up to defend her reporting.

    Have I missed anything?

    John stands by his claim that having published papers and a dataset give Gruber a shield that Armstrong and his writing don’t deserve, and that the lack of coverage is warranted.

    Glenn says that having two standards – one for academics and one for journalists – is a double standard and worthy of writing about.

    You can probably tell that I lean toward Glenn’s side, but either way, has anyone heard anything new in the last, oh, 300 or so comments?

    People like Stuck are actually parsing whether or not a single disclosure early on in a venue know one knows about sinks Glenns argument. Pretty sure the level of the conversation has jumped the shark.

  619. 619
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    Sorry, I’m not a regular here, just who is Emptywheel?

    A prolific and generally well-regarded blogger and occasional television talking head. Some here dismiss her out of hand because of her ties to Kim Jong Il Mahmoud Ahamdinejad Firedoglake, but as far as I can tell from her writings she’s a perfectly reasonable person and if we ask nicely she might give us an autograph.

  620. 620
    in says:

    @Mary:

    Here again is Mary accusing Greenwald of operating a slush fund.

    Warren Terra, please note.

  621. 621
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Right now, Nancy, Bess and GeorgeMary, kay and eemom are off solving the case of Glenn Greenwald and the Giant Slushy Fund.

  622. 622
    BTD says:

    @in:

    Sorry, 616 was me.

  623. 623
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Bruce (formerly Steve S.):

    She writes for a site that has jumped into bed with Grover f**king Norquist. If I were t-bogg or emptywheel or thers or anyone else, I’d seriously consider walking away. Grover f**king Norquist.

  624. 624
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @emptywheel: BTW, how many “unsubscribes” has FDL received in the past few days? I’m just curious how the FDL concern-trolling is playing with the base?

  625. 625
    Mary says:

    @BTD: I stand by my opinion that the AccountabilityNow PAC appears, based on the FEC returns to date, to operate as a giant slush fund for Greenwald, Hamsher and their pals. However, I never accused Greenwald of fraud. You owe me an apology and you do Greenwald a disservice in stating that a donor of his accused him of fraud. It’s not true.

  626. 626
    tomvox1 says:

    @DCLaw1:

    Your formulation seems to regard as intrinsically suspect any political advocacy and organizational alliances among individuals who substantively agree on the objectives of such.
    Also, the latter portion of your response seems to indicate that, for you at least, this is much more about what you see as Jane Hamsher being ” dangerously unhinged” than it is about Greenwald or what he is actually saying.

    The company you keep…

    If Greenwald can extrapolate all sorts of negative potential behavior from the company Obama keeps, i.e. Gruber, Cass Sunstein, Rahm, et al–and to the nth degree I might add–it seems reasonable to hold Greenwald to the same standard of professional associations, no?

    I think that’s unfortunate.

    And here you’ve lost me. If Hamsher & Greenwald are a team, how is it “unfortunate” that I see confluence in their motives?

    Easy solution for Greenwald: Disassociate from Hamsher and the Firebaggers ASAP before his motives become indistinguishable from hers/theirs.

    And finally let me just say something that’s been bugging the shit out of me since the beginning of this brouhaha: the conceit that Marcy Wheeler was ever “viciously attacked” by Krugman is absolutely the biggest straw man in this whole argument. Heat + Kitchen = Can’t Stand It, Get Out.

  627. 627
    kay says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Why don’t you leave me out of it, Fuckhead?

    I told you: I answered Mary’s question. I haven’t followed Gruber, and I don’t care.

    Do I, as an individual, and not a Cass Sunstein-sent “operative” ( an accusation made with nothing at all to back it up) think it’s amusing that the Accountability Now PAC filing is less than transparent? Yeah. I do. I don’t care because I didn’t donate. I don’t donate to “issue” PACs for just that reason.

    It’s Nancy Drew, by the way. Icky, stupid girls read Nancy Drew, not the Hardy Boys.

  628. 628
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Phaedrus:

    People like Stuck are actually parsing whether or not a single disclosure early on in a venue know one knows about sinks Glenns argument.

    Nope, doesn’t sink it. Sure does put a few holes in it though. Never ever disclosing something like this is a shitpot different than claiming sometimes. It casts a complete shadow of suspicion rather ethical lapses, which is what I think Marcy was claiming later in the thread. I applaud her for addressing it, Glenzilla, not so much.

  629. 629
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @kay: Sorry kay, the company you keep as they say. You’ve been irreparably damaged now. It’s unfortunate how these things work but it is what it is. I can help you rehabilitate yourself but you need to completely disavow Mary and pledge undying loyalty to me.

  630. 630
    BTD says:

    @Mary:

    Perhaps we define “slush funds” differently. To me, that is an allegation of fraud.

  631. 631
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    She writes for a site that has jumped into bed with Grover f**king Norquist.

    Hey, I forgave John for putting Pam Anderson’s fortified jugs on his front page. All have sinned.

  632. 632
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Bruce (formerly Steve S.):

    Hey, I forgave John for putting Pam Anderson’s fortified jugs on his front page. All have sinned.

    Save your forgiveness for the truly redemptive. Apparently John Cole has decided to join the George Bush rehabiltation effort.

    I see your Romans 3:23 and raise you a Matthew 7:16.

  633. 633
    Mary says:

    @BTD: Well you have a serious misunderstanding, then. I have never alleged that Greenwald committed fraud and it is deeply unfair for you to allege that I did. You do him a disservice by misrepresenting that a donor accused him of fraud. It’s not true.

  634. 634
    Parole Officer Burke says:

    Worst. Thread. Ever.

  635. 635
    DCLaw1 says:

    Since this thread apparently still simmers with scurrilous innuendo about Glenn Greenwald, I thought some might be interested in seeing what he said to a commenter of his regarding the subject of Accountability Now finances, etc.

    Please get a grip.

    Glenn’s comment follows:

    I’m happy to answer any questions, as long as they’re from donors or other well-intentioned people. This innuendo is all coming from Obama-cult websites which, a la Bush followers, want to personally smear anyone who criticizes their leader.

    At the end of the year, we released a 2009 Year-End report, which was posted on the front page of the website and emailed to all donors. It details everything we’ve been doing:

    http://accountabilitynowpac.com/

    Moreover, all PACs are required to publicly file detailed statements of our finances, and we do.

    As we said in the year-end statement, we have purposely avoided hiring basically anyone or other expenses we can avoid, which means all of the work — and it’s been a huge amount — has been done exclusively by 3 people – me, Jane and an Executive Director, who is currently Ben Tribbett. The ED’s salary is competitive and standard (something in the neighborhood of $90K – don’t know the exact amount), while Jane and I are paid $2K/month to run the PAC and manage and oversee all of its operations. Not a single other penny in payments has been paid besides that. I probably have spent more time managing AN this year than I have any other activity save blogging, and some months it competes with that.

    In essence, the only other monies spent are for administrative expenses (the PAC lawyer, bookkeeper, research help, etc.); travel for the organization (to go to districts where we’re recruiting candidates, meeting with local political leaders about primary challenges, putting together the network of affiliates (i.e., unions, activist groups, blogs) to support the recruited candidates); and polling the various districts to see which incumbents are vulnerable and what issues could be used to hurt them.

    The payment to “Break the Matrix” – described as a “weird libertarian group” in what you quoted — was a one-time only 2008 payment to the people who did the “Strange Bedfellows Moneybomb” that started the organization – they promoted it, set up the website, used all the technology they used for the Ron Paul Money Bombs, which they invented. Our working with them as part of the “Strange Bedfellows” coalition was all fully publicized (http://boingboing.net/2008/06/.....ts-fr.htmlhttp://www.salon.com/news/opin.....index.html), and the payment was some percentage of the overall Money Bomb amount which was standard for a fundraisers’ fee (10%, if I recall – perhaps 15%).

    No money has gone to Ron Paul, newsletters, or any other affiliated group of his. Those are all lies. The only group that was paid was the group that organized, promoted and enabled the money bomb – which was billed as a “Strange Bedfellows” project of those on the left and right angry about civil liberties erosions and lobbyist domination. That was what AN was billed as from the start.

    Every penny of AN money is fully disclosed. We haven’t raised any money since 2008 – or gone back to donors and asked for another cent since then – precisely because we’ve avoided spending any money other than what was absolutely necessary to build a real network that can recruit credible primary challengers.

  636. 636
    DCLaw1 says:

    Ah crap, the whole portion after the blockquote was supposed to be in the blockquote. Apologies. [Added: I removed the blockquote in an edit – nice feature, BTW]

  637. 637
    BTD says:

    @Mary:

    My apologies then. Let me correct myself.

    Mary merely accuses Greenwald of operating a slush fund for his personal benefit, not of committing fraud.

  638. 638
    tomvox1 says:

    @Bob In Pacifica:

    That an Obama insider (Sunstein) would write a paper suggesting what a swell idea it would be to troll sites to knock down what are deemed to be political enemies suggests that big thinkers in the Obama camp could think that it might just be worthy of someone’s chump change to hire people to do similar beatdowns. And that should at least be noted.

    What should also be noted is that Greenwald’s use of Sunstein’s academic papers to “predict” the behavior of the Obama Administration is exactly the same sort of “deduction” made by the Death Panel alarmists over Ezekiel Emanuel’s academic writings.

    Just who is trolling who here?

  639. 639

    @Mary:

    Well you have a serious misunderstanding, then. I have never alleged that Greenwald committed fraud and it is deeply unfair for you to allege that I did. You do him a disservice by misrepresenting that a donor accused him of fraud. It’s not true.

    You said it was a slush fund then said your “case” was proven.
    “As far as I’m concerned the case is proven.”

    What “case” were you “proving” if not an allegation of fraud?

  640. 640
    kay says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Yuck. A club. No thanks. Why can’t I make fun of Glenn Greenwald’s non-transparent PAC filing? It’s a little bit amusing, although not side-splitting or anything. I’m not really a threat.
    I can read his legal analysis and commentary, or I can read another lawyer’s or I can do my own. I can do all that and look at his PAC, I think. Unless Cass Sunstein says I can’t.

  641. 641
    Mary says:

    @DCLaw1: Good. Glenn Greenwald lays out clearly his financial ties to Hamsher. I have a further question. Is or is not BreakTheMatrix advocating for Ron Paul 2012? Is that really a lie?

    I like how he calls us Obama cultists, though. Nice touch.

  642. 642
    Carrie says:

    Had toast for supper,
    whine, cheese, toast and more whine.
    now it’s time for bed.

    haiku/fail

  643. 643
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @kay: He is just trolling Kay. Pay no never mind, there is nothing of substance to anything he writes.

  644. 644
    Mary says:

    @Task Force Ripper: The case that Hamsher and Greenwald are taking money out of the PAC is proven. They do, in fact, have financial ties. There’s no longer any question about that, is there?

    But there’s something wrong here. Why isn’t Cass Sunstein paying me? Or Rahm Emanuel? Boo hoo. I want to get paid too, like everybody else.

  645. 645
    DCLaw1 says:

    @Mary:

    You’re rapidly sliding into the, uh, unique category of person for whom no amount of information or answers will ever suffice to quell a pathological state of suspicion.

    Not healthy.

  646. 646
    tomvox1 says:

    emptywheel:

    But I have also said, from the start, that I don’t doubt that Gruber believes what he has said. (I’ve been very clear that the only thing I find he did in bad faith was discussing affordability w/o mentioning the affordability problems in the MA plan, on which he is an expert.)

    Erm…well “someone” sure took your mild concerns and ran with them:

    FDL: For almost the entirety of the health care debate, the Obama Administration has relied on economist Jonathan Gruber to make the public case for its idea of reform – even the most unpopular parts. But as Firedoglake revealed on Friday, the Obama Administration has failed to disclose that it paid the same economist more than $780,000.
    This is a huge ethical violation that undermines the entirety of health care reform.

  647. 647

    @Mary: First you use specious attacks, then you play the victim card, now you’re being more than willfully obtuse.

    Michelle Malkin…is that you? Have you determined yet what kind of countertops Just Some Fuckhead has?

  648. 648
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @DCLaw1:

    You’re rapidly sliding into the, uh, unique category of person for whom no amount of information or answers will ever suffice to quell a pathological state of suspicion.

    LOL. That’s quite a statement coming from the Greenwald camp.

    We are now in irony critical mass.

    edit-= tell me. what do those covert ninja Obamabot operatives look like?
    . I don’t feel safe. tee fucking hee.

  649. 649
    Mary says:

    @DCLaw1: Oh don’t be silly. I just asked a couple of questions about Greenwald’s ties to Hamsher and I think we’re all happy he addressed them. Lighten up.

  650. 650
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @kay: We’ll decide who is a threat and who isn’t. Mary’s scurrilous remarks are going to backfire and make Glenn Greenwald look completely honest and then bam!, health care bill fails. Is that really what you want? Thirty million poor people dying in the street because Mary was an idiot?

  651. 651
    John Cole says:

    John stands by his claim that having published papers and a dataset give Gruber a shield that Armstrong and his writing don’t deserve, and that the lack of coverage is warranted.

    Christ. That isn’t what I said at all. What I said was that a comparison of Gruber to Williams/Armstrong is ridiculous because:

    a.) Gruber did disclose his relationship, just not as much as some would have liked. Personally, I think the more disclosure the better, so I have no problem with demanding more.

    b.) Gallagher and Williams never disclosed. They were caught. Which is why it went beyond unethical into the illegal realm. At best, Marci and Glenn are only claiming that Gruber was ethically deficient because he did not disclose enough. Why they are conflating that with outright illegality is what I have been trying to figure out all day, and this shitacular thread has gotten me no closer to an explanation.

    c.) Unlike Gruber, Gallagher and Williams offered nothing in the area of expertise. They were simply hired to spread propaganda. Gruber was hired because he is a renowned expert in the field, and because he leaves behind a trail of data with detailed methodology.

    d.) And even then, there need be no double standard, as Glenn stated (and I dismissed), because Williams and Gallagher did not even adhere to one standard. What they did was beyond ethically questionable into outright illegal.

    Christ. I’m not the one being unreasonable here.

  652. 652
    clonecone says:

    @DCLaw1: Greenwald’s first disclosure that the PAC was paying him came just a few weeks ago, as he notes in the comment you quoted. He’s been taking payments since Aug 08. He solicited AN PAC donations on Slate without disclosing that he was on the AN PAC payroll. That’s a serious ethical violation and a clear violation Salon’s code of conduct.

    Conflicts of Interest
    You should avoid situations in which your personal, family or financial interests conflict or even appear to conflict with those of Salon or compromise its interests. You should handle all actual or apparent conflicts of interest between your personal and professional relationships in an honest and ethical manner. Conflicts are not always clear-cut. Examples of actual or potential conflicts of interest are set forth on Appendix A. A “conflict of interest” exists when a person’s private interest interferes in any way with the interests of the Company. A conflict situation can arise when an employee, officer or director takes action or has interests that may make it difficult to perform his or her Company work objectively and effectively. Conflicts of interest may also arise when an employee, officer or director, or a member of his or her family, receives improper personal benefits as a result of his or her position in the Company.

    Appendix A

    The following are examples of actual or potential conflicts:

    you, or a member of your family, receive improper personal benefits as a result of your position in the Company;

    you use Company’s property for your personal benefit

  653. 653
    kay says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    I’m fine, but thanks so much. I do think it’s amusing that responding to a question about Glenn Greenwald puts me in some Obama-bot enemy camp.
    I think I may have to reconsider visiting his site and reading his opinions, but, as I mentioned, to me, he’s just one lawyer, and I’m a lawyer, and I can do my own analysis, or read another lawyer, if I get the hankering.
    Again. I simply posted the numbers from his FEC filing, numbers he himself points to. I have no idea why this generated such vitriol and actually almost immediately produced a ludicrous string of accusations about my secret alliance with Cass Sunstein, but, ultimately, I don’t care that much.

  654. 654
    eemom says:

    @Task Force Ripper:

    maybe you ought to go consult a dictionary about the definition of fraud there, O Trenchant One.

    So far we’ve established that Greenwald and Hamsher used “Accountability Now” funds to pay themselves and some Ron Paul gang. That in itself is not fraud, and no one here ever said it was.

    However, “the investigation continues,” as we lawyers like to say. IF it is proved — and again, no one has ever said that it is, and I raised this exact question up above — that Hamsher or Greenwald misrepresented to their donors what the AN fund monies were going to be spent for — then, yes, that would be fraud.

    I said IF, once again, since you evidently hear nothing the first time around.

  655. 655
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Task Force Ripper:

    Michelle Malkin…is that you? Have you determined yet what kind of countertops Just Some Fuckhead has?

    It is quite possible I posted a picture of some food sitting on my counter a year or more ago. But that was when it was a novel thing to do and not some sort of daily ritual abuse of fat people.

  656. 656
    gerry says:

    Boy, what a mess! I don’t suppose this will be read by anyone at this late date, but the vitriol put forth in response to a reasonable criticism of the Obama administration is stunning. Red herrings, straw men, non-sequiturs…great stuff for a college course on logical argumentation. I love the comment (Gen. Stuck) that Greenwald did some good work during the Bush years but now he’s a bum, etc. Wow! I’m sure the election has changed Glenn and not Stuck.

    I can’t believe there are no references to Somerby in this thread. Are people bored with him?

    I have loved this blog, but Cole’s incessantly expressed disdain for Obama’s critics is getting hard to take. Obama is much better than Bush was. Obama’s politics are very disappointing and Washington business-as-usual. Both of those statements are true. I guess I’d hope that becoming a disillusioned true-believer Republican would have inoculated him from becoming a true-believer Democrat.

  657. 657
    DCLaw1 says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    I know it’s easier to refute a straw man than anything that I have said or might say, but don’t expect me to take you seriously for it.

    Mary –

    Oh don’t be silly. I just asked a couple of questions about Greenwald’s ties to Hamsher.

    Right. Lou Dobbs similarly characterized his little foray into birther conspiracy theories. You fool no one with your attempt to pass as a person with a “couple” innocent little questions.

    But I’m done engaging with you. You’re right – continuing to do so would “silly” in the extreme.

  658. 658
    kay says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    I’m rattled by this whole discussion. I don’t like to be reluctant to answer a question for fear of having some motive attributed to me in my absence, I’m not going to be good at sussing out what’s acceptable, Fuckhead, so maybe I’ll just skip the whole thing.
    You take care.

  659. 659
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @gerry:

    I love the comment (Gen. Stuck) that Greenwald did some good work during the Bush years but now he’s a bum, etc.

    I kinda liked that comment too. Though I didn’t call him a bum. Maybe the innuendo Red Herrings and non sequitors of your own should be examined. And no the election didn’t change me one iota, I still want evidence when charges are made, and facts, ALL OF THEM. Not too much to ask, I think.

    And I stand by my claim that Greenwald seems to be searching hard for decent outrage material, that was aplenty during Bush, but now any old sway back outrage pony will do. Got to feed the believers, lots of GG red meat of corruption everywhere. He is making a fool out of himself, and it is sad to see. That is just my opinion.

  660. 660

    @John Cole:

    Gallagher and Williams never disclosed. They were caught. Which is why it went beyond unethical into the illegal realm.

    Not quite. I’m doing this from memory, so I might be off a touch, but basically what Williams and Gallagher were being paid to do crossed into the realm of “publicity and propaganda,” which put the contracts in violation of federal rules. That’s why it’s important to distinguish that Gruber wasn’t being paid to write Op-Eds; disclosure or not, that would be illegal.

  661. 661
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @kay: Now you’re starting to understand.

  662. 662
    tomvox1 says:

    Glenn Greenwald: This innuendo is all coming from Obama-cult websites which, a la Bush followers, want to personally smear anyone who criticizes their leader.

    Absolute total horseshit and an unfortunate insight on how Glenn the Great Crusader views those who dare to talk back and ask for accountability not only for politicians but pundits as well.

    Maybe Hamsher and Glennzilla have more in common that I initially believed. Sobering, to say the least.

  663. 663

    @eemom: Ha! Good one!

    From Mary:
    “I do feel that I have the cred to express my revulsion and disappointment that it appears to have been operated as a giant slush fund for Greenwald and Hamsher and their pals.”

    From Wiki:
    “a fraud is an intentional deception made for personal gain”

    It’s true no one has proven fraud, although Mary did prove her “case”. But if Mary’s allegation isn’t an accusation that she was deceived and feels repulsed by it then what does one skilled in the master art of parsing such as yourself call it?

  664. 664
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @DCLaw1:

    I know it’s easier to refute a straw man than anything that I have said or might say, but don’t expect me to take you seriously for it.

    Jeebus, what does this pompous drivel even mean? And comparing Mary’s comments and questions to Lou fucking Dobbs. Thanks for making my argument easy to prove. And Malkin? Wanker.

    And BTW, I don’t believe JSF has countertops, but eats off the floor instead. Bottom feeding they call it.

  665. 665
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    Gruber did disclose his relationship, just not as much as some would have liked. Personally, I think the more disclosure the better, so I have no problem with demanding more.

    Am I the only one around here who agrees with this statement but thinks the Administration’s actions with regards to Gruber are what is truly troubling?

  666. 666
    jwb says:

    @tomvox1: Yeah, he completely lost me on that one.

  667. 667
    Phaedrus says:

    @John Cole

    you are definitely not the only one being unreasonable here.

    Look, Gruber disclosed once in an obscure, non-public forum, then went and wrote some high profile op-eds where he didn’t disclose (though he was supposed to by contract). And he got caught. You have to spin this series of events pretty hard to come to the conclusion that this was a simple oversight on Gruber’s part.

    your point c) is just a restatement of what I said previously – you think it is somehow ok to write an op-ed and not disclose that relevant financial ties if you are an academic.

    d) is new and has been discussed with a traffic light analogy somewhere else.

    This isn’t the end of the world, it really isn’t a huge deal, but the incredible amount of effort going into NOT seeing what went on here says more than anything.

  668. 668
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @kay: Don’t you think it’s a little odd that GG has been a fierce critic of Obama’s and then suddenly some wacko shows up named Mary (to confuse us in to thinking she’s our beloved Comrade Mary and thereby embrace her) and starts throwing out inflammatory and unproven allegations about GG that he then in turn easily knocks down, gaining stature and embarassing the Obama community at the same time? This is a reverse reverse operation to kill health care and we’re playing right into it.

  669. 669
    eemom says:

    @Task Force Ripper:

    dunno, but it sounds like you’re the one calling it fraud there, dude.

    I also said above, I don’t know what was told to Mary or any other AN contributor, since I’m not one, about what their money would be used for.

    I said that was the key question, and no one has answered it yet.

    I wouldn’t and haven’t made any accusation of fraud until I do have those facts, nor has anyone else on this thread — except you.

  670. 670
    eemom says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    once again, you’re a sick fuck. You need help.

  671. 671
    kay says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Whatever. She asked him if he took money from the PAC. Inexplicably and ( to my mind) ridiculously, he got incredibly offended and said he didn’t.
    But he does. Which she knew anyway, because she’s been questioning the FEC filings for freaking weeks, right here.
    It wasn’t a real hard case to solve, Fuckhead.

  672. 672

    @eemom:

    dunno, but it sounds like you’re the one calling it fraud there, dude.
    I also said above, I don’t know what was told to Mary or any other AN contributor, since I’m not one, about what their money would be used for.
    I said that was the key question, and no one has answered it yet.
    I wouldn’t and haven’t made any accusation of fraud until I do have those facts, nor has anyone else on this thread—except you.

    That’s an awful nice try but no good. Mary has stated she felt deceived by AN and further feels GG has made a personal gain out of that deception. That’s fraud.
    If I tell people I feel repulsed by the thought that you are a four legged grass eater, have I just alleged you are a cow?

  673. 673
    AhabTRuler says:

    Too many fucking lawyers in this thread.

  674. 674
    Jay says:

    David Dayen says Gruber has changed his tune since being hired if so that’s problematic.

  675. 675
    kay says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Well, no. We disagree. Mary asked if he took money from the PAC. I believe he said “not one penny”. I don’t have the transcript handy.
    In fact, he does. Now, he’s absolutely correct when he says she could have found that out in an FEC filing, or perhaps he meant no money from Jane Hamsher directly, that’s at least feasible, but, in any event, on balance, I’d have to say she was right.
    Whether she is an operative I will leave up to you.
    I know this dissent excludes me from the club, by the way. I’m aware of that. I don’t care, though, so that’s good.

  676. 676
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Phaedrus: I think the distinction is that Williams and whatshername were actually contracted to write editorials and they did so per the terms of their contract but Gruber was actually contracted to help craft a plan and his editorial work on behalf of it was gratis.

  677. 677
    Mary says:

    @Task Force Ripper: I have not alleged that Greenwald engaged in fraud or deception so stop trying to put words in my mouth. You do Greenwald a disservice by misstating that a donor has accused him of fraud or deception. It’s not true.

  678. 678
    AhabTRuler says:

    @Mary: Do you have a JD too?

  679. 679
    Molly says:

    Loud noises!!!!

    @tomvox1, 658

    Yes, quite sobering.

  680. 680
    Zach says:

    @emptywheel: I don’t think it’s true that “the entire basis for the excise tax remains unexamined” and that Gruber’s the only one who’s weighed in on this. I just guessed that the Tax Policy Center took a crack at it with their own economic model: http://taxvox.taxpolicycenter......91889.html

    George Bush proposed a similar plan in 2007 (eliminate employer exemption; give everyone a tax credit to buy health care) and the Tax Policy Center found that after-tax income would rise for most people. FYI, “after-tax income” for the Tax Policy Center includes the value of health benefits.

    What’s more, I can search “employee-sponsored health insurance + wages” on Google Scholar and get an article with synopsis on earlier work on the subject:

    In a study of public school districts, Randall Eberts and Joe Stone found that an additional dollar of
    health benefits was associatedwith an eightythree-cent reduction in teachers’ salaries. In another paper Stephen Woodbury defined fringe benefits in two different ways when exploring substitutions between wages and nonwage benefits: health insurance plus life insurance; and pensions, health insurance, and life insurance. While he found greater substitutability under the second definition,
    he also found relative ease of substitution between wages and health/life insurance. Jonathan Gruber and Alan Krueger used increases in employers’ costs for workers’ compensation insurance to quantify the costs passed back to workers. Depending upon the group of industries used in their analysis, they found that 56–85 percent of these costs were shifted back through reduced wages.

    The correlation between benefits and wages in general has been studied by many other people. And not just stuff in the 90s, either.

    It might be illustrative to consider why people receive health benefits in the first place. It’s not because it’s some obviously good thing. It’s because the Price Control Act of 1942 slowed wage increases but permitted increased non-wage benefits (and because rulings shortly thereafter gave us the tax loophole and allowed unions to negotiate benefits). That’s empirical evidence of the fungibility of wages and benefits.

  681. 681
    The Raven says:

    @terry chay:

    Something, non-academics should be well aware of before bandying terms like an ethical or contractual breach which may or may not have occurred in an op-ed somewhere.

    AOL.

    This is why all the academics, even people outside Gruber’s field, are so defensive on this point: violations of academic ethics are very serious offenses and have lasting consequences. It’s not like politics and business, where many ethical violations, even egregious ones, are quickly forgiven.

    @emptywheel: thank you for your reply. I very much appreciate your work, but I think you went overboard in this matter. Slamming politicians and businesspeople for ethical violations is common in journalism, and mostly the subjects shrug it off. For academic researchers, and especially scientists, it is not common, and the effects of an accusation can be very serious.

    @Arun: “Emptywheel” is Marcy Wheeler, journalist and Firedoglake headliner.

  682. 682
    kay says:

    @Mary:

    I will apologize to you. You seem like a nice person. I had no idea this would be so controversial, or I certainly wouldn’t have jumped in to defend you, and complicated your (I thought) reasonable question.
    I think the PAC is a 527, or “issue” PAC. They can’t donate to candidates, just “causes”. Just something to keep in mind when donating. Inevitably, “issue” advocacy is going to be less concrete and traceable than donations to a candidate, particularly when the purpose (as here) is broad.

  683. 683
    Mary says:

    @kay: Thanks. I’m learning these things along with everyone else. I’ve absolutely learned my lesson about donations and also, that if you are perceived to be criticizing Hamsher and her crowd, the blowback will be great. Even John Cole has been accused of running an Obama cult site.

  684. 684

    @kay:

    I will apologize to you. You seem like a nice person. I had no idea this would be so controversial, or I certainly wouldn’t have jumped in to defend you, and complicated your (I thought) reasonable question.

    Yes, you certainly wouldn’t have answered Mary 4 times if you thought that.
    What did you know and when did you know it? Who are you working for? Who paid for your weekend retreat to Lake Tahoe with the Senator??
    Are you now, or have you ever been…

  685. 685
    eemom says:

    @kay:

    Don’t mean to intrude between you guys, both of whom I abundantly respect for your past comments on this blog — but why in God’s name should there be any reason for apologies? Mary asked a good question, and Kay answered it with fucking FACTS.

    The fact that Glenn’s dick-suckers have a problem with that is no reason for anybody to be sorry for anything.

  686. 686
    slag says:

    I can’t bring myself to do more than skim the comments, but my biggest issue with this entire “debate” is what Emma said:

    But it does seem interesting that opponents of this bill are hammering at the nondisclosure loudly while whispering that it doesn’t affect Mr. Gruber’s results. I wonder which part they want us to hear

    I agree that Gruber’s relationship with the administration was poorly/improperly disclosed. But it still pisses me off that this issues has totally clouded the issue of healthcare cost-control.

    Now, people can go off and blame the Obama Administration for losing control of the message, and it’s their own damn fault, and yadda yadda yadda, but that kind of conversation is exactly what I hate most about the establishment press. I don’t care how this “scandal” affects the Administration. I care about the results of this bill. Because, at the end of the day, this bill is not about them; it’s about me (and everyone else who pays taxes). And these process-oriented discussions, while very important, always ALWAYS overshadow the more enduring reality. And it bums me out to see so much of the lefty blogosphere constantly salivating for these scandals so that they can pounce on them and assert their “independence”.

  687. 687
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Phaedrus:

    but the incredible amount of effort going into NOT seeing what went on here says more than anything.

    What does it say? does it say that GG gets to get on his high horse and intimate fraud or corruption? That is the effort going on here, and you apologizing and parsing the fact that GG gave a crystal clear impression that this had been kept proactively and completely secret from the get go is also what is at effort here. He was spinning a fucking corruption meme for gawds sake, and Gruber was not the target, Obama was, not just pointing out the lapses in disclosure. That is all Cole was pointing out, I think. And I don’t agree that his making this public in whatever venue is not worth mentioning by GG..

  688. 688

    tomvox1 @ 634

    I don’t think that Greenwald ever predicted what the Obama administration would do, just that Sunstein wrote a paper thinking it was a good idea and that Sunstein is an Obama insider whom some have said may be nominated for the Supreme Court. If reading Sunstein’s paper and noting that he thinks infiltrating internet sites to steer political opinion is a good idea that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s predictive. But even if you think that it is, the problem is not with Greenwald but with the guy who thinks it’s a good idea.

    Besides, as myself and others have already said, our intelligence agencies, the CIA, FBI, etc., have been doing essentially the same thing (infiltrating dissident groups) for decades and anyone who thinks that they wouldn’t do it on the internet where is it oh so much easier is naive. Weren’t tax dollars going to keep an eye on quakers not so long ago? After all, if they are willing to endure the depredations of porn sites to snag a deviant or two, it’s not that hard to hang out with clean-limbed young people with divergent political beliefs.

    So the question here is would Democrats aligned with Obama who think it is a good idea to infiltrate websites and steer political opinion do it? I’m not even sure it’s illegal, and it certainly isn’t if it’s not government-financed. Would they do it in conjunction with law enforcement/intel agencies or on their own? Does anyone think that all the right-wing trolls of the Bush era were strictly volunteers all acting on their own or is it at least possible that someone was paying someone to type “You suck you commie”?

    Anyway, nighty night everyone.

  689. 689
    Zach says:

    You all should really go read Gruber’s July NYTimes OpEd and ask yourself what the fuss is about. In it, he restates a position he’s held for years and written up several times in a similar fashion in similar forums. He doesn’t discuss the outcome of any simulations he’s done. He supports eliminating the ESI exclusion as a funding mechanism (meanwhile, the President supported something else and the House had just gotten something completely different out of committee… and the HELP committee had something different from the others).

    The NY Times has egg on its face for not disclosing Gruber’s associations when they quoted him circa last fall. They responded by trashing Gruber for not disclosing something that didn’t warrant disclosure several months earlier. As I pointed out way earlier in this thread, if Gruber was required to disclose his contract to the Times, there are many other opinion pieces they’ve published with identical transgressions.

  690. 690

    BTD at 611.

    Then let the love bloom.

  691. 691
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Mary:

    Even John Cole has been accused of running an Obama cult site.

    It isn’t going to get any better. In fact it will get worse as we get closer to 2010 and 2012. I see this, as I stated earlier, as the first intramural sparring over an Obama challenger in 2012, it is a proxy primary fight imo, that will become another, and likely worse all out fight where they are going to look under every rock to find an Obama FAIL meme to hawk. Just like the wingnuts will be doing. I hope Cole is up to it, as he caught on a while back and stepped forward. But he is going to have to cease paling around with these idjits, and see what is happening for what it is. And GG, will be one leading the charge. And I know full well Mr. Cole, that you disagree with this. But it still is my opinion, and we shall see how things shake out.

  692. 692
    handy says:

    Who else here thinks all JCole had to do was shoot GG an email thus avoiding this 685+ post trainwreck?

  693. 693
    eastriver says:

    @John Cole:

    yes, reading this thread is like watching 50 teevees, each playing something fuzzy and inaudible. Ick.

  694. 694
    Mary says:

    @handy: John Cole did shoot Glenn Greenwald an email. That’s why Glenn Greenwald came over here.

  695. 695
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @handy:

    I don’t agree, it is a train wreck, but one that represents reality in the left blogosphere. Better to get bad blood out in the open than not, IMHO>

  696. 696
    Mary says:

    @eastriver: Well then I guess Glenn Greenwald and Marcy Wheeler didn’t make their case all that well then, did they?

  697. 697
    BTD says:

    @Bob In Pacifica:

    You want in at TL? I’ll shoot Jeralyn an e-mail. It’s always her call. I can not ban or unban anyone.

  698. 698
    kay says:

    @Task Force Ripper:

    Look, you can guess at motive all you want. I stand by my original impression, which is: if you run a PAC that collects donations, it’s ridiculous to get huffy and conspiratorial and start imputing motive and impugning character when someone asks you if you’re paid by the PAC.
    I don’t defer to Greenwald. I don’t accept his word on each and every issue. There are a lot of lawyers. There are a lot of civil rights lawyers, actually. He’s one.
    If he’s your personal hero, that’s fabulous. I, all by myself, can verify what he says, and I did that.

  699. 699
    handy says:

    @Mary:

    Let me clarify: sometimes it’s better not to think out loud. As soon as he hit send on this post, it was destined for disaster.

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    I guess some revel in this cat fight garbage. To each their own.

  700. 700

    @kay:

    it’s ridiculous to get huffy and conspiratorial and start imputing motive and impugning character when someone asks you if you’re paid by the PAC.

    Of course, this isn’t at all what *actually* happened, but you go ahead and hang on to it all you like.
    He’s not my hero, I usually don’t even bother reading GG as I find his articles tedious and too lengthy to say the same things others have summed up.
    But WTS, you and others are determined to slander and impugn him even though he clearly answered all the questions he was asked.
    When asked if he was paid by Hamsher or FDL or any FDL orgs he clearly said no. When asked about AN he said he repeatedly disclosed all info re: AN. It takes about 3 minutes to CTRL+F to figure out what GG actually said here.
    You and Mary and others continue to slant or outright lie about what GG said here for reasons that may or may not be interesting to yourselves. I personally don’t give a shit what you or anyone has against GG. I don’t defer to him or anyone else when making decisions for myself. I’m not a Hamsterite, a Glenzillian, an O-bot or anything else.

  701. 701
    Folderol and Ephemera says:

    For what it’s worth, here is Glenn Greenwald’s disclosure on Accountability Now, from the comments thread on his blog:

    ———————————————————————————————

    I’m happy to answer any questions, as long as they’re from donors or other well-intentioned people. This innuendo is all coming from Obama-cult websites which, a la Bush followers, want to personally smear anyone who criticizes their leader.

    At the end of the year, we released a 2009 Year-End report, which was posted on the front page of the website and emailed to all donors. It details everything we’ve been doing:

    http://accountabilitynowpac.com/

    Moreover, all PACs are required to publicly file detailed statements of our finances, and we do.

    As we said in the year-end statement, we have purposely avoided hiring basically anyone or other expenses we can avoid, which means all of the work — and it’s been a huge amount — has been done exclusively by 3 people – me, Jane and an Executive Director, who is currently Ben Tribbett. The ED’s salary is competitive and standard (something in the neighborhood of $90K – don’t know the exact amount), while Jane and I are paid $2K/month to run the PAC and manage and oversee all of its operations. Not a single other penny in payments has been paid besides that. I probably have spent more time managing AN this year than I have any other activity save blogging, and some months it competes with that.

    In essence, the only other monies spent are for administrative expenses (the PAC lawyer, bookkeeper, research help, etc.); travel for the organization (to go to districts where we’re recruiting candidates, meeting with local political leaders about primary challenges, putting together the network of affiliates (i.e., unions, activist groups, blogs) to support the recruited candidates); and polling the various districts to see which incumbents are vulnerable and what issues could be used to hurt them.

    The payment to “Break the Matrix” – described as a “weird libertarian group” in what you quoted — was a one-time only 2008 payment to the people who did the “Strange Bedfellows Moneybomb” that started the organization – they promoted it, set up the website, used all the technology they used for the Ron Paul Money Bombs, which they invented. Our working with them as part of the “Strange Bedfellows” coalition was all fully publicized (http://boingboing.net/2008/06/.....ts-fr.htmlhttp://www.salon.com/news/opin.....index.html), and the payment was some percentage of the overall Money Bomb amount which was standard for a fundraisers’ fee (10%, if I recall – perhaps 15%).

    No money has gone to Ron Paul, newsletters, or any other affiliated group of his. Those are all lies. The only group that was paid was the group that organized, promoted and enabled the money bomb – which was billed as a “Strange Bedfellows” project of those on the left and right angry about civil liberties erosions and lobbyist domination. That was what AN was billed as from the start.

    Every penny of AN money is fully disclosed. We haven’t raised any money since 2008 – or gone back to donors and asked for another cent since then – precisely because we’ve avoided spending any money other than what was absolutely necessary to build a real network that can recruit credible primary challengers.

    —GlennGreenwald

  702. 702

    @kay:

    I, all by myself, can verify what he says, and I did that.

    Obviously you can’t because you’ve been lying about what GG actually said for most of the night.

  703. 703
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @handy: Well, dude, there are several threads here you could read and comment on. So you don’t like this one. Thanks for sharing.

  704. 704
    Folderol and Ephemera says:

    For what it’s worth, here is Glenn Greenwald’s disclosure on Accountability now, from the comments on his blog:

    ———-

    I’m happy to answer any questions, as long as they’re from donors or other well-intentioned people. This innuendo is all coming from Obama-cult websites which, a la Bush followers, want to personally smear anyone who criticizes their leader.

    At the end of the year, we released a 2009 Year-End report, which was posted on the front page of the website and emailed to all donors. It details everything we’ve been doing:

    http://accountabilitynowpac.com/

    Moreover, all PACs are required to publicly file detailed statements of our finances, and we do.

    As we said in the year-end statement, we have purposely avoided hiring basically anyone or other expenses we can avoid, which means all of the work — and it’s been a huge amount — has been done exclusively by 3 people – me, Jane and an Executive Director, who is currently Ben Tribbett. The ED’s salary is competitive and standard (something in the neighborhood of $90K – don’t know the exact amount), while Jane and I are paid $2K/month to run the PAC and manage and oversee all of its operations. Not a single other penny in payments has been paid besides that. I probably have spent more time managing AN this year than I have any other activity save blogging, and some months it competes with that.

    In essence, the only other monies spent are for administrative expenses (the PAC lawyer, bookkeeper, research help, etc.); travel for the organization (to go to districts where we’re recruiting candidates, meeting with local political leaders about primary challenges, putting together the network of affiliates (i.e., unions, activist groups, blogs) to support the recruited candidates); and polling the various districts to see which incumbents are vulnerable and what issues could be used to hurt them.

    The payment to “Break the Matrix” – described as a “weird libertarian group” in what you quoted — was a one-time only 2008 payment to the people who did the “Strange Bedfellows Moneybomb” that started the organization – they promoted it, set up the website, used all the technology they used for the Ron Paul Money Bombs, which they invented. Our working with them as part of the “Strange Bedfellows” coalition was all fully publicized (http://boingboing.net/2008/06/.....ts-fr.htmlhttp://www.salon.com/news/opin.....index.html), and the payment was some percentage of the overall Money Bomb amount which was standard for a fundraisers’ fee (10%, if I recall – perhaps 15%).

    No money has gone to Ron Paul, newsletters, or any other affiliated group of his. Those are all lies. The only group that was paid was the group that organized, promoted and enabled the money bomb – which was billed as a “Strange Bedfellows” project of those on the left and right angry about civil liberties erosions and lobbyist domination. That was what AN was billed as from the start.

    Every penny of AN money is fully disclosed. We haven’t raised any money since 2008 – or gone back to donors and asked for another cent since then – precisely because we’ve avoided spending any money other than what was absolutely necessary to build a real network that can recruit credible primary challengers.

    —GlennGreenwald

  705. 705
    DCLaw1 says:

    First, there were demands for Glenn to disclose any money he gets from FDL or Hamsher, because this was somehow analogous to Gruber’s receiving money from the government without disclosing it.

    When the answer to these screaming questions was that he received nothing from FDL or Hamsher, the insinuations quickly centered around a supposed Accountability Now “slush fund,” which was, somehow, supposed to be tantamount to receiving money directly from Hamsher or FDL, even though Greenwald founded Accountability Now and spends a good deal of his time running it, for which he is entitled compensation. Also, apparently, Hamsher’s work on and fundraising for Accountability Now – done for the same reasons as Greenwald and for which she fairly receives compensation – somehow provides the requisite insidious link between Greenwald and Hamsher that shows something remotely similar to what they have said about Gruber and the government.

    Then, history was revised into Greenwald saying that he had not received a single penny from Accountability Now, which flew in the face of his repeated statements that he helps run it and receives payment in return for that.

    All of this somehow has burning relevance to the Gruber issue, as it supposedly proves a profound hypocrisy by Greenwald on the subject. Or something.

    Fatuous.

  706. 706
    Mary says:

    @Task Force Ripper: I’m weary. However, I asked Glenn Greenwald about his financial ties to Hamsher and he answered that he was not paid by Hamsher or FDL, which answered only part of the question. Then he went over to his own blog to explain his financial ties to Hamsher. We can stop arguing. Greenwald has disclosed his financial ties to Hamsher, which is all I was looking for. He should make that disclosure whenever he addresses FDL matters, in my view, just as he so scrupulously discloses his ties to the ACLU when addressing ACLU matters. That is all.

  707. 707
    Zach says:

    @Task Force Ripper: “Go try your sleazy Bush tactics—critics of the Leader must be personally discredited—somewhere else.”

    I don’t care about any of this crap and have no desire to figure out what it even means, but I think that qualifies as huffy and conspiratorial.

  708. 708

    The General at 687: “It isn’t going to get any better. In fact it will get worse as we get closer to 2010 and 2012. I see this, as I stated earlier, as the first intramural sparring over an Obama challenger in 2012, it is a proxy primary fight imo, that will become another, and likely worse all out fight where they are going to look under every rock to find an Obama FAIL meme to hawk. Just like the wingnuts will be doing.”

    Look, does anyone really think that Feingold or anyone else have the money or political push or even the inclination to make a run against Obama? Even if he fails to help the working class, Obama will still be the Democratic candidate if he and his people want it. There won’t be any real Democratic opposition. That was never in the works.

    The real problem is whether or not Obama is doing a good job for most of the citizenry. If the unemployment is still high and things are fucked for the hoi polloi (of which I am a proud member) people will be looking for another answer. That’s the way that fascism works. Fools will embrace any bullshit that’s offered as an alternative to an ineffective Obama. They already are. It’s not really that hard to figure out. Just read your history. Germans weren’t any dumber than Americans.

    How do you spell Weimar? “O-B-A-M-A”.

  709. 709
    Folderol and Ephemera says:

    702 comments to get to our first Godwin!

    Does this mean that this thread can now die, plz?

  710. 710
    eastriver says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Douche. (to rhyme with touche. the highest compliment I can give. I am bowing to you.)

  711. 711
    Thoroughly Pizzled says:

    It is almost impossible for fascism to happen in the U.S. for a few reasons, but a big one is that we don’t have a parliamentary system. Fascist parties were never able to gain a majority, but just enough influence to get into power.

  712. 712

    @Mary:

    We can stop arguing. Greenwald has disclosed his financial ties to Hamsher, which is all I was looking for.

    Bullshit. You smeared left, right and center til you found something you could feel “repulsed” about and “case proven”.
    You were like a 4 year old finger painting.

    “Slush fund”, etc etc etc. Then you play the Virgin Mary and act very retiring when someone says you’ve been exhausting yourself lying, smearing and generally being a world class douche.
    No wonder you are weary.

  713. 713
    Blue Gal says:

    @<@eemom: I meant Healthcare for America Now, sorry. When do THEIR financials get released and how can I link to which bloggers are getting paid as consultant/lobbyists by them?

    One thing that happened this year is that some people who started out as bloggers actually became some of the MILLIONS of people who have a political stake in the outcome of healthcare reform. Jane Hamsher wedded her blog and her political reputation on the public option. She will lose a great deal if it doesn’t pass. I don’t question her motives for wanting reform. She and her readers have led the charge on this and good on them.

    Some of this Grover Norquist partnering, Fox News appearing, Bernie Sanders attacking, seems more related to how the public perceives Jane Hamsher/FDL than in actually whipping congressional votes into line. I especially think the Sanders threat was horribly conceived and made absolutely no sense. Will he EVER work with her again? I sure wouldn’t, and I’m not the only one. Burning bridges with Bernie Sanders? Really?

    a href=”#comment-1534814″>arguingwithsignposts: “pristine MFers” is my new favorite blog phrase. Thanks.

  714. 714
    eastriver says:

    @Mary:

    Oh, no, they did make their case. But that was many messages ago. The rest of this is just hysterical thrashing and shrieking. Fun to watch, though. Carry on.

  715. 715
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @DCLaw1: The point was to stop any criticism of the Obama administration. Because any criticism means the health care bill fails and/or Republicans win and the world ends.

  716. 716

    Folderol and Ephemera @ 702.

    He who thinks that it’s not cool to understand the mechanism of fascism deserves to suffer the consequences. But the rest of us don’t.

  717. 717
    Phaedrus says:

    Glenn was crystal clear, addressed his critics, and left when the witch-hunt began.

    John Cole has also been very clear.

    If the original points of this thread have gotten hazy (and lots of new people jumping on say they are) then Mary, Stuck and the rest have accomplished their task.

  718. 718
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Phaedrus: Yea, so you say bud. Sorry to sully yer bullshit, but that’s how it rolls sometimes.

  719. 719

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    The point was to stop any criticism of the Obama administration. Because any criticism means the health care bill fails and/or Republicans win and the world ends.

    The Health Care bill is irrelevant to most of them. It’s a sideshow, and raisin detrey.
    It’s the criticism that matters most.

  720. 720
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Task Force Ripper: You are an asshole. That is all.

  721. 721
    Folderol and Ephemera says:

    @Bob In Pacifica:

    No, guy; I do not think that it is “not cool to understand the mechanism of fascism” – rather, I believe that you have a rather shallow understanding of such. Dig?

    Additionally: you think that anyone “deserves to suffer the consequences of fascism”?! Creepy.

  722. 722
    handy says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    I know and I plan on participating in them. In fact, BOB just showed up in a recent thread and that’s always entertaining. Gotta go! Carry on…

  723. 723
    The Sheriff's a Ni- says:

    What I learned today:

    Impugning the motive of the Obama administration and its supporters: Good.

    Impugning the motive of Glenn Greenwald, Jane Hamsher, and their supporters: Bad.

    I guess some Dear Leaders are better than others.

  724. 724
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Bob In Pacifica:

    Now you have gone off the deepend, as has this thread. Time to put a stake thru it’s motherfucking heart and call it a day.

  725. 725

    Phaedrus @ 711.

    Absolutely.

    As Lee Hazlewood once sang: “Some velvet morning when I’m straight…”

    I must admit that during the last couple of hours I’ve been drinking Irish whisky and chatting with my elderly mother over the phone. I’ll stand by my last coherent statement.

    Go Jets.

  726. 726

    @Bob In Pacifica:

    How do you spell Weimar? “O-B-A-M-A”.

    Full disclosure, indeed. BIP, it took you long enough, but I’m glad to finally know you.

  727. 727
    Folderol and Ephemera says:

    Someone kill this thread.

    Kill it with fire.

  728. 728
    handy says:

    @The Sheriff’s a Ni-:

    Well, one Dear Leader occupies the White House with his finger on the button, and the other is a guy with a blog. So we’re not exactly dealing with the same thing.

    Dammit! Why am I still in this G-d forsaken thread! Ahhh, okay now I’m going. This time I mean it.

  729. 729
    Phaedrus says:

    Ok, reading the same comments over and over.

    Catch you on the flip side

  730. 730

    General,

    fuckety fuck fuck. Or whatever.

  731. 731
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @General Winfield Stuck: I thought he was dead on. Mary’s acting hystrionics are only surpassed by your own imitation of something other than a loathsome little suckup that sits at the computer from wake til sleep hitting refresh twelve million times and yet amazingly unable to add anything of value, just twangy misspellings and malapropisms in defense of whatever common narrative has emerged.

  732. 732

    Bruce From Ohio,

    If not this time, the next.

  733. 733
    DCLaw1 says:

    @The Sheriff’s a Ni-:

    Impugning the motive of the Obama administration and its supporters: Good. Impugning the motive of Glenn Greenwald, Jane Hamsher, and their supporters: Bad.

    Because, of course, the criticisms of Greenwald by commenters here were every bit as substantiated and significant as those of the administration.

    You have the reading comprehension and logic skills of a turnip. No offense to turnips intended.

  734. 734
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: Shut up you bigot sack of shit.

  735. 735
  736. 736
    eemom says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    that, and an absolute pathological liar about what has been said by others on this thread.

    Fortunately, anyone interested — and crazy — enough to want to unravel it all and find out the truth has the whole thread right here in front of them.

    Good night.

  737. 737

    I don’t rest my case.

    I just rest.

    Tomorrow.

    Over and out.

  738. 738
    eemom says:

    @DCLaw1:

    Because, of course, the criticisms of Greenwald by commenters here were every bit as substantiated and significant as those of the administration

    .

    No, actually, ours WERE substantiated.

    Go back to law school, little idiot.

  739. 739

    BruceFromOhio:

    I figured it out around 1990.

  740. 740

    @eemom:

    that, and an absolute pathological liar about what has been said by others on this thread.

    An asshole – sure thing. But lied about what others here have said? Not so much.
    You’re too much fucking weaksauce to stand up and pull that shit out where every one can see it. Go ahead and list where I’ve lied about what others have said in this thread. You can’t, you sanctimonious little parser.
    Mary bungled around accusing GG of just about anything she could fathom until she had her “proof”.
    Kay has been misrepresenting and at time outright lying about words plainly typed out here by GG.
    Go ahead. I’m sure you can’t you low rent schmuck.

  741. 741
    Uriel says:

    @The Sheriff’s a Ni-: Kinda feels that way.

    @handy: Well, to be fair, he’s also a guy running, and apparently paid by, a PAC who’s purpose is, in his own words:

    Accountability Now is devoted to removing incumbents from office – both Democrats and Republicans – with primary challenges….And the goal has absolutely nothing to do with electing “more Democrats.” To the contrary, the premise is that by promoting challengers over entrenched incumbents, it may very well be the case that some seats end up being lost to the Democrats, thereby reducing their margins, but that this is well worth it to battle what the Democratic Party has become.

    To that extent, I think it is reasonable to question his motivations in attacking the current administration as harboring “corruption” based on a fairly trivial non-disclosure issue, and his unwillingness to disclose his involvement in said PAC while doing so. But YMMV.

    I also think it shines an interesting (and somewhat unflattering) light on his eagerness to reach for the “obama-bot” quiver anytime someone has the temerity to disagree with him on any issue of policy what-so-ever, but you know- like I said, YMMV.

  742. 742
    Little Dreamer says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    Actually, Arnold is a pickle.

    Just for the record.

  743. 743
    Thoroughly Pizzled says:

    @Bob In Pacifica: You do not understand the mechanism of fascism.

  744. 744
    Mary says:

    @Uriel: The mission statement has changed from the summer of 2008, when he announced the PAC. When I gave to the PAC in the summer of 2008, it had a very limited [in time and scope] civil liberties-related mission and was directly affiliated with the ACLU.

    I believe it was this post of Glenn’s that caused me to donate. http://www.salon.com/opinion/g.....index.html

    He said the donations were needed ASAP in order to target Hoyer, Carney and Barrows with advertisements in relation to the FISA legislation. The mission of the PAC seems to have subtly changed. Live and learn.He said the donations were needed immediately in order to target Hoyer, Carney and Barrows with advertisements in relation to the FISA legislation.

  745. 745
    Cain says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: <blockquoteGlenn, as a long time participant in the Balloon Juice community, I’d like to apologize for the nasty attacks

    As do I. We can do better.

    cain

  746. 746
    Cain says:

    @General Winfield Stuck: <blockquote@eemom: Well, for me, it is hard to argue against charges that Gruber and Obama and the funding arrangement lends to fudging or lying or whatever, that leads to general charges of corruption, and then turning around and attacking Greenwald for the same thing. Though I see the effort to bring out hypocrisy in general, in this case, I would rather stick to what GG is actually wri

    This. I don’t quite understand the whole PAC thing and frankly I wanted to follow whatever the argument John and Glenn were having. I don’t understand why it has to become so embittered.

    cain

  747. 747
    Apnea says:

    Okay, I’ve reached comment # 200 and I’ve got headache.

    I can’t for the life of me understand how you guys managed to confuse such a straightforward issue :

    Non-disclosure = bad

    The case is a textbook example : Democracy entails public discussion of policy-making, which demands a public forum (ideally) governed by rules against secrecy, distortion and other corrupting influences. There should be nothing partisan about this.

    I don’t know what the fan clubs ducking it out here have to gain in obscuring the very basic democratic imperative at issue, but it helps no one.

  748. 748

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    I haven’t told anyone to shut up

    Shut up you bigot sack of shit.

    This would be awkward for most commenters. However, I’m sure you shall overcome.

  749. 749

    Thoroughly Pizzled presented at 737: “@Bob In Pacifica: You do not understand the mechanism of fascism.”

    Then what may I ask, kind sir, is the mechanism of fascism?

    +++

    CIA agent William Gaudet watched Oswald hand out literature from his office in the International Trade Mart.

    The FBI photographed Oswald with a 35-mm camera from across the street as he passed out flyers.

    WDSU-TV cameraman Orvie Aucoin, an active FBI informant, filmed Oswald as he passed out leaflets.

    Oswald was arrested with three Cubans who were all connected to US intelligence agencies: FBI informant T-2 Miguel Cruz; Carlos Bringuier, an informant for FBI agent Warren DeBrueys; Celso Hernandes, a CIA asset who was arrested with Lee Oswald on Breakwater Street in New Orleans by Officer Charles Noto in 1961 (which, unfortunately, was when Oswald was still in the USSR, thus raising the problem of duplicate Oswalds).

    Oswald was observed passing out Fair Play For Cuba literature by Orest Pena, an FBI informant for FBI agent Warren DeBrueys.

    FBI informant Charles Hall Steele, who helped Oswald pass out leaflets on August 16th, also wasn’t revealed as a government agent in front of the Warren Commission.

    Oswald was interviewed by Bill Stuckey, an FBI informant and CIA contact, on August 17/ Transcripts of that interview were provided to the FBI within days of the interview.

    Oswald participated in “Conversation Carte Blanche” on August 21 with FBI informants Carlos Bringuier and Bill Stuckey, and Ed Butler, who was head of the CIA-sponsored and funded Information Council fo the Americas (INCA).

    Transcripts of “Conversation Carte Blanche” were given to the FBI within days.

    WDSU-TV filmed Oswald on August 12, 16 and 21 (1963).

    Within hours of President Kennedy’s assassination, 16-mm films of Oswald passing out literature were shown on national television and he was labeled a “communist” by the press.

    Oswald, after he was arrested in New Orleans, requested and was granted an interview with an FBI agent for hours.

    Oswald, who was allegedly a “lone nut” had a 201 (employee) file at the CIA.

    Now imagine how the American public would have reacted if they had known that so many intelligence agents had been around Oswald when he handed out Fair Play For Cuba leaflets in New Orleans.

    You do you see now why it’s good to know who’s buttering whose bread?

    +++

    WH Auden wrote:

    Perfection, of a kind, was what he was after,
    And the poetry he invented was easy to understand;
    He knew human folly like the back of his hand,
    And was greatly interested in armies and fleets;
    When he laughed, respectable senators burst with laughter,
    And when he cried the little children died in the streets.

    +++

    Keep it simple. But kill.

  750. 750
    The Sheriff's a Ni- says:

    @Bob In Pacifica: Oswald was the lone gunman.

    And with that I’m hitting the eject button from this thread. Goodnight, John Boy!

  751. 751
    Cain says:

    @Task Force Ripper: <blockquoteYou and Mary and others continue to slant or outright lie about what GG said here for reasons that may or may not be interesting to yourselves. I personally don’t give a shit what you or anyone has against GG. I don’t defer to him or anyone else when making decisions for myself. I’m not a Hamsterite, a Glenzillian, an O-bot or anything else.

    Note, kay did not participate in “slandering” GG or whatever the hell Mary was doing, I wasn’t even sure what the point was since she denies fraud but seems to indicate something is out of place by mentioning financial ties in a strange double-speak. Meh. This whole thread is stupid. It’s one of those threads that started off well and then turned into a cesspool. I don’t think I got anything out of this thread but seeing a bunch of people slapping each other around with iron gauntlets.

    BTW I know Comrade Mary, is Mary a regular commentator?

    cain

  752. 752
    Cain says:

    Green Balloons? :-)

    cain

  753. 753

    The Sheriff at 743: Which one? The one in Mexico City, the one in Fort Worth or the one in New Orleans? Since even Bob Gates admitted (in 1992) that there was an Oswald impersonator in Mexico City six weeks before JFK’s assassination, you must choose. Which of the three Oswalds was the one who was the lone assassin? Because, as the Firesign Theatre once espoused, “How can you be in two places at once when you aren’t anywhere at all?”

    Sleep tight.

  754. 754
    Mary says:

    @Cain: It’s simple. When Glenn Greenwald is addressing FDL issues, as he was in this Gruber affair in which the entire issue is disclosure of financial ties, he should disclose his own financial ties to Hamsher, who owns FDL. You do know, don’t you, that the Gruber affair is widely regarded as a fake scandal being aggressively pushed by FDL in order to take down healthcare reform and paint the Obama administration as corrupt and unethical, don’t you?

    The fact is that Glenn Greenwald has heretofore been scrupulous about disclosing his financial ties when he addresses issues, for example, involving the ACLU. Everyone agrees that more disclosure is better. Greenwald obviously has come to agree with this principle since he went over to his own blog and issued the disclosure.

  755. 755
    DonBelacquaDelPurgatorio says:

    The number of posts on this thread is approaching some sort of disturbing signifcance.

    Which reminds me, just watched District 9. Wow. It’s that good.

  756. 756
    Thoroughly Pizzled says:

    @Bob In Pacifica: WTF? Was the comment a response to me? Because government coverups aren’t unique to fascist states. Authoritarian states, maybe. And why are we talking about Kennedy assassination conspiracy theories all of a sudden?

    I said earlier that fascism is unlikely to take root in the U.S. because we aren’t a parliamentary democracy. Fascists in Italy and Germany never actually won majority support, but they were able to bully/maneuver their way into power. There are other reasons, but I’ll tell you them if you seem willing to comprehend what I’ve written.

  757. 757
    Allan says:

    @Thoroughly Pizzled: America’s Fascist Party presently holds 40 seats in the Senate, and they’re doing a pretty good job opposing the president on all fronts at all times to malign effect.

  758. 758
    Thoroughly Pizzled says:

    @Allan: The Republicans aren’t fascist, just old-fashioned conservative. The teabaggers are much more fascist, but they’ve really only been successful in making noise and holding rallies. So far, they’ve been electoral failures. Granted, there haven’t been many test cases, but due to our unique two-party system and system of primaries then general elections, it’s difficult for teabagger candidates to get elected.

  759. 759
    Uriel says:

    @DonBelacquaDelPurgatorio:

    Which reminds me, just watched District 9. Wow. It’s that good.

    I think the the thing that kind of knocked me over was just how god damn harrowing and bleak the film was. It really contravened the usual genre expectations, if not the expectations of modern film making in general.

    I mean, it’s not just that the film puts you into the weird position at times of trying to figure out who to root for because they happen to occupy the position of the lesser evil at the moment, which is a common film noir tactic- it’s that everyone in the film seems so completely tainted that, even given the premises that you know isn’t going to be violated, you still keep waiting for a clear hero to show up at some point so you can have some touchstone of common morality to identify with that makes the whole scenario at least bearable. But all you get is a parade of the bad to the worse, with only the alien kid as a break.

    It’s at the same time the most off-putting and depressing film I’ve seen in years, and yet, one of the most insanely compelling.

    Which is to say, yes, it’s that good.

  760. 760
    Uriel says:

    @Bob In Pacifica: Ummm… yeah. Ok.

    Well, at least it’s good to know where you’re coming from, I suppose. Makes sorting out the various positions presented a bit easier knowing that the angels you happen to be on the side of believe in convoluted machiavellian lunacy on a par with the truthers.

    Sorry to point this out, but you’re not helping your side of the argument much bringing up fainting-couch pipe-dreams like this into the discussion.

  761. 761
    The Sheriff's A Ni- says:

    @Bob In Pacifica: I provided you the link. Its not up to me to read it to you.

  762. 762
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    So I slept on it and decided the difference between Gruber and Williams/Gallagher is that the former is like having sex with your secretary and the latter is like paying for a hooker. In scenario 1, you’re actually paying her to perform a business function and getting some hot monkey sex totally separate from that. In scenario 2, you’re simply paying her to leave when it’s over for the hot monkey sex and if she is good enough at it, hey maybe she knows how to type and would make a good secretary!

    I think you can see what these two scenarios have in common: lots of hot monkey sex.

    Scenario 2 also has the distinction of being illegal in most cases and thereby fits the criteria offered by one of our new Obama cultists.

  763. 763

    @Mary:

    When Glenn Greenwald is addressing FDL issues, as he was in this Gruber affair in which the entire issue is disclosure of financial ties

    Is Gruber an employee of FDL? Otherwise I’m not sure how his failure to disclose is an “FDL issue”.
    This is a nice attempt at framing it away from the actual source of contention, and simultaneously trying to inject some small shred of legitimacy into your sleazy line of questioning.

  764. 764

    @Cain:

    Note, kay did not participate in “slandering” GG or whatever the hell Mary was doing

    That’s not accurate. Kay quite clearly misrepresented what GG’s answers were in different posts here. It’s funny that she lied about what GG said, then pulled out the “don’t have the transcript in front of me” gambit.

  765. 765
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Task Force Ripper: Fuckhead doesn’t count. Because he’s a fuckhead and that’s what I tell all the fuckheads/got it fng/

  766. 766
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    This thread is our Sexy Beast

  767. 767
    DonBelacquaDelPurgatorio says:

    @Uriel:

    I was rooting for the aliens. That Cassidy character totally put me off of the humans.

    I mean, the Koobus character.

  768. 768
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Task Force Ripper:

    Kay quite clearly misrepresented what GG’s answers were in different posts here.

    kay can be a litle slow on the uptake. I’d be surprised if she even knows what was going on. She gets a little rattled by these discussions but she’s basically a decent person, a regular here.

    Stuck, OTOH, is everything that is wrong with this site. He’s like the kid in school that once had his hair ruffled by the principal and now thinks he’s junior deputy in charge of the public school system (and constructs a badge as “proof”.) He’s the sort of mouthbreather ya can’t be nice to because he’ll start following you around with a horse-like whinny laugh, embarassing ya in front of your smart and sophisticated friends. Girls think he’s creepy and dudes think he’s pathetic. We’re all Stuck with him, hence his name.

  769. 769
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    We’re all Stuck with him, hence his name.

    See now, this is clever. I always say, that fuckhead tells a good joke, yes siree, he sure does. Even if dumb as a rock on everything else and a sexist pig.

  770. 770
    kay says:

    @Task Force Ripper:

    That’s not accurate. Kay quite clearly misrepresented what GG’s answers were in different posts here. It’s funny that she lied about what GG said, then pulled out the “don’t have the transcript in front of me” gambit.

    Jesus. Are you still talking about my posting the PAC’s expenditures?
    Again: I don’t apologize for it. I think it is flat-out hysterical that you are so terrified of a donor’s simple question that you had to go to “McCarthyism” and “Gestapo tactics”. A secret conspiracy planned by Cass Sunstien? That’s the response to a donor’s question about PAC finances?
    Greenwald is a best-selling author and Mary is a lowly fifty dollar donor. Yet you clowns jump all over her like she’s some huge threat to the Great man.
    Disgusting.

  771. 771
    SGEW says:

    This thread is our Pierrot le fou.

  772. 772
    Doofus says:

    Actually have been reading this whole thread, and my head hurts. I thought this thread was dead yesterday, but it keeps on going. It’s probably folly to post at this late date, but this thread has been really buzzing in my head. I’ve been parsing out the meaning of this and the other piss fights on the left over the last year +, and I think that “this is how realignments happen.” Not in the electorate but in left blogistan. This realignment is a painful process. It seems to me that there was an awful lot of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” going on in the Bush years. And that helped to paper over a whole lot of disagreement over tactics and purpose. The left is a broad coalition, and I think we have been fooling ourselves into believing that we were more cohesive than we are. The Bush years also saw a lot of specialization of effort, and what worked well in the Bush years is now in a completely different context during the Obama administration. So the product that Greenwald and FDL put out during the Bush years necessarily plays differently when Democrats are in charge. Put it all together and it gives me a headache trying to figure out the new battle lines.

  773. 773
    kay says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    kay can be a litle slow on the uptake. I’d be surprised if she even knows what was going on. She gets a little rattled by these discussions but she’s basically a decent person, a regular here.

    Clown. You jumped all over a single individual who had the temerity to question The Great Man, and then covered it by pretending she was part of some vast conspiracy.
    Greenwald really needs this clown army to protect him from the inquiry of a 50 dollar donor?
    God, I hope not, or he’s a wimp of an advocate.

  774. 774
    Laura W says:

    What, you all have bedpans and mini fridges by your computers so you don’t have to get up?
    I thought I needed a life.
    Well, I do. Strike that last comment.

  775. 775
    kay says:

    That’ll learn those pesky donors. Accuse them of “McCarthyism” when they ask where the money went.

  776. 776
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @kay: Your snark fu is humming along very well today.

  777. 777
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @kay: Yeah, I’m part of GG’s clown posse, retard. Last time I checked, he has open comments. Is there some reason you’re over here and not over there solving the case of Glenn Greenwald and the Giant Slushy Fund? Because from where I sit, it looks like yer just muddying up the thread to prevent legitimate criticism of the Obama administration, and by extension the health care bill.

  778. 778
    kay says:

    @Task Force Ripper:

    I lied about nothing. He takes money from the PAC. I have no opinion on the PAC, or any issue related to the PAC. I didn’t donate.

  779. 779

    @kay:

    Jesus. Are you still talking about my posting the PAC’s expenditures?

    No dimwit, I am not. I am referring to how you blatantly misrepresented what questions GG was asked and then lied regarding how he responded.

    Again: I don’t apologize for it. I think it is flat-out hysterical that you are so terrified of a donor’s simple question that you had to go to “McCarthyism” and “Gestapo tactics”. A secret conspiracy planned by Cass Sunstien? That’s the response to a donor’s question about PAC finances?

    And again – nice try to misrepresent what actually happened here. I never once mentioned Cass. And I certainly don’t know what “Gestapo tactics” are.
    You continue to try and misrepresent what Mary did here. If she had asked GG – “Hey jackass. I’m a donor to AN and I feel like I’ve been misled. What are the folks at AN doing with my donation nowadays?”
    That would’ve been on point to the image you keep trying to sell. But that’s not what she did, and it’s clear to all here but you that she was fishing for shit she had absolutely no proof of, in the hopes that some of the smelly stuff would stick in a few posters minds. She had nothing on FDL, FDL orgs, Hamsher paying GG or anything. But that was the angle she started from.
    If she had concerns about AN and her donations then why wasn’t that the focus?

  780. 780

    @kay:

    I lied about nothing. He takes money from the PAC.

    Bullshit you didn’t lie about what GG actually responded. You said he was asked about the PAC and he said “not one penny”, then you said you didn’t “have the transcript”.
    He was asked about the PAC and he said he co-founded it and discloses everything about it on his blog. He never said he didn’t get paid for activities by the PAC.
    You seem to want to focus on the AN PAC but that’s not how this all started.

  781. 781

    @kay: This never happened:

    Mary asked if he took money from the PAC. I believe he said “not one penny”. I don’t have the transcript handy.
    In fact, he does

    This is a lie.

    ETA – it’s a lie in that GG never said he did not receive funds from AN but rather he said never from FDL or FDL orgs. Kay wants to make it sound like AN and FDL are the same thing when they are not. Mainly because that was the thrust of what Mary was trying to accomplish as well.

  782. 782
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    kay prolly got rattled by the line of discussion despite Stuck’s gentle nurturing.

  783. 783
    SGEW says:

    Strike that, this thread is our Brokeback Mountain.

    I just can’t quit you.

  784. 784
    Laura W says:

    @SGEW: Maybe Stuckhead and Fuckhead will share some mescaline, take a trip up the mountain with the faux Aztecian futon throw, and come back different men?
    That would be totally sexy hot.

  785. 785
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Laura W: That’s pretty fucking disgusting. At least John bathes.

  786. 786
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    If they ever let Stuck outta the mental hospital, I’m prolly a dead man. :)

  787. 787
    kay says:

    @Task Force Ripper:

    I think you’re a brave and principled advocate defending the poor Glenn Greenwald from one of his donors who had the temerity to engage him directly. Doesn’t she know who he is? Where does she get off with that! You were embarrassed that she even questioned the man. Her and her silly questions were sullying the “high-brow” discussion!
    Hysterical. That you’re deluding yourself into thinking this was some orchestrated smear campaign and this is some noble cause is even funnier.

  788. 788

    @kay:

    I think you’re a brave and principled advocate defending the poor Glenn Greenwald from one of his donors who had the temerity to engage him directly. Doesn’t she know who he is? Where does she get off with that! You were embarrassed that she even questioned the man. Her and her silly questions were sullying the “high-brow” discussion!

    Why do you continue to misrepresent every word that is said here? Are you incapable of direct response? Or do you simply lack one?

  789. 789
    kay says:

    @Task For

    ce Ripper

    :

    Kay wants to make it sound like AN and FDL are the same thing when they are not. Mainly because that was the thrust of what Mary was trying to accomplish as well.

    No, nitwit, if I wanted to do that I probably wouldn’t have posted the actual filing, that lists AN and FDL separately. In fact, your wacky conspiracy theories aside, I didn’t make the connection between Greenwald and his LLC, another poster did. I thought they were paying a ridiculous amount for strategic consulting, and that’s all I thought. As I said, I don’t care, because I didn’t donate.

    Just as an aside, I wouldn’t know Jane Hamsher if I fell over her. Another grand conspiracy ruined.

  790. 790
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    from where I sit,

    With your flag planted firmly atop Mt. Stooopid.

  791. 791
    kay says:

    @Task Force Ripper:

    You should understand something. I don’t have a personal connection to Glenn Greenwald. I sometimes read his blog. I don’t have deep personal feelings on his honor. I don’t agree with you that’s he’s vulnerable to internet attacks from donors. I don’t think there’s a vast conspiracy of internet posters out to sully his good name. I don’t think he needs my help.
    Again, and one more time. I think when Mary the donor asks a question she should get a respectful answer. I gave her one. You object to that. I don’t care.
    I am one person and I was responding to one person’s query, in exactly the same manner I would if she asked anything else fifty times and I knew the answer. Whether the question is “about” Glenn Greenwald played no part in my response.
    Do you really think I’m victimizing Glenn Greenwald? I mean, I’m flattered, but really, you shouldn’t worry.

  792. 792
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    How then do you address the fact you lied, kay? I was giving you the benefit out the doubt because yer generally a clueless douche but you keep doubling down on this whole Glenn Greenwald is in our base killing our doodz!!! nonsense.

  793. 793
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    With your flag planted firmly atop Mt. Stooopid.

    We call it Mt. Stuck for short. I climb it for exercise.

  794. 794

    @kay:

    No, nitwit, if I wanted to do that I probably wouldn’t have posted the actual filing, that lists AN and FDL separately.

    Then why did you continue to state that GG answered he never received money from the AN PAC when in fact he stated he never received one penny from JH or FDL?
    An easily refuted lie? Or just a really bad case of conflation and confusion?

    Ahhh, I see. I hope for their sake you do not have any actual clients you personally represent but just do research that other attorneys can mark up and use as needed.

  795. 795
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Laura W: Jeebus. Don’t make me vomit. Besides, Cole and fuckhead are each others main squeeze. Shits and giggles live chat, what’s that tell ya.

  796. 796
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    We call it Mt. Stuck for short. I climb it for exercise.

    Fuckhead and the Volcano. Take food and water.

  797. 797
    kay says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    And, you know, Fuckhead, for all your prattling about open debate and free speech, on which I have defended you, you’re quick to get the ruler out and hit me on the knuckles for violating your personal Rules ‘O Decorum.
    For such a card-carrying Lefty, you get pretty cranky when I breach protocol.

  798. 798

    @kay:

    I think when Mary the donor asks a question she should get a respectful answer. I gave her one. You object to that. I don’t care.

    This is not even close to reality. The posting of the PAC’s disclosure is irrelevant to what I am asking you about. Over and over again you misrepresented or outright lied about answers that were given on this thread.
    Mary asked a lot of questions and GG gave a lot of responses. How many times could she ask the same thing after receiving a response? Many times apparently.

    I don’t agree with you that’s he’s vulnerable to internet attacks from donors. I don’t think there’s a vast conspiracy of internet posters out to sully his good name. I don’t think he needs my help.

    And this is just silly. I don’t know about a “vast conspiracy” but it is obvious to all here but you that Mary was trying to sully him by conflating GG with FDL and JH. Given the prevailing attitude at BJ there is little else that is guaranteed to turn most commenters against you right now than tagging you with the FDL label. It’s proto-PUMA label for this current exercise.
    And God help GG if he “needs” your help because he’d be in a world of mess.

  799. 799
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @kay: Fuckhead is like the rat in one of those Pavlov studies. Three bottles, two filled with warm piss and the third with milk. He has to try all three before figuring it out. and it takes awhile.

  800. 800
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @kay: I’m here for ya when ya come out of yer shame spiral, kay.

  801. 801
    kay says:

    @Task Force Ripper:

    Dear God. Mary said she gave money to the PAC. That’s what I responded to. She’s been saying it for weeks. She objected to her donation going to what she considers anti-health care reform advocacy. She’s been saying that for weeks, too.

    I actually did not know it was Greenwald’s LLC, and yeah, to go further, and send you into orbit, probably, I was a little surprised he didn’t answer the question directly, and tell her he receives money from the PAC. I think that would have been easier, for one thing. Since they were actually addressing each other directly, and she is, in fact, a donor, but that’s his call to make, not mine.

    I was a little surprised it was his LLC, to be honest. I read his response to mean “no money”. My mistake. He meant no money from Hamsher of FDL.

  802. 802
    kay says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    No, we’re through. You bail, and pile on, when I get into trouble. You’re no friend of mine.
    I hope Stuck receives your address shortly, from my “master list”.
    Sunstein keeps it. In a vault.

  803. 803
    maye says:

    How fun this thread is still going on.

    Greenwald said he had no financial ties to Hamsher and FDL. That would depend on what the definition of is is.

    The FEC needs to audit the PAC, because they are not in the business of doing what they told donors they were going to do.

    If there’s nothing to hide, they should be fine with an audit. It’s not litigation, it’s just finding out exactly where the money went.

    They need to get over themselves.

  804. 804
    kay says:

    @Task Force Ripper:

    I think that’s hysterical too. That tagging with the “FDL label” is a grave threat to the republic, and was my over-arching aim.
    Do you think you perhaps overstate the importance of liberal bloggers, in the Grand Scheme? Maybe in my life?
    As I may have mentioned, I don’t read FDL, nor have I given any opinion 1. Jane Hamsher, 2. the perils inherent with an association with Jane Hamsher.
    Because you have this elaborate and quasi-personal history with these people, you shouldn’t assume I do.

  805. 805
    kay says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    For what it’s worth, I think the health care bill and all other legislation comes to a grinding halt with a Coakely loss.
    I think our esteemed legislators are going to be scared to death.
    He’ll be lucky to get a SCOTUS nominee through. The GOP will settle on obstruction as a winning formula, and scared Democrats will join them.
    It’s effectively over Tuesday, so we can go back to bitching about government, instead of taking apart legislation, and I’ve lost enthusiasm for bitching about government.
    So I’m not shilling for the Senate bill. I think it ends Tuesday.

  806. 806

    @kay:

    That tagging with the “FDL label” is a grave threat to the republic, and was my over-arching aim.

    No you damn fool, I think it was *Mary’s* goal. As we know, facts don’t mean much to you but I think most people would find it odd that Mary did not mention she donated to AN until comment 255, well past the time GG had responded to several of her questions. She never gave him any reason to think she was concerned her hard earned money was not fulfilling the ideals she was interested in. If Mary has been stating this for weeks at BJ, why would she not bother to mention it to the one person who could possibly assuage her concern? Why was she intent on the “Hamsher’s paying you” theme?
    Mary didn’t like the critique GG put up and set about maligning him for it here. She didn’t ever even address her donation to the AN PAC with it’s co-founder.

  807. 807
    brantl says:

    Here’s an analogy. Some guy comes to your door trying to sell you something, he shows you the glossy sales brochure and you say, “It sure looks nice, but have you got any product endorsements from a customer?”. He says, “Sure, here’s one of my satisfied customers, you can call him.”, you call and you don’t know that it’s the guy that wrote the brochure. He tells you that it’s wonderful. Now, how is that not like what the administration/Gruber did? I’ll answer; it’s just like what the administration/Gruber did.

    If you want to argue that his opinion didn’t change because of the money, you might be right, and you might not. If you try to argue that he didn’t need to disclose it if only that it looked like 2 guys in agreement, when it was only one, then you’re full of shit.

  808. 808
    kay says:

    @Task Force Ripper:

    Except. I’ve told you about fifty times, she asks all the time.
    She’s been angry about it for weeks. She’s wondered about a connection for weeks. None of this makes her a horrible person, or worthy of your insane bullying and piling on.

  809. 809
    Mnemosyne says:

    @brantl:

    Here’s an analogy. Some guy comes to your door trying to sell you something, he shows you the glossy sales brochure and you say, “It sure looks nice, but have you got any product endorsements from a customer?”. He says, “Sure, here’s one of my satisfied customers, you can call him.”, you call and you don’t know that it’s the guy that wrote the brochure. He tells you that it’s wonderful. Now, how is that not like what the administration/Gruber did? I’ll answer; it’s just like what the administration/Gruber did.

    On a smaller scale, how is that different than Greenwald being in business with Jane Hamsher through Accountability Now? Greenwald picked up the latest FDL crusade without revealing that Hamsher is one of his business partners in a PAC.

    That was Mary’s point: Greenwald is ranting about how unethical it was for Gruber to not make his ties to the Obama administration public every single time he spoke (because even Marcy Wheeler admits it wasn’t a secret, just not cited in every article by or about Gruber) but when someone points out that Greenwald is in business with Hamsher and may have a vested interest in supporting her crusades, suddenly Mary’s a horrible person who’s just trying to take a good man down because we should all know that Greenwald would never support someone just because he was in business with them.

    If everyone has to reveal every tie that could influence their public statements, then everyone has to do it, not just people Greenwald thinks should. If you’re going to hold people to a high ethical standard, you have to hold yourself to that standard as well, especially when you know that your business partner is the source of the controversy you’re writing about and that people will wonder why you didn’t mention your business ties to her through another venture.

  810. 810

    @Mnemosyne:

    especially when you know that your business partner is the source of the controversy you’re writing about

    Nice. Does Gruber work for FDL? How is his failure to disclose a problem or controversy for FDL?

  811. 811

    @kay:

    She’s been angry about it for weeks. She’s wondered about a connection for weeks. None of this makes her a horrible person, or worthy of your insane bullying and piling on.

    Ok. Then why not let the co-founder of AN know how angry she is?
    “I gave you my cash and you wasted it on Hamsher! Who also happens to be a co-founder! To the very PAC I donated to! And this is all disclosed on your blog! But I’m angry about it and want to know the connection!”

  812. 812
    kay says:

    @Task Force Ripper:

    Mary thought that the PAC paying Greenwald was Hamsher paying Greenwald.
    The reason you don’t know this is because I addressed a specific person, Mary, and I had read her comments for weeks.
    I have to say, the absolute lunacy of you attributing motive to Mary while complaining incessantly and sanctimoniously that she is attributing motive to Greenwald is just mind-boggling to me.
    You can’t do that. You can’t stand up on a pedestal and accuse her using the identical tactics you are complaining are being used.
    You can, I guess. But don’t expect me to buy it. I think it’s nonsense.
    Why are you so touchy when this guy gets questioned? Is there some Big Moral at stake here, that would cause you to pursue this individual relentlessly? Mary is a big threat?

  813. 813
    kay says:

    @Task Force Ripper:

    She did. She did it inartfully. I think “slush fund” is over the top, although, a 527 is not a great vehicle for transparent advocacy, because “issue advocacy” is so elastic.
    Incidentally, she also mentioned she donates to Greenwald’s site, or his other PAC, or something, the org that is linked to the ACLU. I would think that would insulate her from crazed accusations of bad faith, but apparently not.

  814. 814

    @kay:

    She did. She did it inartfully. I think “slush fund”

    Mary’s first use of “slush fund” is also in comment 255. Well past the time GG answered her other accusations.
    You’re not big on comprehension are you? Or actually taking 3 minutes to see what really happened before you post something as true.

  815. 815
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Task Force Ripper:

    Nice. Does Gruber work for FDL? How is his failure to disclose a problem or controversy for FDL?

    FDL has been saying for about two weeks that the fact that Gruber did work for the administration is controversial because he did not state that fact in everything he published and in every public statement that he made. Not only that, but they’ve been sending out fundraising e-mails to try and fund their investigation of those ties. Those e-mails have been very controversial here at BJ and quite a few people here requested that FDL remove them from the e-mail list.

    Did you miss the part where Greenwald did not originate this worry about Gruber’s ties to the administration but only brought it up in the past few days after there was a lot of buzz about it based on the FDL story? I can link you to the post from two weeks ago on FDL if you’re confused about the time sequence here.

    If it doesn’t bother you at all that Greenwald is in business with Hamsher through the Accountability Now PAC and don’t think that there’s any possibility that he could be influenced by what she thinks just because they’re business partners and he has made a few thousand dollars through that partnership, then say so.

  816. 816
    Mnemosyne says:

    @kay:

    You can’t stand up on a pedestal and accuse her using the identical tactics you are complaining are being used.

    I think Task Force Ripper is well into the LALALALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU! phase at this point. Gruber’s ties to the White House are inherently corrupt but Greenwald’s business partnership with Hamsher through the Accountability Now PAC is above reproach, QED.

  817. 817
    kay says:

    @Task Force Ripper:

    I’m going. I think your anger is misdirected. If you’re angry at the health care bill, or this consultant or academic or whomever, you shouldn’t pile all that vitriol on Mary.
    That’s unfair.
    I thought she was ballsy to go against the Greenwald-deferring grain here. I still think that. I’m not fond of lawyers who are bullies. He’s in a different position than her, for one thing, he knows more about the PAC than she does, and I think it’s ungenerous and nasty to jump all over her for that.

  818. 818

    @Mnemosyne: Again, how is the fact that Gruber did not properly disclose this information an “FDL issue”?
    If you feel his amount of disclosure was appropriate then just say so.

  819. 819
    kay says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Thanks. I appreciate your intervention. I’m going to get some work done.

  820. 820

    @kay:

    I thought she was ballsy to go against the Greenwald-deferring grain here. I still think that.

    What are you talking about? The initial post is Cole saying he’s confused about what the heck GG is trying to say.
    There is no deference here. How is it ballsy to smear someone with no proof?

  821. 821
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    I’m not getting the point of trying to prove an association between GG and Hamsher. Is Hamsher guilty of some ethics breach or financial misconduct? I actually don’t think her quasi-political efforts on behalf of what she believes in makes her a criminal or someone to be disassociated with. I might not necessarily agree with her (or her tactics) but if I let such a thing determine my relationships, I’d have to cut Balloon Juice off at this point.

  822. 822
  823. 823
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @DC: EmptyWheel is actually the one who disclosed the Gruber contract and “pushed” it. And what did the New York Times say about Greenwald not disclosing his contacts with our enemy, Jane Hamsher?

  824. 824
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    If we could get you crazy fuckers to fight Republicans and blue dog democrats as hard as yer fighting the FDL crowd, we could maybe get ourselves some nice shit.

  825. 825
    Avedon says:

    Just out of curiosity, how would you all feel if Gruber had changed his views?

  826. 826
    MBunge says:

    “I’m not getting the point of trying to prove an association between GG and Hamsher.”

    Here it is.

    1. GG correctly argues that Gruber should have disclosed that he was being paid by the Administration for certain services.

    2. Others agree that more disclosure is appropriate, but say the lack of disclosure in this instance shouldn’t significantly undermine Gruber’s credibility on the issue.

    3. GG responds to that by saying “NO! IT IS TOO A SIGNIFICANT ISSUE! IT’S JUST LIKE ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS!”

    4. Others respond by saying that Gruber is not like Williams and only a freakin’ idiot would think so and that it is no more reasonable to think Gruber’s honest views on health care are being influenced by the administration that it would be to think that GG’s ranting about this subject is due to his relationship with Hamsher.

    People are pointing out that GG is setting up a standard so silly that even he can’t live up to it.

    Mike

  827. 827
    LT says:

    Oh no. No. Tell me this thread is NOT still going on.

  828. 828
    Laura W says:

    @LT: I just came by to wash the bedpans and re-stock the mini fridges.

    I still say it has not topped the Peak Rick WarrenNut records pre-Inaug.

  829. 829
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @MBunge:

    People are pointing out that GG is setting up a standard so silly that even he can’t live up to it.

    It isn’t Greenwald’s standard. He’s just pointing out the standard already in place wasn’t followed. Shooting the messenger doesn’t actually accomplish anything useful here. It just makes us look unusually reactionary which in turns makes people wonder why?

  830. 830
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Task Force Ripper:

    Again, how is the fact that Gruber did not properly disclose this information an “FDL issue”?

    Other than the fact that FDL is sending out e-mails talking about it and trying to raise money for themselves based on this “corruption” of Gruber’s?

    Gee, I have no idea.

  831. 831
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    It isn’t Greenwald’s standard. He’s just pointing out the standard already in place wasn’t followed.

    And we’re pointing out that Greenwald didn’t follow that standard, either, but expects other people to follow it to the letter. Why is this so hard to understand?

    No one is saying that Greenwald’s nondisclosure of his connections to Hamsher are on the same level as Gruber’s, but Greenwald claims that he’s not saying that Gruber’s connections to the White House are on the same level as Armstrong’s and Gallagher’s, so what’s the problem? If all he’s doing is pointing out that Gruber’s connection is similar but not necessarily illegal, we’re doing the same comparison between his connections and Gruber’s.

    If, on the other hand, a connection is a connection is a connection and the only difference is the matter of degree, then it’s perfectly valid to point out Greenwald’s connection to Hamsher since it’s of a kind with Gruber’s connection to the Obama White House along with Armstrong’s and Gallagher’s connections to the Bush White House.

    Slightly shorter me: if Greenwald had left out his claim that Gruber’s HHS contract is similar to Armstrong and Gallagher’s illegal contracts even though there’s no allegation of illegality in Gruber’s contract, this comment thread would be a heck of a lot shorter, because I think we all agree that Gruber screwed up when he decided that he only had to do full disclosure in academic journals and not in the mass media.

    (Fixed typo)

  832. 832
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Mnemosyne: Alright, tell me what the New York Times had to say about Greenwald’s non-disclosure of his ties with Jane Hamsher.

  833. 833
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Does the NYT know about them? They can’t really form an opinion about something that was not disclosed to them. Maybe we should send an e-mail to the ombudsman.

  834. 834
    LT says:

    John Cole:

    For the life of me, I can’t figure out why you think anyone would have a problem with this. In fact, implicit in my strenuous objection that Gruber is little more than a paid hack a la Williams and Gallagher is that THERE IS A DATA SET AND ACCOMPANYING PROCEDURES THAT CAN BE CHECKED.

    You keep saying that and I remain confused. When Gruber writes OpEds or goes on TV advocating for one thing over another he is influencing the public on a monumental issue – and those moments have absolutely nothing to do with his data sets or anything else. They are for a hundred million schmoes who can’t read his data sets. He could therefore be completely pulling things out his ass and millions of people wouldn’t know any better. The exact same thing is true about Williams and the generals.

    And that’s where the issue of disclosure becomes more important. It’s not about the right or wrong of an argument at that point, it’s about the apparent honestly of the players. (That’s why the NYT printed an apology – to get the appearance of good faith back.) And the administration (and Kerry) and Gruber did damage to their own appearance of honesty in how they handled this. How is that not simple?

    I cannot understand the “Yeah, he should have disclosed. Big deal” attitude here. Honestly very confusing.

    And I hope you’ve stopped using the word “grant.” I know several others here haven’t. It has really helped gum up this thread.

  835. 835
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Mnemosyne: Do you think it would matter to them, and if not, why?

  836. 836
    MBunge says:

    “It isn’t Greenwald’s standard. He’s just pointing out the standard already in place wasn’t followed.”

    He’s not just doing that. He’s harping on the standard as though its violation should be considered a REALLY BIG DEAL in the Gruber case. And then when folks disagree that it’s a REALLY BIG DEAL, he calling them hypocrites, Obama-cultists and such.

    Mike

  837. 837
    Irrelevant,YetPoignant says:

    A summary:

    gbear @52: “I foresee this thread choking to death on it’s own vomit.”

    AB @374: “This thread got really fucking dumb and embarrassing.”

    John Cole @422: “This thread sucks.”

    Folderol and Ephemera @721: “Someone kill this thread. Kill it with fire.”

    Cain @745: “This whole thread is stupid.”

    Consensus?

  838. 838
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    I’m not quite sure what you’re getting at here. Are you arguing that if the NYT doesn’t care about someone’s financial ties, then those ties are A-OK by definition? If that’s the case, I guess we have to shut up about Pete Peterson’s efforts to kill Social Security since the Washington Post is publishing his anti-Social Security screeds despite knowing those ties.

  839. 839
    MBunge says:

    “I cannot understand the “Yeah, he should have disclosed. Big deal” attitude here. Honestly very confusing.”

    I’m confused about your confusion. The point is that Gruber has a history of character and credibility that shouldn’t be thrown in the trash because he once or occasionally failed to disclose something he never tried to conceal and did disclose in the past.

    It’s not an argument about disclosure. It’s an argument over how much the lack of disclosure in this instance should affect Gruber’s commentary on health care.

    Mike

  840. 840
    Mary says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Is Hamsher guilty of some ethics breach or financial misconduct? I actually don’t think her quasi-political efforts on behalf of what she believes in makes her a criminal or someone to be disassociated with.

    You might be interested to know that digby and Howie Klein have both now disassociated themselves from Hamsher. Klein, another business partner of Hamsher’s through the Blue America PAC, has particulary harsh words with respect to Hamsher’s motives. He says:

    Please take a look at the page and the candidates and see if you feel this might be a more constructive way for progressives to proceed than to just strike out angrily and give a GOP that is several degrees further right than Bush and Cheney an opportunity to get back into power. Because the only people who want that… are seeing it as a way to make some money for themselves.

    http://www.dailykos.com/storyo.....Teabaggers

    I knew that money was the motive for Hamsher to betray the Democrats and the progressive movement. To be sure, Greenwald has never said he was a progressive so he is not betraying anyone by continuing his association with Hamsher. Except that Hamsher, our supposed progressive better, is corrupt, and motivated by money, not principle, contrary to what she has said. In other words, she’s a ratfucker.

  841. 841
    LT says:

    JCole:

    He got fucking caught! Why do you keep saying this? He lied to the NYT, just for starters.

    Wtf?

  842. 842
    Mnemosyne says:

    @LT:

    I cannot understand the “Yeah, he should have disclosed. Big deal” attitude here. Honestly very confusing.

    The difference is that Gruber’s non-disclosure does not appear to have been illegal. Armstrong’s and Gallagher’s failure to disclose (and probably the generals’) was actually against the law.

    Once you start comparing people to lawbreakers with the implication that their actions were just like those of the lawbreakers, the whole discussion goes another direction, and ethical discussions go by the wayside. An ethical breach and a breach of the law are two different things and hyperbolically comparing an ethical breach to an actual crime is going to make people discount the ethical breach.

    Which is one of the reasons Greenwald bugs me and I rarely read him. He’s so prone to blowing things out of proportion that we can’t even have a sensible discussion about Gruber’s ethical breach because we’re so busy trying to defend it against the notion that an ethical breach and a criminal act are the same thing.

  843. 843
    LT says:

    @MBunge:

    …because he once or occasionally failed to disclose something he never tried to conceal and did disclose in the past.

    How could you possibly know that? And why am I supposed to just trust it? The NYT sure didn’t seem to buy that.

  844. 844
    Alex S. says:

    The longer a “Balloon Juice” thread lives on, the more likely it is going to be about Jane Hamsher.

    I guess that’s why the right almost always wins.

  845. 845
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Mary: I’m sorry but you were alleging something much more serious than a betrayal of the Democratic party. I appreciate team unity but I don’t think it’s the same thing or on the same level as what happened with Gruber.

    At this point, I’m willing to acknowledge that you all seem to think Greenwald is guilty of the same thing as the Obama administration here and that means since everyone is guilty, no one is guilty, lalala, nothing to see here now, move on but it doesn’t actually close the deal for me. Even if I thought Greenwald was blowing Grover Norquist for coke, I’d still be disturbed by the the Gruber affair. I’ve never been a my _____ right or wrong and I ain’t starting now.

    Try to imagine someone else broke or pushed the Gruber story.. ah, nevermind. You’d all just fall on them like a pack of wild rats. It’s pointless.

  846. 846
    Mary says:

    @Alex S.: Not. The sooner it is recognized that Jane Hamsher is no longer of the left, the better off the progressive movement is. Corrupt lefties in the pocket of the right wing who intend to split or demoralize the Democrats, like Ralph Nader and Jane Hamsher, are part of what helps the right wing win.

  847. 847
    LT says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    The difference is that Gruber’s non-disclosure does not appear to have been illegal. Armstrong’s and Gallagher’s failure to disclose (and probably the generals’) was actually against the law.

    That may be near the crux of this. First: “Does not appear to have been…” Pretty huge if you ask me. What if we find the email and the bag of cash tomorrow? Yours and Cole’s and whoever else’s defense of Gruber and the admin. doesn’t just go up in smoke – its unsound foundation is exposed. The non-disclosure by Gruber, and the citing him as an “independent” expert raised questions. Questions that people on the left should be asking. That’s all. The answer might be in the end “It was an honest mistake, or mistakes.” Fine. But asking the questions – now – remains important.

    Second: There are lots of perfectly legal – and perfectly unethical – things in the world. I don’t see why “illegal” is the cutoff line in this case.

  848. 848
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    At this point, I’m willing to acknowledge that you all seem to think Greenwald is guilty of the same thing as the Obama administration here and that means since everyone is guilty, no one is guilty, lalala, nothing to see here now, move on but it doesn’t actually close the deal for me.

    No, it means that, despite Greenwald’s insinuations and ingenuous comparisons to illegal acts, there doesn’t appear to have been an actual crime committed here.

    Yes, Virginia, there’s a difference between an ethical breach and a crime. I know it’s in Greenwald’s interest to elide the difference between the two, and I understand why FDL wants to pretend that an actual crime was committed here since they’re making money from it, but I guess that’s why I’m dismissive of this whole scandal. If this really was a genuinely serious problem in and of itself, why did they have to try and make it sound worse than it was? Just talk about it as a problematic ethical breach and don’t imply that what Gruber did was illegal.

    What really annoyed me here was Greenwald comparing this situation to the genuinely illegal Armstrong and Gallagher situation and then pretending he just didn’t understand why people would make that leap to thinking he was saying Gruber’s acts were also illegal. La-di-da, those silly readers thinking he was saying Gruber committed a crime just because he compared Gruber’s actions to two people who committed a crime.

    “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” is starting to look like Greenwald’s model for argumentation.

  849. 849
    Mnemosyne says:

    @LT:

    First: “Does not appear to have been…” Pretty huge if you ask me. What if we find the email and the bag of cash tomorrow? Yours and Cole’s and whoever else’s defense of Gruber and the admin. doesn’t just go up in smoke – its unsound foundation is exposed.

    I thought we’d already found the bag of cash with the HHS contract. I didn’t realize that there were further allegations — do you have a link? Or are you just doing what Greenwald did and assuming that if there was an ethical breach, there must also have been a crime committed and all we have to do is dig deep enough?

    I realize that “innocent until proven guilty” is an outmoded concept, but I really would like to see something a little more solid than “He had a contract with HHS that was publicly available online that he disclosed in academic arenas but not always in mass media arenas” before I start declaring that Gruber committed a crime.

    Second: There are lots of perfectly legal – and perfectly unethical – things in the world. I don’t see why “illegal” is the cutoff line in this case.

    Because Greenwald compared Gruber’s actions to the illegal actions of Armstrong and Gallagher. If he didn’t want people to get distracted and think he was saying that Gruber’s actions were also illegal, he shouldn’t have made that comparison. Once you start accusing people of crimes, you change the entire tenor of the conversation.

  850. 850
    Mary says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: Well thanks for not calling me a stupid cow. I appreciate it. I simply don’t believe the Gruber affair amounts to a shocking scandal. Greenwald, FDL, Fox, Politico and you, I guess, do.

  851. 851
    Phaedrus says:

    @Mnemosyne

    I’ve had to deal with this all thread- you put up a straw man of Greenwalds statements and then say they’re unreasonable.

    Read back through the thread and correct them please, or I will, and call you a misleading dumbshit in the process

  852. 852
    LT says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    …we’re so busy trying to defend it against the notion that an ethical breach and a criminal act are the same thing.

    That’s just bizarre. And I think unfair: You’ve got to show me where GG said they were the same thing.

    And what else could someone take from that comment but that you put next to no importance on a breach of ethics? You know what else ethical breaches aren’t as bad as? Murder.

  853. 853

    @Mnemosyne:

    Other than the fact that FDL is sending out e-mails talking about it and trying to raise money for themselves based on this “corruption” of Gruber’s?
    Gee, I have no idea.

    Yes. Other than the fact that people are upset about his non-disclosure.
    How exactly is Gruber *not* disclosing his information an FDL issue?

  854. 854
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Mnemosyne: Prior to an investigation, it wasn’t clear Armstrong and Gallagher had broken the law. But even so, GG initially stated that the situations weren’t exacty the same.

    But let’s say GG was making exactly the point that Gruber broke the law just like Williams and Gallagher. And let’s say he we all agreed he was completely wrong. That doesn’t change any of the fundamental facts of this story.

    Making this about Greenwald is just stupid.

  855. 855

    @Phaedrus: It’s pretty clear Mnemosyne is incapable of actually making 2+2 = 4.
    At this point s/he just wants to continue to muddy the waters and make this all about FDL, and in no way about Gruber’s actions.

  856. 856
    LT says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Prior to an investigation, it wasn’t clear Armstrong and Gallagher had broken the law

    .

    Yeah – ya think?

  857. 857

    @Mnemosyne:

    Does the NYT know about them? They can’t really form an opinion about something that was not disclosed to them. Maybe we should send an e-mail to the ombudsman.

    You mean like when Gruber was asked to disclose and he did not? Like that? Is that what you mean? Similar to that? Something like that?
    Like when the Ombudsman had to pen a column about the non-disclosure by Gruber? Like that? Something like that?

  858. 858

    @Mnemosyne:

    And we’re pointing out that Greenwald didn’t follow that standard, either, but expects other people to follow it to the letter. Why is this so hard to understand?

    When was the last time GG was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to put forth data the admin used to push/pass HCR?
    Why is this so hard to understand?

  859. 859
    DC says:

    Gruber goofed–we can all accept that. But here’s why many of us are arguing that that’s all it was–a goof–and that Greenwald, Marcy (Emptywheel), and Hamsher have made this into a tempest in a teapot. (And why are they doing this–that is the key question.) See especially the last section I bolded: Obama did not agree with the excise tax when Gruber was hired!

    From the New York Times article, January 16th:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01.....pubed.html

    Bold emphasis added by me.

    Quote from article:

    Gruber, the health care economist, wrote an Op-Ed column in July supporting an excise tax on so-called Cadillac health plans. Not long before, he had signed a contract with the Department of Health and Human Services to analyze the economic impact of various health care proposals in Congress. He did not tell Op-Ed editors, nor was the contract mentioned on at least 12 other occasions when he was quoted in The Times after he was consulting for the administration. After a blogger reported on Gruber’s government contract on the Daily Kos Web site, Gruber did volunteer it to Steven Greenhouse, a Times reporter interviewing him for an article on the excise tax. Greenhouse said he included the fact in a draft but struck it because the article was too long. Greenhouse said that Gruber’s views on the tax were so well-known that he did not think they would be influenced by a consulting contract. But had he realized how large the contract was, Greenhouse said, “I would have stood up and paid lots more attention.”

    Gruber said, “I guess it never occurred to me that the fact that I was doing technical modeling would matter.” He said he [Gruber] has long supported the tax and that the administration opposed it when he wrote his column, so he was hardly bending his views to a government paymaster.

  860. 860
    Mary says:

    @Task Force Ripper:

    You ask:

    How exactly is Gruber not disclosing his information an FDL issue?

    Did you not know that FDL claims and demands exclusive credit for this story?

    firedoglake.com/…/dear-rupert-murdoch-wed-like-credit-for-our-research- please

  861. 861
    kay says:

    @Task Force Ripper:

    What are you talking about? The initial post is Cole saying he’s confused about what the heck GG is trying to say.
    There is no deference here. How is it ballsy to smear someone with no proof?

    Mary asked. She didn’t ask politely, granted, she didn’t ask in the context of a formal request, that’s true, but she’s an ordinary donor. She doesn’t run the PAC. He does. She can ask any way she wants.
    He’s supposed to take the high road. He accepts donations.
    The response to that was to circle the wagons around Greenwald, and behave as if she had violated some top-secret manners code, with all this huffiness and outrage.
    I don’t grant him deference like that. Either does she, apparently. I think that’s good.
    Again: he’s the best-selling author-activist and PAC founder. She’s the lowly 50 dollar donor. There’s an inequity here in both power and knowledge, and Mary isn’t holding the cards. She went ahead anyway. I appreciate that.

  862. 862
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    He’s so prone to blowing things out of proportion that we can’t even have a sensible discussion about Gruber’s ethical breach

    That’s because Greenwald’s whole thing is to announce that certain behavior is outrageous, and all right-thinking people must think so, and thus if you question whether it’s actually outrageous, you prove yourself a wrong-thinking person. To persist in being a wrong-thinking person is so unfathomable that it must be the result of (a) delusion, or (b) bribery. There is only Right, or Wrong. Every compromise, every ethical dilemma, every change of course, only testifies to all-encompassing weakness and damnable imperfection.

    (Bob Somerby is the same way, but at least he sometimes admits that there are things he doesn’t know. I can’t recall Greenwald admitting such a thing. No, I can’t cite specifics, but you can see for yourself how he behaved on this thread, where he very quickly played the “People just hate me because I’m such a principled critic of their cult leader” card, as usual.)

  863. 863

    @Mary:

    Did you not know that FDL claims and demands exclusive credit for this story?

    Sure, they’re pushing a story about something.
    But how is it an “issue” with FDL?

    IOW – how is this a problem for FDL that Gruber didn’t fully disclose his situation? How is it a problem? How is it an issue for FDL?

    It’s not. It’s a story, report, investigation by FDL.

    Gruber didn’t do what he was supposed to and was called on it.
    For simpletons like you – THIS DOESN’T MAKE IT AN FDL “ISSUE”. It’s a report. Agree with it or not, it is not an FDL issue.

  864. 864
    Thoroughly Pizzled says:

    FDL has been using this story as part of a broad effort to discredit healthcare reform. Part of the reason that so many of us are skeptical that an actual scandal exists is that FDL has a vested interest in blowing this story out of proportion. I’m not calling out Greenwald or Marcy Wheeler, but you can’t honestly deny that Jane Hamsher has been using this story to paint the Obama administration as corrupt.

  865. 865

    @kay:

    The response to that was to circle the wagons around Greenwald, and behave as if she had violated some top-secret manners code, with all this huffiness and outrage.
    I don’t grant him deference like that. Either does she, apparently. I think that’s good.

    C’mon Kay. After all this time please stop misrepresenting what happened.
    No one is saying GG as co-founder of a PAC doesn’t owe donatorees info on where their money is going. Not even Greenwald.
    But Mary didn’t ask those questions.
    Stop being a fucking imbecile acting like some one here is deferring to GG because he’s a published author. No one here has done that.
    You keep repeating that line of BS like it is important to you. Who do you think is deferring to Greenwald? Where do you see anyone saying they’ll take him at his word? Where does anyone say that what’s good enough for GG is good enough for them?
    You’re off your fucking nut here with this “defer” shit. And it’s saying a hell of a lot more about you than it is about anyone else posting here.
    Just one example please. One example.

  866. 866
  867. 867

    @moe99: @doofus – double plus Word.

  868. 868
    Mary says:

    @Task Force Ripper: Of course it’s FDL’s issue, their story, their argument, their cause–they are aggressively pushing it–I believe they have a petition and a fundraising drive around it–Jane Hamsher says this scandal threatens healthcare reform, capiche? Marcy Wheeler says this scandal requires that all of Gruber’s work be checked and verified. I’m sensing deliberate obtuseness in many of your questions, no offense.

    That’s why Greenwald should disclose his financial ties with Hamsher when discussing it, which he has done. I consider the case closed and fail to see how it benefits Greenwald to repeatedly relitigate the issue since he has gone ahead and made the disclosure.

  869. 869

    @Mary: Speaking of obtuse – you are the poster girl.
    Listen closely Dumass – it’s an “issue” at FDL, not an “FDL issue”.
    Stop being fucking stupid. People are saying that this is a problem *with* FDL, not a problem *at* FDL’s site.

    They are *reporting* on Gruber – not *causing* Gruber.

  870. 870
    eemom says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    You know what Fuckhead? You’re “just stupid.” You’re also an ignorant, arrogant asshole. Your presence here is a disgrace to this fine blog.

  871. 871

    @Mary: Actually, I do you a disservice by calling you obtuse. Unlike Kay, who is clearly not all there, I believe you have an agenda and are pushing it relentlessly.

  872. 872
    eemom says:

    @Task Force Ripper:

    please go crawl back under whatever slimy rock you emerged from. You keep saying the same dumb shit over and over and it ought to be obvious to you by this time that no one’s buying it.

  873. 873
    eemom says:

    Hi Mary. Hi Kay. You ladies RAWK.

  874. 874
    eemom says:

    Just doing my part to get the thread to 1,000. I have nothing of substance to add to what’s been said a gazillion times already.

  875. 875
    LT says:

    Mnemosyne:

    Because Greenwald compared Gruber’s actions to the illegal actions of Armstrong and Gallagher.

    Jesus fucking christ. This is getting tiring. They’re perfectly comparable – because they’re both about non-disclosure. Legal or illegal, they’re both about that. That you pretend to not understand that is enough evidence that you’re not actually discussing this in good faith.

    And stop the “innocent until” dickery. Nobody has said that Gruber committed a crime – only that questions have been raised. You accuse GG of blowing things out of proportion – using things he never said to do so. Too much.

  876. 876
    Thoroughly Pizzled says:

    @Task Force Ripper: They are trying to use the Gruber story as evidence that all of healthcare reform is corrupt and to discredit Obama. Do you agree with this e-mail from Jane Hamsher?

    For almost the entirety of the health care debate, the Obama Administration has relied on economist Jonathan Gruber to make the public case for its idea of reform – even the most unpopular parts. But as Firedoglake revealed on Friday, the Obama Administration has failed to disclose that it paid the same economist more than $780,000. Jonathan Gruber’s work has been cited by the White House, Members of Congress, and countless media outlets, but not once did the Obama Administration disclose it was paying him more than $780,000 in tax dollars. This is a huge ethical violation that undermines the entirety of health care reform. Sign our petition to President Obama: come clean on Jonathan Gruber and anyone else receiving public money to push health care reform. http://action.firedoglake.com/gruber Once we broke this scandal, The New York Times, Washington Post, Time Magazine, and other publications all said they should have disclosed Gruber’s lucrative contracts if they were aware of the conflict of interest. Dozens of Members of Congress cited Gruber’s work in their floor speeches. The White House pushed Gruber hundreds of times to the press and on its website. While Gruber’s ethical lapses are his own personal and professional issue, the true problem here is that the White House used Gruber and his research as a seemingly unbiased source in support of its unpopular reforms. When Obama wanted to tax middle class health care plans, Gruber defends the tax. When Obama to force people to buy private insurance, Gruber defends individual mandate. When Obama does not want public option, Gruber says a public option is not important. When Obama needs to pretend the bill has cost controls, Gruber says it has the greatest cost controls ever. It is simply not right for the White House to cite Gruber’s analysis to illustrate the benefits of the bill they support without disclosing that Gruber is on the government payroll. A biased insider can’t be an unbiased outside observer. But that’s exactly the approach of the Obama Administration, to the tune of $780,000 in tax dollars. The Obama Administation’s $780,000 “buy-an-economist” scandal threatens to shake the foundation of health care reform. We need to get to the bottom of this. Sign our petition to Obama: come clean on tax dollars used to pay any other undisclosed contracts. http://action.firedoglake.com/gruber We need to do health care reform right. But not telling the truth about reform won’t help anyone. Thanks so much for your support.

    Best,

    Jane Hamsher
    Firedoglake

  877. 877

    @eemom: Slimy? Rock?
    Ouch. You have wounded me eemom. You are by far the most perceptive commenter here. Thank you for your substantive rebuke.

  878. 878

    @Thoroughly Pizzled:

    They are trying to use the Gruber story as evidence that all of healthcare reform is corrupt and to discredit Obama.

    Stop being stupid.
    If Gruber had properly disclosed what was necessary then there would be no story. Or are you saying that FDL is the only entity in existence which has a problem with how Gruber handled himself?
    They can leverage the “story” all they care to. It may be a cause celebre at FDL. That still does not make it an “FDL issue”. Unless Gruber works for FDL. Does he?

  879. 879
    Thoroughly Pizzled says:

    @Task Force Ripper: Way to ignore what I actually asked you. I’m not saying that this story is exclusive to FDL. But you’re trying to say that FDL is irrelevant to the discussion and that all they’re doing is reporting on the story. They reported on the story, and then they tried to raise money off of it by blowing it out of proportion and saying that it undermined the entirety of healthcare reform.

    A lot of us are justifiably suspicious that the focus on Gruber wasn’t ever about exposing government corruption, but about killing the healthcare bill. When the same people that have been reporting that Obama is anti-choice and had a secret plan from the beginning to ruin healthcare reform start talking about administration corruption, why shouldn’t we be skeptical?

    I honestly don’t understand what you mean by “unless Gruber works for FDL.” And I honestly don’t understand what you’re trying to accomplish here. Is it just the Gruber non-disclosure affair that bothers you, or is it something more?

  880. 880

    @Thoroughly Pizzled:

    Is it just the Gruber non-disclosure affair that bothers you, or is it something more?

    Listen carefully – people here keep trying to say that Gruber is a problem at FDL. But he is not associated with FDL in any way. It’s a convenient frame to shift focus.
    Gruber is a story that FDL – rightly, wrongly, scumbaggingly, indifferently – is pushing. What they use the story for is a secondary aside.
    But when someone says that, “especially when you know that your business partner is the source of the controversy you’re writing about” – that’s a misleading problem. The “source” is not FDL, the “source” is Gruber. FDL can do any damn thing they want with publicizing the story about Gruber. The issue is not with FDL, it’s with Gruber. But people keep trying to shift focus away from Gruber and onto FDL.
    THEY WANT TO SHIFT THE FOCUS AWAY FROM GRUBER AND ONTO FDL.

  881. 881
    Uriel says:

    @Task Force Ripper:

    If Gruber had properly disclosed what was necessary then there would be no story.

    But he is not associated with FDL in any way.

    Did you actually read the letter Pizzled posted? Because, Jane makes it fairly clear that this point is merely a speck of detritus on the uppermost pinnacle of the mountain of corruption they claim to be seeing here.

    Even though the entire bulwark is based on nothing more than manufactured suppositions pinned onto this one “story.” I rather doubt, in the absence of this earth-shattering revelation, they wouldn’t have found some other mac guffin to pin this on.

    And, yes- when you start to organize your fund raising and appeals to your PAC based around a particular issue, it actually becomes something akin to business. Do illegal immigrants work for America Fighting Back? No. Do gun control lobbyists work for the NRA? No. Do union members work for he National Right to Work Committee? No.

    Are those former organizations in the “business” of trafficking in “information” and even “stories” regarding the latter to bolster support and fundraising? Yes.

    Your defense of GG aside, this particular line of argument is pretty flimsy.

  882. 882
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Task Force Ripper:

    THEY WANT TO SHIFT THE FOCUS AWAY FROM GRUBER AND ONTO FDL.

    Why is this, ya think? And I wonder what John Cole thinks of this. For my part, EmptyWheel seemed entirely reasonable when she was here. She may very well slaughter and drink the blood of handicapped children when she’s not actively betraying the Democratic party but the Gruber deal seems important to me anyway.

  883. 883
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    This thread needs a lethal injection

  884. 884

    @Uriel: Clearly you are not paying attention either.
    People clearly want to make Gruber somehow “FDL’s problem”.
    He is not.

  885. 885
    Mary says:

    @eemom: Hi eemom. Thanks for the shoutout. Did you see where Howie Klein, Hamsher’s ex-partner at the Blue America PAC, said she’s doing all this as a way to make money? Ouch.

  886. 886
    Thoroughly Pizzled says:

    @Task Force Ripper: See, we’ve talked about Gruber to death. Just about everyone thinks there should have been more disclosure. Some of us feel that that’s the full extent of the matter and there is no significant corruption to speak of, while others feel that the lack of disclosure is a much more egregious sin that may be symptomatic of deeper corruption. I don’t think anyone in this miserable thread has actually changed their mind on anything, so I’m willing to never speak about Gruber again.

    You’re accusing me and others of trying to distract from the Gruber affair by talking about FDL, as if there really is some coverup. Do you think that we’ve realized that our argument has no merit, so we’re desperately attacking the source of the controversy?

    First, there’s really nothing more to say about Gruber. Second, it’s entirely within the right of commentators to start talking about something else. Third, nobody ever said that Gruber was somehow affiliated with FDL. What FDL is doing, though, is keeping this controversy alive and using it to raise money. You act as if it is irrelevant what they’re doing. If you want to make this conversation entirely about Gruber, then I guess you have a point. But if you want to talk about the implications for healthcare reform, you can’t ignore FDL’s role in the whole controversy.

    Why do you have such singular fixation on Gruber, anyway?

  887. 887

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    and drink the blood of handicapped children

    We have blood cocktails every Tuesday so I’ll ask her tomorrow.

    And Cole put all this here in motion by his own actions over the last few weeks. He amped his sycophants up little by little so that any criticism of the administration is seen as deadly personal. Mr. Cole obviously does not do anything halfway.
    IIRC, you called him on that and did a little GBCW because of it.
    But that may have been before the time you went to the mountaintop.

  888. 888
    Phaedrus says:

    Posted this a while back :

    Let me recap :

    Glenn pointed out the hypocrisy of throwing a fit overArmstrong but excusing Gruber.

    John and others said it was apples to oranges.

    Mary and others said Glenn shouldn’t talk because they think he might have an LLC that gets money from a PAC that also hase Jame Hamsher as a member – or something, that part is kind of hazy.

    emptywheel has shown up to defend her reporting.

    Have I missed anything?

    John stands by his claim that having published papers and a dataset give Gruber a shield that Armstrong and his writing don’t deserve, and that the lack of coverage is warranted.

    Glenn says that having two standards – one for academics and one for journalists – is a double standard and worthy of writing about.

    You can probably tell that I lean toward Glenn’s side, but either way, has anyone heard anything new in the last, oh, 300 or so comments?

    Nothing here about FDL, Jane Hamsher, etc. I’ve read Marcy Wheeler’s posts and she is very clear and up front about her numbers and they seem to disagree with Gruber.

    I can find nothing underhanded in what Glenn or Marcy have done.

    Mary, Kay, eemom – you are smear trolls of the lowest sort

  889. 889

    @Thoroughly Pizzled:

    Do you think that we’ve realized that our argument has no merit, so we’re desperately attacking the source of the controversy?

    Yes. SATSQ.
    Except you are not. You’re trying to pin FDL as the source when “Gruber” is the source.

    I’m not fixated on Gruber but it seems damned odd to me that people here keep desperately trying to shift focus away from the central issue and onto what FDL is *doing* with the central issue.
    Yeah – they’re fundraising off it. Call it scumbaggery if you like, ratfucking, etc, whatever.
    But FDL is not the “source” of controversy. Gruber is and he did not do what was required.
    The only people here who want to say FDL is the “source” of controversy are the ones who really, really don’t want to continue asking anything about Gruber himself.

  890. 890

    Mary, Kay, eemom – you are smear trolls of the lowest sort

    This just needed to be repeated because it’s absolutely true.

  891. 891
    Laura W says:

    @Task Force Ripper:

    But that may have been before the time you went to the mountaintop.

    Ha!

    And for the record, I’ve never really liked Fuckhead. He was just the first person here who was nice to me.

  892. 892
    Thoroughly Pizzled says:

    @Task Force Ripper: So, you want to talk about Gruber only. Why, again, are you only talking about Gruber? Shouldn’t you follow the logical implications of Gruber being corrupt and conclude that the Obama administration is just as, if not more corrupt? That’s the exact logic that Jane Hamsher has been using, as pointed out in that e-mail you failed to read.

    Please, just tell me, do you agree with Jane Hamsher? Is Obama corrupt?

    And for the last time, I don’t want to talk anymore about what Gruber did, because there is nothing new to say. You’ve just been repeating yourself.

  893. 893
    Mary says:

    @Phaedrus: No. Hamsher is the ultimate smear troll. She’s been sued for libel. She writes books, publishes her blog and goes on TV smearing people. Her ex-partner just said she’s engaging in these antics and would allow the right wing to regain control for the money.

    I’m just an unpaid commenter on a blog, trying to keep the right wing out of control for the sake of my country. That is literally my only objective.

  894. 894
    eemom says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    don’t worry — it’s gotta be thinking about suicide at this point.

  895. 895
    eemom says:

    @Phaedrus:

    go crawl under Task’s rock and keep him company.

  896. 896
    eemom says:

    @Laura W:

    he was nice to me once too. Then he started calling me a stupid cow.

    I do think he is, true to his name, fucked up in the head.

  897. 897
    LT says:

    @Mary:

    She’s been sued for libel.

    A perfect example of Mary’s logic.

    You know who else was sued for libel? Jesus. I mean he wasn’t – but he was crucified, so…

    Hitler!

    P.S. Hey JCole – you need to change the update on this post, don’t you? Like two days ago?

  898. 898
    Cain says:

    Hi, I want to keep this thread alive!

    Cuz I want to hit that magic number 1000

    cain

  899. 899
    Cain says:

    @Laura W: <blockquoteAnd for the record, I’ve never really liked Fuckhead. He was just the first person here who was nice to me.

    Hey! I’m always nice to you!

    cain

  900. 900

    @Cain: Fickle. Life is fickle.

  901. 901
    Thoroughly Pizzled says:

    @Task Force Ripper: You have returned! Could you please answer my question?

  902. 902
    AhabTRuler says:

    @Cain: C’mon Cain, that’s cheap. You wanna get to 1000, put a dog into the fight or mor better troll. You don’t get a shit tornado to F-5 by saying “gee whiz, wouldn’t it be nice if we got to 1000.”

  903. 903
    The Sheriff's A Ni- says:

    @LT: Except that, uh, she actually was sued for libel. Or defamation. Something like that.

  904. 904
    Laura W says:

    @Cain: You most certainly are and have been since Day One, Cain.
    But my association with you does not embarrass me in public or cause people to doubt my integrity and sanity.

    More importantly, it does not pose a threat to any possible slush funds fundraising efforts on behalf of homeless animals that I may be involved with in the near future.
    Fuckhead will understand. He’s quite used to being de-friended by now.

  905. 905
    AhabTRuler says:

    @The Sheriff’s A Ni-: Work harder. From the first para:

    In late September, an intermediate appellate court in Los Angeles ruled that an author’s disparaging comments regarding an attorney’s representation of a movie director were expressions of opinion, and therefore did not constitute defamation.

    So she was sued and found not liable.

  906. 906
    Phaedrus says:

    @Thoroughly Pizzled

    You’re asking something about FDL, right? What does that have to do with Greenwald’s original points and/or the discussion about his article?

  907. 907
    Phaedrus says:

    @Mary

    Are you friggin kidding me – the fact that a movie director didn’t like what Jane said about them has some bearing on the discussion at hand.

    Can we vote you off the island, or something?

  908. 908
    Thoroughly Pizzled says:

    @Phaedrus: Half the commenters here have been trying to prove that Gruber is corrupt, without being brave enough to say that this means Obama is corrupt as well. This has been the pattern over and over. No one will attack Obama directly, but they’ll go after his associates, especially Darth Rahm.

    Don’t you think it’s kind of pointless to prove that Gruber is corrupt, and then to leave the matter at that? If you truly think that this is an example of corruption, shouldn’t you be doing more than complaining on a blog?

    Now, granted, you might not actually think that Obama is corrupt. So I’ll let you speak for yourself. Do you think that the Gruber affair proves Obama’s corruption? Do you agree with Jane Hamsher, who has actually gone further down the path of logic from “Gruber is corrupt” than most?

  909. 909
    Phaedrus says:

    @thoroughly

    I don’t read it that way, and have been here since the beginning.

    Glenn goes out of his way to say that he doesn’t think Gruber’s work is tainted, just that he unethically failed to disclose his association.

    Glenn clearly states that is was unethical and corrupt for the administration to pay Gruber for his work helping to shape policy and then continue to refer to him as objective and independent.

    Marcy Wheeler has clearly documented what she thinks are flaws in Gruber’s numbers, and she claims Krugman agrees and even Gruber is backing off some of them.

    The original point here is the double standard. When it came to light that Gruber was being presented by himself and the admin as independent (which he clearly wasn’t) – many of the folks that freaked out over Armstrong was to shrug it off. Glenn pointed out the hypocrisy, as well as pointing that this kind of activity (non-disclosed government advocacy) is promoted by Cass Sustein.

    so…. the corruption charge has been explicit – not his work, just the presentation of his work.

  910. 910
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Thoroughly Pizzled:
    I don’t think Obama is corrupt, and I don’t think Gruber is corrupt, and this entire nontroversy is amazing to me. Reading Jane Hamsher’s reporting on the Gruber money and you get the sense that this is the equivalent of the Watergate burglary.

    ETA: and that’s what really is frustrating about this. Hamsher implies that Gruber was hired because the administration was planning to dump the public option all along, that there’s a lot more conspiracy to this.

  911. 911
    Thoroughly Pizzled says:

    @Phaedrus: If this whole thing is about proving that the people who freaked out over Armstrong are hypocrites, then I have wasted my life on this thread.

  912. 912
    Phaedrus says:

    @arguingwithsignposts, et. al.

    Noun + Verb + Jane Hamsher

    Greenwalds’ points stand on their own, thank you very much, and Jane doesn’t enter into it.

    If you think misleading the public into thinking that your paid consultant is independent is not corruption…. well, it is.

  913. 913
    Phaedrus says:

    @Thoroughly Pizzled

    Have you not read the original Greenwald? Go back and read. The major theme is Cass’s paper – and exhibit A is Gruber. A side note is that people who freaked out over Armstrong shrug or defend Gruber.

  914. 914
    Mary says:

    @Phaedrus: I know Hamsher was found not liable. The point is that she was, in fact, sued for the act of smearing, back in the day.

    And she is smearing Gruber beyond all reason as she has done with so many others.

  915. 915
    Phaedrus says:

    Mary, explain to me how this has any bearing on Glenn’s article. Be explicit, brief, and use small words, please – I’m just not getting it.

  916. 916

    @John Cole:

    Williams, on tyhe other hand, had no expertise to bring to the table, never disclosed he wasbeing paid, and was in fact just being paid to be a shill. The comparison of Gruber to Williams just makes no sense to me.

    This is the core of the issue. It can be sorted out by answering this question:

    Q. Was Williams criticised by Democrats for not disclosing?

    If he was criticised for not disclosing, then Greenwald is correct for pointing out Democrat hypocrisy. If he was not criticised for not disclosing, then Greenwald is making a false comparison.

    I’m so glad I finally sorted this out for John Cole and all the comentators here. Phew.

  917. 917
    Phaedrus says:

    Williams was one of several examples Greenwald gave. Also the Pentagon Generals.

    So, did Dems criticise the pentagon generals for not disclosing? If so, then Greenwald has a point – ye?

  918. 918
    Mary says:

    @Phaedrus: It was you who called me a smear troll, I believe, for my comments regarding Hamsher. I responded that Hamsher is the ultimate smear troll and has actually been sued for it.

    All I asked for about Glenn’s post was that he disclose his financial ties to Hamsher since he was addressing an FDL cause. He did so.

    I tried not to use too many big words, as you requested. Let me know if you don’t understand.

  919. 919
    Phaedrus says:

    @Mary
    Thank you. Let me see if I understand what you’re saying. You’re point seems to be that if someone is sued for something, then it must be so. Hence, someone sued Hamsher for liable, so she must be a liabless person, even though the suit was found not to have merit.

    I have to say, I don’t agree with you. I think that is the purpose of judges and juries in our system. You see, the charges alone don’t make one guilty, and I would think they certainly don’t make one guilty after the charges were found to be false.

    In your earlier posts you seemed to think that Glenn Greenwald’s conduct was of a kind with the things he was criticizing…. you said things like ,”The same argument that Greenwald is making, that we can assume that Gruber is unethical and corrupt, can be turned on Greenwald acting as FDL’s backstop on the manufactured Gruber scandal”.

    I’m wondering – do you still think that Glenn’s actions and situation were equivalent to Gruber’s? Again, small words are appreciated because I’m having trouble connecting the dots.

  920. 920
    williamc says:

    I have been sick since last week, and can’t believe that I just read through this entire thread, but my gawd, some of you self-proclaimed “Obots” (as am I, btw) are behaving exactly as Glennzilla and his defenders accuse you of in this thread. I haven’t read anything about Gruber until today, but I read what the NYT said about Gruber’s issue, read Greenwald’s critique of it, read Krugman’s response, and then read John’s entry and this entire thread. The issue went from “sure he didn’t disclose, but this is nothing like Armstrong Williams, that dude was writing Propaganda!” to “I hate Glenn Greenwald!” to “Glenn associates with the Firebaggers!” to “Glenn is running a slushfund with Accountability Now!” to personal insults to fellow commenters. So, Greenwald is a scold and you don’t care for his holier-than-thou tone? Boo freaking hoo, write a letter to Emily Post about it.

    But 900+ f-ing comments, over whether or not this Gruber dude screwed up? Update geniuses, he did. And the Dems screwed up by using him as an independent expert when they knew he was on the Government’s payroll. All he had to do was apologize for it, disclose from now on, and move on. I don’t know what the FDLers think the end-game is to their “We hate Obama, we need a new Lefty Leader” meme, but it won’t end well (Who really is going to beat the Great Black Hope in a Dem Primary? The bastard heretofore unknown clone of FDR/LBJ?), and helping Grover “Fukcing” Norquist with anything is never right.

    Look, I hate the Republicans too, they will destroy what little is left of the United States if they manage to regain control of any House of Congress or the Presidency with their tax cuts, spending cuts, torture progroms, other sundry insane unmoored-from-reality public policy prescriptions, but that doesn’t mean that when THIS administration does something not on the up-and-up that we just clap louder. I don’t know if many of you were reading right-wing blogs back in the early 00s, but I was, and this is the exact same “protect OUR guys at any cost” mentality that lead to the worst Presidency since the late 1920s. Smack the Administration when they do wrong, save your fight for the actual real stuff that means something to real people and not just that week’s news cycle.

    (and darn it, still not at 1000 comments, come on guys, more strawmen! more misdirection from the topic! more name-calling! we can do it! though maybe not, we are modern Democrats after all…)

  921. 921
    Phaedrus says:

    @williamc

    Where the hell you been? I’m not blameless in this bloodbath, but I’ve been battling these harpies for 900 some-odd comments. It’s like fighting a hydra – you stomp one of their weak claims and they come back with two more.

    Anyway, just doing my part towards the common goal of 1000

  922. 922

    Well, I have the answer to my question:

    “Q. Was Williams criticised by Democrats for not disclosing?”

    I looked at some blogs back in January 2005 when the Williams scandal broke. The criticisms seem to be that Williams was a paid propagandist for the government. The disclosure issue wasn’t emphasised. In fact, Greenwald offered only one Krugman 2005 article to prove that the Democrats condemned Williams for failure to disclose. In that article, Krugman wrote:

    The point is that there really isn’t much difference between Mr. Abramoff’s paying Mr. Ferrara to praise the sweatshops of the Marianas and the Department of Education’s paying Armstrong Williams to praise No Child Left Behind.

    That’s not criticising failure to disclose; it’s criticising payments for propaganda specifically.

    CONCLUSION ;-):

    John Cole is right to say it was a bad comparison.

    Glenn Greenwald was wrong to use Williams as a comparison to Gruber.

    I think Glenn’s post was blurring issues. I also think this quote from Glenn demonstrates his prejudice:

    This innuendo is all coming from Obama-cult websites which, a la Bush followers, want to personally smear anyone who criticizes their leader.

    To call Balloon Juice an Obama-cult website is absurd.

  923. 923
    brantl says: