"GOP Senator: White House Encroaching on First Amendment
August 05, 2009 1:33 PM
ABC News’ Rick Klein reports:
"A Republican senator is calling for the White House to suspend a new project that asks members of the public to flag “fishy” claims about President Obama’s health care plans, arguing that it raises privacy concerns and will serve to chill free speech.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, is sending a letter to the White House today asking the president to “cease this program immediately” -- or to explain how Americans’ privacy will be protected if e-mails are forwarded to the White House as requested.
“I am not aware of any precedent for a President asking American citizens to report their fellow citizens to the White House for pure political speech that is deemed ‘fishy’ or otherwise inimical to the White House’s political interests,” Cornyn writes
“I can only imagine the level of justifiable outrage had your predecessor asked Americans to forward emails critical of his policies to the White House. I suspect that you would have been leading the charge in condemning such a program -- and I would have been at your side denouncing such heavy-handed government action.”
Yesterday, White House director of new media Macon Phillips wrote a blog posting urging readers to flag questionable claims about health care proposals.
“There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to email@example.com.”
Cornyn specifically asks whether those who quote the president’s past statements -- such as his 2003 statement that he was a “proponent” of single-payer care -- qualifies as “disinformation.” He also asks what actions the White House would take against those engaging in “fishy” speech."
"White House Website Asking for Informants on Anti-Healthcare Advocates
By Warner Todd Huston Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Source Canada Free Press
"I guess it shouldn’t be surprising that the Obama White House is now asking the public to snitch on their fellow citizens by sending an email to White House staffers informing them of other Americans that oppose Obamacare. I know what you are saying. You are probably saying that I am just a rabble rousing conservative that is just trying to stir trouble. You are probably thinking that I am taking something out of context.
Well I wish I were.
An August 4 bog post on the White House website is clearly asking for Americans to snitch on their neighbors. WH staffer Linda Douglas, a former “journalist” turned political operative, is featured on a video telling tall tales about Obama’s healthcare plan and how wonderful it is for America. But here is the scary part:
There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
If that isn’t asking citizens to snitch on each other…. What is?
Of course the WH site pushes the Obama lie that we can keep our health insurance “if we like it” by pointing out that Obama has “consistently said” it. But saying a lie 100 times does not make it the truth. It is a fact that millions of Americans WILL lose their current healthcare plans if Obamacare passes in the form the president keeps advocating for.
But of the information that these American snitchers send off to the White House, who in the White House is going to get this information? What are they going to do with it? Will they create a data base of people that stand against Obama? What is to be done with such a database? Who will get visited by the FBI in the dead of night because they sent an email critical of Obama’s socialist styled healthcare policies?
A friend of mine named Bill Collier has written a great letter to the White House asking these questions and more.
A letter to President Barack Obama, sent to email@example.com
Greetings, sir, I pray for your health and that God may grant you peace and wisdom.
I am writing to you at this email address because of a post at the White House blog that, frankly, sir, has me a bit concerned.
I am certain that you are committed to freedom and liberty and do not intend on decreasing the level of freedom or the participation of citizens in the process of deciding public policy for our nation, even if that might mean that some of your initiatives have to be scaled back or simply abandoned.
Some might, however, question your commitment to freedom and the participation of citizens in the decision making process and this is why I am writing, respectfully, in the hope of seeing a happy resolution to what I hope is merely a poorly stated appeal for help in support of your health care initiative.
I understand you are asking people, through your staff, to email firstname.lastname@example.org to report people who oppose your health care plan, even though, Mr. President, you have NOT actually sent out a specific proposal and there are multiple different proposals.
Your appeal, which I sincerely fear is a call for informants (http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/Facts-Are-Stubborn-Things/) was cloaked in what seems to some, myself included, doublespeak, and to my mind this appeal carries the implication that the White House wants to capture the names of opponents, which has a potentially chilling effect on open debate.
As part of this appeal, you tell your readers, basically, that people who are citing video of yourself calling for a single payer system and detailing an incrementalist approach ‘liars’, something that is both impolite and, frankly, juvenile and beneath contempt. Those statements were made by you, Mr. President. If indeed you are opposed to a single payer plan and have changed your mind, it is useful to you, and citizens who may even support you but for this perception, to clear this matter up rather than blaming others for a reasonable and logical assumption based on what you actually said.
Mr. President, facts ARE stubborn things and unless or until you publicly disavow a single payer system and actually ANNOUNCE and put in print YOUR health care proposal, it is only reasonable to think that all those things you have said are still on the table and part of your overall plan. If, however, you want a single payer system, please tell us and put in writing what your plan is so that we can have a civil discourse.
Mr. President, are you willing to state what your plan is then publicly disavow any plan that involves single payer plans in any fashion?
Further, Mr. President, would you be willing to solemnly swear that the minute you propose or even SIGN any bill that includes a single player plan or a precursor thereto that you will resign your office? Are you willing, sir, to resign your office if the implementation of your plan results in anything more than a 10% decrease in the number of people enrolled in private plans within 4 years after whatever bill is passed?
Please be advised, Mr. President, I will not be monitored: I oppose what some refer to as ‘Obamacare’ on the basis of my conviction that the Federal Power has no business sticking its nose in such things, a point of view that I sincerely believe is consistent with the original intent of our Founders. I respect that you feel differently and read that differently, but to dismiss our point of view with juvenile and petty name-calling that is clearly beneath contempt and that is simply not professional is a reflection on the content of your character that will not turn Americans against those who oppose state-run or regulated and managed health care by ANY name.
I am NOT afraid to stand up for my convictions, I respect you and your office, and I rightfully and justly demand that you and your staff respect me and my office, the office of “elector”, one of your 300 million “bosses”.
I respectfully request that you stop asking people to become informants, please spend a few minutes and re-read your constitution which you swore to uphold, and which is a condition of your tenure which must be adhered to.
I am enclosing a copy of this email to my member of Congress, my Senators, and my Governor as well as any local media and asking them to investigate WHY the White House is trying to capture names of opponents and asking people to inform on opponents.
If your office is seeking to obtain names of people who oppose your plan and to engage other Americans as informants or agents I would, and I am sure many others would, consider this to be a SERIOUS offense against the Bill of Rights if indeed your objective here is to do this, so, with this in mind, sir, please cease and desist and respect even those who oppose you in a civil and fair manner.
I pray that this communication is seen as a friendly appeal for a quick and amicable resolution of my concerns or, at worse, a friendly rebuke, if you will, due to what is clearly impolite behavior that is beneath of the dignity of the Presidency or the White House.
May you continue to be in good health and good spirits as you lead our free nation of free and sovereign citizens who wish you, and America, Godspeed within the reasonable constraints of liberty, justice, and our Constitution.
Yours in service to the Republic,
By the Grace of God, Citizen and Elector, The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, The United States of America
PS I have BCC’d this to other individuals and hope that they, too, stand up by name and without fear, knowing that your White House, Mr. President, would never seek to in any way censure or persecute in any manner any citizen for simply questioning your policies or conduct: I am sure you will agree with me that the best way to dispel such myths is to reply in a cordial and civil manner to such citizens, even your loyal opposition.
It appears that the White House thinks this is Orwell’s 1984. Big Brother is watching and he apparently resides in Oceania’s White House."