Yesterday I sent this impertinent message to President Barack Obama when his staff sent me the invitation to inform on other Americans who criticize his and Congress’s plans to impose socialized health care on the country.
The White House
5 August 2009
Dear Mr. President:
What is your definition of "fishy"? That it is odiferous? Bad-smelling? Unwelcome? Stinky? Ready to bury?
How dare you refer to Americans criticizing your socialist health and economic plans, and the facts they are bringing to light about your whole power-lusting, corrupt regime as fishy? How dare you threaten to abrogate their First Amendment rights?
Oh, that's right. I forgot. You don't want to be president of a nation of free men. You want to lord it over a nation of dependent troglodytes, ever grateful for the crumbs you throw them after you've eaten the cakes they created through productive work.
If anything can be described as fishy in this country now, it is your administration, and Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi, and Barney Frank, and the whole crew of your looting parasites.
So, flag this!!
A real American and a genuine patriot.
The key paragraph in the White House’s invitation is this:
“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 travel just beneath 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.
This was preceded by two other interesting paragraphs:
“Opponents of health insurance reform may find the truth a little inconvenient, but as our second president famously said, ‘facts are stubborn things.’
Scary chain emails and videos are starting to percolate on the internet, breathlessly claiming, for example, to ‘uncover’ the truth about the President’s health insurance reform positions.”
This announcement was posted by Macon Phillips (White House Director of News Media, go here for the career of this non-entity), but bets can be taken that the idea of inviting Americans to inform on each other is not flying too well at the moment, for undoubtedly the “in box” of email@example.com was almost immediately filled to overflowing with emails from outraged Americans, organized or not. This was not a good idea. Phillips and his handlers in the White House should have realized, given the genuine opposition across the country to Obama’s and Congress’s health care bill, that the reaction to it would have been overwhelmingly instant and “negative.”
What were they thinking? Perhaps, given that opposition, which has chiefly taken the form of what White House denizens have characterized as “disrupters” not tolerating the bromides and platitudes of elected representatives’ raucous town hall meetings about the proposed legislation, they are feeling desperate enough to try anything.
In addition to having the gall to quote John Adams, Phillips (or whoever wrote the invitation, it was probably a committee effort) also paraphrased Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth,” as though that reference to Gore’s discredited “scary movie” on global warming still had some currency among Americans. He also refers to First Amendment communications between bloggers and individuals as “scary chain emails” and videos as “percolating” on the Internet, chock full of “disinformation.” Facts, however, are not what the White House and its allies in Congress are conveying to the American public about the contents of the health care bill. They have launched, for the length of August up until Congress reconvenes in September, a campaign of disinformation not only about the contents of the bill, but against anyone opposed to the legislation, whether he is a Republican, a voter, or a blogger.
One might wonder where Obama and Company get their arrogance. They get it from the fact that the have gotten away with lies and disinformation for so long.
What is worrisome -- and that is the kindest term I can think of at the moment -- is that all the emails, friendly or not to the idea of informing on fellow Americans, can be collected and used somehow to punish or reward, whether or not the health bill legislation passes. Remember the outrage of the news media over President George W. Bush’s “lost” emails? Even the ever-loyal news media is stammering its reservations about the informant program.
Senator John Cornyn raises this issue in his letter to Obama about the impropriety of asking Americans to inform on others.
“Furthermore, Cornyn wrote, the collection of e-mails could amount to the White House amassing various forms of personally identifiable information.”
Among other things, Cornyn posed this important question to Obama:
“At the very least, I request that you detail to Congress and the public the protocols that your White House is following to purge the names, email addresses, IP addresses, and identities of citizens who are reported to have engaged in “fishy” speech.”
It will be interesting if Cornyn gets an answer to any of his questions. Read the whole text of his letter here. There is some comfort in seeing that not all politicians are clueless or indifferent.
But, make no mistake about it: If Obama and Company are willing to stoop to so low a tactic as inviting Americans to inform on each other, even in “casual conversation,” what else would they be willing to do? Aside from all the lies and disinformation conveyed to the public over the last six months about not only the health care bill, but about TARP, the cash for clunkers program, and even Harry Reid’s pet project, a magnet-train link between California and Las Vegas (!!!), this tactic reveals the core, evil soul of Obama and his supporters in and out of government in their quest for total power. Germans were asked by Hitler to inform on their fellow Germans, and tens of thousands of Germans wound up in work camps or concentration camps.
Will Americans follow suit, or are there still enough of us alive to put a brake on our march to fascism?