Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Calling informants: if someone opposes Obamacare, the White House wants to know

It started with an old video of President Barack Obama, before he was president, talking about single-payer systems and what he'd like to see.

“I happen to be a proponent of a single payer universal health care program. I see no reason why the United States of America, the wealthiest country in the history of the world, spending 14 percent of its Gross National Product on health care cannot provide basic health insurance to everybody. And that’s what Jim is talking about when he says everybody in, nobody out. A single payer health care plan, a universal health care plan. And that’s what I’d like to see. But as all of you know, we may not get there immediately. Because first we have to take back the White House, we have to take back the Senate, and we have to take back the House.”

This happens to be opposite what he says he wants today. And it's okay for people to change their minds, but they shouldn't get all bent out of shape when confronted with their flip-flop.

And that's what Obama has done, with a post on the official White House blog page:

"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 flag@whitehouse.gov."

Instead of explaining why his position is now different (if it actually is...) than before, the White House is taking names...

Yes, the White House wants to keep track of rumors about aspects of the health care bill, including 'end of life care.' Having actually read the House version of the bill (something many freely admit they haven't done - it's 1,000 pages after all), I can tell you that 'end of life care' isn't a rumor. It's right there in black and white, if you bother to read it.

But think about the larger implications of this request. The White House wants citizens to 'report' others who oppose the president's agenda. That's just plain scary.

Now, they may not have meant it this way - but, if not, what did they mean? The White House wants people to email them every rumor or piece of information that 'seems fishy'??? Pretty much anything coming out of Washington these days seems fishy to me...but what do I know?

And just what, exactly, are they going to do with all those emails? Will individuals who get reported suddenly find themselves the target of an IRS investigation? a visit by a police agency? or nothing at all - in which case, why bother with the emails?

Skip Murphy composed this email to the designated address:

To flag@whitehouse.....

Good evening,

My question is this - and what will you do with that information:

* Will it be going into a database:
* Who or what department will have operational control and legal responsibility over that database?
* What kinds of controls will be in place to prevent unauthorized access?
* Will any of this information be shared amongst departments or people outside of the "operational control" department and people?
* How will people that might be falsely accused of spreading such rumors be able to access that information?
* How can citizens peruse that database to see if they HAVE been reported?
* What are the penalties for those people who falsely accuse others of such rumors?

I'm quite sure that there will be many other questioners that have either already submitted the same questions and others. In fact, will you be listing an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) with answers to these and other questions?

Kindest Regards,

And Leslie Graves also had a question that puts the White House on the spot. Do they agree with the post and, if not, will they correct it?

Dear Flag:

I'm concerned about a rumor I just read on a blog.

The rumor said that Linda Douglass, a White House staffer, had published a blog post and released a video in which she requests American citizens to snitch to the White House on what they hear in casual conversations.

I'm sure that a taxpayer-funded communications staffer at the White House would never encourage American citizens to snitch each other out to the government, so I'm hoping you can do what you can to correct the record.

Leslie Graves
Spring Green, Wisconsin

Fellow bloggers have some thoughts on this:
* an open letter to the President,
* GraniteGrok,
* Jeff Emanuel at RedState,
* Blue Collar Muse thinks it's standard progressive doctrine,
* Stix Blog is reporting himself,
* Warner Todd Huston thinks it's very Orwellian,
* Stephen Kruiser thinks the time for over-reaction is now;
I* Ben DeGrow thinks his blog Mount Virtus is already on the White House 'fishy' list,
* The Heritage Foundation's blog points out the rock (his current position) and the hard place (what others want and are putting in the bill) Pres. Obama finds himself between,
* American Thinker draws parallels between this and what the Nazis and Hitler did during the 1930s when they asked citizens (and children) to 'inform' on each other.
* Collier and Benko wonder if the president's 'information czar' may be behind this suggestion, since he's in favor of a law to make citizens 'take down falsehoods upon notice.'

Of course, Twitter is all atwitter with people reporting themselves...

Stay tuned...


Alo Konsen said...

I did my patriotic duty.

Mad Jack said...

I think it's nothing more than an unfortunate comment that is now getting far and away too much press. This is likely one of those things that sounded okay at the time, but on reading it over... ah, not so much.

I don't think The Anointed One will ever push the health care bill through Congress. My reasoning is this:

1. Even Congress knows we're broke and getting broker. Health care is going to cost big bucks, and the money isn't there.

2. Re-election. The health care issue is a lot like abortion, gun control and global warming: the health care problem is much more valuable if it remains a problem rather than a solved problem that the incumbent may or may not want credit for. Depending... see?

3. Unlike the Stupid Party, the Moonbats eat their young and fight amongst themselves. The health care bill is the perfect time to settle old scores.

4. The Moonbat Supreme Leader and Grand Exalted All Knowing One is busy trying to make a dollar out of fifteen cents and balance the federal checkbook. Meanwhile, the clock is ticking and popularity ratings are somewhat uncertain. The Anointed One could get a slam dunk the next election if he hits three out of the park. Let's see... exit Iraq, end the depression and, I don't know, capture, try and execute Osama Bin Missin'. Those are big ifs, but they are possible.

I think it's much more likely that the Obama administration will be a lot like the Carter administration. I even like President Carter and have a lot of respect for him, but Carter did not have the most successful presidency.

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