Thursday, August 6, 2009

White House Compiling Fishy Enemies List?

Remember when the Bush administration was routinely blasted for assaulting civil liberties and shredding the Constitution? Those were the good old days. The criticism usually arose in connection with counter-terrorism initiatives, of course, not domestic political dissent. Yet on Monday, the Obama administration put out a call for anyone who encounters any "fishy" information (i.e., information that runs counter to a government-run healthcare system) to forward that information to a designated White House email address. The Washington Examiner and other news outlets and websites wonder how this squares with freedom of speech and personal privacy:
The White House request that members of the public report anyone who is spreading "disinformation" about the proposed national health care makeover could lead to a White House database of political opponents that will be both secret and permanent, according to Republican lawyers on the Senate Judiciary Committee who are examining the plan's possible implementation...
In a letter to Obama Tuesday, Republican Sen. John Cornyn wrote that, given [White House director of new media Macon] Phillips' request, "it is inevitable that the names, email address, IP addresses, and private speech of U.S. citizens will be reported to the White House." Cornyn warned the president that "these actions taken by your White House staff raise the specter of a data collection program."
"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," Cornyn continued. "I urge you to cease this program immediately."

Community Organizing Suddenly Falls Out of Favor

Up until November 4, 2008, being a community organizer was a fantastic vocation. In fact, it was that role--unlike say military or law enforcement experience, business experience, or executive experience of any kind--that qualified someone to become the U.S. president. Now, when average, non-ideological citizens themselves engage in participatory democracy, they've somehow morphed into a "mob" rather than a community organization. Yesterday, ordinary citizens met with Congressman Chris Murphy in Simsbury, CT about healthcare. Murphy did not exactly cover himself in glory: Swing-district solons like Murphy will have to make a fundamental decision, perhaps one that will directly determine their political career going forward: vote the way the party machine tells them to or represent their constituents. And whose more out of touch: the politicians themselves or the reporters/editors that cover them? In this video, an outspoken, grassroots concerned citizen interacts with two seemingly clueless reporters from the local paper, the Hartford Courant.Here's the bottom line: while the free enterprise system can sometimes be unfair if not corrupt, and healthcare insurance reform is needed, the average American does not want socialism