Ever have an uncomfortable feeling of déjà vu? Here we have a president compiling an enemies list of those who take a stance against his political agenda. Is it just me, or are we back in the Nixon administration?
Actually that’s not really fair… to Nixon. Sure, Tricky Dick did those things and pushed for universal health care to boot, but he never went this far… As noted by John Cornyn in his letter to the president:
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.
By requesting that citizens send “fishy” emails to the White House, it is inevitable that the names, email addresses, IP addresses, and private speech of U.S. citizens will be reported to the White House. You should not be surprised that these actions taken by your White House staff raise the specter of a data collection program. As Congress debates health care reform and other critical policy matters, citizen engagement must not be chilled by fear of government monitoring the exercise of free speech rights.
Rather than “All the President’s Men,” this is something out of “Nineteen Eight-Four.” Citizen snitches. Another great step forward for “hope and change.”
Now, Senator Cornyn asks several pertinent questions:
- How do you intend to use the names, email addresses, IP addresses, and identities of citizens who are reported to have engaged in “fishy” speech?
- How do you intend to notify citizens who have been reported for “fishy” speech?
- What action do you intend to take against citizens who have been reported for engaging in “fishy” speech?
- Do your own past statements qualify as “disinformation”? For example, is it “disinformation” to note that in 2003 you said: “I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer universal health care plan”?
In other words, “Whatcha planning to do with them names, Barry?” Don’t get me wrong, these are good questions, one and all. Hopefully, we’ll get some answers before someone decides to call the Plumbers. So much for that pesky Bill of Rights.
One bit of advice for Big Brother President Obama…
I’d wouldn’t schedule any events in the Watergate Hotel… leastwise not until the Ministry of Truth is up and running.