August 8, 2009

How fishy is Obama's program to get info on "fishy" things people say about his health care program?

This flag@whitehouse.gov scheme may violate post-Watergate privacy law:
"The White House is in bit of a conundrum because of this privacy statute that prohibits the White House from collecting data and storing it on people who disagree with it," Judge Andrew Napolitano, a FOX News analyst....

Napolitano was referring to the Privacy Act of 1974, which was passed after the Nixon administration used federal agencies to illegally investigate individuals for political purposes. Enacted after Richard Nixon's resignation in the Watergate scandal, the statute generally prohibits any federal agency from maintaining records on individuals exercising their right to free speech.
The ACLU ventures an opinion on the subject:
"While it is unclear at this point what the government is doing with the information it is collecting, critics of the administration's health care proposal should not fear that their names will end up in some government database that could be used to chill their right to free speech."
The White House denies that it is assembling a Nixon-style "enemies list." It purports only to want to find out what misinformation is out there so it can supply corrections. This makes it sound a lot like the "Fight the Smears" website Obama had during the 2008 campaign.

But it's much more than that. From the first-linked article:
"Of course the White House is collecting names," [said Texas Sen. John Cornyn].

"The question is not what the White House is doing, but how and why," he said. "How are they purging names and e-mail addresses from this account to protect privacy? Why do they need the forwarded e-mails, names, and 'casual conversations' sent to them instead of just the arguments that they want to rebut?

114 comments:

chickenlittle said...

Needs an Obama is like Nixon tag. It'll see plenty of use in the coming months.

Grackle said...

There is simply no good reason for them to collect such data. I sent them an image of a dead fish and suggest others do the same.

Sy said...

Hey Obama, that Chicago-style politics doesn't go well in DC. You know, people in that town have more of a respect for the law.

Jason (the commenter) said...

chickenlittle : Needs an Obama is like Nixon tag. It'll see plenty of use in the coming months.

Health care is turning into Obama's Vietnam. He's got an enemies list, street protests, and if a bill does pass, we can start a death count!

Jason (the commenter) said...

More Nixon stuff (hopefully): at first the press believed everything he said and backed him up...

Jason (the commenter) said...

Obama is 50% Nixon, 50% Carter, and 50% Ford.

Florida said...

If only a few people are deterred from protesting the socialist movement by this little Hitleresque bitch gathering names for the enemy list, then it will be considered a success.

Incrementalism: It's how you slowly turn a free society into a dictatorship.

Baby steps.

veni vidi vici said...

Love the ACLU's statement; they're about as credible as was NOW during the Clinton/Lewinsky/Jones melee.

Obama's populism is unconvincing because he only sounds erudite. Unlike FDR, who was a genuinely smart guy who understood policy (whether or not one agreed with his policies, there's little doubt he knew what he was selling), Obama becomes increasingly vague and meaningless as time goes on, when one would reasonably expect him and his team to be able to respond with increasing specificity instead.

If they ram this stuff through, I'm with T Mink Trey, who commented somewhere else that he fears for the fallout these DC hoseheads are going to be in for from the unhinged fringe of their non-supporters.

Original Mike said...

How, exactly, is the ACLU in a position to state: "critics of the administration's health care proposal should not fear that their names will end up in some government database that could be used to chill their right to free speech."?

More evidence that the ACLU has turned into a partisan organization. Not that there was a need for more evidence.

Montagne Mointaigne said...

Do all of you have health insurance? Cause I don't, and can't afford it. I take it personally when spurious arguments are trotted out against reforming this craphole of a health care system we have. Blowing a provision covering living wills into a government plot to kill old people. "Mandated abortions." That kind of crap is what leads me to support this "fishy" initiative.

I want some frigging health insurance I can actually afford while working a full time job. If you hadn't noticed more and more companies are hiring people as temps, forever.

dbp said...

"From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs." is not part of the US Constitution.

Quayle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Quayle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Quayle said...

Regarding NSA surveillance and interception of international phone calls, the ACLU stated today,

"While it is unclear at this point what the government is doing with the information it is collecting, critics of the administration's battle against Muslim terrorists, or indeed anyone talking on the phone internationally, should not fear that their discussion will end up in some government database that could be a chill to their right of free speech."

L. E. Lee said...

Montagne wrote
"I want some frigging health insurance I can actually afford while working a full time job. If you hadn't noticed more and more companies are hiring people as temps, forever."

Ann Althouse has basically a no show job with the State of Wisconsin were she makes a six figure income and gets great healthcare. She has a great gig on the state's dime. For her this is all political fodder that she can feed her Althouse Hillbillies.

But for you, you can eat cake.

AlgonquinS said...

Oh, sure, Obama sits on his perch telling us how to live. He has everything bassackwards. If you listen to him, you're a sucker. The whole thing, including this post, smells fishy to me.

AlgonquinS said...

Tuna cake?

OldGrouchy Doug Wright said...

I was going to report myself to the WH as a person who defames Obamacare, Obama Cap & Trade-Tax, Obama Stimulus, and Obama Acorn Civilian National Security Force implementation.

Then, after reconsidering that drastic move, I considered reporting my cousins who supported Obama and who are denying any criticisms of Obama, but then realized the WH probably would award them Red Heart Hero of Obama medals.

In the end, it might be better simply to go buy a Fishwich and enjoy that feast!

Ps: Is Obama planning to enlarge his FEMA camps to house all those purveyors of fishy tales? Or, will his SEIU thugs examine the fishy tellers about card check?

Quayle said...

The highest standard of living in the history of the world, where there literally are no starving people, and L E Lee thinks he's got us with his "let them eat cake" line.

L.E., Voltaire you are not. Sorry. The poor in America eat cake, meat, chicken, and expensive fruit (judging from some food stamp purchases I've seen in line.)

bagoh20 said...

Do you really have to be an Obama hater to see how bad all this stuff is. He is trampling all over every principle that my liberal fellow Americans say they treasure. Still they refuse to tell him to stop or even admit what is happening. I never thought I could lose any more respect for this country's left arm, but I am.

I get the impression that as repulsive as these tactics should be to them, they are waiting for the economy to turn around so they can feel justified in supporting him regardless. Is that what you guys are about, really. The economy will turn no matter what, and there are more important things at stake.

Even though I abandoned my liberal confusion long ago, I still regarded many of their principles as essential to liberty, I wish they still did.

I don't want liberal ideology in charge, but we are screwed if liberals won't stand up for their own principles. We need them too. Come on guys, open your eyes.

Lem said...

We have a president with what at first appeared as an innocuous (clinging) arrogance; a side effect of his smarts arrogance.

The problem is No matter how minute a character flaw, the magnification that is the presidency will bring it to consequence sooner or later.

In the year 2009 what could be so dam important that can illicit this type of venom?

A few weeks ago I was asked by Wolf Blitzer if I thought Sarah Palin could get elected president, and I said [Bill Maher] I hope not, but I wouldn't put anything past this stupid country.

Arrogance led to the beer summit.

Next time the disenting voices are not going to be hushed off that easy.

J Lee said...

The White House denies that it is assembling a Nixon-style "enemies list." It purports only to want to find out what misinformation is out there so it can supply corrections. This makes it sound a lot like the "Fight the Smears" website Obama had during the 2008 campaign.

There's also the difference between what a private citizen can do about requesting the gathering of information -- even a private citizen running for president -- and what the executive branch of the government can do about gathering of information. Anyone can run for president and put up a website asking people to send it tips about smears; as long as the are not already in the office while running for re-election, they have no force of law behind them. But only one person at a time can be the chief executive of the United States, and when his employees start asking people to report other citizens or organizations who aren't getting with the program and at the same time are violating no law, that gets into far more dangerous territory.

Maguro said...

Surely, Obamacare is such a well-intentioned, noble effort that the ends justify the means this one time.

Also love how the ACLU is all about giving big brother the benefit of the doubt these days. There's some change we can believe in!

bagoh20 said...

The justification for this Chairman Mao style "research" is ridiculous. The white house can't find what the opposing arguments are? Do they have google? Everyone else in the country knows this stuff. Walk down Pennsylvania Ave. and ask someone, you lying asses.

Lem said...

Wouldn't it be ironic if the act of atonement that is the Obama presidency was "stupidly" undone by him out arrogance?

NKVD said...

Break out the violins for pussy Mointaigne who is pleading poverty. Get a fucking job that pays you what you are worth - oh, right, you are already overpaid. Must suck to be you.

I think LE Lee is actually Jeremy. Can there really be two separate people that fucking liberal, racist and stupid? Hard to imagine.

Kev said...

I want some frigging health insurance I can actually afford while working a full time job. If you hadn't noticed more and more companies are hiring people as temps, forever.

Montaigne, please level with us here. Is it that you cannot afford health insurance, or that you choose not to pay for it?

I'll use my own situation as an example. Can you afford $200 a month? (You probably can, unless your full-time job is at McDonald's.) For that amount, I have a plan that does pretty well on things like prescriptions, and it paid for my recent knee surgery. It has a $2000 deductible and a $3000 out-of-pocket. (And if you're looking for demographics, I'm unmarried and self-employed.)
Now my insurance isn't great; while paying for the surgery, it denied a crucial pre-op test, without which I wouldn't have been able to have the surgery, so I'm on the hook for that. And it won't pay jack squat for physical therapy. I may well go for a better plan when I've recovered from this injury, but I have few complaints on how they handled the surgery itself.

But just because my plan isn't ideal, does that mean that I want the government to take things over? Hell, no! As weaselly as my insurance company may be, I'd rather have decisions being made by a bureaucrat at a private company which is subject to competition, as opposed to a government bureaucrat who has a monopoly on things and is likely to be less qualified than someone in private industry. (Ideally, I'd rather have these decisions being made by my doctor and myself, but one step at a time...)

So, Montaigne, I'll ask again: Can you afford $200 a month? Or could you if, say, you cut out (or even cut back) on beer or cigarettes or cable TV or whatever your favorite luxurious vice might be? Because if the answer here is "yes," than it's not that you can't afford insurance, but rather that you've made the (poor?) choice not to have insurance, and I'm sorry, but that choice is not a valid reason to gut the entire system we have in place.

bagoh20 said...

Lem,

Bill Maher is typical of these people who I discuss this stuff with. They never met anyone smart that they disagree with.

We are lucky to have them, but too stupid to let them run things.

They are completely blind to the lessons of history, but we are the rubes.

Lem said...

Health care is turning into Obama's Vietnam. He's got an enemies list, street protests, and if a bill does pass, we can start a death count!

Jason boiled it down down so it wont get infected ;)

Brian O'Connell said...

One of the more jarring things about this is the ACLU's response. I expect them to be a fierce and slightly crazy defender of rights- most of them, anyway. Though I sometimes disagree with their position, I'm nevertheless glad that they're there, reliably making the case.

But here they are taking the administration's side. Reporting fellow citizens to a White House office for speech? Nothing to worry about here folks. It's a shameful betrayal of their ideals.

Maguro said...

Montagne is 20 years old, what does he need health insurance for? He should be focusing his scarce resources on trying to get laid for the first time.

TosaGuy said...

ACLU: We judge Obama's intentions to be good so we will give him the benefit of the doubt.

TheCrankyProfessor said...

It's not really like the Fight the Smears business - because back then they weren't THE GOVERNMENT.

I'm sorry the ACLU released such a spineless statement. I'm a citizen and I AM worried that they are collecting a list.

Beth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Beth said...

The white house can't find what the opposing arguments are? Do they have google?

Exactly. I oppose any administration's efforts to gather data on what people think and say about them. In the case of this "fishy" thing, there's no argument for it. Assign someone to finding the "misinformation" and respond to it. Easy enough.

Cedarford said...

One thing people should not forget was that there was true fire underneath the smoke of organized agi-prop against Nixon's policy to end the Cambodian Sanctuary of NVA forces, Vietnamize the war so we could get out, and bomb the stuffing out of Hanoi to force them to release our POWs.
The Soviets, their agents and Leftist sympathizers in America and Europe - while at the peak of the Cold War 1965-72 - HAD A WELL-ORGANIZED NETWORK. Quite active in American labor, universities, media, civil rights movement, and "pacifist" groups - that were all Fronts.

Nixon's "names list" unfortunately expanded past that as just long-standing foes of Nixon with no ties to communists or communist sympathizers were added....but there was plenty of "fire" there. It wasn't without cause that the FBI was collecting names of NYC agitators from JFK onwards who were urging black militancy, defunding NATO, unilateral disarmament, and funding communist revolutionaries in Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America.

The "Enemies Lists" that Truman, JFK, LBJ also assembled had some of their enemies outside the radical Left - but like Nixon - their lists mostly had people wanting to diminish America's system and promote the Soviet/socialist left systems.

60-30 years ago, the height of the Cold War, our leaders were rightfully concerned about the movement that butchered more people than the Nazis did. And today, declassified info reveals that most of the Americans that Administrations from Trumans through Nixons went after...were actually practicing communists, communist sympathizers many who served as Soviet fellow travellers.

Now the dangers are different. Hardly as bad as the Communist menace that liquidated whole classes of people - but I'd feel better if somebody somewhere has a list of violent, potentially dangerous Muslims in America,,,,and a list of right-wing kooks who advocate assembling weapons and readying for Armed resistance to the Soros-Obama Nexus "to meet the orders of the illegitimate President with the phony birth certificate with a gun, for guerilla war when the next Kelo happens, when medical Freedom! for Freedom Lovers! - is lost.

Lem said...

One of the most important taks of a president in peace time an in war time is to inspire people to do better.

There is nothing ispirational in asking people use gestapo like tactics against their fellow citizens.

Beth said...

But I don't recall Althouse writing posts questioning anything in the Patriot Act that reeked of overkill. W was keepin' us safe, so he got a pass.

MamaM said...

From my point of view, LE seems to enjoy sitting in the dark sniping at Hillbillies while amusing himself between shots by tossing out diversionary or incendiary comments.

Jeremy however, seems to come from a overall crabbier, more personally ticked off place.

Both add a certain element.

Thingumbobesquire said...

A Fishy Story

One fine morning in Washington, D.C. Barrack Obama awoke to find himself metamorphozed into a large fish. He immediately panicked and reasoned thusly: "I must now get help to put myself in water or I will surely drown". (He not being used yet to living life as a fish really should have thought suffocate instead of drown.) So he began flapping for all he was worth. Soon he tumbled to the ground of the Presidential bedroom. Immediately at the door appeared a wide eyed secret service agent named Bill. Bill guffawed. "This must be the biggest practical joke ever played in the White House ever'" he thought. "Well, I guess I'd better just play along." So with almost super human strength he bounded forth and scooped up the large fish and ran out of the room.

Barrack meanwhile was gurgling bubbles through his gills and thinking to himself, "I think I can get out of this jam now, because Bill is going to find me some help." Sure enough, Bill ran to the Presidential fish tank and gently eased Barrack into its confines. Barrack felt very peculiar as he slid into the tank as well he might, having only been just turned into a fish. He did his best to scream at Bill that he was the President, but no sound at all came out of his mouth no matter how hard he tried.

"At least I'm alive," he resignedly thought to himself after a long pause. "Maybe there's a way out of this. If I can only retrace my actions from yesterday. Maybe there will be some kind of explanation. There must be some kinda way out of here. Think Barrack! Think! What could have lead to this? What was I doing that wound me up transformed into a fish. What kind of cruel magician could have cast this spell on me?" These thoughts were running over and over in his head while he swam back and forth in wide circles in the fish tank.

In the meantime, a large group of secret service men gawked at him from the outside. They were frantically talking to each other on their Blackberries. "We cannot locate the President," were the words that went crackling over the airwaves. "We are on full alert. Only Cosmic Clearance and family will be informed. Let's get Biden down here now."
To be continued...

Balfegor said...

I want some frigging health insurance I can actually afford while working a full time job. If you hadn't noticed more and more companies are hiring people as temps, forever.

That's, uh, not what you're getting with the House plan. With the House plan, you're definitely getting taxed because you don't have insurance. That money will go into a health insurance "trust" fund at the Treasury. Then you might be able to qualify for a plan subsidised out of, er, the health insurance "trust" fund, depending on how poor you are.

Shanna said...

What worries me about the "fishy" post, is that if this were an honest mistake and the white house had anybody with sense or at least decency, they would say "Whoops! Staffer forgot we are in charge now and made a mistake" and take it immediately down. That they haven't done that, makes this a thousand times more creepy.

Lem said...

But I don't recall Althouse writing posts questioning anything in the Patriot Act that reeked of overkill.

There is nothing in the oath about health care Beth ;)

An attack on the country bears a little more preoccupation and may I say is far more important than socialized medicine.

Balfegor said...

Re: Kev:

I'll use my own situation as an example. Can you afford $200 a month? (You probably can, unless your full-time job is at McDonald's.) For that amount, I have a plan that does pretty well on things like prescriptions, and it paid for my recent knee surgery. It has a $2000 deductible and a $3000 out-of-pocket.

To be fair to Montaigne, it may be the case that he lives in a state where the usual bien-pensant regulation of health care effectively bans plans like that, e.g. by mandating much more extensive coverage, or by enforcing community rating (leading to adverse selection and inflated premiums), etc. etc.

traditionalguy said...

What's this talk about President Joker keeping a list of names? Is he going to send out Kwanza Cards? Or is he just mad that he has been exposed as a Joker President before he finishes off free Americans and saves his Communist Proletariat from free Americans decisions in their own best interest under their Constitutional freedoms they enjoyed until he slithered into town.

Beth said...

An attack on the country bears a little more preoccupation and may I say is far more important than socialized medicine.

So you're willing to give up liberty for safety? Everyone has a price, I suppose.

AllenS said...

Do all of you have a new car? Cause I don't, and can't afford it. I take it personally when spurious arguments are trotted out against reforming this craphole of car dealerships we have.

Damnit!

AllenS said...

Do all of you have a new house? Cause I don't, and can't afford it. I take it personally when spurious arguments are trotted out against reforming this craphole of old houses we have.

Damnit!

AllenS said...

Do all of you have a new clothes? Oh, forget it, you, you hillbillies.

Damnit!

Lem said...

That must be it..

Because Bush didnt try it - after 9/11 call on people to send him the names of Muslims - Obama thinks it must be ok.

The George Costanza presidency.

Lem said...

So you're willing to give up liberty for safety?

They make me buckle up driving a car, not ride in btw the cars in the train and not smoke in public areas.

Yes I do.

Lem said...

I dont smoke by the way.

I was just illustrating.

Florida said...

We have a President of the United States ordering his goon squads to "punch back twice as hard."

I don't know about you, but when the President of the United States starts ordering union thugs to punch regular Americans, that president has de-legitimized himself and his policies.

I'm sorry, but as President, you don't mix with union thugs and you certainly don't order them to push around a bunch of retired people at public meetings.

That's a recipe for armed revolt.

bagoh20 said...

"So you're willing to give up liberty for safety? Everyone has a price, I suppose."

As is often left out of the original quote from Franklin: " “Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety"

It's important to not ignore the "essential liberty" and "a little temporary safety".

We do all have a price, you do too. We are arguing over what that trade off is.

Who wins a political fight in congress is not worth the loss of "essential liberty" by the president putting me on his enemies list.

I draw one line there.

I had little problem with the Patriot Act because of the seriousness of the threat, and the minor loss of freedoms being asked. I feel that the Bush Admin. handled it just about right.

This is clear from the very low number of cases of excess found in 8 years, despite the rabid attempt to find them by anti-Bush factions.

There is room for balance and a need for it when we are under direct attack.

Obama finds justification in every minor objection to his policies.

Lem said...

BTW..

It should come apparent to us now why Obama might not have been more effusive in his praise for the Iranian protesters and condemnation of the heavy hand taking them down.

A critic would say he would need them for advice in his own back yard just a month or two later.

I know a Bush critic (if the shoe were reverse) would say that.

mrs whatsit said...

I have some sympathy for Montaigne because I have a daughter in just his fix: she's been a "temp" with no benefits at the same company for almost a year now, and without health insurance all that time. Yes, she needs to find a better job -- she's been working hard at doing that, and she won't be stuck in this position forever. But meanwhile (there's this recession, you might have heard of it? jobs are hard to find) she can't buy health insurance. Whether she could afford the $200/ month policy some other commenter has or not is irrelevant because she can't have a policy that costs that little in the state where she lives, which has hung so many mandates and requirements on health insurers that no individual coverage anywhere near that affordable is available. I want her to be able to afford health insurance, too, and if I thought some form of Obamacare would accomplish that goal in a reasonable fashion, I'd be all for it.

However, I am not at all sure that if some form of Obamacare passes, either Montaigne or my daughter will suddenly be able to afford insurance. As I understand it there are five different versions of a potential bill out there right now, and I don't think any of them will necessarily accomplish what Montaigne is looking for. For example, as far as I know, none of the bills require states to modify their insurance regulations to permit insurers to offer individual low-priced catastrophic coverage, which is all my daughter -- and probably Montaigne -- really needs. Further, if insurers are required to accept all comers, regardless of pre-existing conditions and such, as most of the bills require, then the cost of buying a policy will necessarily be driven up, not down, to absorb the additional risk in the group. My understanding is that none of the bills resolves the inherent conflict between increasing the demand for services -- which drives prices up - and cutting the cost of those services to make them affordable.

Montaigne, being opposed to the rushed passage of an opaque bewildering mishmash that nobody seems to understand or be able to explain is not the same thing as being opposed to helping people who want to buy insurance to afford it. The Obama administration has been so busy demonizing those who question it as "mobs" and gathering up their names and e-mail addresses and changing its story back and forth on a daily basis as to whether it did or didn't cut a backdoor deal with pharmaceutical lobbyists to cap their costs that it forgot that maybe it would have been nice to just communicate honestly with voters, tell us what's in these bills and what's not in them, and answer our questions. Don't support Obamacare just because you want to believe that what you need is in there, Montaigne. Find out whether it's in there or not -- and at what price -- before you make up your mind.

knox said...

Thanks, ACLU!

Montagne Mointaigne said...

Thanks for the thoughtful responses. I could, indeed, afford some form of basic "catastrophe" coverage, which I am getting soon. In addition (Chinese model) I have a little savings cushion that I could dip into should some lesser problem arise. I'm also pretty much healthy, which takes the pressure off. It's the "getting hit by a bus" scenario which troubles.

However, I fall on the side of supporting reform efforts, if we construe the current brouhaha as consisting of pro and vocally, demagogically anti sides. The trouble I have is the thoughtful critics are not in any sense at the forefront of the discussion (shame on the proponents for encouraging that, natch). If we are talking about this specific white house "flag" pr tool, and not spinning fantasies about enemies lists (which are not very effectively gathered via open-call email accounts, by the way) that's why I can stomach this "fishy program."

Not to mention, it's not exactly the president's constitutional role to draft legislation, so why persist in calling it "Obamacare" ?

I'm also all for slowing down debate and being more deliberative and careful, but let's note that if we pulled that off it would be the first time in history congress has acted in that fashion... and not attribute every negative feature of our parliamentary system to executive branch machinations.

bagoh20 said...

Wow, If I didn't know better. I'd think there was some honest dialog going on here. Naa just a fluke.

Synova said...

The problem with the argument that this is about collecting information on the misinformation in order to comfort and clarify and ease people's fears is that...

Those opposing the health care bill are DESPERATELY TRYING TO GET THEIR CONCERNS KNOWN.

And the White House is trying to shut them up!

And no... no one other than the conspiracy nuts that already thought so think that their free speech is going to be abridged, because they won't let it be abridged. It doesn't make it the least bit less creepy or less a violation of freedom or privacy even if it's not technically a violation of law or even if it *is*. And it doesn't mean that those hearing of it didn't immediately mobilize to render the reporting structure ineffective by reporting themselves, their dogs, the White House web site requesting citizens to report on other citizens, and everyone else in between including Micky Mouse.

Synova said...

Montagne, it's not a bundle deal. You can support the health care bill and still recognize that the President of the United States collecting names of his political opponents is FREAKING CREEPY AND WRONG not because he's sending out black helicopters and death squads in the night to arrest dissidents, but because neither he nor his staff recognize that it's creepy and wrong.

NKVD said...

I know a woman who wants free insurance. Both she and her husband have good jobs, she just wants to spend her money on stuff, not insurance.

I assume that Montaign and Beth and other supporters of spending other people's money are the same way. Greedy, lazy and communists to their core.

Kev said...

To be fair to Montaigne, it may be the case that he lives in a state where the usual bien-pensant regulation of health care effectively bans plans like that, e.g. by mandating much more extensive coverage, or by enforcing community rating (leading to adverse selection and inflated premiums), etc. etc.

Hmm, another good reason to be happy I live in Texas, I guess; I didn't realize the free market was already so constrained in some other states.

So isn't this the sort of problem that should be the target of any so-called health care bill (that, and malpractice tort reform) instead of trying to gut the whole system like they're attempting to do now?

Brian O'Connell said...

White House staffers can read any of a large number of lefty blogs that are already compiling misinformation and smears-as they see it- against the plan. The only added value of requesting that this info be emailed to the White House is the chilling effect. They could just as easily have requested that items be sent to Organizing for America or the DNC, for instance, and the same people would receive it.

Cedarford said...

The ACLU ventures an opinion on the subject:

"While it is unclear at this point what the government is doing with the information it is collecting, critics of the administration's health care proposal should not fear that their names will end up in some government database that could be used to chill their right to free speech."


This is not surprising, The ACLU is dominated by progressive Jews that see the law as a tool to bypass democracy and impose their agenda on the rest of us. They now and then take on a conservative or right-wing extremist "window dressing" case, but their agenda is fairly clear since the 60s - after the ACLU regrouped from the Communist and Soviet sympathizer purge they did in the 40s to beat the government to the act.

That the progressive Jews at the ACLU went 98% for Obama, is no surprise, anymore than hearing the Brown Faculty did by similar margin.

What is a surprise is that some Americans are honestly surprised when a Front group so full of self-Righteousness and indignation promptly fall on their swords in choosing their political agenda over their stated "high principles".

1. We saw it with the Feminists self-immolating over pro-abortion Bill Clinton and discussing how a few unwanted gropes or "willing intern/subordinate sexual trysts were actually OK.

2. We saw it with all the Republican "tax cuts! for Freedom -Lovers!! Groups who were delighted and promptly shut up when Dubya grew the Fed Gov't faster than LBJ ever did. Because they got their tax cuts AND got their nests further larded by massive government pork.

knox said...

assume that Montaign and Beth and other supporters of spending other people's money are the same way. Greedy, lazy and communists to their core.

Oh, for god's sake.

Revenant said...

So you're willing to give up liberty for safety? Everyone has a price, I suppose.

A more intelligent person than yourself would realize that everyone who supports the existence of a government has already agreed to trade liberty for safety. Only anarchists believe in unrestricted freedom. Everyone else supports trading in some of their freedom (e.g., in the form of taxation and laws) in exchange for increased safety (in the form of police, military, and a court system).

Revenant said...

Health care is turning into Obama's Vietnam.

With the caveat that nationalized health care will cost a lot more and kill a lot more Americans. :)

Revenant said...

Do all of you have health insurance? Cause I don't, and can't afford it.

Yet you are mysteriously able to afford a computer, an internet connection, and the free time to whine about your lack of health care.

Interesting.

Kylos said...

I sent the following message to flag@whitehouse.gov:

I recently came across a fishy article discussing Obama's health care plan. It is promoting a rather Orwellian program to report opposing viewpoints on health care to White House Truth Arbiters. The address is http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/Facts-Are-Stubborn-Things/ I hope you're able to do something about this.

Sincerely,
Kyle Harr, concerned citizen

Synova said...

On the liberty for safety issue I think that Revenant explained it very well... we recognize that we have traded some degree of liberty for safety.

And the Patriot Act did bother me quite a bit.

I thought, at the time, that most of the domestic measures taken were very much not useful and traded too much liberty, or at least aggravation, for too little safety. The alternative, however, was bringing the fight to the enemy... and yes, I supported that, but a whole lot of people who were virulently anti-war did not support that but rather seemed to think that a siege mentality was the way to go... and they wanted to go there while simultaneously having kittens about the Patriot Act.

That, combined with an absolute blindness toward any non-Bush related infringement of privacy or freedom, not even recognizing the ordinary and routine collection of information that went on as a matter of course, convinced me that those who were outraged were essentially dishonest.

Balfegor said...

So isn't this the sort of problem that should be the target of any so-called health care bill (that, and malpractice tort reform) instead of trying to gut the whole system like they're attempting to do now?

Maybe. That's federalism, though. I think most people recognise that the argument for reform -- as a generalised concept -- is quite easy to make, and quite persuasive. It's just that argument for this or that particular reform is a lot harder to make, as is the argument that it doesn't matter what we do, so long as we do something.

Given that state of affairs, I think it's to our advantage that different states try different things. Tennessee tried "managed care," which, in theory, was supposed to reduce costs by shifting incentives (for physicians and patients) away from redundant or needlessly expensive treatments. This is Obama's "red pill" "blue pill" "take a pill" argument. Anyway, it failed miserably in Tennessee, and hasn't worked well on a large scale anywhere else. Massachusetts tried, essentially, a mini version of the current House bill, setting up a statewide Health Insurance exchange, establishing Commonwealth Care, which subsidised insurance for lower-income Mass. residents, and forcing businesses to provide healthcare and residents to purchase health care by penalising each with taxes if they failed to do so. Romney's protestations notwithstanding, Massachusetts' health care reform is basically a test care for the House bill -- Romney points to the out-and-out "public option" as a distinguishing factor, but that's kind of a canard, given that the Commonwealth Care program is essentially that, just with a little more outsourcing. Romney's protestations even more notwithstanding, the reform has not actually been all that successful, and costs have been rising out of control.

DrSquid said...

Have to agree with Synova. Remember all of the gnashing of teeth regarding library records be ing inspected by Homeland Security? How is that more chilling than your local librarian checking out your reading interests? Does the existence of individual library records only become scary when there is Patriot Act created to give anti-terror officials access to them? Why do such records need to be kept at all?

chickenlittle said...

Ann Althouse has basically a no show job with the State of Wisconsin were she makes a six figure income and gets great healthcare. She has a great gig on the state's dime. For her this is all political fodder that she can feed her Althouse Hillbillies.

What are you trying to foster here, resentment? This is the second or third time I've read you say essentially the same thing about this in the comments.

From what I've read about Althouse, she worked into that tenured position over many years of hard work, distinguishing herself every step of the way.

As for what tenured professors of any stripe do with their time, who cares? The worst thing a tenured professor can do is to curl into a ball and not speak their mind. Have you considered that one important thing that Althouse does is to give voice to the truth, even if it is not labeled as such? Would you question that that is not exactly what she is doing, via her posts and the commenter space?

John said...

Lenin famously said: "Worse is better"

Perhaps Obama is a secret savior sent from Heaven to stir us into taking our government back.

So far he seems to be doing OK in that.

John

Joe said...

I just sent an email hopefully ensuring my name ends on an enemies list. I'll be somebody!

(For those wondering, I submitted a report of a certain Barack Obama who keeps claiming that the health program will increase coverage while reducing costs. Sounds very fishy to me.)

Revenant said...

That, combined with an absolute blindness toward any non-Bush related infringement of privacy or freedom, not even recognizing the ordinary and routine collection of information that went on as a matter of course, convinced me that those who were outraged were essentially dishonest.

Or simply ignorant.

For example, the typical full-time worker labors for around 2000 hours per year -- around 100,000 hours over the course of a lifetime. Each 1% of the tax burden thus translates into around 1000 hours of service to the government, or around half a year. So a 2% tax hike works out to a one year sentence of forced labor.

But the same folks who shit kittens at the thought of the government learning what library books they read will cheerfully vote to raise others Americans' taxes. And I'm supposed to seriously believe they care about freedom? Please. The mere 2% tax cut George Bush gave me works out to around half a year of my remaining working life. Half a year during which I can do what I want, not what the government or the ignorant masses decides is best. For that, he's welcome to read my damned library records and listen to my weekly phone call home to Mom.

Revenant said...

Ann Althouse has basically a no show job with the State of Wisconsin were she makes a six figure income and gets great healthcare.

The funny thing being that both the state of Wisconsin and its university system are run by the political left.

But don't worry. Even though they -- according to you, at least -- have egregiously mismanaged public funds and dispensed them to unqualified people who perform worthless jobs, I'm sure they'll do a GREAT job once they're running the entire nation's health care system. :)

scinfinity said...

I've always said their silence about Clinton effectively killed the modern feminism movement.

We're now watching the "civil liberties" brigade commit suicide for Obama.

rhhardin said...

That's a fish dream, Yossarian decided.

That's the missing punchline page that begins here.

``This fish you dream about. Let's talk about that.''

rhhardin said...

Resistors on Trial in Iran (Drudge)

Next week, capacitors.

bagoh20 said...

"Ann Althouse has basically a no show job with the State of Wisconsin were she makes a six figure income and gets great healthcare."

Foolish woman. She's blew a perfectly good opportunity to be destitute, overworked and under-insured by wasting her time studying, working and excelling. She even foolishly chose law and education when panhandling is available on virtually every corner in America. What a slacker.

I don't feel sorry for her one bit. She deserves how she ended up. I'm sure many people warned her of the dangers of hard work and discipline.

AJ Lynch said...

Rev:

That thing you said about a 1% tax with regards to a year of one's life was truly brilliant!

I plan to use it but will give you credit for it.

Chicken Little:

You gave a wonderfully worded defense of Althouse.

Beth said...

Montaigne, being opposed to the rushed passage of an opaque bewildering mishmash that nobody seems to understand or be able to explain is not the same thing as being opposed to helping people who want to buy insurance to afford it.

I agree with this. But I want actual debate and dialogue, not mobs on either side whacking each other and purposefully shouting down discussion.

Beth said...

A more intelligent person than yourself would realize that everyone who supports the existence of a government has already agreed to trade liberty for safety.

No doubt you have yourself in mind. But an even smarter person would see that your point is obvious, so why bother with it? My point was to question Althouse - during the Bush years she faked disinterest in the issues of executive power and abuse of liberties. Her current schtick rings false to me.

Nora said...

MM, the level of care you can afford is pretty close to what you'll get with Obamacare.

My family spent near 10 years in the UK where we enjoyed TLC from NHS (national health service). As a result I do NOT look forward to state administered coverage at all.

BTW, my friend works for Wellcome Trust, that is the second largest (was the largest before Gates' Trust) medical research charity based in London. They provide all their employees with private medical insurance. This should tell you volums about what you can get from the state health insurance. Wellcome is an organization that is very serious about their mission and they would not waste money. Their rationale for private insurance is having their employees healthy and working, which cuts workforce.

This is an aspect of state health care that is not currently discussed, i.e. bad health care vs productivity.

Chase said...

But I want actual debate and dialogue, not mobs on either side whacking each other and purposefully shouting down discussion.

So do I, Beth - and so do the majority of Americans on every political side.

But here is the problem: it is obvious from the so-called "townhalls" being held by Democrat Congressional Reps and Democrat Senators that there is no intention to ever have "actual debate and dialogue". Only one sided "no answers" to honest questions from their constituents, and then a "lecture". All orchestrated by the White House: "How to hold townhalls that are completely one-sided and get on the news". It's utterly and completely disingenous: Basic dishonesty on the part of the Democrats.

Beth - taking respect and civility as a given - how do you think truly concerned citizens should go forward in opening up debate when their is absolutely no intention of doing so on the part of the Congressional Democrats, their leadership, the White House, and the majority of the media?

Beth said...

Chase, where do you get that characterization from? I keep seeing that description but no examples offered, no proof.

Synova said...

Well... they wouldn't be having the town hall meetings at all if people hadn't made such a stink that Pelosi wasn't able to get a vote in before recess.

That's sort of an indication that getting feedback from constituents and actually engaging the ideas of those who are opposed wasn't part of the plan.

And there is a video of Obama floating around from some recent appearance where he says he wishes that those who aren't promoting his policies would just be quiet and stay out of the way.

Beth said...

If the White House had that kind of power over all the Dems in Congress, this bill would have passed already.

Synova said...

What people are trying to do doesn't always have much relation to what they *can* do.

With the majorities that the Democrats have they ought to be able to pass this without the rush.

Beth said...

That's sort of an indication that getting feedback from constituents and actually engaging the ideas of those who are opposed wasn't part of the plan.

I think we're essentially in agreement about that. There are how many versions of the plan? And who understands them? The lawmakers going out and trying to talk to their constituents about it ought to have been prepared to do that from the beginning, and if they're doing it now, ought to have a good command of what they want to communicate. They ought to be using all means possible, too - going on the Sunday morning talking heads shows, putting clear info on their web sites, whatever works.

Actively combating misinformation is a good idea. Collecting data on people posting "fishy" info is not. That's a huge mistake, I believe.

quick said...

Maybe the White House wants to collect the names and emails of the snitches so it can organise them some more.

Chase said...

The President of the United States last Thursday in Virginia:

"I don't want the folks who created the mess do a lot of talking. I want them to get out of the way so we can clean up the mess. I don't mind cleaning up after them, but don't do a lot of talking."


Peggy Noonan had to school Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Obama about their shameful, fascistic attempts:

What has been most unsettling is not the congressmen’s surprise but a hard new tone that emerged this week. The leftosphere and the liberal commentariat charged that the town hall meetings weren’t authentic, the crowds were ginned up by insurance companies, lobbyists and the Republican National Committee. But you can’t get people to leave their homes and go to a meeting with a congressman (of all people) unless they are engaged to the point of passion. And what tends to agitate people most is the idea of loss—loss of money hard earned, loss of autonomy, loss of the few things that work in a great sweeping away of those that don’t.

People are not automatons. They show up only if they care.

What the town-hall meetings represent is a feeling of rebellion, an uprising against change they do not believe in. And the Democratic response has been stunningly crude and aggressive. It has been to attack. Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the United States House of Representatives, accused the people at the meetings of “carrying swastikas and symbols like that.” (Apparently one protester held a hand-lettered sign with a “no” slash over a swastika.) But they are not Nazis, they’re Americans. Some of them looked like they’d actually spent some time fighting Nazis.


and

All of this is unnecessarily and unhelpfully divisive and provocative. They are mocking and menacing concerned citizens. This only makes a hot situation hotter. Is this what the president wants? It couldn’t be. But then in an odd way he sometimes seems not to have fully absorbed the awesome stature of his office. You really, if you’re president, can’t call an individual American stupid, if for no other reason than that you’re too big. You cannot allow your allies to call people protesting a health-care plan “extremists” and “right wing,” or bought, or Nazi-like, either. They’re citizens. They’re concerned. They deserve respect.

The Democrats should not be attacking, they should be attempting to persuade, to argue for their case. After all, they have the big mic. Which is what the presidency is, the big mic.

And frankly they ought to think about backing off. The president should call in his troops and his Congress and announce a rethinking. There are too many different bills, they’re all a thousand pages long, no one has time to read them, no one knows what’s going to be in the final one, the public is agitated, the nation’s in crisis, the timing is wrong, we’ll turn to it again—but not now. We’ll take a little longer, ponder every aspect, and make clear every complication.

Chase said...

If the White House had that kind of power over all the Dems in Congress, this bill would have passed already.

Why would that be so?

On a lighter subject Beth, how is the weather out there now? And what, may I ask are you expecting next week? I am scheduled for a meeting in Gretna next Thursday, and will be out for 2 days and I've haven't been to Southern Louisiana in about 30 years. Would appreciate any insight. Thanks!

Beth said...

Chase, if you've read my comments, you'll see that I agree with Noonan on the Obama response, and the need to persuade. But I'm also put off by the very organized, very intential, efforts to disrupt and shut down any form of discussion on the part of the tea party types. I don't credit them with much more than rage at having lost the election. They're drowning out the more credible voices.

Gretna? I like Gretna, actually. I can't help you on the weather, since we're on vacation and I'm currently loving the cool temps of Arizona, around the Grand Canyon. But I'll be safe in saying it's hot, hot, hot and very humid. Keep hydrated! And wear light fabrics and colors if you can.

Take the bridge or the Algiers ferry over to downtown New Orleans and have a nice meal in the Quarter. Or enjoy one of the many Vietnamese restaurants in Gretna. My favorites are
Pho Tau Bay or
Nine Roses.

If you cross over to New Orleans, try Cochon (it's all about the pig) in the Warehouse District by the Convention Center, or Drago's (charbroiled oysters) in the Hilton across from Harrah's Casino, or maybe Redfish Grill, in the Quarter. It's hard to go wrong so long as it's not a chain. I don't recommend Deanie's even though it's local, nor Ralph and Kacoo's - they're going to feed you tourist versions, and they lack soul. Any of Emerils' places are good, as are John Besh's and Susan Spicer's.

If someone asks if you want an oyster, shrimp or roast beef po'boy for lunch, just say yes, please.

I hope you have a fine time, Chase.

Beth said...

I'll add, Noonan's on the right track. They should regroup, and even if there's no hope of compromise, the scare tactics and "I don't want to hear it" attitude should stop. She's right, that Obama needs to understand the power of his office, and that he more than a party chief now.

Revenant said...

My point was to question Althouse

You said the following.

So you're willing to give up liberty for safety? Everyone has a price.

You made this remark to Lem, not to our hostess. So don't try changing the subject; if you want to make a silly claim that Ann was "disinterested" in issues of executive power, that's fine. But the simple truth of that matter is that even though the point I made is, as you say "obvious", you missed it when you insulted Lem. A person who was conscious of the fact that she has sold much of her freedom for a bit of safety wouldn't have thought to make the snide comment you did.

Revenant said...

But I'm also put off by the very organized, very intential, efforts to disrupt and shut down any form of discussion on the part of the tea party types.

Let's pretend there really is a "very organized, very intential" effort to disrupt the so-called "town hall meetings". You have offered absolutely zero evidence of this, but let's pretend it is true.

Well, the town-hall meetings themselves are being orchestrated by the White House. They are nothing more than a political ploy. They are not an attempt at honest discussion; they are a "very organized, very intentional" program for pushing the Democratic agenda to the exclusion of anything else. They are a "discussion" the way a campaign advertisement is a "discussion".

But last of all, even if it were true that the town hall meetings were legitimate attempts to have a discussion between supporters of Obama and opponents of his plans -- even if that ridiculous idea were true -- those town hall meetings would still be only ONE of countless outlets for discussion.

In short, Beth, your claim that "tea party types" are trying to "shut down any form of discussion" is a pathetic lie. It is even more pathetic when one considers that you only started whining about so-called Republican attempts to "prevent discussion" after Obama and Pelosi failed to shove through the bill without any discussion at all.

NKVD said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Balfegor said...

There are how many versions of the plan?

Two. House and Senate versions -- the Senate version is basically assumed to have fallen by the wayside at this point.

In addition, there are various "proposals" floating around, but until those proposals are grounded in actual language (not even necessarily statutory language), they're basically just saying "we'll fix it with magic" -- you can't really argue against something like that.

And who understands them?

Not the President, I'm pretty sure.

traditionalguy said...

Socialism is a learned thing. Americans have not learned to play that game yet. The "guaranty" of a job and an income in a peaceful place is enough for serfs who have never had any other experience. But the American experience has limited the role of government to National Defense and police powers controlled by laws. We are not used to asking government's permission to have a chance to work harder and smarter and keep the rewards as our own private property. The Obama Domination Plan wants all of that American nonsense STOPPED, so that it will not spread any more around the world where Happy Serfdom is the only game in town. Somebody needs to call in Sarah Palin's Socialist Busters, and retire these evil bozos before it is too late!

Bissage said...

Even where there is such a thing as "actual debate and dialogue," a serious person who values her time will find that the law of diminishing returns kicks in pretty quickly.

Viewing matters as a sporting event can sometimes delay the inevitable.

Pogo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pogo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pogo said...

Progressives cannot deny the facts before them: the healthcare bill is a sweeping act of socialism. It necessarily means a loss of liberty that cannot be undone, except by revolution.

They have offered nothing to demonstrate that rationing by collective political means is any better, or more efficient, or more honorable, or more fair than rationing by individual economic means. Of course, no such evidence exists.

The history of socialist failures, including the deaths of millions, has had no discernable impact on their rhetoric or their beliefs. The verifiable facts of its crimes and sins long ago ceased to be relevant to the progressive's act of religious faith.

I fear all that remains to solve this crisis (the crisis of central control vs. liberty, not 'health care') will be brute force.

AJ Lynch said...

Pogo:

Run for office please. Tom Coburn, a physician, is one our smartest and most practical members of Congress.

You could be his clone. I am not joking.

Chase said...

Thank you Beth! Will try at least one of your recommendations.

Enjoy your vacation!

Revenant said...

The history of socialist failures, including the deaths of millions, has had no discernable impact on their rhetoric or their beliefs.

It is worth remembering that while socialist governments have deliberately murdered many people -- in China, in the USSR, in Nazi Germany, etc -- the majority of people killed by socialists weren't deliberately murdered. Most of the blood on socialism's hands comes from the inevitable failures of central planning, with Mao's "Great Leap Forward" as the classic example of such.

That's why the protests of the modern Left -- that those folks were Bad Socialists and modern progressives have their hearts in the right place -- simply don't matter. Government economic planning has arguably killed more people than deliberate acts of genocide have.

Pogo said...

That's kind of you, AJ.

I lack most of the requirements, including charisma, to carry off anything like that, I'm afraid.

AJ Lynch said...

Pogo:

The relative importance [to voters] of various electability attributes ebbs and flows.

Obama's smooth talking had strong appeal after voters tired of Bush's malaprops, etc.

In the next election cycles, straight talkers will beat the charisma-laden phonies. I guarantee it.

Hell I'll be your first campaign contributor.

ObamaNation said...

Pogo, AJ, Revenant: I've reported you all to the Party Authorities. Enjoy your re-educations.

Beth: You're being unduly friendly to these enemies of the people. Take heed if you'd like to remain on the right side of the barbed wire.

Beth said...

Revenant, saying something with a tone of authority doesn't make it true. The town hall meetings are common August (out of session) events across America; lawmakers do them year after year.

The reports of disruptive behavior are credible enough for the Americans for Prosperity group to post a statement on their website decrying it and reminding their readers to behave with courtesy.

Revenant said...

The town hall meetings are common August (out of session) events across America; lawmakers do them year after year.

Your argument appears to be that if politicians do something year after year, it must not be a propaganda stunt. Not much need for me to comment on that.

The reports of disruptive behavior are credible enough for the Americans for Prosperity group to post a statement on their website decrying it and reminding their readers to behave with courtesy.

The statement -- which, for ease of spinning, you didn't bother linking to -- is found here. It does not "decry" any "disruptive behavior"; you lied about that part. It does urge people to be civil and respectable and to not give in to unreasoned anger, despite repeated attempts by Democratic politicians to lecture rather than discuss.

But that's all moot, because I didn't say you had failed to provide evidence of "disruptive behavior" (although you still haven't). What I said was that you had provided zero evidence for your claim that there were "very organized, very intential [sic] efforts to disrupt and shut down any form of discussion". So not only does the AFP statement not support your claim -- it directly contradicts it. It is an example of a "very organized, very intentional" attempt, by Republicans, to promote reasoned discussion in the face of Democratic refusal. :)