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Dissent is no longer patriotic

Posted by Richard on August 6, 2009

Lanny Davis thinks the spontaneous chants of "Read the bill!" that have erupted at town hall meetings are "fascist" tactics, and he wants such dissidents photographed and investigated.

The White House has a dedicated email address for turning in people who say something "fishy" about its health care plan. As Sen. Cornyn observed, this looks like they're compiling an "enemies list" (emphasis added):

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.

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. I suspect that you would have been leading the charge in condemning such a program–and I would have been at your side denouncing such heavy-handed government action.

The people who, with funding from George Soros, invented Astroturfing are trying to portray the ordinary citizens who attend Tea Parties and show up at town hall meetings as shills for the insurance industry. Barbara Boxer said she can tell they're not genuine because they're too well-dressed. I guess to be a genuine concerned citizen, you have to look like part of a Code Pink or freak show. 

Meanwhile, the Prez himself is directing the troops to create a real top-down, manufactured, Astroturf response. No indication of how the mobilized army of volunteers will be dressed. 

Count on Nancy Pelosi to jump in with a shark-jumping comment reminding us that Godwin's Law still operates (emphasis added):

Interviewer: Do you think there's legitimate grassroot opposition going on here?

Pelosi: "I think they're Astroturf… You be the judge. "They're carrying swastikas and symbols like that to a town meeting on healthcare."

Remember when dissent was the highest form of patriotism? When swastikas at protest rallies were all the rage? Don Surber remembers.

UPDATE: Robert Gibbs, the White House Press Secretary who's made Scott McClellan appear competent, has assured us that Sen. Cornyn's concerns about those "fishy" emails are completely unfounded. Well, sort of

"Nobody is collecting names," Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said at today's the White House press briefing. "Nobody's keeping anybody's email."

Asked later by THE WEEKLY STANDARD if the White House is required by law to save all correspondence it receives, Gibbs acknowledged, "Obviously, the National Archives documents correspondence with the White House." Gibbs also said he didn't know how many emails the White House has yet received yet.

So remember: "Nobody is keeping anybody's email," except the federal government at the U.S. National Archives.

What a relief.

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One Response to “Dissent is no longer patriotic”

  1. frank said

    Fishy….its ridiculous…welcome to the United States of Socialism…“>fishy?

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