Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Obama's Healthcare “Snitch Line”

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Linda DouglassWhile President Barack Obama was in Guadalajara last weekend, his staff back in the White House was gearing up for a dirty political war against conservatives over the issue of healthcare.

Last week, the White House unveiled a new section of its website called “Reality Check,” which both retailed stale Obama talking points on healthcare and set up a snitch line for Obama supporters to inform the White House on opponents of healthcare. The snitch line, unveiled on the White House blog and “Reality Check,” asked, “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

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.”

The obvious concern is that the new snitch line will enable the Obama administration to build an “enemies list,” just as Richard Nixon did during his stay in the White House.

The problem with Obama's snitch line is that it violates the federal Privacy Act of 1974, which Congress passed in an attempt to avoid another Nixon-style “enemies list.” Former judge and Fox News Channel commentator Andrew Napolitano explained that the White House has put itself into a legal conundrum on this issue. "There's also a statute that requires the White House to retain all communications that it receives. It can't try to rewrite history by pretending it didn't receive anything," Napolitano told Fox News on August 7. “If the White House deletes anything, it violates one statute. If the White House collects data on the free speech, it violates another statute."

The White House quietly took down its “snitch line” at "Reality Check" over the weekend, highlighting instead several videos of White House flunkies retailing Obama's propaganda, which consists of lies about the packages going through Congress or about a healthcare package that doesn't exist. But the original snitch line message on the White House Blog was not removed.

One “fishy” thing about the Obamacare plan we shouldn't hold our breath waiting for the White House to correct on "Reality Check" is his campaign promise to cut the cost of healthcare for all Americans. “Under the plan,” he boasted on his campaign website, “if you like your current health insurance, nothing changes, except your costs will go down by as much as $2,500 per year.”

The "reality check" on that promise is that none of the three proposals working their way through Congress would cut costs even one cent. To the contary, all would dramatically increase healthcare costs for Americans through higher taxes or debt, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The CBO revealed back in June that the Senate plan would increase the federal deficit by $1 trillion over 10 years, while the House version would increase the deficit $239 billion over the same period — even with the planned $583 billion tax increase!

In order to pull the wool over the American people's eyes about the astonishing cost of his healthcare agenda, President Obama and his flunkies talk only about a healthcare program that exists nowhere in the legislative agenda: one which extends coverage to an additional 47 million Americans and cuts costs by up to $2,500 per family. And to accomplish his political goals, President Obama has turned virtually the entire executive branch into an Obamacare lobby. It's not just the White House website that has been transformed into a campaign-style website, from the informational site that existed under the Clinton and Bush administrations.

Another example of the politicization of the executive branch is the president's creation of HealthReform.gov, which has absolutely no relation to services that the federal government currently provides to citizens. Maintained by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, this undoubtedly expensive and explicitly political website looks more like a special interest or left-wing foundation website than a government information website. (Actually, its format is a lot like TheNewAmerican.com. Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, right?)

During the campaign, candidate Obama promised to “free the executive branch from special interest influence,” but under President Obama virtually the entire executive branch has become a phalanx of staff lobbyists trying to push Obama's expensive healthcare package through Congress. Candidate Obama railed against corporate interests lobbying Congress, and in the aftermath of the TARP legislation Obama backed that has obviously become a serious cause of waste and concern. But government employees lobbying for an additional $1 trillion in government spending — and using taxpayer dollars for the lobbying campaign — is by far a greater concern.

Photo: Linda Douglass, the communications director for the White House's Health Reform Office