Senator Cornyn's Letter to the President

Discussion in 'The Refreshment Lounge' started by Wingnut, Aug 10, 2009.

  1. Wingnut

    Wingnut Premium Member

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    In a letter to President Obama, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, expressed serious concern about the White House's new program requesting Americans to forward email chains and other communications opposing the President's health care policies. Sen. Cornyn is seeking assurances that the program is being carried out in a manner consistent with the First Amendment and America's tradition of free speech and public discourse.
    Sen. Cornyn's letter also inquires about the collection of names, email addresses, IP addresses, and private speech of U.S. citizens that will be reported, which raises the specter of a data collection program.

    "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," Sen. Cornyn wrote. "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."

    --The full text of Sen. Cornyn's letter is below--

    Dear President Obama,

    I write to express my concern about a new White House program to monitor American citizens' speech opposing your health care policies, and to seek your assurances that this program is being carried out in a manner consistent with the First Amendment and America's tradition of free speech and public discourse.

    Yesterday, in an official White House release entitled "Facts are Stubborn Things," the White House Director of New Media, Macon Phillips, asserted that there was "a lot of disinformation out there," and encouraged citizens to report "fishy" speech opposing your health care policies to the White House. Phillips specifically targeted private, unpublished, even casual speech, writing that "rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation." Phillips wrote "If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to flag@whitehouse.gov."

    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.

    So I urge you to cease this program immediately. At the very least, I request that you detail to Congress and the public the protocols that your White House is following to purge the names, email addresses, IP addresses, and identities of citizens who are reported to have engaged in "fishy" speech. And I respectfully request an answer to the following:

    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"?
    I look forward to your prompt response.

    Sincerely,

    JOHN CORNYN

    United States Senator

    Sen. Cornyn serves on the Finance, Judiciary, Agriculture and Budget Committees. He serves as the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee's Immigration, Refugees and Border Security subcommittee. He served previously as Texas Attorney General, Texas Supreme Court Justice, and Bexar County District Judge.
     
  2. Jamesb

    Jamesb Registered User

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    "I would like to see everyone's papers please. Please line up against the wall over here any one who refuses could be rounded up and sent to a democratic re-education camp."

    We are on a seriously slippery slope. Germany should remember what this feels like and should be warning the American people.
     
  3. Jamesb

    Jamesb Registered User

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    It's unfortunate that this is even an issue. Where have our spines gone.
     
  4. TCShelton

    TCShelton Founding Member Premium Member

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    Like we would listen...:(
     
  5. LRG

    LRG Premium Member

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    This current wh staff, is the demise of the American People. They should be so proud.
    Even on regular tv stations, the use of profanity has become absurd. We as a nation are losing are morals and self respect.
    As a multitude business owner, they can have my name and shut me down. Life might be a lot more less stressfull and I would at least have the satisfaction of not paying 75% overall tax, fees and regulations.
    So they can take this job and shove it.

    Proud of us Americans, not the system for which has a hold on us.
    LRGuerrero
     
  6. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    Amen
     
  7. drapetomaniac

    drapetomaniac Premium Member Premium Member

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    Here's the original source of the e-mail request. It took me a a while to find it because of all the internet being littered with claims of sniper squads being deployed to kill your kittens and ironing your pants with the crease on the wrong side - as well as turning you over to the grand reptilian freemason... anyway, the original source
    The White House - Blog Post - Facts Are Stubborn Things

    Palin, this past week, claimed there was a death panel that would kill her baby. Does anyone think that's true - or is it fishy? Is it almost true? Spin? Death panels for babies as pending legislation?

    Obama has access to the same wiretapping programming Bush put into place. I stopped actively campaigning for Obama once he supported stalling any lawsuits to even uncover how deep it went. It went deep BTW:
    AT&T ‘Spy Room’ Documents Released, Confirm Wired News’ Earlier Publication | Threat Level | Wired.com

    Luckily, he doesn't have Bush's attempt to repeal Posse Comitatus to use
    Posse Comitatus Act - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    And he's on record for objecting to the stronger theory of Unitary Executive:
    Unitary executive theory - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    FACT CHECK: JUDGE ALITO ON THE THEORY OF THE UNITARY EXECUTIVE

    Unfortunately, Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito believe in it as I understand.

    But it's not too late - we can still call for an open investigation into past and current abuses - before they start torturing people. Email Cornyn and ask for it. Unfortunately, a lot of people are still wanting to prevent even investigating what has happened thoroughly, so the precedents just continue and it's hard to build momentum when the same or more harsh acts are still being defended.

    My hope was that Obama would come in and abridge his own powers that were wildly expanded by the last administration and call for more checks and balances, but the reality is most presidents enjoy the expanded power of their predecessors and build upon it.

    What powers from the last administration does Obama have to build upon if he wants to?
     
  8. Jamesb

    Jamesb Registered User

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    heard this morning that they want to place a cookie on your computer to track what websites you use.
    Am I just getting paranoid, or is there something really going on here I need to be concerned with?

    I would also like to ask, There is a line in the FC charge: to be a good citizen and conform etc...how does this apply to the dismantling of our republic?
     
  9. drapetomaniac

    drapetomaniac Premium Member Premium Member

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    Brother James,
    Remember when this came up in 2005 with the prior administration?
    WhiteHouse.gov Uses Cookies, Bugs

    Notice how in many of these "horrors" - things they take an action and inject motivation and intentions. (I remember this being warned against in the midst of the reunion charges, although I'd have to look up the degree)

    It's very easy to invent intention - Whoever said, "they are using cookies to track where you are going" could have just as easily said, "they are using cookies to find out your address and send you flowers."

    One news program said the government was using a plain yes/no checkbox to take over your computer and take all the information on it.

    This was part of an open comment program:
    White House Confronts Cookies - Tech Insider

    The White House - Blog Post - Federal Websites: Cookie Policy

    I heard a lot of people discussing this program, but nobody creating intentions seemed to point people the site to comment. Possibly because it would have clarified the actual proposal.

    I don't see anything at all in the proposal that would track you outside of the single site you are visiting.

    You should disable all cookies in your browser preferences and go about your normal routine to see why this question was asked.

    I'm amazed, given our charges, how often abandoning them has come up in the past few months. I seem to almost hear it more among masons than others, which is even more disturbing.

    Let's try a mid-term election first.

    If you're interested in how various privacy and web organizations commented:
    Federal Websites: Cookie Policy OSTP Blog

    This was a policy review and public request for open input, not tyranny.
     
  10. Sirius

    Sirius Registered User

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    Nice post.
     
  11. TCShelton

    TCShelton Founding Member Premium Member

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    Before we all start slamming our current administration, let's remember what Bush and his Patriot Act did. That set the precedent for the rest of this nonsense.
     
  12. Sirius

    Sirius Registered User

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    Well said.
     
  13. Wingnut

    Wingnut Premium Member

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    with congressional approval I might add. And reauthorized
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2009
  14. Wingnut

    Wingnut Premium Member

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    and by the way... saying that Bush did it is NOT freaking justification! Bush was WRONG to start the bailouts and was wrong about many other things. But WTF, Bush made some errors so lets let Obama go and create his Czars to run his shadow government, take over the auto industry, banking industry, health care... after all Bush allowed waterboarding (which was legal under US code in 2003/2004).
     
  15. Wingnut

    Wingnut Premium Member

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    I hope Im misunderstanding what you are saying. Are you saying questioning the messiah is violating our masonic charges?
     
  16. Jamesb

    Jamesb Registered User

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    I'm amazed, given our charges, how often abandoning them has come up in the past few months. I seem to almost hear it more among masons than others, which is even more disturbing.

    I do not wish to abandon my sworn oath and do not avocate doing so. But for the sake of debate...at what point will our charges leave us vunerable?

    I do not follow any one aspect of our current political system, and am a big fan of term limits and small government. I can't wait for an independent to win something big and shake the system. Anyone who "run's for office" for a living has a screw loose and I don't really want that person leading my country.

    I do not think that for one minute that our "government" has the ability to do half the stuff they announce, but people who are afraid are easier to control; and thanks to our media, you have to admit they can make a bake sale sound scarey
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2009
  17. TCShelton

    TCShelton Founding Member Premium Member

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    +1. Well said.
     
  18. LRG

    LRG Premium Member

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    after all Bush allowed waterboarding (which was legal under US code in 2003/2004).
    Which saved no telling how many American lives.
     
  19. drapetomaniac

    drapetomaniac Premium Member Premium Member

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    Yes, you are misunderstanding - although questioning Jesus Christ is your own business.

    I was responding to:
    What does challenging that charge mean to you?
     
  20. drapetomaniac

    drapetomaniac Premium Member Premium Member

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    Nobody said let him go. But let's stop pretending Obama is a unique creature (half Communist half Nazi) for doing the same things.
     

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