A Reply From The Senator…And My Thoughts

If you read my post a while back about Senator Cornyn’s response to the White House’s request that people forward the emails they received with disinformation…You may be interested in his reply that arrived today…

Dear Mr. Boyd:

Thank you for contacting me about President Obama’s new initiative to monitor American citizens’ speech about his health care policies. I appreciate having the benefit of your comments on this matter.

As you know, on August 5, 2009, I sent a letter to President Barack Obama expressing my concerns about a new program that requested American citizens to forward to the White House emails and “casual conversations” of their fellow citizens who oppose the President’s health care policies. As I stated in my letter to the President, I believe that this program is inconsistent with America’s tradition of free speech and public discourse. I urged the President to cease the program, to purge personally identifiable information gathered by the program from White House records, and to detail how the White House intended to use the information gathered.

Though I am still awaiting a response to my letter from the President, I was pleased to see that on August 17, 2009, the White House shut down the program. While I am glad the site has been shut down, Americans still deserve to know what the White House intends to do with information that was collected during the 13 days the program was in effect. On August 19, 2009, I sent another letter to the President, reiterating my belief that the White House should fully disclose how they are using this information, and seeking the President’s commitment that no similar programs will be instituted in the future.

Health care affects every American and I believe we need to take the time to listen to the patients, providers, families, and small businesses that will be significantly impacted by reform. 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 appreciate the opportunity to represent Texans in the United States Senate, and you may be certain that I will continue working with my colleagues to protect our First Amendment rights. Thank you for taking the time to contact me.


United States Senator

I must have missed that part of the original White House video where we were requested to report the “casual conversations” with our fellow citizens. Did you catch that part?

Also, it wasn’t the opposition to the President’s health care plan that was the issue. Since the President doesn’t have a Health Care Plan to oppose that would be a non-issue if it wasn’t just dishonest. The request was for people to forward the lies and disinformation being passed on as fact. Now if lies and disinformation is what passes for opposition in the mind of Senator Cornyn, Texas, we have a problem. If someone wants to offer real thoughtful opposition to Health Insurance Reform in America, I’ll listen…I’ll argue…I’ll have a conversation…But when I hear lies used to spread fear just to scare people into believing the lie…Get real Sir.

Four paragraphs in we get to your first reference to the issue at hand…Health Care. But to turn that around to pushing fear of government monitoring after the last administration’s abuses of the right to privacy…Abuses you approved of…That is just to much of a stretch of credulity. Senator, you need to take your feigned outrage and put it to good use stopping the intimidation of free speech by the gun wielding thugs and screaming, shouting “citizens” at the town hall meetings around the country.

The view from the right is evidently beyond my comprehension…

Health Care and Senator Cornyn

One of the interesting things about the way politicians work is that once you have sent them an email, even one that was protesting a stand of theirs, they feel the need to add you to their email newsletter list. For this reason, I am always intrigued by the way these newsletters are used to try to position themselves in front of the voters.

Today’s emails brought the latest missive from Senator John Cornyn. In this newsletter he was trumpeting his letter to President Obama about the White Houses request that their supporters send in copies of emails that they receive full of disinformation and…hell, let’s be truthful, lies. Here is a quote from the Senator…

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.”

Now the first couple of times I saw this, I ignored it and just hit delete. The third time I received a reference I was finally moved to reply. Here is the reply I posted at the Senator’s website:

In regards to your latest email newsletter and the letter you sent to President Obama:

Dear Sir:

I find your outrage confusing to say the least. As an outspoken proponent of a much more troubling form of “data mining” by the past administration, get down off of your soapbox.

I received the email request and viewed the video you are up in arms over after I received at least a dozen of the emails full of lies and disinformation. Most were from friends and family who never question the version of the “news” they get from Fox. A minutes worth of research before forwarding these emails would bring up the fact that there in little or no truth in most of them.

Your fanning the flames of fear about the motives of your political opponents is troubling to me. The very fact that you attribute these types of behaviors to your political opponents but not to the members of your own party who seem to be orchestrating the disinformation campaigns is another reason I have found myself on the other end of the political spectrum from you and your party these recent years…

Thank you for your time…You can refrain from replying with the standard email thanking me for my interest and appreciating my views…For I know you do not.

Now, since Senator Cornyn seems to think advertising his letter to the President is a good thing…I’m just gonna post my reply…Free speech and all that sort of thing…And if some large corporate sponsor would like to write off some of the profits they feel obliged to give to politicians…Post a comment and I’ll be happy to relieve you of some of that money…