Townhall.com Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is just the latest creepy keeper of the Obamacare enemies list. The White House has been keeping tabs on individual and corporate critics of the federal health care takeover for more than a year. It started with the health czar's Internet Snitch Brigade. Remember?
Last August, the White House Office of Health Reform called on its ground troops to report on fellow citizens who talked smack about the Democratic plan. Team Obama issued an all-points bulletin on the taxpayer-funded White House website soliciting informant e-mails:
"There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org."
Then-health czar office spokeswoman Linda Douglass appeared in an accompanying video singling out conservative Internet powerhouse Matt Drudge. Why? Because his website featured a video compilation of Obama and other Democrats -- in their own words -- exposing the "public option" as a Trojan Horse for government-run health care and the elimination of private industry.
The Obama dog whistle rang out loud and clear: Report online dissidents immediately.
Calling on the White House to cease and desist, GOP Sen. John Cornyn pointed out that "these actions taken by your White House staff raise the specter of a data collection program. ... I can only imagine the level of justifiable outrage had your predecessor asked Americans to forward e-mails critical of his policies to the White House." The flagging operation was shut down, but a plethora of federal disclosure exemptions protect the Obama administration from revealing what was collected, who was targeted and what was done with the "fishy" database information.
In February, the White House coordinated a demonization campaign against Anthem Blue Cross in California for raising rates. Obama singled out the company in a "60 Minutes" interview, and Sebelius sent a nasty-gram demanding that Anthem "justify" its rate hikes to the federal government. A private company trying to survive in the marketplace was forced to "explain" itself to federal bureaucrats and career politicians who have never run a business (successful or otherwise) in their lives. Sebelius went even further. She called on Anthem to provide public disclosure on how the rate increases would be spent -- a mandate that no other private companies must follow. Read More: http://townhall.com/columnists/MichelleMalkin/2010/09/15/the_obamacare_inquisitions_a_brief,_brutish_history