This is my fourth post on Bobby Jindal in the past month or two. I don’t believe that this focus on him represents some sort of undue obsession with him or a vendetta against him. Instead, I think that I have coincidentally and simply become more aware of what has been occurring in Louisiana under Jindal’s administrations.
With a sort of relentless desperation, the Far Right has attempted to characterize President Obama as a Hitler-like figure and his administration as a Nazi-like regime inserting itself into every private corner of its citizens’ lives. The revelations about NSA surveillance have, of course, provided some reinforcement of this paranoia. But, to suggest that there is a cause-effect relationship between what the Obama administration has done and how it is perceived by the Far Right would be very misleading. For, from the start, the Far Right has simply been very determined to characterize Obama as the “Other,” as something other than a “true” American. And, very ironically, the charge that he is Hitler-like has resonated with the Far Right even though many of the groups on the lunatic fringe of the Far Right openly belong to White supremacist and so-called Aryan groups.
In this context, it is nothing short of astonishing that the state of Louisiana has very quietly been building what may be the most comprehensive database of personal information on its residents of any state in the nation.
The architects of this information-gathering have attempted to shrug off concerns about it and to keep its actual scope as murky as possible. But Paul Joseph Watson, writing, ironically, for the website InfoWars, which is maintained by Far Right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones [http://www.infowars.com/louisiana-creates-database-of-citizens-who-represent-a-risk-to-the-state/], provides the following background on the database: “Originally set up to combat fraudulent workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance claims, the program was expanded to create a ‘centralized data warehouse’ that allows “every agency within state government” to both submit and access data on every person within the state. The purposes of the database, in the words of [Chris] Broadwater [a Republican member of the state House who has been one of the very few elected officials to make any public comments about the database], are to ‘detect fraud’ and to identify people who are ‘a risk to the state down the road based upon the information we know about the individual,’ enabling authorities to quickly identify ‘an individual who is going to be at risk of incarceration down the road,’ a process that sounds an awful lot like ‘pre-crime.’” I would be hesitant to give much credence to anything appearing on InfoWars, but the website provides a video of Broadwater speaking about the database.
If one attempted to catalog all of the ways in which such a database clearly presents a threat to personal privacy, individual liberty, and judicial due process and represents gross governmental overreach, the list would be very long.
But what I find most ironic and hypocritical is that one of the most prominent GOP governors in the nation not only seems to be behind the expansion of this database but would be among the first to denounce President Obama very loudly and vehemently for doing this very thing. At the heart of such hypocrisy, which has been a recurring theme around the denunciations of this president, is the belief that whatever the Far Right does is benign, with the ends always justifying the means, whereas whatever Obama does is always sinister in both its conception and its execution.
How nice it must be to be blessed with such self-bestowed and self-serving moral authority