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Category Archives: Government

That Doesn’t Cover It

Have you gone online and enrolled for your Cover Oregon health plan yet? You know, the plan with the catchy commercials that cost $10 million [1]? You know, the plan with the website that we spent $160 million to develop[1]?  What’s that you say? No? You haven’t gone online to enroll? Oh well, don’t be too discouraged, because nobody else has either.

The fact of the matter is that even though Oregon received a $48 million “early innovator grant” for showing the country how to be a model Obamacare participant, our fine state has completely failed to deliver on its promise that we’d all be healthy, insured, and singing folk songs together by today. And this is in spite of receiving $305 million dollars in federal grants to get it done. Governor Kitzhaber must have misspoke when he assured us that we were “in really good shape” and that we’d “come through this very well,” even after consultants warned him ahead of time that the system was doomed [2].

This embarrassing failure, which has been described as “massive” [1] and “spectacular” [2], did not prevent the good folks at Cover Oregon from enrolling 4,000 illegal immigrants with full coverage after hiring several hundred people to process paper applications [1]. This could be due to the fact that the Cover Oregon employees were told to push through enrollments even if they lacked a social security number [1]. But even with all the illegal immigrants and shady practices to help, they’ve only enrolled about 64,000 people in health plans. Considering how much they’ve spent, that’s a cost of over $4,700 per person just to enroll them.

So what’s next for the state of health care in the State of Oregon? It looks like we’re going to return to the loving fold of the federal insurance marketplace. Won’t that be nice?

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Posted by on April 25, 2014 in Corruption, Government

 

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Patience Smatience

If you’re a busy President whose nominees keep getting blocked by the Senate, what are you to do? I mean, your staffers did a lot of hard work coming up with that list of names and those jerks over in Congress keep shooting them down. You can’t be making a new list every time the legislators think your nominees are unsuitable because that starts to seriously eat into your golfing schedule, so in the interest of saving time, you just skip the step of finding candidates that are acceptable to all parties and just appoint who you want. Sounds, reasonable, right?

Well, that’s just what our dear leader did. The Senate wouldn’t allow votes on his nominees to the National Labor Relations Board, so he used the constitutional power of making recess appointments to fill the vacancies. The only problem with that is that the Senate wasn’t in recess when he did it. Recess appointments are a means to temporarily fill a position when the Senate is in recess, not to side step the system of checks and balances that allows the legislative branch some control over the executive branch’s nominees.

But our current chief executive doesn’t really think that that dusty old constitution applies to him. If Congress doesn’t like his nominees, he’ll just put them in himself. If Congress won’t play ball, then by golly, he’s got his pen ready to sign all the executive orders he could possibly need to push his agenda through, or as he puts it, “move the ball forward” [1]. There will be no “waiting for legislation” [1] for this president.

But this time, it looks like even his loyal supporters in the Supreme Court can’t justify his abuse of power in making recess appointments when there is no recess. When Justice Kagan won’t back him up, that’s when you know that he’s really crossed the line. All I can say it that it’s about time.

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2014 in Corruption, Government

 

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Guilty Even When Proven Innocent

The Zimmerman trial came to a conclusion this week with a very predictable verdict of not guilty. To anyone that had taken the time to look at the case objectively, this could not have come as a big surprise. The facts of the case undeniably showed that Zimmerman did not commit second degree murder, and the prosecution never had a shot of proving that he did.

So, if the facts show Zimmerman to be innocent of the charges, why is the government still trying to find some way to re-try him on trumped up charges? The Department of Justice has gone so far as to set up an e-mail account to solicit “tips” from the public on ways to bring Zimmerman up on civil rights charges [1]. Not only are they trying to skirt the Double Jeopardy clause in the constitution, they are also using the Zimmerman trial to go after stand your ground laws, which weren’t even a part of the case. Our illustrious Attorney General Eric Holder gave a speech to the NAACP stating that people who are being threatened have a “duty to retreat” [2], which means he thinks the only option for people being robbed or attacked should be to run away and hope for the best.

Just what is going on here? Does anyone really want to live in a country where the government can just keep retrying you until they get the verdict they’re looking for? Do you want to live in a city were a mugger can press charges against you if you defend yourself?  Does anyone actually believe that a home invader will wait nicely while you call the police to protect you and your property? Of course, the answer to all these questions is no.

Whether or not you believe Zimmerman to be a criminal, don’t let our leaders use this case to trick you into giving up your safety.

 
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Posted by on July 22, 2013 in Corruption, Government

 

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Rolling in Their Graves

Two Hundred Thirty Seven years ago, the Founding Fathers declared the independence of the American colonies from Great Britain, citing the tyranny of the King and the injustice of rule without representation, and making the declaration to the world that they valued their liberty more than their lives. They left us with a legacy of freedom, and they did everything in their power to ensure that our government would not turn into a tyrannical replica of the kind from which they had so recently been severed. Throughout the years, countless men and women have dedicated their lives, and laid them down when necessary, to safeguard our liberty and to ensure that our ideals continue in the future.

When I think of the sacrifices that our forebearers have made on our behalf, I can’t help but wonder if they would be pleased at the way we are treating their legacy. How would Thomas Jefferson feel about the government’s surveillance and record collecting citizen’s communications without probable cause? Would George Washington have approved of an Internal Revenue Service that used its near-limitless power to discriminate against the political enemies of the current administration? Would the Continental Congress have been willing to declare independence if they could have foreseen a future where the government they would create would someday seize journalists records and threaten to try them for espionage, or kill citizens without due process using unmanned drones?

I sometimes imagine, if the founding fathers were before me today, how I would explain the current state of affairs to them, and I feel a deep and abiding shame that we, as a people, have allowed the development of a government so similar to the one from which they fought to gain their independence. During this Independence Day season, pause from the fireworks and BBQs to remember the cost of liberty, and that it will not endure forever if not maintained.

 
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Posted by on July 22, 2013 in Corruption, Government

 

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Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain

            Several months after the attack in Benghazi that resulted in the death of four Americans, including a US ambassador, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was finally called before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to answer questions about the event and how the current administration handled it. Sadly, we’re still no closer to the truth than we were before her testimony.

            In her emotional prepared statement, she said, “I stood next to President Obama as the Marines carried those flag-draped caskets off the plane at Andrews. I put my arms around the mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, sons and daughters,” [1] and according to the father of slain Navy Seal Tyrone Woods, she also told them that the U.S. would “make sure that the person who made that film is arrested and prosecuted.” [2] However, when questioned by Senator Ron Johnson about whether or not the American people were misled about the cause of the attack, all she could say was, “What difference, at this point, does it make?” and tried to say that they still don’t really know what happened [3].

When asked about watching the attacks at Benghazi in real time on a monitor, she said, “There was no monitor. There was no real time,” and that they only saw videos of the event “weeks later,” despite the testimony from her assistant secretary Lamb and Admiral Mullen that said that, in fact, that there was video available immediately [3]. And when she was questioned by Senator Rand Paul about the transfer of weapons from Libya to Turkey, she put on her surprised face and said she knew nothing about it, even to the point that she’s never heard of it before [3].

While she is still saying that she accepts full responsibility for the events in Benghazi, it appears that full responsibility doesn’t carry with it the responsibility to tell the truth.

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2013 in Government, Politicking

 

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Supreme Court or Supreme Rulers?

While the nation waits for the Supreme Court’s decision on Obamacare, some people seem to be a little confused about the role that the Supreme Court plays in our government. Here is a brief refresher: The Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and the government’s powers are divided between three branches, with each branch having the ability to keep the others in check. Our legislature makes the laws, the executive branch, from the President down to local law enforcement, carries out those laws, and the judicial branch judges if the actions taken by the other two branches are lawful.

However, it is understandable how some citizens are confused about this arrangement, as our own President doesn’t even understand how it is meant to work. President Obama, who taught constitutional law, recently said that he thought that it would be “unprecedented” for the Supreme Court to overturn a law passed by a democratically elected Congress. However, the Supreme Court has over 1,500 precedents of overturning state, local, and federal laws. Declaring a law unconstitutional is not, by any stretch of the imagination, new and unexplored territory for the Supreme Court. It’s part of their job.

On the other hand, the Supreme Court does not have the authority to create laws or policies through their rulings. The Supreme Court’s solemn duty is to deliver judgement based on the law as it currently stands. If the Supreme Court were to ignore the law, and start ruling based personal belief, popular opinion, or the will of the President, then the United States of America would be more of an oligarchy in which we would be ruled by the whim of the Court. Not only can the Supreme Court overturn Obamacare, to do their job, they must overturn it.

 
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Posted by on April 21, 2012 in Government

 

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