People In Glass Houses…

By now you are familiar with Arizona’s SB 1070, right? Oh come on, I’m sure you’ve read it. The media won’t stop talking about it or the boycotts that have been announced because of it. SB 1070 is the new immigration law that everyone under the sun is squawking about. Schools won’t allow games to be played and cities won’t allow business to be done with the state of Arizona because of it.

Just in case you forgot what the law states, let me refresh you…

(a) Every law enforcement agency in Arizona shall fully cooperate with the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service regarding any person who is arrested if he or she is suspected of being present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws.

(b) With respect to any such person who is arrested, and suspected of being present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws, every law enforcement agency shall do the following:

(1) Attempt to verify the legal status of such person as a citizen of the United States, an alien lawfully admitted as a permanent resident, an alien lawfully admitted for a temporary period of time or as an alien who is present in the United States in violation of immigration laws. The verification process may include, but shall not be limited to, questioning the person regarding his or her date and place of birth, and entry into the United States, and demanding documentation to indicate his or her legal status.

(2) Notify the person of his or her apparent status as an alien who is present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws and inform him or her that, apart from any criminal justice proceedings, he or she must either obtain legal status or leave the United States.

(3) Notify the Attorney General of Arizona and the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service of the apparent illegal status and provide any additional information that may be requested by any other public entity.

(c) Any legislative, administrative, or other action by a city, county, or other legally authorized local governmental entity with jurisdictional boundaries, or by a law enforcement agency, to prevent or limit the cooperation required by subdivision (a) is expressly prohibited.

Does that ring a bell? It should, especially if you live in California. You see, the section of code quoted above actually comes from the California State Penal Code, section 834b. I replaced ‘California’ with ‘Arizona’, but other than that slight modification it is the actual law, word for word, which has been on the books in California for quite some time.

With a law like this on the books, which is so very similar to the new law in Arizona, could someone please explain to me why the city of Los Angeles is boycotting the state of Arizona?

The Postulations And Hypocrisy Continue

Taking the night to read more on the pending health care “debate” in the House. While I do my research, enjoy these topics you might find interesting.

If you want to read the latest release by the Democrats, which seems to be just a set of reconciliation instructions and a copy of the Senate bill, you can visit the House website (PDF). I highly recommend some protection though, as you never know what you might catch while you are there.

Offshore Drilling:

Our secretary of energy pushes bio-refineries and windmills to oil executives at an energy conference as the administration announces a three-year offshore drilling ban.

Isn’t nice to know he’s consistent. President Obama supports energy independence and offshore drilling in Brazil, but not here at home. Hypocrite.

Are you one of the few people out there who are still fooled by this whole health care debacle? If so, just remember that the system they want to put in place is the same type of system that is killing people in the United Kingdom.

Up to 20,000 people have died needlessly early after being denied cancer drugs on the NHS, it was revealed yesterday.

The rationing body NICE has failed to keep a promise to make more life-extending drugs available.

Treatments used widely in the U.S. and Europe have been rejected on grounds of cost-effectiveness, yet patients and their loved ones have seen the NHS waste astronomical sums.

Put that in your syringe and pump it. Wake up people.

More tomorrow.

— Posted with Stuffr! —

The Rebirth Of Restrospective Hypocrisy

This may be old news to some people, but I thought it would be interested to point out something I find quite striking about Nanny State Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and her minions running the U.S. House of Representatives.

Here we are, more than three years after Nancy Pelosi took control of the U.S. House of Representatives and she’s accomplished nothing, unless you count the fact that she has proven to the American people that she and the people who support her are nothing more than hypocrites with no intention of doing what’s right for America.

Let’s look at a report titled, Broken Promises: The Death of Deliberative Democracy (PDF).

Despite their vows to open up the rules process and restore deliberative democracy to the House chamber … they used closed and highly restrictive rules to prevent Members from offering amendments that would have provoked real debate and forced Members to go on the record on real issues.

We’ve all seen how Speaker Pelosi runs the House. There is no room for debate, discussions are usually conducted behind closed doors, legislation is voted on before it’s even printed, and Republicans are not allowed to offer amendments.

But wait. This report wasn’t written by House Republicans. It seems that Democrats had issues with Republican House leadership back in 2006, as stated in this “Congressional Report on the Unprecedented Erosion of the Democratic Process in the 108th Congress”.

Back in 2006 the Democrats were upset because they thought Republicans were using closed and restrictive rules to prevent members from offering amendments and participating in real debate. Ironic, isn’t it? Isn’t that one of the very complaints that has been made against Nanny State Nancy since she took control in 2006?

Do you remember November 16, 2006 when then Speaker-Elect Nancy Pelosi said,

This leadership team will create the most honest, most open, and most ethical Congress in history

I guess it all depends on what your definitions of honest, open, and ethical are, huh?

In that same report, Democrats had some recommendations for Republicans.

  • Open up the process by allowing debate and votes on more serious amendments.
  • Allow more bills to be considered under open rules.
  • Spend more time on major, substantive legislation and less time on suspension bills.
  • Bring back regular order…
  • Give Members three days to read conference reports.

Wow, they wrote the report and they made the recommendations, yet they are 0 for 5 when it comes to carrying out even one of those recommendations since they’ve been in control of the House. It’s been three years, you’d think they might have implemented at least one of their own recommendations before now.

According to their own report,

The purpose of the House Rules is to balance the majority’s right to pass legislation in a timely way with the minority’s right to offer amendments and to otherwise participate in the deliberative process.

But now that they are in control, I guess those silly House Rules really don’t matter to the Democrats do they? The more you read the report, the more hypocritical the Democratic House leaders appears to be. Although I didn’t think they could appear any more hypocritical that they already were.

The most basic measure of how a majority is managing the House is the percentage of special rules it approves for an open debate and amendment process versus the number of times it considers legislation under a closed process.

That one is especially ironic since they are currently negotiating one of the largest and life-changing bills in our nation’s history, yet Republicans are being locked out of that process and many others.

On the other hand, a majority interested in jamming legislation through the process with as little deliberation as possible uses highly restrictive and closed rules to make sure that Members with “conflicting opinions” have little or no opportunity to bring those opinions to the House floor for debate and votes.

After reading through the entire 147 page report I realized something. The report was not a critical report on the leadership under Republicans. It had nothing to do with the way Republicans were treating Democrats in the House, it had nothing to do with “making things right” for anyone.

That’s not how Nanny State Nancy and her minions operate. As long as they can point out one instance where Republicans might have “done it first” (even if it’s not entirely true), they feel their actions are justified and legitimized when their own honesty and ethics are questioned.

You could say that Nancy Pelosi is the national poster child for hypocrisy, but then again, it turns out that report was nothing more than the final draft of the “Democratic Playbook” for running the U.S. House of Representatives and they were just biding their time.

Clarifications, More Smoke, And Hypocrisy

My thoughts were all over the place last night, weren’t they? Truth be told, that was just the tip of the iceberg. There has been so much going on in the news lately that my head spins until the early morning hours. Most days anyway. I might start doing more random thought posts in the future, just so I get more out of my head before I try to sleep at night.

Even though each of my thoughts last night were short and sweet, I apparently got someone’s attention. I received an email this morning from Mike Kruger, the Online Outreach Specialist for the House Committee on Education and Labor.

If you followed the link I provided last night, you will know that Mike Kruger is the person who wrote the post on the committee website that I quoted in “Thought 1” last night.

In keeping with my own tradition as well as site policy, and in the interest of transparency (something which seems to be have been lost with the current administration), I am going to post the entire email I received from Mr. Kruger.

Please take a moment to read his email, and then I will add my comments afterward.

Mr. Barrett,

I saw your blog post this morning and I wanted to clarify a few things about your thought #1.

First, the revised drug coverage for Medicare comes from negotiations between the White House and the pharmaceutical industry. This article does a good job of explaining the concessions by both sides – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/06/20/deal-reached-on-cutting-p_n_218431.html – I believe this would be a good link to include in your post to give context to your readers.

Second, while I didn’t encourage people specifically to read the HR 3200, I did link to the clearinghouse page, which includes the bill text, three separate times in the blog post.

We appreciate you engaging in this discussion with a civil tone and inquiring mind. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me.

Cheers,

Mike Kruger
Online Outreach Specialist
Committee on Education and Labor
http://edlabor.house.gov
http://www.twitter.com/edlabordems
http://www.facebook.com/EdLaborCommittee
Click here to sign up for the “EdLabor Insider” e-newsletter

I am going to address his second clarification first, so I can devote the remainder of this post to his first clarification.

I summarized the end of “Thought 1” with the following,

Why don’t they encourage Americans to read the bill itself? Why not encourage people to read the bill so they can learn all the facts about the health care bill at the same time? Those are rhetorical questions people. We all know they won’t encourage anyone to read the bill, why would they? They haven’t read the bill themselves and they know if you read it, you won’t like what you read.

That was the purpose of “Thought 1”. Every time someone mentions HR 3200, they reference news articles, op-eds, blogs, or some other source to find out the facts about the bill. Why not direct them to the bill itself? It drives me crazy.

Why should people focus on what the New York Times, the Huffington Post, CNN, or even Fox News has to say about the bill? Why take their word for it? Shouldn’t we, as citizens, be concerned with the actual text included in the legislation that could change our lives forever?

To be fair, Mr. Kruger did link to the clearinghouse page which includes the text of the bill three times in his post. Again I ask, why not encourage readers to take a look at the bill for themselves by providing a direct link to the bill? If you’re going to report on a source document such as HR 3200, I think it’s imperative that you link to the text of the source document you are writing about to give readers insight on the topic you are reporting about.

Instead of linking to the clearinghouse page three times, why not link to it once or twice and then add a link to the text of the bill directly from your post to save readers the trouble of finding the text for themselves. Remember, the only people who would have seen a link to the text of the bill would have been those who followed the link from the post in the first place.

People are interested in what happens with this piece of legislation, there is no doubt about that, so why not make it easier for them to be engaged in the conversation rather than running an end game around them by leaving them in the dark?

That’s all I was trying to point out last night. Mike’s “clarification” doesn’t really clarify the point I was trying to make but I commend him for linking to the clearinghouse page three times and providing more information to those who are looking for it.

Now, back to the first clarification.

While I was slightly off target by focusing solely on HR 3200 rather than the “negotiations between the White House and the pharmaceutical industry”, Mr. Kruger felt that including another link to yet another article about those negotiations would give better context to you, my readers.

I appreciate the thought Mike, I really do, but I have to say, you gave me far more than you thought you did. Let’s look at that article.

The pharmaceutical industry agreed Saturday to spend $80 billion over the next decade improving drug benefits for seniors on Medicare and defraying the cost of President Barack Obama’s health care legislation, capping secretive negotiations involving key lawmakers and the White House.

Before I type another word, let me make it clear that I have NO issue with Mike Kruger, in fact I greatly appreciate the fact that he took the time to send me that email this morning. Seriously. It’s not often that the people involved in the stories and articles that I write about take the time to contact me. Thank you again Mike, and please keep in mind the remainder of this post is not directed at you personally.

The issues I have are with our Congressional leaders and President Obama.

It’s a known fact that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid conspired to ram this bill through Congress with very little time for disclosure or transparency. Before the August recess most legislators had no idea what was included in the bill but were actually defending a bill they themselves had not read. I bet many of those same politicians will return to Washington, D.C. next week still without having read the bill in its entirety.

President Obama promised to bring change to way things were done in Washington, D.C.. He made it clear that he wanted a transparent and open government.

My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.

Government should be transparent. Transparency promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their Government is doing. Information maintained by the Federal Government is a national asset. My Administration will take appropriate action, consistent with law and policy, to disclose information rapidly in forms that the public can readily find and use. Executive departments and agencies should harness new technologies to put information about their operations and decisions online and readily available to the public. Executive departments and agencies should also solicit public feedback to identify information of greatest use to the public.

The key word here is transparency. In the eight months he has been President of the United States, his administration has been about as transparent as a smoke screen.

The only reason the White House would hold “secret” negotiations with key lawmakers and pharmaceutical companies is if they wanted to keep something secret from everyone else. Because the health care bill will affect every single American, that “everyone else” is quite literally, everyone else.

For the better part of the past eight years Congressional leaders and pundits were squawking about secret meetings between Vice President Cheney and oil company executives. Now those same leaders have no issue meeting in secret with drug company executives.

If there is one thing transparent about the Obama administration, it’s hypocrisy. I’ve never seen such hypocrisy in my life.

Make sure you take some time today to keep yourself informed about what your government is doing. You can read the entire text of America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009 by clicking the link in the sidebar here on my site, or visiting the link to the clearinghouse page mentioned above.

Again, I want to thank Mike Kruger for taking the time to respond to my post.