Posts Tagged ‘constitution’

Do Public Employees Have The Right Not To Piss In Public? #union


When you consider the information that should be public for public employees, you need to ask a few reasonable questions.
What is it that can legally be made public?
And what information must be protected?
Those should be the first two questions.   The answers will vary from place to place, but how you answer them may determine the solvency of our government itself. Clearly we don’t want released any personal information on these non-elected employees that is not related to their public function.
So the next question is what is personal information?
I will leave it to you to decide, but consider the consequences of your answer. Can you imagine what danger we put the public employee in by releasing personal information if we are asking public employees to deal with potentially dangerous individuals and demanding they deny them services?  The class action suit by such a release could cripple the country, especially if some irate individuals start going after public employees they have a grudge against. The necessary information can be obtained by filing a freedom of information act (FOIA) request, but does that mean that information can be freely be published on the internet in total?  It is being so released in many areas, particularly areas with Republican administrations.  This information is being published unchallenged in many cases.
What does someone’s full name, gender, race, town of residence and zip code have to do with their function as a public employee? How about how much sick time they use or their personal 401k contribution?
A sociopathic parolee denied services somewhere like the board of elections, the department of motor vehicles, or social services are just as likely to find those employees on the internet and go after them as their arresting officer, the judge, the parole officer or the district attorney. My understanding is that some district attorney’s offices can and have blocked their information from being published.  How are they a protected class and how are they any more in danger than any other public employee?
..
On top of all that, I have found less information on many elected officials (whose information is supposed to be the less private) than their employees across the country.
This cannot go unchallenged.  It is the Republicans (with the exception of Ron Paul, a libertarian)  that so strongly object to the Anonymous or Wikileaks release of private information (although the Democrats have condemned the release of what they consider state secrets).  But these same Republican representatives do not appear to be so concerned about the same information being released on their employees. The fact that a public employee’s salary is public already and can be found at any public library (or over the phone) without a FOIA request is telling.
This pertinent fact suggests we are dealing with harassment, not transparent disclosure.
The fact that you can look up and see how much  earned sick time and vacation time each public employee has used in some areas is not related to their public function.  You can see how much time they are allowed from the same public library (or on the internet) along with their current and historical salary.  To publish 25% of the population’s information on the internet is clearly harassment and not furthering any specific state interest.
It is part of a union busting process and, as such, must be stopped.
Public employees do not give up their constitutional rights at the door.  They do not work for you personally.  To think they do is to abrogate the whole of the progressive civil service movement whose legislative intent a hundred years ago was to keep politics out of non-elected public service, and it is a matter of established law.  For Republicans to tout the rule of law is a myth in this area as it is in most others.
Many public employees are paid out of local general funds and you do not have any reason or standing to see any information on the county clerk’s secretary in Bakersfield unless you happen live in Kern county.  The idea that I can look it up and see an employee’s personal 401k information that they pay for themselves is unconscionable. What right do I have to know that the program coordinator of the HR department of University of Arizona has not gotten a raise in three years and is grossly underpaid? The publication of this information on the internet is an arbitrary and capricious  release of information to people that have no business knowing it. That we have so many lawyers in this country and so few have successfully brought a challenge to these unconstitutional practices is mind boggling to me.
You may might think that this must have passed the muster of the local government attorneys that reviewed it, but those attorneys are not civil service attorneys, they are appointed by the local elected administration and their jobs depend on their decisions.  This is the very reason for civil service itself and is being worked around. I challenge all of you to start looking for the personal information released on public employees around the country and write, email and call your local legislatures telling them what you think about the release of such personal information. How is that release any different than let us say, all corporate employee information for corporations that receive any government funds? That will be next. In many areas that may involve more taxpayer dollars than the government employees. Also consider the pension information that is released.  These people are no longer public employees, and most of them, around the country, contributed from their paychecks for that pension.  What right does the general public have to that information?  What state interest is served by its release?
 …
If you are still not moved by my arguments, then consider it the next time you call the police or fire department, get a call from the school, want your road plowed, ask for an increase in your child support, have to call child welfare, need to apply for some public benefit or just want to live in a civil society.  I assure you, your decision to allow the disclosure of private information could influence all public employees’ decisions.   Every public employee in the nation will have to consider whether his life is put in jeopardy by the decision that he should make,  even though it is his job to not consider it, by law.  That is what you risk changing by insisting on such disclosure.
In sum, every public emplyee is required by law to give every citizen the right of due process and equitable treatment.  The very thing you are denying to that employee.
I continue to look:
To continue the argument consider that NJ releases information to the press to maintain a public database on USPS workers salary and positions, yet taxpayers have not funded the USPS since the 1980s. What public interest is being served by this release of private information? Even when you feel as a taxpayer it is your right to know the salary and benefits of those public employees in your area, does everyone everywhere have a right to know it? For example, school boards and budgets are locally voted on and debated in a public venue.  What public interest does publication of individual information outside of the that school district serve?  Clearly this is done to incite rather than inform.
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Ishtarmuz’s Rebuttal to: Consent Vs. Compliance


Ishtarmuz’s Rebuttal to: Consent Vs. Compliance

Consent Vs. Compliance was written By BOJIDAR MARINOV | Published: JULY 7, 2010. Be sure to let them know exactly what you think too!

Before I talk about the article let me say  that I agree with the premise wholeheartedly.  We the people need to consent to the laws and who is to govern.  To that end I would suggest we immediately dismantle the electoral college and move to popular vote across the country.  Also to that end let us reconsider two Senators per State and the general ability of those with big money or big mouths to consider they speak for the country.  My father used to say that a paper would lay down and take anything.  Well, thankfully, not all people will do the same. As for consent of the governed, well, we vote with our dollars.  Where do you live, work, and eat?


“Now you have socialized healthcare too,” said a European friend of mine.

“Yeah?” I replied. “What makes you think that?”

First off, if you didn’t say, “No we don’t have anything of kind.” then you have no clue about what socialized healthcare means.  If you didn’t say that, “No we still have those no product middle men called insurance companies to suck us dry right after the government,” then you have no idea what the fear mongering Right has cost this country by preventing universal health care.

“Well,” he seemed confused, “Didn’t the U.S. Congress pass Obamacare into a law?”

My reply only increased his confusion: “The Congress did. But the American people didn’t. The law still needs their consent to become valid.”

Which bring me to a number of other points. I thought that once a bill was passed and signed into law by our corporate sponsored government and went successfully unchallenged in the Supreme Court, that it was law, but maybe I am confused. Oh, you mean if 2/3 of the States vote to nullify the law?  Yeah, like that is going to happen. You watch too much Fox News. Granted this law is not really supported by either the progressives or the conservative right. The progressives know without true universal health care that this law only delays our inevitable bankruptcy and the right have their own corporate reasons.  The progressives already see the moral bankruptcy.  So maybe we should just run this out to its inevitable conclusion.  If you want any law to have the consent of the governed, then you must follow a European example and have complete election reform disallowing any private funding of candidates whatsoever and kick out all those lobbyists. Let me see anyone talking about the consent of the governed take on that cause.

Explaining the American social and political system to Europeans can be a tiresome experience. Europeans just don’t seem to be able to climb out of their boxes of digesting everything in terms of the centralized almighty state and its decrees….

I think you must be blind to European politics if you think they blindly follow anything. Take a look here or here or here or here. To listen to some conservatives talk about the founding fathers, one might wonder how much they read of them.  What I hear them talk about blindly follows much of the European thought of three hundred years ago minus all the caveats expressed by our founding fathers.  First and foremost was their warning about corporations removing our liberty.

But the federalism of the political institutions is the smaller problem for the European mind. The bigger problem is the individual vs. the State. Europeans, whether they are aware of it or not, whether they admit it or not, are genuinely terrified of the way Americans view their relation to their own government.

When a law is passed by a Parliament in a European nation, the average European automatically accepts that the law is valid for the very reason that it is passed by a proper parliamentary procedure. … The consent of the governed is never a factor in the European thinking, and the average European never even allows for such a factor to play any part in his dealings with his government.

This quite odd, since Europe being the birthplace of capitalism, thrives due to its diversity. We are a baby. Much of our thought and culture is European and that might be why we are still the ugly Americans to much of the world. In our multicultural world we are in the minority, except in our abuse of the world’s resources.  Europe is in the throes of our history in reverse.  They seek a union of states and argue it much as you would, the union is taking away the rights of the individual states to treat their populations any way they see fit.

Compliance is the key word that describes the relationship between the individual and the State in the European setting. The European citizen is not allowed nor expected to exercise discernment once a bill is codified into law. There is no option for the citizen to exercise any active opposition to it, only passive compliance. …

Civil disobedience exists everywhere in the free world. To deny it is to be blind. Although one of the European Union’s (EU) biggest disagreement was to deny Turkey entry into their EU Christian club.

Such is the attitude of the European mind. When it relates to the law, its first thought is “compliance.” There is no higher lawgiver than the national legislature, no higher court than the Supreme Court, and no higher executor than the government. Therefore whatever civil law is, must be right and must be obeyed. A law cannot be opposed except through the same legal and political process that produced it –… There is certainly no higher moral law to give the ideological basis for any opposition, no divine law, and no God to …

Nor will there be anything like this in the United States either.  If we want a theocracy, then maybe we should consider Sharia law? The legal history of law in Europe actually has some deep ecclesiastical roots which is completely absent from our system on purpose and excluded explicitly by law. Try to get that nullified, why don’t you?

A powerful example of this European mentality is the recent decision of a European court against the display of crucifixes in public buildings in Italy. Even though the decision was made by a court far away from Italy, by judges who know next to nothing about Italian traditions and history – or care nothing about it –…

Oh, you mean like you do. Your European mentality nonsense sounds like outright bigotry on its face. It reminds me of the ethnic national characters of the last two centuries.  I bet without much prodding you could expound on the German, the French, the Italian and the Irish spirit. There is an interesting point in this.  It is the authoritarian personality.

We in America very often make the mistake to believe that just because in the last 60 years most governments in Western Europe – and in Eastern Europe in the last 20 years – never used force against their own people, Europe is somehow free, and the rights of the individuals are safe and protected. We assume that because European nations have experienced the “the rule of law” that the Founders of these United States envisioned, therefore Europeans are free and their rights are protected. Nothing could be further from the truth. …

Yes, nothing could be further from the truth. You totally miss the point that almost all our rule of law comes from Europe and it is the United Sates that is still a babe in the woods.

In stark contrast to this stands the political ideology of the original American Republic. One of the things that made – and still makes – America unique as a political setting is that little phrase in the Declaration of Independence: “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”

Yes, we are unique. Outside our borders lie great barbarian hordes.  We allow just about anyone to get on their soapbox and preach to the great burnt over regions of our country.  Sometimes we even listen.

Consent is the key word here. In this foundational document of our American liberty, governments are declared to be secondary and derivative, rather than a primary source of law and power. A true American doesn’t consider his government to be the source of its own powers; its “just powers” are derived from his consent to acknowledge the government as legitimate and just. Furthermore, government is not an end in itself; it serves a purpose: “To secure these rights.” …

Yes, to secure the rights. So we have another would-be constitutional scholar. Check out my link to why universal health care is a constitutional right.

True, a European might be able to relate to the principle of the consent of the governed, but they would do it in a very limited way: That the governed exercise their “consent” by appearing regularly at the ballot box. Outside of that ritual of confirming their “consent” the governed can use different means of protest against specific government measures or laws. But compliance with the laws is non-negotiable…

In a parliamentary system the whole government can be dissolved due to lack of confidence.  Let’s try that.

A true American must disagree with such a limited view of the value of his political consent or non-consent. The value of the consent of the governed is not limited merely to a general recognition of the political system as a whole at the time of voting. Such an approach would have seemed irresponsible to the early colonists. A responsible and freedom-loving citizen must exercise his consent or disagreement concerning every single law or act of the government, not just in relation to the general political and legal system. …

I thought this was worked out in the Whiskey Rebellion? Certain forms of disagreements are just not allowed.

The history of America is replete with examples of active resistance of citizens against immoral, unjust, or stupid laws. The early colonists were smugglers at sea, rebels at home, and evaded paying taxes when they disagreed with them. They also disobeyed the Proclamation of 1763 and moved to settle new lands west of the Appalachians. They kept their guns when the British governors tried to confiscate them, and they obstructed the King’s tax-collectors. And of course, the event that started the Revolution, the Boston Tea Party, was a display of defiance against the ability of the British government to impose laws on a people against their consent. The American Revolution was only a logical outcome of a political ideology that had been developed in the colonies that no government and no law can have just power without the consent of the governed.

There you go.  I want to forcibly remove certain states from any commerce with the rest.  How about a fence starting from north of Arizona and going right straight across?

Admittedly, this healthy political ideology for the legitimacy of government has been in retreat for the last 200 years, but even in the 20th century we see it at work in America. Even today, there are hundreds of federal and state laws that have failed to become reality because the governed refuse to comply with them. Federal gun-control laws are the best example, being defied by state governments and individuals alike, but they are not the only example. Back in the 60’s there were hundreds of heroic Christian fathers and mothers who defied the law of the State and took their kids back home to educate them, very often facing persecution and jail sentences. The infamous “anti-hate-speech” laws, designed specifically to kill any Christian testimony in the public square, have only produced the opposite result, encouraging many individual Christians and Christian leaders to speak publicly about their beliefs. True patriotic America may have been in retreat for quite a while but she is far from defeated, and in fact, she is getting prepared to strike back at the new tyranny of the centralized State, learning from its Founding Fathers. Amazingly enough, even the Left in America, with its worship of the State …

The Right has no idea of the Left, not the real Left.  We have no leaders save thought and heart.  We have no structure save creativity.  We have no backing save freedom. We do not worship authority.  So now you make me angry.  You are speaking about something I know well.  I too home schooled my child, and not as many in the sixties, not for a bogus religious reason masking bigotry.  I home schooled her because I equated socialization with domestication.  As for you madam, I will have none of your slop either because what you condone is nothing less than murder.

And that’s why it is still not sure if we have socialized total Federal healthcare in America. The American people haven’t spoken yet. And therefore the healthcare law is far from valid.

Yes, let the people speak.  I will be out there speaking loud and clear with them.

What is amazing is that this confuses my European friends. It is obvious that in contrast to the European political ideology, the American ideology is the one that fosters and encourages political liberty; it is the system that imposes truly realistic checks on the expansion of government power. In fact, it is so obvious that one wonders what is it that makes Europeans unable to see it….

Maybe, just maybe, it is you that does not see.

The reasons for their blindness are religious. After the French Revolution, European nations have based their entire political and moral thinking on a rejection of the Triune God and His revelation in the Bible. … The individual lost any right to appeal to anyone higher than the State because there was none higher than the State, the State becoming god on earth. In such a religious system any thought of considering consent before compliance would be tantamount to sacrilege, a blasphemous act, an affront against the god.

You, my friend, are a zealot.  Yes, it is a spiritual matter, and yes, the truth is one.  You are, however, blind to the truth. Jesus wept.

There is no way to understand the history of Europe after the 18th century without understanding this major religious change in Europe’s political and moral philosophy. The rise of the nation-states, the two world wars, Marx, Hitler, the national liberation movements, the rise of Communism, the founding of the European Union, and the beginning of its demise in the last one year – none of those events in history make any sense unless we understand the paradigm shift caused by the abandonment of the Christian religion in Europe…

I understand fascist dictators very well. They are made from the likes of your thought. Constantine would be proud that Hitler was able to move a Christian nation.

In contrast, our American system was based from the very beginning on the belief of our Founding Fathers that it was not the State, but God Who rules over the affairs of men. This denied the civil government any role of being divine or declaring the divine will. The individual and the State in such a political ideology are equal before God, they both have equal rights and responsibilities to search and interpret God’s will for their society. Therefore the consent of the governed is the pivot of the political system, it is the practical application of the verse in Proverbs 11:14, “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.” ….

You do go on. I see nothing that you have said that David Koresh could fault.

Therefore, my European friend won’t be able to understand our political system unless he understands its religious foundation first. As long as Europeans reject Jesus Christ as their Lawgiver, they will have political false messiahs for ultimate lawgivers, and will have no recourse against their immoral and foolish laws. Passive compliance with tyranny and oppression is the fate of a godless people. Only a God-fearing nation can force …

Only a god fearing self-righteous fool could write such drivel. The last time a God-fearing anything tried to force me to do anything, I told him to got to hell.


The Internet, Conspiracies, Science & Assumptions


When you hear something on the Internet it seems easy to say it is a conspiracy theory.  After all, what are the person’s credentials, what are his sources, where is the evidence and what assumptions are being made? This thought process began when I tweeted about the possibility that H1N1 being a man made virus released and marketed as a pandemic. I had used sources that pushed an anti-vaccine agenda, not stating things as a possibility, but as a fact. This was too much for a medically trained researcher who tweeted me back that everything was not a conspiracy. So I found an interview of a medical doctor quoting the ingredients, precautions and contraindications of the  insert of the H1N1 vaccine and doubting it’s safety and efficacy. The trained researcher then asked where are the peer-reviewed studies by virologists in a scholarly journals?  With a bit more research, I found one that asked the same question. So he flat out said that vaccines were safe and cited credentials. Whereupon I found another study, yet to be replicated, that suggested that season flu vaccine might double the chance of getting H1N1. Silence. Later he assured me I would not find more.

Granted, I did start out with a poor source.  Granted, I did not start with a credible studies.  This was not careful science, but I would suggest that the summary dismissal of information from any source is also not science. The bearer of the information is not the information.  The arguments I saw being posed, even if the poser did not see them as just arguments, looked to me as valid questions because I come from a true place of skeptical science.  I don’t care about credentials, nor do true scholarly journals, the information speaks for itself, no matter how poorly stated.  Well designed studies speak for themselves.  So does true investigative journalism.  No conclusions need to be stated. The evidence should be before your eyes.

So often when something is shown on the Internet it may appear to be a Just So story.  However, that does not mean that is.  True science must question everything, including its own assumptions.  The first assumption I questioned in the H1N1 story is how did they know that it was going to be a pandemic?  It was stated that the type of virus suggested it would be.  How did they know that the type of virus was going to act in this way? It had components of other pandemic viruses. How did these components separated vastly in time and space get into one organism?  Good question.  Medical science had no good answers, but under the pandemic assumption they had to fast track the vaccine to market and in many places mandated its administration (to health care workers).  Does this not sound like a scarier prospect than the H1N1 virus itself?

Sources?  Credentials?  Let us consider the medical researcher first.  The training in medicine suggests a high concern for life.  The training in science suggests a high concern for truth. Be that as it may, when faced with what you are told is an impending world-wide crisis, the practice of medicine becomes more of an art, and the practice that it is, and the science has no time to carefully replicate or deeply question its findings.  This would not be the first time that errors have happened in such situations.  So, the question now comes to sources. Well, the validity of my credible sources we will hear more about soon enough, I will let you consider a more conspiratorial one here.  The the source of the rushed vaccine trails was Sanofi-Pasteur and CLS Biotherapies which may not at all be reason for concern. The FDA has approved the trials, again no apparent reason for concern. But then, I think to myself about the HPV Gardisil hype.  Are we going to again scare the people into immunizing millions and mandating some no less, perhaps with thousands of negative reactions, for an illness that lethally afflicts only hundreds of people.  This would be a scandal on its face in the public health world. None of this appears to have happened with this vaccine.  So was it all just another conspiracy theory? Maybe, but still aren’t we looking more at dollar signs here than lives?  Isn’t this the real problem with all aspects of healthcare in the USA?  Are my assumptions here that off base and paranoid? Then someone tweeted me about a Murdoch connection to this and another drug company in the UK. Is your skin crawling yet?

I began looking at the drug approval process used by the FDA.  In general, regulators don’t negotiate budgets with the companies they oversee. However, the FDA, is paid user’s fee in the millions of dollars to fast track drug approvals. This funds half of the critical drug approval process.  I now begin to wonder how much the FDA might have been paid for the fast track of  the vaccine that resulted in the almost 200 million dollars in contracts to provide vaccine to the United States population and how this process must ripple around the world to be effective.

So we have a suspect illness, a suspect regulator, and suspect research with millions of dollars invested by each organization in multiple products.  None of this should be questioned by me, even if some credible sources with real vested interests in science and health question it? Am I to accept the paranoid label from a trained medical researcher that have a vested interest in their education, training, and marketability even if they don’t directly work in the field? I don’t think this is clear thinking to do so, but then I am just another fuzzy headed thinker.  So you can dismiss me and feel no peril.

The issues of relying on the conspiracy sources are real nonetheless. I must fairly note that much of the originally tweeted information has been discredited apparently and is it still oft repeated.  This may have been the point of my original detractor, after all, don’t I keep on pointing out that a source with a history of misinformation is not to be relied upon?  Yet, even when I say it is not to be trusted, I mean it is not to be trusted on its face. There may be a real question in all the noise.  Where is the evidence, I often ask, was the original probe given to me by the detractor. I looked for the evidence based on my assumptions, ignoring the glaring inaccuracies and leaps in the original links.  So much for communication in 140 characters. So much for taking or dismissing  information on face value.

To All Those Would-be Constitutional Scholars of Health Care Reform


An honest reading of the preamble of our constitution says all that needs to be said about our right to health care in this country.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

We the People of the United States?  This is an expression that all the people as one voice declare what is to follow. In Order to form a more perfect Union?  This expresses the intention to come together as a single community.  Establish Justice?  To equitably do what is right for all. Insure domestic Tranquility?  To keep the peace amongst ourselves. Provide for the common defence?  To defend ourselves against common enemies. To promote the general Welfare?  To see to the needs of the citizenry that which they cannot do themselves. To secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity? To ensure that our freedoms are not taken away from us or our descendants. Do ordain and establish this constitution of the United States of America?  What is ordained and established in these words is the intent of all that follows.

The intent is clear. The intent is that all the people unite as a community in a just, peaceful manner under a government that would protect them, their freedoms and promote their welfare.  This is why we still have a country.  On the one hand you could say that the federal government is only there to promote these ideas and it is up to the states to carry them out, but then if it can’t or won’t do so, then what is a federal government to do? On the other hand the federal government is to establish justice? Is it just to let the helpless die? It is to insure domestic tranquility?  Is it insured if we allow inequities to fester to the point of domestic violence? It is to provide for the common defense? Not all our enemies carry a gun from without.  Some live in gated communities and have a sense that they are more entitled than others. It is to promote the general welfare?  This is a clear statement of providing those things that states and individuals cannot. Secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity?  Is there anything that endangers your liberty and your posterity more than illness or threat of illness? Among the many things that it has been decided appropriate that the federal government needed to intervene to provide, the provision of health insurance (read care) will go down in history as the one that made the most sense.  The one that had the most documented need.  The one that was covered in every phrase of the preamble of our constitution.

It is only a twisted libertarianism that would suggest that we should let people die that cannot provide for themselves. It is only a self-absorbed selfishness that cannot see beyond their own strength to what others might take as weakness.  It is only a perverse sense of entitlement that suggests the fruits of your labor should not be shared with the community even though it was the community that allowed you to reap those fruits. No man is an island, Entire of itself. Each is a piece of the continent. No one does it alone.

We don’t succeed by ourselves, but also we don’t fail by ourselves either. If the public option fails, then we all fail as a country.  The fiscal conservative Representatives have failed this country. They have failed on moral and economic grounds.  They are oath breakers, liars and have sold out their constituency.  A little math will suffice to show you the degree of the lie. Between fourteen to twenty percent of this country works in government depending on how you count.  Most have taxpayer provided insurance.  To expand the public option would lower that cost to the taxpayer of this insurance adding to the bottom line  every cash strapped state.  If all government employees were added to public option ( or asked to pay extra cost for private insurance) that could  save $600,000, 000.  This could end stalled union contracts across the country by taking health insurance off the table.  What might this do for other sectors of the economy? What might this do put people back to work? What could this do to end the recession? When are we going to see the conservatives for what they are, fascists?

Oh wait, maybe it is unconstitutional because the government can’t force you to pay for insurance.  Their is nothing in the constitution that allows that to happen and the Supreme Court would never let it stand.  OK, suspend all social security deductions and programs. Or maybe, pass the law and take it to court, if you are so sure.

The way I see it, this health care debate will become a moot point in the coming years.  I see two-thirds of the States passing a form of universal health care of necessity.  When that happens, it will be a short step to making it a federal constitutional amendment beyond the reach of the Supreme Court, even though the Court would never have overturned a universal health insurance law anyway.  Sometimes you just have to say stick a sock in it.

Opt Out of Nationhood?


The idea that a state has the option to opt out of anything for which there is a legitimate interest to enact federal legislation is an oxymoron.  The federal government should for the most part only be enacting legislation in which it has an overriding federal interest to enact. The idea that the federal government has an interest in the public health and welfare of the citizenry of this country is well established. Yet, much of the existing legislation enforcement is predicated on federal funding, not on a federal interest per se. So any state can opt out of most federal programs by refusing federal money and so this is what the health care reform opt out option will entail.  The problem with this is that people move and sick people with no insurance move quickly.  Any opt out provision should include a state charge for all applicants for insurance for those moving from a state without public option to one with a public option. This is still the public option on the cheap for those states that opt out removing the “dogs” from the risk pool of any local insurance plans.  It will cost the rest of the country more money for the opted out states’ decision. When individuals opt out of a group plan they are often assessed a percent of the contribution they would have paid had they opted in. If this is sound private insurance philosophy, then maybe it should be incorporated into the public insurance philosophy.  Not just for this bill, but also for Medicaid in all it’s incarnations which has weak unenforced versions of this idea in place now.

This opt out option is only an issue because the single payer option was all but rejected sight unseen so early.  The opt out option could ensure that many people will go without and others pay more just because they live in an opt out state if the federal law allows the state to decide how to opt out. States should not be allowed to opt out without a state constitutional amendment or referendum requiring the people of the state to vote on it. It would also be more ethical if they provided a local option of their own. I don’t agree with Paul Krugman that the opt out option will be mostly benign for most of us and maybe even be needed by some small states, and that these states will be under pressure to opt in if it works.  There are states that haven’t bought into federal programs for years and there are no signs of change any time soon. How is it that the federal welfare reform law had no opt out? It is not moral to allow large segments of the population to die just because we can. I believe in everyone’s right to suicide when such a choice is individual and informed.  This is not the choice of most of those that happen to live in these potential opt out states.  They have been unable to enjoy many other federal programs available to date due to the failure of their state to opt in. Why would it happen now, on this issue?  If you don’t think this is deeply rooted in the history of this country from the beginning, you are misinformed.

The intellectual history of the thugarchy driving the opt out option may actually flow from the middle ages where chivalry was the protection of the aristocracy.  That moneyed aristocracy has always existed in this country and their values have been grafted onto our political system via a corporatism, the warnings of which go back to Andrew Jackson and even further.  Today the corporate elite can make money from anything without the burden of actually having to produce a product and that money is being bundled into ever larger spheres of control.  The danger in this is a centralizing power (i.e., money) that is clearly what  Andrew Jackson had in mind when he warned of allowing the monopolistic control of capital to manipulate the real sources of wealth in this country. He said we would be giving up our freedom to the corporation. So the fair and equitable distribution of anything that such a monopoly as the health insurance industry has taken away would be a restoration of freedom and a move away from the existing fascism.

 

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