Category Archives: Government

The Bias Construct

Recent public conversations about the political nature of Supreme Court appointments, has surfaced again. No matter who is proposed, if they’ve lived, worked, met, and offered numerous legal opinions, any nominee is going to have opinions on key issues of their day.

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United States Supreme Court Building

Such confusion and double-talk exists in our public-politic, it’s amazing that anyone can be appointed. In a recent public speaking engagement at University of California, Berkeley, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor had this to say.

“I’m saddened to see that many people have lost confidence in judges and believe they are political.”

Sotomayor made the comments while taking questions from law students. The school’s interim law school dean, Melissa Murray, served as Sotomayor’s clerk when the justice was a federal appellate court judge.

Sotomayor said judges try to be fair and impartial and don’t have rigid beliefs they apply to every case. She encouraged people to view judges as “human beings who care deeply about what we’re doing.”

This is an interesting response, considering her words elsewhere.

Sotomayor, spoke at the University of Minnesota on October 19, 2016, commenting that the Supreme Court was designed to have nine justices so it can break ties on difficult cases.

“We try to come to decision-making as best as we can,” she said. “Where we can find a very, very narrow way of deciding a case, we use it.”

Sotomayor compared Scalia’s death to the loss of a family member despite their differences.

“There are things he’s said on the bench where if I had a baseball bat, I might have used it,” she said.

Enter the new nominee Neil Gorsuch. There’s a leading headline in Rueters describing, “ideological balance at stake in confirmation fight” . Of course the usual politicos, Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, and Democrat Dianne Feinstein, are leading the opposition to his appointment along ideological lines. The Rueters article describes some of the opposition rational as to why he shouldn’t be appointed.

It’s a good thing Supreme Court judges are fair and impartial and don’t have rigid beliefs.

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Neil Gorsuch – Supreme Court nominee

Veterans Health Care – My Experience

If you’re a U.S. military veteran. or a family member of a veteran, then this blog post is for you. Those whom are also interested in government managed health care, and haven’t first hand knowledge, this may help you.

Most of what I’m going to discuss is only one man’s opinion, but in a sea of opinions, I’m going to do my best to accurately inform anyone still reading past the opening paragraphs.

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CH-46s on runway Kaneohe Hawaii, destined for Vietnam

I’m a Vietnam era veteran. That means something specific, and to anyone that has also served during a time of war, but wasn’t a directly involved participant, meaning they weren’t in the designated country, served in a non-combat role, their benefits may differ from those serving during peace time operations.

The VA has different designated levels of assistance, depending on the time someone has served. They provide service for all in some capacity, but you may need to pay more for services rendered, depending on your current income, and when you served. Those details are available online, and if you aren’t aware of them, please follow this link.

VA heath care and the Affordable Care Act.

If you read the information, don’t fully understand it, and need more help, you can drop a response at the bottom of this post, along with your real name and how to contact you. Nothing you send will be automatically posted. I have to review comments before yours goes public. If you send personal information, I’ll not publish it. Of course I’m hoping I won’t be deluged with questions or some scammer trying to take advantage of my willingness to help explain what the VA can provide. I may just post a link, if I see the answer already available for your specific question.

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Me standing outside of a TAC – 1975

I want to encourage any veteran or family member that hasn’t been involved with VA health care to not defer or postpone the services which you’ve earned. Of course, if you’re enlistment or your appointment with the military wasn’t based on what you might later receive, it’s natural to ignore your benefits.

I enrolled about 2 years ago. Since then, I’ve been in for two annual physicals, and an eye examination and a new prescription with glasses.

I went into the Atlanta VA hospital yesterday on a scheduled surgery. It was a same day, recovery at home afterwards type of care. I went in at 9am and was out by 5pm. 0900 & 1700, military time.

I can tell you my experience was as positive as I’ve had. As it has not been my first or second hospital rodeo. I think my national and international health care provided experience gives me a basis from which I can make comparisons.

I’m at home recovering today. The surgery appears to be completed without complications. I’ve had two calls from the VA. The last one was from one of the doctors who assisted in the surgery. She left her pager number on the discharge sheet in case I have a problem.

All of that without copay or out of pocket expenses. That of course is based on my time, duration of service and current level of income. If you’re a veteran or a close family member, I urge you to become acquainted with the VA. Be sure you’re not missing out on health care services. If you’ve read or heard horror stories, which I’m not going to suggest aren’t based on fact, my experience doesn’t align with those concerns. In fact, it’s been quite the opposite.

Find a VA location near you.


What is Freedom?

I’ve recently offered my opinion through social media on the vagaries and alignment of two sides on an issue which should be fundamentally understood by all. That issue is “Freedom of the Press.” Some people wish to try on their hip waders and defend their position on the basis of the Constitution. Very well, let’s take a moment and see how well we understand the first amendment. Keep in mind this one thing above all, if one-side of the political system adopts this position, what would prevent the next party to do the same, once they’re in office?

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

donald_trump_explaining_his_positionsPlace this in context with the position our President, Donald Trump, has taken with regard to some of those who represent the press. No other modern president has taken such a hostile position and altered policy to reflect such a position.

“WASHINGTON — Journalists from The New York Times and several other news organizations were prohibited from attending a briefing by President Trump’s press secretary on Friday, a highly unusual breach of relations between the White House and its press corps.

Reporters from The Times, BuzzFeed News, CNN, The Los Angeles Times and Politico were not allowed to enter the West Wing office of the press secretary, Sean M. Spicer, for the scheduled briefing. Aides to Mr. Spicer only allowed in reporters from a handpicked group of news organizations that, the White House said, had been previously confirmed.

Those organizations included Breitbart News, the One America News Network and The Washington Times, all with conservative leanings. Journalists from ABC, CBS, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, and Fox News also attended.

Reporters from Time magazine and The Associated Press, who were set to be allowed in, chose not to attend the briefing in protest of the White House’s actions.”

This constant claim that news organizations present false information, “fake news”, isn’t the responsibility of the President, it is ours. If we see, read, or listen to news that doesn’t align with the facts or misrepresents a statement made by others, it’s our duty to ignore or challenge this information.

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Click on this image for background

The framers of the Constitution never intended to limit access, or control the message, anymore than they placed limitations on the type of firearms people are allowed to own, in the second amendment. This is how the Constitution functions best.

Placing limitations on freedom creates more harm than good. We don’t need a President to be our filter on the news. It’s up to us to access any and all information, and for those hired to do the work of journalist, to do this work to the best of their ability. When they fail, they fail us, but their bad or biased work shouldn’t qualify how the Constitution is implemented.

George Orwell seeing in front of our noseSo ask yourself, if this is an action you support by President Trump, would you support this same action by a Democrat President? Freedom isn’t a gift bestowed on us by a benevolent government, it’s our inalienable right. I believed that over four decades ago when I signed up for the Marine Corps. I still believe it needs defending today.