Government 101

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It seems that the people who post items like this are ignorant on how government works. They must have failed their high school government class and payed no attention to the Schoolhouse Rock spot for “I’m Just a Bill”.

First of all President Trump, or any President for that matter, has absolutely no control what-so-ever as to what passes in the House or Senate. None. But let’s look at facts instead of hate mongering on the President.

H.R. 299 The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act, is a bill that originated in the House of Representatives. That is why it has the name that begins with H.R. That stands for House Resolution. This particular bill was introduced by a Republican Representative from California in January of 2017. This fact of course gets over looked by the Left.

It takes a while for a bill to go through committee, hearings, debate and committee vote before it gets released out to the general House for a full vote. In the case of this bill this didn’t happen until June of 2018, a year and a half since it was introduced. And this bill passed the House with support from Republican and Democratic Party members by 382 to 0.

At that point the bill went over to the Senate Veteran Affairs committee for hearings, debate, and committee vote before it will go to the full Senate. This bill didn’t fail in the Senate yet. It is still in committee awaiting a committee vote which was just recently proposed by both Democratic and Republican members of the committee.

If this bill dies in committee, it will be the fault of the Senate Veteran Affairs committee members, not that of President Trump. If the committee passes the bill, it will go for a full Senate debate and vote. They could tack on additional amendments which would delay the process as it would then have to go back to the House again. If no such changes are made to it and it passes the full Senate vote when it comes. Then President Trump actually becomes involved.

The President has 10 days to sign the bill making it law. If he does not it will become law anyway if Congress is in session. If Congress is not in session during that 10 day period and the President doesn’t sign it then the bill will die.

The President could veto the bill if something was tacked on to it by either house of Congress that the President disagrees with and send it back to Congress to deal with it. If both houses pass it again, without modification, it would override the President’s veto and it would become law that way. Our President needs line item veto to be able to pass good legislation while trimming the fat from it.

So at this point the President doesn’t have anything to do with this bill until it really reaches his desk. If this bill fails it is due to the legislature, not the president. Stop hating on the President for things he has no control over what so ever.

Who Watches the iWatch-men?

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It was a battle of two heavyweights. In the blue corner, the United States government. In the, well, equally blue corner, Apple. And the tech world couldn’t microwave popcorn fast enough to keep up with the exciting twists and turns.

For those of you who haven’t heard, the FBI wanted Apple to break into an iPhone previously owned by one of the San Bernardino shooters, stating they wanted the information from the phone in case there was news about impending terrorist attacks. Geez, everyone knows that sort of thing gets sent into the Cloud these days…

Anyway, Apple refused, citing their belief the government would use whatever they created to hack into one iPhone as a “skeleton key” for other iPhones. As a result, the government sued Apple. Then, miracle of miracles, the government figured out a way to get into the iPhone (i.e. they got a 4 year old to do it) and suddenly dropped the suit against Apple. So, win-win, right?

Not so much. On the one hand, Apple still has the proprietary technology used in iPhones, but now they know the government has figured out a way to circumvent that technology. And, surprise surprise, the government isn’t going to let Apple have information on the security flaws with the iPhone.

On the other hand, the federal government attempted to force a major company to help them with a terrorism investigation. At first, it was a request, but once the government lawyered up, it turned into an attempt at forced compliance. But as long as it was for national security, it makes it okay, right?

Wellllll…that’s where the problem lies for me. After 9/11, government found a new excuse to take more tax dollars to fund pet projects by slapping a “national security issue” sticker on proposed spending. Want your local First Responders to have a Sherman Tank for weekends? It’s national security! Want to bail out the airline industry, which was already failing before 9/11? It’s national security! Heck, I’m surprised the National Endowment for the Arts didn’t try to get more funding for itself by claiming bad art is linked to national security.

Regardless, the Apple standoff showed us there is a fine line between freedom and security. I’m not a big fan of getting attacked by terrorists, but I’m also not a big fan of government using the threat of a terrorist attack to justify further overreach into our freedoms. Especially when it’s clear the government may not have needed Apple’s cooperation in the first place. So, why did the government go through the motions of this Kabuki theater?

Control.

Once you give the government a little bit of control, they aren’t too keen on giving it back. That’s why it’s important to use some critical thinking when a situation like what happened to Apple arises. What happens from here is dependent upon the morals and ethics of the government.

In other words, we’re screwed.