Thursday, September 10, 2009

Uscrambling the HATEtriot Jumble

Each new reichwing talking point is like Jumble the Scrambled Word Game (tm).

There's a pile of nonsense that you get to sort out into words which give you clues to delightfully silly little joke. It's a harmless amusement on the funny pages, but in our politics it tries to be more serious.

"No Enforcement Mechanism!" is a Jumble currently being spread about by those who claim to be patriots but hate the majority of Americans (remember, Obama got more votes than the other guy, making the Birthers and the Deathers officially anti-American!). It seems that someone offered an amendment to HR3200, specifying the computer system that would be used to verify citizenship.

Now let's keep in mind that this system is unusable in an emergency; no EMT is going to check your citizenship before saving your life. It is designed for situations in which there is a little more leisure, such as Medicare. However, perhaps the reichwing is fearful of a horde of Mexicans leaving a country where quality health care is so inexpensive that thousands of Americans retire there every year specifically for health care!.

Or it may be that the reichwing really does want us all to carry some sort of Federal ID card, to prove citizenship before the bleeding is staunched. People who blurt out "You Lie!" in a joint session of Congress has clearly "got issues".

More to the point, it is simply inadvisable to specify in legislation a particular computer system, unless one is very confident that the system will never be replaced by a better system, will never go down for an extended period (requiring backup procedures), and that its vendor's payments to you will never be made public. A better design, from a technical standpoint, is to make a general law and have the executive enforce it. That is, after all, why our agencies tend to be run by the Executive Branch and not by our Congress.

Thus the "no enforcement remedy" argument is simply silly. Section 142 of HR3200 specifies duties and so forth of a commissioner whose job will include seeing to it that people served by the bill's provisions are eligible. No illegal aliens are eligible. There is always the risk that the Commissioner may be as incompetent as FEMA's Brownie but, then again, computer software may be known to have flaws in them from time to time.

One may prefer that a particular system be built into law, but to construe that the lack of such a specification in a law means there will be no enforcement is simply another HATEtriot Jumble.

Or, as the punchline of the week goes: "You Lie!"

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