johnkate

Oregon’s last governor, John Kitzhaber, served three and a quarter terms before he was forced to resign.  Governor Kitzhaber violated state laws against conflict of interest, misused his office for financial gain and improperly received gifts, and was fined $20,000 as civil penalty to settle 10 violations of state ethics law.  (No federal criminal charges were filed against the governor.)

The current governor, Kate Brown, seems to be walking in the footsteps of her predecessor.  Two of Governor Brown’s chiefs of staff had to resign due to violations of state ethics law.  Governor Brown had to amend her lobbying disclosure report after she falsely claimed $0 spent.  Governor Brown has used state funds to pay for private expenses such as her Oregon State Bar membership and personal items.  A recent independent report shows that Governor Brown has redacted an exceptionally large number of items (nearly 4000 items) from her state calendar while in office.  Most disturbing, the governor has received hundreds of thousands of dollars of campaign contributions from vendors who hold state contracts worth millions.

There seems to be a familiar pattern developing.  Hopefully, Oregon voters are paying attention.

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The Alfie Evans outrage occurred in an NHS hospital with a long record of clinical negligence, including the worst scandal in the history of Britain’s National Health Service. Most of the media have covered Alfie’s case, with characteristic dishonesty, as a tragedy that began before the boy was taken to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital. But, according to the court testimony of the NHS physicians who admitted Alfie, his initial diagnosis involved a fairly common condition: “viral bronchiolitis and a possible prolonged febrile convulsion.” The still-undiagnosed brain disease that allegedly killed Alfie didn’t appear until after he entered this dangerous hospital.

The hospital has had many violations of law and regulations including illegal organ harvesting, multiple safety violations, and a high rate of hospital acquired infections (HAIs).  It seems likely that this last failure led to Alfie Evans’ death.  You can read full details here: https://spectator.org/alfie-evans-is-just-the-latest-victim-of-a-deadly-nhs-hospital/.

hospitalhall

When debating socialized medicine (and other government monopolized services), we often argue ad nauseum about models, theories and statistics.  Cost estimates are made and actuarial tables quoted. We make moral judgments about the motivations of our opponents.  We also forget that real people are affected in real ways by our decisions.  Two cases in point are Alfie Evans and Charlie Gard of the UK.

These little boys had several things in common.  They were very, very sick with little hope of recovery.  Their parents loved them very, very much and wanted to do everything they could to help them survive.  And the UK medical and judiciary system decided that both boys should die.  The parents and others wanting to continue medical treatment were banned from doing so.  When the parents asked the government for permission to take their sons out of the country to receive medical care in the US or in Italy, where care was offered, they were denied.

Charlie Gard is now deadAlfie Evans is still alive as this is being written, even after being taken off of life support, but is not receiving any care.  He will most likely die soon.

Socialized medicine failed these two boys.  Their government failed these two families.  Theories and models are not as important as the very real lives affected by the choices we make about governance.

The US House Intelligence Committee has released, with Presidential authorization, the memo detailing alleged abuse of government surveillance powers by the FBI and DOJ.  Direct links to the memo are available here and here.  (The second link at docs.house.gov is currently slow, probably due to traffic.)

My analysis of this short document is that the FBI did in fact withhold source information from the FISA court about the Steele Dossier and about data from Fusion GPS, despite having this source information at the time of the initial FISA application and subsequent required renewals.  These sources (primarily Christopher Steele and Nellie Ohr) have obvious biases and conflicts of interest that would taint any evidence provided to the FISA court.  Multiple levels of FBI and DOJ administrators knew of these problems, but signed off on the surveillance requests anyway.

I am neither a lawyer nor a national security specialist, but I see no reason this document was ever classified, except to protect the names of DOJ and FBI administrators who signed off on the FISA requests, especially since the contents of the dossier and other Fusion GPS data was leaked to the press some time ago.

returntosender

The United States Postal Service violated the Hatch Act to support Hillary Clinton’s campaign.  The illegal practice of pressuring managers to release employees to campaign for Hillary wasn’t really a new practice, the investigation found.  They’ve been pressuring managers since 1990 in support of Democrat candidates.

Postmaster General Megan Brennan has promised to end the practice, but the postal service will take no action against high-level administrators or any other staff.

Read more here.