Since the introduction of www.Healthcare.gov, used for enrolling people into the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, most Americans have been underwhelmed and frustrated with its poor performance. This failure has fueled renewed attacks by the GOP and tea party members who have opposed the ACA it since it’s inception, even after the Supreme Court upheld its constitutionality.
Whether you agree with the underlying legislation or not, let’s get one thing straight: the failure of the technological aspects of the website are not peculiar to the government. Critics charge the federal bureaucracy is incapable of setting up such a highly advanced website. Let’s stop being naive or so ideological that we overlook the fact that even the biggest high-technology companies have had their share of technology snafus, often hiding the damaging effects on the public. This is true even though they were not under the pressures of strict deadlines and reduced budgets faced by the government.
In case you think the private sector is any better at avoiding these high-tech snafus:
1. In 2011, Sony suffered a major security breach of its PlayStation Network on April 19. The company didn’t even disclose it until April 26 and apologized on May 1. In the days leading up to the outage, its network was hacked. Worse, the personal information of some 77 million customers was exposed. A week later, according to Japan’s Nikkei news, another breach involved the theft of 12,700 credit card numbers and data from over 24,000 users. This was the second worst security breach since the TJ Maxx and Heartland attacks.
2. In 2007, the parent company of TJ Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods chains admitted that its network had been hacked, and personal information for more than 45 million customers had been stolen. Although first detected in December 2006, it later admitted a breach as early as July 2005, a year after a security audit revealed “serious deficiencies” in its network—with over 100 million credit cards compromised.
If you think these are the exceptions…think again. These events are far more common than we may ever know, involving millions of credit cards or other pieces of our so-called ‘secure personal information.’ You can Google “technology errors” and come up with multiple disasters for Apple, Intel, Iomega, Dell, Amazon and Sony, our technology giants.
Computer and network security is big money, from the hacker’s, as well as the security analysts’ perspectives. My son just received his PhD in computer/network security and is being paid big bucks to help prevent these kinds of problems.
Let’s stop looking to pin the blame on the Obama administration. These websites are not simple templates; they need lots of excellent programmers and code-writers to get it right. Even then, as we’ve seen, the end result is not always predictable. Pitting the private sector against the government sector will end in a futile attempt at finger-pointing. Perhaps the technologies and abilities needed in the high-tech arena are just as much an art as they are a practice of engineering. Let’s give the government kudos for its intentions and some time to get it right before trying to show that “all things government related are fallible.”
Congressman Andy Harris continues to lie and misrepresent the facts. He says that a majority of Americans don’t want to see the debt-limit raised? A straight-out lie! The highest figures I’ve seen by researching the entire internet on this issue, was 44% opposed…hardly a majority. It was a poll conducted by a Republican (McInturff) AND a Democrat (Hart), so it was not bipartisan.
It’s about time that Harris be called out as the easy liar he is…as was editorialized recently by the Cecil Daily Times. Add his lies to the fact that he has opposed any legislation that would help the Eastern Shore, in any way, and we have every reason in the world to look elsewhere for a candidate who will truly represent our District. My vote is with Dr. John LaFerla, a man of integrity and strong desires to see the Eastern Shore move forward, with jobs, infrastructure and balance for our farmers and the environment.
Dr. LaFerla was one of the first on the site of Sandy devastation, calling upon Congress to help fund relief efforts. Where was Harris? Devising his excuses for voting against the Sandy Relief package. John LaFerla offers ways to fix our problems; Harris just adds to the problems and refuses to accept responsibility for his actions. This is why former Congressman, Wayne Gilchrest, has endorsed Dr. LaFerla…and why we all should!
For more information on Dr. John LaFerla, go to www.JohnLaFerla.com
Andy, contrary to your rhetoric and misleading representations…you DO NOT represent the people of the 1st District and you do not represent me! You continue to mislead and misrepresent the facts about every issue that is important to the people. As an example, raising the debt ceiling has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with spending, except that it allows the Treasury to pay the ALREADY existing obligations of the United States. Included in that is the $4billion a year you have given to big oil companies…the same oil companies that continue to report BILLIONS of dollars in profit, EACH AND EVERY QUARTER!
This shutdown, contrary to your continuing rhetoric, occurred because you and your Tea Party cohorts, put ideology above the security of our country and the welfare of our people.
The thinking voters in our District see through your political double-talk and the nonsense you espouse. They will remember how you treated them, and the full faith and credit of the US. You are no better than a seditionist, putting ideology first, no matter what harm it causes. Here is your latest error in judgment:
Oct. 16, 2013 H.R. 2775: Continuing Appropriations Act, 2014 – Bill Passes (285 – 144) HARRIS VOTED: NAY
In true fashion, Andy “Dr No” Harris voted NAY to ending the Federal government shutdown. He voted, along with 143 of his fellow Tea Party seditionists, who wished to see the continuance of the shutdown, along with the loss of $24 billion to the American economy.
Even though it was clear to the majority of Republicans and all Democrats, that the stalemate was hurting Americans, from children and seniors who were cut off from food programs, to the millions of new home buyers, trying to get their FHA/VA-backed mortgages through the gridlock, not to mention the 800,000 Federal workers, kept from their jobs, Harris stood his ground and refused to vote for the best interests of his District and the country.
This is perhaps, the best example yet, of Harris’ inability to separate ideology from what is best for the country and the American people. Whenever he approaches a question that involves his political philosophy, he will always choose that philosophy over the needs of the people and the best interests of the country.
He has shown this over and over, from his refusal to support Sandy relief, to his votes against the Violence Against Women Act, the 2013 Farm Bill, the SNAP program, the ACA, care for our Seniors and the Disabled, and his support to shut down the government and to keep it shut down…the list just keeps growing, on and on. He has done nothing to create jobs or fix infrastructure in our District, and continues to be a hypocrite about the security of our country and the welfare of our people!
Thankfully, our President has finally stood up to Harris and his Tea Party’s terrorist threats (remember, the US doesn’t negotiate with terrorists), instead, listening to the majority of voters who elected him…TWICE! The President has tried, in the past, to negotiate with the GOP in good faith, only to see threats of a default, a shutdown and the sequester turn into a real shutdown and the 11th-hour rescue, by moderate Republicans and all Democrats, of the full faith and credit of the United States.
And what did this $24 billion hit to the American economy (not to mention the loss of international prestige) gain Andy and his fellow seditionists? NOTHING! ZILCH! NADA! ZERO! Correct; every single unreasonable, extortionist demand, made by the Tea Party GOP, was denied! Many reasonable GOP members and voters are now abandoning their hopelessly sinking ship, realizing that there must be an end to “ideology over people and country.” In so many ways, and on so many levels, this act of sedition, over the past 2 weeks, has brought the GOP closer to irrelevancy than even the candidacy and losing run, of Mitt Romney. As the old saying goes, “You made your bed…now lie in it!”
About 250 years ago, English poet, essayist, moralist and lexicographer, Samuel Johnson, wrote,
“Patriotism is the last stronghold of scoundrels.”
Hard words, no doubt, especially for those, even in his day, who were more interested in ideology than substance and pragmatism. It offended some and struck a chord with many. What did Johnson mean by this outrageous comment?
It seems that Johnson had Edmund Burke in mind when he made this epic statement. Johnson had no love for Burke and considered him and his party manipulative politicians, fitting for this petard.
Johnson believed that Burke’s false patriots appealed, emotionally, to the rabble, with their fruitless petitions and endless charade of ‘doing what is in the best interests of Great Britain.’
It seems that the more things change, the more they stay the same, since we, in 2013, are facing the same ‘patriots’, using emotion, fruitless legislative ‘petitions’ and the flag, to appeal to those who give truth and fact little attention.
If Johnson were alive today, I have no doubt that his Edmund Burke would be our John Boehner (or Paul Ryan, Rand Paul, et al) and his “party” would be the right wing of the GOP (read, Tea Party). He may, in fact, be writing this very column, calling out the current day patriots, as scoundrels (or worse). He would very well be shaking his head at the hue and cry of the Tea Party patriots, who carry the flag as evidence of their love of country, as if no one else cares about the country or its future.
According to Merriam-Webster, a “scoundrel” is defined as, “a person (especially a man) who is cruel or dishonest.” If we concede that many, if not all, politicians are less than straightforward and truthful at some point in their careers, then all we have left is someone who is “cruel.”
How would Johnson define cruel, as it relates to these patriots in 2013? He, as many of us, would look at the “fruitless legislative petitions” being advanced by them, determining if they can be considered as cruel. Johnson would not be surprised to find that Obamacare, a program meant to provide health care for 40 million uninsured Americans, has had 40+ “fruitless legislative petitions” thrown at it, in hopes of reversing it. He would also find petitions to reduce food subsidies to those who are at the bottom rungs of our economic ladder, along with petitions to reduce care for chronically-ill citizens and the disabled, cut
funding for education and government services, or reduce regulations to keep our air and water breathable and drinkable.
Cruel? If we look at the people who will be harmed most by these fruitless legislative petitions: the elderly, children, disabled, students, the poor, hungry and unemployed, how could we answer that simple question with a no? Whether we use the Golden Rule, introduced over 2000 years ago, or a purely moralistic or humanistic approach, Johnson is no doubt wincing, “The scoundrels have taken over the world!”
Running a Smart Campaign – Part 1