Friday, February 26, 2010

The Airplane Jerk

What to do if seated next to a jerk on an airplane...


1. Take out your laptop.

2. Slowly open your laptop.

3. Turn it on.

4. Make certain your neighbor is watching.

5. Open your Internet browser.

6. Close your eyes for a few moments, open them, and then look up to the sky, or the heavens, if you will.

7. Breathe deeply and open the following site: www.myit-media.de/the_end.html

8. Look at the expression on your neighbor's face.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

More on the Summit

And from today's "Morning Bell" report:

Today’s White House-sponsored health care summit is an insult to the intelligence of every honest American. President Barack Obama’s communications minions are still trying sell his plan as an “opening bid” [1] in the health care debate. But as Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus asks [2]: “With whom is he bidding? The public dance is with Republicans, but this is hardly serious. The White House does not enter Thursday’s summit expecting Republicans to make a deal.” In fact, the President’s recently-unveiled plan is specifically designed to be passed without a single Republican vote [3]. That is why the Washington Post reports this morning:

Although Obama is billing the White House gathering as an opportunity for Republicans to air their ideas for reform, Democrats do not expect it to reveal much common ground and are showing little willingness to abandon the basic outline of legislation that the House and Senate have approved.

The real target of today’s summit are the 38 Democrats in the House who voted against Obamacare the first time. While Obamacare passed the House 220-215, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told reporters yesterday she is not sure if she has the votes [4] this time around. The passing of Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) and the retirements of Reps. Robert Wexler (D-FL) and Neil Abercrombie (D-HI) have cost her three votes, and the inclusion of taxpayer-funded abortions in the Senate and White House plans will cost the vote of the only Republican to vote for the plan the first time around, Rep. Joseph Cao (R-LA), as well as Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) and 15 to 20 additional pro-life Democrats.

That means the White House must convince a sizeable chunk of conservative Democrats to switch their votes. Brown University political scientist James Monroe says [4] that is the true purpose of today’s event: “House Democrats have told Obama, ‘Move the needle on public opinion,’ and that’s what this is about.” So how does President Obama plan to “move the needle” on the public’s view of his plan? By pushing the same old tired talking points he has been trying to sell them for over a year now. But the public’s opinion of President Obama’s plan has steadily declined [5] as they have learned more about it. That’s for good reason: they intuitively know his claims cannot be true. Specifically, the President says his plan will “make insurance more affordable,” “set up a new competitive health insurance market,” and “put our budget and economy on a more stable path by reducing the deficit.”

But as Heritage fellow Bob Moffit amply details [6], each of these claims are demonstrably false. The Senate bill actually increases health insurance premiums and raises taxes on the middle class by $629 billion over ten years. It destroys what little there is left of a real competitive health insurance marketplace by instituting new price controls and standard benefit packages that will turn health insurance companies into public utilities. And the plan is so riddled with deceptive budget gimmicks that the White House’s non-CBO scored $950 billion price tag actually comes to $2.5 trillion [7] once an honest accounting has been applied.

The stakes for today’s summit are high. According to a new Gallup poll [8], if President Obama fails to win any conservative support, Americans by a 49% to 42% margin will oppose rather than support Congress passing a health care bill. And what if President Obama decides to go it alone and pass major social welfare legislation with a bare majority? By an even larger 52% to 39% margin, Americans oppose passage of Obamacare with only 50 Senators in support (Vice President Joe Biden casting the 51st vote). And those opposed are more likely to feel strongly about their opinion than those in favor, 25% to 11%.

Back in 2005, then- Sen. Barack Obama said: “You know, the Founders designed this system, as frustrating it is, to make sure that there’s a broad consensus before the country moves forward.” Let’s hope the President heeds his own advice, and after today’s summit fails, he starts over [9].

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Smoke and Mirrors

With the meeting coming up tomorrow, I am going to leave this post up from the "Morning Bell" for a couple of days. Obama's plan is more of the same and probably worse than the other two plans the democrats have already submitted. This is not what the American people want and it should be defeated as quickly as possible. This is not a bipartisan approach.

Flacking for President Barack Obama’s “new” health care plan, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters [1] assembled for yesterday’s press briefing: “The president posted ideas of his on the White House website today. We hope Republicans will post their ideas either on their website, or we’d be happy to post them on ours, so that the American people could come to one location and find out the parameters of what will largely be discussed on Thursday.” And this might have been a small bit of successful Obama administration gamesmanship on health care and transparency in government except for one small problem: reality. Not only do House Republicans already have their own health care plan, not only is it already available online [2], but the White House’s own website [3] already links to it!

And speaking of the President’s behind-closed-doors plan, don’t believe any of those headlines showing a $950 billion price tag. That is an Obama administration-created number that should not be afforded any more credibility than Gibbs’ grasp of the contents of his own website. In fact, the independent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) published this [4] about the President’s new plan yesterday:

Preparing a cost estimate requires very detailed specifications of numerous provisions, and the materials that were released this morning do not provide sufficient detail on all of the provisions. Therefore, CBO cannot provide a cost estimate for the proposal without additional detail, and, even if such detail were provided, analyzing the proposal would be a time-consuming process that could not be completed this week.

In other words, even with over a year to prepare for the moment they would finally release their own plan, the White House could only manage to obtain an “incomplete” grade from the official budget scorekeeper in Washington. So every time you hear the President say “my plan is paid for” or “my plan reduces the deficit,” just remember you are going to have to take his word for it.

And where the President’s plan is more firm than fuzzy, it only makes the scheme worse:

Cornhusker Kickback for All: Instead of just eliminating the Cornhusker Kickback [5], the White House chose to solve their Medicaid problem by extending the deal to all 50 states. Now all new Medicaid spending through 2017 and 90% after 2020 will be picked up by the feds.

Weakens and Delays Cost Control: The White House’s proposal is silent on whether all collective bargaining agreements will be exempt from Obamacare’s new health insurance tax, but the new plan does go ahead and weaken what was the only thing in the entire bill that even liberal health care experts thought had a chance of containing health care costs [6]. The plan delays implementation of the new tax until 2018 (when President Obama is well out of office) and raises the threshold for taxation to $27,000.

Steals More Money from Medicare: To pay for Cornhusker Kickbacks for all, increased subsidies for health insurance, and the health insurance tax delay, the White House raises the Medicare payroll tax and extends it for the first time ever to investment income. The least they could have done is slate this new $120 billion in taxes to help plug Medicare’s existing $38 trillion unfunded liability [7], not fund a brand new entitlement.

Creates New Price Control Authority: The President’s plan also creates a new Federal Health Insurance Rate Authority, which would provide federal “assistance and oversight” to the states conducting reviews of “ unreasonable rate increases” and “unfair practices” of health insurance plans. This, of course, establishes for the first time a legislative basis for the imposition of price controls on health insurance. If government can control both health benefits and health care pricing, that’s the proverbial ball game. Private health care is private in name only. [8]

Providing an overview for the President’s new plan, the Associated Press [9] reports: “Starting over on health care, President Barack Obama knows his chances aren’t looking much more promising. A year after he called for a far-reaching overhaul, Obama unveiled his most detailed plan yet on Monday. Realistically, he’s just hoping to win a big enough slice to silence the talk of a failing presidency.” The problem is, the plan the President released yesterday is not a “start over” … it is just a continuation and expansion of the same Washington-centric policies that the American people have clearly rejected over the past year. There still is a chance for Obama to save his presidency, but yesterday’s plan will not do it.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

David Limbaugh on the Obamaplan

This Op-ed sums up some of the key pertinent points about the sham that this legislation entails and if this meeting Obama has arranged doesn't scrap this plan and start from scratch and really try to get bipartisan support, it is a waste of time and energy.

Ignoring the fix to the Medicare Payment program is not rational and makes this bill smoke and mirrors. There is no way this can be called healthcare reform and no way it can be budget neutral. There may be a lot of ignorant individuals out there who believe what is being touted by the Democrats, but no one with a rational thought can believe this bill will lower the deficit when it ignores some of the fundamental problems.

Obamacare Hazardous to America's Health, December 22, 2009

At least common thieves don't destroy an entire health care system and socialize the American economy when they commit their felonies. Too bad we can't say the same for our illustrious Democratic senators who sold out the nation.

In exchange for criminally unconstitutional favors for their respective states, they voted to pass the Senate health care bill just 38 hours after it had been made available to the public for review.

Everyone knows about Sen. Mary Landrieu's negotiating $300 million for her state in non-guaranteed Medicaid payouts. She was even cocky about her institutionalized larceny.

Sen. Bernie Sanders finagled $10 billion worth of earmarked greenbacks for the funding of community health centers in his home state, Vermont, to support a bill he vehemently opposed just three days earlier.

Sanders and Sen. Patrick Leahy secured additional Medicaid funding for Vermont, while senators from Pennsylvania, New York and Florida achieved Medicare Advantage protections for their constituents even as benefits from this program are being cut nationwide.

And why not? The end always justifies the means for these liberals. And the end, in this case, is their long-held Utopian Marxist dream of socialized health care. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was not only unapologetic but also defiant about these bribes. "You'll find a number of states that are treated differently than other states. That's what legislating is all about. It's compromise," said Reid.

But this wasn't compromise. It was blackmail. And the payoff was at the expense of our bankrupt heirs.

Liberal politicians rationalize judicial rewriting of the Constitution on the basis that great things are accomplished that might not otherwise be possible through legitimate democratic processes. But what we're seeing now is the logical result of this callous disregard for our government charter.

If the Constitution had been treated with respect, this legislative monstrosity passed in the dead of night with the discriminatory application of federal monies would have been invalid on its face. But these days, adhering to constitutional principles designed to separate government powers among the three branches has become arcane -- and almost a lost cause.

You have to wonder, though, when residents of our individual states who were recipients of these pernicious deals will rise up and reject this blood money flowing from the mortal wounds to the nation their senators have inflicted. After all, the bribe money their states are receiving won't do them much good if the nation further disintegrates into bankruptcy.

What's worse is that the foregoing outrages don't begin to address the disturbing provisions, such as the following, in this shameful Senate bill.

Obama brags that the Congressional Budget Office scores the bill as reducing the federal deficit over the next decade. But even if you accept this static analysis, you should be aware that according to The Heritage Foundation, the CBO bases its calculations only on the data the Senate provides. The Senate bill provides that Medicare fees for doctors would be cut by 20 percent beginning in 2011, but "nobody believes these cuts will be allowed to happen." If they don't, just this one change would result in Obamacare's adding $196 billion to the deficit in the first 10 years and $765 billion in the following one.

Obamacare would fare even worse, accountingwise, if it didn't force states to increase Medicaid obligations -- another unfunded mandate that would bankrupt states further.

Health care costs, say Heritage experts, would rise by $234 billion. They also tell us that though Obama promised that no one would be forced to change his health care plan, the CBO confirmed that 10 million Americans would be forced out of their current plans under Obamacare. And the $493 billion in Medicare cuts would force up to 20 percent of health care providers into insolvency.

Finally, Heritage informs us that "Obamacare is funded with over $400 billion in new taxes at a time of double digit unemployment."

National Center for Policy Analysis health care expert John C. Goodman says: "This bill does not curb health care expenses, but it will increase taxes and cost jobs. The end result of this bill: most Americans will wait longer for poorer quality care."

Adding insult to injury, most pro-life groups believe the bill does not ensure that federal funding would not be available for abortions.

After all the dust settles, millions will remain uninsured, which makes this entire bill a grotesque mockery of the American people.

The clock is ticking toward 2010.

Monday, February 22, 2010

"Bend Over and Cough"

Yes Larry Elder has it right in his op-ed in the WSJ. Larry Elder : ObamaCare: Does It Cover 'Stupidity'? - Townhall.com

Americans overwhelmingly like their health care and their health insurance. While Americans reject ObamaCare, the President and Congress insist on driving it through.

Most Americans, up to 85 percent, already have health insurance and are satisfied with it. Lacking health insurance is different from lacking health care -- which, by law, emergency rooms must supply. Millions go without health insurance by choice and not due to lack of resources. Deduct from the number without insurance those who have access to it via entitlement programs, those temporarily without it while between jobs, those here illegally and those who could go on their parents' insurance plans by paying affordable amounts -- and you're down to 10 million to 15 million people without health insurance for longer than a year. This represents 5 percent of Americans.

To address this, the President and the Democrats are this close to a complete government takeover of health care. And a takeover it is. Assuming some kind of plan reaches the President's desk, it will -- at minimum -- force all Americans to purchase health insurance or pay fines or worse. It will force nearly all employers to provide health insurance or pay fines. It will tell health insurers that they must accept applicants with pre-existing illnesses and restrict their ability to "discriminate" based on factors like sex and age.

Incredibly, the President and Congress tell us that our economic recovery hinges on "health care reform" and that they can achieve it -- providing millions of people with health insurance estimated to cost a trillion dollars in the first decade -- while simultaneously reducing the deficit.


The plan anticipates cutting hundreds of billions from the popular Medicare programs, whose beneficiaries vote in numbers greater than any other age group. Doctors and hospitals already complain that Medicare reimbursements fall short of costs, let alone profits. Good luck with that.
"Health care reform" achieves its deficit-reducing magic by collecting taxes in the early years -- building up money -- while paying out very little. Only after the first four years does money go out. It also forces states to pick up part of the tab. So, voila, it actually reduces the deficit -- at least in the first decade.


Then what? The Congressional Budget Office -- in cost estimates full of caveats, conditions and on-the-one-hands -- says that it could/might/may reduce the deficit in the second and third decades, too. Again, this assumes continued cuts in doctor and hospital reimbursements.
Despite the White House photo op of docs in their white frocks, most physicians oppose ObamaCare. They resent further government supervision and control over their practice.



A poll commissioned by Investor's Business Daily found that 65 percent "oppose" ObamaCare and that 45 percent would consider taking early retirement or leaving their practice if the bill went through.

Given the broad opposition -- most Americans, most doctors and seniors in fear of cuts in Medicare -- why do it?

First, the Democrats -- now in control of all three branches of government -- have convinced themselves that they face a political price if they fail. ObamaCare supporters, based on bogus assumptions and inflated numbers, argue that many, if not most, bankruptcy filings are due to health care bills. If, as President Obama asserts, "reforming" health care and economic prosperity go hand in hand, how can they abandon it?

Second, while a large majority of Republicans and most independents oppose these "reforms," Democrats overwhelming support them. They consider health care and health insurance a right -- never mind the Constitution or the price tag -- and think "the rich" should bear the costs. Congresspersons fear an electorate upset at a failure "to deliver" a victory over the evil, money-grubbing insurance companies.

Third, many believe in good faith that this is the "right thing to do." This breathtakingly ignores the mountain of evidence that government command-and-control health care reduces quality, reduces innovation and inevitably leads to rationing. The president of the Canadian Medical Association says Canada's system -- a single-payer kind, favored by President Obama -- is "imploding." She calls for more competition.

Critics of America's health care system say that citizens in other countries enjoy longer life expectancies. But after adjusting for homicides, increased infant mortality due to teen pregnancies and low birth weights, obesity and other behavioral factors, the discrepancy disappears. Compare American medical outcomes against those of other countries. Our system produces the world's best results for cancer patients who go into medical care at the same time similarly situated patients enter their countries' care. Our pharmaceutical companies lead the world in coming up with new life-extending and -enhancing drugs, a record at risk given new controls and taxes under the guise of "reform."

When the ObamaCare bill comes due -- when the deficit explodes and the costs are "controlled" through government-directed rationing -- supporters, including President Obama, will long have departed Washington, leaving others to deal with the mess. In the meantime, bend over and cough. Or else.

Friday, February 19, 2010

New Alert Levels

The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent terrorist threats and have raised their security level from "Miffed" to "Peeved." Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to "Irritated" or even "A Bit Cross." The English have not been "A Bit Cross" since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies all but ran out. Terrorists have been re-categorized from "Tiresome" to a "Bloody Nuisance." The last time the British issued a "Bloody Nuisance" warning level was in 1588 when threatened by the Spanish Armada.

The Scots raised their threat level from "Pissed Off" to "Let's get the Bastards" They don't have any other levels. This is the reason they have been used on the front line of the British army for the last 300 years.

The French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from "Run" to "Hide". The only two higher levels in France are "Collaborate" and "Surrender." The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France 's white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the country's military capability. It's not only the French who are on a heightened level of alert. Italy has increased the alert level from "Shout loudly and excitedly" to "Elaborate Military Posturing." Two more levels remain: "Ineffective Combat Operations" and "Change Sides."

The Germans also increased their alert state from "Disdainful Arrogance" to "Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs." They also have two higher levels: "Invade a Neighbor" and "Lose".

Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual, and the only threat they are worried about is NATO pulling out of Brussels.

The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines ready to deploy. These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy.

Americans meanwhile and as usual are carrying out pre-emptive strikes, on all of their allies, just in case.

And in the southern hemisphere.. .

New Zealand has also raised its security levels - from "baaa" to "BAAAA!". Due to continuing defense cutbacks (the airforce being a squadron of spotty teenagers flying paper aeroplanes and the navy some toy boats in the Prime Minister's bath), New Zealand only has one more level of escalation, which is "I hope Australia will come and rescue us".

Australia , meanwhile, has raised its security level from "No worries" to "She'll be right, mate". Three more escalation levels remain: "Crikey!', "I think we'll need to cancel the barbie this weekend" and "The barbie is cancelled". So far no situation has ever warranted use of the final escalation level.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Review of the CMS Report

Here is one of the last summaries from Heritage related to the CMS report on the Healthcare takeover that the Democrats are still pushing. All polls are now indicating that nearly 2/3 of all Americans are opposed to this radical agenda. Could this be the first time in history that a domestic program that is so opposed by the American people is shoved through by the radical political "hacks" in congress?

The Battle Over Obamacare’s Obituary Has Begun

Last month, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) rammed through her version of Obamacare almost a week before the agency in charge of running Medicare and Medicaid, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMMS), could issue its non-partisan and independent analysis of the legislation. And for supporters of the President’s plan, it’s a good thing she did. The CMMS report eviscerated almost every single promise the President has made about his health care plan.

According to that report, Obamacare: 1) raises health care costs; 2) causes millions of Americans to lose their current health care coverage; 3) forces millions of Americans to pay fines and still receive no health insurance; 4) causes millions of seniors to lose their Medicare Advantage plans; 4) places millions of Americans on welfare; 5) jeopardizes Medicare access for all seniors; 6) worsens health care access for the poor.

This past Friday, CMMS issued another report, this time on Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) version of Obamacare and the verdict was in many ways worse: 1) health care costs would rise by $234 billion; 2) 17 million Americans would be forced out of their existing health insurance; 3) 19 million Americans would pay $29 billion in taxes/fines and receive no health care in return; 4) 33% of all Medicare Advantage customers would lose their health care plan; 5) 18 million Americans would be put on welfare; 6) the $493 billion in Medicare cuts would force 20% of Medicare providers to become unprofitable thus jeopardizing access to care for all seniors; and 7) the explosion in Medicaid recipients would exacerbate existing health care access problems for the poor.

The week before the Senate began debating Obamacare, CNN conducted a poll and found that Americans narrowly opposed the plan, 49% to 46%.

Now that the Senate has been debating the plan for two weeks, and CMMS has issued two devastating reports on what the impacts of Obamacare would be, opposition to the plan has skyrocketed.

This Friday’s latest CNN poll showed 61% of Americans now oppose Obamacare compared to just 36% who support it.

Liberals are is beginning to see the writing on the wall. They know that if Obamacare fails to pass the Senate this year, the battle will be on to explain its failure. For them, the story can not be that President Barack Obama tried to push too ambitious a government health plan. It must be that the President and Congress did not go far enough to the left to satisfy the supposedly government-hungry American people. Hence the left is now attacking the White House and Reid over the public option, the employer mandate, drug reimportation, abortion, and health insurance spending caps.

Obamacare is not dead yet. Speaker Pelosi has signaled that she will quickly pass anything that comes out of the Senate, so Reid could still cave on almost everything and get a terrible bill from everybody’s prospective on the President’s desk by New Years.

But Senators thinking about moving quickly should remember that the public strongly opposes this bill, and that opposition is only rising.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Common Sense Approach

ReasonTV usually has some very simple common sense solutions to problems and simpler ways to look at current events. Here are a couple on healthcare.

reason.tv - Videos > How to Fix Health Care

reason.tv - Videos > Would ObamaCare Kill Medical Innovation?

The common sense approach certainly makes sense.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

More on the Constitutionality

Here are more opinions on the constitutionality of the healthcare bills being shoved at us by the Democrats.
Hatch, Blackwell and Klukowski: Why the Health-Care Bills Are Unconstitutional - WSJ.com


President Obama's health-care bill is now moving toward final passage. The policy issues may be coming to an end, but the legal issues are certain to continue because key provisions of this dangerous legislation are unconstitutional. Legally speaking, this legislation creates a target-rich environment. We will focus on three of its more glaring constitutional defects.

First, the Constitution does not give Congress the power to require that Americans purchase health insurance. Congress must be able to point to at least one of its powers listed in the Constitution as the basis of any legislation it passes. None of those powers justifies the individual insurance mandate. Congress's powers to tax and spend do not apply because the mandate neither taxes nor spends. The only other option is Congress's power to regulate interstate commerce.

Congress has many times stretched this power to the breaking point, exceeding even the expanded version of the commerce power established by the Supreme Court since the Great Depression. It is one thing, however, for Congress to regulate economic activity in which individuals choose to engage; it is another to require that individuals engage in such activity. That is not a difference in degree, but instead a difference in kind. It is a line that Congress has never crossed and the courts have never sanctioned.

In fact, the Supreme Court in United States v. Lopez (1995) rejected a version of the commerce power so expansive that it would leave virtually no activities by individuals that Congress could not regulate. By requiring Americans to use their own money to purchase a particular good or service, Congress would be doing exactly what the court said it could not do.

Some have argued that Congress may pass any legislation that it believes will serve the "general welfare." Those words appear in Article I of the Constitution, but they do not create a free-floating power for Congress simply to go forth and legislate well. Rather, the general welfare clause identifies the purpose for which Congress may spend money. The individual mandate tells Americans how they must spend the money Congress has not taken from them and has nothing to do with congressional spending.

A second constitutional defect of the Reid bill passed in the Senate involves the deals he cut to secure the votes of individual senators. Some of those deals do involve spending programs because they waive certain states' obligation to contribute to the Medicaid program. This selective spending targeted at certain states runs afoul of the general welfare clause. The welfare it serves is instead very specific and has been dubbed "cash for cloture" because it secured the 60 votes the majority needed to end debate and pass this legislation.

A third constitutional defect in this ObamaCare legislation is its command that states establish such things as benefit exchanges, which will require state legislation and regulations. This is not a condition for receiving federal funds, which would still leave some kind of choice to the states. No, this legislation requires states to establish these exchanges or says that the Secretary of Health and Human Services will step in and do it for them. It renders states little more than subdivisions of the federal government.

This violates the letter, the spirit, and the interpretation of our federal-state form of government. Some may have come to consider federalism an archaic annoyance, perhaps an amusing topic for law-school seminars but certainly not a substantive rule for structuring government. But in New York v. United States (1992) and Printz v. United States (1997), the Supreme Court struck down two laws on the grounds that the Constitution forbids the federal government from commandeering any branch of state government to administer a federal program. That is, by drafting and by deliberate design, exactly what this legislation would do.
The federal government may exercise only the powers granted to it or denied to the states. The states may do everything else. This is why, for example, states may have authority to require individuals to purchase health insurance but the federal government does not. It is also the reason states may require that individuals purchase car insurance before choosing to drive a car, but the federal government may not require all individuals to purchase health insurance.

This hardly exhausts the list of constitutional problems with this legislation, which would take the federal government into uncharted political and legal territory. Analysts, scholars and litigators are just beginning to examine the issues we have raised and other issues that may well lead to future litigation.

America's founders intended the federal government to have limited powers and that the states have an independent sovereign place in our system of government. The Obama/Reid/Pelosi legislation to take control of the American health-care system is the most sweeping and intrusive federal program ever devised. If the federal government can do this, then it can do anything, and the limits on government power that our liberty requires will be more myth than reality.

Mr. Hatch, a Republican senator from Utah, is a former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Mr. Blackwell is a senior fellow with the Family Research Council and a professor at Liberty University School of Law. Mr. Klukowski is a fellow and senior legal analyst with the American Civil Rights Union.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Is it Constitutional?

As we continue to look at healthcare, we'll give some more opinions on the constitutionality of the mandated insurance.

Here is an article from the IBD Editorials Investors.com - Health Care Not In Constitution

We are expanding government way beyond its limits and continuing to erode individual liberties. I hope everyone will financially support a legal challenge of the constitutionality of this Healthcare bill if it ever gets passed.

Health Care Not In Constitution

Posted 12/23/2009 05:58 PM ET

Self-Evident Truths: Sen. Dianne Feinstein says it comes under the Commerce Clause. Rep. Steny Hoyer says it's mandated by the "general welfare" clause. Despite liberal wishes, health care is not a right.


The "living Constitution" that Democrats and their court appointees have given us may be the death of our freedoms. Their constitution adapts to the times and serves the whims of the elitists. The Constitution is supposed to limit government powers. It does not allow government to do anything it feels like doing.


Cass Sunstein, the head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, is the author of "The Second Bill of Rights: FDR's Unfinished Revolution and Why We Need It More Than Ever."


He writes glowingly of how President Franklin Roosevelt, unsatisfied with the Constitution the Founding Fathers wrote, proposed a Second Bill of Rights in a speech on Jan. 11, 1944.


One of the new "rights" FDR envisioned was "the right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health." If health care were a right under the U.S. Constitution, FDR would not have had to propose it as one to be added.


Yet liberals believe it should be, and some believe it is. Feinstein, the senior senator from California, was asked Tuesday by CNSNews on what constitutional authority the Senate and House bills are authorized. She responded, as others have, "Well, I would assume it would be in the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. That's how Congress legislates all kinds of various programs."


Maybe so, but it's a power that has been grossly abused and distorted beyond all meaning. The Commerce Clause was intended for the regulation of economic activity across state lines that involves the production distribution or consumption of commodities. One does not go to a doctor to engage in commercial activity.


Mandates including the one to buy health insurance go over the line. "Even if the Supreme Court has expanded the commerce power, there has been one constant," noted Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. "Congress was always regulating activities in which people chose to engage." He added that "rather than regulate what people have chosen to do," the mandates "would require them to do something they have not chosen to do at all."


When asked the same question, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer pointed to Article 1, Section 8, which gives the Congress the power to raise taxes in order to "provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States." Does that give Congress the authority to buy things like health insurance?


We and others have made the point that broccoli is good for our general welfare, but can Congress make us eat it and charge us if we don't? Losing a few pounds would help us all and reduce health care costs, but can Congress mandate health club memberships? Hoyer thinks so.


This clause says nothing about the citizens of the United States, only the United States as a whole. The Constitution provides for the raising of armies to defend the country, not for whether or when women should get mammograms and who should pay for them.


Hoyer is wrong, according to constitutional lawyer David B. Rivkin: "The notion that the general welfare language is a basis for a specific legislative exercise is all silly, because if that's true, because general welfare language is inherently limitless, then the federal government can do anything."


Does the "general welfare" allow for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to make backroom deals that tax other states and other citizens to benefit a single state such as Nebraska and its citizens and to literally bribe senators like Ben Nelson for their vote?


Health care is nowhere to be found in the U.S. Constitution. In fact, the only time the word "care" appears is in Article II, Section 3, which says the president of the United States "shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed." That includes our highest law, the U.S. Constitution.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Unconstitutional

Although the Healthcare bills will likely be stopped in their current form, there are still some very serious questions that need to be addressed as the Democrats continue to infringe on our liberties. In a recent publication from the Heritage Foundation morningbell@heritage.org the following was posted. It brings up serious legal questions which should be challenged all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary. These personal mandates for health insurance are unconstitutional and should be challenged if any make it to the presidents desk.

On October 23rd, a reporter asked Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA): “Madam Speaker, where specifically does the Constitution grant Congress the authority to enact an individual health insurance mandate?” Speaker Pelosi shook her head and before moving on to another question replied: “Are you serious? Are you serious??” Pressed for a more substantive response later, Pelosi’s press spokesman admonished the reporter: “You can put this on the record. That is not a serious question. That is not a serious question.”

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) disagrees.
In 1994, the CBO said of an individual mandate to buy health insurance:

A mandate requiring all individuals to purchase health insurance would be an unprecedented form of federal action. The government has never required people to buy any good or service as a condition of lawful residence in the United States. An individual mandate would have two features that, in combination, would make it unique. First, it would impose a duty on individuals as members of society. Second, it would require people to purchase a specific service that would be heavily regulated by the federal government.

As much as Speaker Pelosi may wish otherwise, the CBO is dead on: the Supreme Court has never validated a federal power as intrusive as forcing all Americans to purchase a service due to their very existence. Sure, the Supreme Court has said that
Congress may regulate a farmer’s production of wheat even if he never plans to distribute it off of his farm, and the Supreme Court has said Congress may ban the possession of Marijuana even if it is for personal use, but never before has the Supreme Court said the power to regulate commerce enabled Congress to force an individual to do something just because he existed.In fact, the Supreme Court has always been clear that the Commerce clause must have some limits. In United States v. Lopez (1995), the Court struck down the Gun-Free School Zones Act, which attempted to reach the activity of possessing a gun within a thousand feet of a school. In United States v. Morrison, it invalidated part of the Violence Against Women Act, which regulated gender-motivated violence. In both cases, the Court found the regulated activity in each case to be noneconomic; it was outside the reach of Congress’s Commerce power, regardless of its effect on interstate commerce. The case for the constitutionality of the individual mandate is far weaker than either of these two cases. Congress was at least trying to regulate an individual’s activity in the cases above. But the mandate does not purport to regulate or prohibit activity of any kind, whether economic or noneconomic. To the contrary, it purports to “regulate” inactivity.If the individual mandate is Constitutional, then Congress could do anything. They could: require us to buy a new Chevy Impala each year to support the government-supported auto industry; require us to buy war bonds to pay for the Iraq and Afghan wars; require us to grow wheat (10 bushels each), or pay someone else to grow your share; require us to buy whatever they want.Many on the left immediately point to state mandates that drivers purchase car insurance as proof of a mandate that all Americans buy health insurance is not new. But car insurance mandates are distinguishable in at least four ways: 1) they are state requirements and states have broader constitutional authority than the federal government; 2) they apply to drivers only, not all Americans (e.g. passengers are not required to carry insurance); 3) drivers use public roads; 4) states only require drivers to insure against injury to other drivers, not to insure themselves against personal injury.Yesterday The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Legal and Judicial Studies released a Legal Memorandum written in conjunction with Georgetown University Law Center Professor Randy Barnett and Nathaniel Stewart explaining: Why the Personal Mandate to Buy Health Insurance Is Unprecedented and Unconstitutional. Introducing the paper, Sen. Orrin Hatch noted:

James Madison said that if men were angels, no government would be necessary and if angels governed men, no limits on government would be necessary. Because neither men nor the governments they create are angelic, government and limits on government are both necessary for ordered liberty. Politics may tell us what we want to do, but the Constitution tells us what we may do and we must keep those separate. The ends do not justify the means for one simple reason – liberty. Liberty requires limits on government power, it always has and it always will.

Someone needs to explain this concept to Speaker Pelosi. Seriously.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Haiti Experience

I have to say I am extremely grateful to be back on American Soil. The devastation and the horrendous living situation in Haiti is beyond description. This is the Palace and I was working in the makeshift hospital directly across the street.


The roof of the police station we are using for the hospital is utilized by many of the healthcare workers to sleep. The rats on the second floor won't come up onto the roof and therefore the tents were placed here.


The following few photos are the view from the roof in the different directions.




These are photos of our general medical clinic, our surgery room and our pediatric room. Lighting was a problem and we each wore headlamps to see better.







I was part of a rapid response medical team that manned this makeshift hospital and we saw 600-800 patients a day. The patients are desperate and basically in survival mode. They didn't have food, shelter, water, bathrooms or any other basic need that we so often take for granted.
We treated some horrific injuries, lots of infections and dehydration in virtually everyone.