Monday, August 31, 2009

Is health care a “right”?

Members of the left have repeatedly stated that “health care is a fundamental right”. When challenged on the constitutionality, I have seen several refer to the most-quoted phrase: “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

But this is erroneous and misleading. That phrase does not come from the constitution; it comes from the 1776 Declaration of Independence. That document was written as a declaration of American values and, more importantly, a laundry lists of grievances about the abuses by the autocratic British government under King George, and was essentially a “gentleman’s advisory” to the King and his minions that the frequent and unjust treatment of the colonies had violated the colonists’ perceived “inherent rights”.

By contrast, what we now know as “the Constitution,” was the agreed-upon limitations of powers for the newly-established government of the United States of America. As James Madison said: "The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined." (Federalist Papers #45).

Anyone who has attempted to read the current health care bill (HR 3200) will immediately be struck by the obtuse language and expertise required to read and comprehend it. It is a perfect example of the incredibly complex, opaque language used by lawyers to legislate and cover all the many facets of a program they wish to create, and is written in a style that is so difficult it requires a great deal of legal expertise to read. To wit; it is written by lawyers, for lawyers (and bureaucrats).

But upon reading the constitution, it will become apparent that nearly any person with a reasonable education can understand the enumerated rights, and although much ado is made by the elite that you must be a “constitutional scholar” to form a valued opinion on the issue, it was never intended that way: it was written by the people and for the people. It was not written in French, which was the international diplomatic standard in those times, nor was it written in Latin. It was written in common English, in a manner comprehensible by the average, educated citizen. Why? So that the everyday voting citizen could be empowered with knowledge of his rights and would remain vigilant for any attempt by the government to usurp rights and powers from the citizenry.

Concerned that, in the distant future, the government might interpret the rights stated within the Declaration of Independence and the early constitution to be the limits of individual rights and attempt to expand its “jurisdiction” and usurp powers they did not intend it to have, the framers added the “Bill of Rights” in the first ten amendments to the constitution (introduced by James Madison). The ninth amendment advised that the first ten amendments were not to be interpreted as the “universe” or entirety of “rights” of the citizens: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the People.” And the tenth amendment specifically stated: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people (Amendment X).”

The Bill of Rights is, essentially, a list of what are known as negative rights. In brief: “Positive Rights” are those which permit or oblige action. That is to say: the government has the right to levy taxes, and therefore may take action to that regard. A “Negative Right” informs the government that it has no right to take action in that area: The congress cannot establish a religion, nor can it infringe upon the individuals’ right to keep and bear arms, for example.

So what of this “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”: Does it apply to the notion of a government option to health care?

Proponents of a government-controlled health care option claim that the word “life” meant that the government has the right to create bureaucracies to provide access to health care for all citizens.

The only place in the Bill of Rights where “life” appears is in the Fifth Amendment, regarding due process, double jeopardy, self-incrimination, and eminent domain: “No person shall be…deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” This amendment made no reference at all to providing goods or services to the people; it was instead another limitation on government powers to protect the individual from tyrannical abuse of powers. The phrase “deprived of life” simply meant that the government shall not execute an individual without due process of law.

The constitution itself never states that the government has either the power or the responsibility to provide all the needs to sustain a life. Let us consider the most basic needs to sustain a life: 1) Shelter, 2) Food, and 3) Water. It is not within the government’s mandate to provide any of these “needs”. It is left up to the society at large and the ingenuity of the individual to make do to the best of his needs to provide those things. It is not up to the government to provide houses for the citizens. Nor does the government have the powers to create nationalized farms and ranches. Nor does the government have the responsibility to guarantee water to all individuals, regardless of where they choose to live; if an individual chooses to build a house in the middle of Death Valley it is incumbent upon that individual to satisfy his need for water. *(See footnote)

Health care should be considered a similar “need”. If any citizen believes that he or she cannot live a life of quality without health insurance, then let that citizen work diligently to earn sufficient money to pay for the service.

The states, on the other hand, do retain the rights to provide these additional services, if the citizenry agrees to collectively carry that burden.

In my opinion, therefore, any attempt by the federal government to create a bureaucracy to provide “affordable” health care is a violation of the constitution, and an unacceptable expansion of federal powers. To allow the federal government this latest indulgence would open Pandora ’s Box to similar compassionate consideration to provide a never ending list of “needs”. Shall the government provide transportation to all citizens? Shall it also provide mechanical services on the individuals’ vehicles? Shall it guarantee “affordable” food, creating mammoth new bureaucracies to provide subsidized sustenance? Shall it fund those conveniences upon the backs of other, more industrious individuals?

The love of Liberty requires that the individual accept the burden of personal responsibility. To demand that others sacrifice their Liberty, or their prosperity, in order to provide for your conveniences and needs, is a selfish and unconstitutional violation of the rights of other citizens. It should not be encouraged, nor shall it be tolerated.

*Footnote: Proponents to the health care plan will argue that, although the government "does not have a mandate to provide public housing", it already does so, just as it does provide education, as well as Medicare and Medicaid. This does not contradict my point in the least. Just because the federal government has previously expanded its powers beyond its constitutional mandate does not suddenly mean that to do so again is NOT another constitutional violation, or that it is made less reprehensible. Imagine that the driver of an automobile was caught driving 5 miles per hour over the limit, but the police officer only gave him a warning. Then later he is caught driving 30 miles per hour over the limit, and argues that because he was let off for speeding once, he believes that he has been exempted from speed limits. It's like the government saying: "Hey, we violated the constitution and gave the citizenry a bunch of expensive services and the citizenry didn't complain much about them, so we have the right to expand even further now."

Just because the camel got its nose under the tent does not mean it can now come live under the tent!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Obama's State Dept. reverses itself AGAIN on Honduras

On August 17th, I published a blog entitled "Earth to Obama", in which I wrote:

For a man whose intelligence has been praised as being “off the charts”,
Obama appears to be absolutely clueless. It is astonishing that the US President
missed a phenomenal opportunity to pressure the despotic regime in Iran, then
leapt blindly into Honduran politics, had to reverse himself, and has yet to
formulate any stated policy at all regarding Hugo Chavez, who is notorious for
his nefarious interference into the affairs of weaker nations throughout the
hemisphere...Under President Obama, American foreign policy is a rudderless ship, perilously adrift amid the bergs.

The point of that article was that the Obama foreign policy seems to drift dangerously, illogically, and unpredictably. While Obama had first stated that the removal of Zelaya had been an "illegal coup", they then appeared to rethink that decision, and in an article published in McClatchy, the Obama administration wrote a letter to Republican Senator Lugar, which was reported to mark a change in the policy. According to McClatchy, "the Obama administration has backed away from its call to restore ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya to power and instead put the onus on him for taking "provocative actions" that polarized his country and led to his overthrow on June 28. "

And now, Reuters reports "U.S. State Department staff have recommended that the ouster of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya be declared a "military coup," a U.S. official said on Thursday, a step that could cut off as much as $150 million in U.S. funding to the impoverished Central American nation...The official, who spoke on condition he not be named, said State Department staff had made such a recommendation to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who has yet to make a decision on the matter although one was likely soon."

What in the name of God is going on in this Obama administration?

Because Obama's too incompetent to be compared to Hitler

Apparently, It was too offensive to sensitive Liberals for protesters to use the Swastikas in order to suggest that the Liberal policies resembled National Socialist policies under Nazism.

So here is my own suggested alternative for posters...

Monday, August 17, 2009

“Earth to Obama…”

Venezuelan caudillo Hugo Chavez criticized President Obama recently, and although it pains me personally to ever agree with Chavez, I have to admit he is right: “"President Obama is lost in the Andromeda Nebula, he has lost his bearings; he doesn't get it."

While Chavez’s comment could be applied generally to nearly every Obama policy, from a public option in his Health Care reform to his attempt to have citizens report each other via the infamous White House website, he was specifically criticizing Obama's position on the democratic crisis in Honduras.

Even Bill Maher has piled on, stating that “Obama needs to get a little George Bush in him, personality-wise.” Maher seemed to think that Obama was just being “too nice”, and needs to get tough in order to get his policies through. The silly thing about this is that, while Bush managed to get his way even during the last two years of his presidency when he had a Democrat-controlled House and Senate, Obama can’t seem to get anything right despite the fact that his own party controls both houses and the presidency.

Could it be that executive experience does trump "coummunity organizing"?

The reason has nothing to do with Obama being “too bi-partisan”. No, it’s because he truly has lost his bearings, if he ever had any to start with.

The Honduran and Iranian cases prove the point.

When the presidential elections in Iran were allegedly stolen by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s government, resulting in massive protests and extremely violent oppression of protestors, Obama wobbled on his feet indecisively. By the time Obama finally got his bearings and was convinced that a grave injustice was being perpetrated, it was too late. He looked like good-guy Bob Barber from the 1985 satirical film “Rustler’s Rhapsody”, bellying up to the tough-guy bar to order a warm-milk—except that Obama wasn’t even tough enough to threaten to shoot the guns out of the bad-guys’ hands.

Shortly after, when Honduran President Manuel Zelaya (who just happens to be one of Chavez’s great buddies) was ousted by the Honduran Supreme Court, congress and the attorney general for violating the constitution, the Obama administration didn’t hesitate to step knee deep in caca, by immediately condemning “the coup”.

This only helped the Latin American leaders who were eager to restore the leftist Zelaya, and put Obama squarely within the ranks of such esteemed leaders as Raul Castro, Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales, and Daniel Ortega. As usual, the Democrats proved that they were so busy looking like “good guys”, they had lost all moral compass.

A few weeks later, we get a new headline: “US drops call to restore ousted Honduran leader”. Not only have they stopped calling for his return, they “instead put the onus on him for taking ‘provocative actions’ that polarized his country and led to his overthrow on June 28.”

My experience with lobbying Washington regarding the dangerous influences of Hugo Chavez’s regime convinced me that the Republicans were far more pragmatic about the new crop of leftist leaders in Latin America led by Hugo Chavez than were the Democrats. All it took to pull the proverbial wool over the Dem’s heads was for a Latin president to claim that he was determined to help the poor and promote “social justice”. Our Democrat “leaders” gobbled up that populist swill without hesitation, and it was nearly impossible to get them to see past the socialist window-dressing.

The Republicans, meanwhile, were quick to notice those same leader’s attempts to overthrow their nations’ constitutions, create civilian paramilitary organizations, undermine elections, bribe the poor with promises of free money, free land, increased minimum wages, etc. It was as if the Republicans still remembered the horrific events in Panama under Noriega, while the Democrats had somehow forgotten them.

In keeping with this historical context, Republican Senator Richard Lugar R-Ind. and other Republicans protested the Obama position by threatening to hold up nomination of a number of key positions (Arturo Valenzuela for Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere affairs and other ambassador positions). Facing tough challenges, and probably more informed about the details of the events, the Obama administration has changed its position 180ยบ. They wrote a letter to Lugar that detailed the change in policy, and “also rejected calls by some of Zelaya's backers to impose harsh economic sanctions against Honduras… While condemning the coup, the letter pointedly failed to call for Zelaya's return.”

More importantly, the Obama administration has finally verbalized a criticism of President Zelaya’s actions: “We also recognize that President Zelaya's insistence on undertaking provocative actions contributed to the polarization of Honduran society and led to a confrontation that unleashed the events that led to his removal.”

How could Obama take any other position? Since his removal, Zelaya has threatened the interim government with violence, and Chavez threatened to take military action in Honduras, either through direct military conflict or by arming an insurrection. Zelaya supporters shut down the schools and a number of hospitals in protests that turned violent, forcing the Honduran police to seize school after 2nd day of violence. These protestors attacked local businesses such as Popeye’s Chicken, Dunkin Donuts, Burger King, and other local shops, smashing windows and even throwing firebombs at the offices of a local news station. All of these actions directly mirror the actions of Hugo Chavez’s “Bolivarian Circles”, and considering his threats, should generate suspicion that perhaps Chavez himself is helping to organize and fund the violence.

For a man whose intelligence has been praised as being “off the charts”, Obama appears to be absolutely clueless. It is astonishing that the US President missed a phenomenal opportunity to pressure the despotic regime in Iran, then leapt blindly into Honduran politics, had to reverse himself, and has yet to formulate any stated policy at all regarding Hugo Chavez, who is notorious for his nefarious interference into the affairs of weaker nations throughout the hemisphere.

Under President Obama, American foreign policy is a rudderless ship, perilously adrift amid the bergs.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Health Care for illegals?

A quick note on healthcare and illegal immigrants...

I read a comment by a liberal recently that stated that "all of the civilized nations cover everyone living in their country, even illegal immigrants." The same commentor also praised the British model, so I thought I'd do a quick check.

The United Kingdom population I found was 60,975,000. They had an estimated 500,000 illegal immigrants. That means that the illegal immigrant population in the United Kingdom was just 0.82%.

The United States has 303,824,640 residents/citizens. We also have an estimated 12,000,000 illegal immigrants. That means that the illegal immigrant population in the United States is 3.95%.

We have four times the problem that they have in Great Britain, and logically, the cost of treating those illegal immigrants would be at least four times what it is there.

The Huddle Study found that if you compare what they generate here versus what they COST, the net cost per illegal immigrant is FAR greater than the NET GAIN, by an estimated $24.44 per individual.That was BEFORE "Obama Care" was considered. Give them all access to health care, and Lord only knows how much that will go UP.

My "Turn in Pelosi for 'Disinformation' Email"

And here is the content of the email I sent reporting Nancy Pelosi's "Disingormation Campaign":

To the esteemed manager of the Flag effort to identify disinformation about the Obama Healthcare Plan, I found a site where there is consistent and blatant disinformation.

It is the Web Page of Nancy Pelosi. Speaker Pelosi has published false statements that clash with the facts.

She says:
“that we are moving closer to a place where we will lower costs, we will improve the quality of care, we will expand choices, and we will give peace of mind to the American people”

The falsehoods are:
1. Because the bill appears to be stalled, the statement that “we are moving closer” is purposely misleading.
2. According to the Congressional Accounting Office, the Obama plan will not only not decrease costs, but will increase costs. So this statement is purposely misleading
3. Mrs. Pelosi states that “we will improve the quality of care”. This is yet to be seen, but analysts examining the bill have concluded that the direct result of the bill will be rationing and a reduction of care, which is the opposite of “improving the quality of care.” So this statement is also misleading.
4. Mrs. Pelosi then states that: “the CBO has reported and disputed claims by the Republicans about what our legislation will do”. However, the CBO released a report estimating the cost of a leading healthcare reform proposal at more than $1 trillion, but that figure looked only at a portion of the bill. The analysis falls just within the most expensive cost scenario sketched out by Democratic leaders in recent days, but does not include an estimate for a highly contentious government-run insurance plan that would compete with private insurers. The CBO has actually disputed claims by the Democrats, and I demand that the White House correct this blatant disinformation.
5. Mrs. Pelosi makes a very harsh and misleading statement about the Healthcare Insurance companies, denouncing “the immoral profits being made by the insurance industry”. This statement was bolstered by President Obama, who remarked about the healthcare insurers making “record profits”. However, this is false. researched it and found that profits this year across the board are DOWN for Healthcare insurers. Please be sure to have Mrs. Pelosi and the President correct this in their statements.

These are but a few of the blatantly false and misleading statements made by Speaker Pelosi. This type of disinformation is poisoning the otherwise healthy debate on this vitally important issue. As a concerned citizen, I demand that you contact Mrs. Pelosi and have her review all of her published statements and make sure they accurately represent all of the known facts.

The David Axelrod email

Well, now we know!

When the White House started its little “report on disinformation campaign”, directed from the Whitehouse, I fired off an email reporting “disinformation” I found at the web page of a VERY questionable character: Nancy Pelosi.

I mailed my report to the “Flag” email address at the Whitehouse. And guess what? I got one of David Axelrod’s emails in response!

What this confirms is that 1) they ARE storing the emails (we knew they would; they are bound by law to do so), and 2) they are compiling a list of what they perceive as “allies”.

You see, below, I got one of the now infamous David Axelrod emails. Confirming the White House’s confusion, however, is the opening term applied to me as “Friend”, which is false, obviously. I wish they would correct that and put me on the “Foe” list, but knowing what government bureaucracy is, it may take a while before they implement that change.

David Axelrod's email:
Dear Friend, This is probably one of the longest emails I’ve ever sent, but it could be the most important. Across the country we are seeing vigorous debate about health insurance reform. Unfortunately, some of the old tactics we know so well are back — even the viral emails that fly unchecked and under the radar, spreading all sorts of lies and distortions. As President Obama said at the town hall in New Hampshire, “where we do disagree, let's disagree over things that are real, not these wild misrepresentations that bear no resemblance to anything that's actually been proposed.” So let’s start a chain email of our own. At the end of my email, you’ll find a lot of information about health insurance reform, distilled into 8 ways reform provides security and stability to those with or without coverage, 8 common myths about reform and 8 reasons we need health insurance reform now. Right now, someone you know probably has a question about reform that could be answered by what’s below. So what are you waiting for? Forward this email. Thanks, David David Axelrod Senior Adviser to the President P.S. We launched this week to knock down the rumors and lies that are floating around the internet. You can find the information below, and much more, there. For example, we've just added a video of Nancy-Ann DeParle from our Health Reform Office tackling a viral email head on. Check it out: 8 ways reform provides security and stability to those with or without coverage
Ends Discrimination for Pre-Existing Conditions: Insurance companies will be prohibited from refusing you coverage because of your medical history.
Ends Exorbitant Out-of-Pocket Expenses, Deductibles or Co-Pays: Insurance companies will have to abide by yearly caps on how much they can charge for out-of-pocket expenses.
Ends Cost-Sharing for Preventive Care: Insurance companies must fully cover, without charge, regular checkups and tests that help you prevent illness, such as mammograms or eye and foot exams for diabetics.
Ends Dropping of Coverage for Seriously Ill: Insurance companies will be prohibited from dropping or watering down insurance coverage for those who become seriously ill.
Ends Gender Discrimination: Insurance companies will be prohibited from charging you more because of your gender.
Ends Annual or Lifetime Caps on Coverage: Insurance companies will be prevented from placing annual or lifetime caps on the coverage you receive.
Extends Coverage for Young Adults: Children would continue to be eligible for family coverage through the age of 26.
Guarantees Insurance Renewal: Insurance companies will be required to renew any policy as long as the policyholder pays their premium in full. Insurance companies won't be allowed to refuse renewal because someone became sick.
Learn more and get details: 8 common myths about health insurance reform
Reform will stop "rationing" - not increase it: It’s a myth that reform will mean a "government takeover" of health care or lead to "rationing." To the contrary, reform will forbid many forms of rationing that are currently being used by insurance companies.
We can’t afford reform: It's the status quo we can't afford. It’s a myth that reform will bust the budget. To the contrary, the President has identified ways to pay for the vast majority of the up-front costs by cutting waste, fraud, and abuse within existing government health programs; ending big subsidies to insurance companies; and increasing efficiency with such steps as coordinating care and streamlining paperwork. In the long term, reform can help bring down costs that will otherwise lead to a fiscal crisis.
Reform would encourage "euthanasia": It does not. It’s a malicious myth that reform would encourage or even require euthanasia for seniors. For seniors who want to consult with their family and physicians about end-of life decisions, reform will help to cover these voluntary, private consultations for those who want help with these personal and difficult family decisions.
Vets' health care is safe and sound: It’s a myth that health insurance reform will affect veterans' access to the care they get now. To the contrary, the President's budget significantly expands coverage under the VA, extending care to 500,000 more veterans who were previously excluded. The VA Healthcare system will continue to be available for all eligible veterans.
Reform will benefit small business - not burden it: It’s a myth that health insurance reform will hurt small businesses. To the contrary, reform will ease the burdens on small businesses, provide tax credits to help them pay for employee coverage and help level the playing field with big firms who pay much less to cover their employees on average.
Your Medicare is safe, and stronger with reform: It’s myth that Health Insurance Reform would be financed by cutting Medicare benefits. To the contrary, reform will improve the long-term financial health of Medicare, ensure better coordination, eliminate waste and unnecessary subsidies to insurance companies, and help to close the Medicare "doughnut" hole to make prescription drugs more affordable for seniors.
You can keep your own insurance: It’s myth that reform will force you out of your current insurance plan or force you to change doctors. To the contrary, reform will expand your choices, not eliminate them.
No, government will not do anything with your bank account: It is an absurd myth that government will be in charge of your bank accounts. Health insurance reform will simplify administration, making it easier and more convenient for you to pay bills in a method that you choose. Just like paying a phone bill or a utility bill, you can pay by traditional check, or by a direct electronic payment. And forms will be standardized so they will be easier to understand. The choice is up to you – and the same rules of privacy will apply as they do for all other electronic payments that people make.
Learn more and get details: 8 Reasons We Need Health Insurance Reform Now
Coverage Denied to Millions: A recent national survey estimated that 12.6 million non-elderly adults – 36 percent of those who tried to purchase health insurance directly from an insurance company in the individual insurance market – were in fact discriminated against because of a pre-existing condition in the previous three years or dropped from coverage when they became seriously ill. Learn more:
Less Care for More Costs: With each passing year, Americans are paying more for health care coverage. Employer-sponsored health insurance premiums have nearly doubled since 2000, a rate three times faster than wages. In 2008, the average premium for a family plan purchased through an employer was $12,680, nearly the annual earnings of a full-time minimum wage job. Americans pay more than ever for health insurance, but get less coverage. Learn more:
Roadblocks to Care for Women: Women’s reproductive health requires more regular contact with health care providers, including yearly pap smears, mammograms, and obstetric care. Women are also more likely to report fair or poor health than men (9.5% versus 9.0%). While rates of chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure are similar to men, women are twice as likely to suffer from headaches and are more likely to experience joint, back or neck pain. These chronic conditions often require regular and frequent treatment and follow-up care. Learn more:
Hard Times in the Heartland: Throughout rural America, there are nearly 50 million people who face challenges in accessing health care. The past several decades have consistently shown higher rates of poverty, mortality, uninsurance, and limited access to a primary health care provider in rural areas. With the recent economic downturn, there is potential for an increase in many of the health disparities and access concerns that are already elevated in rural communities. Learn more:
Small Businesses Struggle to Provide Health Coverage: Nearly one-third of the uninsured – 13 million people – are employees of firms with less than 100 workers. From 2000 to 2007, the proportion of non-elderly Americans covered by employer-based health insurance fell from 66% to 61%. Much of this decline stems from small business. The percentage of small businesses offering coverage dropped from 68% to 59%, while large firms held stable at 99%. About a third of such workers in firms with fewer than 50 employees obtain insurance through a spouse. Learn more:
The Tragedies are Personal: Half of all personal bankruptcies are at least partly the result of medical expenses. The typical elderly couple may have to save nearly $300,000 to pay for health costs not covered by Medicare alone. Learn more:
Diminishing Access to Care: From 2000 to 2007, the proportion of non-elderly Americans covered by employer-based health insurance fell from 66% to 61%. An estimated 87 million people - one in every three Americans under the age of 65 - were uninsured at some point in 2007 and 2008. More than 80% of the uninsured are in working families. Learn more:
The Trends are Troubling: Without reform, health care costs will continue to skyrocket unabated, putting unbearable strain on families, businesses, and state and federal government budgets. Perhaps the most visible sign of the need for health care reform is the 46 million Americans currently without health insurance - projections suggest that this number will rise to about 72 million in 2040 in the absence of reform. Learn more:

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

We would be fools to turn over healthcare to this government

In an August 6th, 2009 article titled “Death Drugs Cause Uproar in Oregon”, journalist Susan Donaldson James describes a horrifying event that occurred to Oregon resident Barbara Wagner.

“The 64-year-old Oregon woman, whose lung cancer had been in remission, learned the disease had returned and would likely kill her. Her last hope was a $4,000-a-month drug that her doctor prescribed for her, but the insurance company refused to pay. What the Oregon Health Plan did agree to cover, however, were drugs for a physician-assisted death. Those drugs would cost about $50. “

When I first wrote this article, I was under the impression that it was a private insurance company that rejected her service. But I was wrong: it was the state-run healthcare plan!

Why would the state-run do healthcare system do this to a person? Well, to put it quite frankly, in order to eliminate waste (and increase profits). “…Under [Wagner’s] insurance plan, she can the only receive ‘palliative’ or comfort care, because the drug does not meet the ‘five-year, 5 percent rule’ -- that is, a 5 percent survival rate after five years.”

Oregon is a state that has passed Doctor Assisted Suicide laws, called the “Death With Dignity Law”. Obviously intended originally to give terminally ill patients the ability to choose death on their own terms rather than languish in suffering for years, the law may appear on the surface to be a compassionate solution to one of the most difficult decisions a person can make.

But, in this case, instead of offering expensive care, the health plan offered a death pill instead.

I believe that it is the perfect example of how, given the option, the Federal Government will inevitably promote suicide or even euthanasia instead of “wasteful” care.

I have been researching euthanasia in Europe for a while now, and have published blogs on the topic in which I cite analysis showing how in some European states (principally Holland, although Switzerland also to a lesser degree) have begun to use euthanasia as part of their “health care” practice. No matter how well documented my sources are (even when government agency statistics are cited and links provided), I get responses from liberal friends who immediately dismiss the articles as “ridiculous lies”. Most simply refuse to read the articles. Others read parts, but then dismiss them outright.

When asked why they will not consider the articles, the response I get is: “You have a view, and you find whatever you can to support that view. Example: you hate socialism. Therefore, socialism kills the innocent.” So you just dismiss the concept from the start? “You’re absolutely right. When I hear that countries are killing their elderly, and we’re going to start doing the same, I just dismiss it.”

The next dismissal is predictable: “We would never have euthanasia in the United States.”

This was said in the context of my allegation that if we implemented single-payer healthcare in the United States, the government would inevitably head down this same morbid path, exactly as have the governments where they have socialized medicine: it is already happening.

Liberals scoff at concerns about section 1233 of the Healthcare Bill in the house currently (HR 3200), in which doctors are encouraged to discuss “end of life options”. In his article, “Undue Influence”, Washington Post writer Charles Lane explores a number of concerns people have about the government option, and openly questions whether or not the Federal Government’s plan would “force everyone over 65 to sign his…own death warrant.” Lane boldly states that his is “rubbish”.

“Federal law already bars Medicare from paying for services "the purpose of which is to cause, or assist in causing," suicide, euthanasia or mercy killing. Nothing in Section 1233 would change that.” May I point out that laws can be changed?

However, Lane adds that, having read section 1233, “it is not totally innocuous.”

“The 1997 ban on assisted-suicide support specifically allowed doctors to honor advance directives… Section 1233, however, addresses compassionate goals in disconcerting proximity to fiscal ones. Supporters protest that they're just trying to facilitate choice -- even if patients opt for expensive life-prolonging care. I think they protest too much: If it's all about obviating suffering, emotional or physical, what's it doing in a measure to ‘bend the curve’ on health-care costs?”

When we have examples like the current one, in which the “villainous” health care insurance companies not only refuse care, but suggest death instead, it is clear that the argument “it would never happen here” is moot, to say the least. There are those who are already testing the waters, right here.

So, how radical of an idea is it to suggest that, if state-run health care programs are already suggesting suicide instead of care, the Federal Government will someday do the same thing? Why are we to believe that only states will apply cost-saving analysis to care, but the Federal Government will not?

We are talking about the same US government that didn’t want to send the recommended number of troops to Iraq, in order to save money. The result? A prolonged war and unnecessary number of dead soldiers.

It’s the same government that didn’t properly equip all of the troops it sent—again, as a cost-saving measure. How many troops died unnecessarily due to these “frugal” policies?

It’s the same government that has had a “trust responsibility to provide health care for American Indians and Alaska Natives, {and yet} the Indian Health Service is substantially underfunded and understaffed.” There is no shortage of documentation supporting the allegation that our federal government has seriously underserved our Native Americans.

To quote an article by Tim Giago, an Oglala Lakota who recently wrote "How Will Universal Health Care Affect Native Americans?":

"Those Americans opposed to it compare it to Canada's or Britain's health care systems, which they say are nothing but socialized medicine. The Indian Health Care system, deemed a "historic failure" by Sebelius, has also been labeled as socialized medicine, and the fact that she would label it as a failure does not place much faith in an even larger universal health care system. It just seems that every time the federal government takes total control over anything, failure is almost assured. Watch out General Motors."

He ends his article: "If you think the government can solve all of our problems ask an Indian."

Why should we believe that a government that has allowed its troops and the Native Americans to “go without” will suddenly change its stripes when we hand over the entire health care industry?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

How our government makes “civil debate” impossible

CNN Political Analyst, Gloria Borger, published a criticism of the “hecklers” at the many town hall meetings across the country, in which citizens who are concerned, even infuriated, about the Obama Healthcare plan, are vocalizing their opposition to the plan in a way she describes as “bad behavior.” She says: “Their bad behavior is a derivative of the questionable quality of the political debate they listen to every day. Indeed, if there's one thing we've gotten really good at over the years, it's this: reducing complicated problems to bite-sized slogans.”

Bite-sized slogans? You mean like "HOPE" and "CHANGE"?

She then tries to reassure us: “The effort on Capitol Hill has been serious…members of Congress are actually doing some real work.” Well they apparently are not working hard enough! They haven't read at least TWO of the major legislative pieces they've drafted and admit as much publicly.

As an example of the alleged misbehavior, she specifically refers to a recent town hall meeting organized by Senator Arlen Specter with the HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.”In attempting to answer questions, they were shouted down by folks more interested in venting than discussing.”

Other examples can be seen all over the news, such as this confrontation between a “Democrat Tea Party Protester” who confronted the House Majority Leader, or another meeting in St Louis, or the one in Austin. And following the Hugo Chavez model of governance, rather than accept that the people are furious at the government and leaders, the Obama administration has instead lashed out and accused the protests as being “manufactured”— that is to say, according to the ruling elite, they are being artificially generated and staged. This was also the same accusation they leveled at the hundreds Tea Party protests a few months ago.

What’s more, the administration is accusing groups of passing “disinformation” about their “plan”, and have even created a mechanism by which private citizens can report sources of “disinformation” directly to the White House –effectively creating a form of domestic spying network reporting directly to the President (yet another tactic eerily reminiscent of Hugo Chavez).

On the White House website, you can read: “There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to”

What are they calling “disinformation”? How about the video of Obama stating that he wanted Single Payer healthcare, published on Or articles such as this one, in which the President was quoted: “ ‘If I were designing a system from scratch, I would probably go ahead with a single-payer system,” Obama told some 1,800 people at a town-hall style meeting on the economy.’ ” These comments have also been recorded on video. They additionally call “disinformation” the videos that have been assembled showing the many times that Obama stated that he wanted a single-payer healthcare system.

More importantly, Obama and other "leaders" have been caught saying that, while they acknowledge that the public would not support going directly to a single-payer system, their plan would eventually lead us there. They then state in other forums that this is not their intention, and that they want "competition". They say that the "plan" (which they admit they have not fully read and with which they are "not familiar") would NOT eliminate private healthcare insurance. Analysts who actually HAVE read the bill are warning that the opposite is true.

So what should we believe? Should be believe what they say they didn't say after they have said the thing they deny having said? Or should we believe the analysts who are telling us that what is in the bill will lead us directly into the situation they said they wanted before they said they didn't want it?

What Borger fails to comprehend is that it is the government’s fault, clear and simple, that “discussion” has degraded into furious screaming matches. Democratic dialog can only occur in an environment in which all sides can feel that they are being mutually respected, and in which the leaders who are answering to their constituents understand that A) they work for the people, not the other way around, and B) the information they provide is true, to the best of their knowledge.

But when government leaders have stated, on camera, a position that later they say they never said, and then accuse the citizens of “manufacturing” dissent and spreading “disinformation”—which implies they are lying—the government has alienated itself from the people it pretends to govern. It also has undermined the necessary conditions for “civilized debate”.

These government officials are just like the criminal who is caught on tape robbing a store and later claims “I wasn’t there when they caught me”; their credibility is shot from the start. When they then turn around and claim that the people who have seen the video are “liars” for reminding them of what they have seen, they are engaging in a not-so-subtle ad hominem attack on the citizens.

The Democrats, who proudly bragged that they were part of a young and hip generation that understands modern technology such as Twitter and Facebook and the Internet, have apparently misjudged the overall sophistication of the average citizen, and have ironically overlooked the fact that their previous statements are out there for all to see. The Democrats have repeated the mistakes made by the Iranian regime that thought it could silence the opposition by quashing journalism, only to have their criminal exploits exposed via the new information media.

Americans have lost respect for their leaders. These leaders are bewildered that we don’t just trust them, even though they are exposed every time they make contradictory statements to different audiences (remember Obama’s “guns and religion” quote? Or his gaffe about the police “acting stupidly”?). Instead of admitting that they misspoke, or admit the mistake, they act as if we are all stupid, and explain themselves by saying something to the effect of; “I know what I said but what I meant was the opposite.”

The citizens are screaming because they are honestly angry. They are yelling because they do not believe what they are being told. They are heckling because they know that it is impossible to have “civilized debates” with arrogant government officials who disrespect them, ignore them, and lie to them.

And if this does not change, soon, the screaming, yelling, and heckling may morph into actions a great deal more serious. Remember that the 1773 Boston Tea Party was not the start of the Revolution: it was just a warning that was not heeded by the arrogant and bullying British aristocracy.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Democracy requires citizen action.

Democracy requires citizen action. Are you doing your part?

My experience as founder and President of a non-profit 501c-3 taught me that the “leaders” of our Republic can truly be influenced by direct action of their constituents. While many people cynically underestimated the effects that a small group of activists could have on the colossal US government, we stubbornly moved forward.

We formed action groups, wrote analysis white-papers that we faxed to the representatives on a regular schedule, and met our representatives whenever they were in town. Our persistence paid off. When we started, the Democrat representatives thought that Hugo Chavez was a “harmless clown”, or a “democratically elected leader” who was “honestly concerned about the poor.” They didn’t take us seriously at first. But over time, we won a few key Congressmen and Senators over to our side. Eventually, they told us that they even found our analysis more credible than the analysis they received from the Department of State, and our understanding of the issues deeper and more reliable than “experts” such as the Carter Center.

Our nation is now at another crossroads. If concerned citizens sit idly by, waiting for the leaders to lead in the right direction, they will be disappointed with the results. Democracy requires direct citizen action. And you need to do your part.

Many people want to help, but don’t know how. So here is a step-by-step plan to get you started.

1. First, create a list of your representatives.
a. Click on the link to
b. In the box titled MY ELECTED OFFICIALS, input your ZIP code and click GO.
c. The names of your Congressmen and Senators will appear.
d. Make a list of these Representatives.
e. Click the link to each of them.
f. Click the Contact tab, and gather all the contact information about the individual. Put it in your list. Be sure to get the FAX number!
2. Each representative also has a link to his/her website. Go to their homepage and search for dates of their Townhall meetings they are going to have during the recess.
3. If there are no meetings scheduled, call the local office for the representative and demand a schedule of those events.
4. Identify your two or three top concerns.
a. Research those concerns. Find articles and analysis written by journalists or organizations you respect and trust. Do NOT use blogs. Use only respected news and analysis sources.
b. Create a document on each of those topics, and cut and paste the best pieces of analysis, quotations, statistics, etc. from the articles.
c. Always include the SOURCE, in case you are challenged on the veracity and quality of your citations. Trust me: when challenged publicly, they will often try to belittle the constituent in order to make you look incompetent or misinformed. The ability to quote directly from trusted sources will stop that immediately.
d. Create a folder of these documents, and carry them with you to every meeting so you can refer to them.
5. Plan on attending every townhall meeting you can.
6. Create a network of people who share your opinions, and disseminate the dates and locations of the meetings, and encourage your friends to join you. Strength in numbers!
7. Create a brief, respectful but forceful letter on each of your concerns.
a. Address all letters directly to each of your representatives.
b. Save the letter as a form letter that you can use to send to each representative so you don’t have to waste time re-writing the letter.
c. Create two copies of each letter: one signed by you, and one with the signature space blank.
i. Give the blank signature page to friends and family and ask them to FAX it to the representative.
d. Do NOT send it yet.
8. Call the representative’s office, and ask for the names of the Aids that focus on your two or three concerns. They will give you those names.
a. Ask to introduce yourself to those individuals.
b. Explain who you are, and inform the individual that you would like to fax a letter to the representative, and to be expecting it shortly.
c. NOW FAX and mail the letter to the representative.
9. The most effective but time consuming thing you can do is to form a group.
a. You will be asked when you call the representative’s office if you are an individual or represent a group. If you can say (honestly) that you have dozens, or hundreds, or even thousands of constituents in your group, they will be eager to please.

Now, get off your ass and go put pressure on the idiots ruining the country!