Monthly Archives: July 2009

Obama’s Orwellian Health Care Reform

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Obama’s Orwellian Health Care Reform
Written by Steven Yates
29 July 2009

President Obama promised the country healthcare reform. With the number of uninsured or underinsured Americans now exceeding 45 million, the country’s mood appears ready to accept his plans. In fact, he has continued to make any number of promises regarding health care reform, e.g., that under “his” plan you’d be able to choose your primary care physician, or through your employer, the insurance plan that best fits your needs. Now, however, as we read the fine print of the two 2,000-plus page bills currently before each of the two branches of Congress, evidence is emerging that “Obama care” would make George Orwell spin in his grave.

Our current health care system is far from perfect, but does afford consumers a range of choices such as those mentioned above. These choices would disappear in the long run under “Obama-care.” The present plan under consideration amounts to a federal takeover of the entire health care industry in America. Under it, you would lose many more freedoms than you would gain.

Fortune at CNNMoney.com recently took us on an excursion through the fine print of “Obama-care.” Their conclusion is that you would lose five specific freedoms under the plans currently being considered by Congress:

(1) You would lose the freedom to choose what is in your plan. The bills before both houses would require you to purchase insurance through “qualified” (by government) plans offered by health care “exchanges” to be set up in every state. The federal government would impose a minimum list of benefits each plan must offer. Many states already have such a list in place, and such policies have driven up health-care costs. The bills before Congress would allow the Department of Health and Human Services to add to the list of required benefits based on new recommendations from a panel of “experts,” meaning that the costs to Americans could be ratcheted up after a final version of “Obama care” is signed into law.
(2) You would lose rewards gained for not smoking or otherwise pursuing healthy lifestyle options as an individual. “Community rating” (already existing in 11 states) requires all patients to pay the same rates for their level of coverage regardless of age or medical condition. Younger and healthier people are forced to pay more than their actual cost, while older workers who can afford to pay more are afforded discounts. Under “Obama-care” this system would be federalized. Moreover, the bill specifically bars rewarding people who pursue healthy lifestyles such as participating in worksite exercise programs as being no different then barring insurance companies from charging higher premiums for customers with known health conditions such as diabetes.
(3) You would no longer be able to chose high-deductible coverage to lower your rates. Hundreds of employers offer employees Health Savings Account plans. Employees can deposit portions of their paychecks into the account with matching contributions from their employers. The employees can use their deposits to purchase a high-deductible plan for major medical costs (e.g., over $12,000) while also using the fund to pay for routine doctor’s appointments. HSAs prompt cost-consciousness. The bills before Congress endanger consumer cost-conscious health care. The required minimum packages would prevent patients from choosing plans covering only major medical expenses. Again, the federal government could set low deductibles that would eliminate HSAs after the bills are signed into law, according to John Goodman of the National Center for Policy Analysis.
(4) President Obama has insisted that under “Obama-care” you would have the freedom to keep your present plan. Those who have closely read the bills before Congress contend that over the long run the reality would be otherwise. The legislation divides the insured into two main groups—employees covered by the Employee Retirement Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) as part of their benefits packages from their employers, and those not covered by ERISA but who have private insurance or through small businesses. The former may indeed “keep” their existing plans, but only because they have been “grandfathered” for five years. Afterward their employers would have to offer government-approved plans through the “exchanges” with all their rules and restrictions noted above, and below. The legislation would require all insurers offering plans to the second group to offer the government-approved plans. Employees who purchased their plans before the law goes into effect could again “keep” them, but with a major restriction: if their plan changes in any way, e.g., through switching coverage for a drug, the employee would be forced to drop out and seek coverage through the “exchange.” Millions of employees would lose their freedom to keep their existing health care plans within the first year. (You would not, it should go without saying, be allowed to choose to be uninsured under “Obama care.”)
(5) President Obama has maintained that under “Obama-care” you would retain the freedom to choose your own doctor. The Senate version of the bill requires that Americans buying health insurance through “exchanges” must obtain care through what it calls “medical home”—the Obama-care equivalent of an HMO. You would be assigned (not allowed to choose) a doctor, and that doctor would control your access to specialists if needed. Health care gatekeepers would guide patients to tests and treatments that have proven cost-effective. The danger here is obvious: patients could be denied necessary care if it couldn’t be shown to be cost-effective.

The present system has its faults. Some of us are wondering if the coupling of health care benefits to employment, a practice dating back to the 1930s, was a good idea to begin with. Our problem in a nutshell has long been that we Americans have wanted quality health care but have not wanted to pay for it, and have instituted mechanisms of avoiding paying for it. Consequently the system has delivered services at below-market-value rates. Moreover, the offering of health care services at below-market rates has failed to encourage healthy behavior within the population. Basic economics dictates that the costs have to be made up somewhere, and the consequences of offering health care services at below-market rates has been the explosion of costs we have seen recently—along with many employers no longer offering health care benefits to their workers.

What are we to conclude from this excursion? Perhaps that in true Orwellian fashion, Obama has said one thing while the massive proposal for health care reform will actually do something quite different — possibly moving us closer to the sort of society in which the elderly and others not contributing directly to the economic system would technically be part of the health care system but be denied crucial medications or procedures not deemed “cost-effective” — euthanasia without its name, in other words.

What can we do? First, we must go back to basics and realize that health care choices are decisions that stem from an individual’s basic and unalienable rights to life and liberty. As such health care decisions and expenditures should be made by individuals of their own free will. That won’t be the case under the Obama plan.

Steven Yates earned his Ph.D. in philosophy in 1987. He is the author of one book, Civil Wrongs: What Went Wrong With Affirmative Action (San Francisco: ICS Press, 1994) and numerous articles both in academic journals and elsewhere. He has taught philosophy at Clemson University, Auburn University, Wofford College, the University of South Carolina, Southern Wesleyan University–Columbia, and Midlands Technical College, and has held fellowships with or worked on projects with the Institute for Humane Studies, the Heritage Foundation, the Heartland Institute, and the Acton Institute for Religion and Liberty.

Author of this article: Steven Yates
Show Other Articles Of This Author

* What Is the Bank for International Settlements? (30 June 2009)
* Real Danger From the Extremists (04 June 2009)
* Police Interfere With Emergency Medical Vehicle (01 June 2009)
* Supreme Court Pick: Sonia Sotomayor (26 May 2009)
* New Restrictions on Credit Card Industry (22 May 2009)

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Audit the Federal Reserve Bill Gaining Steam

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AmericanlyYours.com

I want you to meet Phred, who is the author of Americanlyyours.com blog. He is working hard on matters to Audit the Fed and I wanted him to share some of his efforts directly with you and see if some of you can help him! Please visit this blog and make some calls too!  Here is today’s note:

S. 604 (The Audit the FED Bill) Now has the support of 21 Senators! Victory is within reach. Let’s start working on getting the support of committee members. Let’s target 1 Democrat and 1 Republican today and bombard them with calls to get their support.

Democrat: Mark Udall (CO) (202) 224-5941.

Republican: Olympia Snowe (ME) (202) 224-5344.

It literally takes less than 2 minutes to call!

PLEASE REPOST!!!

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Please visit our EndtheFed Group on facebook too!

Where’s the money?

Alan Grayson: “Which Foreigners Got the Fed’s $500,000,000,000?” Bernanke: “I Don’t Know.”

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CLC Gets Grizzly Tonight Exploring Grassroots Politics and Current Events!

clcradioiconJoin Shelli Dawdy and Sandra Crosnoe on Blog Talk Radio

this evening on The Constitutional Liberty Coalition Gets Grizzly

as we explore Grassroots politics and current events!

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RJHofficialavatarWe hope to be joined by RJ Harris a constitutional liberty candidate in Oklahoma CD04 going after RINO Tom Cole in 2010. He will update us on his race and the Sooner Tea Party rally this week protesting Obamacare.  Join us for updates on our recent alerts that were sent out via email also. We’ll review the status of Sotomayor’s confirmation, Cap and Trade, Socialized Medicine, and the Pass Act.

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liberty in or out orig

Finally, we hope that Liberty Rider, Michael Maresco will have a minute to give us an update on his whereabouts and his plans.

He is there at the destination near the gateway to Alcatraz!

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Have a Grassroots “tale” to share thoughts on stopping the Sotomayor Confirmation?

Call us! 646-915-9997

Tuesday nights at 8PM EDT * 7PM CDT *6PM MDT * 5PM PDT

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STOP Sotomayor Now — Vote this week!

STOP Nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to US Supreme Court

Sotomayor hearingsPosition: Senate members should oppose her nomination, vocally.

Reasons:

Sotomayor has made public statements and issued rulings that indicate:

  • Lack of respect for the right to bear arms
  • Racial and gender bias
  • Lack of respect for property rights
  • Has indicated “empathy” is a higher priority than following the law

Further:

  • Made a statement that appellate court judges make law
  • Her testimony last week has troubling contradictions in contrast to her writings and the facts of her life.
  • During her testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, she showed a surprising lack of technical legal knowledge during some questioning, particularly in an interchange with Senator Hatch.
  • Has had a high rate of judicial error – 40%+ (her rulings were overturned)
  • Supports abortion through her statement that Roe v. Wade is settled law

Principles:

  • We should oppose those who are not clearly strict constructionists
  • Supporters of the Constitution in the Senate need to start showing themselves
  • Members of the Senate need to put the President on notice regarding this and future nominees to the Court

Status:

Conclusion of the hearings process, no clear date available regarding full Senate floor vote

Links:

Gun Owners of America has been closely watching and researching this nominee, providing very good general information (beyond the Second Amendment) on their site.

GOA’s Executive Director Larry Pratt, was a guest on a special episode of the Blog Talk Radio show The Constitutional Liberty Coalition Gets Grizzly on Thursday, July 16 to discuss the Sotomayor nomination. Larry gave a good deal of detailed information about Sotomayor and why her nomination should be opposed. You can listen by clicking here.

Former Supreme Court Nominee Robert Bork made statements regarding Sotomayor and recent history on the confirmation process on Newsmaxx, Tuesday.

Wall Street Journal article on how little information was gleaned from Sotomayor’s testimony.

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SUGGESTED ACTIONS:

  • Maintain pressure on US Senate and House representatives (contact them)
  • On particular issues, contact your Governor, State legislators, county, and city representatives.
  • Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper
  • Forward this message to everyone in your contacts list

CONTACTING CONGRESS:

  1. Call the office for your Senator or House representatives
  2. Ask to speak directly with your Senator or Congressman
  3. Be sure to give your zip code so they know you are a constituent
  4. Be polite, but firm
  5. The next best method to a phone call is a fax, the least effective is email (make the phone ring in the office!)

WHY CONTACT YOUR STATE & LOCAL REPRESENTATIVES?

bill of rights

  • Several bills currently moving through Congress, if passed, seriously encroach on states’ rights, and in turn will put a lot of pressure on county and city governments.
  • It is essential that our state governments assert their sovereign rights
  • Although State legislatures are not currently in session this is the period during which legislators have the time to consider issues that need attention, or bills they will sponsor.

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Stop the Train Wreck(for more details/links on these bills)

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“Health Care Reform” / Socialized Medicine

Several versions exist Was H.R. 676 now, H.R. 3200 (see summary article, linked)

Stated Purpose: To make affordable health care available to all

Position: OPPOSE

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The PASS Act H.R. 1291

Stated Purpose: To better protect the security, confidentiality, and integrity of personally identifiable information collected by States when issuing driver’s licenses and identification documents, and for other purposes.

Position: OPPOSE

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HR 2454 (2998) American Clean Energy and Security Act – Cap & Trade

Stated purpose: Reduce carbon emissions, achieve energy independence

Position: Oppose

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S. 909 Matthew Shepherd Hate Crimes Bill

Purpose: Increases penalties for certain crimes committed against certain people, particularly based on sexual orientation

Position: OPPOSE

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The Second Amendment: States Teeth

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The Second Amendment and the States
Written by Patrick Krey
June 2009
CourtsThere are few topics that can divide people who are normally ideological bedfellows like the legal doctrine of the “incorporation” of the Bill of Rights against the states and the Second Amendment. This subject is rearing its head again with the upcoming appointment of a new Supreme Court justice as well as federal courts’ recent conflicting opinions in regards to the Second Amendment. The Wall Street Journal reports that on June 2nd, “A federal appeals court in Chicago ruled … that the Second Amendment doesn’t bar state or local governments from regulating guns, adopting the same position that Judge Sonia Sotomayor, President Barack Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court, did when faced with the same question earlier this year.”

This ruling contrasts with a recent ruling by “the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco … that the Second Amendment is incorporated against the states and local governments” — in other words, states and local governments are bound by the Second Amendment. Which court is correct?

To understand the debate in this topic, it helps to briefly review constitutional history. When the Constitution was first proposed, opponents of the new document criticized it for lacking a bill of enumerated rights, which were common in virtually every state constitution of the time. In response to these complaints, proponents of the new Constitution agreed to add a series of amendments in the first Congress that would codify restrictions on the federal government to infringe certain fundamental rights. The resulting first 10 Amendments, collectively referred to as the “Bill of Rights,” were ratified on December 15, 1791.

It is important to note two little-known historical facts regarding the proposal and ratification of the Bill of Rights. Alexander Hamilton, himself a prominent advocate of a liberal reading of the necessary and proper clause as well as a loose construction of the Constitution, argued that a Bill of Rights would be dangerous because it would imply that without such an enumeration of rights, the new government might actually have the power to infringe on these rights and might even now open the door for the government to regulate in these areas. In Federalist # 84, Hamilton wrote:

I go further, and affirm that bills of rights, in the sense and to the extent in which they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed Constitution, but would even be dangerous. They would contain various exceptions to powers not granted; and, on this very account, would afford a colorable pretext to claim more than were granted. For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do? … I will not contend that such a provision would confer a regulating power; but it is evident that it would furnish, to men disposed to usurp, a plausible pretense for claiming that power. They might urge with a semblance of reason, that the Constitution ought not to be charged with the absurdity of providing against the abuse of an authority which was not given, and that the provision against restraining the liberty of the press afforded a clear implication, that a power to prescribe proper regulations concerning it was intended to be vested in the national government.

Hamilton basically was saying that the national government lacked the power to do any of the things that the proposed Bill of Rights were prohibiting, and codifying these restrictions might lead some to argue that the national government could actually regulate in those areas, which he felt was completely unconstitutional.

In addition, James Madison, widely regarded as “The Father of the Constitution,” wanted to have the Bill of Rights restrictions to be held against the states but was rebuffed in this effort because of widely held reservations to further empower the new government over the states. The first Congress refused to even submit such a proposal to the states for ratification because it was so unpopular. As a matter of fact, numerous states had gun-control laws on the books at the time, as well as state-chartered religions. It was not that the citizens were necessarily opposed to state involvement in these matters but rather did not want any federal intrusion.

These two historical facts illustrate that, at the time of the ratification of the Bill of Rights, it was recognized by the Framers and Ratifiers that the national government had no authority to enforce the Bill of Rights against the states, and whatever authority it did have was clearly delineated in the text of the Constitution itself. Therefore, the Bill of Rights did not give the national government any new powers but simply reiterated important restrictions upon it and not the states. This understanding is consistent with the position that not only does the Second Amendment protect an individual “right to bear arms” against federal action but also that the national government lack any power whatsoever to regulate within this area. Additionally, the states are free to regulate (or not regulate) in that area based on their own state constitutions.

The fact that the Bill of Rights did not apply against the states was not modified until after the ratification of the 14th Amendment and the judicial creation of the incorporation doctrine. The incorporation doctrine refers to the court selectively “incorporating” certain amendments in the Bill of Rights against state governments via a liberal reading of the 14th Amendment — completely contrary to the original understanding at the time of its ratification as explained by widely respected legal scholar Raoul Berger in Government by Judiciary: The Transformation of the Fourteenth Amendment. As the late Congressman Larry McDonald explained, the rationale behind the incorporation doctrine “runs completely contrary to thoughts and purposes of the original framers…. Their intent was to limit the rights and powers of the federal government, not to help expand them.”

The courts liberal interpretation allowed the federal courts to widen their jurisdiction and judicially review numerous state laws. Some libertarians welcome this development in constitutional history as a great opportunity to spread freedom because it gives advocates of individual liberty “two bites at the freedom apple — one under his state constitution and one under the U.S. Constitution.” Sadly, the constitutional record of incorporation is not something many advocates of individual liberty can be proud of.

Constitutional historian Kevin R.C. Gutzman details the sordid history of the incorporation doctrine:

This is what the Incorporation Doctrine has given us: in place of reservation of these areas of law to state governments for regulation via legislative elections, we get seizure of control over them by unelected, unaccountable, politically connected lawyers (that is, federal judges) who purport to substitute “reason” for the (one infers) “unreasonable” regulations crafted by elected officials…. It was under the cover of the Incorporation Doctrine that federal courts recently invented a right of child rapists not to face the ultimate penalty for their crimes. It was under the cover of the Incorporation Doctrine, indeed, that a Supreme Court majority for several years banned capital punishment altogether. It was under the cover of the Incorporation Doctrine that the Supreme Court eliminated state prohibitions of various types of pornography. The Incorporation Doctrine also underlies the Court-created ban on prayer, even on moments of silence, in public schools. The Incorporation Doctrine has allowed federal courts to invent rights to burn flags, ban invocations at high school graduations, and establish essentially a national code of “acceptable” punishments.

Furthermore, it was with the help of the incorporation doctrine that the “politically connected lawyers” on the court were able to invent “penumbras” giving rise to the infamous Roe v. Wade decision, and there were even discussions at the height of judicial activism to engrain a right to a minimum wage within constitutional law. Libertarians should be careful what they wish for because the “interpreters” on the court do not always see eye-to-eye with their vision of liberty.

Ironically, libertarian proponents of incorporation who usually are almost universally opposed to state power, let alone massively centralizing power in a super state, are in effect advocating the use of a larger, more powerful central government (via its court system) to force smaller governments to “be more free” without recognizing the fact that freedom means different things to different people. Such a contradictory line of thought is in direct conflict with the proud Jeffersonian decentralist tradition of those who founded our constitutional republic.

This leads us back to gun-rights activists who are currently expending numerous resources trying to get federal judges to incorporate the bill of rights against the states. Ironically, years of money spent trying to get federal judges to advance the cause of gun rights resulted in the disappointing Supreme Court decision in District of Columbia v. Heller where the “conservatives” on the court acknowledged that the Second Amendment protects an individual right “to bear arms” but that right is not “unlimited” and there is still room for reasonable restrictions on gun control. As renowned constitutional attorney Edwin Vieira, Jr. wrote last fall in The New American, “Could Heller allow gun regulation to the point that the regulation could become a prohibition for all practical purposes? What effect will it have, if any, on existing or future gun laws in other jurisdictions throughout the country?”

The Heller decision was disheartening to gun rights advocates who believed that vast amounts of money spent on endless legal challenges would engrain an unlimited right to gun ownership in our constitutional law. Related efforts to incorporate the limited protections of Heller against the state will face similar frustration. Those who put their faith in “politically connected lawyers” to uphold their rights and advance the cause of freedom will continue to be disappointed. Perhaps these activists will now realize that federal judges are not reliable friends of individual liberty and instead will focus their energy on a much more realistic goal of making Congress constitutional.

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WHO ARE WE?

WE ARE YOU!flag-trans

We are homegrown, hometown people who wish to live in peace.

We want to worship who, when, and as we please.

We want to raise, discipline and educate our children as we feel they should be.

We want to enjoy and play with our grandchildren while being unafraid and unashamed.

We want to look our children and grandchildren in the eyes and assure them, with pride, that everything really will be alright.

We want the freedom to express our opinions.

We want to leave our children the freedoms our fathers and mothers left us.

We want to be safe in our homes; the homes we have worked so hard to acquire.

We want to be able to protect our families and homes with equal and effective force.

We want our persons and personal effects to be safe from government intrusion.

We want to provide for our families by work of our own choosing.

We want to stay healthy and strong and see whatever doctor whenever we need to.

We want to be safe in vehicles we choose; after all they are our property.

We want to be able to drive across this great country, visit or meet with whomever, whenever we want.

We want to be able to vote and be assured our votes are accurately counted.

We want to be free to choose our elected officials; more people like us!

We will not be citizens led around by the Republican+Democrat Combine.

We will not let the government and government owned MASS MEDIA tellflag-trans us what we are, what we think, what we want, and what we don’t want.

WE WILL CONTINUE TO BE FREE AMERICAN CITIZENS!

JUST LIKE YOU!

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Welcome to DRIP USA!

Welcome to DRIP USA!

R3=Realpeople Restoring the Republic

DripUSA = Don’t Return Incumbent Politicians (the keyword here is politicians as clearly opposed to statesmen of which we have a few! Thank God!!)  It is the equivalent of Throw the Bums OUT!  2010 needs to be nearly a clean sweep. . .

Get mad enough to not take it anymore.  If your EO voted for a bailout or just simply failed to say NO to more than he said YES to then send him/her a pink slip!

Help us or get out of the way.

Citizens have got to take back the reigns of power from elected officials and bureaucrats and lobbyists.

It is time to let them know who works for whom.

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