Thursday, September 24, 2009

Is the Federal Reserve Bank more powerful than the US government?

Much has been written (especially here) about the Federal Reserve Bank but nothing previously revealed about the Fed comes close to the outrageous arrogance as displayed when they thumb their nose at the government in response to a simple legitimate request for information.

The Federal Reserve Board has rejected a request by U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner for a public review of the central bank’s structure and governance. Let us also remember that the Fed has never been audited by the government since 1913 when this abomination was created at the urging of powerful domestic and international bankers.

The Obama administration, to the surprise of many of us, proposed on June 17 a financial- regulatory overhaul including a “comprehensive review” of the Fed’s “ability to accomplish its existing and proposed functions” and the role of its regional banks. The Fed was to lead the study and enlist the Treasury and “a wide range of external experts.”

But after agreeing to the review, the Fed leadership saw a potential threat to Fed independence after the Treasury released the proposal. The Obama plan said the Treasury would consider recommendations from the review and “propose any changes to the Fed’s governance and structure.”

“It is not obvious at all why that is a Treasury responsibility or even appropriate why the Treasury would undertake that kind of study,” said Robert Eisenbeis, chief monetary economist at Cumberland Advisors Inc. in Vineland, New Jersey, and a former Atlanta Fed research director. “The Fed was created by Congress and it is not part of the executive branch.”

Indeed, the Fed considers itself above the government! So independent it regards itself that the Fed need not respond to requests by the President of the United States – what hubris!

Not only does the Fed ignore the Executive branch but even Congress doesn’t seem to be able to direct the Fed. U.S. lawmakers have also called for a review of the Fed’s power and structure because many in congress believe Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke overstepped his authority as he bailed out various businesses such as creditors of Bear Stearns Cos. and American International Group Inc. while battling a crisis that led to $1.62 trillion in write-downs and losses at financial firms.

But nothing was done and the Fed stonewalled congress - no work has been done on the project, which was due October 1. Treasury spokesman Andrew Williams declined to comment as did Fed spokeswoman Michelle Smith – and of course the incompetent news media also did not seek answers.

The country is supposed to be satisfied with the Fed conducting its own investigation. We are told that the Federal Reserve Bank is performing its own reviews of possible operational changes following the financial crisis. Fed Governor Elizabeth Duke is leading an internal study of the roles of the directors that serve on each of the boards at regional Fed banks.

Vincent Reinhart, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington and the former director of Division of Monetary Affairs at the Fed Board said “The institution is trying to keep a low profile and to publish a report now invites comment on that report.” Is that supposed to be a bad thing?

By a vote of 96-2 the Senate passed a nonbinding budget amendment in April supporting “an evaluation of the appropriate number and the associated costs” of the district banks. This was sponsored by Senate Banking Committee by Connecticut Democrat Chairman Christopher Dodd and Alabama Senator Richard Shelby, the senior Republican on the panel. But if they were serious, why pass only a “nonbinding” resolution?

Even House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat, called for more scrutiny of the central bank, saying he wants to probe how the 12 regional Fed presidents are appointed and their role in setting interest rates. The Fed banks are semi-private entities, each overseen by a nine-member board of directors. Barney, like Obama, says a lot of things that sound good but doesn’t actually do what he says.

Republican Congressman from Texas, Ron Paul, has been one of the few actually trying to do something about the Fed. He has introduced legislation calling for audits of the Fed and is getting increasing support in the House for this effort. There has been also legislation proposed in the senate for the same purpose as well as to look into the Fed’s monetary policies and operations. Thus far the Fed has managed to thwart any meaningful investigations into its affairs.

If it seems that Obama and Democrats are motivated by laudable purposes, do not be self deluded. The fact is that Obama and his government control advocates are preparing the Federal Reserve Bank for a larger role in tracking risks across the financial system and to make the central bank the lead regulator for the largest, most inter-connected financial institutions.

Fed Governor Daniel Tarullo, an Obama appointee, is working on changes to the supervisory process that will prepare the central bank for a larger role than it already has in the nation’s financial system.

Tarullo is focusing on bank-to-bank comparisons and quantitative scenario testing of bank portfolios. Under the guise that the Fed is examining the vulnerability of banks with assets under $100 billion to falling commercial real estate values, look for the Fed to dictate to banks of all size what they may or may not do.

Unfortunately only a few in congress recognize what a threat the Fed poses and have balked at the notion of giving the Fed more power and are leaning toward vesting authority over capital, liquidity and risk-management practices of big banks in a council of regulators.

As an example of the incestuous nature of banking regulation and the calls for “reform,” a review led by Duke followed the resignation in May of Stephen Friedman as New York Fed chairman because of ties to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Friedman is a director on Goldman Sachs’s board.

Goldman Sachs became a bank holding company in September 2008, a change that would have normally barred Friedman from continuing to serve in his New York Fed post. Officials gave him a waiver so he could remain in the job.

“Allowing local bankers to play a leading role in selecting reserve bank presidents is the most worrying aspect of the current system,” Lou Crandall, chief economist at Wrightson ICAP LLC, recently wrote to clients.

District bank presidents are nominated by committees made up of people whose institutions the nominees may have supervised.

“The conflicts of interest inherent in the current system are glaring,” Crandall said.

We have system where a group of people not responsible to elected officials of the US government have total control of the financial system in the United States and their authority and power grow continuously. Americans sheepishly allow this to happen. Instead of the U.S. Treasury Department being in charge, a group of largely unknown people from largely unknown Fed owners make monumental decisions that are more than not likely to reflect self interest rather than the interests of the American people or the country.

One only has to consider the arrogant refusal by the Federal Reserve Bank of a request for information by the Treasury Secretary to realize this.

Monday, September 21, 2009

A public service announcement about Medicare

Here’s some information senior folks may find useful, if not discouraging. Remember this is what happens to us now; if Obama gets his way we will be even worse off than under the present diminishing coverage and higher costs for less.

Higher Medicare Advantage costs.

If you're one of more than 10 million subscribers to Medicare Advantage plans, expect to pay more for coverage next year. The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services cut 2010 subsidies to private Medicare Advantage plans by 4% to 4.5%. Big private insurers offering the plans will be figuring out how to adjust to the reductions, but you can expect to see a combination of higher rates and drug costs along with reduced coverage.

The plans were created by the Bush administration as a private-sector alternative to traditional Medicare plans. But Medicare Advantage costs the government about 14% more per person than regular Medicare and thus became a target for expense cuts that could be used to help pay for the Obama administration's health-reform plan.

What to know about Medicare -- now

Get the most out of your health coverage. Here's how to sign up, avoid penalties and pick the plan that fits you best (it might not be last year's).By Kiplinger's Personal Finance MagazineThough you may not look forward to turning 65, Uncle Sam has a nice present for you when you do: government-subsidized health insurance.But Medicare won't cover all your health care expenses, so you'll still need to make some key decisions about how to fill in the gaps. Making the right choices could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year in premiums and out-of-pocket expenses.

Even if you are already eligible for Medicare, it pays to check out your choices each year during the annual open-enrollment period that runs from Nov. 15 to Dec. 31, when you can switch plans. Several new options appear every year, and the prices and coverage can vary greatly. The plan you picked in the past may no longer be your best option.

Here's what you need to know to get the most out of your Medicare coverage:

Sign up on time

You are eligible for Medicare at 65, even if your normal retirement age for full Social Security benefits is later. The initial enrollment period for Medicare Part B, which covers doctors' visits and outpatient services, runs for seven months, starting three months before your birthday month. To make sure your Medicare enrollment runs smoothly, you should contact the Social Security Administration (1-800-772-1213) three months before you turn 65.

If you miss the initial seven-month sign-up window, you'll have to wait until the next general-enrollment period, which runs from Jan. 1 to March 31 each year, for benefits beginning the following July 1.

For each year you wait beyond your initial enrollment period, you'll also incur a 10% penalty, which will be added to your monthly Part B premium (Part B premiums are deducted from your Social Security checks). You can sign up for premium-free Part A, which covers hospital services, at any time.

Special enrollment rules apply if you're eligible for Medicare and still on the job. If you have health insurance through your employer or your spouse's employer, you aren't subject to the 10% late-enrollment penalty if you sign up for Part B within eight months of losing that coverage. Similarly, if you have employer-provided prescription-drug coverage, you can avoid the late-enrollment penalty for the Medicare Part D drug plan. If you miss the initial seven-month enrollment period, you can sign up for prescription-drug coverage during the last six weeks of any year, for benefits beginning the following Jan. 1.

Review your choices

When it comes to filling the gaps in your health care coverage, you may have several choices.

Employer-provided retiree health insurance has traditionally been the best option. But don't assume that's still the case. Many employers have been cutting back on retiree coverage. Even if your employer provides retiree health insurance, you may be able to save money by switching to another plan, especially if your premiums have risen and your coverage has been scaled back over the past few years. Look at the big picture, and compare coverage for medical care and prescription drugs, as well as out-of-pocket costs and any restrictions on health care providers.

Medicare supplement plans, also known as Medigap policies, pay for many of the co-payments, deductibles and other expenses that Medicare doesn't cover. If you buy a policy within six months of signing up for Medicare Part B, insurers can't reject you or charge higher rates because of your health (see "The ABCs of picking a Medigap policy"). Medigap policies generally don't cover prescription-drug costs (and the old Medigap plans that do offer drug coverage are no longer a good deal). Instead, you'll need a Medicare prescription-drug plan, known as Part D.

Retirement planning for baby boomers

Here's what boomers can expect to get from pensions and Social Security, and what you can do to build your nest egg.

New pricing and options for Part D for the following year are unveiled each fall, and you have from Nov. 15 to Dec. 31 to switch policies. Premiums rose an average of 13.6% for the largest plans from 2007 to 2008 -- to $25 a month, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Beneficiaries in the most-popular plans faced the biggest monthly increases. For example, the average monthly cost of Humana's standard plan jumped nearly 69%, from $15.34 in 2007 to $25.88 in 2008. Because of major changes like these, it's a good idea to investigate your options during the open-enrollment season every year, even if you've been happy with your plan.

Premiums are only one cost to consider. You'll also need to calculate total out-of-pocket costs for the medicines you take. When you add up premiums, deductibles and co-payments, a higher-premium plan could end up costing less than a lower-premium plan that has hefty co-payments.

Continued: All-in-one plans

The Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Finder can help you compare total costs for your medications under each plan available in your area. Click on "Find & Compare Plans" and then "Begin General Search."

Before you pick a plan, ask your doctor about substituting a generic for your brand-name medication. The plan with the best deal for brand-name drugs may not offer the best deal for the generic equivalents.All-in-one plansInstead of paying separately for Medicare Part B, a Medicare supplement policy and a Part D drug plan, you could sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan, which combines all of that coverage in one policy.

Medicare Advantage plans, which are sold by private insurance companies, come in three varieties. Medicare health maintenance organizations, or HMOs, typically offer the lowest premiums but have the tightest restrictions on the doctors and hospitals you can visit. Regional preferred provider organizations, or PPOs tend to cost a bit more, but they include a network of providers that usually spans several states.

Private fee-for-service plans usually cost the most, but you can use any provider who agrees to the plan's terms (ask your doctors if they participate). In addition to prescription-drug coverage, Medicare Advantage plans often offer extra benefits, such as eye exams, hearing aids and dental benefits.

You can sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan when you first become eligible for Medicare or during open-enrollment season in late fall. If you already have a Medicare Advantage plan, you can switch to another Medicare Advantage plan or back to Medicare plus a Part D plan between Jan. 1 and March 31.To find good deals, use the Medicare comparison tool by selecting your state under "Learn More About Plans in Your Area."

Some Medicare Advantage plans have very low premiums, and some charge nothing beyond your Part B premium because of rich government subsidies to insurers. But you need to look carefully at the co-payments and limitations.If someone has a history of frequent hospitalizations, Medigap coverage may be safer than a Medicare Advantage plan that has limits on the coverage for hospitalizations. Some Medicare Advantage plans don't cover the first 20 days in a skilled-nursing facility (which traditional Medicare covers); some charge higher co-payments for important services, such as chemotherapy; and some provide limited coverage when you travel out of state.

Take a look at the annual Cost Share Report, which provides out-of-pocket cost estimates for Medicare HMOs and PPOs that include prescription-drug coverage. You can look up the best value in your area in three health categories: good, fair and poor. Even if you're in good health now, it's important to see what a plan would offer if your health deteriorates during the year.Before signing up learn about the difference between Medicare Advantage and Medigap policies.

This article was reported and written by Kimberly Lankford for Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Purported non Muslim President Obama makes high level Muslim appointment to DHS

Purported non Muslim Barack Hussein Obama made a presidential appointment of Muslim Los Angeles Deputy Mayor Arif Alikhan for a top job at the federal Department of Homeland Security. In his new job Arif Alikhan will be Assistant Secretary for the Office of Policy Development at the Department of Homeland Security. Alikhan has been Deputy Mayor of Los Angeles – in charge of public safety for the city.

Why Muslim Alikhan at the Department of Homeland Security you might ask? DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano said Alikhan’s “broad and impressive array of experience in national security, emergency preparedness and counterterrorism will make him an asset” – yes, but on behalf of the US or Muslims? I am not sure what she is talking about and she probably doesn’t know either.

Alikhan says a big part of his job will be fostering communication between agencies. Alikhan, like Obama, also wants to help improve America’s image with Muslims around the world. He will now set policy on security at the highest levels of the federal government. But what policies has the new Assistant Secretary embraced?

During his years in Los Angeles, Alikhan was responsible for derailing the Police Department’s plan to monitor activities within the Los Angeles Muslim community, where numerous radical mosques and madrassas existed, and where some of the 9/11 hijackers had received support from local residents.

Alikhan is strongly anti-Israel; he has referred to the terrorist organization Hezbollah as a “liberation movement.” Hezbollah is on the US official terrorist list while being an affiliate of the Muslim Public Affairs Council. Alikhan also opposed President George W. Bush’s prosecution of the war on Islamic terror.

In 2007 Alikhan was instrumental in removing the Muslim terror tracking plan in LA. The Muslim ‘Mapping’ Plan of the Los Angeles Police Department is now “dead on arrival” according to Chief William Bratton. “It is over and not just put on the side,” said Chief Bratton in a meeting with the Muslim leadership of Southern California at that time. The meeting was moderated by Arif Alikhan.

Chief Bratton acknowledged the hurt and offense caused to Muslims and agreed to send a letter to the Muslim community announcing the official termination of the ‘mapping’ plan.

A major reason for the termination of the ‘mapping’ plan was the Muslim community’s vociferous opposition and active civic engagement in making themselves heard beyond Los Angeles. Muslim organizations demonstrated a strong unity of purpose and message on the issue of ‘mapping’ that led to a position of strength for Muslims in the meeting. Those involved in the initial phases of this controversy were the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California and the Council on American-Islamic Relations , the Muslim Public Affairs arm.

Muslim Democrats welcomed Alikhan’s appointment at a banquet/fundraiser for the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California recently where the first speaker was Arif Alikhan, a devout Sunni and the son of Pakistani immigrants,,1518,505573,00 .

Other speakers included Professor Agha Saeed of the American Muslim Task Force (AMT) who spoke about “the struggle of the Muslim Community against the pervasive atmosphere of Islamophobia and hatred in the aftermath of 9/11.. It was a struggle against the tide – a very strong tide – to prevent Muslims in America from being marginalized and silenced.”

Professor Saeed issued five demands from Muslims to the Department of Justice. These demands included a cessation to the infiltration by spies of mosques and an end to the introduction of agents provocateur. In addition there was to be a cessation of attempts to undermine Muslim groups such as the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). Un-indicted co-conspirator CAIR was thrilled at the appointment:

Last week, Napolitano swore in Damascus-born Kareem Shora, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)’s national executive director, to a position on the Homeland Security Advisory Council, an outside-the-department group of national security experts that advises the Secretary. Shora is the first Arab rights advocate on the panel. Shora has with ties to terror backers

One may wonder how does an obscure (but Democrat) bureaucrat and devout Muslim come to the position of Deputy Mayor of Los Angeles – in charge of public safety for the city and now becomes Assistant Secretary to DHS under purported non Muslim Democrat President Barack Hussein Obama?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Obamacare H.R. 3200 – a study in obfuscation and plausible deniability

Ultra liberals in the House and Senate, who were thwarted for many years, finally achieved the perfect storm of politics with them in charge of congress and an ultra liberal president in the White House. This deadly combination managed to have the government take over the auto industry, the banking system, and now has set the stage to extend control to Wall St., energy (with “cap and trade”) and the health care industry.

The auto industry and the banking system were easy. After declaring crises early in the Obama term take over was simple; the public and congress were persuaded only government, with the aid of the Federal Reserve Bank, could “fix” things. Large businesses and banks were too large to fail so with the printing presses rolling money was created to “bail them out.” When it came time to take over health care, the public became better informed and opposition to government’s control grew.

It’s not easy to learn exactly how the government will take over health care because Obama and his henchmen (and henchwomen) in congress tried hard to obfuscate their take over plans. How else can you describe writing a 1,017 page bill full of legalese and convoluted provisions (H.R. 3200) than obfuscation? Unfortunately for them many people actually read the bill, even if congressmen didn’t, and the health care hoax, called “Obamacare,” angered the populace as its provisions became known.

Obama and other ultra liberals can’t handle opposition to Obamacare so with the aid of their controlled news media they began a propaganda campaign which would make the Nazi propagandist, Joseph Goebbels, proud. Opponents are accused of “scare tactics” to demean any discussion about what Obamacare really is and how it will destroy health care for everyone satisfied with the way they receive medical treatment now.

Many half-truths and actual lies are spewed by President Obama on a regular basis; no president has been featured on television as much as Obama has on the nation’s networks. Here are some examples.

Is health care rationing mentioned in H.R. 3200 – answer, yes and no?

The word ration is not mentioned but there is a limit on how much can be spent for health care, the effect of which is to limit, i.e. ration, health care provided.



(A) ANNUAL LIMITATION.—The cost-sharing incurred under the essential benefits package with respect to an individual (or family) for a year does not exceed the applicable level specified in subparagraph (B).

(B) APPLICABLE LEVEL.—The applicable level specified in this subparagraph for is $5,000 for an individual and $10,000 for a family. Such levels shall be increased (rounded to the nearest $100) for each subsequent year by the annual percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index (United States city average)applicable to such year.

Another issue lied about or never mentioned by Obamacare supporters and even opponents is that there will be a Federal board and Commissioner that will decide whether and what health care will be provided. H.R. 3200 is very clear about this. Therefore it is not understandable why there is no outcry against Obamacare, if nothing else for this reason.

On page 30 the bill says a government committee will decide what treatments and benefits you get (and, unlike an insurer, there will be no appeals process). Page 42: a "Health Choices Commissioner" is mentioned who will decide health benefits for you. You will have no choice. None.

Some have insisted that the Federal board only makes “recommendations” but while that is true, these recommendations once approved by the secretary become mandates on the medical practitioners and hospitals (see Section 124 below).


(1) IN GENERAL.There is established a private-public advisory committee which shall be a panel of medical and other experts to be known as the Health Benefits Advisory Committee to recommend covered benefits and essential, enhanced, and premium plans.

(2) CHAIR.

The Surgeon General shall be a member and the chair of the Health Benefits Advisory Committee.



The Health Benefits Advisory Committee shall recommend to the Secretary of Health and Human Services (in this subtitle referred to as the ‘‘Secretary’’) benefit standards (as defined in paragraph (4)), and periodic updates to such standards. In developing such recommendations, the Committee shall take into account innovation in health care and consider how such standards could reduce health disparities. [The recommendations are submitted to the Secretary and once approved then become mandates to medical practioners and hospitals.]




Not later than 45 days after the date of receipt of benefit standards recommended under section 123 (including such standards as modified under paragraph (2)(B)), the Secretary shall review such standards and shall determine whether to propose adoption of such standards as a package.


If the Secretary determines—

(A) to propose adoption of benefit standards so recommended as a package, the Secretary shall, by regulation under section 553 of title 5, United States Code, propose adoption such standards; or

(B) not to propose adoption of such standards as a package, the Secretary shall notify the Health Benefits Advisory Committee in writing of such determination and the reasons for not proposing the adoption of such recommendation and provide the Committee with a further opportunity to modify its previous recommendations and submit new recommendations to the Secretary on a timely basis.

(2) DEADLINE.—The Health Benefits Advisory Committee shall recommend initial benefit standards to the Secretary not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act.(4)


In this subtitle, the term ‘‘benefit standards’’ means standards respecting

(A) the essential benefits package described in section 122, including categories of covered treatments, items and services within benefit classes, and cost-sharing; and

(B) the cost-sharing levels for enhanced plans and premium plans (as provided under section 203(c)) consistent with paragraph (5).


(A) ENHANCED PLAN.—The level of cost sharing for enhanced plans shall be designed so that such plans have benefits that are actuarially equivalent to approximately 85 percent of the actuarial value of the benefits provided under the reference benefits package describedin section 122(c)(3)(B).

(B) PREMIUM PLAN.—The level of cost sharing for premium plans shall be designed that such plans have benefits that are actuarially equivalent to approximately 95 percent of the actuarial value of the benefits provided under the reference benefits package described in section 122(c)(3)(B).

By the way, “actuararily equivalent” means consider the age of the health care recipient and whether it is cost effective to provide that care to such person, i.e. senior citizen.

Did you know that H.R. 3200 provides (at page 65) that taxpayers will subsidize all union retiree and community organizer health plans (e.g. SEIU, UAW and ACORN)?


(1) IN GENERAL.—Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall establish a temporary reinsurance program (in this section referred to as the ‘‘reinsurance program’’) to provide reimbursement to assist participating employment-based plans with the cost of providing health benefits to retirees and to eligible spouses, surviving spouses and dependents of such retirees.

Obama is fond of saying if you like your health insurance, you can keep it. However that’s not completely true for several reasons. First, your INSURANCE PLAN MUST COMFORM TO GOVERNMENT-SET STANDARDS OR YOU CAN’T KEEP IT, AND SECONDLY IF ANY CHANGES ARE MADE IN YOUR PLAN THEN YOU MUST ENTER THE GOVERNMENT PLAN.


In accordance with this subtitle and in coordination with appropriate Federal and State officials as provided under section 143(b), the Commissioner shall

(1) under section 204 establish standards for, accept bids from, and negotiate and enter into contracts with, QHBP offering entities for the offering of health benefits plans through the Health Insurance Exchange, with different levels of benefits required under section 203, and including with respect to oversight and enforcement...

PLAN DEFINED.—in this division, the term ‘‘Exchange participating health benefitsPlan’’ means a qualified health benefits plan that is offered through the Health Insurance Exchange.



In accordance with this section, all individuals are eligible to obtain coverage through enrollment in an Exchange-participating health benefits plan offered through the Health Insurance Exchange unless such individuals are enrolled in another qualified health benefits plan or other acceptable coverage.

There are many more excerpts from the full text of H.R. 3200 that can be cited and will be given in Parts II and III of this series.

Here are some examples of what will be reported in detail in the next two articles:

Page 145: An employer MUST auto-enroll employees into the government-run public plan. No alternatives. •

Page 126: Employers MUST pay healthcare bills for part-time employees AND their families. •

Page 149: Any employer with a payroll of $400K or more, who does not offer the public option, pays an 8% tax on payroll •

Page 150: Any employer with a payroll of $250K-400K or more, who does not offer the public option, pays a 2 to 6% tax on payroll •

Page 167: Any individual who doesn’t' have acceptable healthcare (according to the government) will be taxed 2.5% of income. •

Page 170: Any NON-RESIDENT alien is exempt from individual taxes (Americans will pay for them). •

Page 195: Officers and employees of Government Healthcare Bureaucracy will have access to ALL American financial and personal records (Your health records will no longer be private.). •

Page 203: "The tax imposed under this section shall not be treated as tax." Yes, it really says that. •

Page 239: H.R. 3200 will reduce physician services for Medicaid. Seniors and the poor most affected." •

Page 241: Doctors: no matter what specialty you have, you'll all be paid the same •

Page 253: Government sets value of doctors' time, their professional judgment, etc. •

Page 265: Government mandates and controls productivity for private healthcare industries. •

Page 268: Government regulates rental and purchase of power-driven wheelchairs. •

Page 272: Cancer patients: will be subject to rationing! •

Page 280: Hospitals will be penalized for what the government deems preventable re-admissions. •

Page 298: If a Doctor treats a patient during an initial admission that results in a readmission, he/she will be penalized by the government. •

Page 317: Doctors are now prohibited for owning and investing in healthcare companies •

Page 318: Prohibition on hospital expansion. Hospitals cannot expand without government approval. •

Page 321: Hospital expansion hinges on "community" input: in other words, yet another acorn for ACORN. •

Page 335: Government mandates establishment of outcome-based measures: i.e., rationing. •

Page 341: Government has authority to disqualify Medicare Advantage Plans, HMOs, etc. •

Page 354: Government will restrict enrollment of SPECIAL NEEDS individuals. •

Page 379: More bureaucracy: Telehealth Advisory Committee (healthcare by phone). •

Page 425: More bureaucracy: Advance Care Planning Consult: Senior Citizens, assisted suicide, euthanasia? •

Page 425: Government will instruct and consult regarding living wills, durable powers of attorney, etc. Mandatory. Appears to lock in estate taxes ahead of time. •

Page 425: Government provides approved list of end-of-life resources, guiding you in death. •

Page 427: Government mandates program that orders end-of-life treatment; government dictates how your life ends. •

Page 429: Advance Care Planning Consult will be used to dictate treatment as patient's health deteriorates. This can include an ORDER for end-of-life plans. An ORDER from the GOVERNMENT. •

Page 430: Government will decide what level of treatments you may have at end-of-life. •

Page 469: Community-based Home Medical Services: more gifts to ACORN; Page 472: Payments to Community-based organizations: •

Page 489: Government will cover marriage and family therapy. Government intervenes in your marriage. •

Page 494: Government will cover mental health services: defining, creating and rationing those services.

Instant Federal access to your bank accounts, automatic debits if needed and the ID card.

Tune in later for more on Obamacare – if the above doesn’t wake you up to this threat to your life– nothing will.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Who is the president – Barack Obama or David Axelrod?

Many people believe Obama is not the architect of the new socialism driving government policy these days but there is speculation about who is behind the smooth character behind the teleprompter. I don’t know the answer but at the very least it is clear that Obama’s Senior Advisor, David Axelrod, shares mouthpiece honors.

We frequently hear Robert Gibbs in his role as Obama press agent explain to the news media what the president means during his speech marathon but comments by Axelrod actually sound like the president speaking.

For example:

“We’re entering a new season,” senior adviser David Axelrod said in a telephone interview. “It’s time to synthesize and harmonize these strands and get this done. We’re confident that we can do that. But obviously it is a different phase. We’re going to approach it in a different way. The president is going to be very active.”

And on health care Axelrod announced in advance of the September 9th speech by Obama that Obama is (falsely) willing to forgo the public option

“We have been saying all along that the most important part of this debate is not the public option, but rather ensuring choice and competition,” an aide said. “There are lots of different ways to get there.”

“I’m not going to put a date on any of this,” Axelrod said. “But I think it’s fairly obvious that we’re not in the second inning. We’re not in the fourth inning. We’re in the eighth or ninth inning here, and so there’s not a lot of time to waste.”

Aren’t these things what one might expect the president himself to say?

Once again, sounding like Obama’s teleprompter, Axelrod said:

"His goal is to create the best possible situation for consumers, create competition and choice. We want to bring a measure of security to people who have health insurance today. We want to help those who don't have coverage today, because they can't afford it, get insurance they can afford. And we want to do it in a way that reduces the overall cost of the system as a whole."

You might recall that Obama has very recently began to advance his desire to add Wall St. to the list of businesses controlled by Obama but Axelrod actually presaged this new policy addition.

Axelrod said:

“Also this fall, Obama wants to slap new regulations on Wall Street firms.”

It was also mentioned by Axelrod in an interview that this is a goal that is now considered a higher priority than cap-and-trade energy legislation in the West Wing. White House officials think the legislation will show voters, especially wavering independents, that he is serious about making the culprits of the economic crisis pay. It also helps that it doesn't carry a big price tag, like other Obama priorities.

Nonetheless it is clear that health care remains front end center. According to Axelrod:

“I understand the governing wisdom here in town as to where this is right now. I feel good about where it is right now. I understand that there’s been a lot of controversy. I understand that there’s been a lot of politics. But the truth is we’re a lot closer to achieving something than many thought possible. People look to the president for leadership on this and other issues. He feels passionately about this, and you can look for him to provide that leadership.”

Later on, President Obama would essentially echo Axelrod’s remarks.

Even with respect to criticism of Obama for deciding to give Congress the primary role in developing the health care law (ever so slight in the news media) as Axelrod phrased it, Obama “allowed Congress to consider the whole range of ideas.”

Axelrod instead of Obama had this to say:

“History will judge whether this was right or it was wrong. We feel strongly that it was right. As a result of it, we have broad consensus on over 80 percent of this stuff, and a lot of good ideas about how to achieve the other 20. Now, people are looking to the president and the president is eager to help lead that process of harmonizing these different elements and completing this process so that we can solve what is a big problem in the lives of the American people, for our businesses and our economy.”

The August recess saw many Americans criticize Obamacare so Axelrod had to speak as president to minimize the significance.

“Part of it (Townhall outcries) is born of long experience. In Washington, every day is Election Day. I’d be lying to you if I told you I don’t look at polls -- I do. But I’ve also learned that you have to keep your eye on the horizon here and not get bogged down. I am not Pollyannaish, but I am also not given to the hysteria that's endemic to this town.”

So I ask you, who is the president; Obama, his teleprompter or David Axelrod?

Friday, September 11, 2009

An analysis of President Obama’s hard sell of socialized medicine

It’s ironical that Obama spoke the truth during his campaign for the presidency and once elected does not. No one listened then but many are listening now.

Obama told Americans what he believed both by the people with whom he associated and the policies he would follow as president. No one listened then but many are listening now.

First to be exposed was his association with the country-hating Reverend Wright on whose knee Obama sat for twenty years. Then we learned that Obama began his run for election at the home of left wing Weatherman terrorist William Ayres and his co-conspirator wife Bernadine Dohrn. [Note: Obama himself said you could judge a person by the company he keeps.]

As for his political beliefs, Obama famously admitted he would “spread the wealth” if elected. He also said he would enact Health Care “Reform.” The only thing he didn’t expressly say was that he would expand government and government control over our lives. Nonetheless this was also apparent to anyone who listened carefully, but once again, too many didn’t listen.

Obama started by instituting government takeovers of the banking system and the auto industry then focused attention on the one-sixth of the economy, the health care system. When the president and his far left Democrat followers ran into trouble enacting this part of the agenda, our president turned to his one sure thing to garner public support, his teleprompter.

Let’s take a look at his oration from Mount Capital; the famous Obama speech on the imperative need for Obamacare.

The president first reminded us about what a good job he did lifting the economy. He did this by saying “thanks to the bold and decisive action we've taken since January, I can stand here with confidence and say that we have pulled this economy back from the brink.” However while patting himself on the back, he failed to explain why under his watch and policies the unemployment rate far exceeds the 8% he promised and at 9.7% is heading to double digits.

Obama then turned his, and our, attention the health care.

“Everyone understands the extraordinary hardships that are placed on the uninsured who live every day just one accident or illness away from bankruptcy. These are not primarily people on welfare. These are middle class Americans. Some can't get insurance on the job. Others are self-employed and can't afford it since buying insurance on your own costs you three times as much as the coverage you get from your employer."

"Many other Americans who are willing and able to pay are still denied insurance due to previous illnesses or conditions that insurance companies decide are too risky or too expensive to cover.”

This mixture of half-truths is typical of Obama. What he failed to mention in his effort to mislead the public is that the uninsured “who live every day just one accident or illness away from bankruptcy” don’t have to spend a dime to get needed medical care because by law hospitals are required to care for these uninsured. This may not be the most economical way for taking care of uninsured but it does nonetheless address the problem.

Obama has alleged different numbers of uninsured as he tries to impress us with the calamity we face. Sometime the number of uninsured is 47 million but in his speech he said “There are now more than 30 million American citizens who cannot get coverage. In just a two-year period, one in every three Americans goes without health care coverage at some point. And every day, 14,000 Americans lose their coverage.” Those who really analyze this say that at most the number is 12 to 15 million uninsured while 135 million families do have some form of health insurance, and according to polls most are satisfied with their insurance and therefore don’t need “reform.”

Another of Obama’s misleading contentions is “Then there's the problem of rising costs. We spend one-and-a-half times more per person on health care than any other country, but we aren't any healthier for it. This is one of the reasons that insurance premiums have gone up three times faster than wages.” The fact is we are better off for our higher health care costs than countries like Canada and the U.K who have universal health care because deaths by prostate and breast cancer, for example, are significantly less.

The president would have us believe that Obamacare is supported by “an unprecedented coalition of doctors and nurses, hospitals, seniors' groups, and even drug companies.” But the truth is support is from the American Medical Association and only 17% of doctors are members of the AMA. Pharmaceutical companies are at various time demeaned and referred to as supporters of Obamacare but if the roles of insured are increased as Obama says they should be, it is obvious that there would be more business for the drug industry.

After Obama portends of coming doom if Obamacare is not made law, he accuses opponents of “scare tactics.”

“But what we've also seen in these last months is the same partisan spectacle that only hardens the disdain many Americans have towards their own government. Instead of honest debate, we've seen scare tactics. Some have dug into unyielding ideological camps that offer no hope of compromise. Too many have used this as an opportunity to score short-term political points, even if it robs the country of our opportunity to solve a long-term challenge.”

By the way, you are permitted to wonder if the health care situation is in such bad shape, why is it that Obamacare won’t come into effect for four years.

Another thing Obama likes to say if you have health insurance now you can keep it.

“First, if you are among the hundreds of millions of Americans who already have health insurance through your job, or Medicare, or Medicaid, or the V.A., nothing in this plan will require you or your employer to change the coverage or the doctor you have.”

But the public is wise to this half truth. If there is a “Public Option” (Government insurance option), it’s only a matter of time before private insurance becomes a thing of the past. Private companies can’t compete with the deep pockets of government which has no need of profit making.

Under Obamacare freedom of choice is so denied that participation is mandatory and anyone not participating in the program is deemed “irresponsible.” Furthermore, they MUST buy health insurance or they are fined. The IRS is made the enforcement arm of Obamacare.

“Now, even if we provide these affordable options, there may be those, and especially the young and the healthy, who still want to take the risk and go without coverage. There may still be companies that refuse to do right by their workers by giving them coverage."

"The problem is such irresponsible behavior costs all the rest of us money. If there are affordable options and people still don't sign up for health insurance, it means we pay for these people's expensive emergency room visits. If some businesses don't provide workers health care, it forces the rest of us to pick up the tab when their workers get sick, and gives those businesses an unfair advantage over their competitors.” “…businesses will be required to either offer their workers health care, or chip in (i.e., be fined) to help cover the cost of their workers.”

“… we can't have large businesses and individuals who can afford coverage game the system by avoiding responsibility to themselves or their employees” – big brother says so.

Mr. President are you saying that everything that Americans do that adds to public costs should be government controlled? How about poor choices in eating habits that leads to obesity and/or illness, should that be under government edict? Slippery slopes lead to the bottom of individual freedom.

The president doesn’t stop at misleading statements, he can’t resist untruths.

“Now, there are also those who claim that our reform efforts would insure illegal immigrants. The reforms -- the reforms I'm proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally." This too is false. In fact the House bill on the table (H.R. 3200) does include illegal aliens.

“And one more misunderstanding I want to clear up: under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience laws will remain in place.” Mr. President, read the bill, abortions are not excluded and every time Republicans submit legislation to omit illegal immigrant coverage and abortion coverage Democrats defeat them.

Sir Mr. President why is it that although every poll says Americans don’t want Obamacare you say: “... I believe a broad consensus exists …”? and -

“It's -- it's worth noting that a strong majority of Americans still favor a public insurance option of the sort I've proposed tonight. "

Obama refuses to admit that Obamacare is government control of the health system but it is. Even Obama has publicly admitted the ultimate goal is nationalized medicine; here is what he said to mislead the public:

“Now, my health care proposal has also been attacked by some who oppose reform as a ‘government takeover’ of the entire health care system. Now, as proof, critics point to a provision in our plan that allows the uninsured and small businesses to choose a publicly- sponsored insurance option, administered by the government, just like Medicaid or Medicare.

So let me set the record straight here.

My guiding principle is, and always has been, that consumers do better when there's choice and competition. That's how the market works.”

It’s true the free markets work when people have choices but freedom of choice is not part of Obamacare; for example, a Federal Board and its Commissioner will decide who gets what medical care and who doesn’t get any needed health care – such as to prolong life. How does government decision making about medical treatment jibe with Obama's statement: “And -- and I will make sure that no government bureaucrat or insurance company bureaucrat gets between you and the care that you need.”

The president thinks that there is a lack of competition among insurance companies and this wrong:

“Unfortunately, in 34 states, 75 percent of the insurance market is controlled by five or fewer companies. In Alabama, almost 90 percent is controlled by just one company.”

But the answer is not government edict; it’s to let insurance companies compete across state lines.

Obama doesn't like profits. I guess he thinks private business should not profit from their enterprise but should operate for the benefit of the public, just communist countries do.

“But by avoiding some of the overhead that gets eaten up at private companies by profits and excessive administrative costs and executive salaries, it could provide a good deal for consumers and would also keep pressure on private insurers to keep their policies affordable and treat their customers better, the same way public colleges and universities provide additional choice and competition to students without in any way inhibiting a vibrant system of private colleges and universities. Now, it is...”

“Overhead gets eaten up by profits” - profits are overhead Mr. President? If universities are good example of competition, why do tuitions keep escalating?

The president knows that many people think Obamacare is too expensive so he said:

“Now, Here's what you need to know. First, I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits, either now or in the future. I will not sign it if it adds one dime to the deficit now or in the future -- period. I will not sign it if it adds one dime to the deficit now or in the future. Period. And to prove that I'm serious, there will be a provision in this plan that requires us to come forward with more spending cuts if the savings we promise don't materialize.”

The Congressional Budget Office disagrees with you Mr. President; they say Obamacare will cost $1.6 trillion. Sir, your nose is growing.

Among the most insidious aspects of Obamacare is what it will do to seniors, including those who rely on Medicare. First a new Federal Board will determine if particular medical treatment needed by seniors is “cost effective” or not and then Medicare money will be reduced but Obama refuses to admit it so he obfuscates the issue this way.

“…not a dollar of the Medicare trust fund will be used to pay for this plan. The only... The only thing this plan would eliminate is the hundreds of billions of dollars in waste and fraud, as well as unwarranted subsidies in Medicare that go to insurance companies... . subsidies that do everything to pad their profits, but don't improve the care of seniors. And we will also create an independent commission of doctors and medical experts charged with identifying more waste in the years ahead."

Now, these steps will ensure that you -- America's seniors -- get the benefits you've been promised. They will ensure that Medicare is there for future generations. “

“That's what this plan will do for you. So don't pay attention to those scary stories about how your benefits will be cut -- especially since some of the same folks who are spreading these tall tales have fought against Medicare in the past... and just this year supported a budget that would essentially have turned Medicare into a privatized voucher program. That will not happen on my watch. I will protect Medicare.”

“Now, because Medicare is such a big part of the health care system, making the program more efficient can help usher in changes in the way we deliver health care that can reduce costs for everybody. So the [Federal] commission can help encourage the adoption of these common-sense best practices by doctors and medical professionals throughout the system -- everything from reducing hospital infection rates to encouraging better coordination between teams of doctors.”

Yes, government control of health care is sooo good – if you are lucky enough to be granted the right to it by the Federal Board.

President Obama and his teleprompter make good speeches – that’s what got him elected. He is relying on the same thing to sell Socialized Medicine – we shouldn’t let him get away with it – fool me once, shame on me, fool me twice, shame on you.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The devil is in the details

The devil is in the details and nothing can be more devilish than having government bureaucrats decide whether you can or cannot receive needed health care.

While supporters and critics of Obama’s heath care “reform” argue about whether to have a “Government” (or “Public”) option, “Co-ops”, or a “Trigger” to activate the Public option, completely overlooked is the most insidious aspect of health care plans demanded by Obama and proposed by Democrats. Every one of these Democrat plans to change the health care system includes a "Government Health Care Board and Health Care Choices Commissioner" to dictate what and to which Americans medical care can be provided.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said at a news conference in San Francisco on Thursday, Aug. 20, 2009, ( that the health care bill (H.R. 3200) under consideration in the House of Representatives would give President Obama the authority to name a new federal “Health Choices Commissioner” who would have the power to dictate the health insurance plans offered in a so-called "exchange" where millions of Americans would get their health insurance if the bill is enacted.

These powers would include deciding which treatments are covered, which insurance companies can participate, which states can run their own health care plan, what medical care may or may not be provided to individuals on a cost effective basis and rules for enrolling individuals into the public insurance program.

The Bill calls for establishing a health insurance “exchange” where people earning up to 400 percent of the poverty level will be able to purchase health insurance with the help of federal subsidies or given to them at no cost. This exchange would include a "public option" government-run health care plan as well as private plans that provide a minimum benefits package dictated by the government.

The Health Choices Commissioner would establish “the benefits to be made available under Exchange-participating health benefit plans during each plan year,” according to page 84 of the 1,018-page bill. That means the Commissioner would determine what benefits the participating insurance companies must offer participating customers in the exchange, and also dictate what benefits or coverage cannot be made available. The commissioner would also set rules for insurance companies to participate in the health insurance exchange and establish criteria for individuals to receive federal subsidies to purchase insurance in the exchange, according to section 142 on page 42 of the legislation.

In addition the Commissioner would have the authority to establish “automatic enrollment” of individuals who qualify for the health insurance exchange:

“The Commissioner shall provide a process under which individuals who are Exchange-eligible individuals described in subparagraph (B) are automatically enrolled under an appropriate Exchange participating health benefits plan.” The legislation says, beginning on page 97: “Such process may involve a random assignment or some other form of assignment that takes into account the health care providers used by the individual involved or such other relevant factors as the Commissioner may specify.”

House Republican Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) expressed the views of many of us about giving one bureaucrat this much power over the health insurance and medical care of Americans and the fact that this is among the least noticed provisions of the legislation.

“The American people want two things from health care reform: lower costs and more choices,” Boehner said in a statement. “Yet Democrats have done exactly the opposite coming up with a bill that actually raises costs--increasing the deficit by $240 billion--and letting a new federal bureaucrat make health care decisions that should be left to patients and their doctors.”

The legislation also gives the commissioner sole power to determine who can participate and under what conditions.

“The Commissioner shall have the authority to establish such rules as may be necessary to deal with special situations with regard to uninsured individuals and employers participating as Exchange-eligible individuals and employers,” the bill says on page 82, “such as transitions periods for individuals and employers who gain or lose, Exchange-eligible participation status, and to establish grace periods for premium payment”

The Commissioner would also decide the “cost sharing” difference between each available plan, according to pages 85-87 of the legislation.

Supporters say the national exchange would not replace state Universal Health Care programs, such as the Commonwealth Connector in Massachusetts but this is not entirely true. State plans would only be approved if the state plan meets federal criteria set by the Commissioner. Otherwise, the commissioner could shut the state plans down.

“The Commissioner may terminate the approval (for some or all functions) of a State-based Health Insurance Exchange,” the legislation says on page 114. Page 112 of the legislation says a state plan “must demonstrate the capacity to provide assurances satisfactory to the Commissioner that the State-based Health Insurance Exchange will carry out the function specified for the Health Insurance Exchange in the State (or States) involved.”

The health care “reformation” contemplates making insurance coverage available to some 45 million or so alleged uninsured which is certainly an idealistic result that satisfies our altruistic better nature but at the cost of ruining health care now enjoyed by the 135 million families and individuals who are happy with their existing insurance coverage. The Democrat proposals also fail to deal with the obvious shortage of medical care providers needed to treat the increased number of people insured. This in itself would necessarily lead to delays in medical treatment which, like in Canada and the UK, can be fatal.

Furthermore, concern for the cost of the Democrat universal health care plans has injected the concept of “cost effectiveness” in the decision making by the "Health Choices Commissioner” and the national board as they dictate who can receive needed health care and what treatments are covered and available to a particular individual on a cost effective basis. It does not take a genius to realize this means providing treatment to seniors is not as cost effective as providing such treatment to younger people. Giving power to make such decisions to government bureaucrats and a single Commissioner amounts to allowing them to decide who lives or dies.

This is the ultimate in government control sought by Marxist/Socialists.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Democrats and Obama must think Republicans are idiots but they are only partially right

Having failed to sell the “co-op” option as a substitute for the “government option,” Obamacare fanatics are now pushing the “trigger” option. Of course, any thinking Republican (which excludes Olympia Snowe) sees right through this scheme.

This new proposal to help Democrats pass Obamacare is submitted by no other than Senator Olympia Snowe, (R-Maine), with whom Republicans can do without. The so-called "trigger" plan has been suggested by Snowe who is a member of the "gang of six" Senate negotiators who are trying to broker a bipartisan compromise. Under such an option, if agreed-upon goals are not met by the insurance industry, then that would pull the trigger on government-run insurance; thus keeping a government-run insurance plan on reserve. Liberals complain “the trigger would likely prevent a public option from ever being implemented. Conservatives complain, to the contrary, that it would act as a surefire public option -- only several years down the road.” (Fox News) The liberals’ complaint is specious because in the end they will accept anything that can be represented as “bipartisan health care reform.”

"If you say to the government bureaucracy, 'As long as you find it has failed, you get to build a brand-new bureaucracy,' you have a guarantee the trigger's going to go into effect. I mean, you're only delaying for four years what will become a 100-year problem," former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said recently.

Howard Dean also voiced opposition:

"The problem is it won't work. It doesn't add anything. If you're going to do that, just do the insurance reform. So you know, I'm very hopeful that (Obama) will stick to his guns and that we'll have the reform we were promised in the campaign. If, for whatever reason, he chooses to go in a different direction, then I'd scale back the bill. I wouldn't spend five cents on it."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday acknowledged talks over the trigger option and seemed to speak approvingly of it. But hours later, she issued a statement reaffirming her commitment to a "strong public option." Dean suggested an all-or-nothing approach, urging Obama to "stay the course" on a public option.

"If you don't use your majorities, you lose your majorities," Dean said.

Very disheartening to conservatives is the apparent potential support for health care reform advocated by some Republicans. Senator Lamar Alexander, (R-Tenn.), and Gingrich suggested the administration take a more incremental approach to reform. Alexander said Obama should declare to the American people on Wednesday that it's time to "start over." It’s not clear what exactly Alexander means by his “incremental” comment but there are so many things wrong with any version of Obamacare out there that any suggestion to go with an incremental approach may still leave us without the health insurance coverage most Americans have now and favor.

For example, unless the appointed government board that decides who can receive health care on a cost effective basis, and what medical care can be given, is deleted, many Americans will be denied life-extending medical care. Furthermore the problem of more people insured than available medical care providers to render medical care will necessarily lead to rationing and long waits for service.

There are some issues about health insurance that likely should be addressed but they don’t need 1,000 pages to describe. Such things as coverage for pre-existing conditions and insurance portability are good candidates for reform but will likely increase not decrease insurance cost. On the other hand allowing insurance companies to compete nationally by removing state border limitations will decrease insurance costs. Furthermore the 47 or 50 million uninsured in the country used to garner support for “health care reform” is totally bogus as explained many times by writers addressing this subject. The truth is that there are probably 15 million or less unable to afford health insurance, although these people are not denied health care under the law. There are simple and less expensive ways to provide them with health insurance if indeed that is the goal and not expanding government and government control.

Right now we have the ridiculously entitled “earned income tax credit” which is not a credit at all but out-and-out government welfare checks given to people who pay no taxes. It would be far less costly and less damaging to our health care system to simply enroll these people in a private health insurance plan.

The huge backlash to all the proposed health care reform bills does not sway any of the dedicated socialists in congress nor the chief socialist in the White House because they don’t care what the public thinks or wants. As good socialists they know what’s best for us and by God they will give that to us come hell or high water. But the secret behind their dedication is that it is expanded government control they want (with them in charge) and not improving the country.

Obama is about to make a national speech about what he calls health care reform. You can be certain he will say all the right things as he always does but he won’t change his objective of government control of this one-sixth of our economy no matter how he wraps it.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Hobson's choice - does the EPA or Congress dictate CO2 regulations

In 2007 Justice Anthony Kennedy decided that what we exhale every second of our lives, carbon dioxide (CO2), is a pollutant. As a result of this one man’s opinion, Americans will be subjected to government regulations that will change their world.

In a 5-4 decision written by Justice John Paul Stevens the U.S. Supreme Court said the language of the Clean Air Act, defining "air pollutant" is a “sweeping definition, and the greenhouse gases”, namely carbon dioxide, “fit well within the definition of air pollutant.” It was the vote of Anthony Kennedy, who joined with the liberal block that decided the issue; all four sensible Justices, Roberts, Alito, Scalia and Thomas, dissented.

The case concerned the refusal of the EPA in the Bush administration to use its powers under the US Clean Air Act to regulate emissions from new motor vehicles by establishing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards, with a view to tackling the issue of climate change.

The EPA's grounds for refusal were that the Act did not authorize it to issue mandatory regulations to address global climate change, as it does not pose a direct health risk and, even if it had the authority to regulate, it would be neither effective nor appropriate for it to do so. The EPA's decision was challenged by various US states, nongovernmental organizations and others before the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which, by a majority, agreed that the EPA had properly exercised its discretion in denying the petition.

The petitioners then appealed to the US Supreme Court, where a majority (five to four, as said) upheld their appeal. The Supreme Court judgment deals with three important issues: (i) the standing of petitioners to challenge the EPA's decision; (ii) whether carbon dioxide (CO2) and other GHGs are air pollutants under the Act and can be regulated by the EPA; and (iii) the adequacy of the EPA's reasons for determining not to regulate GHG emissions.

Unfortunately the dissenters made there case on procedural grounds regarding whether states could legislate regarding air pollution without addressing the important matter of whether carbon dioxide is a pollutant. By deciding that states have a right to address air pollution, the majority of the Court gave the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) authority to determine if CO2 is a pollutant. The courts said that EPA has to come up with reasons that form a scientific judgment, and the reasons it gave were not in that category. So EPA acted arbitrarily and capriciously and against the Clean Air Act.

The resulting determination by the EPA was a foregone conclusion since Obama had announced during his campaign for the presidency what he would do about this issue if elected president. On October 16, 2008, Bloomberg reported that through his energy advisor, Jason Grumet, Barack Obama will classify carbon dioxide as a dangerous pollutant that can be regulated should he win the presidential election, opening the way for new rules on greenhouse gas emissions and that Obama will tell the Environmental Protection Agency that it may use the 1990 Clean Air Act to set emissions limits on power plants and manufacturers. Obama would initiate those rulemakings,'' Grumet also said in an interview in Boston. This action will halt construction plans on virtually all of the 130 proposed new U.S. coal plants.

States where coal-fired plants will be affected include Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, Texas, Montana, Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Georgia and Florida.

William Kovacs, Vice President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers said "Once carbon dioxide is regulated, they can no longer contain the Clean Air Act...and it would completely shut the country down."

In April this year, the EPA released its finding that man-made pollution is a cause of global warming. The EPA issued its determination based on the Supreme Court’s ruling that greenhouse gases, e.g. carbon dioxide, are pollutants under the Clean Air Act and must be regulated if found to be a human health danger. However there was no actual finding or evidence that carbon dioxide is a health risk. How could they; to declare CO2 a health risk would mean that breathing is dangerous to your health? Thus, the EPA did not follow the Supreme Court decision, it merely made an arbitrary ruling based on the false notion that carbon dioxide causes global warming and not that there are any health implications.

It is becoming increasingly clear that scientists disagree with the idea that CO2 has anything to do with global temperature changes. For example, MIT scientist, Professor Richard Lindzen, has published a paper which proves that IPCC models are overstating by 6 times, the relevance of CO2 in Earth’s Atmosphere. Dr. Lindzen has found that heat is radiated out in to space at a far higher rate than any modeling system to date can account for. Professor Richard Lindzen’s peer reviewed work states “we now know that the effect of CO2 on temperature is small, we know why it is small, and we know that it is having very little effect on the climate.”

“The global surface temperature record, which we update and publish every month, has shown no statistically-significant “global warming” for almost 15 years. Statistically-significant global cooling has now persisted for very nearly eight years. Even a strong el Nino – expected in the coming months – will be unlikely to reverse the cooling trend.”

“More significantly, the ARGO bathythermographs deployed throughout the world’s oceans since 2003 show that the top 400 fathoms of the oceans, where it is agreed between all parties that at least 80% of all heat caused by manmade ‘global warming’ must accumulate, have been cooling over the past six years. That now prolonged ocean cooling is fatal to the ‘official’ theory that ‘global warming’ will happen on anything other than a minute scale.”

In addition to carbon dioxide, the EPA said five other emissions are believed to cause warming when they concentrate in the atmosphere: methane, which is emitted by gassy cows, as well as steam boilers; nitrous oxide, found in cooking sprays and used as anesthesia by dentists, better known as laughing gas; hydro fluorocarbons, which are used in refrigerators and aerosols; per fluorocarbons, a gas permeated by fire extinguishers, refrigerators and high end ski waxes; and sulfur hexafluoride, more commonly known for its use in circuit breakers, switchgear and other electrical equipment.

This leaves Americans between the proverbial “rock and a hard place”; the EPA rule making can be circumvented by Democrats desire to enact “Cap and Trade” legislation which would itself place draconian restrictions on Americans and the economy, or let the EPA do it by simply issuing regulations.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Will Americans stand up for freedom and liberty or will they go meekly into the world George Orwell described?

Obama became president by promising “change” and change is what we got. However while those who didn’t vote for Obama feared the kind of change that would occur with Obama as president, many of his supporters ignored what he said he would do as president to the detriment of us all and voted with their hearts and not with their heads.

Never in the history of our country has a president sought and succeeded in achieving revolutionary changes in a system of government as has Obama as president together with a compliant congress dominated by extreme leftists of like mind – you might call this “the perfect storm” in it’s cataclysmic results.

It is interesting to review what Obama has done to our country in much less than one year and what he plans for us; consider this:

1. President Obama has placed the federal government in control of both the mortgage and the banking industries and 19 of Americas largest banks have been supervised by the federal government in unparallel ways while being forced to undergo stress tests by the federal government to decide if they are sufficiently capitalized according to new government standards.

2. The federal government has become the largest shareholder in automakers General Motors and Chrysler and has fired the CEOs of these companies while appointing executives in their place with absolutely no experience in the auto industry and dictating what executive compensation will be without the approval of the Board of Directors or share holders.

3. President Obama has appointed 44 “Czars” (at last count) without congressional approval who are accountable only to him, not congress or the voters, and have control over a wide range of federal policy decisions. Among these Czars are a Stimulus Accountability Czar, an Urban Czar, a Compensation Czar, an Iran Czar, an Auto Industry Czar, a Cyber Security Czar, an Energy Czar, a Bank Bailout Czar, and dozens of other government bureaucrats with unchecked regulatory powers over domestic and foreign policies and some of clearly Marxist ideology.

4. President Obama has increase the federal deficit by trillions of dollars triple the $454.8 billion deficit in 2008 for which the previous administration was highly criticized by Obama and his fellow Democrats. Obama and the Democrat-dominated congress approved a $3.53 trillion federal budget for fiscal 2010 when our gross domestic product is only about $14 trillion (before Obama, no telling what it is now) and the projected deficit over the next ten years is greater than $10 trillion.

5. The Obama Justice Department has ordered FBI agents to read Miranda rights to high-value detainees captured on the battlefield and held at US military detention facilities in Afghanistan. Obama ordered the closing of the Guantanamo detention facility with no plan for the disposition of the 200-plus individuals held there and several of the suspected terrorists at Guantanamo were sent to live in freedom in Bermuda at the expense of the US government while our returning US veterans are labeled terrorists and put on a watch list.

6. The Obama Justice Department has appointed a special prosecutor to investigate whether CIA agents broke the law (what law?) interrogating captured terrorists, including the mastermind of the 9/11 attack on our country, to elicit information about the attackers and plans for future attacks.

7. Under President Obama the federal government has sought powers to seize key companies whose purported failures could jeopardize the financial system, as solely determined by the federal government. Obama has proposed a new regulatory agency to control loans, credit cards, mortgage-backed securities, and other financial products offered to the public.

8. Obama traveled around the world early in his term to apologize for Americas past imperialist” actions, gave a speech in the Middle East lauding the (false) contributions of Muslims in America while bowing before the Saudi king, and repeatedly apologized for Americas past actions. Obama also traveled to South America, embraced Hugo Chavez and sat passively in the audience while Nicaraguan Marxist Daniel Ortega charged America with terrorist aggression in Central America.

9. It’s no secret that Obama and his new Marxist appointee to the FCC now want to dismantle conservative talk radio through the imposition of a new Fairness Doctrine-like regulations without congressional consent and to curtail the First Amendment rights of those who may disagree with his policies via internet blogs, cable news networks, radio or advocacy ads.

10. Obama and the Justice Department want to limit our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms and Obama appointed a Justice to the Supreme Court with a record of limiting Second Amendment rights. The Obama Attorney General wants to eliminate the sale of virtually all handguns and ammunition, which most citizens choose for self-defense.

11. Obama has a plan to eliminate states’ rights guaranteed by the Tenth Amendment and give the federal government sweeping new powers over policies currently under the province of local and state governments and voted on by the people such as controlling the schools, energy production, the environment, health care, and the wealth of every American and to “spread the wealth” ala Marxist philosophy.

12. Obama has repeatedly ignored the Constitution by seizing powers which the founders of our country fought to restrict.

13. Obama insists upon destroying our health care industry by law with draconian limitations on medical providers and the public such that the 185 million here with health care coverage would have their health care diminished in order to provide health insurance to about 10 to 15 million who have no health insurance despite the fact that they are not now being deprived of health care when needed.

14. At Obama’s urging laws are being passed (one has already been passed by the House, “Cap and Trade”) that will drastically curtail the life style of Americans while grossly increasing costs of everything literally from “soup to nuts” and especially electricity.

Obama campaigned on the promise of providing “hope and change” but in reality what he has given us is hopeless destruction of the fundamentals which have made the United States great and the envy of the world. Will Americans stand up against the Obama revolutionary changes now that they know what Obama really stands for or will they go meekly into the world that George Orwell described?