June 30, 2012
Judson Phillips, the head of Tea Party Nation, sent his members a piece http://www.teapartynation.com/forum/topics/liberalism-as-mental-illness about a woman named Daphne Tremayne who has a website and a carbon credit scheme where she advocates people not have children and trade "baby credits" the way Al Gore trades carbon credits. Judson now informs me that this story is a hoax, a put on.
What the perpetrators of this hoax don't realize that they have emphasized that many, many environmentalists have advocated not having children in order to save the planet. If you do a Bing search on "don't have children," you will get 1,600,000,000 results. That's one point six Billion with a "B." Then go and pick out articles from people who agree with this idea just on the first page of many. This is clearly not some paranoid idea that conservatives think liberals are advocating. At 1.6 Billion hits on a search engine, this is definitely something that liberal environmentalists are advocating.
But the part that really perked my curiosity was when Judson Phillips quoted the false website's advice about also euthanizing your older pets. A friend of mine told me that in recent years, she has known of people who thought the world was going to end and they did, in fact, euthanize their pets, both young and old. Using the same Bing search engine for "kill your pets," one finds 110,000,000 hits, many of them advocating precisely this action for all pets. As Judson Phillips said in his original article, traumatizing one’s children by killing their beloved pet is not good for family life. This hoax has only brought to our attention all the enviro-nutiness out there.
I personally don't have a pet dog or cat, but I've been researching and writing for a while about the role that retired military dogs - and younger service (healing) dogs play in the lives of service and ex-military and police personnel.
Dog expert Maria Goodavage, in her book Soldier Dogs, tells us that in the Vietnam Era, dogs were trained to be highly aggressive which made them unsuitable for an end of service (approximately ten years of age) retirement to people's homes, thus most of them were euthanized. But by the year 2000, this policy was outdated because service dogs were now trained to just apprehend (grab) people and detect bombs, afterwards returning to base as friendly animals the service people could pet. When a retired K-9 named Robby was euthanized in 2000 under the old rules and an article protesting his fate appeared in Stars and Stripes, Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) entered a bill in Congress which allowed for adoption of retired K-9s so that they could be adopted. The bill passed unanimously, was signed by Pres. Clinton, and became known as "Robby's Law." This essentially ended - for all but the most ill dogs - the military K-9 Death Panels.
The Purina Corporation has been involved in efforts to support these retired military K-9s. A web page of theirs has the story of one of these dogs adopted in retirement.
Dexter was 10 years old when he was released from military service, but he had been relieved from duty two years earlier due to a hip injury. Dexter’s military stint included six years in Iraq, which is where Kathleen Ellison, the Navy handler, worked with him. Stationed in Afghanistan, Ellison could do little to help her former partner, who was sent to his home base in Italy and scheduled for euthanasia. Ellison’s heartfelt dedication to the shepherd led to a much different outcome.
Believing that Dexter deserved more, Ellison sought help from Kandoll in finding a suitable temporary home in the states for the dog until she could return from overseas duty. Kandoll got busy, working through her military contacts, to secure Dexter’s safe return to the United States. She then turned to Scheurer to help find a suitable short-term home for the shepherd.
More than $1,000 later, Dexter was shipped in a travel crate in the cargo compartment of a commercial flight from Italy to Illinois. "Once a dog is retired by the military, he is no longer classified a solider and thus does not qualify to fly on regular military flights,” Kandoll explains.
When Dexter arrived home accompanied by Ellison, who was on two weeks’ leave from duty in Afghanistan, Scheurer and members of the Save-A-Vet board of directors greeted them at the airport. One of the board members, Ed Davis, would take Dexter to await Ellison’s final return from deployment.
Since then, Dexter has become the first K-9 card-holding member of the Fox Lake (Ill.) American Legion Post 703, where he occasionally visits. Dexter also is a member of Veterans of Foreign Wars.
END OF QUOTE
The previous quote mentions Danny Scheurer and Save-A-Vet. The article goes on to explain who they are:
As a U.S. Army infantryman in Iraq, Danny Scheurer was in constant danger. For almost every move Scheurer made in the field, a German Shepherd Dog was nearby. A specially trained military K-9 gave Scheurer confidence each time he went out on patrol that he would return.
"Before I’d ever go into a building, a K-9 would search it,” Scheurer says. "He would check vehicles, too, before we’d go in, and he’d find explosives and residue that we could not have possibly found ourselves.”
Discharged from the Army in 2006 due to injuries sustained in Iraq, Scheurer spent most of his 11 years of military service, including four years in the Marine Corps, deployed in the Middle East. The fact that he is alive he attributes to the protection he received from military working dogs.
Now Scheurer is on a different kind of mission. As the founder of Save-A-Vet in Lindenhurst, Ill., Scheurer is working to develop a special program for retired military working dogs, or K-9s, that are not suitable for placement into pet homes or are not readily adopted. He, along with more than 170 volunteers, envisions building environmentally sustainable retirement homes where military and law enforcement veterans could live in exchange for caring for retired military K-9s.
"We just want to give the dogs a home where they can live out their days as happy, healthy retired veterans,” Scheurer says. "They deserve that.”
END OF QUOTE
A Conclusion - and Something You Can Do
Whether Daphe Tremayne’s website is a serious advocacy site by someone with a lot more self-esteem than scientific training (the site lists her as having a junior college degree in marketing), or is a whimsical attempt at satire – or something in between, is of little relevance. But there is a better takeaway from the family planning and domestic home management advice of a young junior college graduate, be it real or imagined.
For all readers who can get to Northern Illinois on Saturday, July 14th, Save-A-Vet will be having a charity motorcycle ride (yes, you can also participate in a car or pickup truck, but "bikes and hot rods have the right of way"). The starting point will be at Lake Shore Harley Davidson in Libertyville, Illinois. See more details at this website: http://www.saveavetcharityriders.com/fundraiser.html
I have a flight reservation to Chicago early that morning and will be participating in this charity ride - in a rental car. I plan to be there from the start, but if my flight gets delayed, I should be able to participate before the last rally destination is reached. This is a day of fun for a very worthy cause. Save-A-Vet and I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible on the Ride.
A long article of an interview with a Soviet defector from Romania as he describes the infiltration of Marxism in the USA and the strange denial of the American people that it can even happen as well as not being able to recognize the symptoms. A worthy read.
After WWII and the defeat of Nazi Germany, the ugly face of Nazism was unmasked by the Nuremberg Trials, and the world could see the atrocities committed in its name.
FTA: "None of those things have happened in the former Soviet Union. No individual has been put on trial, although its Marxist regime killed many more millions than the Nazis did. Most Soviet institutions, under new names, have been left in place and are now run by many of the same people who guided the Marxist state. The KGB and the Red Army, which instrumented the Cold War, have also remained in place with new nameplates at their doors.
"Communism is dead,” people shouted in 1989, when the Berlin Wall began to come down. Soviet Communism is indeed dead as a form of government. But Marxism is on the rise again, and people are not paying attention. Why not? Because most people do not seem to be familiar with the undercover forms of Marxism we are facing today."
The reason that the American people don't understand what Marxism really is, and why it CAN happen here, is, of course, because "progressives" have been in charge of our educational system for years. And that's why we keep voting them into positions of power in our governments.
"Though he shocked many by joining the left plank on the high court, Justice Roberts. pretty much did what he was supposed to do. He finally put a boundary on how much freedom the federal government can gobble up from states and individuals under the "commerce clause” — that most specious scheme for so much federal thievery.
"Then he told President Obama and his kleptocrats in Congress that they can have their health care law, but they cannot keep lying about it. A tax is a tax and they are liars if they call it anything else. And they just stuck the crippled American taxpayer with one of the biggest, broadest, most regressive tax-hikes in history — and during a deep recession!
"Finally, Justice Roberts turned to the bumbling, tongue-twisted and goofball opposition party — sometimes called the "Republican” party but usually called the "stupid” or "slow” party — and told them to man up, quit whining and fix the horrific mess that they are so much responsible for. They may have messed their diaper, but he's not changing it for them."
A NOTE FROM TIM
Many on our side are desperately seeking a silver lining for this black cloud, but try as we might, putting speedos on Abe Vigoda doesn't make him anything but Abe Vigoda (swiped that from The Drew Carey Show) and the same is true here. Mr. Roberts could simply have killed this abomination and with considerable Constitutional justification. Why go through the legal gymnastics of saying the mandate is constitutional as a matter of taxation when he could simply have killed it in-utero? (Democrats shouldn't complain about killing in-utero; they support that in the womb all the time.) What Roberts did was simply change one usurpation of power - the Commerce Clause - for another - the power of taxation. Yes, it's a little more politically distasteful, but it is still a huge power grab. Where, pray tell, is this sort of tax authorized in the Constitution? I don't see it in there - but I do see the Tenth Amendment which makes it perfectly clear that all powers not expressly granted to the United States are reserved to the states and the Peole. Furthermore, if taxation can be set up in such a fashion where some people pay it if they don't pay it to a private company, then what is to prevent the use of taxation for all manner of other political outcomes? What is to prevent Congress from issuing a demand that guns be turned in to the government or you will be forced to pay some confiscatory tax? What is to prevent the government from demanding you install an Onstar system on your car or be fined severely? What is to prevent Congress from ordering everyone in the entire country to join a labor union or face this liberal Jizya? Roberts ruling has turned America into an imperial system.
What happens to equality under the law? And how can a private company be the recipients of tax money directly?
If Roberts did this for political reasons then he is unfit for the Chief Justiceship. This was about deciding constitutional principles and not pedestrian politics. And Obama may own this, and it may prove a political liability, but how much more so would it be if his signiature legislation were shot down as unconsitutional? I don't thing this is good news in any meaningful way. It's a life preserver tossed to survivors of the Titanic as they flounder in the water.
I'm sure you'll be surprised that neither of them is terribly impressed by the Americans these days! Here's a snippet:
"BIBI: "I take it you don't want the Americans involved?”
VLADY: "And you do, of course.”
BIBI: "You answer first.”
VLADY: "I don't want them involved, but not for the reason you likely imagine. I'm not worried about America expanding its influence. That's unthinkable these days. Nobody, but nobody in the Middle East believes this American president has the will to fight effectively for his friends or allies.
"My concern is that if the Americans get involved, they'll make a mess of it. Yes, they've got amazing weapons, and wonderful soldiers. But they can't make political decisions and so they can win the fighting on the ground and then find a way to leave their enemies stronger than before.”
June 29, 2012
(This first appeared at American Thinker http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/06/america_fades_the_world_gets_darker.html#ixzz1zBy2k2hP)
The Supreme Court's outrageous activism in reframing the government's defense of ObamaCare in order to save it dimmed a little further the flame that has long stood as the world's only original source of illumination. While the loudest voices from around the world will hail this decision as evidence that America is finally becoming "reasonable," some of us from abroad see America's fall as the death of hope, though masquerading as mere "change."
The Eurosocialists, along with their spiritual progeny from Canada to Australia, have long since relinquished their dignity in favor of the protective chains of a "freedom" divorced from property rights. Hence, they will greet this latest blow to American "capitalism" as they greet all the others -- with the holier-than-thou pomposity of a snotty adolescent who refuses to admit that his very survival depends on the grown-ups he is mocking.
In other words, they will continue to see America through the prism of the entitlement mentality that is felling their own nations like dominoes, just as it destroys America herself from within.
The Asian nations, without a longstanding intellectual heritage of individualism and property rights, will witness America's fall with less glee than post-Marxist Europe, but without perceiving its real historical significance. The Latin American communists will think what communists think. The African nations, focused on hand-to-mouth survival and hand-to-hand combat, will not even notice what has just happened to them, as to all of us.
In all of these places, however, there is a minority of us who understand what America's unraveling means, because we have always understood that our own nations were surviving, and sometimes thriving, in the reflected light emanating from the United States. We have always known that America's fate would be ours, and that if America's light faded, it would be the whole world that would go dark.
While the loudest voices from abroad clamor incessantly about the "stupid Americans," a few of us have always marveled at the historically unique and implausible reality of a nation explicitly founded and framed by political philosophers standing on the shoulders of even greater philosophers.
While the loudest voices, uniformly voices of the left, deride America's "greed" and "excessive wealth," a few of us have understood that our own nations' prosperity and standard of living, such as they were, depended largely on the American market, American innovation, and America-provided security.
And in terms of practical policy (there is no practical policy divorced from underlying philosophy), while the loudest voices have ridiculed America's selfish refusal to espouse socialized medicine with its "universal," "free" health care, some of us have always understood what socialized medicine really means, and not just as a policy matter. We have long seen health care as a perfect symbol of the glorious difference in principle between America and the rest of us.
Yes, government-controlled health care means outrageously increased taxes, and sickeningly long wait times for so many necessary procedures. (Of course, ye scoffers, I too can cite instances of quick and efficient treatment, but, like every honest person who has grown up under a socialized system, I can also cite many examples of absurdly long wait times -- waits that caused serious harm.)
And yes, government-controlled health care means "death panels." The mock-outrage of those who dispute this fact has a common and simple name: the Big Lie. (See my discussion of this here.)
But even more fundamentally, some of us who hail from societies in which "property" is regarded as at best a legal convenience, at worst an antiquated nuisance see health care as a nation-defining policy issue, as it delineates a country's view of the individual citizen more profoundly than any other. Can the state -- should the state -- regard its citizens as interchangeable moving parts in a machine serving purposes beyond those of any or all individuals? Are citizens merely the means to the government's ends, to be denied even the most basic form of property rights -- i.e., self-ownership? Does the individual, in essence, belong to the state?
Or, conversely, is the government merely the means to the individual ends of each citizen, who joins others in forming a government as a useful apparatus for preserving and protecting himself -- and all other citizens -- against violations of natural liberty?
The so-called "health care issue" focuses these fundamental questions more clearly than almost any other, for those still able to see.
But here we come to the heart of the matter. How much longer will it be possible to "see" such fundamental questions clearly, as modern mankind's last source of light fades to a flicker?
This is our updated iteration of the issue Orwell raised so disturbingly: what happens when the only world anyone sees is the world defined by oppression? What happens when life's colors, and the stark differences they define, are reduced by omnipresent statism to dim variations of dark gray? What happens when the moral landscape is painted exclusively by the apologists for tyranny, and when that landscape is painted thickly upon all of life's windows, in order to prevent anyone on the inside from catching a glimpse of light from beyond?
But now the question has become even more melancholy than Orwell could know, because he was merely hypothesizing about a world that was far from real. The saddest question, presented to us ever more bleakly each year, was given emphasis by the Supreme Court this week.
What if there is no light from beyond?
In 1989, the last time Chinese youth rose up en masse to take a desperate stand against tyranny, some art students created a sculpture which they called the Goddess of Democracy, to symbolize their struggle. The sculpture was explicitly modelled on the Statue of Liberty, and was erected directly opposite a massive portrait of Mao. Those students, and the thousands of Chinese killed and injured at Tiananmen Square, were not hoping for a U.S. invasion of China. They were clinging to the hope, the plausible dream, that they could capture the glimmer of light they saw from abroad -- i.e., from America -- and cast it into the darkest corners of their society. That glimmer from abroad made their heroism possible. (Think of the stinging reversal of having members of the current American president's administration openly praising Mao.)
The same has been true around the world for a century, both in the overtly oppressive tyrannical nations and in the subtly oppressive "democratic" ones. However the minorities clinging to the hope of increased freedom defined their particular goals, they drew moral strength from the existence of the United States; from its Constitution; from Washington, Jefferson, and Madison; and from the almost giddy possibility that actual practical freedom -- a concept of freedom developed gradually over millennia, from Aristotle to Aquinas to Locke and beyond -- was realizable. The shining city on a hill was utterly real for these hopeful minorities, as long as that light remained visible.
And yet over that same century, when so many around the world have been living and working by that light in the distance, America herself has seemingly been seeking the darkness that others have been fighting to resist. America, the nation that most clearly defined the meaning of practical freedom for all people and all history, is sleepwalking away from it, and toward the post-Marxist abyss, on the path carved by so many other failed and failing nations.
Those of us watching it happen feel like dreamers having a nightmare who want to shout out a warning -- "Don't go there!" -- but who are unable to make a sound. This, however, is a nightmare from which the world will not awaken, or at least not for many generations, unless America is somehow able to rouse itself and rekindle the light that is its essence.
In the meantime, the rest of us -- both the tiny minority from without, and the larger minority from within -- have no choice but to continue to try to make a sound, and to hope against hope that America will finally hear us. For our voices are quickly becoming the only means of contact, as the light of the world seemingly fades faster day by day.
Don't let this light flicker its last. There is, at present, no other.
We have seen numerous statements from the Unite Nations, radical greens, Hillary Clinton and other Big Government advocates, regarding the Rio+20 gabfest and their belief that the world needs a new UN-managed international agency that will dictate and direct "sustainable development” initiatives all over the globe. What we haven't seen much of is "voices from Africa” and other developing regions that desperately need responsible, sustained development, not under radical UN and environmentalist directorates – but according to their own visions and guidelines.
South Africa's Kelvin Kemm presents that missing voice in this article.
After Rio – what next?
It's time to give all mankind a real chance to enjoy genuine development
The Rio+20 World Environmental Conference has come and gone. The "Plus 20” comes from the fact that it took place twenty years after the first such conference, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992. Between these dates, I was a delegate at the 2002 world environment conference in Johannesburg, South Africa. Ever since 1992 I have watched the eco-evolution taking place.
There is a good side and a bad side. The good side is that general world environmental awareness has been enhanced. That is definitely good. But there is still so much to be done, especially in poor countries where many people are always on the edge of survival, people must eke out a living off the land, and many will do whatever it takes to earn a little cash, to just survive another day.
Here in South Africa we see the daily international poaching attacks on our elephants and rhinos. It's disgraceful. For us in the south, on midwinter's day in June (our winters are the opposite of those in the Northern Hemisphere), the total rhinos shot this year stands at 251, just to get their horns, which are still viewed as aphrodisiacs and medicine in many Asian countries. Last year's total was 448, more than one a day – so it's getting worse. Poachers are now using helicopters and machine guns, and often taking chainsaws to still living rhinos.
There is much to do to sustain and protect the world's natural environment. That should be done – but done well, and honestly. The bad side of Rio+20 is the degree of scientific dishonesty and economic manipulation that has crept into the international debate. That is shocking.
In recent years we have heard a great deal about "climate change.” I am on record as saying I do not believe human activities that produce carbon dioxide (CO2) are making any significant contribution to climate change – certainly not anything dangerous or catastrophic.
Observed climate change appears to be in line with past historic meteorological cycles – and likely linked to natural cosmic rays interacting with the magnetic fields of the earth and the sun's interactive magnetic screening system.
But there are organisations in the world that want mankind to be at fault, so that there is someone to blame and attack, someone to tax and control, and someone to encourage to be "traditional” and "sustainable” – and consequently in a state of perpetual primitive poverty and disease ... on the edge of survival.
It was noticeable that Rio+20 moved away from the theme of "climate change.” It would appear that the disastrous climate change, which green extremists predicted with such great relish, has not been occurring. So climate change is dying as a "marketable concept.” They can't use it to scare enough people anymore.
Thus the Rio+20 summit focused on the concepts of "biodiversity” and "sustainable development,” as the main themes, and therefore the main "worries.” If people can be made to worry, they can be made to fear, and then they can be controlled.
Rio+20 was all about international control. Certain green organisations clearly want to exert direct control over world governments, and want to impose their brand of world government on our planet, communities, businesses and families. The concepts of biodiversity and sustainable development give them the leverage.
The greens claim that our plant and animal species, our natural resources, our air and water, and our planet are in such desperate trouble that the extreme greens must take control. They will then defend "biodiversity,” and to do this they will decide what "sustainable development” actually means and how it must be implemented.
They will decide how, when and where any community will be permitted to "develop.” It is interesting to take another look at the Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development, which came out of the 2002 world environment conference in Johannesburg. It included language asking that the world pay attention to "the worldwide conditions that pose severe threats to the sustainable development of our people, which include: chronic hunger; malnutrition … and endemic, communicable and chronic diseases, in particular HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis."
What happened to all these human issues at Rio+20? They were gone. For some reason, the Rio version of "biodiversity” and "sustainability” did not include humans.
In Rio the head of the WWF stated that the WWF wanted "transparent annual reporting and review on subsidy reforms, leading to the elimination by 2020 of all environmentally harmful subsidies, in particular fossil fuel subsidies.” Who do these people think they are? And why have they said nothing at all about the nearly $1 trillion that Bloomberg New Energy Finance reports has been spent worldwide just since 2004 on wind, solar, biofuel and other "renewable” energy schemes that any objective observer would understand are simply not "sustainable” on economic, environmental or any other grounds.
Moreover, this WWF statement is intended to give authenticity to some "world government,” to tell sovereign nations how to care for their own citizens.
In many African countries building a coal-fired power station will reduce CO2 emissions. How? Because there are millions of families who have no electricity, and so cook on wood or dung fires. These fires burn inefficiently and produce not just carbon dioxide, but many airborne pollutants that harm or even kill people. If thousands of these fires are replaced by a modern coal-fired power plant, the net effect would be to lead to improved air quality and less CO2 per unit of energy.
Such an action would be a significant advance, even if the CO2 actually were a problem, though much scientific evidence shows that it is not. This evidence of course is shouted down by those with vested interests in perpetuating "dangerous manmade climate change” as a thesis, and as a professional sinecure. Such an approach is not honest, and it is not science.
Meanwhile, however, European countries have introduced a carbon emissions tax on passenger aircraft flying over their airspace. The tax, per passenger, is calculated on total miles flown, so passengers flying to Europe from faraway places like South Africa and Australia pay much higher emissions taxes to the Europeans to clean up Euro air than do the EU's own citizens, who collectively fly far more cumulative miles around Europe. Despite appeals from South Africa to spare us the tax, we were turned down. We are getting sick and tired of this high handed First World attitude.
Now from Rio+20 we are told that a goal for development is to move away from "outdated” concepts like measuring national growth using Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – and to rather use more "modern” and "equitable” measures like the "Happy Planet Index” (HPI), under which some world authority or bureaucrat is going to place an "environmental value” on keeping our environment "pristine” and "traditional.” Those values will be built into the HPI. Meantime, many people in Africa will continue to cut down habitats to burn wood and dung, and we will fight elephant and rhino poachers all by ourselves.
In Rio, eight of the world's largest development banks announced the largest monetary commitment to come out of Rio+20, a "socially responsible” US$175 billion initiative to shift investment away from roads to public transport. They want to use the money to promote buses, trains and bicycles, instead of cars and aeroplanes.
In many parts of Africa they don't even have a road yet. No electricity either, nor school nor clinic.
It is time for UN, EU, US and other green do-gooders to get off their anti-development high horse. It's time to give all of mankind a real chance to enjoy genuine development. It's time to stop using a "preserving biodiversity” ruse to keep the world's most impoverished people forever in poverty.
Dr Kelvin Kemm is a nuclear physicist and business strategy consultant in Pretoria, South Africa. He is a member of the International Board of Advisors of the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), based in Washington, DC (www.CFACT.org). Dr. Kemm received the prestigious Lifetime Achievers Award of the National Science and Technology Forum of South Africa.
By Alan Caruba
Following the Obamacare decision, The Heartland Institute's Maureen Martin, a Senior Fellow for Legal Affairs, said, "Today's decision will go down in infamy. It marks the moment when we all lost our freedom because the Supreme Court drew a road map to guide those dedicated to imposing a totalitarian, statist government on the American people.”
A Heartland colleague, Peter Ferrara, a member of the bar of the Supreme Court and a Senior Fellow for Entitlement and Budget Policy, said "The Supreme Court of the United States just endorsed the most fundamental dishonesty of our politics today. The President intimidated Chief Justice John Roberts like Hugo Chavez intimidates the Venezuelan Supreme Court. The rule of law is now dead. The American people have only one more chance now to save their country.” Heartland is a non-profit, free market think tank.
A lot of Americans may begin to feel like the Jews who lived in Nazi Germany. On September 15, 1935, the Nazi government passed the Nuremberg laws. They were intended to make life in Germany so unpleasant that it would force them to emigrate. Those who could escaped what would later materialize as the Holocaust, the deliberate extermination of all the Jews of Europe. One of them was Albert Einstein who found sanctuary in the United States.
To give you a taste of what it was like, the Reichstag's Nuremburg laws prohibited marriage between Jews and Aryan Germans. Intercourse between Jews and "subjects of German or kindred blood” was forbidden. Jews were forbidden to fly the Reich and national flag. It did not take long for Jewish teachers, lawyers, and physicians to be stripped of their right to work.
What does that have to do with Obamacare? Americans who could rely on the political system to moderate and even reducetaxation now know that the December 28, 2012 Supreme Court has ruledthat Congress may tax anything, including behavior. Americans no longer are free to determine what they wish to purchase or not. Either they follow the dictate of the federal government or they will be fined.
Obamacare has now transformed the United States into a police state.
Twenty-seven U.S. States joined together to oppose Obamacare and they and the other twenty-three now know that they are no longer separate and sovereign republics, but must yield to the federal government's demand that they create "exchanges” where health insurance must be purchased.
Arizona has already discovered that the federal government will not permit its law enforcement authorities to participate in protecting its border with Mexico despite the havoc illegal immigration has wreaked on that State. Other States have encountered the same response.
America's older generation, covered by Medicare, will discover that panels of bureaucrats will determine the extent of the health care they can receive. They will discover as those in England's health system that the wait to be admitted to a hospital can result in death.
The younger generation will suffer as well. As Paul T. Conway, the president of Generation Opportunity, a non-profit, non-partisan organization that seeks to mobilize young adults who are dissatisfied with the status quo to create a better future for themselves, has said:
"President Obama's health care law stands as one of the largest tax increases in American history. It will be paid by young Americans whose dreams and plans for the future have already been derailed by failed policies that have denied their access to full-time, meaningful jobs in their chosen career paths.”
"Young Americans,” said Conway, "know they will pay the true costs of President Obama's legislation—over a trillion dollars more in federal spending, more waste and fraud, increased American debt, and the inability to keep or choose healthcare plans that best suit their needs as individuals.”
Young, old, and all other Americans will wake nowto an America that theyhave not known, nor ever conceived could exist; a nation in which the rule of law no longer is a guarantee of the Constitution's limits and separation of powers.
© Alan Caruba, 2012
I've stopped my dry heaving long enough to read some rationalizations at American Thinker about how clever Justice Roberts was in allowing ObamaCare to stand and am appalled once again.
The famous Clarice Feldman thinks this is great for conservatives? Oh, please. It is like saying it's great that the government can now steal our money because it makes us more angry against Obama. I - as many others - was angry enough after the XL Pipeline blocked by Obama. I didn't need this new burden to motivate me. I wonder if the Hebrews in Goshen should have been happy when the Pharaoh took away their straw for making bricks because it would make them more motivated. Of course they couldn't vote against the Pharaoh in an election, but they didn't take it as a motivation to move. They saw it as more imperial repression.
One commenter said this is like the Battle of the Coral Sea where the US lost an aircraft carrier but won a strategic victory. To this I replied that unlike that battle, the enemy withdrew and didn't press on every day in our lives - and did not send new IRS tax agents to collect fees for the Imperial Japanese government starting the next day.
Some other RINO posting at Amer. Thinker said that Robert's move thwarts liberal critics who say the Court leans too much to the right. Was the left concerned when they decided in Roe vs. Wade that people would think the Court leaned too much to the left? No, they just made their decision consistent with their political views. If what this foolish RINO remark meant was that we should fear thinking that a conservative court would be seen as supporting the Constitution or actually support the politics of those that appointed them to the Court, then this other commenter has either lost his judgement or is really a liberal posting his sophistry (that is, b.s.). The day a Republican worries about being seen as too "right wing" for the likes of Pelosi, the Washington Post and the SEIU, that's the day he loses his courage and becomes a RINO.
Another person pointed out that Michael Savage said that Justice Roberts is on anti-epilepsy medication which effects his judgement. Yes, and it is the majority of Americans who have told pollsters they don't want ObamaCare who are having the fit and seizures today.
Although American Thinker later has a post or two such as Lauri Regan's which states how bad this current situation is, why are they posting the rationalizations of Clarice Feldman? But even Regan's post is defeatist in tone (granted, there is no guarantee this will all end well for America and the world).
I want to end with a quote from Lauri Regan's article, "History in the Making: the decline of America:" http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/06/history_in_the_making_the_decline_of_america.html
The world was wrong to rely on American values. The elitist, white, Ivy-educated (i.e., indoctrinated); the Hollywood cocooned; the liberal and Soros-controlled mainstream media; the proud minorities; and the progressive left-wing Democrats succeeded in convincing a majority of Americans that an incompetent ideologue living in the White House would be the greatest thing since Abraham Lincoln, FDR, Kennedy, and sliced bread all rolled into one. No one took his or her responsibilities as an American -- an evolved species of humans that had succeeded in overcoming the evils of prior tyrannies and learned from history's teachings -- seriously enough to contemplate just how solemn an obligation it is to enter the voting booth and pull the lever for the person best suited to take the country in a positive direction and help those less fortunate both here and abroad.
June 28, 2012
"Even if you make this film and I’m not in it - or even if you never make this film, it was worth it to have you come here.”
That was a quote by one of the seventy or so military rape victims visited by director Kirby Dick and producer Amy Ziering during their across-the-country research for The Invisible War, their documentary that won the 2012 Human Rights Watch Film Festival’s Nestor Almendros Award for Courage in Filmmaking at New York’s Lincoln Center Film Society and the Audience Award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.
The lead quote comes from the director, said at one of two post-screening panel discussions I attended on different nights at the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center. The stories - and Department of Defense statistics - shown in the film were so overwhelming that they cannot be fully appreciated in one viewing. The film has opened on Friday, June 22nd, in limited release to theaters in four major U.S. cities and will spread out to other cities. More details here. http://invisiblewarmovie.com/findtheater.cfm The trailer can be seen here.
This is not a film about bashing the military but one that wants to improve it. Producer Amy Ziering mentioned that she knows women in the service who are having no personal harassment problems such as ones shown in The Invisible War (I have decided to exclude the list of Defense Department statistics given in the film because of length and central topic focus considerations). The Press Kit for The Invisible War states:
(Director Kirby) Dick says the rape survivors featured in the film agreed to participate on condition that it not be an anti-military film. "All of our subjects were very idealistic and proud to have served,” Dick says. "Regardless of one’s opinion of the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan, we all can agree that people risking their lives should be protected from assault by their own soldiers. The military is a very effective fighting force when it comes to dealing with the enemy without. It’s really now time for them to start dealing with this enemy within.”
END OF QUOTE
The Invisible War is also characterized by honest efforts to avoid political polarization. The victims shown include both short timers and those that had careers stretching back twenty or more years in the military, i.e., people abused during the administrations of both Democrats and Republicans. In fact, during the Monday night Question and Answer period after the Lincoln Center screening, one audience member amazing asked why the film makers even included politicians in the film. It was as if she were advocating the film only dramatize problems and stop there to remain stuck in anger without making any concrete attempt to advocate – or apply pressure - in Washington for changes in government policy that would help victims now and in the future. Despite this, the question gave the director Kirby Dick, sitting on the stage with his producer Amy Zierling, a chance to explain that the film included politicians of both parties who were working for reform of the laws, regulations and current low level of prosecutions of rape in the military. The long standing procedures have required the reporting of sexual assaults to an local commanding officer who has no training in such (legal and psychological) matters, is heavily involved in the details of fighting a war or fulfilling their stateside mission – or is either the personal friend of the accused party and sometimes the alleged rapist themselves. By having the film include an interview with the current Sec. of Defense, Leon Panetta, the filmmakers were actively politicking for a change in Defense Department policies and letting the government know that this documentary would be shortly be making a groundbreaking impact at the Sundance Film Festival. This lead to Panetta changing military policy to allow victims of rape to now file complaints at the level above that of the complainant’s immediate superiors, a first step in reform that occurred two days after Panetta saw a private screening of The Invisible War. While this policy change was duly noted in an on-screen text caption at the end of the film, the creators advocate independent investigations of such charges, ideally done by civilians.
A brief note on "women’s place” vs. men’s in the military is worth mentioning. Some women have fought in America’s armies disguised as men since the time of the American Revolution. In the classic book On Killing by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman of the U.S. Army Rangers and the 82nd Airborne, the early chapters tell of Gen. S.L.A. Marshal’s findings that American soldiers in World War II fired their weapons at a 15 to 20 percent rate and that most killing was done by artillery which did not cause soldiers to look at the face of the enemy. The elite units such as the Marines and Rangers, had a much higher killing rate. But this 15-20 percent rate has also been found to be the case in the Civil War and in Prussian army battles. The dirty little secret of war is that most men – as well as women – will serve their country in life-threatening support situations such as carrying supplies and ammunition at the front but do not relish killing another person at close range. But this a subject best explored elsewhere, perhaps in a new film of its own. Whatever the conclusions of that exploration, the issue will never be fully resolved.
Now, onto the individual stories. The Invisible War concentrates on the stories of eight military rape victims – seven women and one man - tell their stories in detail along with shorter portrayals of about twenty others, largely servicewomen. The main women’s story is that of Kori Cioca, a Coast Guard veteran, shown struggling with the long term effects of both her physical and mental injuries from her rapist’s attack(s) – as well as her struggling to keep her family relationship with her supportive husband, Robert McDonald (also a Coast Guard vet), and their young daughter. One sees her frustrating calls to the Veterans’ Administration seeking help, hampered because of regulations effecting her relatively short time in the military (under two years). To put this in perspective – while not excusing any of this issue as shown for the women in the film – not getting the help they need from the VA is also a decades-old complaint of male veterans for all disability issues. The VA has a mixed record, as reported in Gulf War Veteran Luis Montalvan’s book Until Tuesday and also Once a Warrior Always a Warrior by Charles Hoge, M.D. But the VA has also improved its services in recent years, according to these and other written accounts.
The film showed Naval Academy grad and ex-Marine officer Ariana Klay’s story of her rape at the prestigious Marine Barracks Washington, along with the rape of four other female servicewomen there. This became not only a compelling personal story but the actual breaking of a major news story from within the movie. Ariana Klay, now out of the service, is married to Ben Klay, a fellow Marine officer who retired from the Corps so he could speak freely about what happened to his wife and advocate for changes. This attack on a serving military wife – as well as a number of others - has an ongoing major impact on efforts to retain people in the military. As psychologist Mic Hunter states on page 114 of Honor Betrayed, "half of all enlisted women and more than a third of all female officers have husbands who are also in the military.” Thus, a sexual assault can lead to the loss of two highly trained and dedicated service personnel, not just the wronged person. Mr. and Mrs. Klay also came to New York to join the panel discussion on stage at Lincoln Center after Wednesday’s showing of the film.
The film’s scenes of Navy veteran Hannah Sewell discussing the effects of her rape at the Great Lakes Naval Station – and career Army Sgt. Maj. Jerry Sewell, her father, giving his on-camera reactions are heartbreakingly touching. Sgt. Maj. Sewell is still on active duty in Afghanistan and risked much to appear in this film to support his daughter.
The stories of men who were raped show of a pattern of refusal by the victim to talk until decades afterwards. The most prominently on-camera story was that of former Air Force Tech Sergeant Michael Matthews. The film’s website states http://www.ticketmob.com/webassets/TM/images/templateSiteFiles/The_Invisible_War_Press_Kit_6_19_12.pdf that he "joined the Air Force in 1972 and served twenty years, twelve on active duty.” In his first year in the Air Force, he was "raped and assaulted by three servicemen. With death threats from his assailants and burdened with shame, Mathews did not report the crime. Suffering years of depression, Matthews attempted suicide five times (a number of the featured women in the film also talk of attempted suicides). Today Matthews speaks publically about his experience and, alongside his wife Geri Lynn, a psychiatric social worker, they both recall on camera the day he finally had the courage and trust to admit to his wife what happened to him.”
While some people think that these male rapes are the result of gays allowed in the military, there were already gays in the military even before the 1993 initiation of "Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” and the incidences of rape were less because the culture itself was generally more disciplined and moral. A scene near the end of the film has retired Major General Dennis Laich speaking of the perpetrators of the male-on-male rape as engaging in acts of violence more than acts of homosexuality per se, and claiming that these perpetrators are mostly heterosexual in their orientation. This seems a contradiction in terms, however Jesse Ellison, writing in The Daily Beast agrees with this evaluation. She states that:
Assault victims, both male and female, are typically young and low-ranking; they are targeted for their vulnerability. Often, in male-on-male cases, assailants go after those they assume are gay, even if they are not. "One of the reasons people commit sexual assault is to put people in their place, to drive them out," says Mic Hunter, author of Honor Betrayed: Sexual Abuse in America's Military. "Sexual assault isn't about sex, it's about violence."
When I further raised the question of Major General Laich’s remarks in person to the panel after the Wednesday evening screening, film director Kirby Dick said this topic was worthy of another film all by itself – and he hoped that someone else would make that film. Previously, on Monday night, the director said that he had approached attorneys for convicted military rapists to see if any would tell their story on camera – not to absolve them but to gain insight into how they thought. All had refused to be filmed. Shortly after the panel had gone on to other questions on Wednesday night, panel member and former Marine Officer Ariana Klay came back to my question and stated she experienced her attack as an act of power and not primarily sexual in its nature.
Director Kirby Dick stated in the film and on the panels that the military overcame a problem with rampant racism within their ranks, stretching from the 1940s through the 1970s, to a position where they now have half the racial incidents of the civilian population, a major attitude improvement that made its way also into civilian society/culture as well because many service men and women retire or leave the armed services, taking their values and practices with them. Quoting Kirby Dick again from the film’s Press Kit, he states:
"It’s a very positive model,” he says. "They were able to achieve that change within a decade. They could do the same thing with sexual assault and they haven’t. Instead of the rate of assault in the military being double what it is in the civilian world; I’d like to see it be half. It's an objective I believe they can achieve if they really set out to do it.”
Towards the end of the film, Coast Guard veteran Kori Cioca is shown getting into a conversation with a young woman in a Bob Evans restaurant concerning her desire to join the military for the first time. Kori tells the younger woman to consider the risks before signing up and to consider other options such as attending college. Cioca also says – as does her husband – that they do not want their now-toddler daughter to join the military, given the current situation. Yet this movie, including Kori’s visceral testimony in the film, is a clear attempt to begin changing that situation.
Some military officers – presumably mostly men – have requested that The Invisible War be made available to them as a training tool for their troops. This includes units in Hawaii, Japan and Afghanistan. Director Kirby Dick has been having discussions on that possibility. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/19/the-invisible-war-documentary-military-sexual-assault_n_1607441.html One may presume that in a short time, a copy of this film would be available for a reasonable price to anyone wanting to see or show it.
Retired Major General Laich – and the film makers – made the point that "America has a good military, but it could be a great one” with the reforms this film advocates. We all owe it to our troops – and to our civilian society - to advance that mission.
As if things were not appalling enough today with the ObamaCare ruling, the Supreme Court invalidated the Stolen Valor Act which outlawed people from claiming they won military medals when, in fact, they did nothing and never were awarded them. See http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/supreme-court-strikes-stolen-valor-lie-military-service/story?id=16669096#.T-yWg_XNlvM
Some person using the reputation of a false medal can now go to the VA Hospital and scream righteously that they deserve better treatment for their wounds or PTSD because of what they have sacrificed for our country.
This second decision emphasizes exactly how morally bankrupt the entire university educated "upper" classes have become. Both this and the ObamaCare decision today are vile and reprehensible.
Sorry for spotty blogging, folks; I'm having computer troubles.
John Roberts joins the liberals on the Supreme Court in finding that Congress in finding Obamacare constitutional.http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2012/06/obamacare_mandate_upheld_as_constitutional.html
The United States has lost any resemblence to a constitutional republic. Had the Founding Fathers even suspected that such a shocking abuse of authority would be given the blessing of the highest court they would never have established this nation.
Granted, SCOTUS said the individual mandate was constitutional based on the power to tax and not the commerce clause, but what of it? It is still the Washington equilvalent of Jizyah; a tax to compel conversion to a religion. In the case of the Muslims it is conversion to Islam, in the case of Washington it is conversion to socialism. Either way, it violates my First Amendment rights.
It is now up to the states to opt out of this, and up to the states to push for a constitutional amendment to overturn this oppressive law.
I'm also for impeaching John Roberts while we are at it. (I never liked Roberts from the get-go.)
See these old posts:
The Democrats never worried about Roberts when he was first appointed, and now we know why.
The other huge scandal is how our Border Patrol agents are hampered by politically correct utopian fantasies is worth mentioning with new stories and an old one previously posted here.
First, did you know that Border agents cannot ride over the delicate plants in the countryside in order to catch armed thugs - who are riding over the delicate plants in the countryside?
Law allowing Border Patrol to do their job moves through House
By: Audrey Hudson
Border Patrol agents must abandon their vehicles to chase illegal immigrants, drug smugglers and potential terrorists who illegally cross into the United States and onto federal lands that are designated as environmentally sensitive areas.
Legislation passed by the House last week to slash environmental red tape would allow law enforcement to "do the job they are paid to do,” said Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), who authored the language.
END OF QUOTE
Secondly, did you know that Border agents are required to fire warning shots at thugs with high powered military rifles - and those warning shots include bean bags?
The fact that a beanbag was first required to be fired from a shotgun at the thugs who would kill Border Agent Terry is also mentioned in Monica Crowley's new book "What the (Bleep) Happened?" I have listened to the audiobook version and thus do not have a page number to cite.
But a previous post of mine at the Birdnow website is well worth repeating to show the contempt that Atty. Gen. Holder has for the safety of Americans and particularly American patrol officers.
April 09 , 2011
Politics IS Beanbag for Atty. Gen. Holder
In Michael Savage's recent book, "Trickle Down Tyranny," there is a discussion about some details of the Fast and Furious operation that have escaped much scrutiny.
On page 246, Savage writes:
"With the takeover of the Obama regime in 2009, the president began installing his confederates in positions of power. As part of his seizure of the U.S. government, he put BORTAC (
Agent Terry and his fellow BORTAC patrol members were required to first fire blanks at the bandits they encountered before they fired live ammunition. The BORTAC patrol's firing beanbags alerted the smugglers to the agents' location.
Terry was killed before he could fire a live round at the illegals."
END OF QUOTE
This M. Savage book is new but the story dates from March, 2011. Still, it is the first time I - and I suspect many readers here - have heard of this hobbling of the Border Patrol. Green Beret and Delta Force small arms and assault expert (not really) Janet Napolitano and her lieutenants had devised a scheme that would result in the greatest likelihood of the Border Patrol agents getting identified and killed as they also lost the element of surprise. Michael Savage goes on to say that the two assault rifles recovered at the scene had serial numbers "identical to two rifles ATF watched a straw buy named Jaime Avila purchase in a phoenix gun store (as part of the government's Fast and Furious operation). This was reported by Cheryl Atkinson of CBS News.
Can one imagine a more diabolical, anti-American scheme than "Fast and Furious?" If the officials administering "Fast and Furious" were actual enemy agents, how would their actions be any more harmful than those of Holder, Napolitano - and their boss, Barack Obama?
I recommend that all read these articles whose links are mentioned here, even if it would only be a review that refreshes your memory. And for those that have the time, also read "Michael Savage's "Trickle Down Tyranny."
Here is a terrific review of Robert Zubrin's latest book "Merchants of Despair: Radical Environmentalists, Criminal Pseudo-Scientists, and the Fatal Cult of Antihumanism" - an indictment of the anti-humanism of modern thought and particularly of the Gang Green aka Climate Change crowd.
Zubrin delve3s into the historical roots of modern anti-humanism, from Malthus and Darwin to the modern materialists. He touches on themes I have often explored.
If you believe Man is but an animal, a collection of conditioned responses and driven by neural necessity, you can justify any sort of monstrous action that you think is betters the greater good. If you believe Man is just meat and there are no eternal consequences to anything why wouldn't you make some people suffer some temporary pain for what you believe is the long-term well-being of the species?
This from David Whitehouse of the Global Warming Policy Foundation.:
Schneider et al 2012 in a poster presentationto the two-day, "Taking the temperature of the Earth Conference,” that ends today, has the clever idea of looking at the temperatures of lakes and reservoirs around the world. They point out that in situ observations of lake surface temperatures are very rare on a global scale, but infrared imagery from space can be used to infer water surface temperatures of lakes and reservoirs.
They provide data for 169 of the largest inland water bodies world- wide using three satellite-borne instruments. Together they provide daily to near-daily data from 1981 through to the present, allowing them to calculate 25-year trends of nighttime summertime/dry-season surface temperature.
They find that the surface temperatures of the water bodies have been "rapidly warming” with an average rate of 0.350 ± 0.11 deg C per decade for the period 1985–201.
Two years agoSchneider et alpublished what was then described as the first global survey of lake temperatures. Then the researchers found a decadal trend of 0.45 deg C.
The researchers say the results provide a critical new independent data source on climate change that indicates lake warming in certain regions is greater than expected based on air temperature data.
Their graph of temperature anomaly (click on the image to enlarge) looks very familiar to anyone who is knows the global temperature datasets over the past thirty years. However, I don't think their regression line is a good description of the data. My preliminary calculations suggest that there is no statistically significant trend post-1997. Hence an alternate description of their findings is that the world's large bodies of water show the well known standstill of the past decade or so seen in global temperatures.
Note: While it is possible to draw a linear regression line between 1997 and 2011 (you can draw a trendline through almost anything) that yields 0.1 deg per decade it is statistically meaningless given the large variance of the data. The error on the trendline is several times its magnitude, and it is highly sensitive to moving the start and endpoint by a year or two. Conclusion: No statistically significant trend post-1997. Since 1997 the data is best represented by a straight line of mean 0.21 deg with a large standard deviation of 0.95 deg. Below is the post-1997 portion of the researcher's graph. It is easy to see that the trendline calculated from the 1985-2011 data does not fit this section of the data in which there is no trend. Click on image to enlarge.
Plotted without any extra information, here is the post-1997 data. Click on image to enlarge.
A NOTE FROM TIM:
Considering that lakes - even the large ones - see a much higher level of human usage than do the seas, one must suspect a WARMING bias in the measurements. Consider how much energy is dumped into, say, Lake Huron, through the course of a year. So this may well be masking a cooling trend.
June 27, 2012
The Democrats are running around personally insulting every conservative women from Condoleezza Rice to Sarah Palin to Mrs. Romney, all the time assuring us that they are the "historic" supporters of Women's Rights.
Well, Dennis Prager, in his new book "Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph," has something to say about this subject in Chapter 4, "The Left's Moral Record," on pages 222-223:
What should not be put on the list of achievements is the identification of the Left with women's suffrage...
Regarding women's suffrage, it was a Republican who introduced into Congress what became the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution, giving women the right to vote. In addition, the 1919 vote in the House of Representatives approving the amendment was made possible only because Republicans had retaken control of the House in the previous election (prior attempts to get it passed through Democrat-controlled Congress had failed). The Senate vote was approved only after a Democratic filibuster; and 82 percent of the Republican senators voted for it, while only 54 percent of the Democrats did so. Only 18 percent of the Republicans voted against the amendment, while 46 percent of the Democrats did so. Moreover, twenty-six of the thirty-six states that ratified the Nineteenth Amendment had Republican-controlled legislatures.
END OF QUOTE
To this I will add that there is an old Democratic talking point that is used to comment on everything from legislation to hurricanes: women and minorities hardest hit. In the current Obama Great Recession, this talking point finally become true, because women and minorities truly are the ones hit hardest by Obama's economic policies. Obama is moving us closer to a situation where women will not be able to afford the gas to drive to WalMart.
I'm listening to Dennis Prager's new book, "Still the Best Hope." In one section he talks about the left's attacks on Pope Pius XII for not sufficiently attacking Nazism. I would add that the critics weren't living in an Axis country - Italy - so this is easy for them to say. Prager notes that when the current Pope Benedict XVI gave that speech in Germany critical of Islam, a woman who had criticized Pope Pius XII in a book for not standing up to immorality now criticized the current Pope FOR standing up to immorality. When she then somehow called the current Pope a "hypocrite" because of Pius XII's actions, Dennis Prager remarked it would be like the grandson of a murder being criticized for being a more moral person and not killing anyone. It would be as if I were to criticize a man who had previously done wrong for being a repentant, honest man in his behavior now.
I am personally tired of Monday morning quarterbacks who eithter weren't born yet or live in America and who want to site around and judge other people's actions in a time before they were born (absolving the critics from being asked what they did in WW II), critics who today have not lifted a finger to protect human rights directly - as in joining the military.
I suffered heart failure back in September. I had had a cough for some time but nothing more, and I figured it was a case of allergies run amok. One morning I woke with breathing trouble and a fizzing sound in my chest, and went to the E.R., where I learned that my heart had given out. The doctors were puzzled; I had no arterial blockage, just cardiomyopathy, an arrhythmia, and a low ejection fraction. I was the walking dead; at any moment, my heart could have just stopped, and I would have been gone, much like Andrew Breitbart, who died of the same problem (Sudden Death Syndrome). The doctors wanted to operate and place a pacemaker/defibrillator in my chest, but as I was so young (aged 47) and made it clear I was eager to avoid this, they opted for a wearable external device designed to do the same thing.
Made by the Zoll corporation http://www.zoll.com/, the Lifevest is a miracle of high technology. It transmits a real-time record of the wearer's heart rate to the company, who then can supply it to your doctor. It automatically defibrillates the patient if his heart stops. Mine went into defib mode a couple of times but never had to shock me back to life, fortunately.
I suspected it would be pricey, and I had some fears of what the insurance would do, but the point was moot; the hospital was letting me leave only with that on, or with a pacemaker/defibrillator inside my chest. They were not sending me home any other way; they could not justify taking that kind of risk with a man's life.
But the accursed insurance company can.
They have refused to pay the hefty price tag (thirty three hundred bucks a month, and I had to wear it for four months -- a price range ultimately determined by Medicare), even though my heart has improved quite a bit and I am out of danger. I would have had a permanent pacemaker/defibrillator installed, with all the dangers and infections that go with it and with the device having to be replaced every ten years, had I not worn the Lifevest. While it never brought me back to life, in no way do I regret the decision to wear it -- or pay for it. I could well have died.
(I was religious about my diet and medication regimen, even though the medication made me horribly sick and still does.)
We appealed the decision up the chain of command at the insurance company, and are now in arbitration with the State of Missouri insurance bureau. This decision will be binding, and if they rule in favor of Anthem Blue Cross, then I'll have an enormous bill I simply cannot pay.
What astonished me was the reasoning they employed to deny coverage. They said that this was medically unnecessary. It was unnecessary because, according to their guidelines, such a device is justified only in the event that a permanent pacemaker/defibrillator cannot be installed for medical reasons. They said I was not qualified to receive a permanent unit because that requires six months of careful observation to determine the necessity, and I hadn't had six months of observation. Now, a man with a heart that is about to stop hardly has six months to satisfy the insurers. So I was supposed to hope I didn't die while waiting for Anthem Blue Cross to approve a permanent pacemaker/defibrillator I ultimately did not need! My need was immediate, and I saved them a huge amount of money long-term by not getting the implant. The whole point of this device is to protect you in the meantime.
Here is the kicker: the cardiologist told me that the insurers have all stopped paying any Lifevest claims. Apparently there is an ongoing study that will determine how much the device saves the insurers, and they are refusing to pay until the study is complete. Prior studies have shown benefits.
But I suspect there is more to the story.
I think I may have been death-panelized, more or less. I strongly suspect that the insurers are starting to restructure, ending coverage for "unnecessary" medical procedures, unnecessary meaning that said procedures do not justify the costs to save someone's life. Most Lifevest wearers are, I am sure, elderly, so this is the perfect thing to cut.
ObamaCare is, of course, dangling from a judicial precipice at the moment, and it may be overturned, but the insurance companies would have been foolish to wait to implement aspects of it until it officially took effect; the transition to legal compliance with the law would be most time-consuming. They had to get started on it as soon as it was signed into law, and I am fairly convinced that the refusal to pay claims for Lifevests is a part of the transition to the new law. It's the beginning of death panels, I am sure, and there are cardiologists who seem to agree.
"Sudden death has the virtue of being completely unexpected - and therefore very cheap. Victims of sudden death will not have spent the last six months of their lives selfishly consuming all our healthcare resources. Likely, they will have spent that time earning money, consuming goods, and paying taxes. These patriots are doing what every healthcare policy expert agrees we should all do - to go directly from being productive citizens to six feet under. For sudden death is free, and if everyone did this we wouldn't have a healthcare crisis at all.
Furthermore, consider the kind of patient who receives ICDs [like Lifevest] Some of these, of course (probably less than 10%) are young individuals with some sort of genetic propensity for sudden, lethal arrhythmias. But by far, most people who get ICDs are older folks, generally in their 60s, who have underlying cardiac disease. These are people who, if their sudden deaths are prevented, will go on consuming large amounts of Medicare dollars for the maintenance of their sundry significant medical conditions, who will go on collecting monthly Social Security payments, and who, when the end finally does come (possibly a decade or more into their ICD-extended life) will do so in the classic American manner - in an ICU, supported by incredibly expensive machines, drugs, and medical professionals."
Oh, and the Obama health care law places a 2.3% tax on such medical devices.
Fortunately, my story had a happy ending, except I may still wind up owing considerably more than any of my cars is worth. I am thankful to be alive, but will that be the case for elderly people on Social Security? How many of them will end up dead because they can't afford this piece of equipment and the State has judged them not worth the cost?
(This first appeared at American Thinker http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/06/time_to_start_the_real_health_care_debate.html#ixzz1yzvOhkUA)
Supreme Court subtleties notwithstanding, conservatives must find a way to refocus the health care debate on two questions that constitute the true rock-bottom essence of the issue: (1) Do you own your own body? and (2) Do you own your neighbor's soul?
Republicans, like their nominally conservative equivalents worldwide, have been far too easily dragged onto liberal turf on the health care issue. Too often -- almost always, in fact -- they begin with the premise that the basic problems are "access to care" and "how to reduce costs." From there, the debate devolves into the conservative case for "market-based solutions" versus the liberal argument that "health care is too important to be left to the free market."
Allowing the debate to be framed in this way has contributed mightily to the leftward ratchet that has moved this issue throughout the Western world for the past eighty years. Continuing to accept this framing guarantees socialized medicine in America's future, whether through the intermediate step of ObamaCare or through some other conduit.
The folly is twofold. First, by beginning with the collegial assumption that we are all in agreement on goals, conservatives cede the moral advantage in favor of implicit moral equivalency. ("I completely agree with my good friend across the aisle that we must find a way to make quality care available to everyone, regardless of economic status.")
Secondly, by granting that the central issues are "access" and "cost-reduction," the right sacrifices the optics of the debate to the left. For "allowing the market to work," while it is in truth the only way to reduce costs in the long run, sounds like the argument of an accountant, rather than of a concerned leader -- whereas "we have to take active steps to insure that all Americans have access to affordable health care" sounds like a moral position. It isn't moral at all, but it sounds moral as long as all sides agree that access per se is the overriding goal. In the court of public opinion, the person who seems to represent the moral, "public-spirited" approach to an issue is on the shorter track to victory.
The way to overcome this losing stance -- the posture of a man looking for a place to fall -- is to reject the customary way of framing the debate. This will be difficult, as the issue has been presented this way by all sides, and of course by the media, for so long. Nevertheless, it is high time -- past time, in fact -- for those who care about freedom to step firmly away from the "common ground" of the twin goals of "increased access" and "reduced costs." It is time for conservatives to stand tall on the principle that the so-called health care debate is, at its heart, a debate over freedom versus oppression.
Which brings us back to the questions I posed at the outset.
First, who owns your body? If the Declaration's invocation of a Lockean right to life means anything, it means that your existence as a rational animal is yours to preserve and dispose of. Your living person is your first piece of property, the only one to which you are naturally born, and the ground and ultimate source of all subsequent property you may acquire.
Since you are the owner of your own living body, that body is yours to preserve by whatever means you are able to muster through your own efforts and voluntary interaction with others. Freedom, at its most basic level, means your natural right to pursue your self-preservation without hindrance.
Clarification of this last point may be necessary for the benefit of those whose education has taught them that every man-made "entitlement" constitutes a new right. Your right to preserve your life is not hindered or restricted by your practical failure to acquire satisfactory means to self-preservation through voluntary interaction -- not any more than it is restricted by your failure to acquire water from a nonexistent fountain of youth.
Your right to self-preservation is restricted, however, by a human individual or organization that takes active steps to limit your ability to engage in the voluntary interaction that might lead to your continued or enhanced life -- e.g., by a criminal who bars the door to the emergency room, thus preventing you from seeking necessary care.
Government-controlled health care, whether on the fascistic ObamaCare model or the directly socialized model (to which ObamaCare was designed as a precursor), has as its purpose the artificial restriction of available options. It makes no difference whether this is presented as a path to "fairness" or as a means of achieving "universal access." In its effect, it thwarts the voluntary action through which men might pursue their self-preservation, by coercively limiting everyone to a single state-ploughed path to care. In a government-run health care system, an individual's natural desire and right to pursue his own self-preservation, or that of his nearest and dearest, gets re-branded as an immoral scheme to promote the ultimate evil, "two-tiered health care."
Two-tiered health care -- the buzzword Americans will hear more and more of as the left gains further ground on this issue -- means simply that people are free to purchase the goods and services they are able to pay for. If this seems "unfair" to you, then you have fallen for the modern framing of the debate described above. Some people work, save, and/or borrow to buy a Porsche. Others work just as hard, but have to settle for a little economy car instead. And yet no one speaks of a "two-tiered auto market."
If health care seems "different" to you, and it just seems wrong that some people can afford Porsche-Care while others can't, then you are welcome to start a philanthropic enterprise aimed at providing the most expensive health care and medicines to low-income families. You would undoubtedly receive huge numbers of donations from decent people who like to contribute to improving the lives of others.
But don't mistake that wish to help others for a political argument. To do so is to answer "yes" to the second question I raised at the outset -- namely, "Do you own your neighbor's soul?" The moment your hope to improve the health care lot of others becomes a claim against someone else's freedom to pursue his own self-preservation through voluntary interaction, you are clamoring for the state to restrict another man's -- not to mention your own -- natural right to life. You are seeking to restrict his natural desire for life -- which is to say, you are denying him the moral status of an individual human being, an end in himself, reducing him to a mere means to others' ends. Simply stated, you are refusing to recognize the dignity of his soul.
In addition, you are willingly consigning ownership of his body, and ceding ownership of yours, to the state, which will henceforth have the exclusive right to decide when, whether, and on what terms "your" life will be preserved.
Access to health care and the reduction of costs are legitimate practical concerns for any society; but they are secondary concerns, not the primary one, which is whether people are free to pursue their self-preservation by whatever voluntary means are available to them.
As for the practical matters, it ought to go without saying that a free market -- a truly free one, not one carefully regulated to sustain the fortunes of powerful entities, or to sustain a budget-busting system of government "fairness" programs -- would achieve broader and more affordable care than any other economic model. If the computer industry had been regulated thirty years ago in a manner analogous to modern health care regulations, on the grounds that computer technology was too important to be left to market forces, is there any doubt that people would have fewer, slower, and vastly more expensive computers today, if any? Conversely, is there any reason to doubt that health care could have the same dynamic fate as the computer industry, were it not being stifled by endless regulation?
Nevertheless, all the good things that could be said about access and cost-reduction must be said from a fundamental presumption of freedom. The "market-based solutions" talk gives away the heart of the issue, by rendering freedom just another one of the reasonable options on the table. Freedom is the only option that can be acceptable. Once that is established, one can get into the weeds about how to achieve the secondary goals, such as access and affordability. In fact, once freedom to pursue one's well-being is established, one will hardly have to get into those weeds. The market will do what it always does, when left relatively unrestricted. It will elevate everyone's lot.
Will this lead to "equal" quality care for everyone? Of course not; the nature of a dynamic market is progress (not Obama-style "progress," but the real thing), and this means that something new will always be available at a premium -- until it proves itself successful and desirable enough to be produced on a wider, cheaper scale.
The desire to restrict such dynamism in the name of a skewed, egalitarian understanding of fairness is just another manifestation of the envy and bitterness that define modern leftist psychology.
Don't fall into the rhetorical trap any longer, conservatives. The health care debate you need now is not about the best way to achieve shared goals. The contrast of goals is the debate. One side is for individual liberty, and specifically for the natural right of self-ownership. The other side -- well, the other side was summed up by Ronald Reagan more than fifty years ago http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYrlDlrLDSQ
The Broadside Attack on Christianity and its Institutions, Part I
By Joseph D. Leatherwood
"An unjust law is no law at all.”
St. Augustine, Circa 393 A.D.
Over my life, things have changed radically in America. There has been a marked sea change and out of this circumstance there has emerged a positive - a slow steady coalescing of Protestants and Catholics, particularly those who hold an Orthodox worldview. Unfortunately, this melding has happened because we have a government increasingly and openly hostile to the Christian faith and religious liberty in America. In our current circumstance, the action that has brought this hostility to the fore and grabbed the headlines, deservedly so, is the Health and Human Service Administration (HHS) mandate under the so-called Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) or more commonly referred to as Obama Care.
The HHS mandated Catholic and Protestant (religious) institutions are required to provide birth control and even those forms of birth control causing the death of an unborn child like the "morning after” pill (abortion fadas) through their insurance coverage. The HHS mandate applies to all "religious employers,” such as churches, schools, foundations, credit unions and any other programs or institutions run by religious denominations. After meeting a ground swell of resistance with its initial announcement, the government led by this administration announced a so-called "accommodation,” saying religious employers would not have to cover birth control; however, their insurance companies would.
Now the only problem with that is so-called "religious employers” are for the most part self –insured health plans. For example, the Southern Baptist health plan is Guide Stone Resources the denomination's self-funded, self-insured plan. And what we have in the end is not an "accommodation” at all but a deflection away from the real issue.
With this mandate, the real issue is the use of State police powers against the Christian faith and its institutions, no matter the denomination. The State through the use of coercion, compulsion and intimidation are trying to force the Church and its institutions to violate its moral teachings and conscience.
Readers should recall the May 17, 2009 Notre Dame Commencement speech where the POTUS promised Catholics their healthcare rights and rights of conscience would not be violated under Obama care. So how did this administration get around his promise? To say POTUS has kept his promise, his administration simply redefined what a Catholic (religious) institution is. A religious employer was redefined as one serving only its own kind. That is, a Catholic institution will get the exemption only if it serves other Catholics or a Southern Baptist institution will get the exemption only if it serves other Southern Baptists.
This is not the State's first attempt under this administration at redefining terms to further its attacks on the Christian faith and religious liberty. For example, in the Tabor Case (2011) involving the termination of a teacher, this administration argued before SCOTUS it had the right to decide (define) for religious institutions who were religion workers and who were not. Not surprisingly, SCOTUS ruled 9 to 0 against the State and this administration.
So under this redefinition and accommodation what religious employers (institutions) will get exemptions? The answer is none. The reality is religious employers, like all employers, hire employees and serve clients not of their own denomination, e.g., a Catholic might work at the Southern Baptist Children's Home or a Catholic Children's Home might serve children who are Southern Baptist in their beliefs. In either case, the children's homes will not qualify. It is an impossible test and one that tears at the very heart of our Christian faith.
What makes this such an insidious act is what it is trying to accomplish, and here, the reader should consider their' own circumstance, experience, denomination, institutions and our calling as Christians. Consider: we have all kinds of Christian (faith) -based hospital systems. We have faith-based retirement homes. We have faith-based relief programs serving the poor, the needy and the downtrodden. We have faith-based children's homes. We have faith-based credit unions. And we have faith-based foundations and other programs. You must ask yourself, ‘Why do we provide these services? Why do we help people who are not from our own faith tradition, our own community or our own ethnic group?'
The answer is straightforward – our faith teaches us to love, it teaches us to serve. Our faith teaches us to be charitable and, at the very core of our Judeo Christian world view, we are taught to be generous and sacrificial - to be like Jesus Christ. By modeling Christ, we are fulfilling the Great Commission – to reach out to others showing them both the grace and the love of our faith and our Father. Indeed, the greatest commandment according to our Savior was that we are to love others as we love ourselves.
The dreadnought HHS mandate attempts to impose (or establish) the will of the State through a re-formulated definition of what a religious institution is. What the State has forgotten is that a religious institution, and particularly a Christian based institution, cannot be defined as serving only its own. Such a definition runs counter to the Christian faith and our call to Servanthood. In effect – the State – is saying we will only recognize you as a religious institution, if you are not charitable, not generous, not loving, fail to model Christ; and abandon your Christian discipleship.
If it is allowed to stand, the HHS mandate will cut the heart out of Christian life. It will result in lessening services to the poor and vulnerable for whom the government says its mandate is supposed to benefit. Hands down, the most effective and efficient deliverer of services to the poor and vulnerable are Christian based institutions, not the government. In the delivery of those services, Christian based institutions live up to the true meaning of social justice - taking up the Cross and serving others in His name irrespective of age, gender, class, race, creed or religion.
Unfortunately, the HHS mandate undermines the entire concept. The State under the leadership of this administration has hijacked social justice callously using it as yet another tool demonstrating its exercise of raw political power and disregard for the Constitution of the United States. It is just another Alinskyite "means-justifies-the-means” tactic to attack the Christian faith and Christian institutions in America. And make no mistake about it that is exactly what the HHS mandate is designed to do. This mechanism and the level of hostility by this administration toward the Christian faith should trouble every American.
"See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy,
which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.”
While the HHS mandate is a menacing attack on the heart of the Christian faith, it is able to press this attack because it has successfully confused, eroded and diminished the concept of religious liberty in America. The HHS mandate is a raw exercise in political power and a clear violation of the First Amendment which reads in part,
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”
Over my lifetime, we the people have abandoned our authority and responsibilities as the Governors of this nation. The Declaration of Independence told us,
"That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it…”
We have simply become too complacent in our activism and as a result we have accommodated the State and capitulated to its will. Our complacency has allowed the left (statist) to create out of whole cloth an endless arsenal of weapons (means) to weld in an unrelenting war against religious liberty.
What we have experienced over the past century is an unrelenting war against the liberty-based system constituted by the Declaration of Independence and codified in the Constitution of the United States. We need only look at the attacks on the free market (economic liberty) since the 1890s and our representative republic (political liberty) since the 1910s to understand why the nation is in a serious state of affairs.
And ever since Everson v. Board of Education (1947), the State has engaged openly in blatant, hostile attacks on religious liberty the third leg of the liberty-based system underlying our constitutional system of governance.
While the attacks on religious liberty have been periodic, their cumulative effect over time has resulted in the establishment of a State religion - secular humanism with its State-based ideology – in clear violation of the establishment clause articulated in the First Amendment.
For many years we have engaged the left in a frivolous debate over the notion of a "separation of church and state.” As many now realize, the entire debate has been little more than a schizophrenic sort of subterfuge because it (the debate) has been little more than a distraction or diversion away from the truth about what statists were up to, namely, establishing a State-based religion and then applying it to every aspect of our lives.
This establishment was accomplished through executive orders, court rulings, bureaucratic fiat and directives and, when they controlled the legislative branch, legislative mechanisms. Using these methods of incrementalism the statist systematically imposed their will upon America while we thought we were involved in a real debate. We have debated to the point where we have awakened to find ourselves locked into the shackles of the State.
It is an understatement, to say, we have a government led by an administration openly hostile to the Christian faith. The State has become radicalized and installed itself as a ruler over us thumbing its nose at the rule of law and embracing lawlessness in order to impose its will upon the nation. The reality is the State has jettisoned the Constitution of the United States.
In our current circumstance, the State tolerates expression of our religious faith as little more than a life style – they allow us the ability to worship in our churches, homes and amongst ourselves but not publically. The growing reality is we may be looking back at the phrase "church and state” fondly because the State is moving ominously toward the replacement of the Church by the State.
Christians must realize we are in a war in defense of our religious liberty, our spiritual liberty and our spiritual lives; we are involved in a fight with an opponent seeking the abolition our distinctive Christian witness in the culture and that is the philosophical and spiritual stake in this war.
Religious liberty means being obedient to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Obedience means we are to fulfill the Great Commission – going into the world (culture) in making disciples of all nations. We were instructed that we were to be salt and light. Obedience means sharing the gospel and our love for our Lord and Savior. Obedience means going into the world and being a servant to our fellow man in His name – a true social justice. This is what the First Amendment was designed to protect.
Remember, the First Amendment was included in the Constitution at the insistence of the anti-Federalists as a means of (a) restraining the establishment of a State religion and (b) standing against those forces (ideologies) that would prohibit the free exercise of an individual's religious liberty.
Sadly, we have arrived at a time when it is the State standing in clear violation of the Constitution of the United States and, unfortunately, it is also the sole arbiter of what is "constitutional” in its administration of the State. In front of our own eyes, we have experienced both the establishment of a State religion and, at the same time, as the arbiter of what is or is not "constitutional,” it has engaged in prohibiting the free exercise of the individual's religious liberty.
The dreadnaught HHS mandate uses "birth control” as a stratagem to mask its attack on religious liberty and the Christian faith; but it is a diversion with a truly sinister purpose, namely, to empower the state through a form of cultural imperialism and societal hegemony, establishing the false gospel of statism and secularism (it is the totalitarian vision of order).
The entire debate is about conscience, it is not about being Catholic or Southern Baptist or Lutheran or Methodist or even Muslim. In this fight, we are all Catholics now. It is about religious liberty, it is about our right to practice our faith and not be coerced by the State into behavior running counter to its teachings. And if there is a fixed star in the constitutional constellation and in the minds of Americans, it is the fixed star of freedom of conscience.
What is at stake is our unalienable right endowed by our Creator to practice our faith and follow our conscience. Do not be deceived - we are in a dire struggle – as dire a struggle as we the people have faced since the Civil War and the American Revolution. It is time for all Christians to stand and fight because what they do to Catholics today, they will do to us tomorrow. We are all in this together, in this fight we are all Catholics.
The end – part III - The Broadside Attack on The Church
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