Month Archives: November 2009

More on Health Care & the Constitution

by Rob Schwarzwalder

November 13, 2009

Sen. Daniel Akaka is probably the quietest person in the U.S. Senate. He is known as a kindly man who votes faithfully but is not a vocal or activist member of the “upper body.” But this week, when asked if there is a constitutional basis for the Democratic health care bill, he candidly said, “Im not aware of that, let me put it that way.”

Good way to put it, Senator, because your lack of awareness indicates that at least you know your Constitution well enough to recognize that it contains no basis for this latest exercise in federal elbow-throwing.

Sen. Akaka’s colleague Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) could learn from him. Sen. Reed was asked by a reporter where in the Constitution does Congress get its authority to mandate that individuals purchase health insurance?

Reed responded, I would have to check the specific sections, so Ill have to get back to you on the specific section. But it is not unusual that the Congress has required individuals to do things, like sign up for the draft and do many other things too, which I dont think are explicitly contained (in the Constitution).

Sen. Reed is an undoubted patriot, a former Marine who served honorably in Vietnam. So it is disappointing that someone of his political stature would equate the draft with an individual federal mandate of citizens for non-military purposes. To what many other things is Reed referring?

In the 1918 Arver v. United States case, the Supreme Court ruled that the draft is constitutional because it is essence an implementation of the Constitutions provision for the federal government to create a standing army (Article I, Section 8). Men (and women) are needed to defend the nation, and during times of national crisis conscription might be needed.

The Democratic health plan (H.R. 3962), passed last weekend in the House, goes well beyond any authority conferred on the federal government, through our written Constitution, by “We, the People.” In fact, the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) wrote to the House Ways and Means Committee that “failure to comply with the terms of the law that the Democrats passed last weekend could put people in jail. The JCT told the committee that anyone who decides not to maintain “acceptable health insurance coverage” or, absent that, pay the individual health insurance mandate tax of about 2.5 percent of income, would be liable to large fines or prison sentences” (The Washington Times, “Tax Penalties and Prison,” by Donald Lambro, November 12, 2009).

The JCT went on to write that “H.R. 3962 provides that an individual (or a husband and wife in the case of a joint return) who does not, at anytime during the taxable year, maintain acceptable health insurance coverage for himself or herself and each of his or her qualifying children is subject to an additional tax.”

This mandate is unconstitutional in its own right and also poses a serious threat to the fundamental liberty of ordinary Americans: When the federal government requires specific economic activity (in this case, the purchase or acceptance of a health insurance plan) and threatens to impose “fines or prison sentences” for non-compliance, our essential freedom as citizens is eroded and our path into coerced political subjection all the more obvious - and dangerous.

The Fumes of NARAL and Planned Parenthood

by Chris Curry

November 13, 2009

Wednesdays headline in The Hill led with the caption Abortion-rights groups threaten not to fund Rodriquez and Teague. Apparently NARAL and Planned Parenthood are ticked because Congressman Ciro Rodriguez (D-Texas) and Congressman Harry Teague (D-N.M.) voted in support of the Stupak Amendment which removed abortion funding from the health care bill (1).

Very few news organizations are reporting on the divide that is developing within the Democratic Party. Many Congressional Democrats, who firmly believe in the federal funding of abortion, are out for the blood of those who exercised a vote according to their conscience. This shouldnt be terribly surprising since these pro-abortion House Members are also interested in taking away the conscience rights of doctors, but I digress.

Still, there is a huge overlooked question that begs to be asked. Why is a charitable organization which receives federal funds allowed to make financial contributions to candidates who vote for giving federal funds back to the organization? Let alone threaten to remove the base of support when the candidate votes their conscience. Does anyone see anything wrong with this circular problem? Planned Parenthood receives over $350 million annually in federal funds (2). Through this legislation, they were lobbying to up the ante significantly, thus lining their fat pockets even more. And, although the Stupak Amendment passed the House for now, they are not done with that fight!

While NARAL doesnt receive federal funds, their business practices are questionable as they fail to meet the Better Business Standards for Charity Accountability (3). Considering NARALs work got its start through the successful use of enormous lies, this is simply par for the course (4). Every time NARAL comments on issues like these, the public should be reminded of their questionable practices and roots

When will this outrageous behavior end? Who are elected officials representing: the people who vote for them; or the special interests who pay for slick advertising to sway the voters? Okay, so that question is too easy.

Every time Planned Parenthood opens their mouth on an issue like this, why arent reporters calling into question the dog Planned Parenthood has in this hunt?

Why isnt Planned Parenthood being investigated? As previously mentioned, they make campaign contributions to Members of Congress who reciprocate through the funding of Planned Parenthood. Their staff have been recorded numerous times counseling underage girls who admit to being impregnated by adults. Instead of reporting a crime of rape, they provide abortion counseling support and encourage the girls to conceal the age and specifics of their rapists (5).

Reporters need to stop scratching their heads and the surface of these stories. Weve heard it before and Ill shout it again, its time they dig deep, accurately investigate and report on these issues. Weve come a long way from the days of Murrow. Even worse, weve come even further from a time when our elected truly represented the electorate.

(1) Abortion-rights groups threaten not to fund Rodriguez and Teague http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/67473-threat-to-rodriguez-teague-from-abortion-rights-groups-

(2) Planned Parenthood Annual Report: Abortion Totals, Government Funding Increase http://www.lifenews.com/nat4978.html

(3) BBB Wise Giving Report for

NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation http://www.bbb.org/charity-reviews/national/human-services/naral-pro-choice-america-foundation-in-washington-dc-507

(4) Lies and Fraud of Roe v. Wade: http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=53872

(5) Live Action Films: http://liveaction.org/

It Keeps Getting Worse

by Robert Morrison

November 12, 2009

So the emails the terrorist Hasan sent to a jihadist imam in Yemen were not deemed threatening? What if they were in code? American cryptographers succeeded in breaking the Japanese naval codes before Pearl Harbor. But they got messages like: Climb Mount Iitaka. How were U.S. intelligence officers supposed to know that that was the code name for the attack on the U.S. Naval Base in Hawaii?

Shouldnt it be our policy that any contact between anyone in the U.S. and any jihadist abroad would be enough to bring the FBI swooping in? We should not care if our person of interest is asking the radical about the weather, or mountain climbing.

Thats what we would be doing if this administration were serious about the war on terror, which it is not. Franklin D. Roosevelt was the most liberal President before Barack Obama. But FDR was serious about our nations defense. When German-Americans came ashore planning to blow up electric power grids, Roosevelt had them arrested. He didnt send them to Club Gitmo to read Mein Kampf under the palms. He had the captured saboteurs tried—in secret, by military tribunal—at the Washington Navy Yard. To make sure his Attorney General didnt spend his time searching for new precedents on the civil liberties of would-be mass murderers, Roosevelt assigned Attorney General Biddle to lead the prosecution. The convicted terrorists were swiftly executed, by electric chair.

As to the response of the Army brass to Hasans obvious, flag-waving jihadism, it keeps getting worse. Reporters viewing Hasans Texas apartment found prescription drugs—prescriptions that Hasan apparently wrote for himself. That these prescriptions were apparently filled in military pharmacies shows a near-total breakdown of security. Physicians are not permitted to write their own scrips. Thats basic.

Imagine this scene: Mo is a civilian employee in a Navy hospital. Hes a Gulf War veteran. He seems to spend an inordinate amount of time drawing pictures of the Commanding Officer (CO) with a noose around his neck. Other employees, civilian and military, are concerned. Questioned about it, Mo says: I want to see the CO with a rope around his neck, with his eyes bulging out.

The Executive Officer (XO), informed by Mos immediate supervisor, moves quickly. Mo must go, says XO. Theres resistance from civilian personnel. XO does not budge. XO does not recommend sensitivity training, or counseling by the base chaplain. Mo must go. Do you realize hell still be getting full pay and benefits, they ask XO. I dont care, says XO, hes a danger to my people. He cannot work here. Unused to such determination, civilian personnel tries another tack: Captain, have you ever worked with civilian employees before? Yes, says

XO firmly, for about 25 years. Mo must go.

Mo went. That day. No compromise was allowed when an employee threatened to go postal.

Mo knew where XO lived, just a few hundred yards from the hospital. Mo might have gone into XOs quarters and shot the place up, killing the family that lived there.

XO knew that when she gave the order Mo must go. And I will be grateful forever to my wonderful wife, Captain Kathleen Morrison, for giving that order.

Captain Kathleen Morrison retired from the Medical Service Corps of the U.S. Navy in 2001, three months before 9/11. She served for 30 years.

Explaining the Inexplicable

by Robert Morrison

November 11, 2009

President Obama spoke to an interviewer about the Ft. Hood shootings. He had just come from the Memorial Service for the fourteen people whose lives were taken by the terrorist, Nidal Hasan:

OBAMA: In a country of 300 million people, there are going to be acts of violence that are inexplicable, even within the extraordinary military that we have. I think everybody understands how outstanding the young men and women in uniform are under the most severe stress. There are going to instances, in which an individual cracks.

Forget, for the moment, this confused part of the statement that seems to psychologize the killers actions. I want to focus on the inexplicable part.

This is a serious problem for liberals. They are forever finding such murderous acts inexplicable. They often employ words like random and senseless acts of violence. One of their favorite bumper stickers is Practice random acts of kindness. Random is okay if its kind. But if kindness and terror are truly random, whats the moral difference?

Whatever.

Historian John Lukacs can help these confused people. Lukacs has developed deep insight into the mind and character of Adolf Hitler. In books like The Duel and The Hitler of History, Lukacs enables us to understand some of what is inexplicable to President Obama.

Hitler, Lukacs writes, was not a monster. He certainly did monstrous things. Think of all those childrens shoes in the Holocaust Museum. Thats enough to appreciate monstrous acts. But if we think of Hitler as a monster, then there really is no lesson to be drawn from his life. Monsters are like aliens. Theyre inhuman. They are not like us.

Nor was Hitler insane. It may seem insane to us for anyone to plan to murder all the Jewish people, enslave all the Poles, and sterilize all the Ukrainians. Simply to dream that anyone could invade Russia and give orders to shoot millions on sight partakes of madness. But if Hitler was insane, Lukacs teaches us, then he is not morally responsible.

We do not hold even mass murderers responsible for the actions. He was not mad.

No, Hitler was evil. Not a monster, not a madman, but a very, very evil man. We need to understand mans capacity for evil. Didnt the Twentieth Century teach us anything? Lets all take time off and read Dostoevskys Crime and Punishment.

This week, weve seen another great public ceremony, the celebration of the anniversary of Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Retired NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw managed to hold forth for 1 12 hours at the Newseum last week about the great events of that November evening. He never mentioned Reagan. Well, we understand why. Nor did he mention Communism. Or the KGB. Nor did he use the word evil.

Similarly, President Obama hailed the coming down of the Wall. But his remarks seemed more to be commemorating the removal of an architectural barrier than the end of something cruel and unjust. After all, the Soviet puppet regime in East Germany managed over twenty-eight years to shoot 136 people who tried to escape. Is it somehow more explicable to kill ten times as many innocent people as the Ft. Hood shooter if we stretch out the killings over three decades?

According to the Zentrum fur Zeithistorische Forschung (ZZF) (Center for Research on Contemporary History) in Potsdam, East German border guards were given these inhuman orders: Do not hesitate to use your firearm, not even when the border is breached in the company of women and children, which is a tactic the traitors have often used.

Germany has worked hard to reconcile its people, or peoples. But avoiding mention of the evil implicit in orders given to armed young men to shoot women and children will not help national reunification.

What happened at Ft. Hood was evil. What happened at the Wall was evil. We need to face reality. It is especially important that our President understand reality. Three hundred million lives depend upon it.

MSNBC Mid-Morning Host Calls Us “Liars,” “Crazy,” and to “Go Away”

by JP Duffy

November 10, 2009

This morning MSNBC Host Dylan Ratigan attacked my colleague Cathy Ruse after she pointed out how the health care bill (before the adoption of the Stupak amendment) forces Americans to pay for elective abortions Mr. Ratigan called her a “liar” and even said she should just “go away.” Mr. Ratigan should certainly work to improve his on-air manners, but he should also do a better job of getting his facts straight. Both NPR and Politifact agree on what the Stupak amendment will do. Their analysis places the facts on Cathy’s side.

The Stupak amendment maintains the current policy of preventing federal funding for abortion and for benefits packages that include abortion. It clarifies that individuals, both those who receive affordability credits and those who do not, can with their own funds purchase separate supplemental coverage for elective abortions. It also clarifies that private plans that do not receive government subsidies may still offer elective abortions.

Send Mr. Ratigan your thoughts via Twitter.

UPDATE: Media Research Center takes up the segment: MSNBCs Ratigan Accuses Conservative Guest of Lying about Government-Funded Abortion

In the Know…

by Krystle Gabele

November 10, 2009

Here’s some articles of interest.

Health Care and the Constitution

by Rob Schwarzwalder

November 10, 2009

Family Research Council has several critical concerns with the Democratic health care legislation under consideration on Capitol Hill. The sanctity of human life, although safeguarded in the House version of the measure passed on Saturday, remains a live issue as the bill goes to the Senate. Rationing, costs, patient control of medical decisions, an increase in the size and scope of Washingtons power: These and other matters animate FRCs active opposition to the Democratic approach to revising our system of medical care.

But there is another issue that we have raised and will keep raising as the debate goes forward: The constitutionality of the Democratic plans.

When Speaker Nancy Pelosi was asked recently at the introduction of her mammoth health care reform bill if the measure was constitutional, the usually glib Californian was caught off-guard. Are you serious? she asked. And, a second time, Are you serious? She then turned to another reporter without answering further.

At least House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer gives the Constitution a guilty nod. He says that the general welfare clause gives Congress the right to pass a massive health care bill full of mandates on businesses and individuals and higher taxes for all.

Mr. Hoyers theory of constitutional interpretation would surprise the documents chief author, James Madison. In a letter written in 1831, he said, With respect to the words general welfare, I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators.

In other words, the Constitution gives the federal government few and closely proscribed powers. Those powers not given to the federal government shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people (the Ninth Amendment), and The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people (the Tenth Amendment).

The general welfare, then, refers only to those things the Constitution allows or requires the federal government to do (the powers connected with them under the Constitution). Thus, the general welfare is advanced when the federal government does those things it is charged by the Constitution to do nothing more, nothing less.

The general welfare clause is not an open-ended endorsement of whatever Congress deems in a given moment is in the public interest. Were that the meaning of general welfare, no Constitution itself would even be necessary Congress could simply do whatever it wants regardless of any constitutional limitations.

Of course, thats what Congress does most of the time anyway. But at least conservatives can appeal to a written text whose meaning is clear. Were it not, why have a provision for its amendment (why amend something you can simply reinterpret?) and why have an existing and profoundly important amendment that says those things not delegated to the federal government are in the hands of the states (the Tenth)?

Another supporter of Congresss health care power grab, Dean Erwin Cherminsky of the University of California, Irvine School of Law, argues that Congress can enact sweeping health reform under the Interstate Commerce Clause (Article I, Section 8). His reasoning? The cumulative impact of health care activity across the country.

Dean Cherminsky cites an unbroken line of precedents stretching back 70 years. But nowhere does he cite something far more significant indeed, conclusive than the rulings of positivist, post-New Deal courts: The original intent of the Constitutions authors and signers.

As noted by Georgetown University Law Center professor Randy E. Barnett in the University of Chicago Law Review (former Chicago Law Professor Obama, are you listening?), according to the original meaning of the Commerce Clause, Congress has power to specify rules to govern the manner by which people may exchange or trade goods from one state to another, to remove obstructions to domestic trade erected by states, and to both regulate and restrict the flow of goods to and from other nations (and the Indian tribes) for the purpose of promoting the domestic economy and foreign trade.

Put a bit more simply, the Clause was simply designed to prevent multiple barriers to trade among the various states. The Clause was a necessary control on the conduct of some of the importing States toward their non-importing neighbors (James Madison, 1832). It was never intended to serve as a pretext for Congress to micromanage, control and/or fund (through taxation) any national economic program, including one that would concentrate regulatory and competitive power over medical care in the hands of the U.S. government.

There is no constitutional basis for the Obama/Pelosi/Baucus approach to health reform. Period. Let us not delude ourselves that this is a serious constitutional debate the debate does not exist, at least within the realm of intellectual honesty. It is settled.

The Democratic Congress does not care, nor does the President, nor do many Republicans. But we, the People, should, especially if we care about remaining a nation whose God-bestowed liberties and rights are protected not by the legislative confections of Congress but by a written Constitution whose text defends us from the intrusions of the federal state if, but only if, we are willing to follow it.

Robert Schwarzwalder has served as chief of staff to two Members of Congress and was a presidential appointee under George W. Bush at the Department of Health and Human Services.

No Obama in Berlin

by Robert Morrison

November 9, 2009

President Obama is not in Berlin today. Very proper, I think. Hes not there to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall. Hes not going to say anything about how freedom triumphed over totalitarianism in 1989 and how we won a great victory.

President Obama is showing a decent respect for the opinion of mankind. Or, at least, hes not showing the kind of shamelessness that Bill Clinton regularly shows. George Stephanopoulos often said that Bill Clinton has no sense of shameand that is a tremendous advantage in politics. Bill Clinton likes to claim credit for the Wests victory in the Cold Wara victory he and his political supporters did everything in their power to throw away.

If the liberals had had there way, there would be no celebration in Berlin today. Thats because the liberals of Western Europe and the United States in the 1980s were all backing something called the Nuclear Freeze.

In the late 1970s, when the Soviets threatened the free nations of Western Europe by putting SS-19 and SS-20 Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles in their East European satellites, NATO allies pleaded with the United States to counter this dangerous move by putting Pershing and Cruise missiles in Western Europe.

Even the invertebrate Carter administrationsuddenly awakening to the danger of Communist aggressionrushed to reassure Americas NATO allies. Carter agreed to send U.S. missiles to Europe. But with the 1980 landslide election of Ronald Reagan, the European Leftand Americas liberalsgot cold feet. A Nuclear Freeze can do that to you. They all began to cry out for a freeze on U.S. missile deployment.

It sounded noble. It sounded like they were willing to take a risk for peace. In truth, they were frozen in terror. It was exactly what the Soviet secret policethe KGBwanted. We now know that the KGB was generously funding the Nuclear Freeze movement.

In 1982, fearing that President Reagan would drag us into World War III with his determination to match Soviet missiles in Europe, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 278-149 for a freeze resolution. Reagan supporters in the House had successfully watered down the resolution, but the Left hailed it nevertheless.

A year later, on September 1, 1983 (the dread anniversary of the day when World War II began in Europe), the Soviets shot down a Korean Air Lines jet. They killed hundreds of innocent civilians, including Rep. Larry McDonald of Georgia (D). The Soviets knew it was an unarmed passenger jetliner that had strayed off course, but they wanted to show their ruthless determination.

The U.S. Senate, perhaps noting the Soviet brutality, that October 31st voted against a Nuclear Freeze, 58-40. But the UN General Assembly on December 15, 1983 approved a freeze resolution, 84-19, with 17 abstentions.

The next year, 1984, former Vice President Walter Mondale ran for President on a platform that called for an immediate Nuclear Freeze. Every leading member of his party endorsed the idea.

President Reagan, still firmly opposing the Nuclear Freeze, carried 49 states in the 1984 general election. Mondale carried only his home state of Minnesota (and even that by the razor-thin margin of 3,200 votes).

Reagans theme of Peace through Strength carried the day in 1984. It is what enabled him to go to meet Mikhail Gorbachev in Geneva in 1985 and in Reykjavik in 1986. That military, economic and, yes, moral strength, allowed Reagan to go to the Brandenburg Gate on June 12, 1987 to deliver his historic Tear Down this Wall speech.

The strength of the United States then is what made it possible to negotiate for a peaceful resolution of the Cold War.

Our strength under President Reagan contrasts most sharply with the Obama administrations weakness now. Today, this administration cannot even protect our own soldiers from murderous rampages by jihadistsin Texas. Today, this administration cannot act decisively in Afghanistan. Nor can it decide what to do about Irans drive for nuclear weapons. In these circumstances, it doubtless better that Barack Obama stay home and do his homework. Besides, he already did his Berlin victory lap.

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