Provided courtesy of the Peace Through Strength Institute The Washington Examiner
This week, Americans were given a window into the way world leaders speak to one another in private. A conversation between [Alleged] President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev was caught on a microphone that neither man realized was live.
"On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this can be solved," Obama said. "But it's important for [incoming Russian President Vladimir Putin] to give me space ... This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility."
"I understand," Medvedev responded. "I will transmit this information to Vladimir." The exchange comes two-and-a-half years after Obama scrapped Bush-era missile defense plans in Eastern Europe, bowing to pressure from the Russians.
This unfortunate hot-mic exchange will have security implications, and it will surely sour our relations with allies in that part of the world. But as much as America's allies might be angered by Obama's words, Americans should be even more so. Their president -- the man charged with conducting America's foreign policy and overseeing its defense -- told another world leader that he is willing to make concessions on an important issue once he has finally and permanently escaped accountability to them. At that point, Obama said, he will have "more flexibility," presumably to do something they might disapprove of in an election year or view as not in the nation's best interests.
Set aside the important question of missile defense -- Obama was a skeptic on that long before he ran for president. This magic microphone moment calls into question Obama's concept of government service. If he is acting in Americans' interests, why must he hide his intentions until his second term? The incident also suggests a rather dim view of American citizens -- as rabble unable to grasp the pros and cons of issues like missile defense. Read this story at washingtonexaminer.com ...
Provided courtesy of SayNOtoSocialism! Sultan Knish
The only real lesson of the ObamaCare defense is that if you define the macro broadly enough, you are entitled to completely control every aspect of the micro. Everyone can be compelled to buy health insurance because health care is no longer a service bought from a doctor, it is a national market which everyone by definition participates in. The market is then divided between good consumers who buy health insurance and the parasites who don't. Alternative possibilities such as people who pay as you go, choose alternative health care or reject medicine entirely for religious or political reasons don't figure into a macro equation which sees people in the macro, not as individuals.
Defenders of the Mandate insist that you couldn't similarly force people to buy Broccoli or a Chevy Volt but why not? You might not be able to individually force people to buy a specific product, but once you define a transportation market or an edibles market, you can force people to participate in that market on the terms set by the government and its allied businesses.
So there wouldn't be a mandate to buy a Chevy Volt. That would be a crude abuse of power. Instead we can define a transportation market in which everyone is presumed to participate in. Since everyone at some point in their lives has to buy a car, ride in a car or take a bus or a plane somewhere, we can include everyone as a participant in the business of going places. And once everyone has been included in the transportation market, a mandate can then define the terms on which they can participate in that market.
Buy a Chevy Volt? No. Buy an electric car or alternative means of transportation which meets a target carbon footprint, or participate in a collective ride sharing system that meets the same requirements. Absolutely yes. And if rather few non-Volt vehicles meet those requirements, that's just incentive for more companies to make their own Volts. Or for you to buy a Volt.
Compel you to eat broccoli? That's easy as pie. Everyone already buys food which makes them participants in an edibles market. Since their consumption also affects their health care which now directly interacts with the government, the only way to provide them with affordable health care is to control their diet.
Here's one easy way to do it. Compel health insurance companies not to sell plans to anyone who does not commit to follow nutritional guidelines. Then fine them for not having health insurance. Allow them to buy health insurance again only after they agree to regular sessions with a nutritional counselor.
But the broccoli mandate is easy enough too. Since everyone buys food, everyone is a participant in the edibles market. To provide good affordable and nutritious food, which is now a right, to all Americans, and safeguard affordable healthcare, everyone is now mandated to participate in the Federal Annual Nutritional Purchase Program which would offer discounted produce, with a subsidy for farmers, on an installment plan that everyone would be compelled to pay into.
To deflect public criticism, the FANPP would be mandatory only for families with children under thirteen. There would be a variety of alternatives, but at the end of the day you would be compelled to buy broccoli and arugula and anything else that the brilliant busybodies decide is good for you.
Could anyone actually compel you to actually eat it? There's no need to go too 1984, but it's worth bearing in mind that there are sensors that monitor whether a homeowner has taken out their recycling the appropriate number of times, complete with fines for those who haven't, or for those whose labors haven't registered on the sensor. Within a decade it will be child's play to track every item of food in the supermarket and your refrigerator and your trash with edible RFID tags, plug all that into a database and then crunch the numbers and see if you really are eating your vegetables.
There is no limit to the controlling antics of the nanny state under the leadership of men and women who are certain that they know best and that only by taking complete control of everyone's lives will their pet projects for making the world a better place work out. It won't work of course, but that just means they will try harder.
The real message of the Mandate is that socialism interfaces closely with crony capitalism and that government solutions depend on forcibly enlisting everyone into their ranks because otherwise the program isn't even workable enough to get started.
The failures of ObamaCare will necessitate a constant campaign of scapegoating, blaming companies and ordinary Americans for not doing what needs to be done for everything to run smoothly. And that scapegoating will necessitate new solutions, new programs and new regimes. Companies will be nationalized, patients will be regimented and like the NHS, the coverage will veer from treating it as the only thing keeping us from dying in the gutter to warning that it is constantly on the edge of the abyss. There will be constant talk of reforms, whispers of privatization, and the misery will go on.
That is what the Mandate really means, the power to impose a total system on everyone. As the system becomes more dysfunctional, it will lose its vestige of private care and become a total government monopoly for its own good and ours. But of course it doesn't end there. It never does. Read this story at sultanknish.blogspot.com ...
After [Alleged] President Obama released his fiscal year 2013 budget, it became clear that the Administration reneged on its promise to fully fund the needs of the U.S. nuclear complex to the Senate pursuant to its advice and consent to the New Strategic Arms Control Treaty (New START). Thankfully, though, some in Congress are well aware of the value that U.S. nuclear weapons provide as the nation’s ultimate insurance policy.
Representative Mike Turner (R–OH), chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, recently introduced the Maintaining the President’s Commitment to our Nuclear Deterrent and National Security Act of 2012 (H.R. 4178). The bill addresses some of the key issues related to the funding for the nuclear weapons complex and links reductions of U.S. nuclear arsenal to proper appropriations for the nuclear weapons complex.
The Administration is reportedly moving to reduce the arsenal of operationally deployed nuclear warheads to as few as 300. Not only would these reductions be expensive—and funded from the already overstretched Department of Defense’s budget—but they are not based on a sound assessment of the international environment. The Administration is operating on the premise that if the U.S. reduces its nuclear arsenal, other countries will follow its lead. This is not going to happen, because countries have their own reasons why they acquire nuclear weapons that are not primarily derived from the number of U.S. weapons.
Turner’s bill would prevent these unilateral reductions by means of “a limitation that nuclear force reductions should be implemented in such a way as to assure Russia does not deploy nuclear force levels superior to those of the United States.” Read this story at blog.heritage.org ...
In addition to the 15 Catholic bishops
scheduled to speak at Nationwide Rally for Religious Freedom locations, countless other influential speakers from all walks of life will also be addressing rallies throughout the country this Friday, March 23.
The speakers at the more than 130 Rally sites represent a wide array of backgrounds and professions, including members of Congress, physicians, college presidents, pastors, radio hosts, law professors, heads of organizations, publishers, religious sisters, pregnancy resource directors, and rabbis.
The New York City Rally will feature several big names, including Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and pastoral associate of Priests for Life; Fr. Benedict Groeschel, Msgr. Philip Reilly, and Mother Mary Agnes Donovan, Superior General of the Sisters of Life.
Continue reading ...
By Terence P. Jeffrey
All student health care plans covering female college students in the United States must include coverage for free voluntary sterilization surgery, the Department of Health and Human Services announced late Friday afternoon. Women of college age who do not attend school will also get free sterilization coverage whether they are insured through an employer, their parents, or some form of government-subsidized plan. Read this story at cnsnews.com ...
The chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform said on Friday that he's still waiting for Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano to respond to a disturbing accusation that she and her underlings at DHS released deceptive and inaccurate information about illegal aliens sneaking across borders into the United States. Chairman Darrell Issa sent Napolitano a letter
on March 1 saying it is investigating agency insiders’ tips that her department and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection “released false and misleading border crossing data.”
“Without an accurate measurement of how many illegal entrants become ‘got-aways,’ there is no way to assess the safety and security of the southwest border,” said the Napolitano letter.
“Got-aways” are border crossers who are not arrested or turned back when they enter the United States illegally, according to Issa.
The National Border Patrol Council
also says the report is misleading and that the increase in drug seizures actually means the Mexican cartels are more active and smuggling more drugs into the U.S.
Apprehensions along U.S. borders were down more than 50 percent -- to about 350,000 -- since 2008. More than 87,000 of those apprehended had criminal histories. The decrease is due to a more secure border, which results in less people attempting to cross into the U.S. illegally, the Napolitano report said.
However, the NBPC claims the figures used by Napolitano and her staff are deceptive and can be attributed to more and more illegal aliens being successful at evading border agents. Also, there's a movement within the Customs and Border Protection directorate to create a "kinder, gentler" border patrol force.
"During mandatory Cultural and Environmental Awareness training that all Border Patrol agents must take, we learn that illegal aliens are now referred to as "cross-border violators". We further learn that we should carry lots of garbage bags and assist the "cross-border violators" in hauling out their trash and disposing of it properly," officials stated on the NBPC
Union officials point to further evidence that Border Patrol field operations have been hijacked by politically correct bureaucrats and politicians in Washington, DC.
Read this story at examiner.com ...
U.S. Clarifies Policy on Birth Control for Religious GroupsNew York Times
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration took another step on Friday to enforce a federal mandate for health insurance coverage of contraceptives, announcing how the new requirement would apply to the many Roman Catholic hospitals, universities and social service agencies that insure themselves.
In such cases, the administration said, female employees and students will still have access to free coverage of contraceptives.
The coverage will be provided by the companies that review and pay claims — “third-party administrators” — or by “some other independent entity,” it said.
Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, said the government would guarantee women access to contraceptives “while accommodating religious liberty interests.”
The new proposal escalates the election-year fight over the administration’s birth control policy.
President Obama had previously announced what he described as an “accommodation” for religiously affiliated organizations that buy commercial insurance but object, for religious reasons, to covering contraceptives and sterilization procedures. In these cases, the White House said, the insurer “will be required to provide contraception coverage to women free of charge.”
On Friday, the Department of Health and Human Services went a step further and said it would propose a similar requirement for group health plans sponsored by religious organizations that insure themselves.
The new proposal did not mollify Republicans in Congress.
“It’s a Washington accounting gimmick,” Representative Jeff Fortenberry, Republican of Nebraska, said Friday in an interview. “The administration is twisting itself in all directions to expand the ‘accommodation’ for faith-based institutions. Why is it the government’s role to decide who gets an accommodation? The White House is creating an unnecessary political firestorm.”
Mr. Fortenberry has introduced a bill to let certain employers and insurers opt out of the mandate for contraceptive coverage. More than 220 House members have signed on as co-sponsors.Read this story at nytimes.com ...
Provided courtesy of Say NO to Socialism! Newsmax
By Richard Wagner and Martin Gould
The gross costs of the national healthcare law rammed through Congress by [Alleged] President Barack Obama will reach an estimated $1.76 trillion over 10 years – nearly twice the amount originally projected.
The figure, which the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) revealed on Wednesday, is bound to cause embarrassment to the administration as it comes just as debate on “Obamacare” is starting to heat up again, two weeks before the Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on whether the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional.
Immediately the revelation stirred controversy among opponents of the bill.
“Both fiscally and for the sake of our health care system, Americans cannot afford the president’s healthcare law,” said Georgia Rep. Tom Price, chairman of the Republican Policy Committee.
“The longer the president’s healthcare law remains on the books, the greater the threat it poses to our nation’s healthcare and our fiscal well-being,” said Price, an orthopedic surgeon.
“The CBO’s revised cost estimate indicates that this massive government intrusion into America’s health care system will be far more costly than was originally claimed. The law’s true cost to American taxpayers is part of a series of promises [Alleged] President Obama and Democrats in Congress made that will be broken,: he said.
Healthcare expert Betsy McCaughey, the former lieutenant governor of New York State, told Newsmax that the original cost projections of the plan were “a shell game” and that the new report “inches closer to the truth” about the cost of the reforms.Read this story at newsmax.com ...
… it is proper to take alarm at the first experiment on our liberties. We hold this prudent jealousy to be the first duty of Citizens, and one of the noblest characteristics of the late Revolution. The free men of America did not wait till usurped power had strengthened itself by exercise, and entangled the question in precedents. They saw all the consequences in the principle, and they avoided the consequences by denying the principle. (James Madison, Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments
Things bad begun make strong themselves by ill. (Shakespeare’s “Macbeth”)
In March, 2009 I posted an article
on my blog calling attention to Obama’s “moves to make medical workers ‘Slaves in Conscience.’” Such persecution of conscience was unavoidable once Obama’s commitment to evil principle was armed with the powers of the presidency of the United States. What I wrote in that article is worth rereading now that many Roman Catholics and other Christian people are finally being roused to recognize and act against it:
Catholics and other professing Christians should take note. Except they repent of it, those who voted for Barack Obama surely face grim judgment from the Supreme judge of the World for their enlistment in the electoral army of this paragon of evil. But even before such judgment in the next life, in this life we will all have to suffer the grim consequences of his abandonment of respect for the unalienable rights to life and liberty.
Too bad that, in 2008 and before, so many of these lately roused Christians lost sight of the example of America’s founding generation. It would have instructed them to “take alarm at the first experiment on our liberties,” reacting against Obama’s proven commitment to evil principle before “usurped power had strengthened itself by exercise.” Of course such precautionary discernment requires the ability to think and act in terms of principle (i.e., the first beginnings of action). With his characteristically practical wisdom, Christ admonishes us to understand that evil comes “out of the heart” (Matthew 15:19). It originates (as the Creator observes in Genesis 6:5 and 8:21) in the intentions of the heart, which are made manifest in the characteristic thoughts and ideas that reflect the workings of the mind.
With respect to the fundamental issues of moral right, Barack Obama’s rejection of the most fundamental “laws of nature and of nature’s God” has been clear throughout his career, especially in his adamantine commitment to the murder of human posterity, before and after birth. This is why it was a moral atrocity for a university claiming to educate in the tradition of Catholic Christianity to honor Obama
after his election. This is why it is morally irrational for professing Christians to support creation of a health-care delivery system dominated by an administration of government scrupulously cleansed of every acknowledgement of the existence and authority of the Creator.
Whatever the outcome of the political tempest being stirred by this latest episode of Obama’s entirely predictable disregard for the rights of conscience, this is only the beginning of the era of persecution.Read this story at wnd.com ...
America's Party Endorsed Independent Projects -> Free the First Amendment CommitteeHHS tells religious believers to go to hell. The public notices.
Wall Street Journal
The political furor over [Alleged] President Obama's birth-control mandate continues to grow, even among those for whom contraception poses no moral qualms, and one needn't be a theologian to understand why. The country is being exposed to the raw political control that is the core of the Obama health-care plan, and Americans are seeing clearly for the first time how this will violate pluralism and liberty.
***In late January the Health and Human Services Department required almost all insurance plans to cover contraceptive and sterilization methods, including the morning-after pill. The decision came after passionate lobbying by religious groups and liberals from the likes of Planned Parenthood, amid government promises of compromise.
In the end, Planned Parenthood won. HHS chose to draw the rule's conscience exceptions for "religious employers" so narrowly that they will not be extended to religious charities, universities, schools, hospitals, soup kitchens, homeless shelters and other institutions that oppose contraception as a matter of religious belief.
The Affordable Care Act itself is ambiguous about what counts as a religious organization that deserves conscience protection. Like so much else in the rushed bill, this was left to administrative discretion. What the law does cement is the principle that the government will decide for everyone what "health care" must mean. The entire thrust of ObamaCare is to standardize benefits and how they must be paid for and provided, regardless of individual choices or ethical convictions.
To take a small example: The HHS rule prohibits out-of-pocket costs for birth control, simply because Secretary Kathleen Sebelius's regulators believe no woman should have to pay anything for it. To take a larger example: The Obama Administration's legal defense of the mandate to buy insurance or else pay a penalty is that the mere fact of being alive gives the government the right to regulate all Americans at every point in their lives. Practicing this kind of compulsion is routine and noncontroversial within Ms. Sebelius's ministry. That may explain why her staff didn't notice that the birth-control rule abridges the First Amendment's protections for religious freedom. Then again, maybe HHS thought the public had become inured to such edicts, which have arrived every few weeks since the Affordable Care Act passed.
Bad call. The decision has roused the Catholic bishops from their health-care naivete, but they've been joined by people of all faiths and even no faith, as it becomes clear that their own deepest moral beliefs may be thrown over eventually. Read this story at wsj.com ...