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Title: Blog by Novelist William S. Frankl, MD

Archive for August, 2013

Obama and the Imperial Presidency

Saturday, August 24th, 2013

Barack Hussain Obama is as close to a President/Monarch/Autocrat than any chief executive that this country has ever had. His disdain for Congress, the Supreme Court and the Constitution is frightening. His extreme dislike for the Republican Party echoes his desire to have no opposition and to be a President-for-Life who would be able to make and decree all laws. The future of our nation appears to be on a slippery slope toward a socialist autocratic nightmare.

This one sentence editorial appeared in the Peoria Journal Star . . . . .

“A pen in the hand of this president is far more dangerous than a gun in
the hands of 200 million law-abiding citizens.”

Then Clint Eastwood added his words . . . . . “We Americans are so tired
of being thought of as dumbasses by the rest of the world that we went to
the polls this past November and removed all doubt.”

Clint Eastwood —

It is clear that President Obama does not believe in the Constitution of the United States. It is clear that he feels he has the power and the imprimature of the presidency to doas he wishes ––– as he ignores the Constitution when it suits him, by issuing presidential fiats, and by refusing to implement laws that he, in his arrogant vision of himself, needn’t be enforced.

Below is a superb article on the subject by Daniel Henninger in the Thursday, August 1 edition of  the Wall Street Journal:

WONDER LAND

Daniel Henninger: Obama’s Creeping AuthoritarianismImposed law replaces checks and balances.

If we learned anything about Barack Obama in his first term it is that when he starts repeating the same idea over and over, what’s on his mind is something else.

The first term’s over-and-over subject was “the wealthiest 1%.” Past some point, people wondered why he kept beating these half-dead horses. After the election, we knew. It was to propagandize the targeted voting base that would provide his 4% popular-vote margin of victory—very young voters and minorities. They believed. He won.

The second-term over-and-over, elevated in his summer speech tour, is the shafting of the middle class. But the real purpose here isn’t the speeches’ parboiled proposals. It is what he says the shafting of the middle class is forcing him to do. It is forcing him to “act”—to undertake an unprecedented exercise of presidential power in domestic policy-making. ObamaCare was legislated. In the second term, new law will come from him.

Please don’t complain later that you didn’t see it coming. As always, Mr. Obama states publicly what his intentions are. He is doing that now. Toward the end of his speech last week in Jacksonville, Fla., he said: “So where I can act on my own, I’m going to act on my own. I won’t wait for Congress.” (Applause.)

The July 24 speech at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill., has at least four references to his intent to act on his own authority, as he interprets it: “That means whatever executive authority I have to help the middle class, I’ll use it.” (Applause.) And: “We’re going to do everything we can, wherever we can, with or without Congress.”

Every president since George Washington has felt frustration with the American system’s impediments to change. This president is done with Congress.

The political left, historically inclined by ideological belief to public policy that is imposed rather than legislated, will support Mr. Obama’s expansion of authority. The rest of us should not.

The U.S. has a system of checks and balances. Mr. Obama is rebalancing the system toward a national-leader model that is alien to the American tradition.

To create public support for so much unilateral authority, Mr. Obama needs to lessen support for the other two branches of government—Congress and the judiciary. He is doing that.

Mr. Obama and his supporters in the punditocracy are defending this escalation by arguing that Congress is “gridlocked.” But don’t overstate that low congressional approval rating. This is the one branch that represents the views of all Americans. It’s gridlocked because voters are.

Take a closer look at the Galesburg and Jacksonville speeches. Mr. Obama doesn’t merely criticize Congress. He mocks it repeatedly. Washington “ignored” problems. It “made things worse.” It “manufactures” crises and “phony scandals.” He is persuading his audiences to set Congress aside and let him act.

So too the judiciary. During his 2010 State of the Union speech, Mr. Obama denounced the Supreme Court Justices in front of him. The National Labor Relations Board has continued to issue orders despite two federal court rulings forbidding it to do so. Attorney General Eric Holder says he will use a different section of the Voting Rights Act to impose requirements on Southern states that the Supreme Court ruled illegal. Mr. Obama’s repeated flouting of the judiciary and its decisions are undermining its institutional authority, as intended.

The three administration nominees enabled by the Senate’s filibuster deal—Richard Cordray at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Thomas Perez at the Labor Department and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy—open a vast swath of American life to executive authority on steroids. There won’t be enough hours in the day for Mr. Obama to “act on my own.”

In a recent Journal op-ed, “Obama Suspends the Law,” former federal judge Michael McConnell noted there are few means to stop a president who decides he is not obligated to execute laws as passed by Congress. So there’s little reason to doubt we’ll see more Obamaesque dismissals of established law, as with ObamaCare’s employer mandate. Mr. Obama is pushing in a direction that has the potential for a political crisis.

A principled opposition would speak out. Barack Obama is right that he isn’t running again. But the Democratic Party is. Their Republican opponents should force the party’s incumbents to defend the president’s creeping authoritarianism.

If Democratic Senate incumbents or candidates from Louisiana, Alaska, Missouri, Arkansas, North Carolina, Montana and Iowa think voters should accede to a new American system in which a president forces laws into place as his prerogative rather than first passing them through Congress, they should be made to say so.

And to be sure, the other purpose of the shafted middle-class tour is to demolish the GOP’s standing with independent voters and take back the House in 2014. If that happens—and absent a more public, aggressive Republican voice it may—an unchecked, unbalanced presidential system will finally arrive.

A final quotation on America’s system of government: “To ensure that no person or group would amass too much power, the founders established a government in which the powers to create, implement, and adjudicate laws were separated. Each branch of government is balanced by powers in the other two coequal branches.” Source: The White House website of President Barack Obama.

Write to henninger@wsj.com
A version of this article appeared August 1, 2013, on page A11 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Obama’s Creeping Authoritarianism.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324136204578639953580480838.html

Finally, I must express my deep pessimism about the future of The United States of America, both internally and externally. Obama is only one of our wrenching problems , and as  Clint Eastwood has indicated, inflicted on us by ourselves. Our culture, our economy, our government, our way of life, our deep division as a people, our standing in the world are all in a chaotic state. Will we recover? Can we recover? I don’t know. But if we do, it will take decades and will be a terribly tough slog.

Musing on Medicine and Its Long History As a Healing and Proud Profession.

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Well, I have exhausted most of the material I know concerning ObamaCare and the dreadful effrets it will have on the economy and ultimately on the practice of medicine and the care for sick patients. Already, many physicians are optioning to retire or go into non-patient care activities in medicine. If ObamaCare is fully implemented, thirty million new patients with insurance will be clamoring for care which cannot be provided by the shrinking number of physicians. So, people will have an insurance card, but long and often fatal delays as they seek healthcare. I thought it might be worthwhile to return to  Hippocrates, the famous Greek physician of the fifth century B.C. and then some excerpts from a wonderful article in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine 2013:106:288–292 with the hope that despite these dismal times those young physicians of the present and those of the future will not forget the legacy they inherit.

The Hippocratic Oath

(A Literal Translation)

I swear by Apollo Physician and Asclepius and Health and Panacea and all the gods and goddesses, making them witnesses, that I will make complete this oath and this written covenant according to my ability and discernment:

– To regard my teacher of this art as equal to my parents and to share my livelihood (with him), and to make a contribution to him when he is in need of a debt, and to judge his offspring as equal to my brothers in manhood, and to teach this art – if they want to learn it – without wage and written covenant (to them), to make an imparting of the set of rules and lecture and all the rest of instruction to my sons and those of my teacher, and to those pupils who have been indentured and who have taken an oath according to the medical law, but to no one else.

– I will use diets for the assistance of the sick according to my ability and discernment; but also to keep away injury of health and injustice.

– I will neither give any deadly drug, having been asked for it, nor will I guide the same advice. Similarly, I will not give an abortifacient pessary to a woman. In purity and in holiness I will maintain my life and my art.

– I will not use the knife, not even on those suffering from the stone, but I will give way to those who are practitioners of this work.

– And as many houses as I may go into, I will go in for the assistance of the sick, being free from all voluntary injustice and mischief and the rest, even abstaining from sexual pleasures of both female and male persons, both free and slaves.

– That which I may see or hear during treatment, or even outside of treatment concerning the life of men, which must not in any way be divulged outside, I will not speak, regarding such things to be unutterable.

And so may it be to me making complete my oath and not making it of no effect that I enjoy the benefits of my life and art and be honored by all men for time eternal; but may it be the opposite of this to me transgressing and swearing falsely.

A Medical Legacy

“The words that the writer uses in Ancient Medicine to describe the medicine of older generations could be used today to describe Hippocratic medicine itself:”

“…..we ought not to reject the ancient art  as non-existent, or own the ground that its method of inquiry is faulty, just because it has not attained exactness in every detail. Having been able by reasoning to rise from deep ignorance to approximately perfect accuracy, I think we ought to admire the discoveries as the work, not a chance, but of inquiry rightly and correctly conducted.”

(Ancient Medicine. Jones,WHS.  Hippocrates. Volume I. With an English Translation  by WHSJ. Cambridge,MA, London: Loeb Classical Library, 1923)

“ Despite today’s advanced knowledge though, it seems that contemporary medicine can still turn to Hippocrates for inspiration and understanding. And the complexity of medical practice, which is accurately described in the first Hippocratic Aphorism, still applies to modern   healthcare professionals:”

“Life is short, the Art  long, opportunity fleeting, experience false, judgment difficult. Aphorisms4.”

(Jones,WHS.  Hippocrates. Volume I. With an English Translation  by WHSJ. Cambridge,MA, London: Loeb Classical Library, 1923)

“This timely  statement and other unchanging truths in the Hippocratic Corpus, written around the fourth century B.C. , continued to ring true today. What will remain of the medicine we practice today in 25 centuries, we wonder?”
Finally, I don’t know if any of this makes sense to you, the reader. I can only hope it does.

The Duplicity of Obama and the Political Class: Congress’s Exemption from ObamaCare

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

About two weeks ago, on the basis of no legal authority  to create a special exemption for themselves from ObamaCare health coverage that everybody else is mandated to buy, Obama at the urgent request of Democrats in the House and Senate set in motion just such a special exemption by presidential fiat.
ObamaCare (the Affordable Care Act[ ACA]) requires Members of Congress and their staffs to join its insurance exchanges, in order to understand what they are imposing on their constituents. The idea was implemented by Iowa’s Senator, Chuck Grassley who proposed the original amendment in 2009 which the Finance Committee unanimously adopted.
Harry Reid revised the Grassley amendment when the infamous ObamaCare bill that no one had read was rammed through the House on Christmas Eve. But, he didn’t include language concerning the premium contributions the government provides for its employees. Whether it was intentional or not, the statute as written indicated that anybody earning $174,000/year didn’t deserve an exchange subsidy and that persons would not get a subsidy merely because he/she worked in Congress
Thus, the statute meant that about 11,000 Members and Congressional staff would lose the high-end coverage that they now had as part of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP). Instead, they would get the lower quality low choice “Medicaid Plus” of the exchanges. The Members annual salary of $174,000 and their  better paid aides also wouldn’t qualify for ObamaCare subsidies. That meant they would need to spend thousands of dollars a year in out-of-pocket insurance costs. So, Obama told Democrats in a closed-door meeting that he would personally deal with the issue.  As a result, the White House suspended the law and created a double standard. The office of Personnel Management (OPM) that oversees federal benefits will release regulatory details that Congress will receive extra payments based on the FEHBP defined contribution formula, which covers about 75% of the cost of the average insurance plan. For 2013, that’s about $4900 for individuals and $10,000 for families. This carveout for Congress creates a two-tier exchange system, one for the great unwashed, like us,  and another for the political class. This latest move is also illegal. OPM has no authority to pay for insurance plans that lack FEHBP contracts. And the ACA does not allow either exchange contributions or a unilateral rise in congressional pay in return for less overall compensation. Those things must be in appropriations bills passed by Congress and signed by the president.
Once more, Obama is rewriting the law unilaterally as he did by suspending ObamaCare’s employer mandate and the individual out-of-pocket cap for a year. Once more, the IMPERIAL PRESIDENT MAKES AND BREAKS LAWS AS HE SEES FIT. I wonder how those who voted for him in 2012 feel about being second class ObamaCare recipients.

How Obamacare Will Destroy Our Privacy

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

How Obamacare Will Destroy Our Privacy

When the ACA’s (Obamacare’s) health insurance exchanges open, everyone’s data –––– Social Security number, bank information, and  tax records will be exposed to criminals and hackers, tbecause of serious vulnerabilities in the system.

Scheduled to open on October 1, The exchanges are filled with a long list  implementation failures that keep growing, threatening the security of the public’s vital private data .

1: The Obamacare “Navigators”
These are people and organizations that are being put in place to  facilitate recruitment of people, especially the young and healthy, for Obamacare’s insurance exchanges.

• Many of the navigators are former Acorn members

• HHS won’t require navigators to submit to even minimum eligibility criteria and background checks. The Administration’s training program don’t ask navigators to participate in anti-fraud classes. Many states don’t methods for investigating unscrupulous navigators who could prey on the vulnerable and unsuspecting public. Some of these navigators could gain access to applicants’ Social Security numbers, bank accounts, and other personal information.

2: ACA’s Data Hub
The data hub is an enormous compilation of tax filings, Social Security reports, and other government data that could be used to determine eligibility for subsidized insurance.

• The hub won’t be scheduled for certification as secure until September 30—one day before the exchanges are to begin operation

•Cutting Corners: The Administration has been slipshod on data privacy for the exchanges.Thus, can the data on the hub actually be certified as secure—or will Obamacare open public’s tax and other personal information at risk to a slew of miscreants?.

The Obama Administration’s shoddy, sloppy approach to Obamacare implementation is placing our sensitive personal data at risk. It’s another urgent reason why Congress should refuse to fund this egregious law.

Some Reasons Why We Must Block The Final Implementation of ObamaCare

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

ObamaCare isn’t working and it will never work. That’s why we have to challenge every claim ObamaCare supporters make and we must insist that Congress refuse to allocate any funds implementing this massive train wreck.

For those with private insurance, ObamaCare is predicted to raise the cost of premiums in the individual healthcare insurance market by $2100 per family.

For those who are a young,, they will incur higher costs from health benefits that they must purchase but will probably never use.

For those satisfied with their current coverage, approximately 7,000,000 will lose their employer-sponsored health insurance.

For even those who are healthy, their employers will begin cutting their employees’ hours to make them part-time since their boss can’t afford to implement ObamaCare.


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