Tag Archive: politics


Justice Roy Moore strikes a major blow against judicial tyranny Bryan Fischer – Guest Columnist

Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Bryan FischerThe U.S. Constitution gives no jurisdiction whatsoever to any branch of the federal government to dictate marriage policy to the states. That’s the argument Roy Moore is making – and he’s on solid constitutional grounds in doing so.

Chief Justice Roy Moore of the Alabama Supreme Court has taken a stand against judicial tyranny on the matter of natural marriage. And strikingly and importantly, he has called on the governor of Alabama to do the same.

Last Friday, another judicial activist, U.S. District Judge Callie Granade, overturned Alabama’s marriage amendment, which was passed in 2006 by a staggering 81 percent of voters. (The judge has stayed her own ruling for two weeks.)

Justice Moore says he will not recognize the federal court ruling, and he is calling on Gov. Robert Bentley to do the same. And the beauty of it is that he is doing it all on solid constitutional grounds.

In Justice Moore’s letter to the governor (which you can read here) he states the constitutional and legal facts plainly and correctly. The Constitution, he says bluntly, gives no jurisdiction whatsoever to any branch of the federal government to dictate marriage policy to the states.

“As you know,” Judge Moore wrote, “nothing in the United States Constitution grants the federal government the authority to redefine the institution of marriage.” This, of course, is manifestly true. The authority to dictate marriage policy to the states is conspicuously absent from the list of powers “We the People” granted to the central government in Article I, Section 8.

In fact, the word “marriage” does not occur anywhere in the Constitution. You can read it front to back, back to front, upside down and in Sanskrit and you will find nary a mention of marriage anywhere in there, including the 14th Amendment, which was about slavery, not marriage. (On top of that, homosexual conduct was a crime everywhere in the United States at the time the 14th Amendment was enacted.)

All this means is that the issue of the definition of marriage is reserved, as Justice Moore correctly observes, to the states and the states alone.

“As Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, I will continue to recognize the Alabama Constitution and the will of the people overwhelmingly expressed in the Sanctity of Marriage Amendment,” Moore wrote.

Here’s how Justice Moore concludes his letter to the governor: “I ask you to continue to uphold and support the Alabama Constitution with respect to marriage, both for the welfare of this state and for our posterity. Be advised that I stand with you to stop judicial tyranny and any unlawful opinions issued without constitutional authority.”

Moore points out that 44 federal judges have already imposed their own view of morality on 21 states against the manifest will of the people as expressed at the ballot box, disenfranchising millions of voters in the process. The key to breaking the power of this out-of-control judicial tyranny is in the hands of our elected officials at the state level.

State justices can, as Justice Moore has done, defy unconstitutional federal rulings which have overturned marriage amendments. Governors, such as Gov. Bentley, can defy unconstitutional federal rulings by forbidding county clerks to issue marriage licenses which would be in violation of the state constitution. (First Amendment law firms such as the Alliance Defending Freedom have pledged to defend pro bono any clerks who refuse to issue same-sex licenses on grounds of conscience.)

Such actions would most emphatically not represent civil disobedience, but rather the best in civil obedience. An elected official can hardly be charged with rebellion when he is simply fulfilling the oath he took before God to uphold both the federal Constitution and the constitution of his own state.

What Justice Moore is advocating is not rebellion at all, but a call to quash the rebellion which has already occurred, the rebellion of federal judges against the limits imposed on them by our supreme legal document. With regard to federal judges, it is time, in Jefferson’s words, “to bind (them) down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.” Justice Roy Moore is showing us how. May his tribe increase.

Bryan Fischer hosts “Focal Point with Bryan Fischer” every weekday on AFR Talk (American Family Radio) from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. (Central).

A No-go Zone for Truth

Accurately reporting on no-go zones dominated by Muslims in Europe is now a no-go zone. Our media have made a mess of the whole issue and are now afraid to dig themselves out. What a disgrace and disservice to news consumers.

Jumping on the pile, the left-wing Politico has published a story accusing Louisiana Republican Governor and possible presidential candidate Bobby Jindal of telling a “lie” about the no-go zones by saying they exist. But the story is itself based on a lie. Things are so twisted that Politico is doing the lying by denying that the no-go zones exist. How did we get in such a mess?

Let’s understand that the method in this madness is to accommodate the radical Muslim lobby and demonize politicians who talk about the jihad problem.

First of all, the evidence shows that the zones or areas do exist. We cited evidence for them, and numerous other outlets have done so as well. The confusion stems from a Fox News apology over the matter that should never have been made.

Steve Emerson made a mistake on one Fox show in saying that “in Britain, it’s not just no-go zones, there are actual cities like Birmingham that are totally Muslim where non-Muslims just simply don’t go in.”

Acknowledging his error, Emerson tells WorldNetDaily that he is nevertheless appalled that the media have now decided that any and all reporting on no-go zones is wrong. “It’s outrageous for media outlets to apologize, saying ‘no-go zones’ don’t exist in Europe, when even the New York Times for years has published articles documenting Muslim ‘no-go zones’ do exist in European countries like France,” he tells WND reporter Jerome Corsi.

Corsi notes that “NBC News, the New York Times, the Associated Press and others were using the term ‘no-go’ zones for Muslim-majority neighborhoods in Paris when Muslim youth gangs were rampaging through the streets and setting cars on fire.”

We made the same point in our treatment of the issue, noting that Fox News suddenly altered its reporting of the Muslim riots in France in 2005, determining them to be “civil riots” instead. We saw then the power of the Islamists to alter Fox’s coverage.

Fox News media reporter Howard Kurtz had a great opportunity on his Sunday show “Media Buzz” to set the record straight. Instead of confronting his own channel over the unnecessary apology, Kurtz praised CNN’s Anderson Cooper for making the same kind of apology. But then he mentioned that other outlets have been reporting on the no-go zones for years. So an apology wasn’t necessary after all! “The subject is complicated,” he said. No it’s not. Just tell the truth.

If all of this is unnecessarily confusing, it’s clearly because of the unnecessary Fox apology. It was a political apology. There is no other explanation. It is this kind of pandering that is becoming a pattern at Fox, which had earlier yanked anchor Bret Baier from a Catholic conference under pressure from the homosexual lobby.

Liberal special interest groups should not have this kind of influence on a news organization, especially one claiming “fair and balanced” coverage that is also supposed to be accurate.

Journalism 101 teaches that corrections or apologies are called for when errors are made. Since no-go areas do in fact exist, according to numerous sources, no apology was necessary. Yet, Fox News offered the view that since the no-go zones are not “specific” or “formal” entities, they really don’t exist. Fox was wrong. This is complete nonsense and a gross distortion of the concept.

Robert Spencer makes the observation, “The Fox apology is all the more curious in light of the fact that others, even on the Left, have noticed the no-go zones in France before some Fox commentators began talking about them in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks.”

Citing just one example of many, he notes that David Ignatius had written in The New York Times back in 2002, “Yet Arab gangs regularly vandalize synagogues here, the North African suburbs have become no-go zones at night, and the French continue to shrug their shoulders.”

Spencer notes that Fox’s apology “only plays into the hands of leftists and Islamic supremacists who have a vested interest in rendering people ignorant and complacent about the reality of what is going on in these areas.”

He suggests that Fox “apologize for its apology.” That would perhaps further confuse matters, but it is the right thing to do.

Without an apology for the apology, those who apologize for the Islamization of Europe like Arif Rafiq will continue to claim, as he did in Politico, that Jindal, by even discussing the no-go zones, “has been repeating a lie that even Fox News was forced to apologize for.” The Fox News correction, or apology, though unwarranted, is now being cited as the media standard.

Politico headlined the piece, “Bobby Jindal’s Muslim Problem,” as if the governor has a bias against Muslims. So a Fox News apology has now been transformed into an indictment of a conservative political figure. Soon, Jindal will be denounced as an “Islamophobe,” another smear term used by the radical Islam lobby.

The liberal media won’t believe any of Fox’s normal day-to-day reports. But when the channel claims to have made an error that makes the rest of the media look good by comparison, that suddenly becomes the truth and the channel has to be believed. This is how reality is turned upside down.

The real story is why Fox made this unnecessary correction. The clout of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Council on American-Islamic Relations is the most likely explanation. Fox has undermined its own credibility by apologizing for something that was true. It is bizarre and was absolutely unnecessary.

Pamela Geller is correct that the major media are “failing us.” It’s terribly tragic that at a time when we were depending on one channel, Fox, to tell the truth, it has failed us, too.

Harvard Ideas on Health Care Hit Home, Hard
By ROBERT PEARJAN. 5, 2015
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Dr. Alan M. Garber, a physician and health economist who is the provost at Harvard, defended the change in benefits, acknowledging that Harvard employees would face greater cost-sharing but saying that such a policy “can slow the growth of health spending.” Credit Stephanie Mitchell, via Harvard University
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WASHINGTON — For years, Harvard’s experts on health economics and policy have advised presidents and Congress on how to provide health benefits to the nation at a reasonable cost. But those remedies will now be applied to the Harvard faculty, and the professors are in an uproar.

Members of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the heart of the 378-year-old university, voted overwhelmingly in November to oppose changes that would require them and thousands of other Harvard employees to pay more for health care. The university says the increases are in part a result of the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act, which many Harvard professors championed.                                                                                                                                                                             Roberto Villacreses of Sunshine Life and Health Advisors with Darko Tomelic and Andrea Viteri recently at a Miami mall.Health Insurance Enrollment Strongest in Federal MarketplaceDEC. 30, 2014

Agents from Sunshine Life and Health Advisors helped customers sign up for health care in Miami this month.So Far, 6.4 Million Obtain Health Care Coverage for 2015 in Federal MarketplaceDEC. 23, 2014
Obama Administration to Investigate Insurers for Bias Against Costly ConditionsDEC. 22, 2014
The faculty vote came too late to stop the cost increases from taking effect this month, and the anger on campus remains focused on questions that are agitating many workplaces: How should the burden of health costs be shared by employers and employees? If employees have to bear more of the cost, will they skimp on medically necessary care, curtail the use of less valuable services, or both?

“Harvard is a microcosm of what’s happening in health care in the country,” said David M. Cutler, a health economist at the university who was an adviser to President Obama’s 2008 campaign. But only up to a point: Professors at Harvard have until now generally avoided the higher expenses that other employers have been passing on to employees. That makes the outrage among the faculty remarkable, Mr. Cutler said, because “Harvard was and remains a very generous employer.”

In Harvard’s health care enrollment guide for 2015, the university said it “must respond to the national trend of rising health care costs, including some driven by health care reform,” in the form of the Affordable Care Act. The guide said that Harvard faced “added costs” because of provisions in the health care law that extend coverage for children up to age 26, offer free preventive services like mammograms and colonoscopies and, starting in 2018, add a tax on high-cost insurance, known as the Cadillac tax.

Richard F. Thomas, a Harvard professor of classics and one of the world’s leading authorities on Virgil, called the changes “deplorable, deeply regressive, a sign of the corporatization of the university.”

Mary D. Lewis, a professor who specializes in the history of modern France and has led opposition to the benefit changes, said they were tantamount to a pay cut. “Moreover,” she said, “this pay cut will be timed to come at precisely the moment when you are sick, stressed or facing the challenges of being a new parent.”

The university is adopting standard features of most employer-sponsored health plans: Employees will now pay deductibles and a share of the costs, known as coinsurance, for hospitalization, surgery and certain advanced diagnostic tests. The plan has an annual deductible of $250 per individual and $750 for a family. For a doctor’s office visit, the charge is $20. For most other services, patients will pay 10 percent of the cost until they reach the out-of-pocket limit of $1,500 for an individual and $4,500 for a family.

Previously, Harvard employees paid a portion of insurance premiums and had low out-of-pocket costs when they received care.

Michael E. Chernew, a health economist and the chairman of the university benefits committee, which recommended the new approach, acknowledged that “with these changes, employees will often pay more for care at the point of service.” In part, he said, “that is intended because patient cost-sharing is proven to reduce overall spending.”

The president of Harvard, Drew Gilpin Faust, acknowledged in a letter to the faculty that the changes in health benefits — though based on recommendations from some of the university’s own health policy experts — were “causing distress” and had “generated anxiety” on campus. But she said the changes were necessary because Harvard’s health benefit costs were growing faster than operating revenues or staff salaries and were threatening the budget for other priorities like teaching, research and student aid.

In response, Harvard professors, including mathematicians and microeconomists, have dissected the university’s data and question whether its health costs have been growing as fast as the university says. Some created spreadsheets and contended that the university’s arguments about the growth of employee health costs were misleading. In recent years, national health spending has been growing at an exceptionally slow rate.

In addition, some ideas that looked good to academia in theory are now causing consternation. In 2009, while Congress was considering the health care legislation, Dr. Alan M. Garber — then a Stanford professor and now the provost of Harvard — led a group of economists who sent an open letter to Mr. Obama endorsing cost-control features of the bill. They praised the Cadillac tax as a way to rein in health costs and premiums.

Dr. Garber, a physician and health economist, has been at the center of the current Harvard debate. He approved the changes in benefits, which were recommended by a committee that included university administrators and experts on health policy.

In an interview, Dr. Garber acknowledged that Harvard employees would face greater cost-sharing, but he defended the changes. “Cost-sharing, if done appropriately, can slow the growth of health spending,” he said. “We need to be prepared for the very real possibility that health expenditure growth will take off again.”

But Jerry R. Green, a professor of economics and a former provost who has been on the Harvard faculty for more than four decades, said the new out-of-pocket costs could lead people to defer medical care or diagnostic tests, causing more serious illnesses and costly complications in the future.

“It’s equivalent to taxing the sick,” Professor Green said. “I don’t think there’s any government in the world that would tax the sick.”

Meredith B. Rosenthal, a professor of health economics and policy at the Harvard School of Public Health, said she was puzzled by the outcry. “The changes in Harvard faculty benefits are parallel to changes that all Americans are seeing,” she said. “Indeed, they have come to our front door much later than to others.”

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But in her view, there are drawbacks to the Harvard plan and others like it that require consumers to pay a share of health care costs at the time of service. “Consumer cost-sharing is a blunt instrument,” Professor Rosenthal said. “It will save money, but we have strong evidence that when faced with high out-of-pocket costs, consumers make choices that do not appear to be in their best interests in terms of health.”

Harvard’s new plan is far more generous than plans sold on public insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act. Harvard says its plan pays 91 percent of the cost of services for the covered population, while the most popular plans on the exchanges, known as silver plans, pay 70 percent, on average, reflecting their “actuarial value.”

“None of us who protested was motivated by our own bottom line so much as by the principle,” Ms. Lewis said, expressing concern about the impact of the changes on lower-paid employees.

In many states, consumers have complained about health plans that limit their choice of doctors and hospitals. Some Harvard employees have said they will gladly accept a narrower network of health care providers if it lowers their costs. But Harvard’s ability to create such networks is complicated by the fact that some of Boston’s best-known, most expensive hospitals are affiliated with Harvard Medical School. To create a network of high-value providers, Harvard would probably need to exclude some of its own teaching hospitals, or discourage their use.

“Harvard employees want access to everything,” said Dr. Barbara J. McNeil, the head of the health care policy department at Harvard Medical School and a member of the benefits committee. “They don’t want to be restricted in what institutions they can get care from.”

Although out-of-pocket costs over all for a typical Harvard employee are to increase in 2015, administrators said premiums would decline slightly. They noted that the university, which has an endowment valued at more than $36 billion, had an unusual program to provide protection against high out-of-pocket costs for employees earning $95,000 a year or less. Still, professors said the protections did not offset the new financial burdens that would fall on junior faculty and lower-paid staff members.

“It seems that Harvard is trying to save money by shifting costs to sick people,” said Mary C. Waters, a professor of sociology. “I don’t understand why a university with Harvard’s incredible resources would do this. What is the crisis?”

PSA encourages kids to steal parents’ guns, hand over to teachers
A startling new anti-gun ad released by a San Francisco-based production company encourages children to commit a series of crimes by stealing their parents’ guns and turning them over to school officials. (Sleeper 13 Productions)
A startling new anti-gun ad released by a San Francisco-based production company encourages children to commit a series of crimes by stealing their parents’ guns and turning them over to school officials. (Sleeper 13 Productions) more >
By Jessica Chasmar – The Washington Times – Monday, December 22, 2014
A startling new anti-gun ad released by a San Francisco-based production company encourages children to commit a series of crimes by stealing their parents’ guns and turning them over to school officials, The Daily Caller reported Monday.

Sleeper 13 Productions released the controversial video on Dec. 13. It shows a pouty, young boy wandering into his parents’ bedroom, stealing a handgun out of their dresser drawer and then shoving it into his backpack.

The boy then carries what is presumably a loaded weapon into his classroom. After class, he approaches the teacher, takes the gun out of his backpack and slams it onto her desk.

“Can you take this away? I don’t feel safe with a gun in my house,” the boy says.

“Our children deserve a safe world,” the ad says. “Stop gun violence now.”

The video, first reported by The Blaze, has been met with sharp criticism from gun-rights activists on Sleeper 13’s Facebook page.

“Weapons theft, unlawful possession of a weapon by a minor, illegal concealed carry of a weapon, carrying a weapon onto school property, assault, and brandishing,” wrote Jerry Harlan.

On YouTube, the video had received more than 3,500 down votes, compared to its 31 up votes.

“Lot of people are afraid to share my PSA!” tweeted the ad’s director, Rejina Sincic. “If you are not a coward please share #gunviolence.”

Fred Rick Friedman questioned on Facebook: “So, when a child does this and accidentally kills himself or an innocent bystander, will Sleeper 13 Productions and Ragina Sincic be brought up on charges as an accessory? This has got to be one of the dumbest PSA’s put out by anti-gunners ever. Way to combat criminal violence…turn innocent children into felons.”

According to the credits, the video was shot at North Oakland Community Charter School in Oakland. The school’s executive director, Carolyn Gramstorff, told The Washington Times that officials did grant permission for the PSA to be shot there, but were not aware beforehand of its message. In light of the controversial video, she said the school is motivated to consider narrowing its screening process for allowing PSAs to be shot on campus.

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/dec/22/psa-encourages-kids-to-steal-parents-guns-hand-ove/#ixzz3MgVrALtb
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Student sues school district after her forced ‘confession’
By Michael F. Haverluck, OneNewsNow.com December 11, 2014 12:22 pm
courtroomNot long after a student from Loomis Basin Charter School (LBCS) invited her two friends to a Creation seminar held off campus, school officials became livid, summonsing her to the principal’s office four times in the same day in order to force her into writing a “confession” of what she had done.

Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) is now representing the student against Loomis Union School District (LUSD), located in Loomis, California, approximately 30 miles northeast of Sacramento. The legal non-profit organization alleges in the complaint that the school district violated the student’s constitutional rights by prohibiting her from expressing her beliefs.

After ordering the student — who PJI dubbed “Esther” for anonymity’s sake — to confess, school officials in the principal’s office vowed that they would censor any future invitations that she planned to give to friends.

In September, Esther had invited a couple of her friends to a free, off-campus, non-school seminar in response to the teaching of Darwinian evolution in her class, which has its curriculum based in the school-issued textbook Early Civilizations.

“Currently, the class is discussing plate tectonics and the Big Bang theory,” PJI’s complaint on behalf of Esther reads. “[Esther] sought out more information to be able to express her beliefs and understanding on the issue to participate in the ongoing conversation.”

Because evolutionary theory was routinely taught as fact in her class, and as many students in her class began comparing the creationist account of Genesis with Darwin’s biological evolutionary theory, Esther wanted her peers to join her in getting a more comprehensive understanding of human origins — as well as the origins of the earth and the known universe — by attending a Creationist seminar.

During the semester, Esther learned about the three-session Creationist seminar and became intrigued about the issue. She then invited one of her friends from science class — who also expressed a keen interest in the debate — to the second session. The two then invited a third friend to session three.

The seminar presented by the nonprofit Christian organization Genesis Apologetics, based in Folsom, California, has a stated mission of “equipping youth, pastors, parents and students with biblical answers for evolutionary teaching in public schools.”

Esther presented the Genesis Apologetics invitations to her friends during lunch breaks at school in the format of flyers so that their parents would have information to gauge whether or not they wanted them to attend.

It is believed that one of the parents of a student who received an invitation was the one who complained to school officials that her child was given the opportunity to attend an off campus, non-school event.

Not in my school

Esther’s complaint claims that LBCS director Erica Sloane, one of the defendants in the lawsuit, lashed out in anger at Esther when confronting her about the invitation. Sloan allegedly ordered her to submit a written confession and warned her that similar invitations in the future must be accompanied with an official stamp of approval from school officials.

“[Sloane] proceeded to scold [Esther] for bringing the … flyer to school because the content is religious and because it had not been approved by the school district,” the complaint reads. “Sloane told [Esther] that she was not permitted to distribute the flyer to students … and [that] her actions were unacceptable.”

The complaint also indicates that the school director was hostile toward Esther because of her Christian beliefs, which Sloane allegedly attempted to suppress, in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

“[Sloane] expressed her anger, through an intimidating tone and expressions, at [Esther] over the situation … and further directed [Esther] to not talk about religion at school, even during lunch,” the complaint continues.

According to the lawsuit, the second of four summons Esther received to go to the principal’s office within 24 hours resulted in the student being compelled to fill out an incident report documenting her confession of what she had done on school grounds. Within 15 minutes, Sloane declared the confession “inadequate,” spurring Esther’s third summons of the day. After this attempt did not meet Sloane’s approval, Esther was summoned to the principal’s office for the fourth and final time that day.

Inconsistent with the treatment Esther experienced in the principal’s office that day, LBCS has a mission statement that encourages students to “think independently and connect content to real life” while pursuing the quest for knowledge.

“[Loomis Basin Charter School’s aim] is to develop inquiring, knowledgeable, patriotic, honorable, responsible and caring young people who have the background, skills, knowledge and qualities necessary to participate successfully and actively in a changing and increasingly interrelated world,” the complaint reads, quoting the school’s educational goals.

But when Esther interacted with the school’s administration, she witnessed no trace of anything highlighted in the mission statement.

“[Esther] has been disturbed by these events and felt harassed, traumatized and unsafe to the point that she did not want to return to school in the days that followed because of the scolding and harsh interactions,” the lawsuit declares.

After Esther communicated her four office visits to her mother, the concerned parent sought an explanation from school officials, who told her that Esther was prohibited from disseminating any kind of flyer to any students on campus at any time — inside or outside of class, before or after school.

According to the lawsuit, an attached written consent must be attached to any literature Ester wishes to hand to any peer on campus.

“[Esther] cannot personally give printed material to another pupil without first obtaining a district disclaimer affixed to the literature,” the complaint states, expressing the school’s stance on the matter.

Students don’t abandon their rights at the schoolhouse gate

PJI argues that LBCS’s attempt to suppress Esther’s expression on campus violates her free-speech rights under the State of California’s Constitution and the U.S. Constitution.

“[Esther] has a speech right to possess on her person and distribute a flyer expressing a religious viewpoint,” PJI attorneys express in the lawsuit.

They contend that Sloan and other school officials pressured Esther to give up her constitutionally protected rights every time she entered the schoolhouse gate.

“The scolding and intimidation by Sloane as against [Esther] to cease and desist from distributing said flyer, cease and desist from keeping a similar flyer on her person or in her backpack, and to just say no to anyone who may provide her with a flyer to share with her fellow classmates, or face additional administrative action are a form of censorship which is inconsistent with the rights guaranteed to [Esther] as a citizen,” the student’s complaint explains.

The lawsuit, which was filed in early November, also lists LUSD superintendent Gordon Medd and LBCS acting director Katie Messerli, along with other school officials, as defendants in the suit, which was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California by PJI attorneys on behalf of Esther. Media outlets were unable to attain a response from school officials about their alleged violations of Esther’s constitutional rights.

Obama administration claims a right to hide evidence before Supreme Court
| DECEMBER 10, 2014 | 5:00 AM
The United States v. June case boils down to this: Can the federal government actively conceal material evidence in order to escape liability?
The United States v. June case boils down to this: Can the federal government actively conceal…
Today, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in United States v. June, a case that has received little attention, but will have far-reaching implications. The case boils down to this: Can the federal government actively conceal material evidence in order to escape liability? Common sense says no. The Obama administration says yes.

June involves the Federal Torts Claims Act (FTCA) and a doctrine called “equitable tolling.” Prior to 1946, the doctrine of sovereign immunity prohibited citizens from filing suit against the government. That all changed in 1946, when a military plane crashed into the Empire State Building, killing and injuring many civilians. Congress responded by enacting the FTCA, which waives sovereign immunity and allows citizens to sue the government in instances.

However, claimants must file a claim within two years of injury. Equitable tolling freezes those two years under certain considerations, like government officials hiding pertinent facts. Courts across the country have consistently applied the doctrine of equitable tolling to FTCA claims.

In the June case, a minor child was killed in a car crash when a median barrier failed. The barrier had failed safety crash testing; the government knew but installed it anyway. When the plaintiff investigated, the government would not make federal employees — who knew the truth — available for deposition until after the two year deadline to file. The government now argues that equitable tolling should not apply to claims brought under the FTCA. It maintains that it can avoid liability by hiding evidence and waiting for the clock to run out.

The June case raises serious issues for every government agency, especially the Veterans Administration, given the recent scandal where VA employees engaged in fraud and falsified records. If no whistleblower had come forward, VA employees could have waited out the clock. The VA has already demonstrated a propensity toward dishonesty and covering up. It needs no further incentives.

Importantly, some injuries are latent and may not appear for even years after the fact. Take, for instance, the example of veterans exposed to HIV and hepatitis by the VA during routine colonoscopies and dental work. Older vets, having no reason to be regularly tested, may not find out about their exposure until years later when HIV blossoms into full blown AIDS or when their livers malfunction. Moreover, in 2011 a Pittsburgh VA hospital’s water supply tested positive for Legionnaires disease but the hospital did not notify patients for over a year. Only after six patient deaths and 22 infections did the VA facility warn patients and distribute bottled water.

If government has its way in June, the VA and other government agencies would get off scot-free in similar situations. Say goodbye to transparency and the FTCA as we know it. A wrongdoer should not benefit by secrecy calculated to hide the truth and deprive harmed persons of their constitutional right to due process. Sunshine is the best disinfectant and the Supreme Court must rein in government abuse in June. After all, our laws do not allow private citizens to benefit from dishonesty and the same standard should be applied to government, too.

Ms. Miller Rotunda is Professor of Military and International Law at Chapman University and a former Major in the US Army JAG Corps; Admiral Carey is the President of the National Defense Committee; Mr. Carey is Executive Director of the National Defense Committee and a Captain in the Naval Reserves; Mr. Flynn-Brown is an attorney that specializes in military and veteran law. Thinking of submitting an op-ed to the Washington Examiner? Be sure to read our guidelines on submissions for editorials, available at this link.

Obama’s Endless Lies and His Media Accomplices
By Cliff Kincaid December 10, 2014 12:25 pm

Like the use of the word “chokehold” in connection with the death of Eric Garner, the term “torture” has been applied repeatedly by the media to the CIA’s treatment of suspected terrorists. These are examples of how left-wing forces in the Obama administration, the Democratic Party and the media try to control and manipulate the public debate in ways that demonize those defending our nation.
The purpose is to make the American people lose faith in the police and the intelligence community. But it is those using the loaded terms and language that deserve the scrutiny.

A notable exception in the “chokehold” coverage is Margaret Harding of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, who quoted Thomas Aveni, a retired officer and executive director of the Police Policy Studies Council, as saying about the video of Garner’s takedown, “The reason all these people are upset is because they don’t understand what they saw. People don’t understand what they’re looking at.”

She reported that Aveni, a police trainer in deadly and non-deadly force for more than 30 years, said that New York City Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo did not use a chokehold on Garner, but rather a “lateral vascular neck restraint” or LVNR. The difference? “People can’t talk when they are being choked,” Aveni said.

The alleged use of “torture” against suspected terrorists is another example of how the media adopt a term that doesn’t apply to what is actually being described.

Jose Rodriguez, the author of Hard Measures: How Aggressive CIA Actions After 9/11 Saved American Lives, says the term “torture” is inaccurate and that the CIA received guidance from the Department of Justice as to what procedures could be used to avoid “lasting pain or harm” to the detainees. Rodriguez, the former head of the CIA’s Clandestine Service, defends the “enhanced interrogation techniques.”

Rodriguez writes in his book about how Obama’s CIA director Leon Panetta had declared to the Senate that the program had used “torture,” though he had not even been briefed on it.

The media campaigns against the police “chokehold” and the CIA’s “torture” techniques remind me of the communist “Ban the Neutron Bomb” campaign of the early 1970s. The “neutron bomb” was an enhanced radiation weapon designed to counter a Soviet tank build-up in Europe.

Despite the name, the “neutron bomb” was more humane than conventional arms. Appearing at an Accuracy in Media conference at the time, Sam T. Cohen, the inventor of the weapon, noted that it killed people painlessly through radiation rather than a blast with catastrophic consequences. But the Soviets thought it gave the U.S. an unfair advantage and successfully waged an “active measures” campaign, using the U.S. media, against it. Distorted coverage of the weapon led President Jimmy Carter to ban it from the U.S. arsenal.

In the same way, banning a “chokehold,” when it is actually something else, puts American police forces at a disadvantage with the criminal element. Outlawing “torture,” when the techniques were not torture, deprives our intelligence community of procedures that can actually save lives.

When we examined Panetta’s fitness for public office, we found that he was an opponent of the “neutron bomb” when he was a liberal Congressman from California. Perhaps this explains why he was picked for the important posts of CIA director and then Secretary of Defense. He was susceptible to disinformation then and was judged as somebody who could “go with the program” of Obama to ban interrogation techniques that gave the U.S. an edge in the war on terror.

The “torture” controversy also proves to be a diversion from discussing Obama’s alternative—the use of drones to shoot air-to-surface Hellfire missiles and literally obliterate suspected terrorists.

When terrorists die in drone strikes, they yield no intelligence data because they do not end up alive in U.S. custody. Plus, women and children die alongside them.

This is supposed to be more “humane” than alleged “torture” of the individual terrorists, who survive the “torture” and then get fat at Gitmo.

Obama gets away with this because the media, once again, are feeding out of his hands, eager to take his line on foreign affairs when it is nonsensical and counter to U.S. interests.

In his 2013 remarks to the National Defense University, Obama acknowledged that “…it is a hard fact that U.S. strikes have resulted in civilian casualties, a risk that exists in every war. And for the families of those civilians, no words or legal construct can justify their loss. For me, and those in my chain of command, those deaths will haunt us as long as we live, just as we are haunted by the civilian casualties that have occurred throughout conventional fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

Obama declared, “…America’s actions are legal.” Case closed. That’s good enough for the media.

At the same time, he said, “I believe we compromised our basic values—by using torture to interrogate our enemies, and detaining individuals in a way that ran counter to the rule of law.”

Obama’s flimsy justification for drone strikes is a self-serving memo generated by his own administration. It purports to explain why killing Americans does not violate the due process clause of the U.S. Constitution for U.S. citizens accused of crimes. The memo refers to U.S. drone aircraft as “contemplated lethal operations.”

Apparently, however, wiping out terrorists and their families, friends, and relatives, is not something that compromises our basic values.

The fact that Obama gets away with this deception says something about the gullibility of the American media.

It was appropriate that the Democratic Senate report on “torture” was released on the same day that Jonathan Gruber was testifying about lying to the American people regarding the benefits of Obamacare. The Senate report was another form of deception, designed to confuse and mislead about what Obama has used in place of interrogation techniques of terrorists. Obama doesn’t interrogate terrorists, he kills them.

Yet, we are led to believe Obama believes in American values and practices them.

The American people would see through the lies if only they could depend on a media that would lead them out of all the deliberate obfuscation.

the Foundation

The Patriot Post · http://patriotpost.us/digests/31553
Daily Digest
Dec. 8, 2014

THE FOUNDATION
“There can be no greater error than to expect, or calculate upon real favors from nation to nation. ‘Tis an illusion which experience must cure, which a just pride ought to discard.” –George Washington, Farewell Address, 1796

TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS
Down Goes Another Democrat1
The GOP picked up another Senate seat Saturday. The Associated Press reports, “Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy defeated Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu on Saturday, denying her a fourth term and extending the GOP’s domination of the 2014 midterm elections that put Republicans in charge of Capitol Hill for the final two years of President Barack Obama’s tenure. With Cassidy’s victory, Republicans will hold 54 seats when the Senate convenes in January, nine more than they have now.” Landrieu failed in her bid to stave off the GOP tide, even though she pushed the Keystone XL pipeline. Louisiana voters saw through the charade, however, and opted to aid a higher purpose – stopping Barack Obama. Her loss also means that 30 of the 60 Senate Democrats who voted for ObamaCare are no longer in Congress. Talk about an albatross. More…2

Nearly 12 Million Have Left the Workforce Under Obama3
November’s jobs report4 no doubt contained good news. Payrolls jumped by 321,000, which was far above the 230,000 jobs forecast by economists5. September and October also saw positive revisions. The most recent year with superior job growth was 1999. Add it all up, and the economy has clearly turned a corner after subsequent years in deep shambles. However (how many times have we had to say that?), the economy continues to lag significantly in potential; you can thank the Obama recovery for that. The one particularly troubling statistic pertains to the labor participation rate that remained unchanged last month at 62.8% – meaning 92,447,000 Americans aren’t seeking a job. The cumulative effect of a stubbornly low participation rate is alarming to say the least, as nearly 12 million workers have called it quits during Obama’s presidency. CNSNews.com reports, “When President Obama took office in January 2009, there were 80,529,000 Americans who were not participating in the office, which means that since then, 11,918,000 Americans have left the workforce.” That’s far more than the number of jobs Obama claims to have “created.” So while the headline employment numbers have improved, there are still underlying problems that remain unresolved. That is why speculators remain pessimistic despite the media’s rosy narrative. More…6

Jihadist Relieves Himself, Thwarts U.S. Hostage Rescue7
The Navy SEALs’ attempted rescue of American journalist Luke Somers, who was captured by al-Qaida in Yemen, did not play out like the heroic 1976 Israeli hostage rescue, Operation Entebbe. The jihadists released a video telling the U.S. to comply with their demands (which they didn’t state in the video) or else Somers would die within 72 hours. In a statement, Barack Obama said, “Other information also indicated Luke’s life was in imminent danger. Based on this assessment, and as soon as there was reliable intelligence and an operational plan, I authorized a rescue attempt.” However, as the 40-man special operations team was establishing a perimeter, a jihadist stepped outside – probably to go to the bathroom – and saw the rescue force. U.S. officials say Somers was executed. However, the Wall Street Journal commends8 the Obama administration for taking a hard line against jihadist kidnappers. Terrorists now know if they kidnap Americans, they might wake up to the knock of a U.S. commando team in the middle of the night. More…9

White House Mulls Destroying Relationship With Israel10
The White House and the State Department deflected questions from Washington reporters about an Israeli newspaper story alleging the Obama administration is considering slapping sanctions on Israel. Both White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest11 and State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf refused to talk about the sanctions with reporters because it’s “internal deliberations.” According to Haaretz12, the U.S. may impose sanctions on its ally because it continues to build settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. According to Yeshiva World News13, the U.S. is also considering withdrawing its political protection of Israel at the UN, allowing anti-Israel motions to move through the international body. The Washington Free Beacon14 quotes an anonymous senior congressional aide: “If these reports are true, this would mark a new era of unprecedented hostility from the White House against our strongest ally in the Middle East. It’s impossible not to notice the irony of the administration mulling sanctions on Israel while threatening to veto new sanctions against Iran.”

Deportation Policies Let Almost Anyone Stay15
While an Immigration and Customs Enforcement report shows deportations in general dropped16 during the 2014 fiscal year, the report goes on to say that immigration enforcement officials are lax with illegal immigrants who have committed crimes. According to the Removal Operation Report17 for fiscal year 2014, 30,862 foreign criminals were released into the United States. Of the 315,943 people deported from the United States, the majority were caught at the border and 86,923 were caught committing a crime. The drop in deportations comes as the Obama administration has set high low standards on who it will and will not deport. In a statement, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) told the Los Angeles Times, “We essentially tell citizens of other countries, ‘If you come here, you can stay – don’t worry, we won’t deport you.’ The reality on the ground is that unless you commit multiple crimes, the chances of your being removed from this country are close to zero.” More…18

For more, visit Right Hooks19.

RIGHT ANALYSIS
From the Department of Corrections20
The Leftmedia have a story to tell, and they’re generally not going to let facts get in the way. This truth came in to stark relief with Friday’s massive correction21 Rolling Stone issued to its November report on a gang rape at the University of Virginia.

The correction was so big, it may be easier to recount what the original report got right than what it got wrong. A quick recap:

A UVA student given the name “Jackie” recounted21 how a man Rolling Stone calls “Drew” and his fellow fraternity brothers raped her at a party. But among numerous other errors, it turns out Drew belongs to a different fraternity than the one in question, and there was no party the night Jackie says she was raped. Much trouble would have been avoided had reporter Sabrina Rubin Erdely not acceded to Jackie’s request not to interview the accused because she feared retribution. Bad decision.

The story was evidently too good to check because it fit the narrative of a widespread “rape culture” supposedly evidenced by the epidemic of sexual assault on campuses around the country. In fact, Erdely went around looking for just the right story to support that narrative. We’ve already questioned the breadth of the epidemic22 itself, and Rolling Stone’s shoddy and reckless journalism hardly does anything to correct the record, much less help true victims of rape.

Jackie may have been raped, and just because some of the facts were wrong doesn’t mean all of them were. And it should go without saying that this doesn’t invalidate other rape accusations. But truth cannot be a casualty of narrative.

Other media outlets swallowed Rolling Stone’s original story hook, line and sinker, leading to a cascading effect turning a lie into a legend. Media often blindly take up a cause célèbre in pursuit of ratings and the almighty advertising dollar. (We note that this is one reason The Patriot Post doesn’t accept advertising, instead relying on the support of our readers23 for our sustenance.)

It’s noteworthy that, just like the Jonathan Gruber videos24, the UVA story began to fall apart because of the efforts of an independent blogger25.

Worked into a tizzy by Rolling Stone’s story, feminists hammered “rape apologists” who dared ask questions. To them, men accused of rape are guilty until proven innocent. And to many of them, they’d even rather cling to a false story than admit men are innocent.

That recalls the response to rape accusations against Duke University’s lacrosse team several years ago. Those likewise proved to be false, though only after the reputations of those young men were destroyed.

Nevertheless, UVA students protested, while university president Teresa Sullivan responded to the allegations by shutting down activities at all fraternities and sororities. When Rolling Stone essentially retracted the story, Sullivan didn’t apologize for overreacting – she doubled down. “Over the past two weeks,” she said in a statement, “our community has been more focused than ever on one of the most difficult and critical issues facing higher education today: sexual violence on college campuses. Today’s news must not alter this focus.”

Reason Contributing Editor Cathy Young concludes26: “Commentators across the political spectrum have expressed concern that Rolling Stone’s sloppy journalism will damage what Bloomberg View columnist Megan McArdle calls ‘the righteous fight for rape victims.’ But despite its righteous goals, the crusade against rape has leaned too far toward promoting the dangerous idea that accusation equals guilt and that to doubt an accuser’s word is heresy. Finding the balance between supporting victims and preserving the presumption of innocence is a difficult line to walk. Perhaps the lessons of the UVA story will help steer the way toward such a balance.”

In Young’s separate analysis of the Obama administration’s Department of Education push to have colleges and universities more vigorously prosecute sexual assault, she writes27, “The Department of Education has recommended that colleges use the lowest burden of proof – ‘preponderance of the evidence,’ which means a finding of guilt if one feels the evidence tips even slightly toward the complainant. Missing is virtually any recognition of the need for fairness to the accused.”

Bottom line: Sexual assault allegations should be investigated and prosecuted by qualified law enforcement agencies, not on the pages of Rolling Stone or other pop media outlets.

America’s Shrinking28
Days after headlines captured America’s slide from its status as the world’s number one economy to number two behind China29, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report30 spun off a few articles about America’s declining birthrate. Let’s just say if you’re an employed taxpayer, you’d best grab your wallet.

While many in the ranks of high-brow policy don’t want to engage in the discussion of what many deem as so-called cultural “wedge” issues such as abortion, fertility and population, it’s all about the math. And that math has implications in tax policy, foreign policy, health care policy – you name it. The reality remains that if there are fewer babies, there are fewer future workers and consumers.

Let’s look at the math as it relates to our standing economically.

If our population does not replace itself, the labor market – and with it the tax base – will shrink, all while government spending rages on.

What does that CDC report say?

“Childbearing is on the decline in the United States overall and among women under age 30 and women in each of the largest race and Hispanic origin groups.” In 2013, the birthrate his a near-low of 1.86 live births per female.

The big deal?

A birth rate of 2.1 children per childbearing female is necessary just to maintain stasis. The U.S. missed the mark for the first time in 1972, and it has hit “replacement” numbers only twice since then – in 2006 and 2007.

The good news is abortions are down, too. Consistent and intense educational efforts of the pro-life movement through ultrasounds during pregnancy in tandem with state policy efforts to defund “health care” clinics offering abortion on demand has reduced the number of abortions performed.

As for the overall birthrate, the contributing factors have been the economic pressures of the 2007 recession either delaying or cancelling family plans, a more educated population that delays the birth of children, and other things such as gender disorientation pathology31, access to long-acting birth control, and, candidly, selfishness that refuses to include others, such as children, in a myopic definition of success.

In light of this consistent, documented population decline, has our government spending seen appropriate adjustment? Has our need for military might changed? Are the IOU’s repaid in the “Social Security Lockbox” to fund the current retirees? No, no and no.

Still not convinced this is a big deal? Let’s look across the pond at Europe. The nations that currently make up the European Union (E-28) tracked their fertility rate at 1.45 live births per women in 2002 with only a slight increase to 1.58 births in 2012, as published in a May 2014 European Commission report. Clearly, that’s far below the demographically necessary rate of 2.1 for generational replacement.

The nations of the European Union continue to struggle with government spending that averages 49% of gross domestic product32, with its member nations hovering around a 10% unemployment rate.

The National Bureau of Economic Research says it plainly in its online report, “The Cost of Low Fertility in Europe33”: “In the long run, low rates of fertility are associated with diminished economic growth. … If fertility rates stay at current levels … Europe’s share of working-age people will fall from about 70 percent today to somewhere between 50 and 55 percent in the long run … a 25 percent drop in the number of workers per capita.”

Clearly, changes in population cause disruption in the demand for services, produced goods and the volume of money the populace spends in any given economy.

Here in America, this decline is seen most obviously in a single government program, which happens to be the largest federal expenditure after surpassing defense spending back in 1993 – Social Security.

When the first benefits were paid in the Social Security retirement program in 1940, there were 42 workers paying into the system for each retiree receiving benefits. As of April 2014, that number is 2.8 workers per beneficiary.

Furthermore, the U.S. Treasury has borrowed money from the Social Security Trust Fund and, according to the Trustee’s 2014 report, owes $2.8 trillion as of December 2013. According to the same report, due to declining birthrates and increased life expectancy, the trust fund will be exhausted in 2033, just 19 years from now. The Heritage Foundation, meanwhile, says it could be insolvent in just 10 years34.

If America continues pursuing policies that transfer wealth from workers to non-workers, allows mass immigration of a new underclass that will only increase the pressure on government entitlement services, and refuses to recognize there must absolutely be a reduction in spending, we will only remember the good old days when our economy once led the world.

OPINION IN BRIEF

The Gipper: “I do not believe in a fate that will fall on us no matter what we do. I do believe in a fate that will fall on us if we do nothing. So, with all the creative energy at our command, let us begin an era of national renewal.”

Columnist Peggy Noonan: “[Obama’s] executive action on immigration, seen by many as daring and clever, may not prove clever. … In making that move he removed one of the Republican Party’s problems. They were split on immigration, their adversaries said the reason was racism. The whole issue roiled the Republican base. Now the president has taken it out of their hands. And he has united them in their condemnation of the manner in which he did it. At the same time the president took an issue that was a daily, agitating mobilizer of his base and removed it as a factor. He took the kettle off the heat – but that kettle had produced a lot of steam that provided energy to his party. Now the president has to implement his directive, and implementation has never been his strong suit. He has to tamp down grievance from those who came here legally or are waiting in line. He has to answer immigration activists who think they got too little. He has to face all the critics who will experience and witness the downside of his action on the border. He took an issue that was a problem for Republicans, and made it a problem for Democrats. That may well prove a political mistake of the first order.”

Columnist Jonah Goldberg: “[Sen. Chuck] Schumer’s speech at the National Press Club is a marvel to behold. … ‘Democrats must embrace government. It’s what we believe in; it’s what unites our party,’ Schumer explained. ‘If we run away from government, downplay it, or act as if we are embarrassed by its role, people won’t vote for our pale version of the Republican view.’ … The senator has no principled objection to a government takeover of health care; what he objects to now is the timing. Back in 2009-10, he was a vocal champion of the law [ObamaCare]. Last week, he said, ‘Unfortunately, Democrats blew the opportunity the American people gave them. We took their mandate and put all of our focus on the wrong problem – health care reform.’ The senator said he still favors Obamacare’s goals, but ‘it wasn’t the change we were hired to make.’ Voters wanted Obama and his party to fix the economy. Indeed, in a remarkable moment of honest cynicism, Schumer went into great detail lamenting how the law was designed to help mostly poor people who for the most part don’t vote. Morally, this is a fascinating admission. In Schumer’s hierarchy of needs, winning elections for Democrats matters more than helping the truly needy. Call it uncompassionate liberalism.”

Comedian Jimmy Kimmel: “The birthrate in the United States is at an all-time low. Whereas our death rate is still holding strong at 100 percent.”

Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!

Join us in daily prayer for our Patriots in uniform – Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen – standing in harm’s way in defense of Liberty, and for their families.

Links

http://patriotpost.us/posts/31531

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/democratic-louisiana-sen-mary-landrieu-defeated-27419720

http://patriotpost.us/posts/31528

http://patriotpost.us/posts/31506

http://www.cnbc.com/id/102243063

http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/ali-meyer/labor-force-participation-remains-36-year-low-0

http://patriotpost.us/posts/31544

http://www.wsj.com/articles/a-noble-rescue-attempt-1417991769

http://abcnews.go.com/International/american-hostage-luke-somers-killed-us-rescue-attempt/story?id=27397528

http://patriotpost.us/posts/31522

http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/226161-white-house-mum-on-israel-sanctions

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.629876

http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/news/headlines-breaking-stories/274351/israel-facing-american-sanctions-over-ongoing-construction.html

http://freebeacon.com/national-security/reports-obama-mulling-sanctions-on-israel/

http://patriotpost.us/posts/31535

http://patriotpost.us/posts/31521

http://documents.latimes.com/immigration-and-customs-draft-report/

http://www.latimes.com/nation/immigration/la-na-deportations-decline-20141205-story.html#page=1

http://patriotpost.us/

http://patriotpost.us/articles/31552

http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/a-rape-on-campus-20141119

http://patriotpost.us/articles/29893

https://patriotpost.us/donation/new

http://patriotpost.us/articles/30967

http://twitchy.com/2014/12/05/brit-hume-credits-the-power-of-new-media-for-uncovering-holes-in-rolling-stone-story/

http://time.com/3620504/its-women-who-suffer-when-we-dont-ask-questions/

http://time.com/88407/the-white-houses-report-on-campus-sexual-assault-relies-on-the-lowest-common-denominator/

http://patriotpost.us/articles/31536

http://patriotpost.us/posts/31481

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db175.htm

http://patriotpost.us/alexander/3932

http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2014-08-19/european-austerity-is-a-myth

http://www.nber.org/papers/w14820

http://patriotpost.us/posts/31348

http://patriotpost.us/opinion/31505

http://patriotpost.us/opinion/31514

http://patriotpost.us/opinion/31430

http://patriotpost.us/opinion/31489

http://patriotpost.us/opinion/31534

http://patriotpost.us/opinion

Primary Care Doctor Tough to Find Under Obamacare
By Associated Press December 8, 2014 12:20 pm
obamacare_logoMIAMI (AP) — When Olivia Papa signed up for a new health plan last year, her insurance company assigned her to a primary care doctor. The relatively healthy 61-year-old didn’t try to see the doctor until last month, when she and her husband both needed authorization to see separate specialists.

She called the doctor’s office several times without luck.

“They told me that they were not on the plan, they were never on the plan and they’d been trying to get their name off the plan all year,” said Papa, who recently bought a plan from a different insurance company.

It was no better with the next doctor she was assigned. The Naples, Florida, resident said she left a message to make an appointment, “and they never called back.”

The Papas were among the 6.7 million people who gained insurance through the Affordable Care Act last year, flooding a primary care system that is struggling to keep up with demand.

A survey this year by The Physicians Foundation found that 81 percent of doctors describe themselves as either over-extended or at full capacity, and 44 percent said they planned to cut back on the number of patients they see, retire, work part-time or close their practice to new patients.

At the same time, insurance companies have routinely limited the number of doctors and providers on their plans as a way to cut costs. The result has further restricted some patients’ ability to get appointments quickly.

One purpose of the new health law was connecting patients, many of whom never had insurance before, with primary care doctors to prevent them from landing in the emergency room when they are sicker and their care is more expensive. Yet nearly 1 in 5 Americans lives in a region designated as having a shortage of primary care physicians, and the number of doctors entering the field isn’t expected to keep pace with demand.

The Association of American Medical Colleges projects the shortage will grow to about 66,000 in little more than a decade as fewer residency slots are available and as more medical students choose higher-paying specialty areas.

For now, experts say most patients are receiving the care they need, even if they have to drive farther, wait longer or see a nurse practitioner or physician assistant rather than a doctor.

More importantly, many are getting care for the first time. The surge also has forced many doctors to streamline their practice and rely more on mid-tier professionals instead of seeing every patient themselves.

“Family doctors are seeing a pretty significant increase in requests for appointments from new patients,” said Dr. Wanda Filer, a primary care doctor in York, Pennsylvania, and president of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

In response, the academy of more than 115,000 doctors say they’re adding new physicians to their practices, relying more on nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants, adding evening and weekend appointments. Despite the demand, Filer said most patients can get same-day appointments with someone on their team.

Dr. Laura Byerly has seen a surge of more than 2,000 new patients since January at her chain of health clinics in Hillsboro, Oregon, about 30 minutes west of Portland. Many had sporadic or no medical care for many years.

She hired new primary care doctors, receptionists and nurses whose sole role is to see new patients and prepare the chart for the first visit with the doctor. They even opened a new clinic so patients who used to drive 45 minutes for a visit could now see a doctor five minutes from home.

“The new patients required a significant amount of work to understand just what medications they should be on, what are their active diagnoses, what studies are needed now, and just who they are and what their life is like,” said Byerly, who is the medical director of the Virginia Garcia Memorial Foundation health clinics.

Dr. Jack Chou takes patients only during open enrollment. Otherwise, it’s a six to nine-month wait at his Los Angeles-area practice, where most of the new patients were covered through Medicaid expansion.

“The initial visit takes much longer because we’re trying to learn about patients who had fragmented care or no care at all,” said Chou. Despite the staffing struggles, “it’s actually a godsend for some of my patients.”

While most doctors are successfully juggling the influx, there have been cases like that of the Papas, in which consumers call multiple doctors only to find they are not in network or the doctors are not taking new patients.

Insurance agent Anthony Halby heard similar complaints from his clients in Grass Valley, California, a Sierra foothill community about an hour east of Sacramento. He said half a dozen consumers wanted him to switch their health plans as soon as the second round of open enrollment started earlier this month. They told him the plan they chose last year made it extremely difficult to find primary care doctors.

Only two insurance companies in the Gold Rush-era town offer coverage through the state exchange, and just four or five primary care doctors out of about 135 signed up with one insurer.

The other insurer has more doctors, but most are considered out of network. That means patients who use them will pay 60 percent of the bill, he said.

“Coverage does not equal access,” said Halby, who instead recommends his clients choose a plan outside the exchange that has a much broader provider network but also will not come with the government premium subsidies given to most of those who buy insurance through the exchange. “I tell people this up front: The premiums are going to be higher because there’s no subsidy. However, I’m going to guarantee you can keep your doctor.”

SILLY PARENTS. YOU COULDN’T POSSIBLY KNOW WHAT’S GOOD FOR YOUR KIDS.
When I was a kid, my mom would pack our lunches before sending us off to school. Not every day, but a vast majority of the time. She wanted us to have the healthiest food possible when we weren’t at home, and she couldn’t always count on our schools to provide that for us.

I can just imagine how my parents would have reacted if I had come home with a note from school like the one that parents received recently from a Richmond, Virginia, school district. The note from the school board informed parents that from now on, if they wanted to have their kids eat lunches that were prepared at home instead of in the school cafeteria, they would have to provide a doctor’s note explaining why.

I wish I could say I was surprised by this latest attempt by our government to control us, but I wasn’t. Actually, I’m surprised they waited this long to stick their noses in this aspect of our lives. But assuming that it was coming doesn’t make it any easier to stomach. What they’re doing is telling parents that they have to pay for a doctor’s visit in order to give their kids nutritional food to eat for lunch at school rather than the GMO-laden, preservative-filled, deep-fried, fattening foods often served up by our public schools.

But you know what? Even if the schools served fresh fruits and vegetables to the kids every day and I wanted my kid to eat a sandwich and a cookie, I should have the right to do that without a doctor’s note. It should be my right as a parent to feed my kids whatever I want to feed them without governmental interference.

Of course, this isn’t really about food at all. It’s just more of the same garbage that the government continues to dish out and spoon-feed us almost every day. It’s all about controlling people. They want to control what you say and do, where and when you go somewhere, and who you communicate with. It’s all part of their never-ending attack on individual rights.

How would you respond if a school sent home a note such as that with your child or grandchild? I’d love to hear what you have to say about this.

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