44 Magnum gun

By Nancy Thorner and Ed Ingold –

The term bandied about the Aurora massacre is the “arsenal” of guns and ammunition stockpiled by shooter James Holmes. What do those terms really mean?

Ed Ingold can’t define an arsenal other than the one he knew growing up located close by in Rock Island, Illinois, or in relation to the hundreds of old muskets he saw in the old Governor’s Mansion in Williamsburg, Virginia.

In media terms, an arsenal can be composed of as few as two guns confiscated from a bad guy.  With such a loose meaning of what constitutes an arsenal, the usage of the word is able to be brandied about by some on the Left as language that fits what they believe but which is certain to generate the desired public sentiment against legal gun ownership.

The Aurora police indicated Holmes purchased over 6000 rounds of ammunition divided evenly between a Glock .40 cal handgun and a .223 Remington AR rifle. While this may seems like an extraordinary amount to purchase at one time, a large purchase of weapons or ammunition is not going to raise read flags from a dealer.  Enthusiasts tend to buy ammunition in bulk to save money.

Another reason for purchasing ammunition in bulk is that there are periodic shortages due to production schedules and events in national politics. Until quite recently, much of the production of .223 ammunition was going to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Starting in 2008, a politically-induced shortage lasted for 1-1/2 years in anticipation of a liberal push to restrict guns and ammunition.

Fortunately the push toward gun restriction never came to fruition during Obama’s presidency, despite the fact that Democrats held an overwhelming majority of seats in Congress.  Nevertheless the Democratic stance against guns in 2008 did result in many lost seats in Congress that year.

The quantity of ammunition acquired by Holmes would not have raised a red flag.  Ingold relates that the typical gun enthusiast will use about 200 rounds a month in one or more calibers. That amounts to 2400 rounds a year. Someone training for competition will use 20 to 30 times that amount, or more. If you have the money, you might buy it all at once, rather than pay higher prices for smaller quantities with the risk of finding empty shelves.

Obviously shooter James Holmes was not an “enthusiast” in the constructive sense, but misfits in society don’t wear signs around their necks announcing the why, the when, or the what of the demented thought and ideas that are cursing through their minds.

The attempt to pass measures to limit the manner and quantity of ammunition purchases will only results in more harassment directed toward legitimate gun owners. Proponents of rationing ammunition, or the levy of draconian taxes, care only about placing  limits on gun ownership in a manner not addressed in the Constitution, nor affirmed by the Supreme Court.

Things are not always what they seem.  Gasoline was rationed during WWII to protect rubber, which came from areas controlled by the Axis. There was actually an ample supply of petroleum, despite needed for military use, because it was produced domestically. Dependence on the Middle East came well after the war.

In an ironic sense, rationing ammunition is based on the Gillette theory that people who own razors will need blades. By not selling “blades”, the anti-gun proponents hope to get rid of “razors.”

Buying ammunition can be done quite easily, but carrying the ammunition once purchased becomes another issue.  3000 rounds of .40 caliber ammunition weights over 100 pounds. The same amount of .223 Remington (5.56×45 NATO) weighs about 90 pounds.

By comparison, a US soldier in the field is expected to carry up to 660 rounds of ammunition for his rifle, which weighs about 25 pounds including the magazines, which hold 20 or 30 rounds.

The 100 round “drum” magazine carried by Holmes is not used in combat. The loaded magazine weighs over 7 pounds, which is a lot added to a 6 pound rifle.  Additionally the magazine used by Holms was cheaply made, bulky and unreliable, as witnessed by the jam encountered by Holmes in his rampage. This may have actually saved lives in the theater.

People buy ammunition over the internet, because local distributers seldom have enough of a single caliber or brand. The internet is not a dodge around state and Federal law. On-line sellers of ammunition on-line are bound by the state law of its destination and must deliver it to a name and street address, not a drop box or post office.

Firearms purchased on-line must be shipped to the holder of a Federal Firearms License (FFL), who must have the buyer fill out form 4473 in person, per Federal law, and execute a background check.  If the state requires a waiting period, it begins at this point.  It is no different than buying a firearm from a local gun store.  Anonymous purchases guns and ammunition are a fiction of the liberal media.

The “bullet proof outfit” James Holmes allegedly purchased from www.tacticalgear.com, as released by the Aurora police, cost less than $300, for which you get a tactical (tacti-cool) outer vest without any armor. Soft armor would add at least $500 to the cost and $10,000 or more for full body protection. According to the Huffington Post,  “Police say James Eagan Holmes, 24, was dressed in body armor and toting three guns when he opened fire…”

This body armor statement was published without qualifications or fact checking.  On review of the facts, Holmes was dressed up in what looked like tactical armor, but was in fact, a costume. Accordingly, one well-placed shot from a concealed carry weapon holder in the audience would have punched his ticket and ended the massacre.

Unfortunately the theater is posted as a gun-free island in a state which allows concealed carry. One should ask, exactly how did that work out? The demography of a midnight audience for a fantasy movie is probably not likely to include many people licensed to carry weapons. However, the restriction did little to deter the one who mattered and who came equipped with guns and ammunition.  After all, criminals and psychopaths are not particularly fussy about which laws they violate.

A quick primer on the Second Amendment can be found at http://www.saf.org/default.asp?p=gunrights_faq where gun ownership is defined as much of a civil right as freedom of speech, religion and freedom of the press.  As such the right to own a gun to defend ones self is a basic human right.  Target shooting has always been very popular in the United States.  On the sporting aspect of things, guns are also a vital part of hunting.  Hunting, again, is a very popular pastime.

Those who wish to commit crimes will always be able to access guns often through nefarious means.  In Holmes’ case an assault rifle, as well as a Remington 12-gauge shotgun, and two .40 caliber Glock handguns were purchased legally along with ammunition.  Just because Holmes fell through the cracks and managed to purchase both legally, should not form the basis for a renewed call to ban assault weapons from responsible Americans all because of an isolated incident involving a crazed individual.

Ordinary .22LR ammunition, barely beyond the “Red Ryder” class of weapons, has few restrictions anywhere, even though that caliber is just as lethal  at short range as an M16, and is used in more homicides than any other caliber.

When the U.S. Constitution was initially written there was much debate over whether or not to include a list of specific rights.  There were those who wisely concluded that specific freedoms had to be set down to keep them from being take away by an overactive federal government.

With a nation that is steadily advancing toward a Nanny state where its people seem willing to allow the government to make decisions telling them what they can or cannot do, the Second Amendment must be protected at all costs.  The day may come when liberty and freedom-loving Americans will see the need to rise up and protect themselves from a dictatorial and oppressive government to save this nation from the unjust rule of a dictator.

Doug Patton, a free lance writer whose weekly columns are syndicated exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate, asks us to “Remember that 100 million gun owners didn’t kill anyone last week.  They are the good guys.  They are on our side.”

As Thomas Jefferson stated in the early days of our nation:  Laws that forbid the carrying of arms. disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes.”

 

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44 Magnum gunBy Nancy Thorner and Edward Ingold –

According to Judith Miller, author and a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter formerly with the New York Times, it is still possible to honor the 2nd Amendment even if assault rifles are banned.   

The reaction was instantaneous and summarily expected after the shooting rampage by James Holmes in a Aurora, Colorado movie theater on July 20, 2012: that assault weapons must be banned. Calling for a federal ban on assault weapons in the immediate wake of the shooting was Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.  

New York City Mayor Bloomberg went a step further on Monday, July 23 with the following utterly ridiculous comment that is almost on par with his Big Gulp Drinks views: “I don’t understand why the police officers of this country don’t stand up collectively and say, ‘We’re gonna go on strike. We’re not going to protect you unless you, the public, through your legislature do what’s required to keep us safe (ie. more gun control). After all police officers want to go home to their families.” 

It seems rather perverse that the elected head of a major city should call for an insurrection of this sort.

A New York Times article chided both Obama and Romney for not heeding the new call for gun control, even though four years ago Obama called for an assault weapons ban.    

There was even a plea calling for Obama to ban assault weapons via Executive Order in the following column at the Huffington Post by Robert David in which he further questioned the Left’s propensity to overlook what should be done because Obama is one of us:

“President Obama has said that he would rather be a good one-term president, than a mediocre two-term one. If he really means that then in the wake of the massacre in Aurora, Colo, that has left at least 12 dead and 58 wounded, why doesn’t President Obama issue an executive order banning assault weapons and with high-capacity gun magazines?”     

On the other side of the coin, gun stores in Colorado are seeing a boost in business in the days since the theater shooting. Gun stores across the Denver area say that sales are up, classes are full, and customers are asking questions as buyers express fears that anti-gun politicians may use the shootings to seek new restrictions on owning weapons. There is a corresponding spike in application for carrying concealed weapons, because people refuse to become victims of these monsters, not to mention street criminals.  

Politico.com recently posted a survey asking whether assault weapons should be banned. The results were surprising. Although 53% of the response was in the affirmative, over 40% voted no. Politico is not just liberal, but far left in its outlook. In general the site trashes all things conservative and Republicans in particular. Apparently Politico reached the wrong audience when Ed Ingold took the poll, along with the other 40% who likewise voted no. 

But what, exactly, is an “assault weapon”? Ed ingold explains.

In military terms, an assault rifle falls between a battle rifle, used at ranges up to 800 yards, and submachine guns, which use pistol rounds such as 9mm and .45 ACP, at close range. It is the mission, not the configuration, that determines that designation – close combat to about 300 yards. In civilian terms, the definition is less distinct. That’s because the term “assault rifle” is used as a pejorative to describe “nasty” weapons the liberals don’t approve. Any semi-automatic rifle falls in this category, loosely grouped with fully automatic machine guns, which are rather tightly regulated by the Federal Firearms Act of 1936. It all depends on the effect the news reader or pundit wishes to convey.

California Senator Diane Feinstein, former mayor of San Francisco, bragged that laws in CA would have prevented the Aurora incident. On closer examination, it is unlikely that CA laws would have resulted in a different outcome.

California law defines an assault rifle by cosmetic, rather than functional, features. 

A Ruger Mini-14 with a 5 round magazine is allowed, but the same rifle, firing the same cartridge (5.56x45mm NATO) as the shooter’s rifle, at the same rate of fire, with a 20 round magazine, a pistol grip, or a flash suppressor, is a banned “assault” weapon in California. In reality, a flash suppressor doesn’t make the gun invisible at night (or day), rather directs some of the gases upward to reduce recoil, and away from the shooter to preserve night vision.

In civilian usage, a pistol grip is mostly cosmetic.The military favors pistol grips because most of the recruits have little experience with firearms, and find it more comfortable.Tactically, a pistol grip is designed for waist-level shooting in a walking charge – the kind made famous by General George Pickett at Gettysburg, and not especially effective today either.Again, it is mostly a popular, cosmetic feature for people who like the “military” look.

Another example would be the popular AR-15 (the military version, in use since 1964, is the fully-automatic M-16), which along with the Russian AK-47, is often used as a synonym for “assault rifle. The shooting public prefers the term “sporting rifle.”

The Smith & Wesson rifle used by the Aurora shooter is one version of the popular Colt AR-15. It uses the same cartridge, 5.56x45mm NATO as the sometimes allowed, sometimes banned Mini-14 described above. The AR-15 looks dangerous, has a pistol grip handle, collapsible stock (not that collapsible) and a flash suppressor. 

One would think all weapons of this pattern would be banned by California’s encompassing laws. Guess again. They are not banned in California as long as it has a so-called “bullet button,” a magazine release that requires a pointed tool, like an unfired cartridge, rather than a finger tip. It takes the same magazines as any other AR style rifle, except that California limits the capacity to of any weapon to 10 rounds or less.The much maligned “flash suppressor” is allowed by California in this case.

A demented shooter intent on mayhem would have no trouble finding a higher capacity magazine, even if banned nationally. There are simply too many of them. Many are brought back by military personal who frequently buy their own to have a more reliable weapon than their GI-issued variety.

The most common magazines in civilian or military use hold 20-30 rounds. The 50-100 round drums, used by the Aurora shooter, weigh over 7 pounds (a lot for a 6 pound rifle), are cheaply made and prone to jamming – which is exactly what happened in Aurora.

Why are so-called “assault” weapons popular?  Because they are powerful, accurate, and suitable rifles and ammunition are relatively inexpensive (cheaper than many pistols). They are popular because they similar to those carried into battle by our armed forces. We have seen popularity of military weapons among civilians throughout our history, from the Brown Bess of the revolutionary war, the Springfield cap-and-ball rifles carried by Union and Rebel troops, the 1906 bolt-action Springfield in WWI and the venerable M1 Garande of WWII and the Korean Conflict. The configurations have changed, but not the sentiments. 

There’s a more practical reason too.  There are also individuals who feel weapons like this will be needed if social order breaks down again, as it did in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and before that in the riots inspired by Rodney King’s beating. The King-inspired riots were stopped at the sidewalk bordering “Korean Town” in Los Angeles when shop owners stationed themselves on the rooftops with rifles. Compare that to the Watts riots a decade earlier, which saw the same businesses looted and burned.

It doesn’t take a natural disaster or invasion to trigger a breakdown in government. Mayor Emmanuel of Chicago has invited thugs from the “Nation of Islam” under Louis Farrakhan to assist the police in his “war against street crime”. As I recall, Rome issued a similar request to Atilla the Hun in the 5th century. That certainly worked out well.

Ed Ingold asks:  “Is an assault weapon ban the solution to an isolated and extremely infrequent happening in this nation, heinous as it was? Would it have prevented the Aurora incident?” 

The fact is, so-called assault weapons, the AR-15 in particular, are very popular.  By various estimates, between 5 million and 30 million of these and similar rifles are in private hands. The FBI doesn’t keep statistics, but Ed Ingold would not be surprised if 20% of new gun sales were assault rifles of some sort.  Despite their popularity, assault weapons account for only 2% of all gun crimes and 1% of violent crimes. 

Following is a summary of data available on the government website, www.fbi.gov

In absolute terms, the incidences of assault rifles used in homicides (140 a year) is a tiny fraction of one percent of the 5 million or more “assault” rifles in private hands.  According to the Huffington Post, that estimate may be very low, considering that 16.5 million firearms were sold in 2011, up from 14.3 million in the previous year.

Despite the impassioned pleas from Mayor Bloomberg and other liberal politicians, the wisest course is to let the issue settle down. It is not the NRA politicians fear, rather citizens who know that draconian gun controls have not worked in Chicago and Los Angeles, and that the dramatic (60%)  increase in annual gun sales over the last 10 years is accompanied a 30% decrease in serious crime.

Those states which offer their citizens the right to carry concealed weapons (not just celebrities as in California, Massachusetts and New York) have seen a further decrease in crime. Florida, in particular, experienced a 50% decrease in aggravated assault and robberies.

Apparently, criminals are less likely to attack someone who might be armed, or in view of someone else so prepared.  A study by Gary Kleck, PhD, shows that between 2 and 3 million crimes a year are averted by private citizens with firearms.   

Only one in 1000 results in death of the aggressor, only 1 in 100 in which a shot is fired. The rest of the time, the agressor flees. In Florida, there are about 30 justifiable homicides a year by citizens, and an equal number by law enforcement, out of 1000 homicides total. In times past, those 30 would probably been in the victims’ column. 

The danger to our freedom is that legislatures are conditioned to take premature action when politically charged situations arise, out of a need to appease public angst and fury and to promote their own political philosophy, even before they have studied the problem and come to wise decisions. A lack of information contributes to these rash actions.

In a speech to the Urban League in New Orleans, the President said, “I believe the Second Amendment guarantees an individual the right to bear arms,” Obama said. “But I also believe that a lot of gun owners would agree that AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers, not on the streets of our cities.

That is an interesting observation from our Commander In Chief.The main battle weapon of our soldiers since 1964 is the M-16. We have never used the AK-47 on the battlefield, except in emergencies. On the other hand, the AK-47 has been the primary weapon of our enemies since 1960.
 
Bin Laden had one leaning in a corner when the Seals burst in, and was frequently photographed holding one. Perhaps the President should put a TV set behind one of his TelePrompTers to learn more about the equipment of the troops he commands?
 
In fairness, the President was using the term AK-47 as a synonym for weapons used by drug gangs on the streets of his home town Chicago, tragically familiar to members of the Urban League across the nation. For what it’s worth, most of these crimes are committed by and against children in the 17 year old age group, who cannot legally purchase or possess these weapon under current State and Federal law.  www.fbi.gov

Politicians should remember that self-defense is guaranteed by the Constitution under the Second Amendment, affirmed by the Supreme Court, and before that, “endowed by the Creator.” 

Assault weapons in the hands of a responsible gun owner should not be outlawed.  It would amount to yet another freedom taken away in the search of a solution to an isolated problem where the solution would create more of a problem than the suggested cure by usurping our Second Amendment rights. 

For if assault weapons were banned, what guns would be banned next?  

For most residents of Lake Forest/Lake Bluff, checking the Lake Forest Community High School District 115 Board of Education website is not a priority. There have, however, been a couple edifying postings as of late concerning contract negotiations with the union representing the LFHS teachers. 
 
A recent article by editor Steve Sadin of Lake Forest PATCH also updated the results of the negotiation sessions held on June 17 and July 19.  The meetings involved a federal mediator engaged to assist the negotiations with the Lake Forest Education Union (LFEU) and the District 115 Board in reaching an agreement on a new contract for the 2012-2013 school year.  The issues that remain to be resolved predictably involve salaries and benefits. 
 
The proposal presented by the Union at the July 19 meeting called for a three-year contract with an average annual increase in compensation (salary and benefits) of 6.7 percent. The Board of Education’s proposal included a competitive average annual increase in compensation of 3.6 percent which is very generous, particularly given our faltering economy and the 27+ % (5.5% annually) pay hikes teachers received over a five year period pursuant to their prior 5-year contract which expired in June of 2011.

The Board of Education is seeking an economic concession of minimal contributions from teachers enrolled in the HMO family plan.  Currently the district pays 100% of their insurance coverage. The Board also wants to transition away from offering health care plans to new hires that would result in hefty taxes to the district due to the Affordable Health Care Act.  Employers in the private sector are increasingly requiring employee contributions to health insurance premiums, even for employees enrolled in HMO’s. Why should LFHS teachers as public employees have the total cost of their healthcare paid for by Lake Forest and Lake Bluff taxpayers?
 
If the Board of Education and the Union, with the assistance of the outside mediator, cannot produce a mutually acceptable agreement before the new school year starts on August 27th, the Board should take a hard stance against the Union if necessary to keep teachers’ salaries and benefits at a reasonable level considering these hard economic times. Though the disruption of a strike would certainly not be welcome, the continuing burden on taxpayers of supporting the ever-increasing costs of public education is even less welcome. 

It seems to this taxpayer that current wages and benefits are extraordinarily generous, particularly in these times of economic distress, severely depressed property values, and high unemployment rates.
As related in a book written by Bill Zettler of the Family Taxpayers Foundation, “Illinois Pension Scam“, when considering salary and pension benefits, etc., the total cost of educating one Lake Forest High School pupil is a staggering $43,061.  As such, LFHS ranks as #1 in the entire state of Illinois in cost per student.   
 
Moreover, in a Lake Forester “Letter to the Editor” submitted by me and published on May 14, 2012 –Fiscal discipline is called for at Lake Forest High School — in 2011 ninety-four teachers at LFHS received $100,000 plus salaries and another thirty-eight in the $90,000 to 100,000 range. That means that 132 out of 159 teachers employed in District 115 – 83% of its teachers – make at least $90,000, with the highest listed at $184,000.  Keep in mind that a person who earns over $90,000 a year is in the top 20% of all U.S. wage earners.  
 
The above salary information can be reviewed at a Teacher Salary Database for Lake Forest CHSD 115 for 2011 at the Family Tax Payers website.
 
Not to be forgotten is that LFHS teacher benefit packages, including health insurance and pensions, add many thousands of dollars a year to teachers’ overall compensation package. 
 
Regarding pensions, a LFHS teacher who retires at age 55 at a $100,000 salary level has every chance of receiving a pension of $100,000 per year by the time he/she reaches what is considered retirement age for many individuals at age 65, given the built-in 3% compounding yearly pension cost-of-living adjustment that SS recipients often do not receive.    
 
It cannot be disputed that this is big money, although teachers are prone to say that they work hard, and many do, and that they earn every penny of it.
 
Although good teachers can make a huge difference in a child’s life, consider the compensation to the time teachers are involved in the actual work of teaching.
 
If weekends, school holidays, and the summer break are excluded, there are only 183 school days a year.  Teachers will take umbrage and say that they take work home to grade and further cite preparation time done outside of the school day. However, such time spent outside of the school day is becoming more and more the exception rather than the rule. For most subjects, teachers do not collect and grade homework and since many tests are multiple choice, they are graded by a computer.  Additionally, teachers get free periods to prepare and to grade papers as bargaining has set a limit to the number of classes a teacher can teach every day.
 
Using the conservative figure of $100,000 in salary per year as representative of the cost of the average LFHS teacher, if $100,000 were divided by the number of school days (183), most LFHS teachers are earning at least $546 plus benefits for every school day. Not bad at all!
 
At these pay levels, it may well be that some Lake Bluff/Lake Forest residents would be lining up as replacements should the LFHS teachers go out on strike. An extra income would be very helpful to families struggling to afford the hefty Lake Forest and Lake Bluff taxes that finance the salaries of LFHS teachers!
 
In an article published in the U.S. News about “Best Jobs 2012,” the job of a high school teacher received an overall score of 5.4 when considering Median Salary, Job Satisfaction, Number of Jobs and Unemployment rate.   Using information as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for high school teachers was $53,230 in 2012.  The best-paid 10% made approximately $83,230, while the bottom 10% made approximately $35,020.
 
Keeping in mind this average wage figure of $53,230, the vast majority of LFHS teachers even without any raise earn far more than the average median wage for high school teachers nationally.  As to the ninety-four LFHS teachers earning salaries of $100,000 plus, their compensation is twice the national average high school salary.
 
The U.S. News article does go on to cite the areas in the U.S. where high school teachers’ salaries are the highest. The Chicago metropolitan area is included, along with Nassau, N.Y., New York City, the Lawrence and Salem, Mass. area, and the city of Santa Ana and Anaheim, California. 
 
Average compensation for high school teachers in the Chicago area amounts to $74,210, which is still about $20,000 less than what 83% of LFHS teachers earn.   
 
Given the tough economic times, many private employers are requesting drastic reductions in pay and benefits. For example, just this month, one of the largest steelmakers in the U.S. announced that it is seeking a 36% cut in wage and pay benefits.  
 
Insofar as teachers are public sector, taxpayer-paid employees, it would not seem too draconian should the District 115 Board insist on maintaining a wage and benefits freeze.  It seems that the Union’s balking at the 3.6% increase offered by the Board is looking the proverbial gift horse in the mouth.
 
In urging the Board not to acquiesce any further to the Union’s demands, I do not intend to single out teachers. I, along with other residents of Lake Bluff and Lake Forest, was shocked and dismayed when I learned last year about the extraordinarily high salary and benefits package accorded to now former superintendent Harry Griffith.   It is not just teachers’ compensation and it is not just the cost of schools in general; the public sector overall needs belt-tightening and taxpayers need relief! 
 
Teachers obviously play a very important role in Lake Forest District 115 and in our society in general; they most certainly deserve fair compensation. But just as the private sector has been forced to make difficult adjustments in compensation (especially in medical and pension benefits) to reflect the harsh economic times, our School Board must similarly make adjustment in fairness to the taxpayers of Lake Bluff and Lake Forest.  

  

Health_care

A Continuing Series by Nancy Thorner and Jane Neill –

Obamacare won’t be fully implemented for several years, with many benefits going into effect in 2014. But already the original 2700 pages of Obamacare have been expanded ten-fold with the addition of 13,000 new pages of regulations, even before all the provisions of the original bill can be ascertained.

As reported in the Orange County Register on July 9, 2012, the Health and Human Services Department was given a billion dollars of implementation money. It has already been spent for additional bureaucrats and IT programs and towards computerization for the implementation of  Obamacare.

Even thought 66% of the people dislike Obamacare, feel it is bad law, and wanted the Supreme Court to overturn some or all or the healthcare law, there are several provisions in it that have already been put into put into effect.  Some of them have become very popular with the American public, even if it means paying additional costs to receive some of these benefits.

The irony about the following popular benefits is that many in the American public have latched onto them because these benefits help their families in some way.  Most of the popular benefits were already available in government and private health care programs for which most Americans were eligible before Obamacare was passed.  And, where appropriate, they may be incorporated into a new, revised health bill once Obamacare is repeal

The most popular benefits include:

Pre-existing Coverage

Many Americans have coverage for their medical conditions through their employers and 80% of them say they are satisfied with that coverage. If they leave or lose their jobs, they can continue to carry their former company’s insurance through COBRA (Comprehensive Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, 1986) for up to 18 months (and, in some cases 36 months).

Yes, they do have to pay the premiums for it, but it is the same coverage they had while they were still working. When they are able to obtain another job, the new employer cannot deny them coverage for their medical conditions because HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, 1996), allows the individual to carry their previous insurance plan to the new employer. The person cannot be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition.

And, for those who run out of their 18-month COBRA coverage, most states have an SCHIP (State Children’s Health Insurance Program) program to cover children who cannot get coverage elsewhere. And, most states also have a CHIP (Comprehensive Health Insurance Program) program for adults who cannot qualify for other coverage. (In Illinois, it’s called ICHIP.)   And, yes, many state programs do require a high deductible and you must pay monthly premium.  As a last resort, state Medicaid programs are available for those who cannot pay premiums or who have no other resources.

The following programs are already available, so the vast numbers of the American people already have access to some form of health care:

  • Medicare = aid to the elderly
  • Medicaid (known as Medi-cal in California) = aid to the poor
  • SCHIP (State Children’s Health Insurance Program) = aid to poor children
  • CHIP (Comprehensive Health Insurance Program) = aid to poor adults
  • Part D Medicare = prescription aid to the elderly
  • VHA= medical care for our veterans
  • Tricare=medical care for our active-duty military

So the question is asked again, “Why have we written a massive new health insurance law of 2000+ pages (which nobody read before voting for or signing), when the large majority of the American people not only have health insurance coverage, but have protection for their coverage through multiple existing agencies?”

Why not reform health coverage for those people who don’t fit into the above programs and genuinely cannot find health care for some reason? Why write a massive new universal health law for 313,000,000 Americans when 30,000,000 (if that number is correct) are the ones who need help?

26 year old children

This is a very popular provision of Obamacare which was implemented in 2011. Because young college graduates are having so many problems finding jobs, especially jobs with health benefits, they may now be covered under their parents’ health insurance plan until they are 26 years of age. Parents have discovered, however, that while this may be a positive way to cover their ‘children’, their insurance premiums have gone straight up.

It is with some cynicism that we wonder about those ‘children’ who are 26 years old, are married and have children themselves. Are they still ‘children’ under the plan of their Moms and Dads? And, what about those ‘children’ whose parents both have insurance plans? Are the ‘children’ covered under both plans? And, what if a 26-year-old husband or wife has coverage? Is the ‘child’ spouse covered under both the spousal plan and the parental plan?

This benefit would not even be necessary if the economy was strong and functioning and young adults could find jobs that would either provide health insurance or pay enough for them to purchase their  own.

The sputtering economy fits right into the Obama and Democrat plan to place as many people under a national health program as possible. It also garners votes since both the ‘children’ and the parents will be beholden to Obama and the Democrat Party for government largesse.

Free Everything and Freedom of Religion 

In the recent decision by the Obama administration and HHS to cover mammography, pap smears and contraceptives for women – without a co-pay – the door has been opened to mandate coverages for all kinds of tests for which there is no financial foundation. It’s simply ‘free everything’, so that people become accustomed to having no obligation to pay something for themselves. The ‘government’ pays for it so an ‘entitlement’ attitude is encouraged. And, the costs of medical care will soar because no one is paying for it. It’s free, after all.

Most women, under their employers’ health plans, have been able to get mammographys and pap smears for years and many of them were without cost, or for a very low co-pay. In addition, contraceptives have also been available for low costs for years for almost all women. The ‘war on women’ issue, which was fomented by the Democrat Party, simply doesn’t exist, and never did.

In addition, when Obama announced that contraceptives will have to be covered by all agencies, he ran headlong into the Catholic Church and Freedom of Religion protected in the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

Even his proposed ‘compromise’ to have insurance companies provide the contraceptive coverage is a facade, since many of the Catholic organizations that provide health care are self-insured and paid for by the Church. If this breach of the Constitution is allowed to stand, the door is open for any President to order any health care coverage he wishes, even when the Constitution specifically prohibits it.

Lifetime Maximums Eliminated

Another popular provision in the Obamacare bill is the elimination in health insurance plans of the maximum amount of money that can be spent on medical conditions. With the new law requiring an open-ended allowance on medical care however, insurance premiums will rise steadily because there will be no limit on what can be spent. Americans may consider this provision to be a wonderful benefit, until IPAB and the Mandate Task Force begin to enforce their regulations and limitations. People may find a ‘lifetime maximum’ is literally true.

It may be possible to continue some of these popular benefits in a new health care law, indeed we may have to.  Once people have become accustomed to having something, they feel ‘entitled’ to it and it becomes very difficult, if not impossible to take it away.  The Democrats are relying on just that happening.

—–

Related stories:

Obamacare:  In the Beginning  Nancy Thorner and Jane Keill  Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Obamacare:  Death Panels  Nancy Thorner and Jane Keill   Friday, July 20, 2012

Obamacare:  You can keep your doctor    Nancy Thorner and Jane Keill  Tuesday, July 24, 2012

By Nancy Thorner written in collaboration with Ed Ingold, Mundelein, IL

Health_care

President Obama in the past has frequently tagged his speeches with a reference to Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts health insurance reforms as the basis for his Obamacare. This same claim has not unexpectedly been picked up and used as ammunition against Mitt Romney by the only too willing mainstream media.  

Obama care is a very complicated piece of legislation. Although it was passed over two years ago with the admonition from Speaker Pelosi that “We have to pass it before we can understand it,” very few people have read it, much less understood its ramifications

The original 2700 pages (depending on the font size) have expanded ten-fold as fleshed out in regulations. As reported in an editorial in The Orange County Register on July 9, 2012: “The Human Services Department was given a billion dollars of implementation money. That money is gone already on additional bureaucrats and IT programs, computerization for the implementation.  There’s already 13,000 pages of regulations, and they’re not even done yet. These pages are in addition to the 2,700 pages of the law itself, as enacted in 2010.”   

Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts health insurance plan legislated when governor of MA became a sore spot for Romney during the individual state Republican primary elections when running to claim the top presidential spot. Romney had difficulty explaining how his healthcare legislation was not a mirror image of the Obamacare legislation in a coherent way even when debating his fellow Republican candidate opponents.   

But does Romney’s Massachusetts health insurance really mirror Obamacare which the Supremes recently proclaimed as health care reform legislation that meets constitutional standards, and which now stands as the orchestrated Democrat partisanship endeavor destined to bring radical changes to the practice of and the application of health care available to the American people once fully implemented in 2014?     

To Mitt Romney’s credit, in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision that the penalty imposed in Obamacare was a tax and that Obamacare was therefore constitutional to go forward, Romney, after much denial, did admit that the penalty imposed in his own Massachusetts legislation also constituted a tax.  
 
RomneyCare was the first significant healthcare reform to happen in the U.S. for decades. “The primary goal of Romneycare was to provide all citizens in MA with access to affordable health insurance and to eliminate the ‘free riders’ who expected the government or taxpayers to pay for their health care.”     

It is often stated that Romneycare is the same as Obamacare, but this simply is not true. While there are similarities, there are also key differences. It must be remembered that the state of Massachusetts opposed Obamacare so much so that they elected Senator Scott Brown (R) in 2010 to be the deciding vote against Obamacare after Senator Ted Kennedy’s death.   

Like any other huge “problem”, it is necessary to break down the Obamacare legislation into specific headed categories so that the individual parts can be compared to what was mandated by the Romneycare legislation in Massachusetts.  

UNFUNDED MANDATES  (OBAMACARE AND ROMNEYCARE)

The parts of Obamacare which, according to the President, people like and want to keep include extended coverage for dependents, coverage for pre-existing conditions and “free” wellness care. These are basically unfunded mandates. In other words, the Government demands that insurance companies provide for these benefits, but government does not pay for them. You, the consumer, foot the bill.

A study by the Kaiser Family Foundation of September 28, 2011 shows that the average annual premium for family coverage increased by 9% in the first year under Obamacare. Many small businesses and families have already been warned higher healthcare payments are on the way.   

Romneycare, predated in the regulation of insurance companies in every state of the union, to some degree or another.  If people like these features, and continue to pay for them, why not keep them? It doesn’t cost the taxpayers a dime.

PARTIALLY-FUNDED MANDATES  (OBAMACARE AND ROMNEYCARE)

The second part of Obamacare also has a parallel in Massachusetts – providing insurance to those who can’t afford it to some degree. 

This provision provides the justification for both Massachusetts and Obamacare – universal coverage.  Massachusetts has a state run exchange program similar to that proposed on a national level by Obamacare. In order to distribute the cost of “free” insurance, both Massachusetts and Obamacare demand that all individuals purchase insurance or pay a penalty (tax, it doesn’t matter what you call it).

Obamacare, however, delegates this coverage to Medicaid programs, run by each state. The federal government proposes to pay for most of this at first, but shifting most of the burden to state taxpayers beyond four years. To this extent, it can be called a partially-funded mandate of Obamacare. 

While the Supreme Court upheld the “individual mandate”, it struck down the imposition of this responsibility on state Medicaid programs. In other words, the pillar of Obamacare has been shattered. Consequently, the Federal burden shifts to the establishment of insurance exchanges. Ideally, this would be done on a nationwide basis, so that New York residents could shop for insurance from North Carolina companies (or some other state).    

 Unfortunately, the exchange feature in Obamacare has been nullified through Presidential waivers to states which feel they know best – mainly states which voted for Obama.      

Not good for the Obama administration is that many states are not jumping the gun on the mandates to set up a state insurance exchange or to expand Medicaid in accordance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. 

Governor Perry of Texas said “that adding more than a million adults to the state’s Medicaid rolls would create a financial burden costing billions.”  Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Iowas and South Caroline have also announced their opposition to Medicaid expansion, and other states are expected to do so.  

BIG TAX AND POWER GRAB  (NO PARALLEL BETWEEN OBAMACARE AND ROMNEYCARE)

The third part of Obamacare has no parallel in Massachusetts – a huge block of new taxes and penalties, many of which bear no relationship to health care. A list of 20 new taxes imposed by Obamacare is detailed here

It is this part, the financial cliff (the death knoll aspect) which threatens our economy and future.  Obamacare will impose taxes on health insurance, health service, medical devices, tanning parlors, benefit programs, investments … the list is endless. On top of this are new regulations and reporting requirements that threaten free enterprise. These taxes and regulations threaten the continued availability of health care benefit packages and even private insurance for as many as 80% of those who now have them. Many appear to be retribution for opposing Obamacare during its debate. 

In addition, Obamacare promises to cut Medicare benefits by $500B and payments to physicians by 37%. This can’t improve service, but will reduce availability and coverage – all in the name of “reducing” costs. The only practical way to accomplish this is by rationing care, and several committees and boards have been set up to do just that.  

By established law, taxes cannot be earmarked for particular services, regardless of oral promises to this effect, and in many cases, no attempt to justify the tax or regulation is made at all. The Democratic Congress used this bill to dig into the couch cushions to fund their spending spree.

 For a more detailed summary of how Romneycare measures up against Obamacare check the following links:

RomneyCare–The truth about Massachusetts Health Care  and Romneycare Vs. Obamacare    

Obamacare is far too complex and invasive to repair. It must be repealed in its entirety, replaced with new, bi-partisan legislation. This cannot happen with a Senate leader who blocks legislation before it can be debated, and a President who promises to veto anything which might slip through this trap. It should be clear that the only way to avoid the disaster is to elect Mitt Romney and a Republican majority in both houses of Congress.

It is also clear that Republicans must keep in mind that there is a humane way to retain the few good parts in Obamacare while eliminating the bad, but not before the the entire monstrosity of the bill is repealed.

The physicians of Docs 4 Patient Care “present a prescription for health care reform that addresses the root causes of the problems that have developed in our health care system over the last 50 years.  These reforms relieve the federal government of its role as a health insurance provider, prevent the intrusion of the government in the health care free market, and place patients in control of their own health care decisions.”    

Hopefully Republicans will heed the eight points set forth by Docs 4 Patient Care physicians.   

Obamacare is definitely the wrong prescription for healthcare. In contrast, the Docs 4 Patient Care prescription is a sound and workable one that could serve as a framework on which responsible health legislation could be constructed for all Americans.

 

 

On June 15, 2009, President Obama made an address to the annual meeting of the American Medical Association. For patients, he made a sweeping pledge that: “No matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period……”

So what happens if you like your doctor(s) and felt relieved when the President indicated that you could keep your doctors?  What Obama didn’t tell you is that your doctor may not be there for you to keep, or your doctor may decide that he no longer wants you as a patient.

From Jane Keill’s personal experience, here is what’s happened to her and to her physicians since Obamacare was passed:

  • Two specialty physicians (OB/GYN and Gastroenterology) moved to Wisconsin where their malpractice insurance is 1/10th of Illinois’ costs. They were great doctors – experienced, up-to-date, personable and gone.
  • One doctor in a specialty group has retired; another one in that group will retire in the next five years.
  • Two doctors are now asking for a payment from her personally to be available for her care. One asks $250 annually; the other asks $185 if and when a surgical/radiological procedure is performed. This is now called ‘Concierge Medicine’ and more and more doctors are turning to it.
  • One specialty doctor’s group is no longer accepting NEW Medicare patients. They will stay with their established patients, but will not take on any new ones.
  • Two specialty doctors no longer accept Medicare assignment.  Jane has to pay them the full amount upfront and then wait for Medicare to reimburse her directly with a much, much smaller payment. More money out of her pocket.

Jane has been fortunate to have been able to find new doctors to replace the ones she lost. So far, she has been able to afford to pay for Concierge medicine and the Medicare unassigned payments.  What comes in the future may not be so affordable.

Nancy Thorner has fared better than Jane Keill. Besides having Medicare coverage, she also has as her secondary insurer FEP (Federal Employee Program) Blue Cross-Blue Shield. Having had no medical condition to require major surgery since 1990, Nancy has had no need to test her insurance coverage.

Regarding Nancy Thorner’s gynecologist who is a Democrat and an ardent Obama supporter, she must always pay up front after her appointments. There is no way, even as a Democrat, that her gynecologist is going to wait until Medicare payment are forthcoming and at an reimbursement level that is considerably below the payments he wants to receive for his services. What a dichotomy on his part!

Nancy has noticed in recent years that her family physician (an internist) no longer calls for tests to be done at the time of her annual “Wellness” check-up that were routine in the past. If she relates having a condition that requires further study (such as chest pain) or if her blood work indicates a problem, then further tests are done as necessary.

Others may not be so lucky. We suggest that you check with your various physicians to see if they are taking any of the above actions.

Medicaid patients are even worse off in the care they receive. The government only reimburses doctors at roughly 60 cents on the dollar for a physician charge.  This is presently resulting in many doctors refusing access to Medicaid paitents or doctors are capping the number they’re willing to see.  It is more than likely that the broken Medicaid system is but a window into what all Americans (and doctors) will be privy to under Obamacare.

Under Obamacare, doctors will eventually become employees of the Federal government and may be allowed to form a union as they have in England. That means they will be able to strike as they do in England and will have pensions and health benefits and other types of perks negotiated by their union bosses.

Can you imagine your physician(s) being members of SEIU? We all know how well that has worked out, don’t we?

If enough American doctors retire or refuse to treat certain types of patients, then we may see more and more foreign-born and foreign-trained physicians in our hospitals and clinics and practices. In England, again, almost 40% of their doctors are foreign-born and foreign-trained.

As indicated in our commentary on IPAB and the Mandate Task Force, there will be more and more rationing and limitations on the amount and type of medical care you will be able to receive – especially as you grow older and sicker. Doctors will be told more and more by the IPAB and the Task Force how they must practice, what tests they will be able to perform and how much they will get paid for the care they give their patients. Waiting times for appointments will go up and shorter visits will occur as doctors try to see as many patients as possible, but get paid less and less for that attention.

The Obamacare bill did not include malpractice insurance reform because the Tort Reform attorneys did not want this lucrative source of income limited. As noted in an op-ed piece on June 13, 2012 by contributor Grace-Marie Turner:

“Today lawyers shoot for the sky, and doctors over-prescribe to avoid lawsuits. The result is billions of dollars’ worth of unnecessary medical treatments. Sensible tort reform would allow doctors to practice sound medicine and still protect patients from genuine malpractice. State experiments already are working in as and elsewhere to guide other states.”

One of the reasons medical costs have risen so sharply over the years is that doctors do multiple medical tests to ensure they cover all the possibilities, so they won’t be sued for malpractice or negligence.

Under Obamacare doctors will be limited in the numbers and types of tests and procedures they can order because of rationing and cost controls. The doctors are not, however, protected from malpractice law suits under Obamacare, so even though they can’t perform the necessary tests, they will still be vulnerable to being sued for not performing those very tests! Sound crazy? Well it is!

Obama has proudly proclaimed that 30,000,000 uninsured Americans will now have health care, even though many of those people are young and healthy and have no desire to carry health insurance.

As further stated in this post by Jason Bohmann on June 29, 2912:

“You can’t insure 30,000,000 more Americans and reduce costs to the government. The math just doesn’t work.  The cost savings we are told are going to come in the form of reduced payments to providers and hospitals and they come in the out-years, not up front.”

Also keep in mind that Obama has authorized the hiring of 2,700 new IRS agents to track the mandate that you must buy health insurance or pay a tax. Along with upgrading its computer systems, the cost to taxpayers through 2013 is $881 million.

An obvious omission: Obama hasn’t ordered the hiring of new physicians and other medical personnel to cover those additional 30,000,000 uninsured who will now be forced to be covered – most likely under Medicaid. Who’s going to take care of those 30,000,000 people – IRS agents?

Another part of Obamacare is how college loans have been shifted from the private sector to the Federal government. As long as the Federal government controls college funds, they control who gets the money and how it is used. That means that Federal bureaucrats will now control who gets money to go to medical school and which schools they can attend.

The Federal government can likewise tell med students what specialties they can go into whether they are interested in that field or not. It can also dictate where the young newly-graduated doctor can serve, sending them to particularly sparse and remote areas where there is little medical care available.

The next time you visit your physician(s), it would be wise to ask how they are going to take care of you under Obamacare.

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This is the third in the Nancy Thorner – Jane Keill series on Obamacare. Others in the series are:

By Nancy Thorner and Edward Ingold –

Recently we heard President Obama proclaim that if it weren’t for roads and bridges, there wouldn’t be any businesses, no success stories, no one-percenters. 

Obamawavepodium

Obama’s speech touched a nerve as it spread out across the Internet.  It prompted Fox News commentator and writer, Charles Krauthammer, to rip apart Obama’s business speech by defining Obama as a man — in a tongue and cheek remark — that ran a successful business selling tens of thousands of guns to Mexican drug cartels but who never ran a candy store. 

President Obama owes much of his political success by spending money to repair roads and bridges. In his view, this money will flourish and grow the economy, as though planting magic beans under asphalt will somehow sprout into a money tree!  So much for the Democrat’s version of Keynesian economics.  President Obama’s analogy of equating government with success might be true if history started in a Harvard classroom, but how about in the real world?

When our ancestors came to America they were interested in pursuing the American Dream and the Grand American Promise that if they worked hard and played by the rules, this nation would offer an equal opportunity to make a better life for themselves.  Accepting help from the government was an indication that they had failed in reaching their dream and goal.  There was great pride in making it here in American through the toil and sweat of hard work or perhaps through the ingenuity of having an idea to start a thriving business. 

At that time, the middle class was composed of merchants and tradesmen, predating any government infrastructure beyond the basics.  Until the mid-nineteenth century, many roads were in fact privately owned. Tolls were demanded by those owners of travelers between cities. Public roads, outside of cities, came later with the advent of the automobile.

Ed Ingold speaks of his grandparents traveling throughout the midwest and west in the 1920’s and 30’s looking for work, with their five children.  Roads weren’t paved, and frequently rutted, turning to mud in the rain. More that once, they were pulled out of the mud by a team of horses. Not many people had cars those days. Ed’s grandfather’s choice was a Chandler, loaded inside and out like the Clampetts moving to Beverly Hills. 

The absence of public roads did not deter those seeking work.  About the same time back in Detroit, Henry Ford set about building cars for the masses, and it was the industrialists like Ford, along with the people buying those cars that demanded roads and bridges, lobbied their representatives and paid taxes to accomplish that fact.

Money for these projects came from taxes, paid by citizens could afford them because the industrialists hired them to build the cars and forge the steel, training them to do skilled work instead of moving clods of earth, and paying them a good wage in the process.  Roads didn’t create jobs; jobs created roads.

Within the Ford success story is this sub plot.  Not all labor is equal, and labor itself has no intrinsic value. It is only what labor produces that has value. Businessmen, like Henry Ford, hired people with little skill and trained them to do productive work. Those that learned better and developed skills on their own progressed in that company.  Some went on to form their own businesses.  This industry created the new middle class as we know it today.

We all build on the accomplishments of those who proceed us.  However, it is indeed a dull student who leaves the classroom with nothing more than what he was taught by his teachers, even with dedicated and capable teachers. The greatest joy of teaching is to see pupils develop beyond what you could transmit to them. In essence, you go to school to learn how to learn. How might President Obama pass that thought back to Harvard?

Finally, no road to success is a straight path.  Winning also includes some failing.  Most successful businessmen have failed more often than they have succeeded. When the marketplace changes, or ideas fail, it is sometimes necessary to terminate the employment of some so that others may continue. This is seldom done in spite, because you lose the skills of those workers along with their good will (and that of the survivors). 

Nevertheless, in the time of need, each business must concentrate on what it does best, referred to as its “Core Competencies”. If you don’t need to do something yourself, you stop doing it, or have someone else do it for you. Sometimes that’s called “outsourcing.” Business decisions like this directly benefited the 70,000 GM employees and the 300,000 employees retained by Hewlett Packard.For example, General Motors is great at designing cars, building engines and transmissions, stamping sheet metal and assembling the pieces into automobiles. Yet they buy as much as 60% of the content of a vehicle from other countries. Roughly 70% of GM vehicles are made and sold in China. If GM weren’t doing that, someone else would gladly step up.  Hewlett Packard buys hard drives from Thailand (along with everybody else) because they can’t afford to make them and remain competitive.    

HP contracts with a Bain Capital client to provide call-in customer service because it’s good business to take care of your customers, often at great expense with little measurable benefit.   At the same time, HP offers Asian outsourcing services in IT to other companies.

A clear line has been drawn as the November elections draw near.  President Obama and Democrats believe that business can’t survive on its own without society, which is defined as government, and that this nation will rise and fall on how well businesses and government can work together.  

Contrast this with the view of Governor Romney and Republicans who believe that private business is at the core of a successful America, as exemplified by the late Steve Jobs at building Apple from the ground up and Ray Kroc with the success of McDonald’s. 

A rough and tumble battle is now being fought in anticipation of the November elections.  If this country has any chance of remaining a proud, self-reliant, prosperous and vibrant nation where the liberty and freedom we have experienced can be passed along to future generations of Americans, may we all hope that free enterprise, which represents the American can-do spirit, will be the victor in November. 

Nancy Thorner is from Lake Forest and Edward Ingold is from Mundelein –

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Ongoing educational series in eight parts for Illinois Review by Nancy Thorner and Jane Keill on Obamacare with two articles posted per week at IR, Tuesday and Friday.  Jane Keill worked in the insurance industry before retirement. 

 Obamacare:  In the Beginning

The Supreme Court has just handed down its final ruling on the Affordable CareAct (ACA). Most of us are not pleased with the Obamacare decision that in 2014 will begin to dictate the type of health care that it prescribes for the American people in years to follow.

At the same time those of us who reject Obamacare, H.R. 3962, are left to ponder what else is hidden within the 2,000+ pages of the Affordable Healthcare bill signed on March 23, 2010, that will surely paint an even grimmer picture of Obamacare than what we already know is in store for us.    

In order to understand where President Obama stood over the years on the issue of national health care, it is necessary to back track in time.  It comes as no surprise that the goal of the Democrat Party has always been a single-payer system for the United States in what has been a steady march toward that goal.

An attempt was made by FDR to include compulsory health insurance in his Social Security Bill of 1935, but because the inclusion of health insurance in the bill was opposed by the AMA and threatened the passage of FDR’s entire Social Security legislation, it was excluded.

Universal health care has always been part of Obama’s belief system, despite public denials to the contrary, as can be ascertained through statements made by Barack Obama when serving as an Illinois Senator.

On March 24, 2007, at the SEIU’s New Leadership Health Care Forum, Obama had this to say: 

“My commitment is to make sure that we have universal healthcare for all Americans by the end of my first term as President.” 

“As I indicated before, I think that we’re going to have to have some system where people can buy into a larger pool. Right now their pool typically is the employer, but there are other ways of doing it. I would like to — I would hope that we could set up a system that allows those who can go through their employer to access a federal system or a state pool of some sort. But I don’t think we’re going to be able to eliminate employer coverage immediately. There’s going to be potentially some transition process. I can envision a decade out or 15 years out or 20 years out where we’ve got a much more portable system. Employers still have the option of providing coverage, but many people may find that they get better coverage, or at least coverage that gives them more for health care dollars than they spend outside of their employer. And I think we’ve got to facilitate that and let individuals make that choice to transition out of employer coverage.”

On Sept. 12, 2008, while on the Presidential campaign trail in Dover, N.H., and in many more speeches, Obama said:

“I can make a firm pledge. Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.”

Obama had this to say in an address to the annual meeting of the American Medical Association on June 15, 2009 when he made this sweeping pledge for patients:

“No matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what. My view is that health care reform should be guided by a simple principle: fix what’s broken and build on what works.”

To the AFL-CIO Civil, Human and Women’s Rights Conference in July of 2009:

“I happen to be a proponent of a single payer universal healthcare plan…That’s what I’d like to see.”

In this spirited exchange with George Stephanopoulos of ABC on September 20, 2009, President Obama refused to accept the argument that a mandate to buy health insurance was equivalent to a tax:

STEPHANOPOULOS: You were against the individual mandate…

OBAMA: Yes.

STEPHANOPOULOS: …during the campaign. Under this mandate, the government is forcing people to spend money, fining you if you don’t. How is that not a tax?

OBAMA: Well, hold on a second, George. Here — here’s what’s happening. You and I are both paying $900, on average — our families — in higher premiums because of uncompensated care. Now what I’ve said is that if you can’t afford health insurance, you certainly shouldn’t be punished for that. That’s just piling on. If, on the other hand, we’re giving tax credits, we’ve set up an exchange, you are now part of a big pool, we’ve driven down the costs, we’ve done everything we can and you actually can afford health insurance, but you’ve just decided, you know what, I want to take my chances. And then you get hit by a bus and you and I have to pay for the emergency room care, that’s it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That may be, but it’s still a tax increase.

OBAMA: No. That’s not true, George. The — for us to say that you’ve got to take a responsibility to get health insurance is absolutely not a tax increase. What it’s saying is, is that we’re not going to have other people carrying your burdens for you anymore than the fact that right now everybody in America, just about, has to get auto insurance. Nobody considers that a tax increase. People say to themselves, that is a fair way to make sure that if you hit my car, that I’m not covering all the costs.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But it may be fair, it may be good public policy…

OBAMA: No, but — but, George, you — you can’t just make up that language and decide that that’s called a tax increase. Any…

STEPHANOPOULOS: Here’s the…

OBAMA: What — what — if I — if I say that right now your premiums are going to be going up by 5 or 8 or 10 percent next year and you say well, that’s not a tax increase; but, on the other hand, if I say that I don’t want to have to pay for you not carrying coverage even after I give you tax credits that make it affordable, then…

STEPHANOPOULOS: I — I don’t think I’m making it up. Merriam Webster’s Dictionary: Tax — “a charge, usually of money, imposed by authority on persons or property for public purposes.”

OBAMA: George, the fact that you looked up Merriam’s Dictionary, the definition of tax increase, indicates to me that you’re stretching a little bit right now. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have gone to the dictionary to check on the definition. I mean what…

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, no, but…

OBAMA: …what you’re saying is…

STEPHANOPOULOS: I wanted to check for myself. But your critics say it is a tax increase.

OBAMA: My critics say everything is a tax increase. My critics say that I’m taking over every sector of the economy. You know that. Look, we can have a legitimate debate about whether or not we’re going to have an individual mandate or not, but

STEPHANOPOULOS: But you reject that it’s a tax increase?

OBAMA: I absolutely reject that notion.”

One thing that those who pay attention to Obama’s words are fully aware of is that Obama’s rhetoric is deceitful. Not to mince words and in less polite words, he lies!

President Obama will tell you what you wish to hear using language ambiguous enough so it will seemingly sound like a personal message directed to you. He’ll say it in lovely tones and language. Speaking dramatically, he’ll promise you anything in the belief that you will not remember what he promised later on.

But finally Obama is being caught in his own lies by more and more Americans, trapped by his promises and being exposed as a hack politician, which, after all, he is!

In closing, the following unforgettable quip is one with which you are no doubt familiar.  In March, 2010, in remarks about the new Obamacare bill to the Legislative Conference for the National Association of Counties, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said:

“But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of controversy.”

In future commentaries, we’ll go into some of the specifics of the Affordable Care Act, exploring more fully why so many Americans dislike the plan, don’t want it, and are afraid of it, as we should all be.

Dennis Byrne is featured in the Chicago Tribune at least once a week with his commentaries. 

On July 10, 2012, Dennis Byrne was targeted and blasted, as was his article, “Sick and tired of that global warming whine,” by the left-wing blogosphere.        http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-07-10/news/ct-open-0710-by… 

Unwilling to allow the unjustified criticism to stand by believers of man-made Global Warming whose opinions are based on theory while rejecting hard scientific facts proving otherwise, and with a request to respond coming from The Heartland Institute CEO, I informed the Tribune of how I viewed the Byrne commentary through submitting a Voice of the People letter on July 12. 

As the Tribune seems to have rejected my submission as either inconsequential or unacceptable because I dared to criticize the Tribune’s accepted line, I have taken the liberty to share my unpublished Voice of the People letter on my Word Press blog.

Kudos to Byrne for targeting global warming whiners!”  

Dennis Byrne speaks to me at the Chicago Tribune like no one else.  He must be saluted for bucking what has become the Tribune’s mantra, which mimics the theory of global warming alarmists, that anthropogenic (man-made) global warming is to blame for any recorded extremes in weather to wild fires, based solely on a “consensus” and not on hard scientific evidence. 

Somehow CO2 became the bully on the block when back in December 7, 2009 the EPA falsely declared CO2 a pollutant.  How could this be so when CO2 is vital for plant growth, agriculture and feeding the world’s hungry.  As human beings we exhale CO2 as long as there is life in us.  Will there soon be a government edict that some of us will have to volunteer to end our lives early in order to save the planet?  

Consider these facts:  1) There has been no trend of increasing temperatures since about 1998.  2) Extreme weather is an integral part of the Earth’s climate.  3) Throughout the recorded history of the Earth’s climate, extreme weather events have always occurred somewhere.  4) Climate is governed by hundreds of factors, or variable, and the very idea that we can manage climate change by manipulating one politically factor (CO2) is as misguided as it gets!  5) An article by Rob Waugh published in the UK Daily Mail on July 12 sets forth how tree-rings prove climate was warmer in Roman and Medieval times than it is now, and the world has been cooling 2,000 year

Yes, Dennis Byrne, the American people are catching on.  America’s economic growth and its confidence in the future will blossom when the false AGW hypothesis threats have been fully exposed as the greatest hoax ever, under the guise of promoting green energy as the greatest thing since sliced bread.  

When will our President and legislators who should know better understand that this nation’s future energy needs cannot be met with wind and moon beams as both are unreliable and not cost effective? 

How foolish this nations and other nations so inclined to advance green energy as a way to save Mother Earth must appear to China! 

By Nancy Thorner and Jane Keill –

With extreme frustration over the silence of our individual Washington legislators and those in the mainstream media who give short shrift to our concerns, it seemed necessary to tally up our thoughts about Obama’s seizure of authority and the creation of a White House throne. This commentary draws together what we see to be major breaches of law that Obama has committed in recent years.

Many of the players (36%) in Congress are likewise lawyers. They know what is legal and not legal. For the good of the American people, might it be better if there were not so many trained lawyers in Congress who are prone to set forth a surplus of unnecessary laws and verbiage to confound and confuse the public?

For months we watched with trepidation as Obama broke laws or ignored them, with hardly a word about his gross infractions in local newspapers or on the major news media.  Internet resources offered the few exceptions where occasional information was posted: Drudge Report, Free Republic, Lucianne, NewsMax and one or two other Internet outlets.

Each of the following points we chose to explore deserve a fuller commentary. If you are so inclined, however, the links provided will give you more insight into those infringements of authority exhibited by Obama that the public cannot allow to be forgotten. Even our somewhat limited analysis will  fulfill the objective of showing that this President has made himself a Ruler, a Dictator, A King and a Lawbreaker and no one is stopping him. What follows are our ‘civilian’ thoughts on the issues, with links for further clarification.

1. Recess appointments: In January, 2012, Obama named Richard Cordray to the Consumer Federal Protection Bureau (CFPB). This bureau is an offshoot of the Dodd-Frank financial bill. The CFPB is assigned to the Treasury Department and does not report to Congress nor does Congress have any oversight on its activities. At the same time, Obama named 3 new members to the NLRB (National Labor Relations Board). These actions were done as recess appointments which are only legally made when Congress is not in session. 

Twelve phone calls were made to inquire about the legality of the recess appointments: 6 to the House of Representatives; 6 to the Senate; both Republican and Democrat legislators. All of the Republicans said immediately they were in ‘pro forma’ session. All of the Democrats said they were not in session until they were asked if they were in ‘pro forma’ session. Then, they all said yes.

The definition of recess appointments in the U.S. Constitution can be found in Article 1, Section 5 and Article 2, Section 2. Obama breached the Constitution because Congress was still in session when he made the above recess appointments.

2. Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA): In February, 2011, Obama instructed Eric Holder, Attorney General of the US, to no longer defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (enacted in September, 1996 as a Federal law). Obama does not have the authority to determine if a law is constitutional or not, nor does he have the authority to refuse to enforce the law.

3. First Amendment – religious freedom: In August, 2011, Obama announced through Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) that contraceptives, abortifacients, breast pumps, domestic violence counseling and other similar services would be covered – free – for all women, regardless of who provides it. This included religious organizations that own or support hospitals, clinics, schools, charities and adoption agencies.

In response to the strong objections of the Catholic Church and other religious organizations over his running roughshod over the First Amendment, Freedom of Religion right, Obama said he would compromise and only the insurance companies would have to offer the benefit. Many religious agencies, however, are self-insured so their insurance coverages are paid for by the church itself. In this case, the Catholic Church is suing Obama – one of the few who have taken an active step to fight this President. Obama swore in his oath of office to uphold the Constitution and he is blatantly breaching it here.

4. Dreamers Immigration: In July, 2011, Obama told the National Council of La Raza, “I know some people want me to bypass Congress and change the laws on my own… The idea of doing things on my own is very tempting. But that’s not how — that’s not how our system works.”

Then, in June 2012, Obama ordered Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security, to stop deporting ‘children’ (up to age 30) who were brought to the US illegally by their parents. The ‘children’ would be provided work papers and there are approximately 1,500,000 people in this category. There are other factors involved, but since Obama hasn’t done anything with the illegal immigration problem for 3 ½ years, one can only surmise that he’s ‘buying’ the Hispanic vote now that it is election time, a cynically obvious ploy. As he himself stated above, Obama does not have the authority to change the Federal immigration law.

5. Fast & Furious: A gun running project which began in 2009 and ended in 2011. Thousands of guns were sold and sent across the Mexican border without tracking tags and ended in the deaths of hundreds of Mexican citizens and Brian Terry, an American Border Patrol agent. The House Oversight committee of Congress has been investigating this issue since last year and has held Eric Holder, the Attorney General in contempt of Congress. Because of this contempt citation, Obama has invoked executive privilege so that certain additional papers and information will not be turned over to the committee. Using an earlier gun running project done under the Bush administration (Wide Receiver), the Obama administration has claimed they are just doing a similar project.  Operation “Wide Receiver” that the Bush administration ran was not the same as Obama’s “Fast and Furious”, and was ended in 2007.

If nothing was wrong with “Fast and Furious” because it was like the Bush program, then why the need to invoke executive privilege? On the other hand, if there was something wrong with “Fast and Furious”, then the Bush program can’t be used to excuse it.

What are Obama and Holder hiding?  Fast and Furious is an outrageous breach of the law, and Obama and Holder appear to be covering up its details. 

What concerns us most is that there are rarely any objections from our elected representatives in Washington, DC, over the President’s flouting of this country’s laws and Constitution. President Obama is using his executive powers in ways that are constitutionally questionable, thereby setting a dangerous precedent.

Because Obama’s power grabs are designed to set forth his ideological goals, he “throws to the wind” any notion that his unprecedented actions might be violating his oath of office.

November can’t come soon enough, bringing with it an election on November 6th. This is not the time to sit back fretting about what will befall this nation should Obama be elected to a second term. These times call for direct action from all of us. Phone calls are definitely in order to your Senators and Representatives and take little time and effort on your part.