States fear that five words in Obama health law will open door to lawsuits

States fear that five words in Obama health law will open door to lawsuits

April 6th, 2010

By Jon Ward – The Daily Caller

 Obamacare has a key provision that puts states at risk

The addition to existing law of five words, and a comma, may cause a world of hurt to state governments.

Tucked away on page 466 of President Obama’s 2,704-page health-care bill is a provision that changes the definition of “medical assistance,” the term describing what states are required to provide to Medicaid recipients.

States have in the past been required to provide payment for services to physicians. Now, under the new definition, states will be liable for ensuring provision of “the care and services themselves.”

In other words, states are legally on the hook not only to ensure that Medicaid recipients are paid for, but that they’re seen by a doctor.

Medicaid recipients have found it increasingly difficult to be seen by doctors, as states in extreme economic duress have cut payment rates.

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Obama’s Russian Disaster

Obama’s Russian Disaster

April 6th, 2010

By Kim Zigfeld, America Thinker

 Obama is being pushed around by Putin

The point of President Barack Obama’s much-ballyhooed “reset” of relations with Vladimir Putin’s Russia was simple: Get Russia to stop supporting American enemies and use its influence to reduce the threat of nuclear terror being rained down on the West by the world’s rogue regimes. 

Obama was ready, willing, and able to betray Russian human rights activists by selling American values down the river in order do get this deal done, and he promptly gave them the cold shoulder. He was even willing to totally ignore Russia’s horrific problem of race murder and its invasion of tiny Georgia for imperial conquest.

Last week, Obama learned the wisdom of Ronald Reagan’s famous advice on Russia: “Trust, but verify.”

Despite Obama’s best efforts, including a unilateral withdrawal of the Bush anti-ballistic missile plan for Eastern Europe, Putin traveled to Venezuela, shook hands with a beaming Hugo Chávez, and announced (video here) that Russia would provide Chávez with both a nuclear energy capacity and a rocket program, the same as it has done for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Iran.

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Tend to Your Seeds, Mr. President

Tend to Your Seeds, Mr. President

Peter Wilson

The Washington Post’s Robert Samuelson criticized ObamaCare in “Planting the Seeds of Disaster“:

Should the United States someday suffer a budget crisis, it will be hard not to conclude that Obama and his allies sowed the seeds, because they ignored conspicuous warnings.
The President seemed to respond directly to Samuelson last Friday, ridiculing him in front of supporters in Portland, Maine:
Can you imagine if some of these reporters were working on a farm? You planted some seeds, and they came out the next day, and they looked, and nothing’s happened! There’s no crop! We’re going to starve! Oh, no! It’s a disaster!
Earlier in Iowa Obama made similarly sarcastic remarks, but this time he jeered at the straw men who thought that Obamacare would lead to immediate Armageddon:
After I signed the bill, I looked around to see if there were any asteroids falling, some cracks opening up in the earth.  It turned out to be a nice day and birds were chirping, folks were strolling down the mall.
There are two essential questions here. 
One: is ObamaCare good or bad?  In terms of the seed metaphor, is it a seed of destruction or a seed that will bring forth nourishing crops?
Secondly, will the effects of ObamaCare be felt immediately, or gradually over the next decade?
None — zero percent — of Obamcare’s critics think that all of its disastrous effects will appear instanteously.  It’s a preposterous idea that need not be part of the debate.  Thus the seed metaphor: a seed takes time to germinate and grow.
Both of Obama’s jibes however address only the second question.  He mocks his critics for expecting both good seeds and seeds of destruction to grow overnight.

Obama’s List

Obama’s List

By J.R. Dunn

Over the past year and a half, we’ve seen much in the way of speculation of what Obama is really up to, what his true agenda might be behind all the soothing and meretricious rhetoric. It was quite clear that “Obama” was a construct, a carefully manufactured image, as all politicians are to one extent or another. But Obama was an extreme example — all image, most of it having little or no connection with any discernable substance. The gap between what he said and what he would then proceed to do was wide and glaring. This obvious and undeniable discontinuity is the major factor feeding all the conspiracy theories — the ones featuring George Soros as puppet master, or the claims of adherence to Islam and so forth. If only it were that simple! The past few weeks have clearly revealed that Obama is something at the same time entirely more commonplace while also being more obnoxious.

Obama is an example of that peculiar American contribution to the long line of political deviancy, the romantic leftist, a combination of undergrad Marxism, New Deal activism, Great Society idealism, and late 60s dementia. In fulfillment of this role, he is going down the list of left-wing daydreams, wish-fulfillment fantasies, and unfinished business, and doing his damndest to see them made reality. No more than that, and certainly no less.
Take a look at his latest series of crimes. Start with health-care “reform.” We all know about this — or, at least as much as we can be expected to know about a bill that is incoherent, contradictory, longer than Remembrance of Things Past and not fully grasped by even its most fanatic adherents. (Oh, there is one thing we do know that they don’t — that things that go up also come down, either by way of the Supreme Court, Congressional repeal, or the streets of Washington opening up to swallow everyone who voted for the atrocious thing.)
As for the newly announced nuclear disarmament treaty with Russia, we know even less about that, apart from it being a “breakthrough.” The single concrete point I’ve been able to gather is that the treaty terms will allow 800 launch systems, a provision that only indirectly involves nuclear weapons as such. If true, this has the feel of complete disarmament and not the nuclear variety at all. Does this mean 800 missiles? Or missiles, bombers, and submarines, and what have you? It doesn’t sound at all good. We’ll know more when Massa O comes down from the big house to explain it to us.
Third is the manned space program, now effectively kaput.  Constellation was morphing into the standard gold-plated NASA make-work program, which does not mean that it wasn’t worth pursuing anyway, as the only game in town. The idea of a major nation not possessing a manned program in the 21st century is an absurdity in and of itself. Particularly in light of the fact that such world powers as India, China, Richard Branson, and Jeff Bezos are all moving into manned spaceflight in a big way. Eventually somebody is going to stop ditzing around in low earth orbit and start exploiting the vast resources available on the moon and in the inner solar system. It would be nice if they spoke English.
All three of these have been on the leftie checklist for decades or longer. Health care since Harry Truman… or was it FDR? Or perhaps Aristides the Just?  Government health care was the goal the left was aiming at with the establishment of Medicare and Medicaid a half-century ago. And we’re still not there yet — the left won’t be satisfied until they have their completely centralized system on the model of the UK’s National Health Service. That’s why they don’t really care what’s in the current program — it’s designed to fail, and in short order, so that they can nationalize it in order to “save” it.
Nuclear disarmament was in large part of product of the KGB, the secret sponsors of every disarmament movement from the 1950s SANE to the to the 1980s Nuclear Freeze. But tainted origins don’t matter. Anything is better than nukes, which must be banished forthwith.
The space program has been a left-wing target since it first began. The standard argument — that it’s a “waste of money” — can be set aside. The left considers every dime outside its direct control to be “wasted”. Rather, it’s combination of elements, including lack of imagination and spirit, an inability to see what a new age of exploration would mean for America and the world at large, and a sense of bitterness at America’s achievement — the U.S. will always be the nation that first set foot on the moon, something that leftists find difficult to accept.
In the past two weeks, Obama has taken all three off the board. His other recent efforts: beating up on Wall Street, attempting to resuscitate the unions, groveling before third-world tyrants — are also characteristic of the American left and nobody else. (When did you last see a Castro or a Chavez bowing to a sheikh?) Obama is a typical example of a particular type of left-winger, produced by the United States alone among all nations. He is doing exactly what would be expected from this type of leftist, out of absolute conviction. Not in the service of any third party. Not to destroy or cripple the country. With his college-sophomore grasp of the world, he seriously believes he’s doing the right thing and will be vindicated before the end titles roll up. This in defiance of the clear failure of every last left-of-center domestic and international program of the past eighty years. This is ideological blindness at its deepest.
So what predictions can we derive from this? What else is on the list? The answer is — what do the lefties want?
  • Cap & trade
  • Marijuana legalization (tied in with ending the drug war as a whole)
  • Amnesty for illegals
  • Cutting Israel loose (We saw the first step toward this last week)
  • Creation of an international legal system
  • Media “reform”
  • A new NRA (National Recovery Act here, playmates — not the gun guys.)
  • A government-mandated green economy
  • An equal outcomes “multicultural” society
We will see attempted legislation on all these — and likely more — over the next few years, particularly in light of his recent “triumphs”.
But what about the exceptions?  Guns in the national parksClearance for new nuclear reactors in Georgia? The new offshore drilling program?  Each case involves triangulation of the most transparent and inadequate type. Bill Clinton was at least taking concrete action with NAFTA and welfare reform. Obama is doing no such thing. Loosening gun restrictions is a bone thrown to the despised “clingers.” The reactor projects must still clear the standard regulatory barriers, an unlikely event. The drilling program is almost completely bogus. More exploration fields off of Alaska were closed than opened, along with the entire Pacific Coast and much of the Atlantic.
Obama’s problem is that romantic leftism is consistently disastrous. A brief examination of FDR’s New Deal and LBJ’s Great Society, the models for Obama’s efforts, will reveal that clearly. More to the point, the prototypes for his recent triumphs have also failed wherever they have been put into effect. Concerning health care, we’re told that we’ve joined the rest of the civilized world. So here’s what civilization looks like:
In 2008, the Australian health-care system came near to meltdown after the New South Wales hospital network collapsed. The money was all spent, vendors stopped supplying medical materials, patients just out of surgery lay screaming on their beds after the morphine and sedatives ran out, and hundreds of specialists and personnel jumped ship for jobs in private medical centers. How did it happen? Nobody knows. Last year, Dr. Anne Doig, the incoming head of Canadian Medicare, stated publicly that the system was nearing implosion. She promised to try to fix it. She did not sound enthusiastic. In the UK, mother of all national health services, not a week goes by without another series of stories in British papers detailing corruption, incompetence, and sheer cruelty within the NHS. Recent news includes reports that dozens of local hospitals will be closed down as a money-saving measure, leaving many communities with no medical facilities whatsoever. Tens of thousands have died in the hands of the NHS in recent years, and tens if not hundreds of thousands more will die before any meaningful reform occurs. These countries, compromising the core of the Anglosphere, are on their way to Third-World status as far as their health-care systems are concerned. We just joined them on that slide. As for me, I liked barbarism better.
There is an argument to be made for maintaining a small but useful number of nuclear weapons, but you won’t hear it from the left. Their contention is that nukes are no good and must be gotten rid of in toto. Forget the fact that they ended World War II decisively and quickly, that they helped win the Cold War (Could the West have kept the USSR contained without them? The simple answer is “no”.), and have played a large part in keeping the peace since. No matter — they’re Bad Things, and must be eradicated, along with DDT, alar, fast foods, and Toyota. So Obama has heroically tackled the job — just as Iran is obtaining its own nuclear arsenal. Great timing.
The first manned space program, which culminated in the Apollo lunar missions, was cancelled by Richard Nixon while he was playing his “I’m a liberal too” game during the run-up to Watergate. The ensuing economic shock caused by the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs (Where did the liberals think those paychecks were going to? Somebody living on the surface of Pluto?), helping to kick off the 1970s recession that hung on like a bad flu until Reagan took office. Obama simply repeated Nixon’s error, with a recession already in place. What will the results be? What would you guess?
Any one of these programs, in place or planned, would be problematic at best — creating serious and intractable problems during a period where resources and finances are stretched thin. But going into effect all at once — along with lesser examples I haven’t mentioned — is the political equivalent of opening the seven seals. Like all other leftists before him, Obama knows he’s right and that once these gimmicks are passed the problems will simply solve themselves. It’s the same attitude as afflicted FDR’s brain trusters, LBJ’s best and brightest, and all the little manipulators and systemizers in between. They change not all. They might as well be wearing baggy suits, two-tone shoes, and straw boaters.
It’s tempting to simply stand aside and watch him crash and burn. But not enough, because innocents — such as the people who have already canceled their health insurance and are awaiting their personal notification from Obama — will crash and burn with him. We must rather make the effort to limit the damage as much as we can with whatever resources we possess.
All the same, the prospect is no longer frightening or foreboding. It’s exhilarating. Thanks to O, the third millennium is getting interesting. We’re off on swift ride down hell’s highway, with a man at the wheel who thinks the truck steers itself. When we at last reach a turnoff, things are going to be very different.
Obama, quite contrary to his intentions, is set on ramming us into a brick wall before we complete the ride. Fortunately the truck is very large and very sturdy, while the wall is shoddy and poorly made, the bricks ancient, cracked, and deteriorating.
When it’s all over, there will be one thing left standing amidst the wreckage. It will be either that perverse little political philosophy called romantic leftism, or the United States. I’m betting it’ll be the old US of A.
One thing I know — it won’t be Obama’s reputation.

J.R. Dunn is consulting editor of American Thinker, and will edit the forthcoming Military Thinker.


Obama Limits When U.S. Would Use Nuclear Arms


WASHINGTON — President Obama said Monday that he was revamping American nuclear strategy to substantially narrow the conditions under which the United States would use nuclear weapons.

But the president said in an interview that he was carving out an exception for “outliers like Iran and North Korea” that have violated or renounced the main treaty to halt nuclear proliferation.

Discussing his approach to nuclear security the day before formally releasing his new strategy, Mr. Obama described his policy as part of a broader effort to edge the world toward making nuclear weapons obsolete, and to create incentives for countries to give up any nuclear ambitions. To set an example, the new strategy renounces the development of any new nuclear weapons, overruling the initial position of his own defense secretary.

Mr. Obama’s strategy is a sharp shift from those of his predecessors and seeks to revamp the nation’s nuclear posture for a new age in which rogue states and terrorist organizations are greater threats than traditional powers like Russia and China.

It eliminates much of the ambiguity that has deliberately existed in American nuclear policy since the opening days of the cold war. For the first time, the United States is explicitly committing not to use nuclear weapons against nonnuclear states that are in compliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, even if they attacked the United States with biological or chemical weapons or launched a crippling cyberattack.

Those threats, Mr. Obama argued, could be deterred with “a series of graded options,” a combination of old and new conventional weapons. “I’m going to preserve all the tools that are necessary in order to make sure that the American people are safe and secure,” he said in the interview in the Oval Office.

White House officials said the new strategy would include the option of reconsidering the use of nuclear retaliation against a biological attack, if the development of such weapons reached a level that made the United States vulnerable to a devastating strike.

Mr. Obama’s new strategy is bound to be controversial, both among conservatives who have warned against diluting the United States’ most potent deterrent and among liberals who were hoping for a blanket statement that the country would never be the first to use nuclear weapons.

Mr. Obama argued for a slower course, saying, “We are going to want to make sure that we can continue to move towards less emphasis on nuclear weapons,” and, he added, to “make sure that our conventional weapons capability is an effective deterrent in all but the most extreme circumstances.”

The release of the new strategy, known as the Nuclear Posture Review, opens an intensive nine days of nuclear diplomacy geared toward reducing weapons. Mr. Obama plans to fly to Prague to sign a new arms-control agreement with Russia on Thursday and then next week will host 47 world leaders in Washington for a summit meeting on nuclear security.

The most immediate test of the new strategy is likely to be in dealing with Iran, which has defied the international community by developing a nuclear program that it insists is peaceful but that the United States and its allies say is a precursor to weapons. Asked about the escalating confrontation with Iran, Mr. Obama said he was now convinced that “the current course they’re on would provide them with nuclear weapons capabilities,” though he gave no timeline.

He dodged when asked whether he shared Israel’s view that a “nuclear capable” Iran was as dangerous as one that actually possessed weapons.

“I’m not going to parse that right now,” he said, sitting in his office as children played on the South Lawn of the White House at a daylong Easter egg roll. But he cited the example of North Korea, whose nuclear capabilities were unclear until it conducted a test in 2006, which it followed with a second shortly after Mr. Obama took office.

“I think it’s safe to say that there was a time when North Korea was said to be simply a nuclear-capable state until it kicked out the I.A.E.A. and become a self-professed nuclear state,” he said, referring to the International Atomic Energy Agency. “And so rather than splitting hairs on this, I think that the international community has a strong sense of what it means to pursue civilian nuclear energy for peaceful purposes versus a weaponizing capability.”

Mr. Obama said he wanted a new United Nations sanctions resolution against Iran “that has bite,” but he would not embrace the phrase “crippling sanctions” once used by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. And he acknowledged the limitations of United Nations action. “We’re not naïve that any single set of sanctions automatically is going to change Iranian behavior,” he said, adding “there’s no light switch in this process.”

In the year since Mr. Obama gave a speech in Prague declaring that he would shift the policy of the United States toward the elimination of nuclear weapons, his staff has been meeting — and arguing — over how to turn that commitment into a workable policy, without undermining the credibility of the country’s nuclear deterrent.

The strategy to be released on Tuesday is months late, partly because Mr. Obama had to adjudicate among advisers who feared he was not changing American policy significantly enough, and those who feared that anything too precipitous could embolden potential adversaries. One senior official said that the new strategy was the product of 150 meetings, including 30 convened by the White House National Security Council, and that even then Mr. Obama had to step in to order rewrites.

He ended up with a document that differed considerably from the one President George W. Bush published in early 2002, just three months after the Sept. 11 attacks. Mr. Bush, too, argued for a post-cold-war rethinking of nuclear deterrence, reducing American reliance on those weapons.

But Mr. Bush’s document also reserved the right to use nuclear weapons “to deter a wide range of threats,” including banned chemical and biological weapons and large-scale conventional attacks. Mr. Obama’s strategy abandons that option — except if the attack is by a nuclear state, or a nonsignatory or violator of the nonproliferation treaty.

The document to be released Tuesday after months of study led by the Defense Department will declare that “the fundamental role” of nuclear weapons is to deter nuclear attacks on the United States, allies or partners, a narrower presumption than the past. But Mr. Obama rejected the formulation sought by arms control advocates to declare that the “sole role” of nuclear weapons is to deter a nuclear attack.

There are five declared nuclear states — the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China. Three states with nuclear weapons have refused to sign — India, Pakistan and Israel — and North Korea renounced the treaty in 2003. Iran remains a signatory, but the United Nations Security Council has repeatedly found it in violation of its obligations, because it has hidden nuclear plants and refused to answer questions about evidence it was working on a warhead.

In shifting the nuclear deterrent toward combating proliferation and the sale or transfer of nuclear material to terrorists or nonnuclear states, Mr. Obama seized on language developed in the last years of the Bush administration. It had warned North Korea that it would be held “fully accountable” for any transfer of weapons or technology. But the next year, North Korea was caught aiding Syria in building a nuclear reactor but suffered no specific consequence.

Mr. Obama was asked whether the American failure to make North Korea pay a heavy price for the aid to Syria undercut Washington’s credibility.

“I don’t think countries around the world are interested in testing our credibility when it comes to these issues,” he said. He said such activity would leave a country vulnerable to a nuclear strike, and added, “We take that very seriously because we think that set of threats present the most serious security challenge to the United States.”

He indicated that he hoped to use this week’s treaty signing with Russia as a stepping stone toward more ambitious reductions in nuclear arsenals down the road, but suggested that would have to extend beyond the old paradigm of Russian-American relations.

“We are going to pursue opportunities for further reductions in our nuclear posture, working in tandem with Russia but also working in tandem with NATO as a whole,” he said.

An obvious such issue would be the estimated 200 tactical nuclear weapons the United States still has stationed in Western Europe. Russia has called for their removal, and there is growing interest among European nations in such a move as well. But Mr. Obama said he wanted to consult with NATO allies before making such a commitment.

The summit meeting that opens next week in Washington will bring together nearly four dozen world leaders, the largest such gathering by an American president since the founding of the United Nations 65 years ago. Mr. Obama said he hoped to use the session to lay down tangible commitments by individual countries toward his goal of securing the world’s nuclear material so it does not fall into the hands of terrorists or dangerous states.

“Our expectation is not that there’s just some vague, gauzy statement about us not wanting to see loose nuclear materials,” he said. “We anticipate a communiqué that spells out very clearly, here’s how we’re going to achieve locking down all the nuclear materials over the next four years.”