FL Governor Scott Orders Mandatory Health Monitoring for Anyone Returning from Ebola-Affected Areas

Governor Calls on DOH to Determine Risk Level for Returning Citizens, in Absence of CDC Information.

On October 25, 2014 Governor Rick Scott signed an Executive Order mandating twice-daily 21-day health monitoring for people returning from CDC designated Ebola-affected areas.

Governor Scott said, “This executive order will give the Florida Department of Health the authority they need to conduct 21-day health monitoring and risk assessments for all those who have returned or will return to Florida from the CDC designated Ebola-affected areas of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. We have asked the CDC to identify the risk levels of all returning individuals from these areas, but they have not provided that information. Therefore, we are moving quickly to require the four individuals who have returned to Florida already – and anyone in the future who will return to Florida from an Ebola area – to take part in twice daily 21-day health evaluations with DOH personnel.

“I want to be clear that we are taking this aggressive action at the state level out of an abundance of caution in the absence of much-needed Ebola risk classification information from the CDC. We are using what information is available to our Department of Health through the CDC’s Epi-X web-based system, which monitors individuals who travel to areas with infectious diseases, including Ebola. Using this system, we know that four individuals have already returned to Florida after traveling to Ebola-affected areas. Following the news of Dr. Craig Spencer testing positive for Ebola in New York, DOH began working to identify anyone who has already returned to Florida after traveling to an Ebola area and is aggressively investigating how much risk these individuals pose for contracting the disease. We will take further action to protect the health of these individuals, and our communities, if we determine any of them are at a ‘high risk’ of contracting the disease. Further action by the Florida Department of Health will include mandatory quarantine of anyone we suspect is at high-risk of testing positive for Ebola due to the type of contact they had with the disease.

“Mandatory twice-daily health monitoring will help us obtain important information that will assist us in caring for the Floridians who are returning to our state and preventing any spread of this deadly disease if one of these individuals ever develops possible Ebola symptoms within 21 days of their return. Again, we are glad we do not have a case of Ebola in Florida, but we will continue to do everything in our power to ensure we never do.”

Governor Scott’s full executive order is available here.

Governor Scott’s mandate to the Florida Department of Health today mirrors the Department of Defense’s post-deployment requirements for military men and women deployed in Ebola-affected areas.

VIDEO: Vote No on 2 campaign releases new TV spot titled ‘It’s Nuts!’

Vote No on 2 Campaign today released its third TV spot, “It’s Nuts,” in the campaign to defeat Amendment 2, the so-called medical marijuana initiative.

The spot features Floridians, including Dr. Stephanie Haridopolos, a family physician and president of the Brevard County Medical Society, detailing the frightening realities of Amendment 2, such as the fact that this Amendment won’t require a prescription to get pot, that it’s not just for serious diseases and that the pot Floridians will have access to won’t be FDA approved.

“The message of this ad is simple: Amendment 2 is a trick that isn’t about compassion, it’s about legalizing pot,” said Sarah Bascom, spokesperson for the Vote No on 2 Campaign.

“Floridians need to know the facts; and, this ad delivers them – it tells the truth about safety, teen access and the host of other problems this Amendment will bring to the Sunshine State.”

“Most importantly, this ad leaves Floridians with the message that the only way to stop the onslaught of problems this Amendment would bring to our state, is to vote no,” concluded Bascom.

View the TV spot:

The Vote No on 2 Campaign is a grassroots campaign, bringing the truth about Amendment 2 to the voters of Florida.  Its coalition includes members of law enforcement, business leaders, constitutional law attorneys, doctors and other medical professionals, parents and Floridians from all walks of life.  Amendment 2 is simply a guise to legalize pot smoking in Florida and the goal of this campaign is to point out the loopholes and explain why this amendment is bad for Florida.

For more information on the Vote No on 2 Campaign, please visit www.voteno2.org, follow @saynoamendment2 and like FB.com/noonamendment2.

Democrat Governor: Legalizing Pot Was ‘Reckless.’ A New Study Proves Him Right [+Video]

The top Democrat in Colorado, Gov. John Hickenlooper, said Monday during a gubernatorial debate that legalizing marijuana in Colorado was “reckless.” His Republican opponent, Bob Beauprez, agreed.

According to The Huffington Post, Hickenlooper said, “I think for us to that that [legalize recreational use] without having all the data, there is not enough data, and to a certain extent you could say it was reckless.”

Hickenlooper is right and wrong.

He is certainly correct, and gets credit for admitting that legalizing the recreational use of marijuana in Colorado was reckless. As we have shown hereherehere and here, the negative social costs are proof positive that this radical experiment is not only reckless, but dangerous.

But Hickenlooper is wrong that there is “not enough data.”

As former Obama administration drug policy expert Kevin Sabet has said, the trope that marijuana is harmless and non-addictive is a myth. His book, “Reefer Sanity: Seven Great Myths About Marijuana,” is a must-read for anyone who actually wants “the data.”

But now there’s even more “data.”

pot in bottles

Marijuana and cannabis-infused products are displayed for sale at a marijuana dispensary in Denver, Colorado. Source: AP.

A definitive study published this week by the Journal of Addiction by professor Wayne Hall of Kings College London shows that marijuana is highly addictive, causes mental health problems and is a gateway drug to other illegal dangerous drugs.

Hall’s research, conducted over the past 20 years, confirms what other studies have shown:

  • Regular adolescent marijuana users have lower educational attainment than non-using peers;
  • Those users are more likely to use other illegal drugs;
  • Adolescent use produces intellectual impairment;
  • It doubles the risk of being diagnosed with schizophrenia;
  • And, not surprisingly, increases the risk of heart attacks in middle-aged adults.

Hickenlooper’s warning to other states should be heeded. Legalizing marijuana is reckless, no matter what the pot pushers say to the contrary.

COMMENTARY BY CULLY STIMSON

Portrait of Cully Stimson

Cully Stimson@cullystimson

Charles “Cully” D. Stimson is a leading expert in criminal law, military law, military commissions and detention policy at The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Legal and Judicial Studies. Read his research.

RELATED VIDEO: What are the physical effects of smoking cannabus/marijuana?

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How Marijuana Legalization United Democrat, Republican Running for Governor

The terrible truth about cannabis: Expert’s devastating 20-year study finally demolishes claims that smoking pot is harmless

Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford on Amendment 2: ‘De Facto Legalization of Marijuana’

Tampa Bay Times recommends: Vote no on Amendment 2, medical marijuana

Obama administration in 2010 scraped CDC airline regulations considered critical to protecting Americans from infectious diseases like Ebola

With a growing concern about the Ebola pandemic we now learn that in 2010 the Obama administration scrapped expanded airline regulations that would have allowed people with various diseases, including Ebola, to be detained and quarantined immediately at U.S. airports. The new regulations would have required airlines report ill passengers to the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Air Transport Association (ATA) were against adding the ability of officials quarantining passengers for up to three days if suspected of having infectious diseases such as: pandemic flu, infectious tuberculosis, plague, cholera, SARS, smallpox, yellow fever, diphtheria or viral hemorrhagic fevers such as Ebola.

In 2007, after an Atlanta man with drug-resistant tuberculosis drew international attention to the potential risks posed by infected air travelers, CDC Director Julie Gerberding testified before Congress that the proposed regulations would improve the agency’s ability to identify exposed passengers quickly.

Lt Cmdr Rendi Bacon

Lt. Cmdr. Rendi Murphree Bacon, a quarantine public health officer with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, poses inside the isolation room at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. Photo by Charles Rex Arbogast, AP.

USA Today’s Alison Young in 2010 reported:

The Obama administration has quietly scrapped plans to enact sweeping new federal quarantine regulations that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention touted four years ago as critical to protecting Americans from dangerous diseases spread by travelers.

The regulations, proposed in 2005 during the Bush administration amid fears of avian flu, would have given the federal government additional powers to detain sick airline passengers and those exposed to certain diseases. They also would have expanded requirements for airlines to report ill passengers to the CDC and mandated that airlines collect and maintain contact information for fliers in case they later needed to be traced as part of an investigation into an outbreak.

Airline and civil liberties groups, which had opposed the rules, praised their withdrawal.

The Air Transport Association had decried them as imposing “unprecedented” regulations on airlines at costs they couldn’t afford. “We think that the CDC was right to withdraw the proposed rule,” association spokeswoman Elizabeth Merida said Thursday.

The American Civil Liberties Union had objected to potential passenger privacy rights violations and the proposal’s “provisional quarantine” rule. That rule would have allowed the CDC to detain people involuntarily for three business days if the agency believed they had certain diseases: pandemic flu, infectious tuberculosis, plague, cholera, SARS, smallpox, yellow fever, diphtheria or viral hemorrhagic fevers such as Ebola.

[Emphasis added]

Read more.

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When Guardianship becomes Human Trafficking

Florida Statute Sec. 787.06 – Human Trafficking

1. (c) The [Florida State] Legislature finds that traffickers use various techniques to instill fear in victims and to keep them enslaved. Some
traffickers keep their victims under lock and key. However, the most frequently used practices are less obvious techniques that include isolating
victims from the public and family members; confiscating … identification documents; using or threatening to use violence toward victims or their families; telling victims that they will be imprisoned … if they contact authorities; and controlling the victims’ funds by holding the money ostensibly for safekeeping.

(d) It is the intent of the Legislature that the perpetrators of human trafficking be penalized for their illegal conduct and that the victims of trafficking be protected and assisted by this state and its agencies.

“The Legislature finds that human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery,” which it is, and it proliferates in the Sunshine State, where elders have amassed in numbers greater than in any other state. Holding scores of thousands of elders in guardianship, the State of Florida reaps at least many millions of dollars from its Wards every year and from desperate families trying to release their parents from state control.

How does guardianship qualify as “human trafficking”?

This article does not allege that every guardianship, whether in Florida or any other state, meets the criteria of human trafficking; however, many, if not most public and professional guardianships match most of the elements of trafficking, specifically:

  1. The victims or Wards are kept under lock and key.
  2. They are transported away from their homes without their consent and oftentimes without their comprehension of where they are being taken or for what reason and for what period of time.
  3. Isolation is a key element of the typical lives of state Wards, including absolute or near-total separation from family and participation in public activities.
  4. Identification documents, whether driver licenses, Social Security cards, or passports, are routinely taken from elders too feeble to use vehicles or travel anywhere.
  5. Verbal attacks, incarceration, and Baker Act imprisonments are part and parcel of the tactics used against both Wards and their families attempting to visit or comfort them during the traumas of guardianship.
  6. Use of punitive measures against Wards and their families is rampant when reports against guardians are made to the authorities.
  7. The key element of guardianship abuse is the controlling of funds belonging to the Ward, most often spent on extravagant attorney and guardianship fees, frequently totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars in a year or so of forced guardianship.
  8. Regardless of the laws in place in every state, Wards are trafficked by professionals who fear no consequences or penalties for their illegal conduct.

Although unlisted as an element of trafficking, the widespread use of physical and chemical restraints is common to both guardianships and trafficking. Thus, guardianship becomes trafficking when helpless elders are restrained by pill mills and tethers, such that they are either unable to process sensory input due to excessive pharmaceuticals or unable to move themselves as normal human beings do day-in and day-out.

I am witness to every one of the elements of trafficking used upon my Father, Al Katz, an 89-year-old Holocaust Survivor, suffering guardianship abuse in Manatee County/Bradenton, Florida, where he vacationed over the years. To begin at the end of the list, Dad was tethered to many beds in various institutions and simultaneously injected with Haldol, a narcotic that induced horrific flashbacks to the Holocaust and filled my Father with overwhelming fears.

Mind-altering pharmaceuticals provide a steady pill mill stream in virtually every professional guardianship, causing once-alert Wards to exhibit what might be called the “foster care stare” or drooling and inattentive behaviors. Indeed, my Dad’s pharmaceutical menu encompassed multiple doses of narcotics and psychotropics each day, despite the absence of any medical conditions more dire than very mild heart congestion and minimal arthritis.

The Baker Act is a widely-used punitive measure incorporating the trafficking elements of physical restraints, pill mill pharmaceuticals, and lock-and-key isolation of Wards from the public and their families.

DAD CONGFRONTS ASHLEY BUTLER 9-24-2009 MMH

Holocaust survivor Al Katz confronts Ashley Butler.

Via the Baker Acting of Wards into forced institutionalizations, Wards at least temporarily lose all of their civil rights of freedom of expression and movement. In Dad’s case, his forced institutionalization entailed total isolation from the public and family for three weeks, while he was secluded in the desolate basement of a metropolitan hospital behind layers of steel, locked doors and guards posted, as if he were a maximum security prisoner but literally with fewer rights afforded to him. Held under lock and key by the State of Florida, Dad had been taken from his home and kept at a site unknown to him and to his family week upon week, re-living terrifying experiences of the Holocaust.

Identification documents were taken from Dad and ultimately returned after months of requests to his guardian. Even Dad’s car was taken by his guardian and hidden at an unknown location for approximately eight months. Other valuable possessions, such as a Da Vinci watch, possibly worth $70,000, were taken into the custody of the guardian and never returned to Dad or his estate either before or after he passed
away.

Pix-Dad walking (2)

Holocaust survivor Al Katz while in guardianship.

In countless guardianship cases across the United States, family members are forbidden to visit their aging parents and are arrested for their attempts to do so, whether on Mother’s Day, Christmas, Thanksgiving, birthdays, or the Jewish High Holy Days. In states where elders are not safe from heinous crimes, their own beloved children are zealously prosecuted for bringing their parents cards and flowers on special occasions.

This is indeed trafficking, when the isolation of elders is enforced by the prosecutions of children trying to visit them in institutions of imprisonment.

Those children who are allowed to visit their parents are frequently court-ordered to pay facility staff to supervise their visits at the cost of $100 per hour or more. Missed visits or missed minutes can never be made up, and little moms are thereby left lonesome if their sons or daughters cannot afford to pay exorbitant sums for visitation rights, miss their flights, or get trapped in traffic delaying their arrivals. In Escambia County, Florida, three doting sons are routinely issued court orders entailing pages of rules and restrictions detailing how and when they can visit their mom, exactly what they are permitted to say to her, and imposing hefty charges for their supervised visits.

Whenever the three sons have reported guardian misconduct to the authorities, the retribution against them has been swift, and threats are constantly made against the Ward’s family members, punitive motions are filed in court, and the sanctions are granted via court orders. For years, the sons have been forced to fight in court to see their own mother, as her health declines from loneliness and constant anxiety and her assets and theirs dwindle.

Every wealthy Ward is a deluge of income to the State of Florida, feeding the guardianship industry through vast payments to lawyers, guardians, pharmaceutical companies, medical practitioners, social service agencies, nursing homes, courts, and hospitals. The money just rocks and rolls into a massive feeder system until the Wards and their families literally change economic status from upper to barely middle class or beneath. Homes are lost, and fortunes are found – by the trafficking community.

In the case of Ida Pavioni, a wealthy Italian spinster living very well for years in Manatee County, Florida, with her devoted niece, also wealthy, all of their combined real properties and liquid assets were consumed by the same guardian who forcibly put Al Katz, my Dad, into isolation and lockdown, hid his car, and removed boxes of his possessions from his home, never to be returned. Likewise, Ida’s prize large nativity scene, made by a renowned Italian sculptor, was taken by the same guardian, allegedly to be donated to an undisclosed “non-profit” organization rather than to her beloved niece.

In four separate lawsuits, Ida’s niece was sued by the guardian until she met financial doom and became homeless. After years in guardianship and endless unsuccessful court battles by Ida’s niece to be able to visit her aunt, Ida died lonesome and lower class.

The loathsome system that leaves Wards lonesome is a viable white collar avenue for trafficking of elders for profit in modern-day human slavery, in which the wages of Wards earned over their lifetimes are gleaned through gluttony violating the consensus and conscience of society.

Drug Smuggler and John Morgan partner to legalize marijuana in Florida [+ Video]

Florida Amendment 2 has paired two men who have had run ins with the law – John B. Morgan, from Morgan and Morgan, and Robert Platshorn, a marijuana smuggler and leader of South Florida’s notorious “Black Tuna” gang.

0406-Cannabis-A

Robert Platshorn, marijuana smuggler and leader of the Black Tuna gang in Miami, FL.

According to Miami’s NBC News Channel 6 reporter Donna Rapado former drug smuggler Platshorn is leading “The Silver Tour” for medical marijuana. According to Rapado, “In the late 1970s, Robert Platshorn was a marijuana smuggler and leader of South Florida’s notorious ‘Black Tuna‘ gang.” The Black Tuna Gang is the name given to Robert Platshorn and Robert Meinster by the media and anti-drug agencies in Miami in the 1970s. They were responsible for bringing in a reported 500 tons of marijuana into the United States over the course of sixteen months.

Amendment 2 is not about using marijuana for medical purposes. Rather it is written to allow for the recreational use of pot in the Sunshine state. Something that Platshorn knows a lot about as a former marijuana smuggler.

In a Tallahassee Democrat op-ed Rachael O’Bryan writes:

I live in Denver, where marijuana dispensaries outnumber pharmacies, liquor stores, McDonald’s and Starbucks. When I walk and drive the streets of this beautiful Rocky Mountain city, I often encounter the smell of marijuana smoke. Marijuana users are not allowed to smoke openly and publicly, but a bench in the front yard is considered private property, allowing the smell to pollute the clean mountain air.

The problems in Colorado began 14 years ago with the passage of Amendment 20, legalizing medical marijuana. Abuse and fraud flourished under its provisions, because medical marijuana became easily available for recreational use.

[ … ]

Like Colorado’s Amendment 20, Florida’s Amendment 2 allows “medical marijuana treatment centers” to develop edibles. These food products have been developed intentionally to allow discreet consumption of marijuana in public places, at schools and in the workplace, and to introduce the product to a larger — younger — consumer base.

Brownies are passé. In Colorado, marijuana is sold in soda, salty snacks such as nuts, granola bars, breakfast cereals, cookies, rice cereal treats, cooking oil and even salad dressing. Some companies buy commercially available children’s candies such as Swedish fish, Sour Patch Kids, lollipops or lemon drops, and infuse them with marijuana; others make chocolate bars, Tootsie rolls and truffles.

So now in Colorado, parents who once taught their children not to take candy from a stranger must tell their children not to take candy from a friend, because it could very well contain marijuana. Our emergency rooms report a striking increase in children who have unintentionally ingested marijuana edibles and require medical treatment.

Here is the latest video ad featuring John (for the reefer) Morgan released by VoteNoOn2:

charlie-crist-john-morgan-in-florida-trend

Charlie Crist with John B. Morgan.

Ana Cruz, former executive director of the Florida Democratic Party, said, “I wish that it didn’t take medical marijuana on the ballot to motivate our young voters. But listen, we’ll take it any way we can get it.”

Ben Pollara, a Democratic fundraiser and campaign manager for the United for Care group, stated, “We want to be able to have our stereotypical, lazy pothead voters to be able to vote from their couch.”

As American essayist and novelist Charles Dudley Warner wrote, “Politics makes strange bedfellows.” In this case marijuana makes strange bedfellows.

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Man Allegedly Shoots Teen Over Stealing Marijuana – Huffington Post

Two Teens Arrested for Marijuana Burglary

Porterville, CA teens busted for drugs at school with intent to sell, cops say – ABC News

Girl eats father’s marijuana-laced bar – AP

VIDEO: Here is John [potty mouth] Morgan — The Man who wants Florida to go to Pot

morgan and obama

John Morgan with Barack Obama.

John Morgan of Morgan & Morgan was at a Yes on Amendment 2 rally captured in the below video. Morgan shows the real person behind the movement to legalize pot in Florida. Morgan appears with a drink in hand and begins a foul mouth rant about passing Amendment 2. He admits to doing a lot of pot illegally in Florida.

The crowd chants “For the Reefer” a play on the Morgan & Morgan slogan “For the People”. 

Amendment 2 is anything but for the people. The crowd got it right, it is “For the Reefer”. To read more about this vulgar and unprofessional rant check out Peter Schorsch’s article on the SaintPetersBlog.com. Schorsch reports, “In a video taken Thursday evening, Morgan –  drink in hand – is shown reminiscing about having a ‘marijuana buzz’ and smoking ‘a lot of grass’ when he had ‘got outside the border of Polk County’.”

obama smoking pot

Barack Obama smoking pot.

Democrat candidate for governor Charlie Crist is a partner in Morgan & Morgan’s Tampa office. Morgan and Crist have been long time friends and political allies. Morgan and Crist are allies of Barack Obama. I guess you could call them the Amendment 2 “choom gang”?

Maybe Floridians should be careful of John Morgan and what he is selling with Amendment 2? Perhaps voters should consider the friends Charlie Crist keeps? Birds of a feather flock together!

Yes on 2′ Campaign Chairman, John Morgan, unplugged and uncensored with subtitles. WARNING: THIS VIDEO CONTAINS GRAPHIC LANGUAGE BROUGHT TO YOU BY JOHN MORGAN OF MORGAN & MORGAN:

Here is a billboard that asks a relevant question after viewing the video above.

antijohnmorganbillboard

Click on the image for a larger view.

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John Morgan’s Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous
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Ebola Comes to America

What possible reason is there for bringing the Ebola virus into the United States? Aren’t you suspicious?

[youtube]http://youtu.be/bjAHdx2zG8s[/youtube]

 

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EDITORS NOTE: The featured graphic is courtesy of InfoWars.com.

Obamacare Must Be Repealed

While the issue of immigration is uppermost in people’s minds right now, it is likely at this point halfway through his second term that President Obama will be identified by historians most closely with his signature, namesake legislation, the Affordable Patient Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.

They will do so for two reasons; that he lied to everyone about it and it has been a failure in countless ways from the moment its website was introduced.

Obamacare_Paying_For_It_Poster (1)

For a larger view click on the image. Graphic courtesy of The Peoples Cube.

In April PolitiFact, a project of the Tampa Bay Times, announced the “most significant falsehood of the year” and it came as no surprise it was “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it.” An April Fox News poll revealed that 61% of respondents said the Obama lies at least some of the time on important issues. Only 15% thought he was completely truthful.

By July 2 a Quinnipiac University poll announced that its survey had determined that 33% of the respondents believed Obama was the “Worst President Since WWII.” The poll also revealed that between 54% and 44% believed the Obama administration was not competent to run the government.

If you want proof of that, you need only follow the horror story of Obamacare.

In September 2013, prior to Obamacare’s implementation the following month, Daniel Henninger, a Wall Street Journal columnist, wisely noted that “Obamacare is the biggest bet that American liberalism has made in 80 years on its fundamental beliefs. This thing called ‘Obamacare’ carries on its back all the justifications, hopes and dreams of the entitlement state.”

“If Obamacare fails, or seriously falters, the entitlement state will suffer a historic loss of credibility with the American people” adding that “only the American people can kill Obamacare.”

The great Prohibition experiment was killed by the American people and it took a Constitutional amendment to do it. It was a monumental failure.

I would be remiss if I did not point out that no Republican voted for Obamacare. It was entirely a Democratic Party creation, one it has wanted going back to the creation of Medicare and Medicaid.

What Americans have learned in the short time since Obamacare has been implemented is that virtually everything they were told about it was and is a lie.

People who were insured lost their health plan—six million had been cancelled by May, nor could they keep their doctor because many health care plans sold on federal and state exchanges have a limited number of in-network physicians from whom to choose. The costs of Obamacare plans costs are frequently in excess of those from the previous free market and include elements that do not fit the age or sex of those who sign up, such as maternity coverage for women beyond childbearing age.

Obamacare exists because the Supreme Court deemed it to be a “tax”, but it is demonstrably unconstitutional insofar as it represents the mandate of the federal government that everyone buy something that they may not want and, more importantly, cannot afford. When the government can tell you what you must buy, you are no longer living in a free society.

Sharyl Attkisson, writing in Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal, reported one source as saying, “In general healthy people are paying more and unhealthy people are paying less.” There isn’t even a “smidgen” of fairness in this.

At no point before or since its inception has the Obama administration told the truth about any aspect of Obamacare, particularly how many legitimate enrollments there have been thus far. In April the number cited was eight million. Attkisson reported that observers immediately pointed out that “the figure is overstated because it counted people who weren’t actually covered because they hadn’t paid their premiums. That actual enrollment was likely closer to between 6.4 and 6.8 million, both below the eight million figure and the stated target of seven million.”

Arnold Ahlert, writing for CanadaFreePress.com, noted in early July that “A pair of reports released by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General reveal ‘internal’ controls for evaluating healthcare applications are ineffective, and 85% of 2.9 million data ‘inconsistencies’ on Obamacare applications cannot be resolved, even after nine months of attempting to do so.” Not only did many of the 39 state exchanges fail to work, but the enrollments are plagued with evidence of both data errors and fraud.

Obamacare - Lipstick on a PigObamacare is so flawed that the President has had to unilaterally and unconstitutionally step in to alter the terms of the law thus far. That is an impeachable offense.

Obamacare is a massive travesty and, hidden below the headlines is the fact that the failures inherent in its implementation are causing some to die because of bureaucratic delays encountered while waiting to receive the care their plans are supposed to provide, if they were even able to secure a plan.

The election in November of enough Republicans to control the Senate and an increase in the House would permit them to act upon the numerous bills the House has passed to end Obamacare and which are blocked in the Senate by Harry Reid, its Majority Leader. Ending Obamacare would truly be a blessing for all Americans.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Why Are “Gay” Activists Freaking Out over the Hobby Lobby ruling? by Peter LaBarbera

It’s easy to understand why hard-core feminists with their frenzied, overblown “War on Women” rhetoric would be outraged by the Supreme Court upholding Hobby Lobby’s right as a Christian-run corporation not to be forced to provide abortifacients to its employees through an Obama-care mandate. (See Hillary’s misinformation on the decision HERE.) But why are liberal “gay” activists freaking out over the Hobby Lobby ruling?

The case was never about denying women birth control, but you wouldn’t know that from the “reporting” by liberal media and hyperventilating “progressive” bloggers. Hobby Lobby still provides 16 forms of birth control as a health benefit to its employees, but its founders—along with another Christian-owned corporation, Conestoga Wood Specialists—sued HHS over being forced to provide four contraceptive methods that could terminate a fertilized egg.

Hobby Lobby’s founders, David and Barbara Green, are committed Christians who believe that life begins at conception and should be protected. To quote the Court decision, “Hobby Lobby’s statement of purpose commits the Greens to ‘[h]onoring the Lord in all [they] do by operating the company in a manner consistent with Biblical principles.’” So strong is the Greens’ commitment to Jesus Christ that they have lost countless millions of dollars in profits over the years by closing their 500 craft stores nationwide on Sunday.

Now, one would think that obtaining cheap, subsidized contraception would be low on the priority list for homosexuals, seeing that two men or two women by themselves cannot produce a child. Nevertheless, Big Gay Inc is in a tizzy over the Supreme Court decision—because Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby isn’t really about contraceptives but rather whether Americans like the Greens will be free to live out their religious convictions.

Immediately after the decision, feminists flew into a rage, circulating crude versions of Justice Ginsburg’s dissent and distortions about women being denied birth control by their “male bosses.” Too bad most Americans will never read the actual Hobby Lobby decision—which lays out two diametrically opposed, competing visions about freedom of conscience and the role of government in these United States.

Freedom of conscience vs. Big Government

Hobby-Lobby_store-300x197

Hobby Lobby’s owners, David and Barbara Green, seek to use their business to glorify Jesus Christ. Their 500 stores across the country are closed on Sundays, costing the Greens many millions of dollars in profits.

On the side of preserving and even expanding Americans’ religious liberty were five judges: Alito, Kennedy, Roberts, Scalia and Thomas. In his concurring opinion Kennedy writes:

“In our constitutional tradition, freedom means that all persons have the right to believe or strive to believe in a divine creator and a divine law. For those who choose this course, free exercise is essential in preserving their own dignity and in striving for a self-definition shaped by their religious precepts. Free exercise in this sense implicates more than just freedom of belief….It means, too, the right to express those beliefs and to establish one’s religious (or non-religious) self-definition in the political, civic, and economic life of our larger community.”

On the other side—of Big Government overriding citizens’ religious beliefs, restricting conscience exemptions to federal mandates, and putting federal power behind expanded access to entitlements–were Ginsburg, Sotomayor, Breyer and Kagan. In fact, Ginsburg spends nearly two pages in her dissent [see pp. 24-25] defending the idea that Obama-care’s provision of subsidies for IUD’s (intrauterine devices) –one of the four contraceptives resisted by Hobby Lobby as a potential abortifacient—is a “compelling government interest.”

As much as Ginsburg believes the majority’s “immoderate” reading of Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) is too broad, hers is too narrow: she ends by arguing that exemptions under the RFRA should be limited to explicitly religious organizations—leaving for-profit Christian businessmen like the Greens unprotected.

The bigger government gets–in both its “social justice” mission and the amount of goodies it gives out as “entitlements”—the greater the threat to Americans’ right to freely exercise their faith. This is precisely why homosexual activists are nervous about Hobby Lobby’s victory. If the nation’s highest court grants that even very large “closely held” family businesses like Hobby Lobby (which has more than 13,000 employees) possess a religious liberty claim under RFRA, then surely small family businesses like Elane Photography in New Mexico—owned by Jonathan and Elaine Huguenin—should have the right not to use their creative talents to serve homosexual “weddings,” which violate their Christian faith.

Sure, Justice Alito explicitly states that the Hobby Lobby decision is narrow and does not apply to exemptions from nondiscrimination laws. But reading the majority’s language, it is hard to imagine that the same five Supreme Court judges would force mom-and-pop bakeries—or Christian husband-and-wife photographers like the Huguenins—to violate their faith by forcing them to participate in immoral “gay weddings.”

Ginsburg, on the other hand, is quite ready to deny Christian-owned businesses the freedom to live out their convictions in the public square. Why? Because they make a profit—precisely the legal dichotomy shot down by Alito and his four allies on the Court. Ginsburg specifically cites the Elane Photograpy case as evidence of the slippery slope of RFRA/religious-liberty legal claims that she believes will result from the Hobby Lobby decision.

Some libertarian homosexuals like University of Minnesota law professor Dale Carpenter advocate for limited religious exemptions to pro-homosexual nondiscrimination laws. But other, left-leaning homosexual activists—far more vocal and dominant in the LGBT political sphere—are on record defending the absurd proposition that faith-impelled small businessmen who refuse to serve homosexual “weddings” are the moral equivalent of the KKK, resurrecting an “anti-gay” version of Jim Crow laws.

Because, you see, not being able to use the government to force devout Christians, Orthodox Jews or Muslims to take pictures at or bake a cake for a homosexual “wedding”—when there are plenty of competing wedding businesses that would gladly do so–is analogous to Blacks in the 50’s being denied the use of “Whites Only” public restrooms and water fountains. Right. Go ahead and try making that case to a Black American.

Homosexual militant Wayne Besen denounced Hobby Lobby as one of the worst Supreme Court decisions ever: “Because of this decision, business owners will have enormous leverage to impose their religious beliefs in the workplace, and to coerce employees into abiding by them,” he warned ominously. Besen is hardly alone on the LGBT side in arguing that anyone who enters the stream of commerce—essentially every small business—should be barred legally from “discriminating” against homosexuals.

Last year, the New Mexico supreme court essentially agreed with Besen by unanimously upholding the Huguenin’s “anti-gay discrimination” conviction (including a $6,000 fine) for politely declining to shoot photos at a lesbian “commitment ceremony.” One of the justices, Richard Bosson, asserted in a concurring opinion against the Christian photographers: “In the smaller, more focused world of the marketplace, of commerce, of public accommodation, the Huguenins have to channel their conduct, not their beliefs, so as to leave space for other Americans who believe something different.” That, the judge said, is the “price of citizenship.”

One Nation, under Tolerance?

One wonders: is this the same America that was founded by men and women fleeing religious persecution and government tyranny? Incidentally, the same Wayne Besen above is leading the “gay” activist crusade to ban pro-heterosexual change therapy for minors—succeeding in California and New Jersey. Besen applauded the Supreme Court for denying cert on a legal challenge to the California case, thus paving the way for the ex-“gay” therapy ban in that state. This is yet another LGBT assault on liberty, self-determination and parental rights.

The reality is, religious and moral freedom are in grave danger in the USA. Pro-life advocates must realize that powerful homosexual groups like Human Rights Campaign—who have long worked hand-in-hand with the pro-abortion lobby—are now joining with radical feminists to deny religious Americans their right to refuse pro-abortion and pro-homosexual government mandates.

I believe Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby portends well for the right of small-business-owning traditionalists to preserve at least some of their Christian principles and integrity by not celebrating sexual immorality. However, pro-family advocates should not get too excited about the Supreme Court—which has already seriously constricted Americans’ freedom to organize against pro-homosexual laws. (See Roemer v. Evans, a 1996 Court decision written by Justice Kennedy that struck down Amendment Two, a statewide measure passed by Colorado voters that barred all levels of state government from enacting “special rights” laws based on homosexuality.)

Justice Kennedy: Hero to Homosexuals

The same Justice Anthony Kennedy who sided with the Hobby Lobby majority also wrote theatrocious 5-4 decision in United States v. Windsor eviscerating DOMA , the bipartisan Defense of Marriage Act signed into law by Bill Clinton. That paved the way for pro-homosexual-“marriage” judges across the United States to overturn popular defense-of-marriage amendments and laws in one state after another, most recently in Kentucky.

Kennedy is regarded as a hero by LGBT activists, the brave enforcer of their fallacious ‘homosexuality-as-a-civil-right’ equation. In striking down a core provision of DOMA, he sounded like a “gay “ activist as he arrogantly portrayed opponents of same-sex “marriage”—even the congressional creators of DOMA—as hateful bigots insensitive to the plight of homosexual-led families. Cleary, Kennedy believes that allowing homosexuals to “marry” is a “compelling government interest” —which is why many veteran conservative observers like Maggie Gallagherexpect to see the Supreme Court nationalize “same-sex marriage” when the appeals of judicial take-downs of state marriage amendments collectively reach the Court in the not too distant future.

If Kennedy again aligns with the four judges who dissented on Hobby Lobby to create a federal “constitutional right” for homosexuals to “marry”—thus overriding those state amendments—it will mean that millions upon millions of business owners effectively would be forced to provide marital-type benefits for their homosexual employees. To many people of faith, this equates to rewarding sexual immorality with their company’s hard-earned profits, of which they are stewards and through which they seek to honor God.

Christians and religious-minded citizens don’t leave their faith at home or in church—and they shouldn’t lose their First Amendment liberties—just because they make money. This is the essence of the Hobby Lobby decision, but how will it fare against the rapidly emerging liberal legal consensus of homosexual “marriage” as a supposed constitutionally protected “right”?

Most Americans have not thought through the far-reaching ramifications of legalizing “gay marriage.” For one, every child in a public school will be taught that “marriage” between two men or two women is morally equivalent to the real thing. And if “gay” relationships are equal, according to the Left’s simplistic “Love is Love” formula, then homosexual sex must be taught alongside natural sex in health classes. (Remember: we mustn’t judge!) Social engineering of this sort deeply offends faith-motivated parents and it will surely lead to escalating legal challenges pitting religious freedom against “gay” activism.

The “zero-sum game“ cultural war between First Amendment/religious liberties and homosexual “rights” in America will go on for decades. Homosexual activist lawyers are playing for keeps and expect to win. We should be thankful for the Hobby Lobby victory, but sober about the direction of U.S. courts. For as the Greens, Huguenins and many others like them have learned the hard way, “diversity” is liberal code for mandatory “progressive” conformity, and the New Tolerance isn’t really tolerant after all.

ABOUT PETER LABARBERA

Peter LaBarbera is a former reporter for the Washington Times and is president of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH.org), based outside Chicago. He can be reached at americansfortruth@gmail.com or by phone at 312-324-3787.

RELATED ARTICLE: Corporation wants to know if employees are ‘ally’ of homosexuals

Celebrate Freedom from Rx Drugs: You Can Be Your Own Doctor If You Know the Cause — Most MDs Don’t

Medical textbooks are filled with diseases of “unknown etiology,” and if they don’t know the cause, how can the drug be the cure? Hippocrates was right–”Let your food be your medicine.”

For 40 years the drug industry has made trillions calling medical care ‘healthcare,’ creating the illusion of science and cure while hooking most people over 45 into bondage with drugs that don’t address the cause.

Medical textbooks are filled with diseases of “unknown etiology,” and if they don’t know the cause, how can the drug be the cure? It gives relief of symptoms but spells trouble later as every drug has a long list of adverse side effects that anyone can find in the Physicians Desk Reference at the public library.

Hippocrates was right–”Let your food be your medicine.” What we put in our mouths is usually the cause of medical symptoms. I offer my own example of how we do it to ourselves without recognizing the cause. I developed headaches and consulted the neurologist who taught medical students, only to be told that foods or beverages would be a very rare cause of my headaches.

I later learned the neurologist didn’t know when a colleague tested me and said I was allergic to wheat–bread, pasta, and pastry–foods I liked, but wasn’t smart enough to recognize the cause because my headaches were a delayed reaction.

If we become allergic to something, it acts like a poison to which we develop a tolerance. Tobacco is an example. People don’t get sick when they smoke. They get sick when they try to quit—symptoms come on withdrawal—like over the weekend when I wasn’t eating sandwiches that he took to work.

Many medical conditions are caused this way. It can be gastritis, colitis, arthritis—I had an executive say that sugar bothered his joints. Another one said cheese made his joints ache. A third said meat gave him arthritis. These were smart men who had figured it out on their own.

Symptoms care range from those of hypoglycemia to weakness, dizziness or muscle tension and insomnia and nervousness, or hyperactivity in kids.

My first case was an executive who was wiped out with fatigue and had all kinds of tests without finding the cause. But since she had hay fever, I thought she might have food allergies also, and asked her to avoid everything she ordinarily ate for a week.

She predictably got worse and then better. People can do this and one-by-one, add their regular food back into their diet one at a time, to see when they get their symptoms again.

If your doctor doesn’t know the cause, think food or chemicals because our bodies are built from what we put in our mouths, and we get a mountain load of chemicals with packaged food. If you have health problems, instead of reading the labels, don’t eat foods that came with labels until you sort out the cause.

Most people suffering medical problems could break free of the system with information from several chapters on diet that can be read online.  The author accurately described adverse drug reactions more than a century ago by saying that drugs change the form and location of the disease,

The author, Ellen White, was eulogized by Paul Harvey and Dr. Clive McCay wrote a six-page review and said there is “no better overall guide available today” (50+ years ago when he was head of nutrition  at Cornell University, but it’s still basically true.)

As a retired physician I am enjoying great health and freedom from medical care. I suggest reading Ellen White’s classic book on health and happiness on my website at http://ChooseABetterDestiny.com and viewing the best DVD I have found at http://RichardRuhling.com where visitors can see 5 minutes of it, including Dr. Esselstyn from the Cleveland Clinic on how to reverse cardiovascular disease.

Florida Medical Marijuana Amendment 2: The Devil is in the Details

NoOn2.org is a grassroots campaign bringing the truth about Amendment 2 to the voters of Florida. The coalition includes members of law enforcement, business leaders, constitutional law attorneys, Doctors and other medical professionals, parents and Floridians from all walks of life.

Jessica Spencer Ed.D., CAP, CPP, Statewide Coalition Director for NoOn2.org states, “We know that Amendment 2 is simply a guise to legalize pot smoking in Florida and our goal is to point out the loopholes in the proposed Amendment.”

[youtube]http://youtu.be/fKS37A_S0MM[/youtube]

Florida Poll: Support for Medical Marijuana Amendment drops 18%

Tallahassee, Fla. – The Vote No on 2 Campaign today highlighted the recent poll that reported that 70 percent of Florida voters support a medical marijuana ballot initiative and shows an overall drop in support for Amendment 2.

“When the Quinnipiac University poll that showed 88 percent of Florida voters supporting adults legally using medical marijuana for medical purposes came out, the supporters of Amendment 2 latched onto it,” said Sarah Bascom, spokesperson for the Vote No on 2 Campaign. “And now, they have latched onto a new poll that shows that 70 percent of Florida voters support a constitutional amendment for medical marijuana.”

“Unfortunately, everyone has seemed to miss the real headline of the week – support for Amendment 2 has dropped a whopping 18 percent – showing that the efforts of the Vote No on 2 Campaign have already started to take hold,” said Bascom. “Where are the news reports about Amendment 2 dropping 18 points?  The backers of Amendment 2 cannot have it both ways.  They cannot trumpet 88 percent for weeks and then not admit that a drop of 18 percent is a significant shift.”

The Vote No on 2 Campaign is a grassroots campaign, bringing the truth about Amendment 2 to the voters of Florida.  Its coalition includes members of law enforcement, business leaders, constitutional law attorneys, doctors and other medical professionals, parents and Floridians from all walks of life.  Amendment 2 is simply a guise to legalize pot smoking in Florida and the goal of this campaign is to point out the loopholes and explain why this Amendment is bad for Florida.

For more information on the Vote No on 2 Campaign, please visit www.VoteNo2.org, follow on Twitter @saynoamendment2 or on Facebook FB.com/noonamendment2.

BREAKING: Homeland Security Police Caught Harassing Sick Veterans

The below listed BREAKING news press release was drafted in response to my column and related email titled, “OIG & FOIA REQUEST: Homeland Security Police Harassing and Intimidating Veterans at Mission Valley VA Clinic.

It is our position that the unannounced exercises conducted by the Federal Protective Services (FPS) at the VA Medical Facilities in Mission Valley, CA while Veteran patients were seeking medical support from doctors, was “oppressive” and was being conducted in violation of standard law enforcement practices and procedures (armed individuals wearing black, carrying weapons, wearing bullet proof vests, with leased guard dogs, helmets, dark glasses, while refusing to identify themselves,  threatened Veterans with arrest when they tried to take photos & asked the FPS Officers to identify themselves; there actions patrolling up and own corridors in the VA Medical Center frightened elderly patients & their wives).

The major concern is for the health of sick and elderly Veterans.  Heart patients could have suffered severe stress or could have had a heart attack from freight, PTSD patients may have been spurred to react in a self-destructive manner later on, very elderly & infirmed patients of WWII or Korean eras may with serious medical conditions were frightened by strange armed men in black walking in the corridors, some of the patients may have been affected mentally by so many armed men in black with dogs, and a certain number of patients arriving at the VA Medical facility in Mission Valley elected to avoid going to their medical appointments because of the overwhelming show of force and their vehicles blocking the parking lot.

Unannounced exercises should “never” be held at any facility by any law enforcement agency, management at the facility should have been alerted in advance so they could alert Veterans seeking medical care.  The media should have been alerted in advance to prevent confusion, and a Public Relations Officer from the FPS should have arrived with the team to respond to questions.   Badge numbers and IDs should have been provided to “any” US Citizens upon request, but it was reported that FPS Officers threatened and intimidates Veterans when they asked for IDs or tried to take photos.  Black cammies worn by FPS Officers may have been an attempt to emulate FBI SWAT Teams and their leaders may be watching too many macho Hollywood movies  (OD Greens would be more effective in all seasons and times of day).  Since it was an exercise and there was no threat of gunfire, there was no need for body armor, facial cover, helmets, and rifles.  There shouldn’t have been any interference with Veterans trying to enter & park to make their medical appointments  (FPS Officers did block the parking lot, interfering with Veterans trying to make their appointments on time).

Unannounced and announced exercises held at VA Medical facilities should “cease immediately”; Congress should prevent them from being conducted at any VA Medical facility anywhere in the nation. There are hundreds of thousands of government buildings throughout the nation where these type of exercises can be easily conducted without threatening the health and well-being of Veterans.  Congress should determine why the Obama administration has been targeting the relatively few VA Medical facilities in San Diego County, when there are thousands of other government building where those exercises can be conducted.  The management at DHS giving FPS Officers orders to conduct those exercises should be replaced, like the leadership at the VA is being replaced.  Veterans should not be bothered  while they are seeking medical treatment for injuries they may have sustained in the defense of the Republic.

Please review the below listed BREAKING news release that has more detailed information and was distributed to 15,000 recipients last night.

hls at vaBREAKING: Homeland Security Police Caught Harassing Sick Veterans

By Investigative Journalist, Benjamin Krause of DisabledVeterans.org

SAN DIEGO – Veterans were horrified while seeking VA health care on Wednesday when approached by Homeland Security police in an Operation Shield exercise. The exercise was for the purpose of “presence deterrence” at a VA health care facility in San Diego. Many veterans’ legal advocates are concerned about what this “presence deterrence” actually means and what is seeks to accomplish for veterans needing care.

According to reports, 20 officers from the DHS Federal Protective Service (FPS) dressed in full black combat gear crowded at the entrance of VA Mission Valley Health Care Clinic on Wednesday. These officers were not wearing any nametags and refused to identify themselves. Four bomb-sniffing dogs accompanied the secretive police group that arrived at the facility in 8 white SUVs, which then blocked all access to parking for disabled veterans. Veterans arriving for care were alarmed and some frightened away…

VA Mission Valley Health Care Clinic houses numerous service centers including a general practice clinic, psychiatric clinic, PTSD treatment clinic, and the disability compensation evaluation clinic. The impact of this event on veterans is disturbing.

The advocacy group, Honoring Our Troops (HRT), promptly wrote a formal complaint to VA OIG in Washington, DC after fielding numerous communications from veterans who were shocked by these recent federal secret police actions. OIG has yet to formally acknowledge receipt of their complaint since it was filed several days ago.

According to HRT’s OIG complaint, veterans on site were harassed and threatened when they took pictures and asked questions about this bizarre behavior. One veteran was threatened with a fine of $10,000 and arrest if he did not delete a photo he had taken. Another elderly veteran refused to enter the clinic with his wife. When the veteran’s wife asked a VA doctor about the action, she was told it was a “familiarization exercise.” Is this the new normal at VA facilities that veterans must become familiarized with and used to? And why? What justifies this kind of action by the Feds?

Captain Joseph John, USN (Ret), Chairman of Combat Veterans For Congress PAC, was not surprised when the report crossed his desk. After a cursory investigation, Capt. John concluded, “Due to [confidentiality] concerns, we can only get personnel in the office of Honoring Our Troops to tell us that the parties who witnessed the exercise [saw, which included] a retired Navy Chief, employees of the VA Medical Center, patients inside the building, etc., who witnessed armed FPS officers in SWAT gear with dogs on leash walking up and down the corridors inside the VA Medical Clinic in Mission Valley.”

Capt. John opposes unannounced police actions at VA Medical facilities that resemble “para-military exercises.” His deepest concerns are for elderly veterans with “heart conditions, suffering from PTSD, or elderly Veterans from the WWII or Korean era could be frightened and negatively affected by these [secret police] exercises in the middle of [their medical treatments].” For these reasons, Capt. John believes DHS and its FPS division “should be prevented from holding these para-military exercises at any VA Medical Center,” especially during patient treatment and service times during the day.

Since the OIG complaint, HRT received numerous threatening calls to their organization’s volunteers by individuals whom they believed were VA or DHS employees. Callers blasted the organization saying, “VA does not need this type of exposure right now; bringing this up will not help veterans.” Other harassing calls threatened the staff with stalking and investigations into their own personal conduct. According to HRT, the calls were all blocked to hide the caller’s phone number.

A spokesman for the San Diego VA Regional Office, Alejandro Mendio la Flores, verified this FPS police action and stated it was part of Operation Shield for “presence deterrence.” VA claims the official count of FPS officers was only 8, and that the FPS does not owe VA any explanation for its actions or training exercises — even if it affects a VA medical facility or its patients. Nor does DHS-FPS have to give VA any advance notice that these exercises will occur or get VA’s permission to conduct them. Just what is going on here?

VA already has in place a “patient security flag” procedure under VHA Directive 2010-053. Even though this procedure is completely illegal and occurs in secret VAMC staff councils behind closed doors, it is nevertheless the main device VA has created to deal with security issues with any veterans who give them reason to be concerned for potential violent incidents. The VA-OIG made a rather shocking report about this illegal procedure just last year — and any lawyer or judge who reads it would be horrified at the blatant “due process” violations, since veterans cannot know who made the complaints about them or in any way have a chance to refute or defend against false allegations by VA staff. See OIG Report No. 11-02585-129, March 7, 2013.

The questions that beg to be answered are: Why does DHS-FPS and VA think these preemptive “presence deterrence” exercises are needed to enhance or maintain security at VA medical and other facilities? What evidence does DHS-FPS and VA have to think this para-military behavior is even necessary and put the health of veterans at risk when arriving for a wide range of treatments? None of this makes any sense or seems to be well thought out. So what is the meaning of all of this?

Does DHS and VA have such callous disregard that they never considered the harmful impact such presence would have on veterans with serious physical and mental health disabilities for which they are coming to VA to get treatment?

VA constantly asserts they are striving to give veterans the best in health care. If that is true, why did they leave these questions out of their thinking? Is this the new veteran-centric care Secretary Sloan Gibson recently promised to the American public and veterans?

Mr. Mendio la Flores refused to answer additional questions on the concerns relating to whether or not any veterans were in fact harmed by these recent incidents. The House Committee on Veterans Affairs was asked for comment but was not able to reply to this writer prior to publication.

VA Bottleneck: Scandal or Norm? by D.W. Mackenzie

Problems with the VA go deeper than recent episodes.

The revelation of inefficiency in the VA hospital system has caused strong reactions. Critics of the Obama administration regard this as another scandal, evidence of gross incompetence, and some are calling for measures to fix the VA system. Fatal delays in treatment in VA hospitals are tragic. The Obama administration was aware of these problems, but failed to apply solutions. However, there is no reason to simply blame VA inefficiency on the incompetence of one administration.

Bureaucratic organizations are inherently prone to the types of inefficiency seen at the VA. Ludwig von Mises explained bureaucratic rigidity in 1944. What are the key problems with bureaucratic management of economic activity? Government bureaucracies always lack the incentives and coordinating mechanisms of profit-driven entrepreneurship and market prices. Bureaucratization of an industry substitutes either bureaucratic rules or bureaucratic discretion for entrepreneurship.

How do bureaucracies function? If bureaucrats have discretion to act, they may attempt to serve the public. Mises assumed that bureaucrats would at least try to serve the public, and some modern surveys suggest that people in bureaucracies want to serve the public (at least at the outset of their careers), but these attempts fail. Bureaucratic discretion requires a removal of set limits on the ability of each bureaucrat to draw on public funds. If each bureaucrat can spend money (or regulate) based on what they perceive to be “needed,” how will they each decide when costs are excessive? The point here is that benefits are far more obvious than opportunity costs. A well-intentioned bureaucrat faced with an ill veteran sees a need for costly medical treatment. Decisions of one bureaucrat to approve more and more treatments come at the costs of either treatment to other veterans in other facilities (who are seen by other bureaucrats), or at a cost to taxpayers (who perceive the results of losing more of their income). Since benefits are obvious and costs are obscure, well-intentioned bureaucrats will overspend; they need to be reined in with bureaucratic rules or by high authorities.

Gordon Tullock and William Niskanen assumed that bureaucrats are self-interested. Selfish bureaucrats cannot be trusted with discretion. The inability of taxpayers to effectively monitor most bureaucratic activities means that these officials will tend to use public funds and state regulatory powers to benefit themselves, most of the time. Since benefits to bureaucratic malfeasance are real and costs of detecting this malfeasance are high, selfish bureaucrats do misuse authority; again, they need to be reined in with bureaucratic rules or by high authorities.

Can high authorities direct bureaucratic activities? This might be possible in small local bureaucracies. Central direction of a large national bureaucracy is clearly impossible. A bureaucracy such as the VA is far too large for effective central direction. Well-intentioned bureaucrats tend to overspend specifically because they each have local knowledge of the medical needs of specific veterans. The central officials of the VA might have a better idea of the financial costs in the VA generally, but they do not understand the vast trade-offs involved in the direction of these funds to specific needs, so they cannot understand opportunity costs.

Friedrich Hayek explained the importance of prices in communicating knowledge of opportunity costs: Rising prices signal increased relative need and higher costs, while falling prices signal falling relative need. Can relative demands be signaled in a bureaucracy? Tullock explained how bureaucratic reporting distorts knowledge transmitted through a bureaucracy. The bottom line here is that central authorities cannot direct the activities of a large bureaucracy efficiently.

The Obama administration cannot be held directly responsible for specific problems in the VA system. Attempting to prevent inefficiency and rigidity in a large federal bureaucracy is like trying to prevent earthquakes or monsoons. Large federal bureaucracies are necessarily slow, rigid, and inefficient. While it is impossible to make a large bureaucracy efficient, it is quite possible to deconstruct bureaucracies. Deconstruction of bureaucracies means greater reliance on entrepreneurship and private enterprise. It is, of course, obvious that Obama believes in the bureaucratization and regulation of industry and objects to private enterprise. This is the real scandal. The failure here is not that the VA continues to be inefficient. The failure is that Obama and his supporters continue to believe in the fool’s errand of bureaucratizing healthcare. It is scandalous that so many people persist in believing in a type of organization that never has worked and never can work.

Nobody should be shocked or surprised by failures of the VA to provide timely and effective medical treatment of veterans. Nobody should be shocked or surprised by the efforts of officials and politicians to cover up their failing: This is all just bureaucracy as usual. It is shocking only to see people cling to a belief in bureaucracy when private enterprise has proven, time and again, to work better.

ABOUT D.W. MACKENZIE

D. W. MacKenzie is an assistant professor of economics at Carroll College in Helena, Montana.