Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Poor Fella My Country

I have used this title for this blog for two reasons: First, I want to talk about ObamaCare in relation to the U.S. form of government; and two, I want to do so in relation to the healthcare system in Australia, where I lived for a considerable number of years in the '90s & briefly on into the 21st century.

First: ObamaCare - or as it should properly perhaps be called, Robertscare, for the rewrite of the legislation that the Supreme Court majority imposed on it (and for the literary device of the image of a 'scare' that it provides the scary bit of legalistic legerdemain that was undertaken for this law to pass its judicial review).

I'll try to keep this commentary as brief as I can, given the huge can of worms that this subject opens up, and everybody's attention span these days.  We have a whopper of a subject here; so the subject needs to be fairly addressed, but not necessarily to the extent of detail that it could be, in a more comprehensive treatment of the matter.  The matter, in its essence, of the American form of government.  Which is under terrible pressure these days, especially from the Left of politics, whose leading figures seem to want nothing less than a revolution, transforming the constitutional Republic - i.e., under the rule of law - into some form of socialistic direct-democracy run by demagogues - i.e., under the rule of men.  But let me begin at the beginning: the ObamaCare 'tax'.

Which is a misnomer.  Consider this, from an article in the August 6 issue of The New American by Joe Wolverton II, J.D.: "The court's June 28 ruling demonstrates a bizarre interpretation of the Constitution, wherein the majority of the justices held that while the Constitution does not grant Congress the power to compel the purchase of a commodity, it does have the power to tax anyone who doesn't make such a purchase."  This is legalistic semantics, of the kind that has gotten the country into deep constitutional trouble in the past few decades in particular.  Without going deeply into that here, I'll just say that this decision - as fairly put by Wolverton, in my estimation - is, simply, bad law, and bad logic.  Come on, folks: Congress cannot accomplish/compel indirectly what it does not have the power to do directly.  Who's kidding whom??  This is subterfuge; is cynicism; is shyster law.

As to the business of calling the individual mandate a tax rather than a penalty: To quote, from the article, Chief Justice John Roberts, who in writing for the court majority held that while the "individual mandate is not a valid exercise of Congress's power under the Commerce Clause…" it is valid as an exercise of the taxing power granted the federal government by the Constitution.


Some arguments against that notion.  (1) A tax is, by definition, for the purposes of raising revenue.  (Remember the old stories about good ol' boys in the South, aka Moonshiners, hiding their stills in the woods from the 'Revenoors', to avoid the tax on liquor??)  As Wolverton points out: "If everyone complies with the individual mandate and purchases a qualifying health insurance plan, no revenue would be raised.  How, then, is this a tax?  Of course, it isn't.  It is a penalty, and it is unconstitutional."

Why?  He goes on to explain:  "On the issue of constitutionality, a plain reading of the taxing and spending power granted to Congress by the Constitution reveals that taxes of any sort (fees, imposts, duties, etc.) may only be imposed by Congress in order to fund the carrying out of its other constitutionally enumerated powers.  There is no constitutional power to enact ObamaCare or anything like it.  So again, the individual mandate does not qualify as a tax and is thus an impermissible attempt to impose a penalty using the purported power of the Commerce Clause" - which the Court's majority already held was not constitutional to do; and so tried this slippery sleight-of-hand maneuver in an attempt to get around that block.  (One wonders why.  Whose side are they on?  That of the political powers of the day, or that of the Constitution and its rule of law??)

A quick explanatory point about those 'taxing powers' of the federal government.  This is from an excellent article in the July 30 issue of National Review by Richard A. Epstein and Mario Loyola entitled 'By the Roots'  (subtitled 'The Supreme Court should overturn unsound precedents'):*  

"This new precedent suffers from the same flaws as Wickard, as a matter both of logic and of constitutional principle.  If the federal taxing power can be used to regulate any activity, no matter how local, and any inactivity (which is neither local nor national), the distinction between state and federal spheres of authority vanishes completely.  The taxing power was the one area in which the Framers specifically contemplated that federal and state governments would have concurrent powers.  This was justified, because the national government could tax in order to provide benefits to the United States as a whole, not a given region or faction.  That constraint, if honored, allows the two levels of government to inhabit separate spheres as envisioned in the scheme of enumerated federal powers.  But if the federal government can now use the taxing power to enact regulations regardless of whether the other enumerated powers specifically authorize it to do so, the distinction between what is local and what is national finally disappears."  

This may well be what some Americans want.  So let them accomplish their change of form of government by legal means.  In the meantime, logic and rule of law will - must - prevail; and they both dictate the conclusion that the Congress cannot accomplish indirectly what it could not constitutionally do directly.  Otherwise, we are in the area of tyranny.

I do not say this lightly.  As Wolverton goes on to point out:

"In its ruling, the Supreme Court of the United States not only re-wrote ObamaCare, but it simultaneously united the power of making and interpreting law into their own unelected hands...

"By usurping the role of legislator, Chief Justice Roberts has taken a step that our Founding Fathers viewed as a step toward tyranny.  As Alexander Hamilton wrote in the Federalist Papers: "Liberty can have nothing to fear from the judiciary alone, but would have everything to fear from its union with either of the other departments.'"

As things are going: Where is the limit to the powers either of the Supreme Court or the Congress?  And I don't include the Executive branch of government in this summary expression of concern, because that branch has already signaled its intentions. And they are not honorable ones.  Not, at least, in a constitutional republic, and with its central government of limited and delegated powers - 'few and defined,' in the words of the Father of the Constitution, James Madison.  Who had many cogent and memorable things to say in this general regard; but I'll move on.

My point here is made: that there is something decidedly wrong with this bit of legislation.  Not to mention some of the specific intentions already signaled by it; in the matter, e.g., of having a national electronic date base of every individual's medical records.  Which could then be used, say, to identify and compel all individuals in the healthcare system to have a selected number and frequency of vaccines.  No matter how suspect - unsafe AND calculated (as with anti-fertililty agents incorporated in them; let alone actual killing agents, like flu viruses) - they may be.  If the federal government can compel you to enter into a particular, selected 'health exchange', it can compel you to do anything.  With such step by stealthy steps, there is no longer any limit to the federal government's power over you -   

and the revolution will have been accomplished, without a shot fired, and the Constitution, and its rights-guaranteeing, eliminated not with a bang but a whimper.  The whimper of  a cowed and apathetic public; too enamored of their ration of daily bread and circuses to recognize how they have been had, by experts in the matter of people control.

I'm going to trust that people will awake, in time, to what is going on; and set things right.

But in this matter, of setting things right, let me finish my thoughts on national healthcare systems.  For there is no reason that America can't have a better healthcare system than it has now, with its overemphasis on the privatized aspect (and the aspect of expensive drug therapy).  The devil, simply, is in the details; not necessarily in the form itself.

For example.  As I indicated above, I lived in Australia for a good number of years in the '90s and early oughts, and they had what to all appearances was a successful such system.  Australia is a federal form of government, like the United States, and so they have areas of responsibility accordingly.  I don't know the details of how its national system of healthcare was structured vis-a-vis the states; I just know that it was paid for by the taxing system, which covered basic needs, and if somebody or a family needed more tailored coverage, there was a healthy health insurance industry competing for their business.  I found GPs happy with the system (and specialists with their referrals from it): Some relied on volume of business to be able to make a satisfactory go of their practices/clinics charging the set/covered fees, and if they chose to charge more - which, in my experience, many did - the customer paid the bill in full and then got a rebate back of the basic national coverage, available at rebate centers conveniently all over the cities, in shopping malls and so forth.  

The main point I want to make here is that there was no perceived ideological agenda behind the system; its operators were simply in the business of healthcare for the public.  Now, I will admit that towards the end of my stay there, I began to have serious questions about it, with talk beginning to surface about moving individual medical records onto a centralized electronic data base, and pressures beginning to be expressed about 'possibly' making vaccines mandatory; and so I'm sure that there was an intention to move as into the people-control business Down Under as well. (Let's face it: Australia is a key regional player in any New World Order agenda.)  But in general, the system was a good one.  How it - or the UK's NHS, which I have also experienced, and found to have flaws but not uncorrectable ones - could be transferred to the U.S. legally, I don't know.  I'm not an expert in that field.  I just know that healthcare in the U.S. could be better than it is.  Especially if the public demanded more in the way of preventive care - coverage for naturopathy and herbalogy and acupuncture and 'energy medicine' and food supplements and so forth - and we could move into the cultural state of mind that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and let Nature take its course in a more harmonious way with it.  But that's all another subject.

And is rather moot anyway  Because everything is going to change, soon.  We are 'going up', in consciousness, to a new, higher level of reality than where we have been stuck for aeons of time.  Our 3-dimensional reality is due for an upgrade; and that will affect all of these sorts of subjects, dubious healthcare techniques and people-control agendas and corrupt so forths and so ons.  Humanity moving out from under the shadow of lower-consciousness forces, into the light of a New Day, dawning for all who choose to move up and on, in the evolutionary process calling us Home to our Creator, in mutual love.  

The future is here, tapping on our door.  All we have to do is let it in.  And register with it: our new healthcare system, just waiting to fill us with its loving energy.  And turn us into the joyous beings that we are at heart.  And I say all this, and end with all this, because

it's time.  

So let's put away the childish things, like hankering for control over others.  And get to our real work.  Of bringing in The New.  As the sons and daughters of our Source, and ultimate destination.                       


* Mr. Epstein is the Laurence A Tisch Professor of Law at New York University School of Law and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution; Mr. Loyola is director of the Center for Tenth Amendment Studies at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.  (Italic emphases in original.)                     


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